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

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0
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3answers
52 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
65 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
93 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
129 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
32 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
81 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
599 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
198 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
89 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
193 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
108 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
90 views

An equivalent of “Your Honor” for a Congresswoman? [closed]

I am writing to a Congresswoman and would like to use a honorific similar to "Your honor." I think 'your honor' is only used in judiciary vocabulary. Are honorifics used in formal American English?
2
votes
2answers
72 views

“pocketbook” for “wallet” in AmEng vernacular

Is pocketbook a common term for wallet in AmEng vernacular, or is it primarily recognized as another word for "purse/handbag"? If indeed a relatively commonly used word for "wallet/billfold," how do ...
7
votes
3answers
482 views

“cologne” and “aftershave” for “fragrance for men”

Per Farlex Trivia Dictionary, perfume or parfum is 20–40% oil and the highest concentration; eau de toilette is 10–18% oil, and cologne or eau de cologne is 3–9% oil. Leaving aside the technical ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

How can I describe three items in sentence?

I have three methods such as Method A, method B, and proposed method They have similar properties, and thus they show a same drawback. I would like to write the sentence to express that issue. ...
5
votes
2answers
323 views

“Jolly good” meaning “extremely good” in British English

Like the intensifier bloody, I assumed that jolly as an adverb and intensifier is not broadly used in the U.S. meaning very or extremely. According to Oxford Online Dictionary, jolly as an adverb ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What's the difference between “dawn” and “dawning”?

I googled and I found nothing useful. I know what dawn means but I can't figure out if dawning is the same thing or has a different meaning.
1
vote
1answer
112 views

Does Bender from Futurama sound like a non-American? [closed]

Robot Bender is one of the main characters in the animated television series 'Futurama'. Bender — Best moments (5 minute video). Does Bender speak ‘proper’ American English? Does he have an ...
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Disambiguation of “fluff” vs. chiefly AmEng “lint” vs. chiefly BrEng “bobbles” vs. “pills” for French “peluches”

Robert & Collins French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985 gives: lint: (US: fluff) peluches nfpl peluche (=bouloche): bit of fluff; fluff Collins French-English Dictionary Now, these are ...
4
votes
4answers
176 views

Collective “linens” vs. “linen” in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference in using the uncountable noun linen either in the plural or in the singular to refer to articles or garments, such as sheets, tablecloths, or underwear? How did originally ...
-4
votes
1answer
38 views

One translating Problem? [closed]

What Does the following sentence mean? the BIU Fetches a new instruction whenever the queue has room for 2 bytes in the 6-byte 8086 queue, and for 1 byte in 4-byte 8088 queue I thinks it means ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

How to rephrase this sentence in order to be more American style?

I want to rephrase this sentence: A challenge that it needs to address is how to best perform feature selection. If the sentence looks like this, how to rephrase it: A challenge that ...
5
votes
2answers
244 views

“black ice” vs. “glare ice” vs. “glaze” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those varieties of ice forming on paved surfaces during the cold season? black ice sometimes called clear ice: a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice that forms on ...
5
votes
3answers
429 views

'Sag' and 'slant': Is the vowel /æ/ the same in both words?

/sæg/ /slænt/ Transcriptions from Cambridge American English Dictionary Both the words' IPA transcriptions have an /æ/ symbol. Do those two /æ/s sound the same? Are they both short or ...
3
votes
2answers
159 views

Specific terms for the tray and the bus-like cart used by vendors in theaters, stadiums, trains, etc

Is there a specific word in English for the bus-like (sense 2; sense 3 on AHD) cart and the tray used by vendors to carry their products through the aisles of trains, theaters, stadiums, etc.?
11
votes
3answers
324 views

Does “show” for “put in an appearance; arrive” sound any more or less informal/slack than “show up” in modern day English?

Is there a difference in register between saying: He failed to show for his appointment When will the bus show? -and- He failed to show up for his appointment When will the bus ...
5
votes
2answers
106 views

Pronunciation of -ar in Madagascar

In the movie by the same name, the characters pronounce Madagascar, /mædəɡæskɑɹ/. However, dictionaries only list the pronunciation /mædəɡæskəɹ/. Just as peculiarly, many pronounce templar as ...
3
votes
2answers
43 views

how to interpret this “that” question?

I can obtain knowledge by studying physics, which is nice. In the above sentence, does nice refer to knowledge or to physics? How can I make refer it to specifically to "knowledge"? Thanks
5
votes
2answers
781 views

How do Americans pronounce the 't' in “romantic”, “countable”, etc?

As for a 't' trapped between /n/ and a vowel, I've heard it pronounced in three different ways: Maybe the formal, standard way is to fully pronounce the /t/ sound: romantic: /roʊˈmæntɪk/ ...
4
votes
3answers
130 views

Difference between “devotement” and “devotion”

I had never seen or heard of the word "devotement" until reading it in my Chinese girlfriend's brother's college application essay. To me, it's always been "devotion." However, I noticed that Google ...
7
votes
3answers
352 views

Authors who “fracture” the language

What's this reportedly AmEng usage of fracture to mean go beyond the limits of (as rules); violate (M-W), as in "This writer fractured the English language with malaprops"? How does this word differ ...
7
votes
5answers
302 views

The rain is “lifting”

How can the rain "lift"? I mean, I can pretty well figure out that the fog or mist or smog, etc. "lifts", i.e. disappears or disperses by or as if by rising, but "the rain lifting" sounds like it's ...
0
votes
2answers
130 views

How may I write good English? [closed]

I am a senior professional from India. I studied most of my educational career in English medium. For professional reasons and personal fervor I want to write good English. I am looking for expert ...
7
votes
2answers
134 views

What do Americans call the fuel in a gas-powered car?

In Britain the usual fuel for cars is petrol, but some cars are converted to use gas, by which is meant natural gas. But in America the word gas is already taken (meaning petrol). So what does an ...
2
votes
2answers
100 views

“Took off” or “taken off”? [closed]

My boss was talking to me. How could I have just taken off? My boss was talking to me. How could I have just took off?" Which one is correct. (or are they both wrong?)
1
vote
2answers
37 views

Why are both blazing or blazingly appropriate?

This SE QA explains that both blazing and blazingly are valid English words (despite what my spell-checker claims). Can anyone explain why they are both valid, and the difference between the words. ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Etymology of the phrase “goof off”

It seems clear to be an American idiom with the approximate meaning, "to waste time or procrastinate." My curiosity is about its possible relation to the Goofy, the Disney cartoon character.
2
votes
0answers
10 views

Special cases for adding an (s) in parenthesis to show one or more of something [duplicate]

Often times "(s)" is added to the end of a word to represent one or more of something: "He saved the file(s)." What do you do when the plural of the word is not created by simply adding an "s?" ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

What does the slang word “can” mean?

What does the slang word can mean in the following sentences: Hey guys, do you know where the can is around here? I can't make make it to the phone; tell them I am in the can. Finally, our planning ...
-1
votes
3answers
72 views

What, exactly are “is”, “has”, “was”,etc [closed]

He is here. She was absent. He has returned. Apparently, these are tense-base verbs, but there's surely a more academic term for them. I am not a grammar, so I seek the aid of StackExchange.
9
votes
5answers
2k views

What does the phrase “What's your bag?” mean?

What does the phrase "What's your bag?" mean in the following 2 sentences: I tweeted to the Yahoo help center, and they replied: - Hey man, what's your bag? At a party, someone asked me: ...
0
votes
1answer
134 views

Modern use of “I should think” vs. “I would think” in speech

When I listen to old Tom Lehrer recordings he says, I should like to introduce... and it sounds a bit strange. However, yesterday I was building a shed with my wife and I said, much to my ...
3
votes
1answer
291 views

Meaning of the slang Boo

The following paragraph is from the story of Billy, Sally, and Joe: Billy and Sally were inside a dark room. - Billy yelled "Boo" and scared Sally. Then, Joe came in. - Hey, boo, come over ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Technique of pronouncing the rhotic “r”

I, as a German native speaker, have two "techniques" of pronouncing the rhotic "r." I describe them as follows: I move my tongue upward, so it touches the upper row of my teeth and then just make a ...
4
votes
3answers
198 views

Must “Eldest” Always Apply To People?

If you have a collection of things that are related to one another, can you use "eldest" to denote the oldest, or should that term only be used with respect to people? Another question on this site: ...
4
votes
4answers
153 views

How do some people develop the tendency to overuse particular words?

My ninth-grade history teacher said ultimately so much that a classmate and I started keeping tally each day. He once said ultimately 26 times in a 48-minute period. A co-worker's response to most ...
-1
votes
2answers
62 views

How can I say a job which completes 70-80%? [closed]

In English, if a job completed 100%, then I will say it is Completely done If it is done about 50 %, we will say partially complete How about case if it done about 60% to 70% or 70 to ...
25
votes
8answers
3k views

Does anyone use both “whinge” and “whine?”

The words "whinge" and "whine" have separate (albeit very similar) definitions in the OED, and they have distinct pronunciations. "Whinge" seems completely restricted to BritE; I have never heard it ...