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

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28
votes
4answers
107k views

What do Americans think of using 'cheers' to sign off an email?

I've suspected before that "Cheers" as an email sign-off is a bit of an English (or possibly Commonwealth) thing, but being English it's natural to me and I use it as the mood takes me to end an email....
5
votes
3answers
37k views

When to use “Well” or “Good” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do so many people get this wrong? “How are you? / I'm well.” How would you answer the question "How are you?" I'm well. or I'm good. I ...
6
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the closest alternative to “rubbish” in American English?

What is the replacement for "rubbish" in American English? I would think "crappy" but it seems a bit stronger than needed.
9
votes
5answers
39k views

What does the British idiom “taking the piss” mean?

I most recently heard this in the context of a business deal: Sorry gents, looks like we'll be taking the piss on that one. I understood that the business had suffered a financial loss, although ...
6
votes
7answers
6k views

“Viewer discretion is advised”

This program contains material that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised. Is that 100% correct English? This is the text shown before some TV programs. When I first ...
10
votes
4answers
796 views

“I park my car in the yard”

What is the origin of the different pronunciation of words like park, yard, cartoon, margarine in American and British English? In other words, why doesn’t British English generally pronounce the r ...
37
votes
5answers
25k views

Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Do Americans use the world 'turtle' as a generic word to mean 'tortoise'?

Obviously there are two different animals — a tortoise and a turtle. But I have been told by a colleague that in the US the word turtle is used to describe both. I find this odd as for example the ...
7
votes
7answers
19k views

Does “pants” more commonly mean “trousers” or “underpants”?

In the UK, I've heard pants being used as slang for underpants (or was it in Bridget Jones' Diary?), whereas in India it almost exclusively means "trousers". Describing the meaning of "put your pants ...
11
votes
3answers
16k views

“Practise” vs. “practice”

As an Australian, I like to follow British forms of words such as license/licence and practise/practice. I have no problem with licence the noun and license the verb, but I find it hard to keep ...
1
vote
2answers
280 views

Is this correct English? What should one do when you're supposed to have *two* punctuations at *one* position?

This is the first sentence of which ground-breaking document: "The importance of a Web page is an inherently subjective matter, which depends on the readers interests, knowledge and ...
-1
votes
1answer
256 views

Do these sentences have the same meaning?

Please tell me if the following sentences have the same meaning or if there is any difference between them. I can't do this task. I didn't finish this task.
6
votes
2answers
20k views

“Can” vs. “could” in asking a question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I am a little bit confused about asking a question: Can you please tell me my next work? or Could you please tell me my next work? ...
3
votes
1answer
547 views

What's the difference between these sentences?

What's the difference between I'm going to eat my lunch and I have to go for my lunch and where can I use these sentences?
9
votes
2answers
578 views

avoid the slash?

Should the slash be avoided? For example every week/day in my head is translated to every week or day. I think I started using slashes because I saw them used in forums and in articles. Is using ...
41
votes
7answers
2k views

Which variant of English should I use when my target audience is the world?

I know that all variants of English (American English, British English, etc.) can be generally understood by everybody who knows any of the English variants. However, there are some regionalisms that ...
3
votes
5answers
26k views

“ou” versus “o” in spelling words like “color”/“colour”

Often, I have to decide whichever is better in mail, forums, letters. For instance: colour vs color behaviour vs behavior humour vs humor rumour vs rumor honour vs honor armour vs armor The ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Are these phrases too posh-sounding for conversational English?

I'm German, and I try to speak British English as best I can, it's the language I've learned at school, and I'm always trying to be consistent. However, much of my English vocabulary and phrasing I ...
6
votes
1answer
320 views

“Dawkins'” or “Dawkins's” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When did it become correct to add an 's' to a singular possessive already ending in 's'? I learned from school to use Dawkins', for example That is Mr. ...
2
votes
5answers
4k views

UK emphasis on the second syllable vs US emphasis on the first

Why do some British speakers of English emphasize the second syllable of words such as con-TRO-versy. One British woman I knew (living in Oxford) did this to many words including (unbelievably) the ...
11
votes
5answers
12k views

How should I pronounce “Worcestershire” as a rhotic English speaker?

I'm aware that the English county of Worcestershire is pronounced in Britain as ['wu:stəʃə], more or less. However, this is a non-rhotic pronunciation, and it feels very unnatural for me to use this ...
11
votes
5answers
10k views

How to use “you know”

For a non-native speaker like me, I am always wondering how to use you know correctly, as in the following sentence: Alright, well, for example, like on Saturdays, y’know, what I liked to do ...
5
votes
6answers
10k views

What does it mean to be “hard done by” - a phrase I heard from a Canadian friend

From the context of discussion, I took "hard done by" to mean "taken advantage unfair of" as in "He felt hard done by by former friends." I had never heard the phrase before and have not heard it ...
23
votes
9answers
40k views

Why is 'c*nt' so much more derogatory in the US than the UK?

What accounts for the strong disapproval of anyone using the word 'cunt' in the US, when the sentiment doesn't exist to the same extent in the UK? To be clear, it's still a strong word to use in the ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

“Toward” or “towards” – what would a native speaker use?

In this question we learn that toward and towards are interchangeable, but that the former is somewhat more typical of U.S. English and the latter of British English, although there is some indication ...
15
votes
3answers
46k views

What's the difference between 'subway', 'metro' and 'tube'?

When I watched the "American Album" program, Susan and Henry talked about New York, and she used the word 'subway'. When I listened to BBC's '6 minutes English', I heard 'tube' used in the ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

What does “cable” mean?

I came across the word "cable" very often in http://www.guardian.co.uk. Like: WikiLeaks cables: Drive to tackle Islamists made 'little progress' US embassy cables: How the Guardian protects sources ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it true that the English have many words for hill?

I've heard it said that Eskimos have many words for snow and that the English have many words for hill. If so what are they?
7
votes
10answers
74k views

Is there a rule in British English about how to pronounce “either”?

There are two common pronunciations of "either": British /ˈaɪðər/ and American /ˈiːðər/. If Americans are more or less consistent in this regard, then the Brits seem to be freely using both. In fact, ...
4
votes
1answer
640 views

Punctuation within quotes

When I was at school I was told that a quote should end with a comma. For example: "The car is on the road," said Tom. "No it isn't," replied Dick. "He's right — it's over there!" said Harry. ...
9
votes
2answers
19k 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, ...
25
votes
2answers
10k views

When do you use “learnt” and when “learned”?

Is learnt UK English and learned US? Is it that simple? I’m used to using learnt, but my US spellchecker says it is wrong.
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Common Literary Techniques for Drama Texts?

Right now we're studying a piece on drama (Disclosure: This is for school, but not necessarily for an essay or homework - It's just further study on other literary techniques that are used within ...
4
votes
2answers
887 views

The children are creating

In the lyrics of Friends Will Be Friends by Queen: Another red letter day So the pound has dropped and the children are creating. What does the phrase highlighted in bold mean?
6
votes
1answer
11k views

Is “weightage” an English word?

Is weightage an English word? We use it a lot in India, but I couldn't find it in my Oxford Dictionary.
15
votes
2answers
6k views

“Oestrogen” and “oesophagus” — why are they spelled differently in British English?

Within Biology, there are some biological terms that differ in spelling between the British English and American English dictionaries. For example, oestrogen and oesophagus, as well as the word ...
13
votes
6answers
26k views

What is the difference between “to oblige” and “to obligate”?

What's the difference between oblige and obligate? Speculating, is the latter an Americanism of the British former? Or is there any distinction about what/who has caused someone to be oblig(at)ed to ...
19
votes
2answers
61k views

“Successfull”/“successful” — is this a UK/US difference? [closed]

I would tend to write double-l, but Google gives me more single-l, so I'm guessing it's an Atlantic divide thing. And I guess all the other *full words.
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Which English language variety is best to use for global e-commerce?

Which variety of English — like American English, British English, and so one — is better to choose when translating to Englis, or building it from scratch, for an e-commerce site which intends to ...
30
votes
5answers
44k views

Is there a difference between “arse” and “ass”?

From a comment here, in frequent usage, arse and ass are often interchangeable when used to refer to buttocks or to a person of dubious charms. However, although “to arse about” has a vague connection ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Dropped g's in upper-class 1930s Britain

‘Now take huntin'…’ ‘Oh, bull-fightin' — that's quite a different kettle of fish.…’ Italics bred italics. Dropped g's fell as thick as confetti. (Jan Struther, Mrs Miniver, 1939; 4th chapter, “The ...
1
vote
2answers
17k views

Independance or Independence?

What other words are like "independence" in British English where you replace the 'a' with an 'e'?
5
votes
3answers
9k views

“At the beginning of the century” or “in the beginning of the century”?

At the beginning of the century. In the beginning of the century. How to clearly distinguish when to use at, or in?
1
vote
2answers
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?
3
votes
4answers
35k views

Difference between “get” and “take”

What is the difference between "get" and "take"? Both are used to describe receiving something. By intuition I mostly guess which one to use, but would like to know some rule which will stick in my ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

Which is correct: 'Drafty' or 'draughty'?

I have been changing 'drafty' for 'draughty', or because of my confusion, removing the word altogether while subbing online articles. I'd appreciate guidance on which term is correct for UK English.
8
votes
2answers
12k views

Why isn't “citizen” spelled as “citisen” in British English?

In British English vocabulary, most words with "z" are spelled with "s". For example, "capitalization" is "capitalisation", "industrialization" is "industrialisation". But for some words, like "...
8
votes
3answers
52k views

Usage of “shall we?”

What does it mean and where would I use it?
2
votes
2answers
248 views

“Currency rates” or “currencies rates”

What is the correct form when we have a rate for each currency in a list of currencies. For example if currencies are EUR, GBP and USD there will be a rate (buy and sell) for each one of these ...
21
votes
13answers
23k views

American vs. British English: meaning of “One hundred and fifty”

I've noticed that Americans do not say "and" when speaking numbers: for example, 150 would be pronounced "one hundred fifty". I and most other British-English speakers would pronounce it "one hundred ...