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

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1
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3answers
1k views

“On the air” OR “On air”

Do you remember Northern Exposure? I hope so. Chris had a light-sign in his office: http://nevergoodbye.com/go/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/totalchris.gif And when you search google images for "on the ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Operator: “Are you through, Sir?” - AmEng vs. BrEng

In the context of a telephone call via an operator-assisted service, is it fact that in AmEng, if the operator asks the service user (caller) if they are through, what is meant by that is, are you ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the word “garage” have so many different pronunciations?

Whenever I'm teaching private students and we are faced with the word garage, I hesitate a little. Italians have borrowed the term garage, which they pronounce /gaˈraʒ/, to stand for the ...
7
votes
9answers
28k views

In which parts of the USA do the say “soda” or “pop”?

Depending on where you go in the world, some people will refer to a carbonated beverage as "soda" while others choose to use the term "pop." For example, "Can I get you a soda" vs. "Can I get you a ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Is there another way than [ɜr] to pronounce the grapheme “or” in words like “world” in AmEng?

It seems like I've lost count of the number of times that I've noticed some native speakers of American English pronounce the grapheme "or" in words like "world" as [oʊr] or [ɔr] rather than [ɜr]. ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the source of “Long time no see,” and when did it enter U.S. English?

A question from almost two years ago asked "In which countries is that “long time no see” greeting common?" The question drew a number of answers that were squarely on point, but also a couple that ...
6
votes
2answers
142 views

Usage of “homework,” “schoolwork,” and “assignment” in AmEng for schoolwork given to students to do at home

As far as AmEng goes, is there any difference in using either homework, schoolwork, or assignment to call schoolwork given to students to be done at home? Can these be used just about interchangeably? ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

“Did you see XYZ movie” or “have you seen XYZ movie” [duplicate]

Eight years in the States and I still don't understand when it's good to use "I did" vs. "I have", especially when talking about movies. "Have you watched it?" "Did u watch?" Etc.
1
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3answers
85 views

“The population is 57,000” or “the population is 57,000 people”? [closed]

I'm having a devil of time googling this, so my apologies if this question has been answered before. Internet searching has been all but worthless, what with boolean cues being imprecise as they are. ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

All I know vs. Alls I know

Are the two sayings proper English? "Alls I know" and "All I know" Alls I know just sounds bad to me, but while people agree, no one can tell me if it is right or wrong.
0
votes
1answer
55 views

What is the meaning of this excerpt?

I settled a debt(in process of) for certain amount with the government, but there is a note at the bottom which bothers me. If I understand correctly, this means that I would have to pay the reduced ...
8
votes
2answers
459 views

What source explains the different pronunciations of “hol” in “alcohol” and “hollow”?

According to Merriam-Webster, the pronunciation of alcohol is "ˈal-kə-ˌhȯl" while the pronunciation of hollow is "ˈhä-(ˌ)lō." Why are they pronounced with different vowels? I think I've figured out ...
-2
votes
1answer
82 views

Can we say “There should be any problem for Adam to eat that apple”? [closed]

There should be any problem for Adam to eat that apple. Is this a proper sentence? The use of any here seems to be an issue. For example it seems fine in sentences like: I couldn't find any ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

temporal “directly” in AmEng usage: “immediately/without delay” or “shortly/in a little while”?

What does directly commonly mean in standard AmEng when used as a temporal adverb, immediately/instantly/at once/right away/without delay -or- soon/shortly/in a little while? DIRECTLY At ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Does English slang have a feminine version of “breaking someone's balls”?

A question out of curiosity. Probably Not Safe For Work. Often times, I come across this phrase especially in Hollywood movies and sitcoms. Depending on how it's used, it either means that "someone ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

Is “sleeveless vest” redundant?

I had always thought a vest implied a sleeveless garment of clothing, but I find several instances of the phrase "sleeveless vest." Isn't that redundant and is there any reputable, somewhat ...
-1
votes
1answer
75 views

What does word “nerd” mean exactly? [closed]

I always thought nerds were people who are into science and a bit socially awkward. Like characters in xkcd comic. But in all conversations on the internet, I see nerd refers to a person that is ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Can we say “there should be any problem”? [closed]

Is this a proper sentence? "there should be any problem" I know we can say "there shouldnt be any problem" But can we say "there should be any problem" ?
62
votes
9answers
9k views

How is y’all’dn’t’ve pronounced

According to Wikipedia, y’all’dn’t’ve is a valid contraction. I am having difficulty pronouncing the L-D-N-T-V consonant cluster, especially since there is no vowel at the end (silent E). ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

What do you call this button-shaped thing?

I was changing the back light bulb on my car ,and I was struggling to unbutton this button-shaped thing . what do you call this button-shaped thing in English? It looks like a tack or a fastener. ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the origin of “odds and ends”?

There's already a question (and answer) for "bits and bobs", which I believe is a Britishism, but what is the origin of "odds and ends"? "Odds" I have some reckoning for (as in, "odd items", meaning ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

Names for parts of a mug? [closed]

What are the different parts of the mug? I only know the handle.
18
votes
11answers
3k views

Are there any similar phrases that are popular in the US to express “penny dropped”?

I met the phrase penny dropped today and learned that it is mainly used in UK. The Cambridge Idioms Dictionary via TheFreeDictionary.com defines it as if you say the penny drops, you mean that ...
0
votes
1answer
378 views

Does it sound good to write “With best compliments from” in an invitation? [closed]

Again it's somewhat similar to my previous question, but I need to know it too. I am preparing contents for a wedding card, I have little doubt in writing With best compliments from as the last line ...
1
vote
3answers
169 views

Is it correct to write “Awaiting to welcome you” in invitation? [closed]

I am preparing contents for a wedding card, I have little doubt in writing Awaiting to welcome you as the last line of the invitation. Is it okay to write it? or will you please tell me a good line ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What does “cynical confidence” mean? [closed]

I know that cynical means something along the lines of believing the worst in people, but how does this word coincide with confidence? For instance, what would this line mean? The witness had a ...
4
votes
4answers
384 views

“[will] likely” vs. “[will] probably” in AmEng usage

As far as AmEng goes, can likely be an acceptable alternate to probably in the following OUP quiz? The traffic is terrible so I'll probably be late this morning. Climate change is likely to ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Order of placing Mr. and Mrs. in a wedding card [closed]

I am designing a wedding card, I need to know how to start it, these are some samples: Mrs. & Mr. Xyz invite you.... Mr. & Mrs. Xyz invite you.... Mrs. Abc & Mr. Xyz invite you.... Mr. ...
5
votes
3answers
285 views

“conclude” vs. “decide” in AmEng

Can, in some instances, conclude and decide be used just about interchangeably as far as AmEng goes? Please, consider the following examples: The committee concluded on a plan of action. The ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Etymology of 'Pizzazz'

A question from December 2011 asked What is the social context of "pizzazz"?. I'm curious about the word's etymology. I checked some reference books, but they showed very little agreement ...
2
votes
7answers
5k views

Is “evidence” as a verb an Americanism? [closed]

We need to evidence the agreement with these forms. Is this usage predominantly American?
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Can I use meet for an online meeting?

I would like to know if I can say "We can meet on Monday or Tuesday" in email as a reply to a sales person's email asking for a couple of days options for an online meeting -- a sort of Skype call. I ...
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?)
4
votes
4answers
947 views

Is the 'th' sound usually reduced in spoken English?

I am working on my accent and pronunciation. I use American Accent Training and it says that in spoken English, speakers usually run words together. For example, "Run them all together" turns into ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Where did the phrase “Holy Toledo” come from? [closed]

I was reading online and noticed this phrase in the comments. Holy Toledo What is the origin of this phrase?
21
votes
3answers
170k views

What does “8/7c” mean?

I just saw an update on Facebook saying: Watch Russell present LIVE at the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards. Tonight at 8/7c on FOX. What does "8/7c" mean?
1
vote
5answers
367 views

Ambiguous meaning of NAmEng sense of “skill” in Harrap's English-French Dictionary

Harrap's New Shorter English-French/French-English Dictionary, Ed. 1982, states, skill n 1. habileté f, adresse f, dextérité f; technical skill, habileté, aptitude f, technique; ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

In what English-speaking communities does “trump” refer to the breaking of wind?

It is clear from this site that the verb to trump has been used extensively across Britain to refer to the breaking of wind. It is especially the case in the North, in Wales and certainly in Norfolk, ...
-3
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there are more vowels in the American English than in British? [closed]

car, father, jarring ■ man, lad, mast A British guy would pronounce the vowel "a" equally in all these words. But an American would give one sound for the first three words, and the other ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

“frightened 'by' spiders” vs. “frightened 'of' spiders” in AmEng

Could you explain the difference between these two sentences: I'm frightened BY spiders. I'm frightened OF spiders. Obviously both are used in American English in the sense "have a fear ...
1
vote
0answers
109 views

Why does written English have more variations in pronunciation than other languages? [closed]

According to my experience, in languages like German, French, Chinese, Japanese, etc., there are not so many exceptions in pronunciation as in English. For example, given a word in German or French, ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Convolve vs. convolute

I understand that for common usage these words have distinct meanings. However in mathematics there is a process called convolution, and sometimes you hear "you need to convolve X" and sometimes "you ...
-1
votes
1answer
44 views

Whe do you use wouldju or wouldja when talking to someone? [closed]

What's the difference between Wouldja & Wouldju when talking to someone?
13
votes
2answers
2k views

When do you use middle and when center?

The other day I was talking to a friend about when to use "middle" or "center". I was using it in the context of top, middle, bottom, as a listing, and he suggested it should be top, center, bottom. ...
14
votes
5answers
28k views

What's the difference between “rent” and “hire” in British and American English?

The tip I used to teach was the verb, hire, should be used for things which are transportable hence, you hire a car, sports equipment, a boat, a bike etc. Rent, on the other hand, is primarily used ...
0
votes
3answers
78 views

Is it okay to say “Your explanation really solved my concerns" [closed]

Is it okay to say “You explanation really solved my concerns"? What are other ways to express this? Thank you!
2
votes
1answer
92 views

“downtime” vs. “time off” vs. “free time” vs. “spare time” in AmEng vernacular

How do those terms differ from each other? downtime North American A time of reduced activity or inactivity: everyone needs downtime to unwind ODO spare time Noun time available ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“separate” and “terminate” for “dismiss/discharge” from employment in AmEng

According to Oxford Dictionary Online, separate US Discharge or dismiss (someone) from service or employment. terminate chiefly North American End the employment of (someone); dismiss: ...
-2
votes
2answers
153 views

No one knows or no one know? [closed]

Can you tell which of the following sentences are right? And explain why the others are wrong? No one knows the answer. No one know the answer. There is nobody anwering the qustion. There is nobody ...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

I remember taking a lot of pictures for my wedding

This is Anna studying English by myself in Korea. I've faced some expressions written in one of my English learning books. Actually there is a controversial issue that most of people think these are ...