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American Language

People who come to the USA from India rarely have difficulty in communicating with Americans, because most speak fluent English or have received their education in English. However, Indians speak British English, and there are many differences between British English and American English. 

Therefore, if you are not familiar with correct words, there may be some confusion while communicating. Sometimes, the spelling of the words may be the same but they are pronounced differently. For example, “schedule” is pronounced “skedule,” “route” is pronounced “raut,” and “vitamin” is pronounced “vaitamin.”

If the person you’re speaking with is having a hard time understanding, you may hear phrases like “pardon me,” “come again,” “I didn’t get you,” or “I’m sorry?” 

The following dictionary helps you translate Indian English to American English. Words are given by categories; within each category, they are listed alphabetically.

Clothing
Indian EnglishAmerican English
BracesSuspenders
Half-pantShorts
Half sleevesShort sleeves
HandbagPurse, Pocketbook, Change purse
JumperSweater
Ladders (in stockings)Runs
NeckerchiefScarf
Overcoat (light)Topcoat, Coat, Jacket
Overcoat (heavy)Overcoat, Coat
OversizeExtra large
PetticoatSlip
Pinafore dressJumper
Polo-neck sweaterTurtle-neck sweater
PurseWallet
Sanitary towelSanitary napkin, pad
Sports shoesSneakers, Athletic shoes, Running shoes
SuspendersGarters
Swim costumeSwim suit
Swim trunksSwim suit
TightsPanty hose
Trial roomFitting room
TrousersTrousers, Pants, Slacks
VestUnder shirt
WaistcoatVest
Waist petticoatHalf slip
Wind cheaterWind breaker

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Education
Indian EnglishAmerican English
3rd standard3rd grade
Be a studentTake a class
CanteenCafeteria
CollegeSchool
Higher Secondary SchoolHigh School
InvigilatorProctor
MarksGrades
Mark sheetGrade card
Primary schoolElementary school
Private schoolPublic school (free)
Public schoolPrivate school (tuition charged)
Secondary SchoolJunior High School
Take a classTeach a class
UniversitySchool
Food
Indian EnglishAmerican English
BiscuitCookie (if sweet), Cracker (if salty)
BrinjalEggplant
Brown breadWhole wheat bread
BunBiscuit
Cafe (“kayf”)Cafe (“kaf-ay'”)
CapsicumBell pepper
Chocolate, Lollipop, Sweet, ToffeeCandy
Cold drinkSoda
CorianderCilantro
CurdYogurt
Dry grapesRaisins
Filter coffeeBrewed coffee
Finger chipsFrench fries
French beansSnow peas
Garam masalaCurry
GroundnutsPeanuts
HotelRestaurant (only for eating)
Hotel (for staying and/or eating)
JellyGelatin
Milk powderCream
Nes-coffeeInstant coffee
Lady fingersOkra
(Potato) wafers(Potato) chips
SaccrineArtificial sweetener
Soft drinkSoda
Small pastriesLady fingers
SodaClub soda
Tomato sauceKetchup (tomato sauce is less sweet)

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Other
Indian EnglishAmerican English
Aerial (for TV)Antenna
All yearAll year or year-round
American football
(similar to Rugby in UK)
Football
At weekendsOn weekends
AutumnFall
BarristerTrial lawyer
BasinBowl (basin means bathroom sink)
BathShower (when you fill tub and sit to wash, it is a bath)
BeggarPanhandler
BookstallNewsstand
BucketBucket or pail
Camp bedCot or roll-away
Chewing GumGum
CellBattery
CinemaMovie theater
CleverSmart or bright
Cooling glassSunglasses
ColonyNeighborhood
CrecheDaycare
Cricket (a game)Cricket (an insect)
Curriculum-vitae or Bio-dataResume
CurrentElectricity
Current accountChecking account
Deposit accountSavings account
DiaryJournal
District or TalukCounty
DoctorDoctor or Physician
DustbinTrash can
Earth wireGround wire
FlatApartment (“flats” mean shoes without high heels)
Ex-servicemanVeteran
FootballSoccer
HoardingBillboard
HotelRestaurant
GangMob
GarageGarage, Shop, Service station
GarbageTrash
GardenYard
Give testTake test
GoodsFreight
Goods wagonFreight car, Container
GramophonePhonograph, Turntable, Record player
GrillBroil
Guest houseMotel
GumGlue
GogglesSunglasses
IBM-CompatibleIBM-Clone
InflammableFlammable
JugPitcher
KioskBooth
LawyerLawyer or Attorney
LiftElevator
Ltd.Inc.
Main city areaDowntown (most of the time), Uptown
MateFriend (“mate” is used only for spouse)
MessDorm cafeteria
MixeeMixer
Multi-storeyHigh-rise, Skyscraper
NiceNice, Cool
Operation theatreOperating room
PerksPerks, Fringe benefits, Benefits, Employment benefits
PhotographPicture
PictureMovie
Plot of landLot
PolicemanPoliceman, Cop, Police officer
PorterDoorman
NappiesDiapers
NotepadNotepad, Scratchpad
Ordinary shareCommon stock
Pack of cardsDeck of cards
PaisaPenny, One cent
Past performanceTrack record
Pin code, postal codeZIP code
Point, PowerpointOutlet, Electrical outlet
PostboxMailbox (for home/apartment)Postbox (for rented box located in post office)
Pram
Perambulator
Stroller
PromenadeBoardwalk
Race courseRace track, The track
QueueLine
Restaurant billRestaurant check
Rs. 20 Note$20 Bill
RubberEraser (“rubber” is the slang for condom!)
SnapPicture
SolicitorLawyer, Attorney
SolidSubstantial
SpectaclesGlasses
SuitcaseSuitcase, Baggage, Bag
SwitchboardPower strip (“switchboard” is for a telephone operator)
TapFaucet
TalkiesMovie theater
Tea towelDish towel
TimberTimber, Lumber
Tin (of food)Can
To dispatchTo ship
To fixTo install
ToiletRestroom
TorchFlashlight
To repairTo fix
Trade unionLabor union
TransistorRadio
Two-in-OneBoom box
Washing clothesDoing laundry

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Pronunciation Difference
Indian EnglishAmerican English
CarolinaCarolaina
RegionalRiganal
ScheduleSkedul
SemiSemai
VitaminVaitamin
Shopping
Indian EnglishAmerican English
BillCheck
Carrier bagShopping bag
ChemistDrugstore, Pharmacy
Cotton (reel of)Thread
Cotton woolAbsorbent cotton
DispensaryDrugstore, Pharmacy
Drawing pinsThumb tacks
Expensive storesUpscale stores
Hair slideBarrette
Jumble saleGarage sale, Yard sale
Line of open shops, shopping centerStrip mall (“strip club” has a totally different meaning)
Material (by yard)Fabric
Provision storeGrocery store
Provision store manGrocer
ShopShop, Store
Shop assistantSalesclerk
Shopping centerMall
Vegetable storeGrocery store
Spelling Difference
Indian EnglishAmerican English
ChequeCheck
CentreCenter
ColourColor
DialledDialed
GreyGray
JewelleryJewelry
LabourLabor
OmeletteOmelet
ProgrammeProgram
TheatreTheater
TravellingTraveling
Telephone
Indian EnglishAmerican English
Charge callCollect call
DirectoryPhone book
Personal callPerson-to-person
Put the phone downHang up, Disconnect
Mobile PhoneCell Phone
Reverse the chargesCollect call
STD codeArea code
STD/PCOPublic phone, Pay phone
Telephone callPhone call, Call
To ring upTo call/to give
To telephoneBuzz
Trunk callLong distance call
Theater
Indian EnglishAmerican English
Dress circleMezzanine
HousefulFull house
GalleryBalcony
StallsOrchestra
Upper CircleFirst balcony

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Transportation
Indian EnglishAmerican English
Accelerate the carStep on the gas
Air hostessFlight attendant
BonnetHood
Boot, dickyTrunk
Car acceleratorGas pedal
Car parkingParking lot
CaravanTrailer or RV (recreational vehicle)
CoachBus
CycleBike
DieselFuel
FootpathSidewalk
FlyoverOverpass
Gear stickStick shift
HighwayFreeway, Expressway, Interstate
LorryTruck
MotorcycleMotor bike
Motor waysFreeways
Mudguard/wingMotor bike
Number plateLicense plate
OverbridgeOverpass
PavementSidewalk
PetrolGas
Petrol pumpGas station
Punctured tireFlat tire
RailtrackRailroad
Return ticketRound trip
SilencerMuffler (a “silencer” is used to quiet the sound of a gun)
SignalSignal, Traffic light
Single ticketOne-way ticket
Take a liftGet a ride
TaxiTaxi, Cab
Traffic signalTraffic light
TramStreetcar
UnderbridgeUnderpass
UndergroundSubway
WindscreenWindshield
Zebra CrossingCrosswalk
Technology
Indian EnglishAmerican English
NetInternet
SiteWeb site
MailEmail
PostMail
@ in email address = ‘at the rate’@ in email address = ‘at’
Idioms
Indian EnglishAmerican English
A place to parkDriveway
A place to driveParkway
Anti clockwiseCounter-clockwise
Black moneyTax free, Undeclared income
Bunk schoolSkip class
Convince someoneTalk someone into
Dismissed (from job)Fired (from job, for fault of employee)
Laid off (from job, for no fault of employee)
FaintedPassed out
Get down (from a bus)Get off (of a bus)
Give the car some raceSpeed up the car
How is everything?How is it going?
How are you?How are you doing?
I am angry at youI am mad at you
IndianIndian – Native American
East Indian – Person from India
IntimateInform
Issue a book (from the library)Check out a book (from the library)
Join dutyReport for work
Let’s make a moveLet’s go
Let’s push offLet’s go
Mess upScrew up
Passed outGraduated
Push the acceleratorStep on the gas
Ring up (someone)Call up (someone)
Sleep in the afternoonNap
Standing from a constituencyRunning for an election
Straight-awayRight away
The line is engagedIt’s busy / I got a busy tone
To appear in (give) a testTo take a test
To be out of stationTo be out of town
Too goodCool
To post (a letter)To mail (a letter)
To submitTo turn in
Very Close RelationsIntimate relations
Washing up machineDishwasher
Wash upDo the dishes
Wash your handsWash up
What is time?Do you have the time?

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