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shivver13 in dw_britglish

A few questions

Hi there! I have a few questions about British language, customs, and geography for some fanfics I'm working on that I hope you can answer. Thank you in advance for any assistance!

1. I'm really fuzzy on the British school system and how grades (years) are referred to. I have a character saying that she's known another character since the year of school in which they were around 12-13 years old. In America, that would be 6th or 7th grade. What would it be for a British student?

2. If you're moving from one town to another and paying a company to move your belongings and furniture, what do you refer to them as? And what kind of vehicle would the items be moved in? In America, we'd call them movers, and they usually use a semi to move multiple clients' belongings in bulk, but it doesn't seem like Britain has semis. (I can't imagine they'd be able to navigate the narrow roads.)

3. Is there a somewhat posh neighborhood near Chiswick that I can locate a family? The family is not super rich, but both parents work and have good jobs - definitely upper middle class. Even if there isn't a named neighborhood, a location would be helpful, so I can look on Google Earth to get a feel for what the buildings and houses look like.

4. Is a "flat" an apartment, meaning a single residence in a building of multiple single residence? Or does the term have multiple meanings? For example, in America, when a person refers to his "flat", it could mean a house - in this sense, it simply means "where I live".

5. When I was in Britain last year, I noticed that a lot of the towns had houses that were individual residences, usually two floors, all connected together in a long row. What is that type of house called? Row house?



1. When? This is crucial. Today that pupil would probably be in "year 8".

2. You pay a "removal company" (they can also be paid to pack). They probably use a "lorry" which might be called a "removal van" but it's actually a big lorry. Lorry drivers in the UK can handle UK roads, although if either house is up some twisty single-track un-paved lane then you might want to find a removal company with experience of that sort of work... if you are moving from a "town" to a "town" this problem will not arise. People with short-distance moves or little-stuff or little-money might just hire a van and DIY or hire a "man with a van" (might be a woman) to do the driving and do all the carrying themselves or with friends/family (most UK driving licenses cover at least some vans, but not everyone wants to try driving one)

4. A flat is one dwelling in a stack. It might be one floor of what was previously a house, or in a tower-block 20 stories high (quite rare!). It might actually be 2 (or more) floors (so not very flat then...). It is NOT a "house" if you have a whole house you say "house". You might say "home" which doesn't indicate what shape home is. Sometimes pricey flats are called "apartments" estate agents think that sounds nicer.

5. That is a "terrace" and the individual houses are "terraced houses" the ones on the end are "end terrace houses" and are slightly "nicer" (less neighbour-noise but higher heating bills). "Row house" is not usually used.
I got a discussion on the English system before and after 1991 from a different poster, but thank you! I also got an image of a removal van, which helped a lot - they are much shorter than the trucks that moving companies in the US use, probably because of crampedness of a lot of the residential areas in Britain.
I would say, as someone who used to live in the UK and now lives in North America, it's also because Brits in general don't have as much furniture! Houses are a lot smaller. We had a pretty large house, in British terms, in England, but our furniture from there, which was all shipped over here, probably only half-filled the house we have here.