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Five ways to spot an American in London

Kelly Prince-Wright

Americans love London. And whether they've been here five minutes or five decades, you can spot an American in London a mile away. It's all thanks to these classic giveaways.


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1. The old university gear

Like spotting a zebra in the wild, you can always pick out the American at the gym. Dead giveaways include: old sorority and fraternity gear (hey Sigma Sigma Sigma pledge class of ’09!), classic university shirts collected from Harvard, NYU and the random gems emblazoned with Michigan State. Also, you’re at a gym. Are you sure you're not American too?


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CAN YOU HEAR ME? I’M ENUNCIATING MY WORDS AND SPEAKING VERY LOUDLY. There’s no such thing as a whisper. You’ll never ask them to repeat themselves as you heard it all the first time.


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3. The terminology

Sneakers, trash, parking lot, school… even if they’ve been living in London for years, you’ll always be able to pinpoint the American based on the words they use. Some of us who've been here for a while translate what we’d actually say based on where we are. Yep, I’ll take out the rubbish. Or I’m wearing my trainers today. But we do occasionally slip into ‘I’m going to school today', before remembering that school is for 12-year-olds here. Right, it's uni. 

4. Ask for the temperature

Okay, so most Americans have picked up British slang by the time they’ve been here for a couple of months or years, but one thing that will forever flummox an American is the temperature. Grasping the concept of celsius is something we’ll never understand. It’s not a difficult thing, but we just cannot get past fahrenheit. 

5. All the happiness

The sun is shining, we’ve gone to the gym wearing our old ratty college tees and hey, it’s a Tuesday, what’s not to love about life? If you see someone smiling with an overall sense of happiness about life, you’ve probably met an American. Also, we cannot stop taking photos of everything and telling you about it. Always the tourist. 

New to the city? Here are 29 tips for when you first move to London.

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