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

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4answers
5k views

What's another way of saying “supposed to graduate in 2013”? [closed]

I am filling out a job application and I know there's an official word for it, but I just can't think of it. It can normally be found on transcripts.
9
votes
8answers
3k views

Why “horseback riding” and not simply “horse riding”?

As a German horse riding seems to be to the point. Why is it horseback riding in English? Isn't it obvious that you ride on the back of the horse? Is there a difference between British and American ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Badger someone” [closed]

I've heard the expression "to badger someone" in British English usage, and not being able to find out about its origins, I wonder if it is also commonly used elsewhere, for example, in American ...
5
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1answer
5k views

What does the phrase 'make the girls tick' mean?

I read the following phrase in a dating book. find out who they are and what made them tick? What does the phrase make the girls tick mean?
27
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3answers
2k views

Do Americans understand Donald Duck?

I had always assumed that although I understood only about half of what Donald Duck says in his cartoons, Americans understood everything despite his comical pronunciation. However friends have just ...
6
votes
3answers
15k views

How can I answer the question “What is the word, bird?” [closed]

I'm often asked a question "What is the word, bird?" by a manager of mine. I'm not sure what does it mean but I think it means "What's your last status update?" and I answer like I do have to do 1, 2, ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

“Late to the party” vs. “late for the party”

I've heard both versions, usually in similar contexts. Which one is correct or more correct — or more prevalent — in the USA? He: This deal ends at 7 p.m. She: Sucks, I am late to the party.
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Transitioning” vs. “transitional” phase

I am wondering if it is correct to say: This is a transitioning phase. Personally, I would say This is a transitional phase. but my friend insists that the above is just as correct as my ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“Referenced in” or “referenced from”?

Which of these sentences is more correct? ABC should not be referenced from file X. ABC should not be referenced in file X. ABC should not be referenced by file X.
14
votes
4answers
76k views

“Pricey” vs. “Pricy”

I've recently encountered these two variations of the spellings for the informal word for "expensive." My dictionary and the online dictionary seem to indicate that both of these spellings are correct,...
16
votes
4answers
96k views

“flat” vs. “apartment”

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition Flat: noun. [ countable ] ( BrE ) a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building. Apartment: noun. ( ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there /ɔ/ and /ʌ/ sounds in informal American English?

I read a book about American English. It reports that, in standard informal conversations, American English doesn't use the /ɔ/ sound; it uses the /ɑ/ sound and /ʌ/ and /ə/ are not different. Are they ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “[expletive] it up” mean?

When I was in San Diego, I asked to a girl "how can I get to the freeway?" She answered me, "Go straight on, you can't fuck it up." What does it mean? Is this a usable phrase or it is too vulgar? Is ...
11
votes
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
13k 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
16k 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
7k 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" or "...
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
221 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
360 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
19k 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
746 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 "school"...
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
69k 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
292 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
572 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
603 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
14k 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
23k 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
18k 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
973 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 ...
91
votes
1answer
350k 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
3k 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
14k 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
956 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
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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
83k 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
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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 'our/...