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

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7
votes
1answer
1k views

Etymology of reduplicative compound “nitty-gritty”

I've always been curious about that one and I've come across many contending theories for the etymology of nitty-gritty. English is quite fond of these reduplicative compounds. I'd like to know ...
4
votes
3answers
579 views
+50

'-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 ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

What is the meaning of the name “Wilber” in English? [on hold]

I'm thinking of picking Wilber as my English given name recently, since it has similar pronunciation with my Chinese given name. But I'm not sure about the meaning of Wilber in English, especially ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the history and geographic area of the word “finna?”

In St. Louis, I learned of the word, "finna." I know it is slang/contraction for "fixing to." By asking dozens of people, I've learned that it is used by people of many different races and cultural ...
9
votes
11answers
2k views

What's the word for someone who always likes being different?

...particularly with respect to the use of technology, taste in music, movies etc. I have seen my share of people like this who like to go "alternative" just to set themselves apart and I would like ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do 'fine words butter no parsnips'?

I was at a dinner last night where some rather nice herb butter was served with the vegetables. Conversation close to me then turned to the English expression 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. It ...
12
votes
5answers
8k views

Why does “klick” mean kilometer in US military slang?

Wiktionary says it is either likely a pseudo-condensed pronunciation of kilometer or onomatopoeic of the sound of a military odometer. Though kilometers are not commonly used to measure distance ...
2
votes
2answers
44 views

Triple Commas not acceptable?

I'm wondering why this phrasing: I spend most days thinking about the future. Hoping that I'm on the right path, I do my best at everything I can. is preferred over this one: I spend most ...
-1
votes
0answers
22 views

Is it correct to say on English like this? [on hold]

Can someone help me with checking for errors my English translation? I mean, is it correct, to write on English like this: Life has left the body of our hero... So his journey has ended here.
0
votes
0answers
32 views

A woman's body is the sanctuary of her soul [on hold]

My teacher once told me a poem, whose main theme, more or less, was that god created a man and then he created a woman for him. The poem had so many adjectives like, God created woman from the ...
-1
votes
0answers
33 views

“he likes but I don't” or “he likes but I” [migrated]

What is most used? Means the same? A) He likes but I don't. B) He likes but I.
1
vote
2answers
64 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
86 views

Is “evidence” as a verb an Americanism?

We need to evidence the agreement with these forms. Is this usage predominantly American?
-1
votes
0answers
30 views

A confusing sentence from my English class assignment [closed]

What does this quote mean? Choosing to live on narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative ... are often more afraid. ...
0
votes
1answer
56 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?
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
60 views

How to pronounce the word Elision? [closed]

How do I pronounce the word "Elision"? As in: In C++ computer programming, copy elision refers to a compiler optimization technique that eliminates unnecessary copying of objects. I've Googled ...
0
votes
1answer
47 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, ...
0
votes
2answers
91 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Does a sentence containing “but” cause an anomaly? [closed]

I am learning English semantics. I am a little confused on an anomaly. For example: He killed the tiger, but didn't succeed. He killed the tiger but it was still alive. He killed the ...
1
vote
3answers
55 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

Why does “corn” mean “maize” in American English?

I keep hearing "corn" as a synonym of "maize". This is widely popularized worldwide by popcorn. However, this is American English! In British English, "corn" can mean any type of "grain", especially ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

What's the best way to get rid of international accents?

I have lived in the United States for more than five years now, and I am over 20 years old. Although I do not have that many problems with my verbal or written skills, it is not hard for people to ...
-2
votes
2answers
66 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
13 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
78 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?
5
votes
1answer
123 views

When did it become common to 'double the conditional'?

Twins is a 1988 comedy featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as genetically engineered twins. The fact that they’re genetically engineered is used to explain the differences between ...
3
votes
1answer
44 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
227 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
28 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
4
votes
4answers
18k views

“Elder brother” or “older brother”?

I've read both forms in newspapers and online news: elder brother and older brother. What's the difference between them? When should I use which?
7
votes
6answers
995 views

“Muppet” in American English

I see an event is being organised in Washington, DC, called the Million Muppet March. In British English, at least, muppet has no very positive connotations:- muppet (ˈmʌpɪt) — n slang a ...
1
vote
1answer
51 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

When did “y'all” become improper?

It is my understanding that the contraction y'all was considered correct American English in times past. At what point was this word removed from valid American English?
0
votes
4answers
109 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 ...
9
votes
9answers
2k views

Are there idioms specific to one English dialect?

Let's get into a little conversation about the differences between American English, British English and regional dialects. Some words are specific to certain dialects (lass is Scottish, the lads is ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Why “ladybird”?

In case you don't know, in British English, the little red-with-black-spots insect is not called a "ladybug", as in North America, but a "ladybird". This seems rather a poor act of classification, ...
2
votes
2answers
56 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. ...
15
votes
8answers
13k views

Is it proper to omit periods after honorifics (Mr, Mrs, Dr)?

I've been reading the Economist lately and they apparently don't punctuate honorifics like "Mr.", "Mrs.", e.g. The popular rejection of Mr Mubarak offers the Middle East’s best chance for reform ...
0
votes
2answers
20 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] ...
5
votes
5answers
14k views

Where does the term Cracker come from, and how disparaging is it?

My grandmother from Georgia openly refers to herself and other white southerners as "Crackers", and sometimes adds a state as in "Georgia Cracker" or "Florida Cracker". She says it means simple folks ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

To give someone the 411

"To give someone the 411" is short for information but is this phrase common in the US and/or in Britain and is it still up to date or outdated?
0
votes
1answer
18k views

What does “though” mean in these sentences?

I knew these are American English sentences, and they are informal. However, I would like to know what exactly it means, or it simply means nothing, and people merely want to add something unnecessary ...
3
votes
3answers
88 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
112 views

“Named for” vs. “named after”

As a Brit, I'm used to the phrase named after being used to say how something got its name. For example, in Wikipedia's List of eponymous roads in London, we read that Addison Road is named after the ...
4
votes
1answer
40 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
2answers
103 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
38 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Do you know the meaning of the American idiom “pot calling the kettle black”?

I just want to conduct a research about this American idiom and how native American people use it. Can you guys answer my questions in the following orders? If you have better questions, I will be ...