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Top 10 Questions You Should Never Ask British People

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Kimberley Payne
From culinary queries to cross-border confusion. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down the top 10 questions you should never ask British people. For this list we’ve looked at annoying, awkward but usually avoidable questions that are often aimed at the British – whether from visiting tourists or fellow Brits. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Questions You Should Never Ask British People

From culinary queries to cross-border confusion. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down the top 10 questions you should never ask British people.

For this list we’ve looked at annoying, awkward but usually avoidable questions that are often aimed at the British – whether from visiting tourists or fellow Brits.

#10: Do you live in a castle?

Don’t believe everything you see on “Downton Abbey”. Not everyone in the UK lives in extreme luxury, nor are we all rich with posh accents. But that doesn’t stop the rest of the world believing that we all walk sweeping halls to bedrooms with grand four-posters, bathrooms with regal roll-top tubs, and sitting rooms solely designed for afternoon tea and pleasant chit-chat. In fact, the majority of us have local accents, work everyday jobs and live in modest houses or flats. The ‘escape to the country’ castle on the hill is but a pipedream for the majority of the population. So, if you ever ask this question and someone answers yes, then you’re probably in pretty esteemed company!

#9: Is Scotland in England?

There are a number of variations here, each as annoying as the last. Wales in Scotland? Scotland in Britain? Aren’t the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland just the same thing? Like with most countries and regions around the world, the British borders have chopped, changed and blurred throughout history… And Home Nations diplomacy does seem to alter from year to year. But the key thing to remember is that they’re all separate countries, with unique identities. Any question that implies that being Scottish is the same as being English risks an on-the-spot geography lesson from whoever it is you’re speaking to.

#8: Beans? On toast?

OK, so this isn’t exactly an everyday query. But, the general confusion that British menus can cause is pretty hilarious. We Brits are proud of our hearty breakfast options, and the full English is a firm favourite for many. But if you’re looking for something quick, easy and so bloody British it hurts, then beans on toast is the way to go. Only, the beany, bready blend often leaves non-Brits scratching their heads – but it’s best not to question it. It’s a definite case of “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!”

#7: Who do you support?

Although it’s pretty hard to believe otherwise when you consider how much football is shown on British TV, not everyone is a football fan. So, asking people which team they support is far from a sure-fire conversation starter. And even if you do happen upon a footie supporter who issues a probably passionate pitch for their favourite team, you might still be talking your way into trouble – particularly if you mention a rival of theirs, or any other team they don’t like. Oh, and under no circumstances should you refer to the beautiful game as “soccer”, either.

#6: Do you really drink tea every day?

A line of questioning which seems particularly popular in America, it often feels like the rest of the world is more obsessed with our apparent tea habit than even we are. Which isn’t to say that tea isn’t a sizeable part of British culture, because it is. And yes, lots of us do drink it every day, multiple times a day, but it’s really not that big of a deal. It’s just tea. And there’s more to us than the teabags we buy, and how much milk we take. There’s also the sugar/sweetener debate, and which biscuits are best for dunking? If anything, our questioners should be less concerned with the quantity we consume, and more focussed on the fine art of preparing the stuff!

#5: What’s the weather like?

For whatever reason, everyone loves to talk about the Great British weather. But, be warned… once you get stuck in a conversation about it, it can go on forever. Get two Brits chin-wagging on whether the weather is too hot, too cold, too humid or too windy and you’ll feel as though the small talk could spiral for centuries. If you’re a tourist travelling to Britain for your holidays, then we’d probably advise dodging the topic altogether – unless you’d like a detailed breakdown of the local atmospheric conditions compared to the national average. If that was what you were after, then ask away – and good luck to you!

#4: Are you Australian?

It’s a surprisingly common query issued to us Brits, and it’s nearly always completely wide of the mark. As anyone with even a primary school atlas knows, Australia is nowhere near the UK. Yes, the countries share various links throughout their histories, and they’re often pitted against each other in various sporting contests… But, quite why the two nations are so regularly confused is a mystery. Some say the accents are similar, but few actual Australians or British people are ever likely to agree with that. Strewth! It just doesn’t make sense!

#3: Have you met the Queen?

The UK isn’t the largest in terms of land mass, but it’s not so small that we all know everyone else who lives here. And the very vast majority of us have never crossed paths with anyone from the royal family, let alone the Queen. Getting an invite to the Palace isn’t quite as easy as it’s often perceived to be, though there are dedicated fans of the monarchy ready to line the streets for the next stately occasion. But even then, the best you can realistically hope for is a ‘royal wave’ in your direction. The same goes for British celebs, as well. The chances of running in to Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Meghan Markle or the rest are decidedly slim.

#2: Is that near London?

In a similar vein, the UK does look like a pretty small place on the map, but there’s a lot more to it than just the one city. Yes, London is a tourist hotspot and political centre, but we don’t all know – or even care – how far away it is from our own towns, villages, hamlets and homes. And, funnily enough, we don’t actually measure our distances by how close something is to the capital. For some Brits, London is hours away, and they may never take a trip there… so the tourist tendency to switch Britain and London as though they’re interchangeable feels a little odd for the majority of folks who don’t hail from the Big Smoke.

#1: Who did you vote for?

Politics can be a sensitive subject in a lot of countries, but this question feels especially loaded – and quite clumsy – whenever it’s bandied about Britain. First off, there’s the whole ‘keep ourselves to ourselves’ cultural stereotype which plenty of us probably do live up to. Second, there’s the colossal ‘can of worms’ that is Brexit. For non-Brits, Brexit probably seems a solid conversation starter, but you could quickly find yourself in the midst of mighty debate! Whether you’re Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem or other, “who did you vote for?” is rarely asked lightly. And the answers range from awkward mumbling to impassioned soapbox speeches.

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