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

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20
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7answers
8k views

Where does “pizza pie” originate?

The Italianissimo pizza—pronounced /ˈpiʦ:a/—is not always spelled or called pizza around the world: In Bosnia, Belarusian, Macedonia, Serbia it's spelled pica but pronounced /pîtsa/ In ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

What is this US accent found so often in instructional videos?

What is this accent or register? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0E4PX3e3RE It seems to me to include extensive creaky voice a broad range of pitch rising question intonation This question is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

American English equivalent of “revise” (as in studying)

Today, I discovered that the meaning of revise to do with studying is used in British, Australian and New Zealand English, rather than American English: (UK, Australia, New Zealand) To look over ...
1
vote
2answers
173 views

Centre of competence

I have seen this expression several times (Google search gives 67M answers), but it seems mostly used by French or Swiss institutions, while Wikipedia mentions centre of excellence or competency ...
8
votes
8answers
255 views
+50

“bucking for” .. like Klinger

In the culturally referrent 1970s USA TV show "MASH", about the Korean war, character Corporal Klinger acts "crazy", specifically wearing female clothing, ... because he is bucking for a section 8 ...
2
votes
3answers
44 views

Hyphenating “process” in the meaning “series of actions” in AmE

Where to break the word "process" at the end of a line in the meaning "a series of actions" in US English? Dictionaries disagree on this (or I am misinterpreting what they say): Merriam-Webster ...
2
votes
3answers
122 views

Femicide vs feminicide

While using the term femicide I realised that the is another term, probably a synonym, feminicide. From the following Wikipedia extract, the two terms appear to be synonyms: Femicide or ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

What should I call classwork at the start of a period?

So as far as I can remember, whenever a teacher gives you work at the beginning of a class period, they are called "Drills" or "Warm-ups"; however, friends that I have talked to from other schools ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

Use of plural forms when using “Multi-xxx”

Which one is correct? A multi-languages university or A multi-language university? A multi-outlet socket or A multi-outlets socket?
12
votes
4answers
361 views

Usage of “hysterical” meaning “very funny.”

One meaning (I am personally not very familiar with) of the adjective hysterical is: causing unrestrained laughter; very funny: Oh, that joke is hysterical! (Dictionary.com) No other ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

The United States. Possesive is its or their?

The United States made no secret of its/their hope to absorb the provinces... http://grammarist.com/usage/united-states/ "Although United States is usually treated as a singular noun, it’s treated ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

When someone praises me awkwardly too much, how to reply? [on hold]

When someone praises me awkwardly, as in too much, to make me happy or to get some help or something else from me, how to say "don't do that". Like, "I'll do that for you, you don't need to --- me." ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views
+50

Distinctive features of English diphthongs

I am looking for a table of distinctive features for English dipthongs along the lines of that available for other vowels here. I don't trust my purely book learned linguistic skills to produce an ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

Usage, origin and the possible Hollywood influence on “terminate” meaning “to kill.”

Terminate is an old term, but its connotation meaning "to kill, assassinate" is quite recent ("to assassinate" is from 1975. ) unlike finish, whose meaning "to kill" is from 1755, according to ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Difference between elegancy and elegance

I recently saw someone use the word "elegancy" for the first time in forever, and it set me wondering about (and wandering about) why the synonym "elegance" appears to be the preferred noun. I ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Can anyone rate my IELTS academic writing? [on hold]

I am preparing for IELTS exam and i would like to know how good is my writing and how can i make it better. If possible please point out my mistakes and tell me how can i avoid them. Question My ...
0
votes
1answer
13 views

To encounter someone/something or to encounter with someone/something?

I have seen both forms and I don't know which one is the more appropriate (if there is a difference). The actual sentence in which I want to use it is "particles can encounter (with) the atoms of the ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

What is contemporary English?

If it belongs to a category then what are other types of categories?
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Meaning of “Students in all majors” versus “Students of all majors”

I would like to know the difference between these sentences: I want to send an email to students of all majors I want to send an email to students in all majors How did of/in change the meaning of ...
3
votes
4answers
70 views

Word that describes many common household purchases

I m writing a research paper about the over consumption. I am struggling to find a word or words that describes the things we normally use in our daily lives like toothbrush, dish washer liquid, ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Does this make sense? [on hold]

"Although one might not think so, animals perpetually yawn for a reason." Does this sound correct?
0
votes
1answer
34 views

Different-colored or different colored? UK vs US English

Can I write "differently colored" instead? What expression most British or Americans would rather use? "socks, different in color" "socks of different colors" "a different color of each sock"
0
votes
1answer
277 views

What is the origin of “Act your age, not your shoe size”?

I have been thinking about this saying a lot in the past week (and yes I saw Prince in concert 30 years ago, and the Ramones the same night), but I have heard it since I was a child. I guess I find it ...
3
votes
8answers
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?
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Spend on or spend?

Which is correct? The average time spent on reading in my country is disappointing. Or The average time spent reading in my country is disappointing Generally for this sentence, do we ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Which words or grammar forms are likely to cause a collision between American and British English?

For all the Mickey-taking on both sides of the water I suppose British and American speakers understand one another 99% of the time. Can anyone think of any areas of vocabulary or grammar where ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

What grammar to use for a foreign Engineering student, both in Academia and Professionally? [closed]

As a European foreign speaker, speaking and writing English both as a student and in my profession; I would like to be more consistent in my grammar and would like to know what is more used in an ...
4
votes
2answers
28 views

what is word used to describe that “meaning has lost from originality”

I remember that many words on time get separated out from its actual meaning and people start using it for random cases to express different emotions or cases. There is word that describes this ...
-1
votes
0answers
21 views

When writing about an Indian office (“councillor”) in an American context (“councilor”), which spelling should I prefer?

I am writing about councilors in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The work will be published in an undetermined American academic journal. Should I use the spelling “councillors” (Indian English) ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Thanks for reaching out vs other “Thanks for contacting us” greetings

Hi I have noticed that more and more American companies respond to enquiries with "Thanks for reaching out to us" To an Australian it seems a little dramatic like it is implying that I have a major ...
0
votes
2answers
79 views

“Please join me, my family and [my] crew.” Can the second “my” be left out? [duplicate]

Is it proper to say: Please join me, my family and crew in celebrating my Bat Mitzvah? Or should there be a 'my' before crew?
0
votes
2answers
54 views

Piece of time/fragment of time/portion of time/bits of time

I have a question regarding the use of certain words to express an idea that implies portions of time. Is a “piece of time” an idiom or does it literally mean a “fragment of time”? I would really ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

At the heart of the party/in the center of the party/at the center of the party

I have a questing regarding space prepositions. For instance, if I want to specify that a woman and I are dancing at the central part of a room where a loud party is taking place, would it be correct ...
7
votes
2answers
621 views

Can “tact” be used to replace “tack”?

Fellow Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota took a similar tact as she spoke at the rally. I believe the CNN writer meant to use the word 'tack' like in the phrase ‘take a different ...
-2
votes
0answers
41 views

Easy ways to remember literary devices [closed]

What I want to remember for the Keystone: Onomatopoeia Simile Metaphor Allusion Hyperbole Imagery Oxymoron Melodrama And anything else that you think could possibly be on the Keystone Exams.
5
votes
2answers
106 views

How do I know if I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift?

I grew up in Kalamazoo, MI, where (according to Wikipedia and other sources), many speakers have something called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (NCS). So I'm trying to figure out if I'm one of them. ...
23
votes
9answers
6k views

Is the phrase “I just sucked it out of my thumb” used in American English?

I was born and raised in South Africa. We frequently used the term "to suck out of one's thumb", implying that an answer was just a wild guess or the notion had no evidence but was rather just ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

If Americans go to the toilet in the bathroom, where do they take a bath?

As far as I am aware, in the US it is very common to refer to the room that contains the toilet (device for disposing of human waste) as the bathroom. If this is a separate room from the room that ...
2
votes
2answers
36 views

Commissionaire in American English?

As I understand it a "commissionaire" is only used in British English (or so says the dictionary), but then what is the American English alternative?
35
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do I pronounce “horrible” so harrhibly?

With Friends Like These A few months ago, a couple good friends brought up a topic they know I disdain, and kept prodding me for my opinion on it. They wouldn't let up, until finally I proclaimed ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

“Seductive” as an adjective for describing snake

I would really appreciate if some native English speaker help me in clearing my doubt. Recently, in one of Indian English newspaper the column writer wrote the following: "A scary sci-fi scenario. ...
24
votes
9answers
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
7answers
4k views

Definition of “kissing cousins”— Are the dictionaries wrong/incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

“Nice shoes …” What does that phrase actually mean? [closed]

As from the title. I've been receiving this from a security guard, when attending a developer conference, well, a bit overdressed (wearing a suit where all the other nerds just appeared in t-shirt, ...
0
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
596 views

Associates vs employees

I've noted that some US companies call people working for them "associates," rather than "employees." (I've seen that term in less-than-stellar retail and fast-food chains) What would be the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on TV. Sentences like "You fucking idiot." I've also heard ...
2
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is “a couple of <things>” often shortened to “a couple <things>”?

I would write a couple of . I often read/hear a couple . I assumed this was an American English thing (I'm British), and just a convenient shortening of the phrase for speaking. It's easier to say a ...
3
votes
9answers
5k views

How does “spanner” come to mean “a wrench”?

"Wrenching" refers to an injury in which some muscle is forcibly twisted. A wrench is a tool that applies a twisting force to something, so that seems consistent. "To span" means to bridge a gap. ...