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There are a number of turns of phrase that I have to avoid as an English person speaking to an American audience. Would it be possible for someone to clarify whether this colloquialism is American-friendly:

Q: Can I buy four candles?

A: Is this what you're after?

I'd speculate that this is an abbreviation of "chasing after", which in itself is a colloquialism for "looking for".

Does this phrase cross the Atlantic? Or even make sense outside of the West Country?

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I'm a little curious...what "turns of phrase" do you have to avoid with an American audience? And why do you feel you have to avoid them? –  JLG May 17 '12 at 13:33
    
trousers (pants), pants (underpants), pants (not very good), welly (rubber boot), p*ssed (drunk), 13/1/12 (1/13/12), colour (color), taking the mick out of (making fun of), cheers (thanks), boot (trunk), fag (cigarette), drizzle (half-arsed rain), half-arsed (not very well implemented)... –  Stuart Pegg May 17 '12 at 15:32
    
To answer your second question: To improve ease of understanding. –  Stuart Pegg May 17 '12 at 15:33
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, this is common in the United States as well. It's colloquial but not improper, and certainly would be understood.

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I'd have said it was a feature of a certain social dialect. In shops where I live (not West Country), you're quite likely to hear What was you after? However, the OED has an entry for to be after in the sense of 'To be trying to get or achieve (something)' with no usage comment.

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Is you saying I talks common? ;) –  Stuart Pegg May 17 '12 at 12:07
    
@StuartPegg: Not at all. I don't make that kind of judgement in discussing language. –  Barrie England May 17 '12 at 12:09
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