Are the UK and England the same thing?

Are the UK and England the same thing?

The United Kingdom with its 66 million inhabitants has as its capital London, as its currency the Pound Sterling, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and as symbolic head of state Queen Elizabeth II.

It is a state, a monarchy whose full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Indeed, as its name indicates, the United Kingdom is composed of 4 nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The inhabitants of these regions have a single passport, there is no differentiation.

The flag of the United Kingdom called "Union Jack" is composed of the red cross of St. George representing England, the blue colour and the white diagonals represent Scotland and the red diagonal stripes represent Northern Ireland.


Great Britain is the largest of the British Isles, with a population of 64 million people and is made up of England, Scotland and Wales.

Ireland is also an island which is made up of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom as it is known in the name "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" because the other part of Ireland is called the Republic of Ireland and is an independent state.

One wonders why only the north of Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and it is because these are the territories that did not want to take part in the creation of the Republic of Ireland, a dispute between Catholics and Protestants that was at the root of the conflicts, since the northern part of Ireland is predominantly Protestant, whereas the Catholic south wanted its independence in order to dissociate itself from the Protestants.

Over time these tensions have eased, even creating a unity between the two parts of Ireland, the Brexit problem has turned the old quarrels upside down a little more, since Northern Ireland is leaving Europe at the same time as the rest of the United Kingdom. However, the Republic of Ireland will remain a European state. This again creates disparities between the North and South of Ireland.


They are made up of a total of 71,891,524 people, 80% of whom are located on the island of Great Britain, covering an area of approximately 315,159 km2. Ireland and Great Britain are therefore the two main islands of the British Isles, but the archipelago has about 6,000 islands. The Isle of Man is an autonomous dependency, there are also the Channel Islands which are coastal islands and are not part of the United Kingdom.
Overall, the British Isles is therefore an archipelago that includes all the islands in north-western Europe between the English Channel and the Atlantic.


A 1,000-year-old nation with 55 million inhabitants and an area of 130,395 km2 with its history, culture, symbols, economy etc...
England is therefore an important part of the United Kingdom since it contains its capital, London, which is also the capital of England and each state has its own capital, Scotland in Edinburgh, Wales in Cardiff, Northern Ireland in Belfast.
But England is the only state whose capital and parliament are also those of the United Kingdom.
Good to know, Scots, English, Welsh, Northern Irish are all British but they are not all English.


It has limited autonomy compared to Scotland, its national assembly in Cardiff has fewer powers than the Scottish Parliament.

However, the Welsh language is one of the two official languages of the country, all children learn it at school and many television channels are still broadcast in Welsh. 23% of the population speaks some Welsh but 11% speak it fluently. Although the figures are falling, there are still some people who consider Welsh as their first language but none of them speak English as well.

The Normans after taking control of England in 1066 extended their power to Wales, which is also why the dolphin of England has always been the Prince of Wales.


Its capital is Edinburgh, it has its own parliament and its government is responsible for all Scottish affairs whether it is health, education or transport. The government is also responsible for taxation and income tax, which is slightly higher than in England for high income earners.

The Scots have voted to stay' for the European Union, but in view of their political unity in the UK, it will unfortunately not be able to stay in the EU.

However, if Brexit proves harmful to the British economy, there is no doubt that the demands for a referendum on Scottish independence will be irresistible.


The most important thing to know is that you should never tell a Welshman that he is English, or a Scotsman. Understand that they are all British but not necessarily English, only the inhabitants of England are English. The inhabitants of Scotland are Scottish and the inhabitants of Wales are Welsh. If you understand these key points to make the difference between United Kingdom, Great Britain and England you should have no more trouble confusing them.

United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
Great Britain
= England, Wales, Scotland
= south-eastern part of the island of Great Britain with capital London
= English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish

If it is easy to get the terms wrong with regard to this state it is all the more important to understand the culture of these countries and why it is wrong to mix them up. It is obvious that if you tell a Parisian that he comes from the North it doesn't make sense. You would not like to be associated with all the stereotypes of your country, region or language so it is important not to do so when you go to a country you don't know. All you need to do is inform yourself in advance about customs, cultures, do's and don'ts so as not to offend the people you will meet etc. You can find a lot of information either on the internet or in books specially designed to prepare your trip. This will also give you the opportunity to have conversations about the country with native people and you will be able to learn more about what you have read as it does not always reflect the real feelings of the people.

If you would like to talk about the difference between the UK, England, Ireland, Great Britain etc. with native speakers you can also visit our Studenz site at the language exchange page.

Written by: Lisa Lambert, Staff Writer