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

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2
votes
1answer
113 views

First use of the slang term “Scrub”?

The slang term "scrub", when referred to a person, can mean several things. It seems like the original usage as an adjective is someone who is not good at something - video games, sports, etc. I am ...
2
votes
3answers
136 views

What does it mean “I'm old. I've seen a lot of bubbles burst. :)”?

I met a women who was in Silicon Valley asked, "You must have seen the bubble burst then?" She replied back saying, "I'm old. I've seen a lot of bubbles burst. :)" What does it mean? Is ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

“On which” or “upon which”

Today, I am writing technical documentation that instructs the user how to install software to a server. I encountered the following sentence and am unsure which is correct: When installing to a ...
1
vote
7answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
139 views

Is it possible to learn English by just listening and speaking (without knowing formal grammar rules) [closed]

My native language is Chinese. Most people in my country grow up without having been taught formal grammar. I am surprised to find foreigners being taught Chinese and learning grammar rules that even ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Comma after “first” [duplicate]

Can anyone justify the presence and absence of comma after first in the sentences below? First we’ll create a screen for the user to log in. First, we’ll define the AniJS helper and then ...
14
votes
3answers
757 views

Difference between styles of English in technical communication

I have a collaborative software project with two other users. Nearly every technical report and documentation written goes through the following editorial changes to some of the sentences (examples ...
-1
votes
1answer
42 views

How to distinguish the meaning of “repair” and “ fix” [closed]

Are both the same? When do we use "fix" and when do we use "repair"
6
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Preventative vs. preventive

In this answer about the non-word disabilitated, the word preventative is compared (unfavourably, if my reading of the implication is correct) to preventive. However, I have always used preventative, ...
30
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
51 views

What does 'are you implying me' mean? [closed]

I was showing off for a woman and I told her that I am falling for an older woman. She replied back saying, "Are you implying me?" I am confused about its meaning. What does it mean?
9
votes
2answers
6k views

Why “ladybird”?

In case you don't know, in British English, the little red-with-black-spots insect is not called a "ladybug", as in North America, but a "ladybird". This seems rather a poor act of classification, ...
9
votes
3answers
481 views

Why are certain categories of words more likely to vary between British and American English?

There are certain groups of words that are much more likely to vary between British and American dialects of English. terms relating to cars, trains and roads (boot/trunk, bonnet/hood, ...
11
votes
3answers
15k views

What's the difference between 'subway', 'metro' and 'tube'?

When I watched the "American Album" program, Susan and Henry talked about New York, and she used the word 'subway'. When I listened to BBC's '6 minutes English', I heard 'tube' used in the ...
15
votes
10answers
6k views

How many of the “Top 10 favorite British words” are understood by Americans?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online shows “Top 10 Favorite British Words”. I’m interested in knowing how many of the listed words are understood or accepted by Americans as English, whichever British ...
71
votes
15answers
10k views

“Soccer mom”: why soccer?

...why not football mom, baseball mom, or basketball mom? Soccer mom, as far as I can tell, is an American term made popular during the 1996 presidential elections, used to describe a key demographic ...
1
vote
3answers
2k 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
0answers
40 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “slaved out”

As i was reading a character's biography : Jack, a small orphan child on transport ship that crashed on the Pitch Black planet. During the movie it is discovered that the child dresses like a ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

to give someone until

I'm reading Women by Charles Bukowski and stumbled upon the following dialog: Dee Dee was standing next to me. "Please tell her," she said, "to give me until September." "Forget her," Lydia ...
25
votes
8answers
6k views

“When I was in college…” Do you really mean college? Or university?

When someone in the US says "When I was in college..." he can mean "college" but he can also mean "university", so I've been told. If that's true, how can we know which one he is talking about? If I ...
3
votes
4answers
280 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.
3
votes
4answers
74 views

“Tote” vs. “carry” in AE

Aside from formality/informality registers, what is to "tote" that is not to "carry" to AE native speakers? Does "tote", unlike "carry", imply a certain way to hold or support something while moving? ...
67
votes
30answers
8k views

Is there an American English equivalent of the British idiom “carrying coals to Newcastle”?

I'm an American living in the Netherlands who is learning Dutch. There's an idiom in Dutch that describes performing a needless/futile activity, "water naar de zee dragen," which literally translates ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Do you know the meaning of the American idiom “pot calling the kettle black”?

I just want to conduct a research about this American idiom and how native American people use it. Can you guys answer my questions in the following orders? If you have better questions, I will be ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
65 views

AE vs British English usage of hospital [duplicate]

We all know that Americans say: Sara is going to the hospital While in the UK, they would say (and Americans would never say): Sara is going to hospital I'm wondering what the history of ...
7
votes
6answers
542 views

Is there a word for one who enjoys to eat for the sake of eating (a food hedonist)?

Does such a word exist? I don't mean to excess (IE, a glutton), but rather one who eats because he enjoys eating. Essentially, I'm looking for a word that's synonymous with "a food hedonist", or "a ...
1
vote
3answers
109 views

What's the meaning of “unplugged”?

English is my second language and I'm wondering what's the exactly meaning of "somebody unplugged"? Such as "Joe Biden unplugged"?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

“Cleats” vs. “soccer shoes”

I used to say cleats but found it uncommon for some people, though I had no trouble with soccer shoes. I have always lived in a Spanish-speaking country (Nicaragua) so I find it hard to know why that ...
-5
votes
1answer
88 views

Do we ever,really use proper english ? [closed]

Advertisements, labels,our texts, the dates on our phones and stuff are usually fragments or are understandable "sentences" that are missing words . For example, when we tell someone the date, we ...
3
votes
9answers
743 views

What word describes interpreting evidence in such a way as to reach a desired conclusion?

Does anyone know what it's called when you interpret evidence to reach the conclusion you want?
-1
votes
2answers
53 views

Proper use of “repertoire”

Could the word repertoire be used to describe one’s behavior as a façade?
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Question related to cover letter [closed]

I have a few queries regarding how to write a cover letter: "make a real contribution as member of your team." or "make a real contribution as A member of your team." "If I may be a further ...
1
vote
3answers
85 views

Degree Certificate and Diploma

I am hoping to apply to a master's program in the USA. They ask for a "Diploma/Degree Certificate", but I don't really know what that means. When I looked for the definition I found only "Degree", as ...
4
votes
5answers
12k views

Where does the term Cracker come from, and how disparaging is it?

My grandmother from Georgia openly refers to herself and other white southerners as "Crackers", and sometimes adds a state as in "Georgia Cracker" or "Florida Cracker". She says it means simple folks ...
-2
votes
1answer
189 views

“Cant fight no more”, is this grammatically correct? [duplicate]

"Cant fight no more", is this grammatically correct? If not, what is the correct way of saying this?
3
votes
2answers
183 views

Does “moonlighting” have a negative or neutral connotation?

We all agree that "moonlighting" denotes having a second job. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford Advanced Learner's don't define it in exactly the same way. For example, Merriam-Webster attaches a ...
21
votes
15answers
5k views

What is a term for someone who doesn't know what they haven't experienced?

I'm struggling to find a word or short term for a person or group of people who do not experience jealousy/remorse/etc. due to a lack of something. For example, people from the middle ages could not ...
3
votes
4answers
530 views

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

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Pronunciation of 'cos' (as in the mathematical term)

What is the correct pronunciation for the mathematical abbreviation 'cos' when it is not pronounced in its complete form 'cosine'? I pronounce it as 'k-aw-ss', but a couple of Canadian friends I have ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

A or an XML report? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word 'X-Ray'? Quite simply, should a sentence read "a XML report" ...
6
votes
3answers
375 views

What is the geographical origin of the idiom “be a fly on the wall”?

Does the following expression originate from English? I'd like to be a fly on the wall I discovered today that a similar expression exists in Brazilian Portuguese: "I'd like to be a fly" (with ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

American use of “personal”, “regular”

Frequently I hear Americans (admittedly mainly in TV/movies) say "personal" and "regular" in the following contexts: "Don't take it personal." "I like that he treats me regular." Both of ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Using “to my mind”

English is not my native language. I am curious about the usage of "to my mind". Is it a British English phrase? Is it used in American English? Is it formal/informal? I've found an interesting ...
11
votes
1answer
6k views

Why is it called a semi-truck? Doesn’t “semi” mean “part”?

I was wondering why semi-trucks are called that. Doesn’t semi mean “part of”? A semi-truck is a whole truck if I ever saw one!
6
votes
9answers
1k views

Word for a person who wants to impose his rules everywhere or advise

My colleague has always something to advise, whatever you eat or play and he sometimes tries to dig out information from you and again advise on it. I just hate to get any feedback from him: if what I ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Plural/singular form for a company in American English? [duplicate]

Somewhere on the internet a guy claims that in American English it's proper to use the singular form for conjugating the predicate of group terms such as company, band, team etc. In British English, ...
5
votes
3answers
168 views

What word describes a university class in both the UK and the US?

In the US words like class, subject, course are used to describe a university class, while in the UK, words like subject and course are used to describe the name of the whole university degree. ...