This tag is for questions related to English as spoken in Great Britain, and sometimes Ireland.

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“How be you” or “How are you”?

I have never heard the phrase "How be you?" until yesterday, and started arguing that this was incorrect and that the correct phrase is "How are you?". My friend's reply was "This is how it's taught ...
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346 views

Is there a word meaning “pertaining to diary writing”?

Is there a word meaning "pertaining to diary writing"? For example something like diaretical (obviously not a real word) or similar? Example usage: The text was written in a ["diaretical"] ...
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471 views

The use of “for” and “of”

Are for and of interchangeable in these circumstances? Is the meaning affected at all? He was the Minister for Education. He was the Minister of Education. The Institute of Medical ...
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6k views

What does “make it cross” mean?

I believe it's a British phrase. I found it in that website, as: Fiat's Panda can offer an affordable route into 4x4 ownership. You just have to make it Cross. If you happen to know more ...
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4answers
1k views

Apartment building - flat building?

Does anyone in the UK say flat building? I live in the US, mind, so I have no clue. It sounds a bit funny saying that. Do they say apartment building instead, maybe? Or is there another word for a ...
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1answer
2k views

What kind of rain is “sprinkles”?

It appears that MSN Weather has chosen an amusing adjective (from my British point of view) for the weather today: I'm assuming the precipitation (sadly) won't contain any hundreds-and-thousands. ...
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4answers
315 views

What does this mean: “Avoid oral calcium, dairy products, shark cartilage & exercise during the medication.”

I found this behind a medicine. At first thought, the sentence looks like it suggests avoiding exercise during the medication. However, I remember reading somewhere that in US English, when there is a ...
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2answers
85 views

Heel of Italy in Wikipedia? [closed]

Who can describe it for me? what does mean Heel and relation to italy? the region situated on the "heel" of Italy.
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572 views

“I usually knock off at 6”

"I usually knock off at 6", i heard an english gentleman say that. Does it sound odd only to me? In fact, what I heard was "I usually masturbate at 6" Did some research: found a book (i'm guessing ...
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960 views

what does the sentence “You wouldn't know a hospital corner if it bit you on the arse” mean?

The conversation goes something like this: Woman: I'll change the bed sheets. Man: No, I'll do it! Woman: I can make a bed! Man : You wouldn't know a hospital corner if it bit you ...
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5answers
3k views

Losing bottles and bottling out

ODO's definition for bottle includes the following: 2 [mass noun] British informal the courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous: I lost my bottle completely and ran ...
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1answer
883 views

“What am I meant to have”

I heard the following on 'The Office' in episode Downsize (#1.1): David Brent: I'm going to have to let you go first. Dawn: What? Why? David Brent: Why? Stealing. Thieving. Dawn: ...
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Pronunciation of “i” in the words like “direct”, “organization”, etc

I'm a nonnative speaker of English and I've always been unsure about the pronunciation of "i" inside words like direct, organization, etc. I was thinking that it's a matter of choice between American ...
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2answers
5k views

“Neither . . . nor” vs. “nor . . . neither”

In my native language we have a neither-nor-like structure which can be used either as: I neither like thing A and nor thing B. or as: I nor like thing A and neither thing B. Is it ...
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1answer
6k views

Speaking of insults: “sod off!” meaning and origin

I've thought it had to do with the love that dare not speak its name, to put it ever so coyly, but what does this phrase mean and connote? And what's the approximate American equivalent?
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3k views

How would you use rationale in a sentence?

How is rationale used in a sentence? Can it be used in place of logic?
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507 views

got ready vs is ready

A friend of mine corrected my sentence but I couldn't understand it. Just hoping someone can explain it properly for a non English speaker. My sentence is: "Finally your passport GOT ready for ...
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413 views

What is “Broken Britain”?

It's not a flattering term for Great Britain but due to its catchy alliteration it has not run out of steam among newspaper editors. Wikipedia says Broken Britain is a term which has been used ...
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2answers
117 views

How to better phrase “I'm Alec who enquired about…” [closed]

I'm writing an email to an angel investor I met recently. The context is: Hi John, Pleasure to briefly meet you at the ... event last Thursday. I'm Alec who enquired about the best way of ...
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3answers
1k views

Is “my place” correct and common in British English?

I was recently told that "my place", such as in "let's go to my place" is not commonly used in British English? Is that the case and what would you say instead?
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1answer
119 views

Which does ‘rising’ here mean, to stand up or to get angry?

Harry was sitting up on a bed in the hospital wing at school, surrounded by his visitors. Fudge, one of them, started to insult Harry. Did Mrs. Weasley want to prevent him from getting angry or from ...
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2answers
677 views

What does it mean to be “clipping an r”? Why is that a qualification for celebrities to be invited to the royal wedding?

The Washington Post (April 24) ran an article about the royal wedding under the title, “In London, the royal wedding haters have had enough.” I was interested in the expression, “the wedding ate the ...
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47 views

don't have VS haven't

I don't have a west country accent. I haven't a west country accent. So, Which one is correct and why?
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1answer
197 views

What is the difference between Anglia and England?

What is the difference between Anglia and England? When it's used. Some examples of modern usages: probably coincident, but Anglia in Polish language is England, there are regions called East ...
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1answer
704 views

British slang: larl

I've seen this word a couple of times in twitter and I've not gotten a clear definition. A friend of mine wrote a mock British text that went like this "al av ya mum ya larl cunt" so that might give ...
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4answers
167 views

Nouns as verbs, Brits and Yanks: ID cards

I find it interesting that not only do British and American English speakers both use the noun 'ID card' as a verb in the context of (trying to be in a position of) purchasing age-restricted items, ...
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3answers
3k views

Pronunciation of “banal” in British English?

How is "banal" properly pronounced in British English? I know three ways to pronunciate banal but I don't know how to write them here.
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2answers
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In Britain the word 'normalcy' is ridiculed

Does anyone use 'normalcy'? It is ridiculed in Britain as an American affectation, especially since there is a time-honoured word which means exactly the same thing i.e 'normality'.
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302 views

In England, do people use “people” or “persons” more?

In England, do people use "people" or "persons" more? And do you use the phrase "Keep it on your person"?
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4k views

Use Schedule and Timetable together

The context is a course scheduling and the process in creating one: course scheduling. I have looked up, that schedule is typically used American English and timetable is typically used in British ...
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189 views

“Summoning something into life” vs. “summoning something to life”

What is the difference between the following? Summoning ... into life Summoning ... to life If it helps, I want to use the word idea in the place of dots so it's like: Summoning ...
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145 views

“..which did what lay in it…” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Ref: “A tale of two cities” by Charles Dickens. What does “..which did what lay in it…” mean in the following sentence? “As the bank passenger – with an arm drawn through the leathern strap, ...
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3answers
12k views

Is the phrase “getting on” commonly used in British English? What register would its use be in?

I've collected a new phrase from my watching of British television, getting on, as in "How's he getting on?" From various contexts, I think I've gotten the meaning down to "how's he doing?" Anyway, ...
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1answer
107 views

“They saw the bus to come to the station.” What is wrong with this sentence? [closed]

Please, correct (if it needs) this sentence: They saw the bus to come to the station. Should I use to here?
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2answers
100 views

Equivalent AmEnglish expression of BrEnglish slang term “cheeky”

I play an online game with a group of people, one of whom is UK-based. He was going out of town for several days, so he told us to "feel free to do a cheeky quest" without him. What does the word ...
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1answer
253 views

Should British r be spoken out in liaison?

For example, the r in "better" is not pronounced in British English. How about the "r" in "a better idea"?
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1answer
3k views

Difference between “ditch”, “trench” and “gutter” [closed]

I have been trying to understand the difference between the three, is this a usage difference between American English and British English? What is the difference?
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1answer
366 views

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde unknown ( Biblical?) Reference [closed]

Okay, so I am an avid reader, and have recently undertaken a challenge to read Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, along with Robert Louis Stevenson's other literature. Having recently completed Jekyll & ...
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3answers
134 views

Cool rush of air uphill

Do you know the word to describe a cool rushing current of uphill air? I think it has something to do with the air coming from a cool place on a warm day.
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2answers
775 views

Etymology of the words “narky” and “narked”

Anybody have any idea where the word "narky" comes from? I speak British English and I understand the word to mean irritated or bad-tempered. Similarly I've heard the phrase "narked off". ...
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1answer
872 views

Is American English more archaic or more modern than British English?

I insist that someone do something. (used more in American English, says Michael Swan's Practical English Use , for instance) versus I insist that someone should do somehting. (used more ...
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33k views

Should I use “arrived” or “reached”

Sometimes when I come back from my brother's house he asks me to let him know when I am at home. Now, in that situation which one of the following is correct : I've reached home now. OR I've ...
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2answers
2k views

Banking meaning of “held”

While filling in a UK form I just encountered the following question: How many credit cards held? This was followed by a free-form text field. So they are either asking ‘how many credit cards ...
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3answers
45k views

What is the usual form of “Please do the needful”? [duplicate]

I was browsing the internet, and found that "Please do the needful" is not an appropriate sentence to use or write. According to this link, this sentence used to get used in South Asia. What would be ...
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1answer
139 views

When it come to bicycle tyres, what does “cheerful”, “sprightlier” mean?

The usage of those words can be found in this review of a certain make of bicycle tyres. Unable to understand what the author is trying to say using those adjectives, since they are usually used to ...
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2answers
585 views

Where can I read old English text with new English explanations [closed]

I like old English like "Coole their heeles", "thee" ,"thy" ,"ye" etc. Where can I find old English text but with explanations and meaning? I would also like to read old text, can you list them ...
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2answers
416 views

What determines the meaning of ‘rise’ with no adverb or preposition?

From my earlier question, I got “rising” in the following citation means getting up from the bed. 1.(Harry was sitting up on a bed in the hospital wing at school, surrounded by his visitors. Fudge, ...
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3answers
1k views

“Building site” vs. “construction site”

Is building site the British English equivalent of construction site in American English, and is it used in American English?
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321 views

Is “hail from (somewhere)” necessarily formal English?

Macmillan dictionary says hail from is "formal". link Cambridge dictionary notes hail from as "formal" in British English but doesn't say this for American English. link Oxford Learners ...
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Pronouncing dates in British English

The normal way to pronounce a date such as "22 August" or "22/8" in British English is "the twenty-second of August." My question is, do the pronunciations "twenty-two August" and "twenty-two eight" ...