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

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5
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4answers
5k views

What is the correct relative pronoun for “government”?

What is the correct relative pronoun for "government"? Which of the following phrases is correct? I am writing for an American [English] audience. The Queensland Government, who licenses several ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it “Sales collateral” or “Sales collaterals”?

My question is whether you use the plural or singular form — or either. Is there perhaps also a different usage in the US and the UK?
4
votes
4answers
87k views

How Many Diphthongs Are There In English?

I was talking to a person who said that there were only two. I think she said that the "ou" in house is one of the two. I told her that the way the letter "i" is pronounced is a diphthong, and she ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of the verb “to pooch”?

I'm familiar with the word pooch as a cute synonym of doggy, but here is pooch used as a verb: It was just a poorly done deal and it just so happens to be the biggest deal ever for Nasdaq and they ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

Correct usage of “were” or “was”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? I am unsure whether to use "were" or "was" in the following instances ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of “fresher than fresh” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Usage and correctness of the term “Better than Best” The fresher than fresh slogans of our relentless advertising What does fresher than fresh mean? Does ...
2
votes
2answers
501 views

How common is the short “be” in American English

A friend prompted me to look up the pronunciations of the homophones "be" (IPA: /bi/, /biː/) and "bee" (IPA: /biː/). We found that there are two ways to say "be" -- one is short and the other (the ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Is “after” in this context solely a local colloquialism?

There are a number of turns of phrase that I have to avoid as an English person speaking to an American audience. Would it be possible for someone to clarify whether this colloquialism is American-...
14
votes
3answers
51k views

What does the sentence “Butter my butt, call me a biscuit” mean?

What does this sentence mean? How do I use it? Butter my butt, call me a biscuit.
-1
votes
1answer
467 views

Is this a subject verb agreement error?

My English teacher says that the following is an "agreement" (which I assume means subject-verb agreement) error. He underlined the bolded parts of the sentence. According to Political Research ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I fix the passive voice error in this sentence?

To combat this, new security measures have been implemented such as identification checks and on-site police officers. The error is in bold. I've been reading online about passive voice but every ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a single word that means “more informative”? [closed]

Looking for one word that means "more informative" or "more clear", "better communicates" etc...
2
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
41k views

“On/at/for/over the weekend” in American English

Some sources say that "at the weekend" is wrong, while other ones say it's correct. Which form is acceptable in American English? On Saturdays her sister Ann usually comes to stay with Mary on/...
-4
votes
2answers
1k views

“If I didn't have” vs. “if I had not had” for a hypothetical

I wrote: it would never have been possible if i didn't have interest in the least bit but a friend of mine told it is wrong and should be: it would never have been possible if i had not ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Use Schedule and Timetable together

The context is a course scheduling and the process in creating one: course scheduling. I have looked up, that schedule is typically used American English and timetable is typically used in British ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Guardrail vs Guard rail

I'm at odds with a colleague of mine over the correct spelling of the above title words. My stance is that they could BOTH possibly be correct. My question specifically is.... Could one spelling be ...
4
votes
2answers
22k views

“In college” versus “at college” versus “at university” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which one is more correct: “works at a university” or “works in a university”? It seems that only in the U.S. one says that they are or were "in ...
1
vote
3answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “jux” a real word?

Urbandictionary.com says it means: To rob. Verb. Present tense of juxt. It has 342 votes but I can't find any evidence of actual usage on a google or COCA search.
8
votes
8answers
7k views

“Skipping rope” vs. “jump rope”

Well it is summer time and I have to lose some weight so I have chosen the cardiovascular activity to do that jumping rope. While digging on some information I have asked myself a few questions: Why ...
1
vote
2answers
883 views

Punctuating Quoted Questions in a Parenthetical Clause [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I punctuate around quotes? What do you do when you end the first part of a compound sentence with a quote? Comma placement when using quotes that end with a ...
1
vote
2answers
16k views

Ways to express “Thank you” in English [closed]

I am wondering how many expressions in English can express "Thank you" (I am just running out of them) Thank you (very much) or Thanks. Many thanks! I appreciate it indeed! Thanks a million! I can'...
17
votes
1answer
12k views

Trapezium/trapezoid — why are the US/UK definitions swapped around?

These are the US definitions... Trapezoid — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides that has a pair of opposite sides parallel. Trapezium — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides and NO parallel ...
1
vote
3answers
449 views

Usage of the word 'burlesque'

Here, in the place where I am being hosted, almost every evening there is an event usually called "burlesque". Is "burlesque" normally used by Americans? How is the word used generally? In what ...
8
votes
5answers
86k views

how to reply to Howdy

I hear from people greet saying "howdy". I guess that is short form of how do you do. I normally reply that "I am good and how are you doing?". Is there cultural specific reply that would give more ...
1
vote
2answers
521 views

Correct pronunciation of “Can”

How to correctly pronounce word "can" in British English and in American English? Here's somehow related answer but it is more about differences between "can" and "can't", and I'm interested how to ...
9
votes
2answers
120k views

Why do British people pronounce “Ibiza” as “Ibitha”?

My brief overseas experience in Great Britain has taught me that British people tend to pronounce Ibiza as Ibitha. My questions are as follows: Why is this the case? How did this develop? What are ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Do Americans pronounce “Ellen” and “Alan” in the same way?

Do Americans pronounce "Ellen" and "Alan" in the same way? I am especially concerned with the first vowel. EDIT: Here is a quote that may be a case in point: Being a Brit also, the names "Ellen" ...
2
votes
1answer
756 views

Where did the idiom “scot-free” come from? [closed]

As in, that criminal got off scot-free despite a mountain of evidence that would seem to indicate his guilt.
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Convolve vs. convolute

I understand that for common usage these words have distinct meanings. However in mathematics there is a process called convolution, and sometimes you hear "you need to convolve X" and sometimes "you ...
9
votes
1answer
385 views

What are the correct spelling and regional distribution of “X, schmX” to indicate dismissiveness (e.g., “evidence, schmevidence”)?

There is a curious construct in American English in which a word is stated and then repeated with the prefix "schm-" or "shm-" in order to indicate the speaker's dismissive attitude toward a concern ...
5
votes
6answers
930 views

What is the origin of the -ass speech?

I am spending one month in the US and it seems that everything is "big ass", "lame ass", and "crazy ass". What is the purpose of modifying every adjective with "ass"? Is this an Americanism or some ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is it 'speaking'/'speech' instead of 'speeking'/'speech' or 'speaking'/'speach'?

Why is it speaking/speech instead of speeking/speech or speaking/speach?
0
votes
2answers
511 views

Explanation of sentence [closed]

I don't understand this sentence.... I know the meaning of all words except distinct... I looked in dictionary.. but I don't understand..:/ Output the number of distinct values when considered MOD 42,...
4
votes
1answer
218 views

Why use “constitutionality” instead of “constitutional”? [closed]

This morning I heard the word "constitutionality" being used by a journalist with regard to the debate over the legality of health care reforms here in the US. This grates on my British ears as I ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I describe 2:45?

What is the most common way to express 2:45, using quarter, in the US? Quarter of three? Quarter to three? Quarter till three?
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
4k views

English phrases/expressions and their meanings [closed]

In English we have expressions/phrases that come from the combination of two or more words, conjunctions, etc. These expressions have their own metaphorical meanings, which could be used in specific ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “E-Z” mean?

Is it an abbreviation or is it used instead "A-Z"? I have seen it being used multiple places: E-Z cook oven E-Z Hiscores
4
votes
1answer
11k views

“Have a breakfast” or “eat a breakfast” in AmE

Which expression do Americans prefer, have a breakfast or eat a breakfast?
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Go on/to the web page [closed]

Which is the correct way to say this? "Please go on the home page to register" or "Please go to the home page to register"?
3
votes
3answers
18k views

“If I go..” vs. “If I will go..” referring to the future [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Future tense in conditional clauses Which one is correct? option 1: If I go there, I can meet her or option 2: If I will go there, I can meet her I clearly ...
2
votes
1answer
499 views

How to specify dates in a U.S. résumé?

What is the correct (or at least preferred) way of formatting dates in a résumé whenever you don't need to specify a day? For example, I am using the format “May 2011”, but I don’t know whether I ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

British versus American English? [closed]

Anyone know how much of the world uses British versus American English?
1
vote
4answers
3k views

What do you call the base amount for a loan, investment etc?

If I get a mortgage from the bank I pay interest every month, same when I invest money, I make profit every year. How do you call the actual amount I invested or borrowed? It's *__ + interest* or *...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I spell “subdistrict”?

Geographically, there are voting districts, taxing districts, and school districts. There are also subdistricts. I have found different spellings of this word (subdistrict, sub district, sub-district)....
-1
votes
1answer
107 views

How do I improve on this question from the suggestion given? [closed]

I wrote: How do we visualize something that is a independent of experience? How do we visualize green for example without ever seeing it? We can describe it through language but we would never have ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

“Summoning something into life” vs. “summoning something to life”

What is the difference between the following? Summoning ... into life Summoning ... to life If it helps, I want to use the word idea in the place of dots so it's like: Summoning ...