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

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4
votes
1answer
699 views

Does “asking” as a noun have much, say, historic use?

There's a commonplace form in AmE, "as per your asking"... (Note this question by a rightly confused non-native speaker.) It occurred to me that "asking" makes a beautiful noun. (Particularly if ...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

Difference between “garbage” and “trash”?

What's the difference between garbage and trash? Is the difference significant?
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “throw back” mean?

In this sentence: I've throw back a lot of orange juice. What does to “throw back (orange juice)” mean?
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do you “cut” a check?

It's not the end of the deal, right? It's not just you cut a check and you walk away. In this sentence, why does one say "cut" a check? How and when did this comes to be? Is it a popular idiom ...
2
votes
2answers
89 views

“She wasn't sleeping eight hours”?

Take a look at this article from the Huffington Post. In it, there is this paragraph right here: Eight hours. This number is spoken like gospel in this country when it comes to sleep. "How much ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is it a good idea to avoid 'like' in English?

In the video JULIA BOORSTIN -- Interview a Broadcaster! -- American English (0:34 to 1:20), a reporter from an American news television channel mentions that it's not a good idea to use the word ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“Named for” vs. “named after”

As a Brit, I'm used to the phrase named after being used to say how something got its name. For example, in Wikipedia's List of eponymous roads in London, we read that Addison Road is named after the ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

What are lexemes and morphemes? [closed]

I am preparing for my TOEFL test and want to increase my vocabulary. Can anybody please tell me what lexemes and morphemes are, and why they are important? I have Googled the terms but I need the ...
5
votes
5answers
10k views

Which is correct: “I’m done” or “I have finished”?

Which of these alternatives is grammatically correct? I’m done. or I have finished Like I’m done sounds very American, but is it grammatically correct?
1
vote
4answers
203 views

Pronunciation Feedback Required

Did I pronounce the phrase "I'm gonna be gone for five weeks" correctly? https://clyp.it/oobrogbu Phonetically it looks like: [aɪm gɑnə bɪ gɔn fər faɪv wiks]. I have no idea which words should I ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Pronunciation of: I want a refund

I noticed in a TV show that the phrase "I want a refund" is pronounced like [I wanna refund]. I think the /t/ is dropped and /n/ is blended into the vowel. But how do Americans differentiate between ...
0
votes
2answers
140 views

Why is it so hard to understand English over the phone?

I think I'm pretty good at English language and have made some progress over the years. I learnt by myself and that kind of made me feel proud of myself, however I had this trouble at an old job ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Sport” vs “Sports” Origin

I was recently reading this article on the use of "math" vs. "maths" as a collective noun (Americans use the former, Brits the latter). However, the trend seen in "math/maths" is reversed in ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

“Had spent” vs. “has spent” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: where should we use has/have been and had been? [Company] had spent previous years a few blocks away from the new location. This sentence uses "had spent", but to ...
3
votes
3answers
107 views

What word(s) do children of English native speakers use for “kid”/“child”/etc

I'm looking for (a) word(s) that is/are perceived to be child's language by adults, not words used by adults to describe children. What would be fine though are words used by adults when they are ...
1
vote
2answers
285 views

In what English-speaking communities does “trump” refer to the breaking of wind?

It is clear from this site that the verb to trump has been used extensively across Britain to refer to the breaking of wind. It is especially the case in the North, in Wales and certainly in Norfolk, ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “wildin'” mean?

In Rihanna's song "FourFiveSeconds", this line is sung in the chorus: 'Now I'm four, five seconds from wildin'...' I searched on Google for the definition of "wildin'" and got this: wildin' ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

“We are familiar” improvement [closed]

I have this,"We are familiar with the sport activities", sentence but to me it's a bit awkward and I need to improve it a little bit. I need to improve "We are familiar" part, and I am kind of stuck ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

What is the differece between “to receiving” and “to receive”?

I am wondering the differece between "to receiving" and "to receive"? I found in many sentences a simple verb or a "ing" after "to". Though I have explore the following, still I am not clear. If the ...
8
votes
4answers
844 views

Etymology of “Spaghetti and gravy”

In Nero Wolfe "Before I die", the gangster's sidekick asks for spaghetti and gravy. After Wolfe's chef Fritz prepares him spaghetti with the type of gravy used for roast beef, it turns out that the ...
12
votes
6answers
938 views

Will some parents be offended when being asked, “Is it male or female?”

If I ask the parent about a baby's gender, will it be impolite or not appropriate to say, "Is it male or female?" Is there any subtle difference, in terms of politeness, among "Is it a boy or ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

“That's a mercy!” - Is this some kind of repartee?

I came across the phrase "That's a mercy!" in a textbook dialogue. To put it in context I've reproduced the whole dialogue as below: Bobbie: You look like hell, dad. What's on? Sam: Nothing special. ...
2
votes
2answers
34 views

Origin of Soccer

What is called football in most of countries, called soccer in US. However, there are some inconsistent usage of these terms. For example, in Australia, they have Football Federation Australia (FFA) ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Meaning of “Green” and “GreenBack” in American english?

I found 2 new words on my American Slang book (Talk the way americans do). 1) Green 2) GreenBack Meaning of these words on my book : Green : money (Referring to the color green seen on U.S. paper ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

She didn't even had me/has me/have me

I'm trying to translate a sentence out of a book, and the author is talking about the past and I'm not sure which one is correct, the sentence goes like this: She was so alone, I was the only one she ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views
6
votes
3answers
602 views

What does “consound” mean?

Hello and happy holidays. While reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I came across the expression "consound it" in Huck's dialogue parts. "Consound it, Tom Sawyer, you're just old pie, 'longside ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

verb, verb noun - structure

I would like to know the rule of this kind of structure and what is it called if it has a name. Example : others say that the students will take ethics seriously only if it is taught as a separate, ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Do “carat” and “karat” have the same origin?

Do carat and karat have the same origin? Is it correct to say that carat derives from the Italian carato, while karat derives from the from Arabic ḳīrāṭ? Is it possible that both words derive from ...
27
votes
7answers
93k views
3
votes
3answers
106 views

Can there be a difference between learned and learnt?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no difference in meaning between learnt and the single-syllable form of learned. This is supported by the answers to When do you use "learnt" and when "learned"? ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Are you sure to delete or are you sure you want to delete

When the user wants to delete smth on the website I am showing a message for him/her to confirm. What is the grammatically correct way to say so Are you sure to delete this item or Are you ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

Missing words after commas in these sentences? [closed]

In the following sentence, why did the author use "thinking" after the comma? Is a word omitted after the comma? I waited for two months, thinking that it would be bad time for him. ...
-1
votes
1answer
43 views

Problem in 'talking to a lot of people' [closed]

I told my friend that "I am talking to a lot of people" and he said this sentence is not correct. Can anyone help me find out what's wrong with the following sentence: "Talking to a lot of people"
-2
votes
1answer
126 views

Is there different word corresponding to “teatime” in American English?

There is a British English term "teatime" or "afternoon tea". I'm wondering how people refer to it in American English.
1
vote
3answers
357 views

What is the meaning of this wisecrack “If you can't beat members of the ”birther“ movement, join 'em.”?

I'm not an English native speaker and have no idea what is the meaning of this sentence: "If you can't beat members of the "birther" movement, join 'em." Could someone give me an explanation?
-1
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “could use a friend” mean?

I heard this word on some TV show and i have been trying to find its meaning(but they weren't of help much). Could someone please tell me ?
30
votes
4answers
6k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

what does “casting a long silver of gold” mean?

so, today I was reading this book and I came across this sentence: "At the very end of the passage, a door stood ajar, and a flickering light shone through the gap, casting a long silver of gold ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

Linking Homorganic Consonants

when native speakers pronounce the phrase "Have a good time" do they tend to drop the "d" in the word "good"? The "t" and "d" are in the same tongue position and the only difference between them is ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

What is British English for American English's “wire transfer”

This question is closely related to this one but is a little bit different. I'm in the U.S., and I'm attending a conference in Germany. The language of the conference is English. The instructions ...
3
votes
6answers
4k views

Difference between floor and storey

I've read once about "x stories" .. Want to know if there is any difference between storey and floors. Or they are just alias for each other used in difference variations of english language ?
1
vote
2answers
13k views

What does “period” mean at the end of the American phrase?

What does period mean at the end of a sentence? For example: The stronger your core the easier your YRG(yoga) is gonna get period I didn't heard the sentence clearly because of the speaker's ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

Which English to use in Portugal: British or American? [closed]

I'm not sure this is the right place to ask this, but any help is appreciated. I'm Portuguese, but I also use English for my work. For that, I use dictionaries in my computer. My question is: which ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Wrong use of words?

My friends who lives in China just sent me this snapshot of a test which she used to practice her English language skill-set. I took a look at it, and something bothers me. I might be completely wrong ...
0
votes
0answers
59 views

Is the word,“Whilst”, not used in US English?

In my spare time i sometimes help out a good friend of mine. He is a professional translator, self-employed so he can pretty much pick his own assignments, which is a good position to be in, but i ...
1
vote
4answers
80 views

What is the point of using Parentheses around only part of a word

I sometimes see parentheses around only part of a word. What does this mean? An example...Someone typed the phrase "mission (im)possible. I am unsure what the significance is of putting parentheses ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

How do I say “my car is broken” idiomatically? [closed]

Hmm: the version I give has never sounded quite right to me, but as a non-native English speaker, I don't know how native American or English people say this. So I'd be really glad if you could ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why doesn't it go like “him and his wife”?

Please take a look at this excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye: I think I probably woke he and his wife up, because it took them a helluva long time to answer the phone. This phrase confused me. ...
2
votes
1answer
291 views

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word read?

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word usually read out loud? For example, with "Anglo-Saxon", do we say: "It is spelt as ...