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

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11
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4answers
2k views

When did the U.S. President become “Mr. X” instead of “President X”?

When I was much younger, I remember the press always referred to the U.S. president using the title of the office: "President Nixon" was followed by "President Ford" then "President Carter". Now that ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Never mind” in AmE and BrE

Reading some forum pages about the meaning of this phrase, I realized that there's a difference in usage of it, between American and British English. What's the difference in meaning of "never mind" ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“What it is that is” versus “what is”

I recently heard an American presenter using the phrase "discover what it is that is important to you." What is the linguistic difference between saying "what it is that is," rather than "what is"?
2
votes
3answers
12k views

Which of these two sentences is correct (“processes” vs. “process”)?

Which of the following two sentences is correct? Read more about the processes behind my projects. ...or... Read more about the process behind my projects. The one on top looks right ...
10
votes
4answers
15k views

Footwear: Runners. Sneakers. Trainers

There's a type of shoe which I, being Irish, would call runners. They're comfortable for running or walking in. The British call them trainers, probably because they can be used for sports or ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

A or an XML report? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word 'X-Ray'? Quite simply, should a sentence read "a XML report" ...
3
votes
3answers
11k views

“On which” or “upon which”

Today, I am writing technical documentation that instructs the user how to install software to a server. I encountered the following sentence and am unsure which is correct: When installing to a ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Does this ‘be going to’ have an emotional meaning?

Here is a skit from a radio English conversation program, dealing with American English. A: guest B: front desk clerk C: A's wife (at the front desk of a hotel) A: I have a reservation ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the difference in meaning between “pattern” and “rhythm”?

What is the difference in meaning between pattern and rhythm? It seems to me that the former is more American-English and the latter more British-English. Are these more or less synonyms or are there ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

'co-opt' in US usage

'co-opt' in US usage means to take over for a purpose for which it was not really intended, having a slightly inappropriate connotation, while in the British usage it means to choose or elect as a ...
3
votes
3answers
350 views

Usage of 'customs' in lieu of 'immigration'

Over at the Travel SE beta (it's in private beta so I'm not sure how many here will be able to access it), I came across a question whether the OP uses "clearance through US Customs" when I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Use of “Sure” in reply to help offering and to appreciation

In American English, "sure" is often heard in reply to offering help or expressing appreciation. I was wondering if it may not be a good choice? For example, - Would you like a cup of water? - ...
14
votes
2answers
18k views

Why is the phrase “should have went” so widely used?

Rarely do we hear "should have gone" in common speech. Some background: My father immigrated to the US in the late 60s. He learned English first overseas, British English. Then he studied extensively ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Intention of rising pitches

I have been wondering about the rising pitch used in almost every sentence, by especially young Americans. What is the purpose/intention of rising pitch except in questions? Is it friendly and ...
2
votes
2answers
739 views

American pronunciation of “professor” and “law”

In this video, around 0:45, when Amy Chua says "I am a professor at Yale law school". I was wondering why her mouth pouted twice, once at the end of "professor" and the other between "law" and ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

“tag question” vs. “question tag”

I've just read this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_question So regarding this passage: The term "question tag" is generally preferred by British grammarians, while their American ...
4
votes
3answers
62k views

“When would be the best time” vs. “what would be the best time”

Is it more appropriate to say When would be the best time and date for the meeting? or What would be the best time and date for the meeting? I would assume the former and not the latter, ...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

Is it safe to use the British standard for numbering in a novel with a worldwide audience? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Billion and other large numbers Where I am from (Barbados) I grew up knowing a Billion to = 1000 000 000 000, not 1000 000 000, and it was some years before I learned to ...
7
votes
2answers
570 views

How to convey to someone that food is losing heat?

The story is that I want someone to come earlier to the dining table as food is hot now but in ten minutes it would not be. How in American English can I say to someone to come early, as food on the ...
3
votes
2answers
576 views

“Destination language” or “target language”?

For example, I translate a word from English to German. I call "English" "source language". Should I use "destination language" or "target language" for "German"?
6
votes
8answers
13k views

Why is it called an “Indian file”?

I recently came across a US phrase, Indian file. This is utterly unheard of in the UK, and probably outside North America; at least I’ve certainly never heard of it. The phrase would be expressed in ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Can “shop” (related to selling or stores) be used as a transitive verb?

How is shop used as a transitive verb? The only transitive meanings I can find are reporting someone to police or Photoshopping an image. I found one discussion about transitive 'shop', centered on ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Should anti- and counterclockwise be hyphenated?

I've got a document in which I'm defining counterclockwise and mentioning that it is sometimes also called anti-clockwise. The document is in American English, and generally in line with the Chicago ...
13
votes
7answers
22k views

Difference between “canteen” and “cafeteria”

Are there any differences between canteen and cafeteria? In India, usually an eating place attached to an office, factory or school is called a canteen. Of course, in some new offices it is called ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is “ouster” the act of ousting and not one who ousts?

The question should be clear enough from the title. Also: What are we supposed to call one who ousts? [If this warrants another question, I will edit this out and open another question.]
4
votes
1answer
17k views

Please explain the: upwards vs upward difference [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “Backward” versus “backwards” — is there any difference? Afterward versus afterwards — which, and/or when? I have seen both used ...
3
votes
9answers
1k views

What word describes interpreting evidence in such a way as to reach a desired conclusion?

Does anyone know what it's called when you interpret evidence to reach the conclusion you want?
12
votes
4answers
956 views

What are the possible meanings of positive “any more”?

Ordinary any more [usually with negative or in questions] to any further extent; any longer: she refused to listen any more Positive any more is the use of the adverb any more in an ...
89
votes
1answer
337k views

What's the difference between “requester” and “requestor”?

Both are in dictionaries. I've heard people insist "requester" is correct for a person who requests something, and that "requestor" is wrong there, leaving me to wonder how it is used. Requestor ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Pronunciation of double consonants

How do you pronounce double consonants in American English? For example: Daddy - Do you say "Da-di", "Dad-di" or "Dad-i"? Mommy - Do you say "Ma-mi", "Mam-mi" or "Mam-i"? Swimming - "swi-ming", ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Linking sounds?

When one word ends in a consonant sound and the next begins with a vowel sound, can you tell me how you say these words in American English? can I..? (Can nai or Ca nai?) take it (teɪ kit or teɪk ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “interstitial effect” mean?

Googled, but still do not understand what "interstitial effect" means. Can someone please explain?
7
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the history and geographic area of the word “finna?”

In St. Louis, I learned of the word, "finna." I know it is slang/contraction for "fixing to." By asking dozens of people, I've learned that it is used by people of many different races and cultural ...
3
votes
2answers
945 views

Can and can't pronunciation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to distinguish can & can't from pronunciation? How do native American English speakers pronounce "can" and "can't" so that these two very similarly sounding ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

When and how did “momentarily” come to mean “in a moment”, rather than “for a moment”?

"Momentarily" used to mean "for a moment" only, and not "in a moment". Thus, newscasters could be divided into two clear groups: those who would say "we'll be back momentarily," and those who would ...
7
votes
5answers
78k views

“Vendor” vs. “vender” in Standard American English

Which is preferred? I've always thought that vendor was the only spelling. The question was brought up by a typo, which the Word spellchecker did not correct.
10
votes
3answers
4k views

'Ours' meaning 'our home' - where is it used outside the UK, if anywhere?

In expressions like: Let's go back to ours and have some food. There's a party at ours on Friday. There's a bottle of brandy at yours, isn't there? 'ours' and 'yours' are synonyms for ...
-1
votes
2answers
685 views

Is 'r' in Br/Amr pronunciation of Arjmand (Persian word) silent?

Is 'r' in Br/Amr pronunciation of 'Arjmand' (Persian word) silent? (In other words, how is this word pronounced in Br/Amr English?)
10
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there an American English dialect that sounds as “distingushed” as British English?

Obviously there are a lot of subjective words in the question. There are dialects of British English that don't sound distinguished at all (Cockney). Also, what sounds distinguished is somewhat ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Spelling protocol (American/British/Canadian) for an International conference

If I'm a Canadian who'll be presenting in an international conference, should I use my country's spelling, which is the Canadian/British spelling like "grey" or the more used American spelling like ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Preventative vs. preventive

In this answer about the non-word disabilitated, the word preventative is compared (unfavourably, if my reading of the implication is correct) to preventive. However, I have always used preventative, ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

Enquire and inquire

In British English I think these two words have different shades of meaning, but I couldn't articulate them. In American English I see inquire used where I would use "enquire". Are there shades of ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

Is Australian English closer to US English or British English?

It would seem obvious to me that Australian English is closer to British English due to the historical events that led to English people living here. But it seems when differences occur that US ...
15
votes
10answers
12k views

How many of the “Top 10 favorite British words” are understood by Americans?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online shows “Top 10 Favorite British Words”. I’m interested in knowing how many of the listed words are understood or accepted by Americans as English, whichever British ...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

Is this letter censuring or just being sarcastic?

This is a letter by physicist Richard Feynman to his university's student newspaper. I am a non-native english speaker and I have trouble understanding in what spirit this letter was written them, is ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

“Cleats” vs. “soccer shoes”

I used to say cleats but found it uncommon for some people, though I had no trouble with soccer shoes. I have always lived in a Spanish-speaking country (Nicaragua) so I find it hard to know why that ...
1
vote
0answers
182 views

Is “Can not” a valid usage in English, or I can not use that and must use “cannot”/“Can't”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Why is “cannot” spelled as one word? Is “can not” unambiguous? Is "Can not" a valid usage in English (American English if it differs), or I can not use ...
2
votes
2answers
626 views

“Time needed to complete a work” — is this correct?

Is the usage of "a work" correct here? My supervisor, who is not an English teacher, advised me to use "a task" instead. Usually, though, I would not mind either way. Does somebody have another ...
12
votes
7answers
9k views

Is it appropriate to call a British person a “Brit”?

Specifically, is it appropriate for a non-British person to call a British person a "Brit"? Whenever I see it from an American source it always feels too familiar or too informal, or both. But I can't ...
14
votes
8answers
31k views

Meaning of “go figure” and its origin?

Sometimes, people use a colloquial phrase of "it figures" or "go figure", which is kind of an acknowledgement of the correctness of a fact, or something like that. It's also sometimes abbreviated even ...