Very British Problems - Have a nice day




Very British Problems, a TV series on Channel 4, is fun to watch and great for practising English listening and speaking skills. It is especially useful to those preparing for IELTS, Cambridge FCE, CAE and CPE.


This clip is from the first episode of Very British Problems (Season 1 - Episode 1 - Other People).

Nigel Havers and Rich Hall discuss use of the phrase "have a nice day" in Britain.
Having tried to inject a little Continental sophistication into our interactions and failed, we certainly won't be making the same mistake with our over-friendly American cousins.

"Have a nice day"?

I say, "Please, that's up to me to have a nice day. I don't need you to tell me to have one. I'm having a very nasty day at the moment. I don't know how it's going to go, but it's nothing to do with you."

Of course that was never going to work. And with good reason!

Most Brits see right through that because they know it's not possible to have a nice day.

You could say, "Have a nice quarter of an hour," and Brits would go, "Thank you very much," because that's manageable.

You can have a good 15 minutes in this country without anything screwing up, but... minute 16, something's going to happen.

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