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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
3answers
238 views

“I have been Jessica” shouldn't it be “My name is Jessica”

We went to an electronics showroom, where we chatted with a sales girl. She explained some technical stuff about the things we were interested in. When she had finished explaining, she said "By ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Why do we say that our nose “runs”? [duplicate]

I find it odd that we say our "nose runs". Even stranger is that our feet "smell". Why is this?
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Question about “consistent”

I have a question about "consistent with". I want to write a sentence like Consistent with my previous experience, I am interested in pursuing research ~ blah blah. Here, I know that this ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Can the word “vector” be used in the context of non-infectious diseases?

According to one dictionary, vector (outside of physics, mathematics and computing) means "any agent that carries out and transmits a disease." Does this mean the word is limited to infectious ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “iron-ass” mean?

In New York Times’ (November 7) article under the title, “Poppy Bush finally gives junior a spanking,” Maureen Dowd introduced the following statement of Jon Meacham’s new biography, “Destiny and ...
1
vote
2answers
74 views

Does the [ɒ] in “not” sound different from the [ɒ] in “hot”?

I would like to know why the [ɒ] in not often sounds different (more rounded) than the [ɒ] in hot, father, or car in American English. I know that in British English the vowel in not is an [ɔ], but ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Why did the pronunciation of Orleans change in New Orleans, while those of French borrowed words were retained?

Words like rendezvous, faux pas, a la carte are still pronounced the same way as they are pronounced in the French language. Why was New Orleans an exception to this?
9
votes
1answer
151 views

What Charles Ingalls was really going to say?

Here is full paragraph: Pa was on top of the walls, stretching the canvas wagon-top over the skeleton roof of saplings. The canvas billowed in the wind, Pa's beard blew wildly and his hair stood ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Why we need two uppercase in last name McKay? Why not Mckay? [duplicate]

Convention? Any historical reasons? This seems to be a little odd for me. I'm not a native English user. I thought only the first letter should be the upper case. What's so special about this last ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

When is “Mains” or “grid” no longer the correct electrical term?

In a related question about the term for "mains" in the US (here), it was determined to be more often called a "grid" or "line-power". My question is: If in let's say a customized car, that uses 12v, ...
4
votes
3answers
17k 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
3answers
45 views

What is the word for showing affection for a certain team just for the sake of it?

I like a football team or show support for them purely because when I was being raised, everyone around me used to like that team. So I like them but its not like I care if they win or lose. Is there ...
1
vote
2answers
85 views

Questions about some American English vocabulary [closed]

I was wondering if any American writers could give me some advice as to whether the following expressions/vocab are used and understood in the US: (words in bold are the ones I'm asking about. Some ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Pronunciation of words that end with two syllabic R's

There are a few words in English that end with two adjacent syllabic R's (in theory). For example, let's take the word deliverer. As a non-native speaker, I find it very hard to pronounce those two ...
1
vote
1answer
110 views

Is “Sleeveless vest” redundant?

I had always thought a vest implied a sleeveless garment of clothing, but I find several instances of the phrase "sleeveless vest." Isn't that redundant and is there any reputable, somewhat ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

What is the rule for pronouncing the “a”? [duplicate]

While British people mostly seem to speak a hard "a", American people tend to make an "ae" in some cases. Here are some examples of what I mean, grouped by pattern: glass/grass ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

What verb form should be used in 'that' clauses after words expressing personal reactions and judgments? Subjunctive or modal?

In British English it's probably most natural to use should: It's surprising that he should say that to you. I'm sorry you should forget my birthday. But I'm not sure about the American way ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
3
votes
3answers
304 views

quite pretty, rather pretty, very pretty in British English and American English

I have a feeling that "quite pretty" doesn't have exactly the same meaning in British English and American English. For instance, in American English, "She's quite pretty" is considered as a ...
16
votes
8answers
3k views

Why do we 'cut' a deal?

I hired a private detective to see if I could cut a deal In the above sentence, why do we cut a deal? Should I replace it with make a deal? Is it a popular idiom in the native English world?
1
vote
0answers
28 views

What do we got? [duplicate]

What do we got? In vernacular American speech, I have heard this structure several times. A search in COCA yields 36 results for "what do we got" and 107 results for "what do you got". This is what ...
2
votes
7answers
3k views

Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
0
votes
1answer
38 views

democratizing recruiting or democratizing recruitment?

I am trying to decide which slogan to go for? democratizing recruiting or democratizing recruitment? Which one makes more sense both grammatically, and logically. My subtitle is the ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “stationery” the name of the store that sells pens, pencils, paper, school things, etc.?

In Brazil we call this store by the generic name of papelaria, something like "paper store". What is the correct name for this? Is "Stationery" the name in any country that speaks English? I read ...
3
votes
2answers
227 views

“Quite” American vs British English

In looking at the answers for this question, Using "quite" with a noun, it occurred to me that "quite," although having a dictionary definition, might be used differently by AmE and BrE ...
3
votes
1answer
191 views

Why the does 'tu' get pronounced 'tyu' in British English?

Despite being a native Brit, I've always found it an oddity that words like "tutor", "tube", "tumour", and "duty" are pronounced as "tyutor", "tyube", "tyumour", and "duty" in British English. For me, ...
0
votes
3answers
224 views

What's the “butter zone”?

An episode of Mythbusters about a steam machine gun and beating polygraph tests referred to the "butter zone". What does the phrase mean? Onelook.com couldn't find a definition. Urban dictionary has ...
0
votes
2answers
20 views

“at once” ambiguous between simultanous and immediate

I have a statement that uses "at once". It is supposed to mean "in one sweep" but the longer I look at it, the more it sounds to me like "immediately". What would you suggest? Keep it or change it? ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Set the table, or lay the table?

I have read that set is American and that lay is British. But I do not think it is nearly as simple as that. I grew up in rural England in the late 1940s/50s, and we always set the table. In fact ...
2
votes
4answers
257 views

What adverb, typical of AmEng, coincides most with the BrEng meaning of “quite” [=to a noticeable or partial extent]?

As long as -- seemingly -- the adverb "quite" in AmEng idiomatically carries an emphatic sense to it -- pretty much similar to saying "completely" or "absolutely" as in, "That girl looks quite ...
80
votes
16answers
14k views

“Soccer mom”: why soccer?

...why not football mom, baseball mom, or basketball mom? Soccer mom, as far as I can tell, is an American term made popular during the 1996 presidential elections, used to describe a key demographic ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

Should this be a restrictive or non-restrictive relative clause?

Which makes more sense in American English? The non-restrictive relative clause: The bed has a thickness, which may be adjustable. versus the restrictive relative clause: The bed has a ...
-1
votes
4answers
172 views

When did “I could care less” (rather than “I couldn't care less”) become popular?

What decade? Any particular reason? This is an etymological/historical question, not a grammar question.
1
vote
1answer
40 views

what is the meaning of “co-indexed” in English?

I know that English people use "co-" prefix to show something is "joint" or "jointly Verb" with something else . But I encountered a key sentence in a article and I cannot understand it well: "we ...
26
votes
12answers
5k views

Is there a word, phrase, or idiom for a person who stays too late at an event such as a dinner party?

Something like "latecomer" but for departing rather than arriving. For example, "Bob was always the _____ at social outings." Other variations with verbs or non - noun idioms are useful to me as ...
1
vote
3answers
14k views

Why Is “You did well.” Even Grammatically Correct (American English)?

One of the classic battles prescriptive grammarians fight is that "You did good." is grammatically wrong, while "You did well." is correct. The justification for this is that "well" is a legitimate ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

A word or term for driver /car taking no passengers

I need a term or a single word in traditional English or modern English which specifies "a car which has nothing but the driver & empty seats" Please help.
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Is it grammatical to use redundant past tense?

is it grammatically correct to use "have" or "has" before a past tense verb? for example, which is more correct: (1) "Some called for..." vs. (2) "Some have called for..." or similarly, (3) "Some ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

It is possible to reduce this relative clauses

I'm wondering if this sentence Optical fibres, which are made from very pure silica fibre, are the form of transmission line which is most often used these days. that the relative clause is ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Do Americans say “don't” as often as the British?

this is really a question for Americans. When watching US TV or films, it's often my impression that, while using all the other contractions, Americans don't seem so keen on 'don't', but use 'do not' ...
3
votes
3answers
344 views

Signs in states which say “Only Trash Litters”

In many states I can see signs posted which state "Only Trash Litters" which I certainly have no problem understanding and which appear to be correct usage to me. "Trash" can be singular or plural so ...
0
votes
3answers
93 views

“Authorization” vs “Authorisation” - I'm in some real dilemma [closed]

I'm writing a professional business-related project summary, whereby half of the clientele is in the U.S while the other half of the same business is in the U.K. - and I don't want to disappoint ...
27
votes
19answers
9k views

A verb that means “to prove someone is guilty of a crime”

Preface: I don't think there is a single-word (verb) that expresses the concept I am asking for, in which case I'd settle for the least ambiguous and most common phrase or idiom that describes the ...
7
votes
10answers
64k views

Is there a rule in British English about how to pronounce “either”?

There are two common pronunciations of "either": British /ˈaɪðər/ and American /ˈiːðər/. If Americans are more or less consistent in this regard, then the Brits seem to be freely using both. In fact, ...
0
votes
1answer
171 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 ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

What is it called when you “refill” a debit card?

How it is called (in the US) when you go to the bank or an ATM to add cash to your VISA/MasterCard debit card? That is, when you add cash to the bank account which is tied to that card. Is it ...
3
votes
2answers
115 views

Aspiration in American English

I would like know which consonants are aspirated in American English and when? Also, when are they not aspirated?
0
votes
3answers
97 views

A word to mean escape from a dire situation involving death

When the Sobibór prisoners escaped they were in a dire situation. They could stay in the camp to face certain execution, or revolt. Risking revolt meant they might die, but there would be a slim ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

What does “don’t get us started on” mean?

The complete sentense is "On average, the more public member functions are, the harder it is to find bugs — and please don’t get us started on the complexities of debugging classes with public data." ...
8
votes
2answers
25k views

When someone asks, “How are you?”

When someone asks, "How are you?" are you supposed to answer, "Good," or "Fine," and ask back?