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

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6
votes
4answers
2k views

Pronunciation of 'cos' (as in the mathematical term)

What is the correct pronunciation for the mathematical abbreviation 'cos' when it is not pronounced in its complete form 'cosine'? I pronounce it as 'k-aw-ss', but a couple of Canadian friends I have ...
4
votes
6answers
930 views

How is vehicle fuel efficiency expressed outside the United States?

I've been wondering this for a long time and Google doesn't seem to want to give me the answer. In the United States, the term "miles per gallon" is most commonly used to express the fuel efficiency ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

What exactly does “already” mean when used in the imperative mood?

This is a question about American English usage of the word "already". As a UK resident I don't completely understand when I hear Americans give commands like "Stop it already!" In the UK the word ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Do “carat” and “karat” have the same origin?

Do carat and karat have the same origin? Is it correct to say that carat derives from the Italian carato, while karat derives from the from Arabic ḳīrāṭ? Is it possible that both words derive from ...
9
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “r”

How would you describe the pronunciation of r to somebody who speaks English as second language?
3
votes
4answers
336 views

Meaning of “The Lord is on our side”

Written in 1836 in Texas P.S. The Lord is on our side—When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn—We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got ...
18
votes
5answers
42k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “to phrase it another way” mean? [closed]

What does "to phrase it another way" mean?
2
votes
4answers
199 views

Is the construct “Strength cannot beat MORE strength without …” correct?

Is the following quote correct English? Strength cannot beat more strength without ju jitsu
3
votes
0answers
127 views

Usage of 'and' with commas [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Comma before last item in a list I grew up learning British English rules and we were taught that while using commas to list or enumerate items, there should never be a ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there a shorter term for “divided by” in American English?

Given the following expression: 5 (+-×÷%) 4 You would say "5 plus 4," "5 minus 4," "5 times 4," "5 divided by 4," and "5 mod(ulo) 4" respectively. As far as I know, "divided by" does not have ...
8
votes
8answers
4k views

Incorrect grammar versus different dialects

My girlfriend, someone from southern New Jersey, constantly says phrases like "I'm done my homework" or "I'm done my dinner." I try to correct her and say, "I'm done with my homework" or "I'm done ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I distinguish “can” & “can't” from pronunciation?

It's very difficult for me to separate them. I was just listening to some video and it said "Fat cells can’t reproduce themselves." What I thought I've heard is "... CAN reproduce ..." Frankly, ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “suite your self” mean?

I have heard from some of TV series. They are saying "suite your self", what does it mean?
3
votes
5answers
544 views

Are the speakers in this video speaking standard American English? [closed]

I want to improve my American English accent, and I found Learn Real English, which is quite interesting to me. Anyway, I don't know much about standard American accent, so I want to know if those ...
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?)
2
votes
4answers
331 views

What does “transparently converted” mean?

The result is transparently converted to another data type. What does "transparently" mean in this context?
9
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is “bloody” considered obscene in the UK but not in the US?

Why is the word bloody considered obscene in the UK but not so in the US?
10
votes
6answers
16k views

Non-sexual meaning of “to have a hard-on for someone”

What does it mean to "have a hard-on for someone" in a non-sexual sense? I've heard it used in contexts that make it seem like the subject is acting aggressive or belligerent toward "someone". Is that ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Do Americans say 'cheers' to mean 'thanks'?

I find myself these days saying 'cheers' all the time as a kind of mild form of 'thanks', and I heard it said a lot round here (Northamptonshire, England). It's not even a commoner thing, I'd say the ...
43
votes
6answers
160k views

“Oriented” vs. “orientated”

What are the origins of the word orientated? As far as I know, the correct spelling is oriented and orientated is not an alternative spelling but an error that is in common use. Is it for example ...
7
votes
3answers
19k views

What does the phrase “it’s like Groundhog Day every day” mean, and where does it originate?

Some background first: I was reading about the futility that has become the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA season after Lebron James’s departure in the newspaper of the Plains Dealer, when I came across ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Hot Diggity …”

Ok, perhaps the last one was too easy :) Here's one that a friend of mine uses, and I'd love to know if it's something he coined, or is it a more common expression than I think: Hot ...
20
votes
8answers
24k views

Is it proper to omit periods after honorifics (Mr, Mrs, Dr)?

I've been reading the Economist lately and they apparently don't punctuate honorifics like "Mr.", "Mrs.", e.g. The popular rejection of Mr Mubarak offers the Middle East’s best chance for reform ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

“I'm unclear” versus “it's unclear to me that”

It sounds like your proposal would make a great feature request for the existing module. I'm unclear why you consider it was not a good idea. Does replacing I'm unclear with it is unclear to me ...
5
votes
2answers
490 views

What kind of accent is this?

What kind of accent is this? Is the speaker there speaking American English or Canadian? It is quite obvious it's not British or Australian accent. If it's American, can you, please, say what part of ...
17
votes
8answers
2k views

Why does American English pluralize certain singular nouns?

I keep hearing "A savings of $10" or that something is "a ways off". Sounds deeply weird to my British English ear.
2
votes
2answers
147 views

What is the pronunciation of mutinous?

What is the pronunciation of mutinous? I looked at the pronunciation reported in a dictionary, which uses /ˈmjutn=əs/ as American English IPA transcription, but I don't understand which sound should ...
3
votes
2answers
340 views

What does “Without padding one’s end zone” mean?

In the following sentence of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy in New York Times (Feb.1) contributed by columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget, I found the following sentence: You can work up Super Bowl Sunday ...
26
votes
4answers
90k views

What do Americans think of using 'cheers' to sign off an email?

I've suspected before that "Cheers" as an email sign-off is a bit of an English (or possibly Commonwealth) thing, but being English it's natural to me and I use it as the mood takes me to end an ...
5
votes
3answers
29k views

When to use “Well” or “Good” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do so many people get this wrong? “How are you? / I'm well.” How would you answer the question "How are you?" I'm well. or I'm good. I ...
6
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the closest alternative to “rubbish” in American English?

What is the replacement for "rubbish" in American English? I would think "crappy" but it seems a bit stronger than needed.
3
votes
4answers
357 views

What is the origin of “cross country skiing”?

I was speaking of skiing when I was in USA, and I discovered that one type of ski is called cross country skiing. What is the origin of that phrase, which is not really referring to skiing through ...
5
votes
7answers
5k views

“Viewer discretion is advised”

This program contains material that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised. Is that 100% correct English? This is the text shown before some TV programs. When I first ...
10
votes
4answers
741 views

“I park my car in the yard”

What is the origin of the different pronunciation of words like park, yard, cartoon, margarine in American and British English? In other words, why doesn’t British English generally pronounce the r ...
4
votes
5answers
576 views

What is the word for a university student who has a job at university?

I have to produce a copy of my CV in English and I don't know how to properly describe the position. When I was a Master student, I was employed by a professor at our department, for whom I did some ...
11
votes
3answers
18k views

Origin of the meaning of “à la mode”

In American English, à la mode means: in fashion, up to date. with ice cream. (of beef) braised in wine, typically with vegetables. While the first meaning matches the French meaning, the other ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Do Americans use the world 'turtle' as a generic word to mean 'tortoise'?

Obviously there are two different animals — a tortoise and a turtle. But I have been told by a colleague that in the US the word turtle is used to describe both. I find this odd as for example the ...
29
votes
7answers
111k views

Data pronunciation: “dayta” or “dahta”?

I hear "dayta" more often, but what's the correct pronunciation?
32
votes
7answers
60k views

Can 'revert' be used as a synonym of 'reply'?

I am a native speaker of American English, and I have only ever heard this usage of the word revert from one person. This person is not a native English speaker (he is from India), so he may just be ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Is a whole cake still a “piece”

If someone eats an entire cake, is it correct to say that he ate just a piece of cake? Can a whole cake still be considered a piece of cake if consumed in one sitting?
14
votes
22answers
1k views

Is there a good substitute for the word “scarper” in American English?

I used quick, let's scarper before the boss comes back to inject some levity into a recent meeting, but got only blank stares for my trouble. When asked to explain scarper to my American chums, all I ...
16
votes
3answers
29k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
544 views

avoid the slash?

Should the slash be avoided? For example every week/day in my head is translated to every week or day. I think I started using slashes because I saw them used in forums and in articles. Is using ...
6
votes
8answers
524 views

“flavorx” v.s. “flavors”

I wrote something about the food. And I use flavors for plural flavor, however my foreign English teacher corrected it as flavorx. And he considers that I also should read 'flavors'. I googled the ...
41
votes
7answers
2k views

Which variant of English should I use when my target audience is the world?

I know that all variants of English (American English, British English, etc.) can be generally understood by everybody who knows any of the English variants. However, there are some regionalisms that ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “throw back” mean?

In this sentence: I've throw back a lot of orange juice. What does to “throw back (orange juice)” mean?
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Do Americans say “don't” as often as the British?

this is really a question for Americans. When watching US TV or films, it's often my impression that, while using all the other contractions, Americans don't seem so keen on 'don't', but use 'do not' ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

What's this tense called: “I been done ate”?

Growing up in a Black family in the US, I frequently heard people have conversations like this: Mom: Have you eaten yet? Kid: Yeah, Mom, I been done ate. Wife: Have you fixed the sink yet? ...