What do British people mean when they say….?

Hi everyone!

Today we’re going to discuss what British people say vs what they really mean.

Spanish and British people have very different ways of transmitting feelings or conveying ideas. Whereas Spanish speakers tend to be more direct, British people are all about softening opinions.

Take a look at this conversation between an employee and her manager:

  • Manager: Linda, could I have a word in my office?
  • Linda: Sure!
  • Manager: I’ve read your report on ‘how to improve employees’ working conditions’ and I must say I found it very interesting….. However, I would suggest you change some things…..

So, what we would understand is exactly what is written there but it could not be further away from reality as this is the real meaning of the conversation (if it was said by a Spanish speaker)

  • Manager: Linda, could I have a word in my office?
  • Linda: Sure!
  • Manager: I’ve read your report on ‘how to improve employees’ working conditions’ and you must have lost your mind….. There’s no way I can accept this report so go home, do it again and let me know when you have it.

As you can see, the difference in meaning is huge! It’s very important that we understand British people’s way of speaking so there are no misunderstandings when we talk to them. Take a look at these sentences, what do you think their real meaning is?

  1. I hear what you’re saying…
  2. With the greatest respect,
  3. I’ll bear it in mind
  4. I was a bit disappointed that…
  5. I only have a few minor comments….

What do you think? Scroll down to check your answers!

What British people say

What we usually understand

What they really mean
“I hear what you’re saying…” He/She is listening to me “I disagree”
“With the greatest respect,” He/She respects my opinion “I strongly disagree and I have taken offense”
“I’ll bear it in mind” He/She is going to think about it “I’ve forgotten it already”
“I was a bit disappointed that…” I could do better “I’m annoyed” (Catastrophe!)
“I only have a few minor comments…” I might have to change some things “Go home, do it again and then show it to me”

 

As you can see, British people express their feelings and opinions in a much softer way. Remember that next time you visit the United Kingdom!

We remind you that you can share your experiences in the comments below or in any or our social media pages!

Have an awesome February!

 

 

 

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