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

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14
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
122 views

What's it called when someone is trying to end a conversation?

Everyone does the thing where while speaking to someone you'll start inching away in order to end the conversation. Or you'll say something thats a conversation ender like "time to get back to work" ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

“Grit” vs “gritted”

Dictionary sources tell me that the past tense of grit is gritted rather than grit. Why does that sound weird to me? Am I delusional, or is this one of those words changing in current usage? Pet is a ...
4
votes
3answers
195 views

Is or Was when talking about a historic figure in the present?

If I ask someone the question "Who is Martin Luther King Jr." is that correct compared to "Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?" Which one is the correct sentence and how?
2
votes
1answer
92 views

The word “cooker”

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the word "cooker" is "a person who tends a cooking process (a cook)." The dictionary provides the following example sentence: Dad was the ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

How do native speakers answer questions like “what's cooking”?

I work in an office environment as a software developer in Massachusetts, USA and every so often have some colleague ask me a question like "what's cooking? anything good?" When they say that they ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

What is a word which describes something you are looking for

The word would fit within the following context: I found the ______ of my search. I know there there is a simple word which describes an object which is being searched for, but I just can't ...
13
votes
5answers
23k views

“Have not” versus “do not have”

As a non-native English speaker, I have a little doubt about using, or not, the auxiliary verb "to do" with the verb "to have". Are there differences in meaning between "I have not" and "I do not ...
2
votes
3answers
123 views

Road to English fluency for advanced speakers [closed]

I have been learning English all my life. I have been in the US for three years. I consider myself an advanced English speaker. There are many resources on the internet that are geared towards ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

Which of the following is correct? If both are correct, do they have different meanings or usage? Take a taxi/bus/train OR Get a taxi/bus/train
5
votes
5answers
3k views

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

I would like to know something more about this American idiom and how north American or English speaking people use it. Can you guys answer my questions? Do you know the meaning of this idiom? Are ...
0
votes
3answers
59 views

Walk across/through/on the crosswalk?

What is the correct collocation here? Do you walk across the crosswalk, through the crosswalk, or on the crosswalk? Or can you say cross the crosswalk?
3
votes
3answers
1k 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
vote
2answers
190 views

What does the expression “Word.” mean? [duplicate]

I was watching the 1989 movie "Bill and Ted's excellent adventure" a couple of weeks back and in one scene Bill replies to some statement (I forgot whom he is replying to) with just "Word." What does ...
18
votes
7answers
6k views

Asking female employees to come to my room [closed]

I have a few female employees working at my office, and being a manager, I need to text them via Skype or Messenger to come to my room. How can I ask them politely to come? Please come to my room ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Different Meanings of 'Jumper' (Transatlantic embarassment)

I'm originally from Wales, now living in the USA, and as the cold weather is approaching I'm determined, this year, to start using the word sweater to describe the item of clothing I'm wearing, as ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

How to avoid using lot of I's in the personal essay?

I am writing my statement of purpose for applying to grad school. When I read my statement of purpose I see a lot of I's. I did this I worked on this I want to I got to learn this ...
2
votes
3answers
458 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

When did “y’all” become improper?

It is my understanding that the contraction y’all was considered correct American English in times past. At what point was this word removed from valid American English?
0
votes
0answers
12 views

What is the proper usage of “The… of…” and “A … of …”? [duplicate]

I wrote an article, and will submit it soon. I am troubled in its title: "The Speedy Application of Augmented Dickey-Fuller Test for Stationarity Analysis with causfinder Package in R" I have learnt ...
-2
votes
1answer
78 views

Is there any difference between 'plaid' and 'tartan'?

It seems to me that some Americans will say plaid where we will use tartan. Whilst tartan refers to woollen cloth woven in one of several patterns of coloured checks and intersecting lines; plaid ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

When to use named and called? [duplicate]

I am writing my Statement of Purpose. I am writing a sentence such as I moved to a small town called Falmouth where I .... Should I use named or called? I moved to a small town named ...
13
votes
3answers
17k views

Why is “lucked out” such a good thing to be?

This still strikes me as odd, even after 12 years in the US. Being out of luck is a bad thing, but lucked out is a good thing, e.g. we 'lucked out' and were able to get two extra tickets for the ...
10
votes
7answers
22k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

A term for Not Applicable in the context of UI/UX [closed]

I want to give an option to a user to check if an option is not applicable for her. However the two words in "Not Applicable" are too huge for my GUI. Suggestions Would be greatly appreciated :)
0
votes
2answers
63 views

What is a “turkey walk”?

I once read that a "turkey walk" was going to be held on a Sunday at 8.00 a.m. in a small town in New England. I tried to find it in dictionaries and I also googled the expression, but got no ...
5
votes
3answers
413 views

What does “consound” mean?

Hello and happy holidays. While reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I came across the expression "consound it" in Huck's dialogue parts. "Consound it, Tom Sawyer, you're just old pie, 'longside ...
2
votes
4answers
123 views

Up Hill vs. Down Hill [duplicate]

The expression "It's all up hill from here!" and "It's all down hill from here!" mean that things will only get better or things will only get worst. Metaphorically going uphill can provide for a ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

What is an Anglepoise lamp called in America?

What word do Americans use to refer an Anglepoise lamp?
0
votes
3answers
160 views

What is a “plumber's wife”?

This is about an expression used by a female manager at a hotel in Philadelphia (PA) some years ago. She was showing me around as part of my employment interview, and during this made a statement that ...
1
vote
2answers
106 views
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Word for mildly popular (used as a compliment)

I'm trying to find a word for something meaning not explosively popular or successful, yet not a failure. It should not be intended as criticism and should represent something not necessarily new but ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

What does “even the keel in favour of ” in the sentence mean?

Even the legal framework that is supposed to provide a modicum of protection to workers is fraying. For instance, the state’s unwillingness to use the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act or the ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

Is the title of a US President permanent? [duplicate]

Ultimately I'm wondering whether the descriptive in "former President [Name]" is superfluous or necessary in everyday usage, such as when talking to an audience who knows who the current president is. ...
10
votes
4answers
9k views

Understanding U.S. President capitalization

I was taught at an early age in the USA that when we write about our President, we are supposed to capitalize the title in order to signify that it's on the federal level. Is it correct to always do ...
3
votes
4answers
197 views

Why is it always women and not men in: “Soccer mom,” “Tiger mom,” “Helicopter mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” and “Security mom”?

In connection with my question about the meaning and currency of “Security mom,” I was drawn to the fact that all the following labels; “Soccer mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” “Security mom” are combined with ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

“And to you” or “you too”?

I really like to chat with English folks, so I have wished them Merry Christmas. To my surprise I have noticed the following pattern — the British answered "and to you", but Americans "you too". The ...
5
votes
2answers
245 views

What did “eating 'mad cow'” mean in the 1800's?

In the December 1885 Lippincott's Magazine article COOKHAM DEAN, about an artistic area 40 miles up the Thames from London, Margaret Bertha Wright (an American author) wrote: Probably nine-tenths ...
5
votes
4answers
221 views

Can “barge in” be used as an informal and quirky way of saying “come in” and “come on in”?

I am looking for a specific US expression. An informal way of saying "all right, come on in" to a very good friend in a situations as follows: The (drunk) friend who is barging into my suit suite ...
2
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Where do “shenanigans” come from?

Shenanigans, or shenanigan, also with several variant spellings, can be dated to 1855 USA in both the OED and Etymonline, but the OED simply says "Origin obscure" and Etymonline throws a few guesses ...
4
votes
8answers
29k views

Pronunciation of 'aunt' in the US

I was under the impression that all Americans pronounced aunt like the insect, ant (/ænt/), or relatively similar sounding variants such as the southern aint (/eɪnt/). According to both Webster and ...
-5
votes
4answers
528 views

“You really take the biscuit!”

Is there an American version of “You really take the biscuit!”? As in taking the last biscuit, i.e. it's incredible how selfish you are.
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What does “telling the truth has become a societal antiquity” mean?

What does "telling the truth has become a societal antiquity" mean? I saw it on a random post earlier today. I guess it could mean that it's an outdated method: that many people resort to lies.
1
vote
2answers
52 views

“He would go to the theater if I would go with him” - is this a correct sentence?

How to say properly in American English this sentence: "He would go to the theater if I would go with him". Does it look absolutely fine? First of all, I'm curious about two "would" in one sentence.
1
vote
1answer
148 views

AmE Phonetics: < I don't n-> /aʊn/ [closed]

Cut to the chase: While listening to the record 2.0 Boys by Slaughterhouse I've noticed that Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden pronounce such sequence of sounds — namely "I don't know" around 1:55 and ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

already , southern pronunciation ≈ [ʰɑɾi] “oddy”

Cut to the chase pals Could anybody confirm the southern pronunciation of "already" as something like oddy ? if so, What's its phonetic transcription? is there any eye spelling for it? I've noticed ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Associates vs employees

I've noted that some US companies (I've seen that in less-than-stellar retail and fast-food chains) call people working for them "associates", rather than "employees". What would be the difference ...
5
votes
3answers
234 views

What is a word that describes a secret that passes on from a person to person?

I forgot this word. I tell a person a secret and ask him not to tell it to anyone else. That 2nd person tells another person and tells him not to disclose it to anyone else. But this goes on. ...
5
votes
2answers
243 views

19th century American English “slang”?

As I was doing a bit of research online I stumbled on this Children's Corner page 311 from the American Farmers' Magazine 1858. And, frankly, there are a lot of words that look totally foreign to me. ...