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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
2answers
66 views

In the cards or on the cards?

This seems to be a BrE/AmE distinction - is it? And do Americans use the phrase with more of a mystical Tarot card slant, compared to its British English meaning of simply 'likely to happen'?
2
votes
2answers
54 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?
1
vote
4answers
99 views

Word for a salesperson's enthusiasm

Suppose you visit a shop looking for something to buy. Every time you pick up an object, the shopkeeper goes gaga over the features of the product and why it's a must-buy. I'm searching for a single ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Differences between begin and start? How to use them? [duplicate]

I would like to know when to use begin and when to use start. They have same meaning,so it is hard to ditinguish them.
0
votes
1answer
81 views

date has already passed OR date has already past? [closed]

Which is correct : date has already passed , or date has already past ? Thanks
4
votes
5answers
613 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
14
votes
3answers
21k views

How do you pronounce “melee”? [closed]

I've heard meelee, meyley (maylay), and mehlay. Is there any "correct" way to pronounce it in the U.S.?
2
votes
1answer
82 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
847 views

The U in “Glamour”

Why, in US English, does the word glamour retain its u while humour, neighbour, and others have shed it?
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Separate vs. joined words (hyphen or not) [duplicate]

English is not my native language, and sometimes it's confusing.. Especially uk-english vs. american and hyphens Can someone explain a bit when to use which of these? It's for a global english ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

Difference between “ditch”, “trench” and “gutter” [closed]

I have been trying to understand the difference between the three, is this a usage difference between American English and British English? What is the difference?
-1
votes
1answer
50 views

How to write the date of an event that lasts a few days [American / British English]

I saw this topic: How to write the date of an event that lasts a few days But have some questions. Firstly, I would like to know how to say the same but in British English. I think that "The event ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

Does the term 'silly season' still exist?

It used to be the case that the summer period, from roughly early July to early September, in Britain was known as the 'silly season' to newspaper people. It was a time when newspapers were short of ...
3
votes
4answers
292 views

What is the history of the word “lobby”?

I would like to know if the word "lobby" would have been used in 1890s Georgia (United States) and to what exactly this word would have referred in that time.
7
votes
1answer
863 views

Is the [ʊ] sound pronounced with lip rounding?

This [ʊ] sound is the vowel sound for words like hook, pull, and good. When I began to learn English a bit more seriously two decades ago, I used a book that taught me to pronounce it shorter and ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

American Equivalent of “Bog Standard”

I'm searching for an American English phrase that is the most readily equivalent to the British expression bog standard (which means, as I understand, plain, ordinary or unremarkable). I'm tempted to ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Synonyms / slang words in American English to express “I am very excited for something”? [closed]

In British English we can say "I am keen to do something with you". Also: "Would you like to go to a concert?" A: "I'm keen for that!". What are some equivalents in American English? Is it "I want to ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

What is “lemonade” in American English?

Lemonade is a fizzy drink, strongly carbonated. It comes in two varieties, white (which is actually colourless) and red. I have never known anyone to make it at home. Various things I've picked up in ...
0
votes
1answer
145 views

Is the word 'stroke' understood, in meaning one of these / \? [closed]

All the meanings of the word 'slash', other than an oblique forward or backward stroke are either violent or obscene. They include cuts made with swords, lashing with a whip, cutting maliciously car ...
0
votes
1answer
150 views

How to reply to someone's welcome [closed]

What should we say in reply to a person who welcomes us to a particular place, for example one says: You are welcome to ABC company. or I welcome you to our home. or Welcome Mr. Abc ...
12
votes
4answers
30k views

“flat” vs. “apartment”

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition Flat: noun. [ countable ] ( BrE ) a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building. Apartment: noun. ( ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

what is the meaning of “the family dynamic” and “Textbook Case”? [closed]

I encountered the terms “the family dynamic” and “Textbook Case” in the play The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris. I want to know what they mean. At page 58: Clay: Kelly was abused. Carol: ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

What is the reason that American English and British English use “Post” and “Mail” with different frequencies?

Common usage in the UK is that a postman of the Royal Mail Service delivers the post, and someone may post a letter (see BrE Ngram), whereas in the USA, usage has become equally common that a mailman ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

“Bring” vs. “take” in American English

English (other than American English) has a clear differentiation between the two words. Both are about translocating something. In "bring" the something of somebody is moved to where the speaker is ...
1
vote
6answers
126 views

Proper usage of “trying”

Let's say there is an atmospheric condition where the water in a bucket partially freezes then reverts back to a completely liquid state and vacillates back and forth but never actually freezes. Is ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

A common word for something Simple yet Powerful [closed]

As the title says: what is a common word for something simple yet powerful?
-1
votes
5answers
191 views

What is the word/reference for a paranoid reluctance to answer something because of bandwagoning superstition?

Let's say there's a large group of people who are under a negative influence but are forced to keep quiet about the fact or they may face brutal consequences. My idea comes from the book "Watership ...
0
votes
3answers
66 views

Word for sharing an old experience with someone new

Jamais vu is when an experience that is old to you suddenly seems new. But I'm looking for something even more specific. Is there a word for that feeling you get when an old experience is refreshed ...
4
votes
2answers
128 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Should TPS (transactions per second) be upper or lower case [duplicate]

If one wants to write shorthand for transactions per second what would be correct casing? TPS or tps? As SI unit, s is always lowercase and thus I believe it should be written as "tps". On other ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Comma usage: “In July of 2012 …” or “In July of 2012, …”

Consider the following sentence: In July of 2012 Jesse informed us that she was engaged to be married and asked if she could add her fiancée to the lease, beginning the 15th of August 2012. ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Plural of “is” — “ises” or “isses”?

If I had many is words, how would I refer to them in the form of a plural? Could I use ises or isses? Example: You use entirely too many isses in your sentences.
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Could anyone care less? [duplicate]

I've noticed recently that where in England we say "couldn't care less" in the US the negative is avoided and the phrase becomes "could care less". This is rather jarring because of the contradictory ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

“3-month retreat” or “3-months retreat”? [duplicate]

Which one is the correct (or more commonly used) form: "3-month retreat" or "3-months retreat"? How about "3-day" vs. "3-days" and "3-week" vs. "3-weeks" in the same context? (This is retreat as in ...
0
votes
2answers
154 views

How to distinguish “can” and “can't” pronunciation in American English? [duplicate]

I am a student in China learning American English. I have listened to some videos and found it hard to distinguish can from can’t. I am looking for some advice that may help me.
3
votes
1answer
330 views

“Home appliances”, “household appliances”, “domestic appliances”, and “brown/white wares” in AE

In AE, do the terms "home appliances", "household appliances", and "domestic appliances" mean just about the same, or is there a subtle difference to these? You might want to consider this Ngram for ...
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

Would you guys change the following sentence suitable for my cover letter? [closed]

I need your help guys:) I am applying for an instructor position at a university in the States. Would you please change the following statement appropriate for my cover letter? "My bachelor's degree ...
3
votes
2answers
388 views

Is there an English variant of “Zeitgeist” other than “spirit of the times”?

Is there a cut-and-dry English word that means the same, or roughly the same, as the German word "Zeitgeist," other than its literal meaning of "spirit of the times"? I've grown sour on its presence ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

Rising out of its own momentum

The bellow rose and fell, then it blared out one last time, rising out of its own momentum as if it were escaping finally, after centuries of waiting, into silence. The beady night noises closed in ...
-1
votes
2answers
52 views

How to state the negotiation failed? [closed]

Are there any grammatical errors in the sentence? "I regret to inform you that "name of company" people are looking for students who are from CSE/IT background. We tried to negotiate, but it ...
7
votes
2answers
25k views

Meaning of “watch your six”

What does "watch your six" mean? Does it mean "watch your back", like in a dangerous area?
0
votes
2answers
63 views

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

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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
73 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 ...
2
votes
7answers
2k views

US and UK English: queue or waiting line?

What do you usually say, depending on the context and depending if it's US or UK English? wait in line or queue
3
votes
1answer
2k views
8
votes
4answers
20k views

What does “go figure” mean?

Sometimes, people use a colloquial phrase of "it figures" or "go figure", which is kind of an acknowledgement of the correctness of a fact, or something like that. It's also sometimes abbreviated even ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

What does “bite” and “quarter-backing” mean in this context?

It's from the first few lines of the foreword to Karl Llewellyn's "The Bramble Bush": These lectures grew out of an attempt in 1929 and 1930 to introduce the students at Columbia Law School to ...
3
votes
3answers
305 views

Me or Myself? Reflexive pronoun?

This is to confirm the number of people for an event I am hosting with someone else; which of the following is correct: A. Until then, if you all could confirm your attendance [either] with John ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the equivalent phrase in the UK for “I plead the fifth”?

In the United States, a person under examination on the witness stand may "plead the fifth" to avoid self-incrimination. In other words, a person asserts his or her Fifth Amendment right. Citizens of ...
-1
votes
3answers
196 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 ...