This tag is for questions related to the English language as used in the United States of America.

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2
votes
3answers
48 views

Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
0
votes
0answers
54 views

Decline of Perfect Tense in American English and Spanish related? [on hold]

I've been wondering recently, the past perfect tense (the "have"+particip form) seems to be used both less in American English than in "European" English and in "Latino" Spanish than in "European" ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

Please help me by explaining a sentence I don't understand [on hold]

Please help me to understand an important email which contains this confusing sentence: It is recommended that you must delete the videos after use, especially after your sponsorship expires. I ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

English word for “empty-able” [on hold]

I would love to know what is the word for the meaning : empty-able, like the Name part of a registration form can not be empty, but the Address part can be
-2
votes
1answer
52 views

How to express “Help someone secretly”

One of my friend always helps me but does not want me to know that he helps me. Is there a word or phrase to describe this secret helping? Also, if someone wanted to thank the secret helper, is there ...
-1
votes
0answers
10 views

Is my header grammatically correct [duplicate]

I have a list of item to sell. So my header is Selling items list and again there are item list that i want to buy so header is Buying item list Are both header grammatically correct? Is there any ...
-1
votes
3answers
178 views

What does “tearing your résumé apart” mean? [closed]

I gave my résumé to a person and she replied back as follows: When you look at the below list of issues, you’ll probably think I'm tearing your résumé apart. I guess I am, in a way. But, I ...
1
vote
7answers
149 views

An exact word for the opposite of academic progress? [closed]

I have been confronted with a word so many times for which I couldn't find any equivalent in English. What is an opposite term for academic progress? I mean specifically when one is no longer doing ...
-1
votes
2answers
64 views

a definition of the phrase “ On both accounts” [closed]

hi I have a problem with this phrase " on both accounts". what's the definition? I see this phrase in TOEFL IBT tes 7. the student said two characteristic of something and the teacher said that. ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Pronunciation problem [closed]

I am from India. I am very eager to learn English. So I am used to add some English words with my language. But My friends says that you are having problem with your pronunciation. I tried a lot of ...
2
votes
3answers
53 views

Is “for short” correct?

In conversation I used the phrase "for short" in the context: "I will call you blank for short." I know I've heard the phrase before, but I'm wondering if it is actually acceptable English? If ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Meaning - lawin'

As Calpurnia, one Miscellany 195 character in the story, notes, ‘First thing you learn when you’re in a lawin’ family is that there ain’t any definite answers to anything.’ I hazard that ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

What does “Prepare to have your pleasure glands carpet-bombed” mean?

Check it out inside, man. It's bigger than your house. (describing a van ) Prepare to have your pleasure glands carpet-bombed. Watch out for the floors,'cause they're marble. From the movie judgement ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

When did it become common to 'double the conditional'?

Twins is a 1988 comedy featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as genetically engineered twins. The fact that they’re genetically engineered is used to explain the differences between ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

What does “on the couch” mean? [closed]

What does this mean ? I'm on the couch tonight for sure From the movie Judgment Night (1993).
1
vote
2answers
54 views

What does “stick a bulls-eye on your back” mean? [closed]

What does this mean? It's too bright up there, you might as well stick a bulls-eye on your back. From the movie Judgment Night (1993).
9
votes
5answers
2k views

'Little' and 'small' in British vs American English

Is the preference for 'little' over 'small' one of the things that differentiates British from American English? I find expressions like "I'm only little" or "She's only little" in British children ...
4
votes
2answers
365 views

Meaning of Down to the?

What is the meaning of down to the? E.g. in this statement: In order to use this feature, the statements must be exactly the same - down to the number of spaces, tabs, capital/small letters. ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?

African American Vernacular English is shortened to a less precise phrase "Black English". Also, Black English is used in a broader sense: Black English is a term used for both dialects of English ...
-1
votes
2answers
73 views

Grammatical correctness of the sentence [closed]

Here is a sentence which doesn't really sound grammatically correct. I would appreciate if any one can have a look and let me know if the sentence could be improved. After all, when someone spends ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

What led to the increased usage of “schtupping”?

I was listening to a television show the other day and one of the characters used "schtupping": schtupping — to have sexual intercourse with Dictionary.com notes that the term's origin is ...
3
votes
2answers
274 views

What does “pedigree” mean in this context?

"He constantly punishes himself psychologically. In his eyes he is inferior in pedigree to those very confident college graduates against whom he competes." The context on the story is the person who ...
0
votes
1answer
75 views

Can we use both British English and American English in the same article?

Can we use British English trends and American English trends (such as spelling, or turns of phrase) in different sentences in the one topic?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “Clearasil-scented grammatical sloth” in casual American speech mean?

John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University comments on the growing sophistication (or devolution) of English language among Americans in the ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Is it possible to learn English by just listening and speaking (without knowing formal grammar rules) [closed]

My native language is Chinese. Most people in my country grow up without having been taught formal grammar. I am surprised to find foreigners being taught Chinese and learning grammar rules that even ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Comma after “first” [duplicate]

Can anyone justify the presence and absence of comma after first in the sentences below? First we’ll create a screen for the user to log in. First, we’ll define the AniJS helper and then ...
-1
votes
1answer
42 views

How to distinguish the meaning of “repair” and “ fix” [closed]

Are both the same? When do we use "fix" and when do we use "repair"
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Quotation ascribed to Benjamin Franklin, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

There is a cottage industry in the United States of manufacturing quotations and ascribing them to the American Founding Fathers. A recent one, "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to ...
-2
votes
2answers
51 views

What does 'are you implying me' mean? [closed]

I was showing off for a woman and I told her that I am falling for an older woman. She replied back saying, "Are you implying me?" I am confused about its meaning. What does it mean?
0
votes
0answers
39 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “slaved out”

As i was reading a character's biography : Jack, a small orphan child on transport ship that crashed on the Pitch Black planet. During the movie it is discovered that the child dresses like a ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

to give someone until

I'm reading Women by Charles Bukowski and stumbled upon the following dialog: Dee Dee was standing next to me. "Please tell her," she said, "to give me until September." "Forget her," Lydia ...
71
votes
15answers
10k views

“Soccer mom”: why soccer?

...why not football mom, baseball mom, or basketball mom? Soccer mom, as far as I can tell, is an American term made popular during the 1996 presidential elections, used to describe a key demographic ...
25
votes
8answers
6k views

“When I was in college…” Do you really mean college? Or university?

When someone in the US says "When I was in college..." he can mean "college" but he can also mean "university", so I've been told. If that's true, how can we know which one he is talking about? If I ...
-5
votes
1answer
88 views

Do we ever,really use proper english ? [closed]

Advertisements, labels,our texts, the dates on our phones and stuff are usually fragments or are understandable "sentences" that are missing words . For example, when we tell someone the date, we ...
-1
votes
2answers
53 views

Proper use of “repertoire”

Could the word repertoire be used to describe one’s behavior as a façade?
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Question related to cover letter [closed]

I have a few queries regarding how to write a cover letter: "make a real contribution as member of your team." or "make a real contribution as A member of your team." "If I may be a further ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

American use of “personal”, “regular”

Frequently I hear Americans (admittedly mainly in TV/movies) say "personal" and "regular" in the following contexts: "Don't take it personal." "I like that he treats me regular." Both of ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...
1
vote
3answers
85 views

Degree Certificate and Diploma

I am hoping to apply to a master's program in the USA. They ask for a "Diploma/Degree Certificate", but I don't really know what that means. When I looked for the definition I found only "Degree", as ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Plural/singular form for a company in American English? [duplicate]

Somewhere on the internet a guy claims that in American English it's proper to use the singular form for conjugating the predicate of group terms such as company, band, team etc. In British English, ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Need audio short stories wrote in all tenses [closed]

First I apologize for my weakness language Second Sorry if this topic I put it in wrong place I read in effortlessenglish course for Aj Hoge that the best way to learn Grammer not to study it but ...
7
votes
10answers
511 views

Alternative to “a bunch”?

About two years ago I watched some old Monty Python interviews. In one of them, Graham Chapman, a Brit, makes fun of Terry Gilliam (the only American) for his lack of vocabulary. He specifically cited ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

First use of the slang term “Scrub”?

The slang term "scrub", when referred to a person, can mean several things. It seems like the original usage as an adjective is someone who is not good at something - video games, sports, etc. I am ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

“Without first having…” vs. “Without having to first…” [closed]

Which one of the following is better? Without first having... Without having to first... Is there a difference?
6
votes
3answers
374 views

What is the geographical origin of the idiom “be a fly on the wall”?

Does the following expression originate from English? I'd like to be a fly on the wall I discovered today that a similar expression exists in Brazilian Portuguese: "I'd like to be a fly" (with ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

How to differate between different event types

I am trying to translate a part of a web application and I am unsure which describes the situation precisely. The context is theatre. event: for a public audience a performance of a theatre ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

“I forgot” or “I forget” [duplicate]

I am from Philadelphia and I grew up saying, I forget when trying to recall something unsuccessfully. When I came in contact with people from other states, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region, I heard ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Do Americans also typically use the word “aesthetic” spelled that way?

As far as I know, the word "aesthetic" can be considered the "British" or "European" way of spelling the word, like "caesium" or "haemophilia". The spelling "esthetic" (which replaces the ae with e as ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Example of too few commas(,) in an introductory phrase?

This sentence popped up as correct on a website: "Even though I enjoyed myself at the expensive dinner and most of my friends were in town to see me, I left." I'm no grammarian, so I turn to you all ...
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Kvetch - Meaning

I was just reading a book (The Help) and came across a usage of "kvetch" that didn't quite fit with how I thought it was used. A publisher is talking about a person's writing style and comments that ...