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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
2answers
3k views

“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

Pronunciation of What do you want to do?

When I pronounce the question: "What do you want to do?", I hear some stress on the first syllable of "whaddya" and "wanna" and a bit stronger stress on "do". This is how I pronounce it: ...
6
votes
3answers
870 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
411 views

What does “We don’t do anything that’s not completely up and up” mean?

I found an amusing story titled “Lobster salad, but a key ingredient was missing” in today’s (August 11)New York Times NY/Region section. The article reports that Zabar’s, the famous grocery in ...
28
votes
8answers
4k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
-1
votes
1answer
70 views

Possessive when both refer to a plural: “Hume's and Kant's moral systems” or “Hume and Kant's moral systems”?

Title says it all. What's the correct possessive to use when they both refer to the same noun? "Hume's and Kant's moral systems" or "Hume and Kant's moral systems"? Hume and Kant both have one moral ...
2
votes
8answers
4k views

How do American English and British English use the definite article differently?

I decided to make sure that I know this important difference between American and British English, so I wrote what I have found out so far and I would be grateful to anyone who reads this and tells me ...
1
vote
8answers
166 views

Word/phrase for remarks which often have a dark feel to them but whose meanings are not readily apparent? [closed]

I know someone who has a tendency to make strange remarks whose meanings are not readily apparent, remarks which often have a dark feel to them, but which are left unexplained, as if to hide ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Slang for giving the way to do something, not for giving the final thing itself

Someone asks how to grow a chicken, and suddenly some guy just drops a chicken already grown up. I need to find an algorithm to solve a given problem, but I don't want the code itself, just ...
1
vote
5answers
691 views

English- What are some other ways to say “make a difference” [closed]

I'm looking for other ways to phrase "I want to make a difference/impact" in a general and positive way. Something along the lines of making a change in the world or having a meaningful contribution ...
8
votes
2answers
562 views

Q: Why isn't he answering? A: 1) He must have already slept 2) … must have been sleeping?

I didn't reply to a ping in the chatroom. The English enthusiast suggested this about me at the time: He must have already slept. Hours (and dreams) later, I came back, I saw the above ...
0
votes
2answers
106 views

Proper use of “repertoire”

Could the word repertoire be used to describe one’s behavior as a façade?
2
votes
2answers
89 views

Where did the term “Square Meal” come from?

In several older TV shows (think Andy Griffith) I've heard the term "Square Meal" used to describe an ideal hardy and nutritious meal. The term can be applied to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Where ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

Why is “fulfil” spelt as “fulfill” in American English?

In this answer, simplification is stated as one reason for spelling variations in American English. But unlike in color and favorite, the number of letters to spell the word in fulfil increases in ...
4
votes
2answers
499 views

What is the students' jargon or abbreviation for assignments made up of “only” data downloaded from the internet in English? (If it exists)

Japanese students call a report and essay made up by only putting data downloaded from the Internet e.g. passages from Wikipedia put together without including their own thoughts or creative ideas, a ...
0
votes
2answers
101 views

Is “I shut up” proper english grammar [closed]

So I saw that "shutted" isn't an English word, but "I shut up" doesn't sound proper. If you were to tell someone "I shut up", talking in past tense, would that be proper?
7
votes
7answers
5k views

Is there a word for one who enjoys to eat for the sake of eating (a food hedonist)?

Does such a word exist? I don't mean to excess (IE, a glutton), but rather one who eats because he enjoys eating. Essentially, I'm looking for a word that's synonymous with "a food hedonist", or "a ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

“Hot cakes” or “flapjacks” in 1890s American South?

Which term is more likely to have been used by my main character, a young man from a wealthy Macon, Georgia family, in 1893?
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Way to stick it to

I am watching American comedy, Weird Loners. Mr A is on the phone and talking with headhunter. Mr. A: Jerry (headhunter), come on. I love the salary but these benefits are crap. You call me back ...
3
votes
5answers
564 views

Expression for becoming homeless, which has the word 'street' in it? How about “pushed to the streets”?

If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression can I use which has the word 'street'? Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the ...
1
vote
3answers
154 views

What does you are getting reamed mean? [closed]

Ms C is accusing Ms Z of eating the cheese that Ms C bought. Ms C and Ms Z are room mates. Ms C sees a therapist about it. Ms Z: I don't eat that kind of cheese. Ms C: You do eat that kind ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

“Balconies”, “porches”, “decks”, “terraces”, “verandas”, “lanais”, “galleries”, and “piazzas” in GAE and dialectal AE

In AE, a porch is apparently just about the same structure as a veranda, i.e. an open or enclosed gallery or room attached to the outside of a building. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/porch ...
2
votes
2answers
122 views

Pronunciation of diphthongs in English

I found a few similar questions, but none of them gave me the answer to this. I'm a native Serbian, so I have problems understanding diphtongs, because Serbian has none of them. Serbian has only five ...
-1
votes
1answer
21 views

Which verb form goes with “sweat”? [closed]

I just love the way the sweat glistens off your back in the sun I just love the way the sweat glisten off your back in the sun
0
votes
1answer
46 views

What does “I really cleaned out the place” mean?

In the comedy Weird Loners there is an exchange, You guys eat up, that's plenty. I really cleaned out the place. What does it mean?
2
votes
1answer
111 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “slaved out”

As I was reading a character's biography : Jack, a small orphan child on transport ship that crashed on the Pitch Black planet. During the movie it is discovered that the child dresses like a ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Odd, affected pronunciation of “realtor”

A while back, I noticed that the voice-over on a commercial repeatedly used an odd pronunciation of the word realtor - "real-TORE", with a long O as opposed to "real-tur", like "doc-tur" or ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Word Stress Within the Phrase I'm expecting someone

I tried pronouncing the phrase: "I'm expecting someone". Phonetically it looks like: [aɪm ɪkspɛkt ɪŋ sʌmwʌn] I perceive some stress on the second syllable of expecting and the first syllable of ...
2
votes
1answer
272 views

What do “Bitches get stuff done“ and ”Bitch is the new black” mean?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article in New York Times’ (April 18) criticizing Hillary Clinton of overcorrecting her self-image in the current presidential campaign under the ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it always appropriate to reciprocate when asked “How are you?” [closed]

This question is related to When someone asks how are you, are you supposed to answer, "Good," or "Fine," and ask back?. There, the answer by z7sg Ѫ claims it is sometimes appropriate not to ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Which one is better (or correct) expression? “go up 5 percent'” or “go up by 5 percent” [duplicate]

I ran into some curiosity on some expression just like, A) It took me a day to go up 5 percent. B) It took me a day to go up by 5 percent. I think the B is right, but someone is sometimes using the ...
7
votes
4answers
194 views

We might have to do some “fiddling”

I like the word fiddle, and I quite like the musical instrument too. If you're fiddling with a device, it means you're trying to repair it. It might be tricky because of all the tiny bits and pieces ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Can 'Dupe' be used as a verb instead of 'Duplicate'?

I've seen this only in one scenario, 4 players on 2 teams are choosing which type of car they will use, and when both players on the same team choose the same car, player 1 says to player 2, 'Stop ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Is it correct to use is+past-tense in this sentence? [closed]

Is it grammatically and correct to use is + the past tense (recognized) in this sentence? Is recognized as the most outstanding TVET school in Calamba, Misamis Occidental.
7
votes
2answers
745 views

Etymology of “Spaghetti and gravy”

In Nero Wolfe "Before I die", the gangster's sidekick asks for spaghetti and gravy. After Wolfe's chef Fritz prepares him spaghetti with the type of gravy used for roast beef, it turns out that the ...
14
votes
5answers
16k 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
0answers
47 views

Pronunciation of Who is it?

I heard the question "Who is it?" in a movie. [Person A] knocked on a door. [Person B] came to open the door, but before that he asks "Who is it?" This three syllables question can be pronounced ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Stress and intonation in “I'm proud of you”

When I pronounce the phrase: "I'm proud of you" to communicate that I'm proud of the person I'm talking to, do I only need to stress the word "proud" a bit? I think that stressing the pronouns "I" ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Regional usage of “Violet” and “Purple”

I am looking to describe a flower such as the one in the following picture for a game: After showing the game to a number of beta testers, I noted that about half of them were fine with "violet" ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it acceptable in American English to pronounce “grocery” as “groshery”?

I caught myself pronouncing the "c" in "grocery" as an "sh" sound. Is this commonplace/accepted, or is it perhaps geographic? Does this occur with "c" in other words? As background, I was raised in ...
0
votes
2answers
177 views

Which word can describe programmer, coder and developer in computer science? [duplicate]

I have seen many questions here and there about programmers, coders and developers. Like "programmer vs coder vs developer" etc. All these words are having slightly different meanings. Can we describe ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

“data on my iPad” or “data in my iPad” [duplicate]

Which is correct and are there any differences in meaning or nuance? I have the data on my iPad I have the data in my iPad I searched data on my iPad and data in my iPad on google, and got many ...
3
votes
2answers
663 views

Can I use 'better still' in negative sentences?

Can I use 'better still' in a negative sentence? I'm especially interested in American English usage. Does it sound natural to say: You may not have the access to a trusted counselling, or better ...
2
votes
1answer
297 views

What do these two figures of speech mean? Embrace the grind and lower your shoulder

I came across these two figures of speech:(a) Embrace the grind and (b) Lower your shoulder in one of the Instagram posts of Dwayne Johnson(The Rock) Since I am not a native English speaker I just ...
0
votes
0answers
118 views

Words with primary and secondary stress in a phrase

In the phrase "I'm in the same situation" the word "situation" phonetically looks like: [ˌsɪtʃ uˈeɪ ʃən] The first syllable of the word has secondary stress and the third syllable has primary ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

The NG sound in casual American speech

I read somewhere (I don't remember the source and I'm not sure if it's true) that Americans tend to replace the "ng" sound with only "n" in casual/fast speech. For example: Who's calling? sounds like ...
13
votes
4answers
10k views

Why do Americans say “tuna fish”?

I mean, it's not like there is a tuna vegetable or animal that it can be confused with.
2
votes
3answers
254 views

What is an alternative way to say “Note that” in academic writing? [closed]

In my academic writing, when I want to connect the context and emphasize something, I almost always use a sentence structure like this: Note that... An example in an academic paper is given ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a term for “mains power” in American English?

I'm not sure if this is a case of selective memory, or if it's real. It seems that Americans do not use the term "mains power," which is common in British English. The closest synonym I know is "wall ...
1
vote
2answers
186 views

Difference between 'voting' and 'casting a vote'

What's the difference between them? A man was talking to another person while the elections were being held. I overheard them. But I'm confused here. English is not my mother language and I have ...