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

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2answers
96 views

temporal “directly” in AmEng usage: “immediately/without delay” or “shortly/in a little while”?

What does directly commonly mean in standard AmEng when used as a temporal adverb, immediately/instantly/at once/right away/without delay -or- soon/shortly/in a little while? DIRECTLY At ...
1
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1answer
82 views

Does English slang have a feminine version of “breaking someone's balls”?

A question out of curiosity. Probably Not Safe For Work. Often times, I come across this phrase especially in Hollywood movies and sitcoms. Depending on how it's used, it either means that "someone ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Is “sleeveless vest” redundant?

I had always thought a vest implied a sleeveless garment of clothing, but I find several instances of the phrase "sleeveless vest." Isn't that redundant and is there any reputable, somewhat ...
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votes
1answer
71 views

What does word “nerd” mean exactly? [closed]

I always thought nerds were people who are into science and a bit socially awkward. Like characters in xkcd comic. But in all conversations on the internet, I see nerd refers to a person that is ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Can we say “there should be any problem”? [closed]

Is this a proper sentence? "there should be any problem" I know we can say "there shouldnt be any problem" But can we say "there should be any problem" ?
62
votes
9answers
8k views

How is y’all’dn’t’ve pronounced

According to Wikipedia, y’all’dn’t’ve is a valid contraction. I am having difficulty pronouncing the L-D-N-T-V consonant cluster, especially since there is no vowel at the end (silent E). ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

What do you call this button-shaped thing?

I was changing the back light bulb on my car ,and I was struggling to unbutton this button-shaped thing . what do you call this button-shaped thing in English? It looks like a tack or a fastener. ...
7
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7answers
4k views

Definition of “kissing cousins”— Are the dictionaries wrong/incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
0
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of “odds and ends”?

There's already a question (and answer) for "bits and bobs", which I believe is a Britishism, but what is the origin of "odds and ends"? "Odds" I have some reckoning for (as in, "odd items", meaning ...
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1answer
67 views

Names for parts of a mug? [closed]

What are the different parts of the mug? I only know the handle.
18
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11answers
3k views

Are there any similar phrases that are popular in the US to express “penny dropped”?

I met the phrase penny dropped today and learned that it is mainly used in UK. The Cambridge Idioms Dictionary via TheFreeDictionary.com defines it as if you say the penny drops, you mean that ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Does it sound good to write “With best compliments from” in an invitation? [closed]

Again it's somewhat similar to my previous question, but I need to know it too. I am preparing contents for a wedding card, I have little doubt in writing With best compliments from as the last line ...
1
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3answers
115 views

Is it correct to write “Awaiting to welcome you” in invitation? [closed]

I am preparing contents for a wedding card, I have little doubt in writing Awaiting to welcome you as the last line of the invitation. Is it okay to write it? or will you please tell me a good line ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What does “cynical confidence” mean? [closed]

I know that cynical means something along the lines of believing the worst in people, but how does this word coincide with confidence? For instance, what would this line mean? The witness had a ...
4
votes
4answers
326 views

“[will] likely” vs. “[will] probably” in AmEng usage

As far as AmEng goes, can likely be an acceptable alternate to probably in the following OUP quiz? The traffic is terrible so I'll probably be late this morning. Climate change is likely to ...
0
votes
2answers
59 views

Order of placing Mr. and Mrs. in a wedding card [closed]

I am designing a wedding card, I need to know how to start it, these are some samples: Mrs. & Mr. Xyz invite you.... Mr. & Mrs. Xyz invite you.... Mrs. Abc & Mr. Xyz invite you.... Mr. ...
5
votes
3answers
281 views

“conclude” vs. “decide” in AmEng

Can, in some instances, conclude and decide be used just about interchangeably as far as AmEng goes? Please, consider the following examples: The committee concluded on a plan of action. The ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Etymology of 'Pizzazz'

A question from December 2011 asked What is the social context of "pizzazz"?. I'm curious about the word's etymology. I checked some reference books, but they showed very little agreement ...
2
votes
7answers
5k views

Is “evidence” as a verb an Americanism? [closed]

We need to evidence the agreement with these forms. Is this usage predominantly American?
0
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1answer
70 views

Can I use meet for an online meeting?

I would like to know if I can say "We can meet on Monday or Tuesday" in email as a reply to a sales person's email asking for a couple of days options for an online meeting -- a sort of Skype call. I ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

Similar words that change from “-ter” to “tre”

I just found out that luster in British English was actually lustre. This was something that I did not know before. Are there any other words that behave like this? Why? (According to what?)
4
votes
4answers
910 views

Is the 'th' sound usually reduced in spoken English?

I am working on my accent and pronunciation. I use American Accent Training and it says that in spoken English, speakers usually run words together. For example, "Run them all together" turns into ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Where did the phrase “Holy Toledo” come from? [closed]

I was reading online and noticed this phrase in the comments. Holy Toledo What is the origin of this phrase?
20
votes
3answers
166k views

What does “8/7c” mean?

I just saw an update on Facebook saying: Watch Russell present LIVE at the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards. Tonight at 8/7c on FOX. What does "8/7c" mean?
1
vote
5answers
359 views

Ambiguous meaning of NAmEng sense of “skill” in Harrap's English-French Dictionary

Harrap's New Shorter English-French/French-English Dictionary, Ed. 1982, states, skill n 1. habileté f, adresse f, dextérité f; technical skill, habileté, aptitude f, technique; ...
2
votes
3answers
8k views

In what English-speaking communities does “trump” refer to the breaking of wind?

It is clear from this site that the verb to trump has been used extensively across Britain to refer to the breaking of wind. It is especially the case in the North, in Wales and certainly in Norfolk, ...
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2answers
1k views

Are there are more vowels in the American English than in British? [closed]

car, father, jarring ■ man, lad, mast A British guy would pronounce the vowel "a" equally in all these words. But an American would give one sound for the first three words, and the other ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

“frightened 'by' spiders” vs. “frightened 'of' spiders” in AmEng

Could you explain the difference between these two sentences: I'm frightened BY spiders. I'm frightened OF spiders. Obviously both are used in American English in the sense "have a fear ...
1
vote
0answers
100 views

Why does written English have more variations in pronunciation than other languages? [closed]

According to my experience, in languages like German, French, Chinese, Japanese, etc., there are not so many exceptions in pronunciation as in English. For example, given a word in German or French, ...
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 ...
-1
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1answer
42 views

Whe do you use wouldju or wouldja when talking to someone? [closed]

What's the difference between Wouldja & Wouldju when talking to someone?
13
votes
2answers
1k views

When do you use middle and when center?

The other day I was talking to a friend about when to use "middle" or "center". I was using it in the context of top, middle, bottom, as a listing, and he suggested it should be top, center, bottom. ...
14
votes
5answers
26k views

What's the difference between “rent” and “hire” in British and American English?

The tip I used to teach was the verb, hire, should be used for things which are transportable hence, you hire a car, sports equipment, a boat, a bike etc. Rent, on the other hand, is primarily used ...
0
votes
3answers
65 views

Is it okay to say “Your explanation really solved my concerns" [closed]

Is it okay to say “You explanation really solved my concerns"? What are other ways to express this? Thank you!
2
votes
1answer
71 views

“downtime” vs. “time off” vs. “free time” vs. “spare time” in AmEng vernacular

How do those terms differ from each other? downtime North American A time of reduced activity or inactivity: everyone needs downtime to unwind ODO spare time Noun time available ...
1
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1answer
51 views

“separate” and “terminate” for “dismiss/discharge” from employment in AmEng

According to Oxford Dictionary Online, separate US Discharge or dismiss (someone) from service or employment. terminate chiefly North American End the employment of (someone); dismiss: ...
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votes
2answers
114 views

No one knows or no one know? [closed]

Can you tell which of the following sentences are right? And explain why the others are wrong? No one knows the answer. No one know the answer. There is nobody anwering the qustion. There is nobody ...
2
votes
1answer
153 views

I remember taking a lot of pictures for my wedding

This is Anna studying English by myself in Korea. I've faced some expressions written in one of my English learning books. Actually there is a controversial issue that most of people think these are ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

To light a cigarette

I've heard "to light a cigarette" being used a couple of times, but I am still in doubt about two things: Is this common both in American English and British English? Are there other ways to say it ...
23
votes
7answers
1k views

Eww! Has it crossed the pond yet?

I hear eww (sometimes spelt as ew) fairly regularly on American sitcoms, usually uttered by a scatterbrained beautiful blonde girl when she sees or hears something disgusting. I don't recall it ever ...
1
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2answers
38 views

informal word for a money manager

Imagine there's a group of friends and they're on a trip or on vacation. They're not going to chip in for every single spending; instead, a certain person shells out for everything throughout and when ...
4
votes
4answers
16k views

“Café” vs. “coffee shop” in American English

When is café used and when is coffee shop used? Are there any differences? Which is more widespread?
0
votes
1answer
137 views

Which English to use in Portugal: British or American? [closed]

I'm not sure this is the right place to ask this, but any help is appreciated. I'm Portuguese, but I also use English for my work. For that, I use dictionaries in my computer. My question is: which ...
9
votes
2answers
11k views

Sorted vs Sorted out

I'm an American and I refer to a situation which is settled as "sorted out." My English family would just say that it's "sorted". Which is the earlier expression? Did Americans add the preposition ...
1
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2answers
78 views

“flat,” “stone,” “dead,” “dirt,” “plumb,” and “right” as indicators of directness, completeness, or general intensity [closed]

What's the difference between those words? Can they be used just about interchangeably as adverbs indicating completeness or totality? Please, compare: Looking back over my years of wildlife ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Usage of the verb “squinch” in AmEng

Collins American English Dictionary says: squinch (skwɪntʃ) (US) transitive verb to squint (the eyes); squinched up her eyes in disgust. M-W 2. a. to pucker ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

Heel of Italy in Wikipedia? [closed]

Who can describe it for me? what does mean Heel and relation to italy? the region situated on the "heel" of Italy.
0
votes
2answers
35 views

World Remained Those of Combination?

I read one book, anyone could describe the concept meaning by following sentence: "In the sixth century, at the very close of the classical period, the great libraries of the Mediterranean world ...
0
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2answers
60 views

Meaning of 'not permitted in A or in B' [closed]

Does "not permitted in A or in B" mean "not permitted in A and not permitted in B" or mean "not permitted in A or not permitted in B"? Thanks for any helpful answers!
13
votes
3answers
63k views

“Invite” vs. “invitation”

I hear a lot of people saying "Send me an invite". I always thought that it was an 'invitation'. Is "sending one an invite" accepted usage? Or is it incorrect? If I need to get my wedding invitation ...