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

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5
votes
2answers
213 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Whence the BrE “fine tooth-comb” where AmE uses “fine-tooth comb”?

I'm reading a novel set in present-day England, and it's sprinkled with uses of the construction in the title. This is far from the first time I've encountered this in BrE writing, along with general ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Using “so isn't” or “so can't” instead of “so is” or “so can”?

Lately I've heard people using what I think to be a negative response to indicate a positive affirmation, like so: Example 1 You can touch the basketball rim? Well so can't I! Example 2 Person A: ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

Which English language groups/cultures would say “I'm going to bed now” while they were already in a bed?

I was reading a discussion on another part of the internet and many of the people involved asserted that it was common to use the phrase "go to bed" for "cease all other activity and go to sleep" even ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

“Mic” as an abbreviation for microwave

Last week, I was among a group of friends and commented on the fact that someone had removed a sticker from their microwave. I used the word "mic" to abbreviate microwave, and people thought I was ...
0
votes
2answers
311 views

To gain/acquire/obtain comfort with something abstract - is this idiomatic, or at least acceptable?

I am encountering the expression "to gain comfort", "to acquire comfort", and to "obtain comfort" more and more lately. Example: "This issue was looked at in depth in 2013 and we obtained comfort at ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

he got nothing on me. what does this phrase mean?

hi i was listening a song by charlie Puth and he says Superman got nothing on me . what does it mean? thanks
7
votes
4answers
345 views

Omission of 'for' with various quantified time intervals: influence of verb

I came across these two examples, given to illustrate 'a case' where the inclusion of the preposition for is considered optional in the paper "Acquisition of Preposition Deletion by Non-native ...
4
votes
15answers
805 views

Opposite idiom for going with the flow

According to the Cambridge dictionary, going with the flow is defined as to do what other ​people are doing or to ​agree with other ​people because it is the ​easiest thing to do. I am writing a paper ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

What “appear to be ” means in the given sentence [closed]

Today, while reading a newspaper I came across a sentence that has been baffling me since: The woman, who identified herself as Bhavna and appeared to be in her 20s, .... What does appeared to ...
10
votes
3answers
302 views

Does “show” for “put in an appearance; arrive” sound any more or less informal/slack than “show up” in modern day English?

Is there a difference in register between saying: He failed to show for his appointment When will the bus show? -and- He failed to show up for his appointment When will the bus ...
-3
votes
3answers
41 views

Is this headline concise and clear enough? [closed]

I want to say it like im 5. Essentially, where a 5 year old could be able to comprehend the message. I tried to simplify this line, but I feel it's still a bit complicated. Making deliveries ...
13
votes
5answers
22k views

Is there a 1950's American accent?

Listening to old recordings, there is a distinct accent that radio and television announcers used that is different from a modern-day "Standard American" or neutral accent. It seems that over the ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

What is a West Coast (U.S.) accent?

I've seen references to the American Midwest as being the home of the least accented form of American English. I always think of the Northern Midwest as having an accent that I associate with ...
7
votes
2answers
114 views

What do Americans call the fuel in a gas-powered car?

In Britain the usual fuel for cars is petrol, but some cars are converted to use gas, by which is meant natural gas. But in America the word gas is already taken (meaning petrol). So what does an ...
0
votes
3answers
40 views

How to understand “we are to considering”

I sent a question to recruiter asking if they are considering candidates from Europe (or from US only). I received such answer (excerpt): "...At the moment, we are to considering candidates based ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the correct usage of “throwing shade”?

The renowned scholarly institution UrbanDictionary defines the term as follows: throw shade: to talk trash about a friend or aquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect. When throwing shade ...
4
votes
4answers
84 views

“bedrock” vs. “hardpan” for “very basis; foundation”

What's the difference between those terms in regard to their figurative sense? Can they be used just about interchangeably? Consider the following examples: Ownership of land is the bedrock of ...
5
votes
2answers
105 views

“black ice” vs. “glare ice” vs. “glaze” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those varieties of ice forming on paved surfaces during the cold season? black ice sometimes called clear ice: a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice that forms on ...
-1
votes
1answer
30 views

Does this sentence read nice and fluent? [closed]

I bravely overcame the difficulties and succeeded to make my life full of notable accomplishments which include my excellent GPA of 3.98/4 in B.Sc. studies and years of successful academic and work ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

Term “should be facing” - English explanation

Could anyone please tell me how the meaning of term "should be facing" is used? I mean if some STICKER should be facing some part of the product. What does this mean? If it should be facing to ...
-1
votes
1answer
58 views

English pronunciation of the letter “a” [closed]

I heard the letter a was pronounced /ei/, and sometimes it was pronounced as /ə/. So, can you tell me when is it pronounced as /ei/, and when as /ə/?
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Word usage: “manyfold” or “manifold”? [closed]

Is there any US/UK English difference in the spellings "manyfold" and "manifold"?
5
votes
2answers
82 views

How does American English distinguish between sharing a flat and a room?

Today I learnt that in American English, roommate can mean two people who share the same apartment unit but have different bedrooms, as well as people who share the same bedroom. How do people using ...
0
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
60 views

I need a word to describe a group which is not accepting of others not of themselves. Sample sentence below

Your organization treats people in a very "exclusionary" manner. ( Meaning that it is a group that is not accepting of others not of themselves.
0
votes
3answers
48 views

Are there local differences in the definitions of cleaning and tidying?

Do the words cleaning and tidying translate differently in different English speaking countries? Specifically, would vacuuming always be considered part of tidying AND cleaning?
0
votes
2answers
69 views

APA: Paper in past tense but is/was verb confusion for alive author

I want to state, "One advocate for the issues based teaching style is/was Brian Schultz." He is alive, but my paper is in past tense. What do I do?
2
votes
2answers
615 views

Can the word “facet” be used in a sentence like this one?

Leadership skills are also a valued facet in a friend. Can facet be used in this way?
15
votes
2answers
6k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
2
votes
1answer
55 views

To address a stranger on street [closed]

Preparing for our honeymoon in the USA, I am wondering what is the most appropriate way to address someone (a stranger) on street, e.g. to ask for a piece of advice. I can imagine that Good day ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Are “pay phones” still, if ever, called “pay stations” in the U.S.?

What is pay station in the U.S.? If you look it up, say, on ODO, it is defined as an AmEng equivalent of pay phone. pay station: n. US term for pay phone ODO Now, if you search Google Images ...
7
votes
3answers
291 views

I haven't seen her “for”/“in” two days

What's the difference between using either for or in in the following examples? Bill hasn't taken a vacation for/in two years. Jack hasn't been to school for/in four days. I hadn't seen ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

Usage of “burn” as a form of mockery - How did it start?

I have come across numerous posts/memes on social media where, considering A,B and C are different people: A posts something seemingly innocuous. B comments on A's post, something either very funny ...
33
votes
8answers
8k views

Why do Americans go 'downtown' whilst people in the UK go 'up town'?

People in London, who live in the suburbs, may tell you they work 'up town', meaning in the City or the West End. In other large cities in Britain, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds etc., I think people ...
-5
votes
2answers
90 views

What does “propose a toast” mean? [closed]

I see this phrase "propose a toast" a lot often while watching American TV series like Friends. This is what Google tells me: ask a group of people at a social occasion to drink to the health and ...
5
votes
1answer
68 views

Is “oxbow lake” used by both American and British English for billabongs?

Is the term "oxbow lake" used in both American and British English to describe billabongs? Wiktionary has a definition for oxbow lake, but doesn't describe which varieties of English use it.
0
votes
1answer
28 views

how do I vs. how do you [closed]

I was wondering which one is used more often by Americans when asking something? How do you get the the train station? vs How do I get to the train station? I think British use 'one', which I ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

“cathouse,” “call house,” and “sporting house” for “bordello”

All three terms appear to be euphemisms for house of prostitution and are marked as Americanisms by Robert-Collins French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985. cathouse being the most common one (as ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

What does “easy-going” mean?

I am a non-native English learner. And when I was looking up the word easy-going in dictionaries, the explanations really confused me. Is the word easy-going positive or negative? Some dictionaries ...
2
votes
3answers
197 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

Is the word “whilst” not used in U.S. 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
1answer
61 views

Is the sentence grammer correct? “During the meeting that … , I had …”? [closed]

"During the meeting that Dr. Edward Smith coordinated last month, I had the chance to meet with you and hear the possible projects ..." English is my second language, and I usually feel that my ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

An equivalent of “Your Honor” for a Congresswoman? [closed]

I am writing to a Congresswoman and would like to use a honorific similar to "Your honor." I think 'your honor' is only used in judiciary vocabulary. Are honorifics used in formal American English?
7
votes
3answers
423 views

“cologne” and “aftershave” for “fragrance for men”

Per Farlex Trivia Dictionary, perfume or parfum is 20–40% oil and the highest concentration; eau de toilette is 10–18% oil, and cologne or eau de cologne is 3–9% oil. Leaving aside the technical ...
4
votes
4answers
287 views

Why is it always women and not men in: “Soccer mom,” “Tiger mom,” “Helicopter mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” and “Security mom”?

In connection with my question about the meaning and currency of “Security mom,” I was drawn to the fact that all the following labels; “Soccer mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” “Security mom” are combined with ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

Why “horseback riding” and not simply “horse riding”?

As a German horse riding seems to be to the point. Why is it horseback riding in English? Isn't it obvious that you ride on the back of the horse? Is there a difference between British and American ...
2
votes
2answers
50 views

“pocketbook” for “wallet” in AmEng vernacular

Is pocketbook a common term for wallet in AmEng vernacular, or is it primarily recognized as another word for "purse/handbag"? If indeed a relatively commonly used word for "wallet/billfold," how do ...
5
votes
2answers
245 views

“Jolly good” meaning “extremely good” in British English

Like the intensifier bloody, I assumed that jolly as an adverb and intensifier is not broadly used in the U.S. meaning very or extremely. According to Oxford Online Dictionary, jolly as an adverb ...
3
votes
1answer
13k views

Battery is flat

I was born and raised in some anglophone Asian country where people use the word "flat" to describe a battery when no electrical current can be generated by it. Some would even use the word "flat" to ...