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

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3
votes
3answers
351 views

What's the difference between “content” and “contented”?

What's the difference between "content" and "contented"? I feel content with my present condition. I feel contented with my present condition. When she calls me by my name sweetly, I ...
1
vote
2answers
78 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do Americans go 'downtown' whilst people in the UK go 'up town'?

People in London, who live in the suburbs, may tell you they work 'up town', meaning in the City or the West End. In other large cities in Britain, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds etc., I think people ...
2
votes
5answers
269 views

How do students respond to the “roll call” and how do you pronounce it?

I have two questions. In the UK, to do (or is it read?) a roll call is commonly referred to as "calling out the register". It's been so long since I was a child that I'm not absolutely sure how ...
3
votes
3answers
123 views

Is “Missus” used as a word in American English?

In the book "Geisha", Liza Dalby writes the following about schools for wearing kimonos (for Japanese people): The text of one school calls for an elderly lady to wear her kimono "with dignity"; a ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Can or should you use two ellipsis points in one large quote?

So if i were to quote an author and I want to add a later part to an earlier part by putting it in the middle of the first quote? an example : The researcher, led by Woo-Suk Hwang, insist they ...
8
votes
3answers
328 views

Are there any studies on changes in British English to become more like American English?

With the spread of American popular culture (movies, books, franchises, etc.) and technical jargon (manuals, Web syntaxes, default spell-check settings, etc.), I'm wondering if there have been any ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

How to call to this profession in English?

What do you call this profession in English - a man who creates layouts for web sites in css and html? This is a very important question. Because in the Russian-speaking community still no one can ...
1
vote
1answer
267 views

What does “cynical confidence” mean?

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Which term is more appropriate: Rate plan, Pricing plan or Tariff plan?

We are the provider of certain (on-line) services and we have different pricing for different user categories, depending on their volume of operations. Currently we use "tariff plan" as a term for ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Why is this idiom negative, as opposed to positive?

Why is the idiom drop the other shoe negative as opposed to neutral or positive? I was looking something up when I came across this: to do the deed that completes something; to do the expected ...
3
votes
1answer
280 views

What is the IPA for “trade”?

Some of my students have a disagreement about transcribing the pronunciation of "trade" in American English. Some say it's (a) [t͡ʃeɪd] while others (and they point to dictionaries that support them) ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Why use 'I are' 'You is'?

I've seen many American and English people writing their sentences like this: I are... You is... While the way I've learned it, and seen most widely used is like this: I am You are ...
7
votes
3answers
125 views

What is the earliest mention of an “American accent”?

Do we have any idea how quickly the American colonists (specifically those British colonists living in what would later become the United States, but I'd be curious about French and Spanish colonists ...
-1
votes
1answer
91 views

Got started or started

I am a learner of the English language. I have written two sentences, please give your two minutes and let me know, which one is correct? In the below sentences an action was started by my dog, for an ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Punctuation in my sentences [duplicate]

I am a learner of the English language and especially I am learning the punctuation marks in the English language. I have written two sentences. Please give your two minutes and let me know, which ...
1
vote
7answers
194 views

Appropriate word for smile

I'm looking for an appropriate word for a certain kind of a smile. Are you in love with that girl' asked she with a grin on her face. I have used the word grin but I guess grin is a broad ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

When is “all y'allses” used?

I have a student from Virginia who says she has heard the use of all y'allses; does anyone know about this? Is it that the second person plural being used is all y'alls (with the -s at the end here ...
4
votes
2answers
153 views

“Ma'am” or “Miss” in American English?

Is it common to address a female sales clerk as Miss in the US? What about ma'am? If neither is proper, what would you suggest?
0
votes
2answers
201 views

Grammar check on a sentence with one subject, many verbs in sequence, and no conjunctions between them

Here is a sentence from my article. Just wondering if there is anything wrong with having sentences which are too long. He created some data, put up some samples, initiated a sequence and finally, ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

What does off of oil mean? [closed]

I am reading a book and I came across the sentence below. I am not getting the meaning out of the line. Please guide me. Thanks. I decided that the most important thing to do was to figure out how ...
-3
votes
1answer
63 views

What's the meaning of following sentence [closed]

I got this sentence from a book, but i don't understand it: Orgasm gets the lion's share of her attention.
2
votes
3answers
169 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
993 views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

Which of the following is correct? If both are correct, do they have different meanings or usage? Take a taxi/bus/train OR Get a taxi/bus/train
8
votes
1answer
234 views

American refusal of the IPA: why?

Are there any historical or political reasons for the rather consistent refusal of the International Phonetic Alphabet on the part of American academics? Did Mark Twain's ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Need a quick translation [closed]

What is the meaning of this sentence: What is the Need you are going after? **Edit** here is the context 1) PowerPoint presentation Intro (4 – 5 slides) a) What is the Need ...
4
votes
2answers
492 views

'-gate' as a suffix to coin words related to scandals and corruption cases

I noticed that for corrruption/scandals the usage of '-gate' suffix is pretty common, as we have recently seen with 'datagate' and before with 'watergate' Can anyone explain what the relation between ...
-2
votes
4answers
95 views

What is my co-worker asking? [closed]

My American co-worker sent this to our group chat: Can an undatable man be transformed into a datable man? I am not asking if you think such a thing can be done in real life. I am asking ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

American English [duplicate]

I notice that Americans use the word 'gotten' when we in Britain just use 'got' - is 'gotten' accepted American English, that is, used and accepted in English examination papers, or is it a type of ...
2
votes
3answers
284 views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on ...
0
votes
3answers
155 views

Good synonyms for “waste of time”? [closed]

Can't think of any off the top of my head, and the thesaurus comes up with bland results.
2
votes
1answer
210 views

Is “despatch” the British spelling for “dispatch” or is it an archaic spelling (or both)?

In John Ormsby's 1885 translation of Don Quixote, the word "despatch" is used. Is that the corresponding British spelling for "dispatch" or is it simply an archaic spelling (in both the American and ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Is “Do you got Insurance?” technically correct? [duplicate]

I've been hearing a lot of complaints about this in relation to the Thanks Obamacare campaign in Colorado, but trying to look for information on "Do you got xxx" I don't find too much to actually show ...
0
votes
2answers
358 views

Is it correct to say “I studied the book with Mr.XXX as my mentor/tutor/teacher”?

I wonder if it is correct to say the following to mean Mr.XXX was my mentor and helped me in learning the book. Could you suggest a better equivalent for what I am trying to say? To explain it better, ...
0
votes
1answer
189 views

Examples for intelligent, brillant, smart, talented, wisdom and genius?

Out of the terms intelligent, brillant, smart, talented, wisdom, genius Which are the ones that is natural(by genetics) and which are the ones that is developed by practice and which are the ones ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

Telling the time “3:15” in American English

Which of the followings is the most common way to say 3:15 in American English? A quarter past three A quarter after three Three fifteen Also, in the last example "three fifteen", ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

What's the etymology of “humdinger”?

A humdinger is a remarkable or outstanding person or thing. The OED has it as originally US dating (as hum-dinger) from 1905, but says the origin is unknown. Where does the word humdinger come from? ...
0
votes
2answers
562 views

A/an hypothesis? [duplicate]

Is it a or an hypothesis? I am not a native speaker (and not very language talented) so I would appreciate any explanation/rules.
3
votes
1answer
119 views

Where does “noogie” come from?

The OED says noogie means a "hard poke or grind with the knuckles, esp. on a person's head" with a first quotation from 1968. They say it was popularised by Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s but ...
8
votes
2answers
388 views

Where do “shenanigans” come from?

Shenanigans, or shenanigan, also with several variant spellings, can be dated to 1855 USA in both the OED and Etymonline, but the OED simply says "Origin obscure" and Etymonline throws a few guesses ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

Why are so many English expressions derived from baseball terminology? [closed]

Get to first base Step up to the plate In the right ballpark etc Why are so many expressions in common use today based on this one specific American sport? Many of them seem to be used often in ...
0
votes
2answers
795 views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
0
votes
2answers
168 views

Problem listening to foreign accents

From the beginning I had some problems listening to foreign accents. Like when someone from my native country (India) speaks English I understand it at once, but if someone from a foreign country ...
4
votes
2answers
116 views

Is “raises question marks over” a correct and common phrase?

Is a sentence like Dynamic method invocation raises question marks over the way existing instances should be handled. correct in a technical paper (computer science)? (I think it is in the ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“Elder brother” or “older brother”?

I've read both forms in newspapers and online news: elder brother and older brother. What's the difference between them? When should I use which?
1
vote
3answers
180 views

How to write a date range (e.g., 6 May to 8 June) in a way that is concise and unambiguous?

In general, I try to write dates as one of: 2014-01-03 3 Jan 2013 3 January 2013 avoiding slashes altogether so as to avoid any ambiguity with American date formats. That said, I've never found a ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Phrase: “Colder than a witch’s kiss!”

The following was used in a radio broadcast (The Adventures of Harry Lime, 14th December 1951, episode 20 “An Old Moorish Custom”) as Harry was hit on the back of his head with a rifle butt by a giant ...
3
votes
2answers
115 views

AmE Phonetics: T-voicing after <l>

Cut to the chase: While listening Eminem's track Headlights I've noticed a kinda voicing process in the sentence "You're still beautiful to me" around 1:13 on the song, where the preposition seems to ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

AmE Phonetics: < I don't n-> /aʊn/ [closed]

Cut to the chase: While listening to the record 2.0 Boys by Slaughterhouse I've noticed that Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden pronounce such sequence of sounds — namely "I don't know" around 1:55 and ...