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

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3
votes
2answers
4k views

“Theater” vs. “Theatre” in American English

Why is it that "theater" and "theatre" do not follow the traditional rules of British and American spelling? British spellings like "metre" and "centre" are consistently switched to "meter" and ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

What should I call the disposable paper wrappers for straws?

Just for personal reasons I would like to know what to call the disposable paper wrappers for drinking straws. If there is no name can I name it a paper? Paper wrapper?
0
votes
1answer
228 views

Will that be fine?

Quite a few times now, a waiter or shop assistant has asked me: Will that be fine? I've noticed that I've only ever heard Indian English speakers use this turn of phrase. To my (British) ear, ...
1
vote
3answers
77 views

What term captures “just the thing” or “exactly what is needed”?

Example usage: If Plato and Aristotle wish to maintain the status quo, then such a system is just the thing that is needed. "Sufficient" doesn't carry it. "Ideal" gets closer. What word captures ...
-2
votes
2answers
112 views

Why do some words get a red wavy underline? [closed]

I have often experienced the red underline while typing indicating there's an error there may be grammatical or the word doesn't exist in the dictionary. When I type the name of popular universities ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Plugging in a list of words into a phrase

I'm writing a sentence that uses a plugged list of words into my main phrase. I think I picked this up from reading stuff that used a similar construction(?) but I'm not sure if it's ...
1
vote
3answers
269 views

Most appropiate word for someone addicted to Internet [duplicate]

Apart from computer savvy or geeks,I am looking for the most appropriate English word for someone who is addicted to Internet?
3
votes
1answer
59 views

What's the meaning of “vertical” in a software project description?

I'm a programmer from Brazil and have here a software project to estimate. In the description I found these sentences: ...to provide the use cases for the vertical they might be interested. ...
-1
votes
1answer
9k views

(UK-US English) If “mom = mother” then why “mum” isn't “muther”? [closed]

So, I've noticed something weird. People who speak US English say Mom. Mom represents the word "mother". People who speak UK English say Mum. Mum also represents the word "mother". Why isn't it ...
-1
votes
1answer
49 views

The word foresaw and its morphemes

I need help with the word foresaw. I know that the morphemes for foresaw are {fore} and {saw} but what kind of morpehmes are they (derivational/inflection) and what are their category and function
17
votes
9answers
2k views

What does it mean when Americans say “We love you” in an email? [closed]

I was just having an email conversation with 3 of my community advisors and they said "We love you". I found that weird? The community advisors teach me about how to behave in America and what the ...
1
vote
1answer
332 views

What do the expressions “offshore”, “blind filing” and “operating at a total loss” mean?

In the 2014 film The Other Woman, there is an exchange between several characters: Carmela - Yay.- Mark's not just a cheating scumbag, he's also a thief. Look what I found. This is a list of all ...
0
votes
4answers
196 views

Did I show you my graduation photo or have I shown you my graduation photo?

So I was on my way home from school, and I overheard two people talking about something. The one asked the other: ''Did I show you my graduation photo?'', I asked my self whether it shouldn't be ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

Is the title of a US President permanent? [duplicate]

Ultimately I'm wondering whether the descriptive in "former President [Name]" is superfluous or necessary in everyday usage, such as when talking to an audience who knows who the current president is. ...
0
votes
2answers
82 views

request/requested/requesting date

I am developing a website, in which a user can send a request to another user. What's the correct way to describe the date that the request was made on, in the format of [request/requested/requesting] ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

Why do we qualify “dish washer” or “car wash” but not “clothes washer”?

In theory, any mechanical device that is used to wash another object could be called a "washing machine". However, the term (at least in the US) is almost exclusively used for machines that wash ...
0
votes
3answers
633 views

Is “Drop the big hammer” American slang?

In a trailer for the movie "Black Hat", one person says "The guy we're working with will drop the big hammer and not think twice about it" Is this some sort of American slang, possibly for a ...
3
votes
3answers
155 views

Where and when did the phrase “turkey of the year” originate? [closed]

Was it meant to be an objurgation, an insult, a jocose remark, or something else? And does it have the same meaning today as it had then?" Definitions of “turkey” (when used to refer to a person) ...
0
votes
2answers
124 views

What is the term to describe the use of “City Hall” in “you can't fight City Hall”?

I know there's a word to describe the use of the words "City Hall" in the common phrase "you can't fight City Hall", where "City Hall" = "the office of the mayor of the city", but I can't remember ...
0
votes
3answers
31 views

Example of using Anxious or nervous [duplicate]

Anxious means 'very eager' or feeling nervous . Can you please explain the difference via an example. I'm interested to hear other people's opinions on this.
1
vote
3answers
177 views

What's the etymology for the term “greensheet”?

I've been looking for the etymology of the word greensheet, specifically when used in the context of academia. I know it's just another way to say "syllabus", but where did the "green" in greentext ...
7
votes
1answer
97 views

When do you use middle and when center?

The other day I was talking to a friend about when to use "middle" or "center". I was using it in the context of top, middle, bottom, as a listing, and he suggested it should be top, center, bottom. ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Referral Campaigns or Your Referral Schemes

I have a referral program which comprises of 50% UK users and 50% US users. Taking into account location, what would be the most appropriate title to use... Your Referral Campaigns Or Your ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

When did people start “boinking”?

Is "boinking" an onomatopoeic and/or a blend word? I would have said so, I believe the word boink refers to the sound of the mattress springs squeaking under the weight of a couple making love. A ...
0
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Apple's advertising slogan [duplicate]

Apple has an amazing marketing/advertisement team. Their ads and presentations are always amazing. In 1997, they had an iconic "Think Different" campaign for their new slogan. Within commercials they ...
-1
votes
1answer
98 views

American English: collective noun + verb when collective noun is plural? [duplicate]

I'm struggling with grammar and the name of a group of clinics; let's say that there are five dental clinics colocated in the same building, and the name of that group is Foo Dental Clinics. There's a ...
1
vote
2answers
654 views

What did Kate mean when she said: “(…)? Or did Big Pussy and Meadow miss you too much?”

In the 2014 film “The Other Woman”, there is an exchange between several characters Phil: Who's this? Carmela: I'm Carmela, Kate's decorator. Phil: Oh. Really? When did you fire ...
0
votes
2answers
419 views

Availability to meet vs availability to meeting?

I'm writing a thank you email to thank a person for finding the time to meet with me. Which of the following two forms is correct, and why? I wanted to thank you again for your availability to meet ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Usage in defining an action because of someone else

I was at the bar and got a beer because my buddy typically drank them. I stated "I ordered this beer in his image". But I feel there is an expression to say "I performed this action because it's ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

What's the informal word for a small challenge?

Example: I challenge you to get her number. If you get it, you earn a beer. It's sort of a friendly bet. It's a short 3-5 letter word. I've heard it but can't recall it. Please help. Something ...
5
votes
3answers
145 views

Question on lack of comma usage

My English teacher took some points off on a recent paper of mine based on improper comma usage, so I'm coming here for clarification. Here are the examples. The [x]'s indicate where the commas were ...
6
votes
2answers
262 views

Where do people pronounce “ank” as /eŋk/ vs. /æŋk/?

Let's use "bank" as an example. Some Americans pronounce it /bæŋk/, using the vowel of TRAP. Others pronounce it /beŋk/, using the vowel of FACE. Where are these two pronunciations found?
0
votes
1answer
308 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

Is “Goldbrick” commonly used in American English?

I came across the slang term "Goldbrick" in the American WWII cartoon Private Snafu The Goldbrick (Warning: possibly sexist at the start, and possibly racist near the end). I'd never heard the word ...
-1
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “ambush Prince Charming's wife” mean? [closed]

In the 2014 film “The Other Woman”, there is an exchange between several characters King Kate: So what do I do now? So I'm, now I'm Barb Melman? Barb Melman got divorced and now she has cheek ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

How do I interpret “emissions of car operated over” in this sentence?

I was trying to answer a question on skeptics.stackexchange.com, where we found this paragraph in a scientific report: This compares to 1,374 tons per day statewide for passenger cars. While ...
5
votes
1answer
355 views

Why are only some “u” words pronounced with a glide in American English?

In most words with a long U that doesn't start a syllable, it is pronounced /uː/. Examples: student, reduce, introduce. However, in some words (such as music, mule, human) it is pronounced /juː/. I've ...
0
votes
3answers
350 views

All I know vs. Alls I know

Are the two sayings proper English? "Alls I know" and "All I know" Alls I know just sounds bad to me, but while people agree, no one can tell me if it is right or wrong.
3
votes
1answer
15k views

How do I use “as of now” correctly?

Just to clarify, I am not a native English speaker. I occasionally hear from other non-native English speakers the use of the phrase: "As of now" with the meaning of Currently. Initially I did not ...
1
vote
2answers
789 views

What is the most appropriate opposite of “Select All”?

Is it more appropriate to use "Deselect All" or "Select None" or some other phrase to indicate the opposite of "Select All"? Context: A toggle button in a piece of software that will select all items ...
1
vote
1answer
218 views

What does “A Gossip Girl in Sweet Valley with traveling pants” mean?

In the 2010 film Easy A, there is an exchange between several characters: Rhiannon: Aren't you supposed to be like, eternally in love with him, and shit? Olive Penderghast: Yes, I believe ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Can “unto” be used instead of “onto” in American English?

Is there a difference in how the preposition "onto" is used in British and American English? I always understood it to match the following dictionary definition I found online, and was not aware of ...
-1
votes
2answers
65 views

Take my word for it or take my word for this? [closed]

Me and a friend got into an argument. He says that you can say "Take my word for this". I say that the proper use is "Take my word for it". Could someone elaborate on each of those and tell us who is ...
7
votes
1answer
276 views

Batman vs. Maxwell Smart. Who said, “Good thinking, …!” first?

Recently, I've come across the catchphrase, "Good thinking, [name/noun]!" three times on ELU. The first was in a question referring to Terry Pratchett's catchphrase "Good thinking, that man!" 1 The ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

What's the subordinate clause type for these two that-clause sentences below?

I am always confused about what type of subordinate clause "that" can connect. So there are two sentence below: So far the torpedo has proved a damp squib, with observers arguing that Europe has not ...
5
votes
3answers
391 views

Interpretation of a quote from “Easy A” (the 2010 film) [closed]

In the 2010 film "Easy A", there is an exchange between several characters: Rhiannon: George is not a sexy name. George is like what you name your teddy bear, not the name you wanna scream out ...
2
votes
1answer
107 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
369 views

Is a 'peeve' the same thing as a 'gripe'?

Many times on this site have I heard something described as a 'peeve'. My sense is that this is American. Although the verb, usually in the passive - he was peeved because he had been given the ...