In the movie, The Theory of Everything, Jane's mother suggests that, she should consider joining the church choir. In reply, Jane chuckles and replies, "I think that's possibly the most English thing anyone has ever said".

What exactly is an "English thing"?

  • 2
    It means something typical of an English person according to some stereotyped view that people, especially foreigners, have about English people. – user5267 Oct 29 '16 at 17:04
  • @AbsoluteBeginner That was the first meaning I guessed, but she herself is English, why would she say that? – Masroor Oct 29 '16 at 17:09
  • 1
    Because she knows that it is something typical. – user5267 Oct 29 '16 at 17:11
  • The Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish might not agree! – Peter Point Oct 29 '16 at 19:47

English thing(s)

are characteristics, behaviors, or objects (things) which can be associated with the English and English society. These might be warm beer, full English breakfast, chicken tikka masala, tea, St. George's Cross, bulldogs, the English language, and of course, The Queen.

Jane Hawking is saying that "joining a church choir" is a stereotypical English thing to do. Jane Hawking was a Catholic and female, and church choir is considered a safe place to spend time.

The same could be said if Jane was told to "Have a cuppa tea, and think it over."

Other examples are

Japanese things

might be kimonos, sushi, kabuki, geisha, and overcrowded subways.

Scottish things

might be kilts, bagpipes, whiskey, haggis, and deep-fried mars bars.

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