I have defined some of the words (underlined) in the blog post, which you can add to your Personal Dictionary. Click on the Excel icon to download the word list to your PC or mobile device, which you can thereafter import into your Personal Dictionary. They are also listed below.
Scroll down to the bottom for links to a video, crossword and word search using words from this post.

Apt: Suitable or appropriate for a particular purpose or situation

Sunburnt: The condition of having skin that is red, sore, and sometimes peeling or blistering due to overexposure to the sun

Stereotypical: Something that is widely believed or perceived as conforming to a certain type or image

Characteristic: A distinguishing quality, trait, or feature of a person, place, or thing

Phenomenon: An observable event or situation that is remarkable or extraordinary in some way

Cliches: Overused expressions or ideas that have become predictable and lacking in originality

Grin: A broad smile that expresses pleasure or amusement

Copious: Abundant or plentiful in quantity or volume

Moderate: Not excessive or extreme; within reasonable limits

Consume: Eat, drink, or use up something

Allegedly: Supposedly or reportedly; not yet proven to be true or accurate

Starchy: Food that is high in carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, and rice

Hail: Come from or to have been born in a particular place

Hygiene: Practices and conditions that promote cleanliness, health, and the prevention of disease 

It seems apt, that just over 2 weeks since we saw thousands of people queuing in London, that I should write about stereotypical things that British people do, are characteristics we have, or are alleged to have.

The queuing phenomenon is a given: I already wrote about Brits standing in line, in my post about Politeness from a few weeks back. But what about other cliches are we known for? The rain for instance: hold on I covered that in last week’s post on weather! Okay, what about this one: when we go on holiday, I’m talking about the Mediterranean countries, we strip off, lay 6 hours in the sun and get badly sunburnt. I can see the grins on my German students now, because this is their number one cliché about the Brits abroad. That and us stealing the sun beds around the pools, wearing our union flag bathing shorts, drinking copious amounts of beer. I can say hand on heart, that I’ve never done any of the above. Okay, I like to drink, but at moderate levels.

Talking of drinking, supposedly not only do we all drink tea, but we do it altogether at 11 in the morning, also known as elevenses. I have to say that if this event exists, I’ve never been invited. That said, I’d say that most Brits like tea, and the most popular type consumed is the so-called ‘builder’s tea’, which is the tea bag that can be dunked for about 4 minutes in a cup. Sugar and milk can be added, depending on preference. I only add milk nowadays, but traditionally most people’s default choice is milk and 2 sugars. We might be able to make a decent ‘cuppa’, but allegedly our food is bad. Too starchy or boring are the main complaints. However, my students will watch the TV shows of Gordon Ramsey and/or Jamie Oliver, both popular chefs, who hail from Great Britain, so maybe we aren’t that bad after all.

When I watch American comedies, I’ve noticed that they often make jokes about our bad teeth. I don’t think I noticed that poor dental hygiene when I lived there, so I don’t know where the cliché comes from. Another stereotype some Americans believe to be true, and I’m certain television is to blame, is that we all live in castles. As if that would be possible.

What clichés do you think of, when you think about Great Britain? Let me know in the comments below.


To test your knowledge, why not do a crossword puzzle, using words from this text?

Click here for instructions on how to play.

To test your knowledge, why not do a word search puzzle, using words from this text?

Click here for instructions on how to play.

Stereotypes in the UK

Click on the image to watch a video about Stereotypes in the UK

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