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

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3
votes
4answers
22k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a “cracker-barrel sage”?

What is a cracker-barrel sage? Context: The influence of many years spent in America talking to (and often down to) Americans also gave his performance a kind of Barnum quality: Hitchens the ...
3
votes
2answers
968 views

Is “shvisle” a real or made up word? [closed]

I've come across the word in this captchart: "Yo, my nizzle, can you pass me that shvisle?". Is it supposed to mean something? I've easly found the meaning of nizzle, but I'm at a loss with shvisle. ...
-1
votes
3answers
250 views

Why is the word “before” vanishing from common use?

Just in the last four years, I've noticed that the word prior is increasingly used in place of before. Prior has become customary enough that people commonly leave off 'to' in employing it: "Most of ...
0
votes
4answers
25k views

Pronunciation of “Porsche” over time

Is there an official pronunciation for Porsche? I grew up pronouncing it with a silent final e ("Porsh"). However, I've increasingly heard it was pronunced with a neutral e sound at the end ("Por-shuh"...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Meaning of “float a deadpoint”

In a book about climbing technique (written by an American) I found the following expression: ...: floating a deadpoint from any one of a million different body positions. While the meaning of ...
20
votes
6answers
10k views

Dialects where days of the week end with “dee”?

Someone recently posted a question about the pronunciation of Wednesday, which reminded me of a different question about pronouncing the days of the week I've had floating around in my head for a ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Significance of BrE vs AmE in the US [closed]

I've been working on a thesis concerning the differences between British English and American English. I studied that in the past a standardization of American English was refused, even if spoken and ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Clarifying the usage of “hella”

The word hella has spread from the Southern California dialect to the point where most varieties of American English speaker (such as me in the Midwest) know that it exists and hear it used. I always ...
5
votes
1answer
44k views

“Lunch” vs “luncheon” [closed]

What is the difference between lunch and luncheon? Is it just American spelling vs British spelling, or do they have some sort of formal/professional touch to them, say, a casual midday meal with ...
12
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Use of can't/cannot to indicate the opposite

I cannot find any references online that would help me know what this topic in English grammar is called, but I'm trying to guide a non-American friend to understand why some would use the word "can't"...
-2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it true that you are supposed to put two spaces after the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How many spaces should come after a period/full stop? Possible duplicate: How many spaces should come after a period/full stop? Is it true that you are supposed to put ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

“How are you” in America

People in America ask "how are you" a lot. Many people would reply with "I'm good." If I am feeling OK, I would say "I'm well." Which version is right?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is stainless steel “stainless”?

Inox steel is stainless because it does not stain, but is stain the same thing as rust? I just want to understand since stain reminds me of clothing stains, for instance, and I am rather curious as to ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Difference between “engage” and “hire”

For example, "We decide to engage a lawyer for the case." "We decide to hire a lawyer for the case." Is engage used particularly in British English? Do speakers of American English use engage in ...
2
votes
1answer
536 views

What is the origin of using the term “lease” to signify a financing agreement with option to buy out an asset, as opposed to simple rent?

A formal definition of the word "lease" makes a lease out to be very similar to "rent" in meaning: noun \ˈlēs\ Definition of LEASE a contract by which one conveys real estate, ...
3
votes
0answers
104 views

Can you chain / combine contractions in correct English? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can a word be contracted twice (e.g. “I'ven't”)? I would like to know if it is proper to chain multiple contractions into a single word when they are in ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What kind of rain is “sprinkles”?

It appears that MSN Weather has chosen an amusing adjective (from my British point of view) for the weather today: I'm assuming the precipitation (sadly) won't contain any hundreds-and-thousands. ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

What do British and American post boxes say when they don't want any advertising?

Advertising leaflets shoved en masse into mail boxes are one of the banes of modern society. In Germany, putting a note saying "Bitte keine Werbung" ("No advertising please") on your box protects ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Differences between dialects

I'm Italian and I'm trying to improve my English, but I have some difficulty speaking with and understanding people of different countries. For example when I study English in books it seems to be ...
5
votes
3answers
897 views

Should one stick to American style of placing punctuation marks within quotes if one uses the American spelling?

According to Wikipedia, there are two ways to use punctation marks when it comes to quoting. Basically, we have the British style, where punctation marks that don't come from the quoted material "is ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

How did the use of “could of” and “should of” originate, and is it considered correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “of” instead of “have” correct? It bothers me that so many people use could of, would of, should of instead of could've or could have, etc. For instance, I have seen ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Why don't Americans write “devor” instead of “devour”?

Why don't Americans write devor instead of devour to be consistent with the pervasiveness of using variations such as color and armor?
9
votes
5answers
13k views

“Facade” vs. “façade”

I know that both facade and façade are valid in British English. Is that also true for American English? Or should facade be used when writing something for American customers? This is something that ...
0
votes
2answers
957 views

Are there clear differences in formality of words between British-English and American-English [closed]

I wonder if there are any clear distinctions regarding using formal words in British-English and in American-English. Do American and English people use different words when for instance asking a ...
9
votes
5answers
8k views

“If I knew you're coming I wouldn't have come”

Is the statement If I knew you're coming I wouldn't have come correct? Should we use If I had known you're coming, I wouldn't have come instead? Please consider American-British ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of “note (bill)” and “banknote” in AmE

Do American English speakers use note to mean bill (as in ten-dollar bill)? If so, is note a shortening of the word banknote?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Why do people say “next Tuesday” for the Tuesday falling in the same week? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to? How did “next day” come to mean “day of next week”? My employer told me on Monday that ...
0
votes
5answers
2k views

Americans stereotype Canadian pronunciation of “about”? [closed]

Americans think that Canadians pronounce about as aboot (I've never heard anyone pronounce it that way) yet they pronounce route as root. They know how to pronounce out, about, router (as rauwter) ...
-3
votes
2answers
509 views

Does using an adverb three times almost always imply the opposite?

Dana is very, very, very nice. A real housewife of Beverly Hills It seems that almost exclusively, the reiteration of a such a clarifier - very in this case - ends up actually meaning the ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is this an example of litotes?

In Macbeth's Tomorrow speech To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Which version of English influenced the other? British / American

I remember hearing that modern American English is more similar to Old English than modern British English, due to rural British influences. Is modern American English a more accurate representation ...
10
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “Every me, every you” mean? [closed]

What does one mean when he says "Every me, every you"?
13
votes
5answers
11k views

Can “already” be used after a simple past verb in American English?

A British colleague asked if these two sentences are grammatically acceptable in American English: They found already high recognition in Europe and we wish to carry that further. ...
8
votes
3answers
33k views

“Checked shirt” vs “check shirt”

My son is learning English as a foreign language and I notice a mixture of British and American words in his vocab lists. Is there such thing as a checked shirt, or should it be a check shirt?
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Response-uncountable?

I am an elderly Australian teaching translation from Chinese and Korean to English at an Australian university. A Korean student's translation read: There have [sic?] been much response to ... ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does there exist a difference in spelling between British English and American English?

I understand that the use of different terms for the same item (e.g., "car park" vs. "parking lot") has already been discussed, but I'm interested to know why we spell the same words differently in ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Do “You see me?” and “You get me?” mean “Do you understand what I mean?”

Sometimes after finish explaining something, people will say, "You see me?" or "You get me?" I wonder if they are equivalent to "Do you understand what I mean?"
1
vote
4answers
196 views

I need a noun in American English that represents the idiom 'to look on the bright side'

We're developing an application where we have categories users may progress towards, and one of them is 'to look on the bright side; to live without worry, etc.'. However, categories are titled with a ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

“A half a cup of [something]”

Watching a cooking show a few days ago, the lady that presented it used the expression a half a cup or a half a teaspoon several times during the programme. I've heard half a [something] used before ...
16
votes
5answers
15k views

How should I address a professor in the US?

I am always puzzled about how students address a professor in America. Perhaps "Professor + Last name" is the most formal way to do. Here are my questions: What if the last name of a professor is ...
6
votes
4answers
20k views

Synonymity of “is that so” and “really”

Do these have the same meaning? Oh is that so? Oh really?
6
votes
5answers
14k views

Which is correct, “on-line” or “online”?

I am still seeing uses of on-line, though I think it is incorrect. For example: A web browser enables a user to go on-line/online. Can you tell me which is the more appropriate to use, on-line ...
4
votes
1answer
34k views

Proper use of the phrase “of all time”

I have a client who insists on using the following sentence in his web site: Lance Armstrong is the most successful American bike racer of all times. I think that "of all times" should be "of ...
1
vote
3answers
13k views

Pronunciation of “i” in the words like “direct”, “organization”, etc

I'm a nonnative speaker of English and I've always been unsure about the pronunciation of "i" inside words like direct, organization, etc. I was thinking that it's a matter of choice between American ...
7
votes
6answers
378 views

Is there a word or term for an attempt to simplify but which complicates instead?

Specifically something which seems simpler than an alternative at first glance but is actually complex on a closer examination. There are some things that have been coming up at work that fit this ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Use of the word “have”

In a menu title/button, does "have" need to be used? Is "1" okay or should "2" be used? 1) People who contacted you in the last 24 hours 2) People who have contacted you in the last 24 hours This ...
3
votes
1answer
17k views

Why “a quarter of nine” to represent 8:45? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does 'ten of six' mean in regard to time? As a non-native speaker, I consider a quarter past nine (9:15) and a quarter to nine (8:45) easy to understand. ...