In this article I will explain the vocabulary difference between American and British English word “Roundabout” and the phrase “Traffic Circle”.
That circle in the middle of the road that controls traffic is called a roundabout, well in British English anyway!
If you ask for directions in the UK or Ireland you will hear the word roundabout.
Speaker One – “Excuse me can you tell me how to get to the shopping centre please?”
Speaker Two – “Yes of course, go to the end of the road, turn left and when you get to the roundabout take the 3rd exit and the shopping centre is about one mile (1.6 KMs) down that road.”
However in American they don’t use the word roundabout, the use the phrase “traffic circle”.
Speaker One – “Excuse me can you tell me how to get to the mall please?”
Speaker Two – “Sure, go to the end of the road, turn left and when you get to the traffic circle take the 3rd exit and the mall is about one mile (1.6 KMs) down that road.”
- In The UK and Ireland they use the word “Roundabout”, and in America and Canada they use the phrase “Traffic Circle”
- In American and the UK they measure distance in miles, and in Ireland, Malta, Gibraltar and Canada they measure distance in kilometres.
- In America and Canada they use the word “Mall”, and in the UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar they use the phrase “Shopping Centre”.
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Text: Feargal Coffey 17th August 2016
Photo: Directions – Andy Roberts via Flicker https://goo.gl/PcGehH (cropped)
Roundabout – Michlel2055 via Flicker https://goo.gl/BPsa2m (cropped)
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