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

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-1
votes
2answers
309 views

“Sofa bed”, “hideaway couch”, “hide-a-bed”, “couch bed”, “sleeper sofa”, “day bed”, and “studio couch” in AE

Which of these terms is (or are) more typical of AE to designate a convertible consisting of an upholstered couch that can be converted into a double bed?
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votes
2answers
87 views

“A food is fed (to) someone or something” vs. “Someone or something is fed on (or with) a food” [closed]

Focusing on the passive voice, which of the following grammatical constructions is (or are) more typical of AE? More research is necessary before *soy formula is fed to babies^ source More ...
-1
votes
2answers
107 views

What does “I like ducks :)” mean when it is used as a status? [closed]

Does it give multiple meanings out of it using typoglycemia? Thanks. I saw it on a social profile and it appeared to me as, "I like dicks :)"
3
votes
1answer
518 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
338 views

“Shag” for “chase and bring back, fetch” in AE

Does "shag" have any currency in modern day AE to mean "chase and bring back, fetch (an escaped animal/prisoner)"? Is its use limited to the pursuit of runaways, or can it be extended to a broader ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

“Snag (a chance, an opportunity, etc.) for ”seize/snatch" in AE

Does "snag" have any currency in modern day AE to say "snatch (or seize) (a chance, an occasion, etc.), and can it be used just about interchangeably with the latter? Or, is there a subtle difference ...
-1
votes
1answer
31 views

What does it mean “plays with data, words and music”?

One of my friend wrote on her profile, "plays with data, words and music." She is a data scientist. Is this also wordplay?
2
votes
2answers
115 views

Does the English language have an official Academy?

For some languages, there are academies that decide topics such as grammar and spelling of things, for example, for the Spanish language, there are 22 academies in 22 different countries, all making ...
0
votes
1answer
194 views

What does it mean when someone writes a word in upper case while typing?

An American wrote this to me: The runup was completely insane and obvious (and scary). I was in the financial industry at the time, and everyone was figuring out how to protect themselves WHEN. It ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

“Should I” vs. “Shall I” vs. “Do I” in AE

In colloquial prose, is there some difference to saying "Should I/we", Shall I/we", "Do I/we" to ask someone's advice? E.g. Should I call the police? Sounds like I'm asking someone (or myself) ...
2
votes
3answers
134 views

What does it mean “I'm old. I've seen a lot of bubbles burst. :)”?

I met a women who was in Silicon Valley asked, "You must have seen the bubble burst then?" She replied back saying, "I'm old. I've seen a lot of bubbles burst. :)" What does it mean? Is ...
1
vote
1answer
209 views

Pronunciation of words such as “hot” and “stop” [closed]

I would like to ask how to pronounce the o sound in words like hot, stop in AE and BE. I noticed that BE's pronunciation is different from AE's for these words. According to Cambridge University ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Where does the name “Workshop” come from?

I have searched, found no answers, but why is a workshop called a workshop? In academia, workshops are being held where you learn stuff and calculate stuff. It has nothing to do with a shop (where ...
-1
votes
1answer
104 views

I've been betrayed by the Jedi Order, but I don't wish “for” them to all die [closed]

Does the presumably nonstandard construction "(verb) for someone/something to (verb)" instead of "(verb) (someone/something) to (verb)" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE speech and "not so ...
-1
votes
4answers
156 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
1
vote
2answers
75 views

Can you say “feral waters”? [closed]

I'm trying to think of a name for a game I'm creating. Since it's underwater I thought of "Feral Waters". Can you say that in English or is it rubbish?
0
votes
2answers
130 views

“Occupation” and “professional occupation (plus calling and career)” vs. “vocation” and “professional vocation” [closed]

Is "professional vocation" an acceptable alternative to "professional occupation", and to "professional calling or career" also? You might want to consider the following sourced examples for this: ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

“Directory” for the main board in an airport, etc., informing people on arrivals/departures, floors/levels to certain stores, etc

In AE, is it appropriate to designate as a "directory" the main information board found in the concourse or front room of a public place such as a passenger station, an airport, a shopping mall, an ...
3
votes
1answer
282 views

“Home appliances”, “household appliances”, “domestic appliances”, and “brown/white wares” in AE

In AE, do the terms "home appliances", "household appliances", and "domestic appliances" mean just about the same, or is there a subtle difference to these? You might want to consider this Ngram for ...
2
votes
3answers
455 views

“Coat” vs. “jacket” in AE

In some regions of the U.S., can the term "coat" be used to designate what other native speakers of other U.S. regions -- and from farther out -- would call a jacket? Please consider this Ngram: ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

“Hew to” and “conform to/with” in AE

Can "hew to" and "conform with/to" be used just about interchangeably for whatever register of AE, including the most formal prose? ...shall hew to the law and the recognized standards of legal ...
2
votes
1answer
156 views

“Snub out a cigarette” for “stub out a cigarette” in AE

My bilingual dictionary points up “snub out” as an Americanism for “stub out” as in, “He snubbed out his cigarette.” But, does is this expression current enough in modern day spoken AE to be used ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

“Alligator pear” and “sparrow grass” for “avocado” and “asparagus”

Do "sparrow grass" and "alligator pear" have any currency in spoken AE, or are these terms chiefly dialectal?
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Present Perfect for the past?

I've come across the - more or less - following sentence in a book (American publisher): "They have done it in the past" I've always thought that "PAST" and "PRESENT PERFECT" can't go together. The ...
1
vote
2answers
348 views

What is the meaning of this quote?

I heard this in a movie. What does it mean? My time, as does most time, comes with a price. You make time.
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votes
1answer
129 views

“Smart casual” vs. “casual chic”

As far as apparel code goes, is "casual chic" just about the same as "smart casual", or is there a nuance I am missing?
1
vote
2answers
302 views

When asking a question, when should you use “may”?

When asking a question like "May you print a copy of that for me?", when should you use "may" or "could"?
1
vote
2answers
158 views

Talkies, Motion Pictures, Movies, Films and 3D Films

The term, talkies, i.e. talking pictures, I was surprised to learn was not coined in 1927, after the release of The Jazz Singer, but in 1913. The term is now obsolete whereas motion picture, meaning ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

“Have a seat” vs. “Take a seat” in modern AE

To answer this question you first might want to consider this Ngram.source In light of this chart, it's apparent that "have a seat" is preferred to "take a seat" as far as modern day AE is ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Is there a word for the inability to hear a distinction between certain vowel sounds?

I cannot hear the distinction between certain sets of vowel sounds. Normally the words in each of these sets (and of several others) all sound identical to me: Don, Dawn; marry, merry, Mary; ah, awe; ...
1
vote
1answer
157 views

“Opposite of (someone/something)” for “across from/opposite” in nonstandard colloquial prose

Consider the following quotes (emphasis mine). For a split second, I meet eyes with an older man standing in a still gaze just opposite of me amidst the sudden chaos. source Taking a seat ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do Americans add “The” in front of a team name, but the British do not?

I'm not certain that there is an answer to this one: Americans refer to our teams as The Example: The New York Yankees The British in my experience do not. Example: Manchester United I ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

“Trace” as a synonym for “trail” in AE

As far as AE is concerned, does "trace" mean just about the same as "trail" in "break/blaze a trace", and -- if indeed it does -- can "trace" be used pretty much interchangeably in every which literal ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

What is 'Shrove Tuesday' called in protestant parts of the USA?

In England, and countries where the Anglican church has predominated, the Tuesday before Lent is known as 'Shrove Tuesday' from the word 'shrive' (to confess), which is what people traditionally did ...
4
votes
1answer
251 views

Why don't Americans refer to Indians (and others from the subcontinent) as Asians?

I know there is a related question here, but I am not seeing an answer to "Why is there a difference?" Merely that an explanation of what is used in each country. I am a speaker of American English, ...
1
vote
4answers
89 views

Nouns as verbs, Brits and Yanks: ID cards

I find it interesting that not only do British and American English speakers both use the noun 'ID card' as a verb in the context of (trying to be in a position of) purchasing age-restricted items, ...
0
votes
5answers
164 views

My English is inefficient. How can I fix this?

Lately I've noticed that my English is inefficient and it makes me sound inarticulate at best. (Uneducated at worst.) Here is an example. Today I told my younger cousin this: You shouldn't make ...
0
votes
2answers
152 views

"Why are you still in my office? VS Why do you still in my office? [closed]

What is the difference between those questions and which one is the correct form?
1
vote
3answers
87 views

Word for sharing or to encourage sharing

Is there any other word for sharing? or to encourage sharing? Thanks in advance. Edit: I need to write something to encourage sharing information. (Let's share our experiences - something like ...
4
votes
9answers
1k views

Is it really rude to use the terms “the john” and “the loo” in lieu of “the restroom”?

I usually use the term "restroom" (or "toilet" if I want to make sure that everyone in the Czech Republic understands me at once), and, while I've always understood that the terms "john" and "loo" are ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

How can I dedicate something to my family and make a special note of my wife?

In a formal media article that describes my achievements, I want to say something like the following: I want to dedicate this achievement/award to my family and especially to my wife for all the ...
1
vote
1answer
533 views

Proper address for married couple when husband is a Jr

I have been unable to find a complete answer to my question in any source I have consulted. I want to make a donation in memory of my deceased parents. I would like to use both of their first names ...
3
votes
2answers
176 views

Does “moonlighting” have a negative or neutral connotation?

We all agree that "moonlighting" denotes having a second job. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford Advanced Learner's don't define it in exactly the same way. For example, Merriam-Webster attaches a ...
1
vote
3answers
97 views

What's the meaning of “unplugged”?

English is my second language and I'm wondering what's the exactly meaning of "somebody unplugged"? Such as "Joe Biden unplugged"?
0
votes
1answer
89 views

Pronunciations for “Either” [duplicate]

In general, EFL students are taught the two main ways of pronouncing the determiner "either" are the British [ˈaɪðə] and the American [ˈiːðər] varieties. However, I've repeatedly heard from specific ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

“Put over” for “put off” in AE

In AE, can "put over" interchange with "put off" in the sense "postpone" in all contexts, or only in some specific ones? I'm all the more anxious to know the answer as I didn't get any hits searching ...
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votes
2answers
268 views

Does “none the more…” mean “far from (being)…” in American English?

I'm familiar with the somewhat colloquial turn of phrase "nowhere near as ... as" / "not anywhere near as ... as" to say "far from being as ... as". However, I'm a little less familiar with the ...
6
votes
4answers
981 views

How is justice served?

Serve is a ditransitive verb: “I served him; I served him dinner.” Dinner is served when it is delivered; and a person is served when food is placed in front of him. In which sense is justice served ...
2
votes
4answers
290 views

What do Americans call a 'double-barrelled surname'?

I refer to someone whose family name is, for example Fortescue-Smith; or Birchall Hughes. Sometimes they are hyphenated, sometimes not. But they are known in Britain as 'double-barrelled'. One senses ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

I work “in a grocery store” or “at a grocery store” [duplicate]

I am not a native speaker but both sounds good to me. Which one should be more accurate or in fact correct.