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

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1
vote
2answers
58 views

What does “stick a bulls-eye on your back” mean? [closed]

What does this mean? It's too bright up there, you might as well stick a bulls-eye on your back. From the movie Judgment Night (1993).
9
votes
5answers
2k views

'Little' and 'small' in British vs American English

Is the preference for 'little' over 'small' one of the things that differentiates British from American English? I find expressions like "I'm only little" or "She's only little" in British children ...
4
votes
2answers
369 views

Meaning of Down to the?

What is the meaning of down to the? E.g. in this statement: In order to use this feature, the statements must be exactly the same - down to the number of spaces, tabs, capital/small letters. ...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?

African American Vernacular English is shortened to a less precise phrase "Black English". Also, Black English is used in a broader sense: Black English is a term used for both dialects of English ...
-1
votes
2answers
84 views

Grammatical correctness of the sentence [closed]

Here is a sentence which doesn't really sound grammatically correct. I would appreciate if any one can have a look and let me know if the sentence could be improved. After all, when someone spends ...
4
votes
2answers
118 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
282 views

What does “pedigree” mean in this context?

"He constantly punishes himself psychologically. In his eyes he is inferior in pedigree to those very confident college graduates against whom he competes." The context on the story is the person who ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Can we use both British English and American English in the same article?

Can we use British English trends and American English trends (such as spelling, or turns of phrase) in different sentences in the one topic?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “Clearasil-scented grammatical sloth” in casual American speech mean?

John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University comments on the growing sophistication (or devolution) of English language among Americans in the ...
3
votes
3answers
155 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
31 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
49 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
147 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
71 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?
0
votes
0answers
41 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
81 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 ...
72
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 ...
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 ...
-5
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
54 views

Proper use of “repertoire”

Could the word repertoire be used to describe one’s behavior as a façade?
0
votes
1answer
55 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
44 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
100 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
38 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Need audio short stories wrote in all tenses [closed]

First I apologize for my weakness language Second Sorry if this topic I put it in wrong place I read in effortlessenglish course for Aj Hoge that the best way to learn Grammer not to study it but ...
7
votes
10answers
536 views

Alternative to “a bunch”?

About two years ago I watched some old Monty Python interviews. In one of them, Graham Chapman, a Brit, makes fun of Terry Gilliam (the only American) for his lack of vocabulary. He specifically cited ...
2
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

“Without first having…” vs. “Without having to first…” [closed]

Which one of the following is better? Without first having... Without having to first... Is there a difference?
6
votes
3answers
383 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

How to differate between different event types

I am trying to translate a part of a web application and I am unsure which describes the situation precisely. The context is theatre. event: for a public audience a performance of a theatre ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

“I forgot” or “I forget” [duplicate]

I am from Philadelphia and I grew up saying, I forget when trying to recall something unsuccessfully. When I came in contact with people from other states, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region, I heard ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Do Americans also typically use the word “aesthetic” spelled that way?

As far as I know, the word "aesthetic" can be considered the "British" or "European" way of spelling the word, like "caesium" or "haemophilia". The spelling "esthetic" (which replaces the ae with e as ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Example of too few commas(,) in an introductory phrase?

This sentence popped up as correct on a website: "Even though I enjoyed myself at the expensive dinner and most of my friends were in town to see me, I left." I'm no grammarian, so I turn to you all ...
4
votes
1answer
57 views

Kvetch - Meaning

I was just reading a book (The Help) and came across a usage of "kvetch" that didn't quite fit with how I thought it was used. A publisher is talking about a person's writing style and comments that ...
2
votes
3answers
207 views

Does “native Japanese” indicate Japanese people or indigenous people in Japan?

I want to simply indicate that I was born and raised in Japan. I think I can say "I am a native Japanese", but when I google the expression, the results include information about indigenous people in ...
-4
votes
4answers
84 views

What is synonym of Abide? [closed]

What is synonym of Abide? a) Pays b) Diverts c) Hang Real sentence is "Curse abides on a tyrant for ever!"
-1
votes
1answer
66 views

what is the meaning of,Are you done? [duplicate]

If someone is about to finish his or her lunch, and we want to know, can we ask him or her: Are you done?
5
votes
3answers
174 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Those who were or those who are? [closed]

I'm confused whether to use were or are on this... I detest liars, especially those who were/are making it up as a go-to-excuse. Thanks
1
vote
0answers
24 views

“Traveller” vs. “traveler” [duplicate]

There was a time when traveller's cheques were emitted and sold by the banks in England and by Thomas Cook. However the cheques emitted by American banks/American Express were named traveler's cheque, ...
-2
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I say “It will be my pleasure to help you” in an email reply? [closed]

If someone asked for my help via email, can I say: It will be my pleasure to help you.
2
votes
4answers
367 views

Is there an alternative word/phrase to “ignorance is bliss?” [edited]

It's a classic phrase, but is there a word that encapsulates the sentiment of this idiom? Edit: Single word isn't a requirement, I'm just looking for a concise and eloquent alternative. I don't ...
2
votes
3answers
52 views

What is the core meaning of the verb “set” in Modern English?

What is the core meaning of the verb "set" in Modern English? I wrote "to put (something or someone) in a particular place" in my assignment, but the teacher said it was wrong.
7
votes
6answers
570 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 ...
0
votes
5answers
263 views

what is formal way to ask “may we know why this happened and how it happened?”

what is formal way to ask "may we know why this happened and how it happened?" is this phrase correct .What is the formal and better way of asking this
0
votes
1answer
51 views

What's the better way to reply to the email [closed]

Is this the official email to log on to the website.? how should I reply to this what text can I add to YES which would be appropriate Thanks
1
vote
2answers
113 views

“inquisitive” vs. “inquiring” in AmE and BrE

Do these terms share the same level of laudatoriness/pejorativeness in both BrE and AmE? Or, does one typically have a more positive/negative connotation to it than the other from your side of the ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

What does “Chinese theater” mean?

In a 1904 review of a piece by Maurice Ravel, one critic used the phrase Chinese theater Two years later, a critic in the New York Tribune wrote, "In his String Quartet M. Ravel is content with ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

Brackets Vs Parenthesis

I came across this question on Meta Stackoverflow, where a discussion was going on in the comments about the terms brackets and parenthesis and the right usage of them. It seems there is a different ...