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

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5
votes
9answers
710 views

Phrase for being indecisive/hesitant

I am looking for a phrase that would fit this (kind of) pattern: "You know how my friends are, they always XXXXXX so I can't expect an immediate answer." "At the restaurant, when I was ...
4
votes
3answers
173 views

Why does “to dip” mean “to leave”?

So, "dip" has come to mean "leave" in American slang. As in, "Let's dip," i.e. "Let's get out of here." How did that happen? The best I could come up with is: a dip in the road obscures vision, so if ...
-2
votes
1answer
26 views

Can we use apostrophe for holidays?

Can I say 13 days of March is Nowruz's holiday? Or I shouldn't use apostrophe?
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Do you get killed or do you be killed?

Wondering which version is correct of these two sentences: "I will go to war where I will be killed." or "I will go to war where I will get killed." I was thinking it might be an american english ...
-1
votes
0answers
53 views

What preposition should I use before “celebration”?

What preposition should I use before celebration? At a celebration In a celebration On a celebration The context is: Nowruz holidays, the 'New Year's Day' in my country, are 13 ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

When can I use the word Temporal?

I'm wondering about the word "temporal." The definitions I've read are as follows: adjective adjective: temporal relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual affairs; secular. synonyms: ...
-1
votes
1answer
210 views

Colloquial American term for “miliaria”

Often during summers in the tropics, especially under intense heat conditions, we get a skin condition medically referred to as "miliaria." It comprises of reddish rashes with several tiny boil-like ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“Well-rounded” usage in the United States

What’s the first recorded use of the term well-rounded as it refers to being competent or trained in several fields, e.g., from astronomy to literature to social dancing to cookery?
1
vote
1answer
69 views

“I would not prefer to” or “I would prefer not to”?

(1) Is there any difference/nuance (in mood, meaning, or something else) between "I would not prefer to" or "I would prefer not to"? (2) Which is the more/most common in usage?
1
vote
1answer
58 views

'police' and 'police officers' in American English

I'm wondering whether 'police' and 'police officers' are interchangeable in the following in American English: Twelve police officers / police were killed in the shoot-out. More than 20 police ...
25
votes
8answers
5k views

What's the English equivalent for the Italian slang expression “magna magna”

"Magna magna" is a typical Italian slang expression used by common people to give vent to their frustrations and disappointment with politicians when cases of corruption and personal interest in ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

I work “in a grocery store” or “at a grocery store” [duplicate]

I am not a native speaker but both sounds good to me. Which one should be more accurate or in fact correct.
1
vote
4answers
106 views

Word for someone who only likes familiar things?

A "xenophobe" is someone who is uncomfortable with things or people that are different or unfamiliar. Is there a word for the other side of the coin, someone who is most comfortable with things that ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Convolve vs. convolute

I understand that for common usage these words have distinct meanings. However in mathematics there is a process called convolution, and sometimes you hear "you need to convolve X" and sometimes "you ...
4
votes
4answers
13k views

How do they express the time, in American and British English?

I don't know if this is a good question. But as far as I know, and as I do it, American English also say "after" other than "past" in expressing times. For example, a quarter after six instead of, a ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Take your hands out “of / from” your pockets

Which is proper: Take your hands out of your pockets. Take your hands out from your pockets. Is there any difference in American English and British English? P.S. Also reading the ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Different-colored or different colored? UK vs US English

Can I write "differently colored" instead? What expression most British or Americans would rather use? "socks, different in color" "socks of different colors" "a different color of each sock"
0
votes
2answers
599 views

What is the origin of “Act your age, not your shoe size”?

I have been thinking about this saying a lot in the past week (and yes I saw Prince in concert 30 years ago, and the Ramones the same night), but I have heard it since I was a child. I guess I find it ...
4
votes
1answer
34k views

Proper use of the phrase “of all time”

I have a client who insists on using the following sentence in his web site: Lance Armstrong is the most successful American bike racer of all times. I think that "of all times" should be "of ...
22
votes
1answer
573 views

British Mass Nouns versus American Count Nouns

British English often employs mass nouns where American English would only employ count nouns. Count nouns are nouns which take pluralization and numerical quantifiers like 'many'. Mass nouns can't be ...
6
votes
5answers
151 views

What's the more common way to refer to a road with 180° curves?

A hairpin road is a road with hairpin turns or bends. According to Wikipedia: A hairpin bend , named for its resemblance to a hairpin/bobby pin, is a bend in a road with a very acute ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

a game of thrones content

Ser Waymar met it with steel. When the blades met, there was no ring of metal on metal; only a high, thin sound at the edge of hearing, like an animal screaming in pain. 'at the edge of hearing', how ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Difference between variants of pronunciation such as /fɑg/ vs. /fɔg/ for “fog”?

Some dictionaries give two variants of pronunciation (with /ɑ/ vs. /ɔ/) for words like: fog, log, loss, etc. I think that the variant with /ɑ/ has nothing to do with the cot–caught merger because ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Spend on or spend?

Which is correct? The average time spent on reading in my country is disappointing. Or The average time spent reading in my country is disappointing Generally for this sentence, do we ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

American English usage of “Making” food

I've noticed that quite often Americans will refer to "Making Eggs" or "Making a pizza" When infact they are cooking eggs (chickens make eggs) or cooking a pizza (assuming its pre-made in a factory) ...
-4
votes
0answers
45 views

I can understand English, but I can't speak! [migrated]

This is my problem: If an English man is speaking, I can understand him well.. I've read too many English novels and story,, I can understand an English movie without any subtitle.. and when I ...
1
vote
2answers
304 views

Is the adjective “big” in Disney's new film The BFG redundant?

"The BFG" stands for "The Big Friendly Giant". But I'm curious, is the "big" part of the title considered redundant because "giant" already means big? Otherwise, I suppose there are small giants and ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Can I use “sleep-in” as a noun like “lie-in”?

I have some questions about "sleep in". Do you use the expression "to have a lie-in" in the US, Canada and other English-speaking countries? Can I use "sleep-in" as a noun like "lie-in"? "Have a ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Difference between “stove” and “range”? [on hold]

What is the difference between "stove" and "range"? Does one or the other imply a set of burners for heating food situated above an oven? I'm primarily interested in answers for American English. ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Thanks for reaching out vs other “Thanks for contacting us” greetings [closed]

Hi I have noticed that more and more American companies respond to enquiries with "Thanks for reaching out to us" To an Australian it seems a little dramatic like it is implying that I have a major ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

What do you call 'underground floors' in AmE and BrE?

I understand that the word basement means: the part of a building that is wholly or partly below ground level [Merriam-Webster] But I wonder what American English and British English call 'the ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

How is a misuse of punctuation spacing perceived by native British and American people?

I am a Frenchie and an English enthusiast. In my language, we use spaces before quotation marks, exclamation marks, and colons. While I'm aware that this is not the case in English, there are times ...
0
votes
2answers
92 views

Piece of time/fragment of time/portion of time/bits of time

I have a question regarding the use of certain words to express an idea that implies portions of time. Is a “piece of time” an idiom or does it literally mean a “fragment of time”? I would really ...
10
votes
1answer
311 views

Origin of the slang AmE and BrE usage of “beef”

Beef began its life as an intransitive verb in 1888 and soon took on the noun meaning in 1899 appearing in such expressions as "What's your beef? and "I had a beef with him" (not a steak). Beef ...
2
votes
9answers
6k views

How do American English and British English use the definite article differently?

I decided to make sure that I know this important difference between American and British English, so I wrote what I have found out so far and I would be grateful to anyone who reads this and tells me ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Use of “Sure” in reply to help offering and to appreciation

In American English, "sure" is often heard in reply to offering help or expressing appreciation. I was wondering if it may not be a good choice? For example, - Would you like a cup of water? - ...
3
votes
3answers
293 views

In which countries would “tags” be understood to mean “License plates and stickers that show the registration is currently valid”?

On our sister site a user recently used the term "tags" in relation to taxis in China. I thought it might man some kind of official authorization to operate a taxi. But upon clarification I was told ...
29
votes
17answers
3k views

Opposite idiom for putting my foot down

I got stumped when trying to write the opposite of "putting my foot down". As an example i'll give some context. I said: "In these instances I always put my foot down, but you make me X", where X ...
-4
votes
5answers
7k views

what is formal way to ask “may we know why this happened and how it happened?” [closed]

what is formal way to ask "may we know why this happened and how it happened?" is this phrase correct .What is the formal and better way of asking this
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Trying to understand the sentence: “doesn't” vs “will not” [closed]

While doing an exercise, I came across the following sentence: If a Carl doesn't come to the party, I'll be really upset. Shouldn't be it like this? If a Carl will not come to the party, I'...
0
votes
1answer
183 views

Modern use of “I should think” vs. “I would think” in speech

When I listen to old Tom Lehrer recordings he says, I should like to introduce... and it sounds a bit strange. However, yesterday I was building a shed with my wife and I said, much to my ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

One could've it mistaken for…?

am currently writing a document that describes a person's behavior. And in one of my paragraphs, I have this three girls laughing so hard at a rooftop and a person from below might've mistaken their ...
5
votes
5answers
44k views

“Do you have” vs “Have you got” [duplicate]

I am studying English and I want to know the main difference between “Have you got?” and “Do you have?” questions. Are they the same? Is one more formal than the other?
0
votes
1answer
52 views

In terms of poetry, what is the Thomas code?

I was reading a book review of Wittgenstein's Mistress on goodreads, and I came across the sentence, "Without such accessible lecture notes, I may not have ever cracked the Thomas code and may never ...
45
votes
16answers
7k views

Is “act like a mensch” too localized for ELU readers (U.S. and/or British English)?

This question was motivated by an interesting comment that was made at http://academia.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/123681?noredirect=1 Part of Answer: I don't think that particular research ...
5
votes
2answers
224 views

“Everything is up for grabs”

(from an article in The New Yorker about Donald Trump's campaign) Asked by the Associated Press about the possibility of a Trump Presidency, she said, “I don’t want to think about that possibility,...
6
votes
5answers
14k views

Which is correct, “on-line” or “online”?

I am still seeing uses of on-line, though I think it is incorrect. For example: A web browser enables a user to go on-line/online. Can you tell me which is the more appropriate to use, on-line ...
13
votes
5answers
25k views

Why does 'coed' only mean female coeducational students?

As an adjective, the word coed, short for coeducational, indicates an institution that teaches both males and females. However, as a noun, it can only mean "a young woman who attends college". Why is ...
13
votes
4answers
6k 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
3answers
259 views

Is “have/has got” a perfect for BrE, but not AmE?

In BrE the past participle of get is in most cases got, while in AmE it is almost always gotten. Does that imply that in the context of BrE "have/has got" is a genuine perfect construction, whereas ...