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

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2
votes
3answers
65 views

Is “for short” correct?

In conversation I used the phrase "for short" in the context: "I will call you blank for short." I know I've heard the phrase before, but I'm wondering if it is actually acceptable English? If ...
1
vote
3answers
393 views

Where does the slang word “bad” + “ass” (badass) come from?

What is the origin of the word badass? Why a "bad" ass/"bad" + "ass"? What is an ass that is bad and how can an ass that is bad describe a tough person?
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Meaning - lawin'

As Calpurnia, one Miscellany 195 character in the story, notes, ‘First thing you learn when you’re in a lawin’ family is that there ain’t any definite answers to anything.’ I hazard that ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

What does “Prepare to have your pleasure glands carpet-bombed” mean?

Check it out inside, man. It's bigger than your house. (describing a van ) Prepare to have your pleasure glands carpet-bombed. Watch out for the floors,'cause they're marble. From the movie judgement ...
5
votes
1answer
123 views

When did it become common to 'double the conditional'?

Twins is a 1988 comedy featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as genetically engineered twins. The fact that they’re genetically engineered is used to explain the differences between ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

What does “on the couch” mean? [closed]

What does this mean ? I'm on the couch tonight for sure From the movie Judgment Night (1993).
1
vote
2answers
77 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
376 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
190 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
108 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
155 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
305 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
96 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
252 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
81 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
318 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
192 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
58 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
89 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 ...
73
votes
15answers
11k 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
7k 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
110 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
62 views

Proper use of “repertoire”

Could the word repertoire be used to describe one’s behavior as a façade?
0
votes
1answer
85 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
45 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
106 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
193 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
39 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
110 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
579 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
672 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
97 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
441 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
65 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
109 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
43 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
62 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
337 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
93 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
125 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
218 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
36 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
6k 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
591 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
63 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.