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

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8
votes
3answers
331 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 ...
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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
112 views

How to address people [closed]

How I can correctly address people, clients? Can I use words such as: "can you", "you are can" or "Hello" or "Hi" or "Hello, sir" etc. How people addressed people in old-English?
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Correct English Grammar [closed]

Based on this message: I hope you consider my application has awaken your interest and I am looking forward for a meeting with you to explain deeply of myself. The message is used in the end ...
3
votes
3answers
369 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
129 views

Where is the word “cutlery” in common usage

During a trip to the US I realised that many Americans have never heard the word cutlery before ... however some have. Where in the English speaking world (and in particular where in the US) is this ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

What does “this industry blows” mean? [duplicate]

I am not a native English speaker and wondering what it means if somebody says 'this industry blows'.
2
votes
5answers
276 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
125 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
152 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? ...
6
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
82 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is it called a semi-truck? Doesn’t “semi” mean “part”?

I was wondering why semi-trucks are called that. Doesn’t semi mean “part of”? A semi-truck is a whole truck if I ever saw one!
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
273 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

“Now that x, y,” vs. “Now x, y” (“Now” in dependent clauses): British vs. American English

I have noticed that British English speakers tend not to use that after now in certain dependent clauses where American English speakers will almost certainly use it. BE version of two examples: ...
5
votes
3answers
481 views

How widely-accepted is “What do you got?” to Americans?

Watching A Stranger Among Us, I noticed that Melanie Griffith twice asked "What do you got?" I recognise this as an American construction which sounds strange to me — Brits invariably say either ...
4
votes
2answers
155 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?
1
vote
7answers
195 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
4answers
21k views

“Vendor” vs. “vender” in Standard American English

Which is preferred? I've always thought that vendor was the only spelling. The question was brought up by a typo, which the Word spellchecker did not correct.
-1
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

How to refer to an apartment on a specific floor?

Suppose that on the first floor of a building, there are three separate apartments numbered 1, 2 and 3 respectively. How can I refer to one of them when writing a postal address? I am wondering if ...
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 ...
5
votes
9answers
1k views

What is “plaice” in the US? Would love a good fish and chips

When we went to the market, at the fisherman's counter we asked for plaice with which we would make fish and chips. Now here in the States when we ask for plaice, they don't understand what we mean. ...
0
votes
1answer
210 views

How can I explain a word used in a previous sentence?

I am defining a "thing" with an adjective. Example: X is a small y. Then I want to give a clean and simple explanation for the adjective small --because it can mean several things and I want to ...
2
votes
3answers
171 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 ...
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.
8
votes
1answer
237 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
494 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
395 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

Why is “lucked out” such a good thing to be?

This still strikes me as odd, even after 12 years in the US. Being out of luck is a bad thing, but lucked out is a good thing, e.g. we 'lucked out' and were able to get two extra tickets for the ...
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.
3
votes
2answers
722 views

Odd, affected pronunciation of “realtor”

A while back, I noticed that the voice-over on a commercial repeatedly used an odd pronunciation of the word realtor - "real-TORE", with a long O as opposed to "real-tur", like "doc-tur" or ...
2
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
194 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
374 views

Is there a rule for how to pronounce words such as “dance”, “prance”, “castle”?

Is there a grammatical rule for the pronunciation of words such as dance, castle and prance? I believe the British English pronunciation is "ah", while in American English it is a short "a" sound.
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
115 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", ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I distinguish “can” & “can't” from pronunciation?

It's very difficult for me to separate them. I was just listening to some video and it said "Fat cells can’t reproduce themselves." What I thought I've heard is "... CAN reproduce ..." Frankly, ...