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

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8
votes
4answers
770 views

Etymology of “Spaghetti and gravy”

In Nero Wolfe "Before I die", the gangster's sidekick asks for spaghetti and gravy. After Wolfe's chef Fritz prepares him spaghetti with the type of gravy used for roast beef, it turns out that the ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

She didn't even had me/has me/have me

I'm trying to translate a sentence out of a book, and the author is talking about the past and I'm not sure which one is correct, the sentence goes like this: She was so alone, I was the only one she ...
11
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

“you” in spoken, quoted dialogue

My partner and I have been having a debate about the proper way of relating dialogue in spoken English. Our problem is as follows: It often happens in conversation that one wishes to relate a ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views
6
votes
3answers
581 views

What does “consound” mean?

Hello and happy holidays. While reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I came across the expression "consound it" in Huck's dialogue parts. "Consound it, Tom Sawyer, you're just old pie, 'longside ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

verb, verb noun - structure

I would like to know the rule of this kind of structure and what is it called if it has a name. Example : others say that the students will take ethics seriously only if it is taught as a separate, ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Do “carat” and “karat” have the same origin?

Do carat and karat have the same origin? Is it correct to say that carat derives from the Italian carato, while karat derives from the from Arabic ḳīrāṭ? Is it possible that both words derive from ...
27
votes
7answers
89k views
3
votes
3answers
90 views

Can there be a difference between learned and learnt?

To the best of my knowledge, there is no difference in meaning between learnt and the single-syllable form of learned. This is supported by the answers to When do you use "learnt" and when "learned"? ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Are you sure to delete or are you sure you want to delete

When the user wants to delete smth on the website I am showing a message for him/her to confirm. What is the grammatically correct way to say so Are you sure to delete this item or Are you ...
0
votes
3answers
54 views

Missing words after commas in these sentences?

In the following sentence, why did the author use "thinking" after the comma? Is a word omitted after the comma? I waited for two months, thinking that it would be bad time for him. ...
-1
votes
1answer
33 views

Problem in 'talking to a lot of people' [on hold]

I told my friend that "I am talking to a lot of people" and he said this sentence is not correct. Can anyone help me find out what's wrong with the following sentence: "Talking to a lot of people"
-2
votes
1answer
109 views

Is there different word corresponding to “teatime” in American English?

There is a British English term "teatime" or "afternoon tea". I'm wondering how people refer to it in American English.
1
vote
3answers
328 views

What is the meaning of this wisecrack “If you can't beat members of the ”birther“ movement, join 'em.”?

I'm not an English native speaker and have no idea what is the meaning of this sentence: "If you can't beat members of the "birther" movement, join 'em." Could someone give me an explanation?
-1
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “could use a friend” mean?

I heard this word on some TV show and i have been trying to find its meaning(but they weren't of help much). Could someone please tell me ?
-1
votes
0answers
65 views

How come asian americans never developed a american accent with a mixure of asian languages? [closed]

Its funny that Asian Americans(Chinese,Koreans,Japanese,etc)never developed an American accent with a mixture of Asian accent before African Americans had an African American accent.They speak with an ...
28
votes
4answers
6k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

what does “casting a long silver of gold” mean?

so, today I was reading this book and I came across this sentence: "At the very end of the passage, a door stood ajar, and a flickering light shone through the gap, casting a long silver of gold ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

Linking Homorganic Consonants

when native speakers pronounce the phrase "Have a good time" do they tend to drop the "d" in the word "good"? The "t" and "d" are in the same tongue position and the only difference between them is ...
0
votes
2answers
79 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

What is British English for American English's “wire transfer”

This question is closely related to this one but is a little bit different. I'm in the U.S., and I'm attending a conference in Germany. The language of the conference is English. The instructions ...
-1
votes
0answers
30 views

Correct way of expressing this phrase [closed]

Ruddy duck (Anas saltensis) with a water drop on its beak swims at sunset under a golden light I'm trying to put a title for an image where there's a duck swimming with a little water drop on its ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Difference between floor and storey

I've read once about "x stories" .. Want to know if there is any difference between storey and floors. Or they are just alias for each other used in difference variations of english language ?
0
votes
1answer
44 views

What is the origin of the phrase “has some teeth to it”?

I know the phrase "has some teeth to it" refers to something that cuts and/or takes hold of something. It's used a lot in arguments / discussion of topics where serious / good counterpoints are used, ...
1
vote
2answers
12k views

What does “period” mean at the end of the American phrase?

What does period mean at the end of a sentence? For example: The stronger your core the easier your YRG(yoga) is gonna get period I didn't heard the sentence clearly because of the speaker's ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Which English to use in Portugal: British or American? [closed]

I'm not sure this is the right place to ask this, but any help is appreciated. I'm Portuguese, but I also use English for my work. For that, I use dictionaries in my computer. My question is: which ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

Wrong use of words?

My friends who lives in China just sent me this snapshot of a test which she used to practice her English language skill-set. I took a look at it, and something bothers me. I might be completely wrong ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Is the word,“Whilst”, not used in US 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
4answers
68 views

What is the point of using Parentheses around only part of a word

I sometimes see parentheses around only part of a word. What does this mean? An example...Someone typed the phrase "mission (im)possible. I am unsure what the significance is of putting parentheses ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

How do I say “my car is broken” idiomatically? [closed]

Hmm: the version I give has never sounded quite right to me, but as a non-native English speaker, I don't know how native American or English people say this. So I'd be really glad if you could ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why doesn't it go like “him and his wife”?

Please take a look at this excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye: I think I probably woke he and his wife up, because it took them a helluva long time to answer the phone. This phrase confused me. ...
2
votes
1answer
272 views

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word read?

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word usually read out loud? For example, with "Anglo-Saxon", do we say: "It is spelt as ...
-2
votes
4answers
470 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

Do Americans use the term “garburator” or is there a better equivalent?

Is it obsolete to use the term garburator to refer to a garbage disposal unit in a kitchen? If it is, do we have a better term to replace it with? Also, what is the etymology of this word?
0
votes
1answer
199 views

Is there any difference between 'plaid' and 'tartan'?

It seems to me that some Americans will say plaid where we will use tartan. Whilst tartan refers to woollen cloth woven in one of several patterns of coloured checks and intersecting lines; plaid ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “I'll be John Brown” a common phrase?

The phrase: I'll be John Brown! is an occasionally-used term in North Carolina. Mostly thought to replace taking the Lord's name in vain (GD). Is it used elsewhere? How long has it been ...
0
votes
1answer
244 views

Simple past or present perfect when describing a series of recent actions

I, as an American, would opt for the simple past rather than the present perfect in the following sentence: Today she has gone to a class, and after that she has been shopping. Is this sentence ...
0
votes
2answers
143 views

The elision of alveolar plosives

when the phrase "Can't complain" is pronounced [ˈkænt kəmˈpleɪn] I think that the T is dropped in fast speech because of the alveolar plosives. Right? I read that when T comes before these letters: / ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

Pronunciation Deleting /t/ Between Consonants [duplicate]

When I pronounce the phrase: "Look, it's the first day. I don't wanna be late." I think that the /t/ in the words "first" and "don't" can be deleted. Am I right? I'm talking about casual speech. ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Should I always use the -ised ending for UK english and the -ized for US? [duplicate]

Realized vs realised, randomized vs randomised etc. Is it true that the former is always correct in US and the latter in UK english? Is there a list of english-speaking nations that use the former or ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Preventative vs. preventive

In this answer about the non-word disabilitated, the word preventative is compared (unfavourably, if my reading of the implication is correct) to preventive. However, I have always used preventative, ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Polite, non-profane equivalent to ‘kick a**’

So, you have a web site to which you've posted a review stating "How to Kick Ass". This gets censored, which I can understand. What's a very colloquial, not necessarily modern slang, easily ...
2
votes
3answers
127 views

Is “have/has got” a perfect for BrE, but not AmE?

In BrE the past participle of get is in most cases got, while in AmE it is almost always gotten. Does that imply that in the context of BrE "have/has got" is a genuine perfect construction, whereas ...
0
votes
3answers
69 views

What is an alternative word for 'over-lit area'?

What is an alternative word to tell about 'over lit area'? I am using it in this example: The light from my lamp has over-lit my table.
3
votes
3answers
123 views

Is it arrogant to speak with a British accent among people with an American accent if english is my second language? [closed]

My mother tongue is spanish and during the university almost all my english professors were from England, after several years studying English as a Second Language (ESL) I ended up with a strange (and ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

pronouncing t's as d's [duplicate]

Why do some people pronounce "cotton" as codden and "satin" as saddin and Russian leader "Putin" as pudin? These pronunciations are made even by professional news people on national television.
10
votes
4answers
10k views

“Stick it in the boot.” “Er, don't you mean the trunk?”

Does anyone know the etymological history or the reason behind the different names that British and American speakers use to refer to the automobile's largest storage receptacle, or more plainly, the ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

I am on the day 19th of [doing X] [closed]

can I say that I am on the day 19th of fasting from rudeness, backingbiting, cursing, food and drinking during the daylight. I will include you in my prayer
0
votes
1answer
17 views

Should I say “at both single- and multiple-object levels”

In my current writing task, there are two different conceptual levels: one single object level and one multiple objects level. When I call them together, should I say: "At both single- and ...