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

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3
votes
2answers
81 views

what is the meaning of “pro-rate”? [closed]

What does "pro-rate" in following sentence mean? We pro-rate our prices if you join after a session has started does it mean that they reduce the price if I want to enroll after a session has ...
7
votes
2answers
829 views

Nylon bag vs plastic bag

I was buying some carry out and I asked for a nylon bag. The cashier, who is not a native speaker, gave me a look and offered a 'plastic bag', which is what I wanted to begin with. I don't know why I ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

The meaning of “play off” here

"While playing off the hype of the TV show reboot "The X-files," the CIA broke down the cases into two categories, whether you side with Agent Mulder or Agent Scully." I'm studying English and I ...
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

Does a group have an earache or earaches?

If I have a pain in my ear, I will say "I have an earache." Now what happens if I am talking about more than one person? Would I say "They have an earache", or "They have earaches"?
5
votes
5answers
109 views

What's the more common way to refer to a road with 180° curves?

A hairpin road is a road with hairpin turns or bends. According to Wikipedia: A hairpin bend , named for its resemblance to a hairpin/bobby pin, is a bend in a road with a very acute ...
1
vote
5answers
366 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
2answers
123 views

“[ball]park” in AmEng vernacular

Are the terms ballpark and park specific to baseball in AmEng, or can they also be used for every which athletic stadium in which ball games like soccer or rugby are played? For example, would a ...
1
vote
3answers
117 views

“crash” vs. “wreck” for [road/air] accident in AmEng

What's the difference between those terms in relation to a road or air accident? crash verb (Aeronautics) to cause (an aircraft) to hit land or water violently resulting in severe damage ...
2
votes
3answers
113 views

“road” vs. “pavement” vs. “roadway” for French “chaussée” [road surface] in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference between those terms? Can they be used just about interchangeably? road: a long, narrow stretch with a leveled or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, ...
0
votes
3answers
247 views

more unhealthy vs. unhealthier

First off, I'm not a native speaker but this question isn't about the rules themselves but rather usage in the USA. I learnt that you should say 'unhealthier' (and the Oxford + Longman dictionaries I ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Using For+noun, in conversations

I'm currently studying English in the US and I heard a lot of people start sentences with 'for~'. For me, it sounds like it means 'as for' or 'when it comes to'. Is that right? If so, is it common ...
-1
votes
2answers
75 views

What do we mean by the phrase 'conventions of standard written English' [closed]

A question came and it had one of its options: correct according to conventions of standard English. I don't remember the question but the question was from a grammar section. I do not have an idea ...
4
votes
4answers
49 views

term or phrase representing a placeholder or variable

How can I express in standard American English that events occur "every X days" or end "after X occurrences" — here, "X" is a placeholder for a variable and unknown quantity — without ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

“All-American” … which usage came first?

In the U.S., "All-American" can mean two things. (1) It can be used as a general phrase, meaning simply clean-cut and middle class. "He's the all-American boy" is a cliché sentence. Note, this usage ...
9
votes
3answers
122 views

What is the etymology of the term “form factor”?

I'm a theoretical physicist, and am doing some work on quantities called form factors. To an expert, a form factor says something about scattering particles from fields. This probably originated from ...
2
votes
3answers
63 views

Who or What for question about statement

For the statement: "Obama is the president of the United States." Which of these questions is considered the most correct? Who is Obama? What is Obama? Basically, my question revolves ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

“tab” for “hotel bill” in AmEng

In AmEng vernacular, is the word tab specific to restaurant and bar checks, or can it also be used for hotel bills? E.g. Guest: We'll be checking out early tomorrow morning, so if it isn't too ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

What are the levels of proficiency in english and the vocubulary subsets at each level [closed]

What are the levels of proficiency in english and the vocubulary subsets at each level. As in how many words should a person know at each level of english proficiency and is there a reference list of ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What does “within greater [region]” mean? [closed]

If someone says something such as "Within greater Seattle", what does that mean?
5
votes
2answers
265 views

Old, experienced soldier in US slang

In British slang, an "old sweat" is an old, experienced soldier. What is the American equivalent? I don't mean a veteran (someone who's left the military), I mean someone still in service.
9
votes
4answers
444 views

“[a/the] equivalent of” vs. “[a/the] equivalent for” vs. “[a/the] equivalent to”

Which of the following constructs sound more idiomatic to you? Is there any British/American equivalent to the French phrase "broyer du noir"? Is there any British/American equivalent for the ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Whence the BrE “fine tooth-comb” where AmE uses “fine-tooth comb”?

I'm reading a novel set in present-day England, and it's sprinkled with uses of the construction in the title. This is far from the first time I've encountered this in BrE writing, along with general ...
4
votes
1answer
55 views

Which English language groups/cultures would say “I'm going to bed now” while they were already in a bed?

I was reading a discussion on another part of the internet and many of the people involved asserted that it was common to use the phrase "go to bed" for "cease all other activity and go to sleep" even ...
1
vote
1answer
494 views

he got nothing on me. what does this phrase mean?

hi i was listening a song by charlie Puth and he says Superman got nothing on me . what does it mean? thanks
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Using “so isn't” or “so can't” instead of “so is” or “so can”?

Lately I've heard people using what I think to be a negative response to indicate a positive affirmation, like so: Example 1 You can touch the basketball rim? Well so can't I! Example 2 Person A: ...
-3
votes
3answers
44 views

Is this headline concise and clear enough? [closed]

I want to say it like im 5. Essentially, where a 5 year old could be able to comprehend the message. I tried to simplify this line, but I feel it's still a bit complicated. Making deliveries ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

What “appear to be ” means in the given sentence [closed]

Today, while reading a newspaper I came across a sentence that has been baffling me since: The woman, who identified herself as Bhavna and appeared to be in her 20s, .... What does appeared to ...
31
votes
8answers
10k views

When talking to American clients, should I say “smoothie” or “milkshake”?

We have a client visit planned to our service center (in India) and I am in-charge of Food and Beverages for our client's entire itinerary. I am writing to my client's Travel coordinator(an American) ...
4
votes
2answers
100 views

When did “the pub in Bleecker Street” become “the pub on Bleecker Street”?

In the streets is still used universally. As is out in the street. The casual fan of Sir Arthur's writings will recall, of course, that Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson lived in Baker Street: ...while ...
4
votes
15answers
966 views

Opposite idiom for going with the flow

According to the Cambridge dictionary, going with the flow is defined as to do what other ​people are doing or to ​agree with other ​people because it is the ​easiest thing to do. I am writing a paper ...
5
votes
2answers
265 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
-1
votes
1answer
33 views

Does this sentence read nice and fluent? [closed]

I bravely overcame the difficulties and succeeded to make my life full of notable accomplishments which include my excellent GPA of 3.98/4 in B.Sc. studies and years of successful academic and work ...
-1
votes
1answer
60 views

English pronunciation of the letter “a” [closed]

I heard the letter a was pronounced /ei/, and sometimes it was pronounced as /ə/. So, can you tell me when is it pronounced as /ei/, and when as /ə/?
1
vote
1answer
187 views

Word usage: “manyfold” or “manifold”? [closed]

Is there any US/UK English difference in the spellings "manyfold" and "manifold"?
1
vote
3answers
74 views

I need a word to describe a group which is not accepting of others not of themselves. Sample sentence below

Your organization treats people in a very "exclusionary" manner. ( Meaning that it is a group that is not accepting of others not of themselves.
5
votes
2answers
106 views

How does American English distinguish between sharing a flat and a room?

Today I learnt that in American English, roommate can mean two people who share the same apartment unit but have different bedrooms, as well as people who share the same bedroom. How do people using ...
0
votes
3answers
54 views

Are there local differences in the definitions of cleaning and tidying?

Do the words cleaning and tidying translate differently in different English speaking countries? Specifically, would vacuuming always be considered part of tidying AND cleaning?
2
votes
1answer
73 views

To address a stranger on street [closed]

Preparing for our honeymoon in the USA, I am wondering what is the most appropriate way to address someone (a stranger) on street, e.g. to ask for a piece of advice. I can imagine that Good day ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

Are “pay phones” still, if ever, called “pay stations” in the U.S.?

What is pay station in the U.S.? If you look it up, say, on ODO, it is defined as an AmEng equivalent of pay phone. pay station: n. US term for pay phone ODO Now, if you search Google Images ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Usage of “burn” as a form of mockery - How did it start?

I have come across numerous posts/memes on social media where, considering A,B and C are different people: A posts something seemingly innocuous. B comments on A's post, something either very funny ...
-5
votes
2answers
157 views

What does “propose a toast” mean? [closed]

I see this phrase "propose a toast" a lot often while watching American TV series like Friends. This is what Google tells me: ask a group of people at a social occasion to drink to the health and ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

how do I vs. how do you [closed]

I was wondering which one is used more often by Americans when asking something? How do you get the the train station? vs How do I get to the train station? I think British use 'one', which I ...
5
votes
1answer
93 views

Is “oxbow lake” used by both American and British English for billabongs?

Is the term "oxbow lake" used in both American and British English to describe billabongs? Wiktionary has a definition for oxbow lake, but doesn't describe which varieties of English use it.
8
votes
3answers
620 views

“jam,” “jelly,” and “jello” in AmEng vernacular

What exactly is the fruit preserve called "jam" in the U.S.? Is it what is referred to in France as "confiture"? If so, then what would be the French for, what is called "jelly" in the U.S. ("jam" ...
2
votes
1answer
250 views

What does “easy-going” mean?

I am a non-native English learner. And when I was looking up the word easy-going in dictionaries, the explanations really confused me. Is the word easy-going positive or negative? Some dictionaries ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Is the sentence grammer correct? “During the meeting that … , I had …”? [closed]

"During the meeting that Dr. Edward Smith coordinated last month, I had the chance to meet with you and hear the possible projects ..." English is my second language, and I usually feel that my ...
0
votes
3answers
45 views

How to understand “we are to considering”

I sent a question to recruiter asking if they are considering candidates from Europe (or from US only). I received such answer (excerpt): "...At the moment, we are to considering candidates based ...
4
votes
1answer
232 views

“cathouse,” “call house,” and “sporting house” for “bordello”

All three terms appear to be euphemisms for house of prostitution and are marked as Americanisms by Robert-Collins French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985. cathouse being the most common one (as ...
4
votes
4answers
120 views

“bedrock” vs. “hardpan” for “very basis; foundation”

What's the difference between those terms in regard to their figurative sense? Can they be used just about interchangeably? Consider the following examples: Ownership of land is the bedrock of ...