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

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3answers
167 views

Is British English Outdated in Technical Writing?

I learnt English as my second language right from my school level and for the British colonial history of my country, my education was mostly in British English. In fact, during my school years, ...
3
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3answers
148 views

The word “geriatric”

Would you say describing somebody as "geriatric" is offensive? I think it's neutral in American English, but the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary describes it as "informal" and "offensive".
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1answer
95 views

Is “I have Asperger syndrome” grammatically correct? [closed]

I'm trying to write my first book. In it, the protagonist has Asperger syndrome. It was going well until I encountered this sentence (the boy is confessing to another person) and became confused. Is ...
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1answer
34 views

Usage of the word halt

I was looking for the meaning of Draw up and this was the definition:" to cause to a halt". The thing is it confused me more because I have no idea what halt means and in what sentences could I use ...
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2answers
184 views

Where is the word “cutlery” in common usage

During a trip to the US I realised that many Americans have never heard the word cutlery before ... however some have. Where in the English speaking world (and in particular where in the US) is this ...
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4answers
2k views

Is there a formal way to say we want to go to the toilet? [closed]

I've heard: "I've to go the potty", "I have to meet Mr John", "Nature is calling me, I have to go", "I've to go to the rest room". These sentences aren't formal, are they? Is there any other way ...
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2answers
94 views

“On the air” OR “On air”

Do you remember Northern Exposure? I hope so. Chris had a light-sign in his office: http://nevergoodbye.com/go/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/totalchris.gif And when you search google images for "on the ...
31
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7answers
2k views

Why do Americans go 'downtown' whilst people in the UK go 'up town'?

People in London, who live in the suburbs, may tell you they work 'up town', meaning in the City or the West End. In other large cities in Britain, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds etc., I think people ...
2
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5answers
438 views

How do students respond to the “roll call” and how do you pronounce it?

I have two questions. In the UK, to do (or is it read?) a roll call is commonly referred to as "calling out the register". It's been so long since I was a child that I'm not absolutely sure how ...
8
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3answers
372 views

Are there any studies on changes in British English to become more like American English?

With the spread of American popular culture (movies, books, franchises, etc.) and technical jargon (manuals, Web syntaxes, default spell-check settings, etc.), I'm wondering if there have been any ...
0
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2answers
68 views

How to call to this profession in English?

What do you call this profession in English - a man who creates layouts for web sites in css and html? This is a very important question. Because in the Russian-speaking community still no one can ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
1
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2answers
163 views

Is there a British English equivalent for the expression “X has nothing on Y?” [closed]

I'm American and I'm writing a short story, one of the characters of which is British. I'm trying not to go overboard in my attempt to replicate British English in this character's speech, but I'm ...
0
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1answer
82 views

Why is the beginning of a quote in old text sometimes denoted by a capital letter but no quotation marks?

In the following text of Pamela by Samuel Richardson, well is capitalised — possibly to denote speech, where inverted commas have been neglected. As GEdgar points out, this is not an isolated ...
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1answer
248 views

“Were that you who did that” vs. “was that you who did that”

Which of the following is correct? Were that you who did that? Was that you who did that? Obviously one has to use were with you, but which one goes here in this case?
-1
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1answer
132 views

Got started or started

I am a learner of the English language. I have written two sentences, please give your two minutes and let me know, which one is correct? In the below sentences an action was started by my dog, for an ...
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0answers
10 views

Punctuation in my sentences [duplicate]

I am a learner of the English language and especially I am learning the punctuation marks in the English language. I have written two sentences. Please give your two minutes and let me know, which ...
0
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1answer
39 views

Is it right to say that “they have their utopia starting when they see a plate of food and water” [closed]

I have to do a presentation about a third world country next week and I started writing down what I am going to say and I am stuck in the introduction! I am speaking Greek and this phrase make sense ...
4
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3answers
2k views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

Which of the following is correct? If both are correct, do they have different meanings or usage? Take a taxi/bus/train OR Get a taxi/bus/train
3
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1answer
55 views

At X's expense and of X's timber

The following string appears in Jenks, E. "The prerogative writs in English law" Yale Law Journal 32:6 (1923): ...the accused in the meanwhile [was] to be kept in one of the new gaols ...
2
votes
1answer
849 views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
3
votes
1answer
193 views

Where does the word “totty” come from?

There's been a nice bit of totty on TV over the holiday period; that is attractive women. girls or women collectively regarded as sexually desirable: But what is the etymology of the word? It's ...
3
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4answers
516 views

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

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. 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 ...
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3answers
183 views

Good synonyms for “waste of time”? [closed]

Can't think of any off the top of my head, and the thesaurus comes up with bland results.
2
votes
1answer
815 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 ...
4
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2answers
905 views

Why are promiscuous women known as “slappers”?

Women who aren't interested in much more than sex are referred to as "slappers" in British English. British informal, derogatory a promiscuous or vulgar woman. Why is this? I can't find any ...
9
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4answers
514 views

How did “ropey” come to mean “of poor quality”?

Rope is typically long, strong and fibrous. So how did us Brits come to use "ropey" to describe something of poor quality? British informal of poor quality:     a portrait ...
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2answers
614 views

Why does “going to kip” mean “going to sleep”?

"Night, folks; I'm off to kip." noun 1British a sleep or nap:       I might have a little kip [mass noun] :       he was trying ...
8
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3answers
274 views

Whence does “sprog” come?

The British informal word for a child. I couldn't get any work done because the sprogs were running riot. ODO has the following: 1940s (originally services' slang): perhaps from obsolete ...
3
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1answer
129 views

Use of “ahoy” before “hello”

The word hello seems to have become popular with the coming of the telephone. Did our ancestors greet each other with ahoy before that?
9
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2answers
434 views

Where does the word “sh**” come from?

Once upon a time in America, particularly during the 1970s, if you asked an American whether they ‘fancied a shag’, they might well have thought of this: And therefore declined the offer for fear ...
3
votes
3answers
437 views

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'?

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'? I really want to know because "knocked" in the song, doesn't make sense to me.
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2answers
1k views

A/an hypothesis? [duplicate]

Is it a or an hypothesis? I am not a native speaker (and not very language talented) so I would appreciate any explanation/rules.
2
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1answer
2k views

Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Where did the word “quim” come from?

Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge. The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been ...
7
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2answers
711 views

Where does the word “snogging” come from?

Where does the word snogging come from, in the sense of canoodling? I’m looking for it etymology, not for its connotation or phonoaesthetic properties, as the answer of the other question provides. ...
0
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2answers
827 views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
1
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3answers
486 views

Can you begin a sentence with an emotion?

Is it incorrect to begin a sentence with an emotion? For example: "Afraid and alone, he no longer wished to continue on." I'm translating some work from a foreign language into English, but I ...
4
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2answers
166 views

Is “raises question marks over” a correct and common phrase?

Is a sentence like Dynamic method invocation raises question marks over the way existing instances should be handled. correct in a technical paper (computer science)? (I think it is in the ...
0
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1answer
89 views

Can a dash be used in this instance?

I would like to confirm the use of a dash in this sentence: My name is Mat, I am a Bristol based designer in the UK - I forge digital art, illustrations & websites Is this the proper use ...
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3answers
269 views

How to write a date range (e.g., 6 May to 8 June) in a way that is concise and unambiguous?

In general, I try to write dates as one of: 2014-01-03 3 Jan 2013 3 January 2013 avoiding slashes altogether so as to avoid any ambiguity with American date formats. That said, I've never found a ...
1
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3answers
107 views

I need a word encompassing the meaning of free from something

Suppose I have a work to accomplish today, but I am not in the mood to finish it. I need the word to comprehend all these ideas. The sentence to be put in would be like "Request to free me from the ...
1
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3answers
625 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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3answers
315 views

Use of as good and as well

Are these two sentences correct? This is as good as ... This works as well as ... Edit: This one is as good as the other one. This one works as well as the other one.
0
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2answers
313 views

Grammatical error in following sentence

I am an IT Professional with over 12 years experience in Website Development, IT Management, IT Support and project management. I have the following strap line on my resume A dynamic, creatively ...
2
votes
2answers
380 views

Are commas considered superfluous in legal documents?

I'm in the process of purchasing a house and reading through the contract, I can't find a single instance of the comma. (As if legalese wasn't hard enough to read already!) This includes the ...
0
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1answer
238 views

How can I explain a word used in a previous sentence?

I am defining a "thing" with an adjective. Example: X is a small y. Then I want to give a clean and simple explanation for the adjective small --because it can mean several things and I want to ...
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5answers
1k views

Etymology of “nick” in, in the nick of time?

We have the nick meaning prison, as in "he served time in the nick", then we have the verb to nick, meaning to steal; but if the police catch you red-handed, then "you've been nicked". And if you led ...
3
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1answer
728 views

Participle of “center/centre” in UK English — “centring”? Seriously?

As an American, I was never shocked to see the word "center" spelled as "centre." It didn't bother me at all. Honestly. But then I saw the participle of it spelled as "centring" as opposed to ...
0
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1answer
285 views

To whom does “British” refer?

I've seen from sources claim that the word "British" can be used to refer to different things. Some say Great Britian, some the UK, and some even the UK including her overseas territories. Which of ...