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

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13
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6answers
2k views

Are “betwixt”, “trebble”, etc., acceptable in American English?

I grew up speaking British English. The words I learnt were occasionally marked off in papers, despite their being English words. Are words like betwixt, trebble, learnt acceptable in papers for ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Word to describe someone that has posted “proof”

Pretend locks cannot be picked. What would be a word to describe someone that has spent a long time writing an article full of absolute nonsense which they think is correct, believing for some reason ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

“Did you” vs “Do you” for questions about the past

Which of these is more correct for American English in a professional context: Did you have any other prior marriage that lasted at least 10 years, or any other prior marriage that ended due to your ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Need word for “remove duplicates and keep unique instances” [closed]

Here is a sentence. Combine all Points and keep unique Points. For example: Points-> 1,1,1,1,2,3,3,3,4,4,5,5 Remove duplication and keep uniqueness Unique Points-> 1,2,3,4,5 I need a word ...
10
votes
9answers
348 views

“bucking for” .. like Klinger

In the culturally referrent 1970s USA TV show "MASH", about the Korean war, character Corporal Klinger acts "crazy", specifically wearing female clothing, ... because he is bucking for a section 8 ...
20
votes
6answers
9k views

Dialects where days of the week end with “dee”?

Someone recently posted a question about the pronunciation of Wednesday, which reminded me of a different question about pronouncing the days of the week I've had floating around in my head for a ...
1
vote
0answers
40 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
240 views

Collective “linens” vs. “linen” in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference in using the uncountable noun linen either in the plural or in the singular to refer to articles or garments, such as sheets, tablecloths, or underwear? How did originally ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

How to communicate two elements of different syntactic/semantic type in the same sentence?

I have the following sentence, NAME is a community that helps each other code better by rating each other's efforts and helps managers pair with other fellow developers I was suggested by the ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

How is the term “African-American” politically correct?

First, a note: This question is meant to have no explicit or implicit political/sociological connotation whatsoever, and is indeed born of actual and deep curiosity as to what is in the author's ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Changing Spelling in Titles Based on AmE and BrE

For companies or corporations that have names that differ whether you are using AmE or BrE, should you change the title? For example, if I was referencing the the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

“call someone/something” vs. “call someone/something up” for "make a phone call to someone/something

What's the difference between call and call up to mean make a telephone call to? Is the latter any more informal than the former, or is it mainly a regional thing? call someone or something up ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

Use of “trying to” in place of “wanting to” in the US

Is the use of "trying to" in place of "wanting to" occurring nationwide or regionally? What is its prevalence and when did it start? I'm in my late 20s and live in New England. In the past 2-3 ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

What does the word “penty” mean? [closed]

And the word pent ? Are they very used in the british/american english ? Thank you for your help :)
20
votes
7answers
9k views

Where does “pizza pie” originate?

The Italianissimo pizza—pronounced /ˈpiʦ:a/—is not always spelled or called pizza around the world: In Bosnia, Belarusian, Macedonia, Serbia it's spelled pica but pronounced /pîtsa/ In Estonian;...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

What is this US accent found so often in instructional videos?

What is this accent or register? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0E4PX3e3RE It seems to me to include extensive creaky voice a broad range of pitch rising question intonation This question is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

American English equivalent of “revise” (as in studying)

Today, I discovered that the meaning of revise to do with studying is used in British, Australian and New Zealand English, rather than American English: (UK, Australia, New Zealand) To look over ...
1
vote
2answers
16k views

Independance or Independence?

What other words are like "independence" in British English where you replace the 'a' with an 'e'?
1
vote
2answers
179 views

Centre of competence

I have seen this expression several times (Google search gives 67M answers), but it seems mostly used by French or Swiss institutions, while Wikipedia mentions centre of excellence or competency ...
2
votes
3answers
63 views

Hyphenating “process” in the meaning “series of actions” in AmE

Where to break the word "process" at the end of a line in the meaning "a series of actions" in US English? Dictionaries disagree on this (or I am misinterpreting what they say): Merriam-Webster ...
2
votes
3answers
130 views

Femicide vs feminicide

While using the term femicide I realised that the is another term, probably a synonym, feminicide. From the following Wikipedia extract, the two terms appear to be synonyms: Femicide or ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

What should I call classwork at the start of a period?

So as far as I can remember, whenever a teacher gives you work at the beginning of a class period, they are called "Drills" or "Warm-ups"; however, friends that I have talked to from other schools ...
1
vote
0answers
91 views

Use of plural forms when using “Multi-xxx”

Which one is correct? A multi-languages university or A multi-language university? A multi-outlet socket or A multi-outlets socket?
12
votes
4answers
399 views

Usage of “hysterical” meaning “very funny.”

One meaning (I am personally not very familiar with) of the adjective hysterical is: causing unrestrained laughter; very funny: Oh, that joke is hysterical! (Dictionary.com) No other ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

The United States. Possesive is its or their?

The United States made no secret of its/their hope to absorb the provinces... http://grammarist.com/usage/united-states/ "Although United States is usually treated as a singular noun, it’s treated ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

When someone praises me awkwardly too much, how to reply? [closed]

When someone praises me awkwardly, as in too much, to make me happy or to get some help or something else from me, how to say "don't do that". Like, "I'll do that for you, you don't need to --- me." ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Distinctive features of English diphthongs

I am looking for a table of distinctive features for English dipthongs along the lines of that available for other vowels here. I don't trust my purely book learned linguistic skills to produce an ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Usage, origin and the possible Hollywood influence on “terminate” meaning “to kill.”

Terminate is an old term, but its connotation meaning "to kill, assassinate" is quite recent ("to assassinate" is from 1975. ) unlike finish, whose meaning "to kill" is from 1755, according to ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Difference between elegancy and elegance

I recently saw someone use the word "elegancy" for the first time in forever, and it set me wondering about (and wandering about) why the synonym "elegance" appears to be the preferred noun. I ...
0
votes
1answer
17 views

To encounter someone/something or to encounter with someone/something?

I have seen both forms and I don't know which one is the more appropriate (if there is a difference). The actual sentence in which I want to use it is "particles can encounter (with) the atoms of the ...
3
votes
4answers
81 views

Word that describes many common household purchases

I m writing a research paper about the over consumption. I am struggling to find a word or words that describes the things we normally use in our daily lives like toothbrush, dish washer liquid, ...
5
votes
1answer
123 views

Which words or grammar forms are likely to cause a collision between American and British English?

For all the Mickey-taking on both sides of the water I suppose British and American speakers understand one another 99% of the time. Can anyone think of any areas of vocabulary or grammar where ...
4
votes
2answers
35 views

what is word used to describe that “meaning has lost from originality”

I remember that many words on time get separated out from its actual meaning and people start using it for random cases to express different emotions or cases. There is word that describes this ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

“Please join me, my family and [my] crew.” Can the second “my” be left out? [duplicate]

Is it proper to say: Please join me, my family and crew in celebrating my Bat Mitzvah? Or should there be a 'my' before crew?
0
votes
1answer
40 views

At the heart of the party/in the center of the party/at the center of the party

I have a questing regarding space prepositions. For instance, if I want to specify that a woman and I are dancing at the central part of a room where a loud party is taking place, would it be correct ...
7
votes
2answers
639 views

Can “tact” be used to replace “tack”?

Fellow Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota took a similar tact as she spoke at the rally. I believe the CNN writer meant to use the word 'tack' like in the phrase ‘take a different tack’....
5
votes
2answers
108 views

How do I know if I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift?

I grew up in Kalamazoo, MI, where (according to Wikipedia and other sources), many speakers have something called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (NCS). So I'm trying to figure out if I'm one of them. ...
24
votes
9answers
7k views

Is the phrase “I just sucked it out of my thumb” used in American English?

I was born and raised in South Africa. We frequently used the term "to suck out of one's thumb", implying that an answer was just a wild guess or the notion had no evidence but was rather just ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

If Americans go to the toilet in the bathroom, where do they take a bath?

As far as I am aware, in the US it is very common to refer to the room that contains the toilet (device for disposing of human waste) as the bathroom. If this is a separate room from the room that ...
2
votes
2answers
36 views

Commissionaire in American English?

As I understand it a "commissionaire" is only used in British English (or so says the dictionary), but then what is the American English alternative?
35
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do I pronounce “horrible” so harrhibly?

With Friends Like These A few months ago, a couple good friends brought up a topic they know I disdain, and kept prodding me for my opinion on it. They wouldn't let up, until finally I proclaimed "[...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

“Seductive” as an adjective for describing snake

I would really appreciate if some native English speaker help me in clearing my doubt. Recently, in one of Indian English newspaper the column writer wrote the following: "A scary sci-fi scenario. ...
24
votes
9answers
3k views

Does anyone use both “whinge” and “whine?”

The words "whinge" and "whine" have separate (albeit very similar) definitions in the OED, and they have distinct pronunciations. "Whinge" seems completely restricted to BritE; I have never heard it ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

Definition of “kissing cousins”— Are the dictionaries wrong/incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

“Nice shoes …” What does that phrase actually mean? [closed]

As from the title. I've been receiving this from a security guard, when attending a developer conference, well, a bit overdressed (wearing a suit where all the other nerds just appeared in t-shirt, ...
0
votes
3answers
673 views

Associates vs employees

I've noted that some US companies call people working for them "associates," rather than "employees." (I've seen that term in less-than-stellar retail and fast-food chains) What would be the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on TV. Sentences like "You fucking idiot." I've also heard ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Is “despatch” the British spelling for “dispatch” or is it an archaic spelling (or both)?

In John Ormsby's 1885 translation of Don Quixote, the word "despatch" is used. Is that the corresponding British spelling for "dispatch" or is it simply an archaic spelling (in both the American and ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is “a couple of <things>” often shortened to “a couple <things>”?

I would write a couple of . I often read/hear a couple . I assumed this was an American English thing (I'm British), and just a convenient shortening of the phrase for speaking. It's easier to say a ...
3
votes
9answers
5k views

How does “spanner” come to mean “a wrench”?

"Wrenching" refers to an injury in which some muscle is forcibly twisted. A wrench is a tool that applies a twisting force to something, so that seems consistent. "To span" means to bridge a gap. ...