At a staff meeting in Bishop Scarfe’s previous diocese he passed around a chart that he had received in an email. “You all need to study this,” he said, with a chuckle in his voice, “Because it really is true” The Diocesan staff spent a good amount of time laughing as we remembered times of miscommunication we have all had with our beloved bishop. We thought it only fair to share this chart with our fellow diocesan friends, and so, with the encouragement of the bishop, we offer you this tool.

By Lydia Bucklin

What the British sayWhat the British meanWhat the British say
1. I hear what you say.1. I disagree and do not want to discuss it further.1. He accepts my point of view.
2. With the greatest respect.2. I think you are an idiot.2. He is listening to me.
3. That’s not bad.3. That’s good3. That’s poor
4. That is a very brave proposal4. You are insane.4. He thinks I have courage.
5. Quite good.5. A bit disappointing5. Quite good
6. I would suggest.6. Do it or be prepared to justify yourself.6. Think about the idea, but do what you like.
7. Oh incidentally/By the way…7. The primary purpose of our discussion is.7. That is not very important.
8. Very interesting.8. That is clearly non sense.8. He is impressed.
9. I’ll bear it in mind.9. I’ve forgotten it already.9. He will probably do it.
10. I’m sure it’s my fault.10. It’s your fault.10. Why does he think it was his fault?
11. You must come to dinner11. It’s not an invitation, I’m just being polite.11. I’ll get an invitation soon.
12. I only have a few minor comments.12. Please re-write completely.12. He found a few typos.