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

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12
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is “a couple of <things>” often shortened to “a couple <things>”?

I would write a couple of . I often read/hear a couple . I assumed this was an American English thing (I'm British), and just a convenient shortening of the phrase for speaking. It's easier to say a ...
15
votes
3answers
968 views

Billion and other large numbers

Traditionally a billion in American English means 109 (1,000,000,000, a thousand million) while in British English it means 1012 (a million million) with milliard meaning 109. Is this still the case ...
4
votes
2answers
911 views

What does the phrase “on to” mean?

The following sentence is the context. Accordingly, in the next few chapters, which deal specifically with the tags, we’ll spend a lot more time on the OGNL expression language. On to chapter 6! ...
35
votes
15answers
9k views

Words with opposite meanings in different regions

I can't recall it, but there is a word in American English which now means the opposite of itself in British English. What words are there that have opposite (not just different) meanings in different ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does the phrase “Go Tiger!” mean?

I am learning the Java struts 2 by reading a book titled "struts 2 in action" and I encountered the phrase "Go Tiger!". I can't figure out what it means; can anybody give me the answer? If you ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

What is a West Coast (U.S.) accent?

I've seen references to the American Midwest as being the home of the least accented form of American English. I always think of the Northern Midwest as having an accent that I associate with ...
13
votes
5answers
24k views

Is there a 1950's American accent?

Listening to old recordings, there is a distinct accent that radio and television announcers used that is different from a modern-day "Standard American" or neutral accent. It seems that over the ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Is it correct to speak of New York dialect?

Is it correct to speak of New York dialect, or should I use a different term when referring to the particular pronunciation used in New York?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a difference between the pronunciation of a teenager, and the pronunciation of an adult?

In my travels in the USA (on Long Island), I noted that the pronunciation used by a teenager sounds different from the pronunciation used by an adult. Does such difference exist, or is it just my ...
12
votes
3answers
6k views

Where is standard American English derived from?

I have a book that explains how to speak in standard American English (American Accent Training — Barron's). What does the term standard American English refer to? Is there a region in the United ...
7
votes
5answers
10k views

What is the origin of the colloquial term “bum” meaning a homeless person?

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering about the history of the term "bum" meaning a homeless person, not the UK version referring to someone's posterior. Bonus: If you know the background on "Hobo" ...
18
votes
5answers
27k views

“right” vs “correct”

Except when we use right to denote direction, what is the difference between these two terms? Also, which one is the preferred construction between these two Am I right? or Am I correct?
2
votes
3answers
557 views

Redundancy in American Usage

Why do Americans use so much redundancy? Is it because of their schooling or their every day influence? Or is it something totally different? Examples: It was an even tie. (They reached the finish ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Meaning of “boroughs of New York City”

What does borough mean? Does the word have a different meaning when used in the five boroughs of New York City?
20
votes
5answers
21k views

What is the pronunciation of “the”?

I read that the definite article is pronounced differently depending on the word that follows it. Which is the exact pronunciation of the?
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Is correct to use an adjective as appositive?

We youngsters admired our grandmother very much. You ignorant don't understand what I am talking about. Can I use an adjective as appositive, as in the second sentence?
9
votes
6answers
15k views

What do the American nicknames 'Dutch' and 'T-Bone' mean?

Does the nickname Dutch have any significance? I know it was Reagan's, and I'm sure I've come across it in other books/films. Also T-Bone, as in T-Bone Walker, T-Bone Burnett: what does that mean? (I ...
23
votes
7answers
11k views

“Pissed” vs “Pissed off”

In Australian English there has always been a distinction between "pissed" (intoxicated) and "pissed off" (angry, irritated). I've noticed a trend towards the American usage where "he was really ...
18
votes
6answers
108k views

“Speak to” vs. “Speak with”

What are the differences between these two phrasal verbs and what are the best situations to use each?
5
votes
2answers
423 views

Equivalences between Australian English and American English

Where can I find a good source (book or web page) of equivalences between Australian English and American English? I am looking for ordinary words, clothing-related words, food-related words, etc.
22
votes
6answers
13k views

Are the endings “-zation” and “-sation” interchangeable?

What is with words that have forms that end both in -zation and -sation, such as localization and localisation? Many spell checkers recommend -zation.
11
votes
6answers
5k views

“Don't got” — how common is it in American usage?

I often hear the usage "don't got" in American English as spoken on TV programmes. Recently I was watching season four of "Prison Break" and one character, an Asian computer wizard, repeatedly used ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Answering “Have you got” questions with “I do”

For the question "Have you got any ice cream?" which is correct: Yes I do Yes I have or inversely No I don't No I haven't got any
12
votes
3answers
16k views

Is there any difference between “color” and “colour”?

What is the difference between color and colour?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the usage of “speaks to” new? Is it American?

Two examples from Google: Doris McCarthy exhibit speaks to the artist as lover of life and A scribble that speaks to wild nature of art Is this use of 'speaks to' new? I seem to have ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Are “betwixt”, “trebble”, etc., acceptable in American English?

I grew up speaking British English. The words I learnt were occasionally marked off in papers, despite their being English words. Are words like betwixt, trebble, learnt acceptable in papers for ...