10 Common Misconceptions About Britain

Tue April 14, 2009 from Listverse.com
If you are British, or know a lot about Britain, you won t be surprised by the misconceptions below. However, you may be even MORE surprised to learn that in some places these things are believed! If you believe all or any of these points, sorry, but you are mistaken but fortunately listverse is here to correct things. Here they are, in no particular order:

10 BRITISH NATION Misconception: Britain is a country. While Britain or Great Britain does refer to the general area, neither of them refers to a country. Britain is a general term for Wales, Scotland and England collectively, while The British Isles also includes Ireland (Northern and the Republic). England is most often incorrectly named in this way, and English people are often referred to as British . Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which differentiates between the part of Ireland that is governed by England (hence the suspension of the Northern Ireland government in 1972 and the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2002) from the Republic of Ireland which is a self-governing nation. While calling an English person British is technically correct, it is quite unspecific in the same way that calling a Canadian person North American would be; only Britain is not a continent.

the British included. I myself have heard this said a number of times but I have yet to discover where it comes from.9 WARM BEER Misconception: British people drink beer warm or room temperature. Walking into a British bar and ordering a beer any way but cold would raise eyebrows just like everywhere else. Chilling beer too much can damage its flavor. and this applies to most bitter beers and ales too! Nobody likes a warm beer. Having said that. but it is still cold. In fact. so an English beer may appear to be warm in comparison. most Americans like their Beer super cold. 8 THE BOOK of BRITISH SMILE . the most popular lager beers in Britain tend to be of the Extra Cold variety.

What sets England apart is not that its national anthem is applied to the whole of Britain too. 7 GOD SAVE THE QUEEN Misconception: God Save The Queen is the National Anthem of England. which is only official for Britain itself. will suffer from dental problems. I said England. the shortage of available NHS dentists is a constant issue in England. the standard of oral hygiene is generally very high. but that it in fact does not even have an official national anthem at all! So what happens when (for example) England plays against Scotland in a game of football? We can t both use GSTQ for the opening. This is not the case. just like any other country. but not England itself. not Britain. All of which are popular contenders for becoming the official anthem. this isn t a problem for Scotland who can bring out their own anthem. In fact. Despite this. That s right. and neither is GSTQ. 6 ABSOLUTE POWER . not the rule in Britain.Misconception: British people have bad teeth. I Vow To Thee My Country or Jerusalem . Sadly none of them are official. as do Scotland and Northern Ireland. Just like anywhere else in the world. New Zealand s other anthem is God Defend New Zealand. but England s choice will vary. Wales has it s own national anthem. a person with bad teeth is considered the slightly gross exception. While a percentage. This one is commonly referred to in comedy shows poking fun at Britain. even English people will insist that the song is our national anthem. GSTQ is the national anthem of Britain. Common stand-ins for when GSTQ cannot be used (for whatever reason) are Land Of Hope And Glory . but is believed by many to be hard fact. People may be interested to know that God Save The Queen is the official anthem of New Zealand which is one of the very countries in the world which has two anthems of equal status.

It is always taught that you should write properly and use correct language in formal writing so that it is easier to understand when read. some even bordering on dialects. take a look at Fry s Holophonor tutor in Futurama. 28 Days Later (Modern London and Manchester accents) and Sweeny Todd (Old London accent). In reality. it does not have any power outside of ceremony. While the monarchy does technically rule Britain.Misconception: The Queen is the ruler of Britain. The monarchy has not had political power in Britain for a long time. but she does not have power in any of them. People who speak the way British people are commonly presented sound just as snooty and posh to British people. this is even called BBC English ). British people rarely speak the way they write. Good examples are Trainspotting (Scottish accent in the clip above warning: clip contains bad language and drug use). Look at any representation of Britain from a foreign country and you will see British people speaking in a manner that is considered just as ridiculous to most of Britain. if not. Despite this. Each British country has its own parliament and is ruled politically by their own Prime Minister. the majority of which do not sound remotely like how British speech is presented in foreign media. British people talk posh . Did I hear you say But she IS the ruler of England! ? Sorry. Or to use the more common term. . All of these countries are technically ruled by the Queen. We all know what that sounds like. 5 HOW NOW BROWN COW Misconception: British people speak the Queen s English . The British monarchy exists today mainly for ceremonial and tourist reasons. Know what I mean? Then read on. The Queen does not have power in Britain any more than she does in Canada and other commonwealth countries. myself included. (NOT the news! Newsreaders are told to use Queens English so that they can be understood by all. This may come from the way in which English is generally written in Britain. To see some examples of this. Britain has a wide variety of accents. I suggest watching some British television or British cinema. you re still wrong.

nor will it cover any illness or injury. Even then the emergency must have taken place within Britain. the NHS is not free. The NHS is paid for through taxes and donations and will only provide certain approved services or treatments. You will not get it from the NHS. The NHS is also not available to non-British citizens except in the case of emergency. While it is true that emergency treatment is almost always free of charge. 3 SCOTTISH MONEY . as is commonly unknown to people outside of Britain. This is always a controversial issue in Britain. treatment for longterm illness or injury is almost always charged. Certain drugs will be provided for certain illnesses.4 FREE HEALTH CARE Misconception: Britain has free universal healthcare. Ahhh The good ol NHS (National Health Service)! Sadly. but if your illness or the drugs and treatment you require is not on the approved list.

Misconception: Scottish money is legal tender in the rest of Britain. We see rain clouds. Britain enjoys comparatively pleasant weather! During the winter the average temperature can become bitterly cold (between 0 and 6 degrees C). we all tend to immediately think of bad weather. Wales or Northern Ireland. compared with many other parts of the world. General misery. but the average summer temperature ranges between 15 and 23 degrees. you will know that many places will not accept it. and shops in outside of Scotland are not legally obliged to accept it. Banks outside of Scotland will accept it. If you have ever attempted to use Scottish pounds sterling in England. no matter how much you insist. What is the difference between Scottish pounds sterling and the pounds sterling used in the rest of Britain? Actually nothing. but legally it is down to the manager s discretion whether or not to accept it in any other location. but there really is nothing to say that shopkeepers have to accept Scottish money. 2 RAIN RAIN EVERYWHERE Misconception: It always rains in Britain. Aside from how it looks. storms and bitter wind. Scottish pounds sterling are not legal tender in all of Britain. . or due to the idea that its design and the fact that most people outside of Scotland rarely see it make it easy to forge. When people think of Britain. often higher. So why do many places outside of Scotland refuse to accept it? The most common reasons are that either they are not commonly seen and so are not recognised. It may be frustrating if you come from Scotland for a trip around Britain. However.

Where does this notion come from? Well. This is also true of the . most artwork of Britain depicts the weather based on expectation and we all like to dwell on a period of bad weather. Britain actually drinks almost as much coffee as it does tea. falling well behind Turkey and India. but it is far from the top. In most places. So when a British person invites you round for tea. China still sits above Britain in the tea-drinking league tables even when considering population. but an evening meal is very often referred to as tea . Taking population into account. not to just sit and drink tea. This is correct terminology in Britain too. even if the weather is generally good. 1 BRITISH TEA Misconception: British people drink excessive amounts of tea. but whichever way you look at it. they are inviting you for a meal. There are many ways of looking at which regions drink the most tea. Britain is not the biggest tea-drinking region by a long way. Why does Britain have a reputation for bad weather? Most likely because winters tend to be longer than summers in Britain. Britain ranks somewhere around 3rd worldwide. falling well behind such countries as New Zealand (29th) and even the USA (25th).Britain ranks a comfortable 46th in a chart of worldwide average rainfall. the evening meal is referred to as dinner or supper . which is how some people imagine the situation. Depending on your source. This misconception may actually stem from a linguistic difference between us and other English speaking regions. it is true that Britain does drink a lot of tea.

commonwealth nations. although if you stop by it will commonly be offered. and I never drink tea. A British person will almost never invite you round solely to drink tea. or after strenuous activity as another option to coffee. Bonus Fact: I am British. Tea is most often drunk after a meal at dessert. This isn t uncommon either! . where come for tea usually means come for the main evening meal . I don t like the taste.