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

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8
votes
8answers
4k views

Incorrect grammar versus different dialects

My girlfriend, someone from southern New Jersey, constantly says phrases like "I'm done my homework" or "I'm done my dinner." I try to correct her and say, "I'm done with my homework" or "I'm done ...
2
votes
3answers
51 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

How to express someone's height in metric

If someone is 169cm tall, what is the most common way of saying their height in metres and centimetres in American/Australian/British English? I'm not interested in converting metres (meters) and ...
1
vote
1answer
86 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
64 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

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

If someone says something such as "Within greater Seattle", what does that mean?
5
votes
2answers
263 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.
4
votes
2answers
98 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 ...
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 ...
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" ...
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) ...
5
votes
2answers
251 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
62 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
81 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: ...
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 ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

“Mic” as an abbreviation for microwave

Last week, I was among a group of friends and commented on the fact that someone had removed a sticker from their microwave. I used the word "mic" to abbreviate microwave, and people thought I was ...
0
votes
2answers
435 views

To gain/acquire/obtain comfort with something abstract - is this idiomatic, or at least acceptable?

I am encountering the expression "to gain comfort", "to acquire comfort", and to "obtain comfort" more and more lately. Example: "This issue was looked at in depth in 2013 and we obtained comfort at ...
1
vote
1answer
221 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
8
votes
4answers
375 views

Omission of 'for' with various quantified time intervals: influence of verb

I came across these two examples, given to illustrate 'a case' where the inclusion of the preposition for is considered optional in the paper "Acquisition of Preposition Deletion by Non-native ...
4
votes
15answers
926 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
70 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 ...
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 ...
-3
votes
3answers
41 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
23k views

Is there a 1950's American accent?

Listening to old recordings, there is a distinct accent that radio and television announcers used that is different from a modern-day "Standard American" or neutral accent. It seems that over the ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

What is a West Coast (U.S.) accent?

I've seen references to the American Midwest as being the home of the least accented form of American English. I always think of the Northern Midwest as having an accent that I associate with ...
7
votes
2answers
133 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 ...
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
3answers
11k views

What is the correct usage of “throwing shade”?

The renowned scholarly institution UrbanDictionary defines the term as follows: throw shade: to talk trash about a friend or aquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect. When throwing shade ...
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
242 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 ...
-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
145 views

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

Is there any US/UK English difference in the spellings "manyfold" and "manifold"?
5
votes
2answers
100 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
72 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.
0
votes
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
2answers
692 views

Can the word “facet” be used in a sentence like this one?

Leadership skills are also a valued facet in a friend. Can facet be used in this way?
15
votes
2answers
7k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
2
votes
1answer
64 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
525 views

I haven't seen her “for”/“in” two days

What's the difference between using either for or in in the following examples? Bill hasn't taken a vacation for/in two years. Jack hasn't been to school for/in four days. I hadn't seen ...
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 ...
33
votes
8answers
8k 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 ...
-5
votes
2answers
126 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 ...
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.
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
196 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
140 views

Is the word “whilst” not used in U.S. English?

In my spare time I sometimes help out a good friend of mine. He is a professional translator, self-employed so he can pretty much pick his own assignments, which is a good position to be in, but I ...
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 ...