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

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6
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10answers
35k 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, ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is American English so wedded to the subjunctive?

In the sentence 'She suggested that they go to the cinema' there is no way of telling from the sentence in isolation whether it means that the speaker gave advice on attending a moving picture show, ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Is there a single word for people/ consultants who partner with our health? [closed]

We made a card for hospitals which introduces the doctors to its patients. We named the card Meet Your Healers, but we need a new word to replace Healers now.
2
votes
3answers
115 views

Conditional sentences - which is correct?

If I had bought insurance for the trip, I would have got a refund after I got sick and had to cancel. OR If I had bought insurance for the trip, I would have got a refund after I had got sick and ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

What is the origin of “journal” to mean a mechanical shaft?

What is the origin of "journal" to mean a mechanical shaft? A more common modern use is in "journal bearing" which refers to the sliding surface between a rotating shaft and a hole it passes through ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

What does the term 'grocer' mean in this song? (British usage)

In the song "Waiting for Margret to Go," which is about the death of Margaret Thatcher, the artist says "Grocers and Methodists lay her down low". What is the artist referring to by "grocer"? Is it ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Police in general as “feds”

There are many slang terms for the police, and one which has recently been in the news in the UK is "the feds", as in if you see a brother... SALUT! if you see a fed... SHOOT! Cassell's ...
0
votes
1answer
133 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
10
votes
2answers
254 views

Is “kip” Chinese in origin?

While looking up the history of kip for a previous question of mine, I realized that the information about its origins is rather scant. The noun and verb to kip in BrEng is often said when a person ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

deceit vs deception

There seems to be a boundary between these concepts, but I can't quite work out where it is. Camouflage and mimicry are deceptions; telling untruths is deceitful. In common usage we would say, 'The ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views
0
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3answers
118 views
2
votes
1answer
28 views

“for X to debate Y” or “for X to debate with Y”

I posted the following on Facebook earlier today: For a moment, I thought that Newsnight had arranged for Zizek to debate Farage. only for a friend to reply "debate with, surely?". Is this ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Those who were or those who are? [closed]

I'm confused whether to use were or are on this... I detest liars, especially those who were/are making it up as a go-to-excuse. Thanks
0
votes
2answers
86 views

What does it mean? [closed]

"Thou hast been smitten?" https://www.google.nl/search?q=What+does+Thou+hast+been+smitten+mean%3F Doesn't deliver real results.
0
votes
2answers
100 views

Exact word when we throw a rope in english

What's the exact word for throwing a fish hook or a rope whose one end we are holding. Any help is appreciated.
8
votes
3answers
7k 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
0answers
24 views

“Traveller” vs. “traveler” [duplicate]

There was a time when traveller's cheques were emitted and sold by the banks in England and by Thomas Cook. However the cheques emitted by American banks/American Express were named traveler's cheque, ...
1
vote
2answers
143 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". ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

What's the origin of the word “geezer”?

From Oxford Dictionaries: geezer noun 1. a man (British informal) he strikes me as a decent geezer 2. an old man (North American informal , derogatory) I think in British English ...
1
vote
3answers
600 views

What is the vocative expression we can use to attract the attention of someone whose name or surname we don't know?

I was reading one of my old English Language books when I came across this: "Madame, Señora, Signora, etc, are foreign vocative expressions and they have no equivalent, in either ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

How should “makeup” be written in BrEng?

By "makeup", I mean cosmetics, as in lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, etc. My assumption is that it should be written as "makeup", but others have suggested "make up" or "make-up". In case there are ...
1
vote
2answers
142 views

“inquisitive” vs. “inquiring” in AmE and BrE

Do these terms share the same level of laudatoriness/pejorativeness in both BrE and AmE? Or, does one typically have a more positive/negative connotation to it than the other from your side of the ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Kipling's “If” explanation

I don't understand what Kipling means by "Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”". Could you please explain it to me?
0
votes
1answer
54 views

What's the better way to reply to the email [closed]

Is this the official email to log on to the website.? how should I reply to this what text can I add to YES which would be appropriate Thanks
4
votes
2answers
153 views

Brackets Vs Parenthesis

I came across this question on Meta Stackoverflow, where a discussion was going on in the comments about the terms brackets and parenthesis and the right usage of them. It seems there is a different ...
-1
votes
1answer
49 views

Uses of “to scathe”

Would “We took down the foreyard and commenced to scathe it” make sense to a sailor?
6
votes
2answers
506 views

“shyer” or “shier”

My Longman dictionary states that the comparative of 'shy' is 'shyer'. However, at least two online dictionaries also give the form 'shier' as being acceptable: The Free Dictionary and ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Must cookies contain chocolate in BrE?

In British English, my friend informed me that my use of the word cookie was incorrect in referring to a baked item having no chocolate bits in it. Instead the appropriate term would have to be ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

British English phrase “dot and carry one”

I've been re-reading 'Treasure Island' by Stevenson, and, at one point a character says, "... my pulse went dot and carry one" meaning, I think, that his pulse started racing. Has anyone heard this ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Using quotation marks to describe technical terms

Consider: DNS has a similar feature, but instead of “Work,” “Home,” and “Fax,” it has special record types that indicate which IP address you want from the server. I'm British, but am ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

ON an American street, but IN a British one. Do the twain ever meet?

In the United States, we say that someone lives on a street, whereas I've noticed that British people say in. For instance: Bubba lives on Washington Street. Colin lives in Cavendish Avenue. I ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

Footwear: Runners. Sneakers. Trainers

There's a type of shoe which I, being Irish, would call runners. They're comfortable for running or walking in. The British call them trainers, probably because they can be used for sports or ...
18
votes
5answers
13k views

What is the pronunciation of “the”?

I read that the definite article is pronounced differently depending on the word that follows it. Which is the exact pronunciation of the?
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Englishman or English man?

Which group is correct (in British English)? Is there any difference? And which group do you use? Group 1 (the one I use) English man, English woman, English men, English women Irish man, Irish ...
47
votes
8answers
16k views

Is there a reason the British omit the article when they “go to hospital”?

Why do British speakers omit the article in constructions like "go to hospital" or "go on holiday"? Pretty much all American speakers would rephrase those as "go to the hospital" and "go on a ...
0
votes
1answer
119 views

Pluralisation of sports teams in British and American English [duplicate]

Why do British and American English differ in this respect: British Southampton are eyeing up a ready-made replacement for Luke Shaw American Southampton is eyeing up a ready-made ...
4
votes
4answers
810 views

“Equal” versus “Equals” [duplicate]

I've seen variants of this question, but nothing explicitly like the one below: Three feet equals/equal a yard. Which is correct? Is there a definitive explanation? Please indicate BrE vs AmE ...
8
votes
7answers
674 views

What do British and American post boxes say when they don't want any advertising?

Advertising leaflets shoved en masse into mail boxes are one of the banes of modern society. In Germany, putting a note saying "Bitte keine Werbung" ("No advertising please") on your box protects ...
20
votes
7answers
4k views

“Knocked up” to mean “woken up”

I'm reading some Sherlock Holmes stories (don't judge - it's good vacation reading) and Conan Doyle has Holmes saying things like "Sorry to knock you up, Watson..." which I'm finding very... odd. ...
8
votes
1answer
320 views

How did Persian words arrive in English?

Some Indian words which have entered modern English, such as 'bazaar' and 'cummerbund', are of Persian origin. So it seems they have completed a journey from Persia to Western India to present-day ...
5
votes
1answer
596 views

How should I parse the name of the UK? [closed]

I've grown up in the UK and always considered that it is a United Kingdom of four countries: the three countries on the island of Great Britain and the country/province1 of Northern Ireland. ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Word or phrase to refer to self-employed professionals working from home in the UK?

Other than homeworkers (which is vague), freelancers (which is, to my knowledge, US-specific, and non-exclusive to this), what other words do self-employed people working from home describe ...
9
votes
4answers
752 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

To have a game in hand

I have come across the expression game in hand in an article on England Premier League, as follows: Third-place City has a game in hand but the surprise result against Sunderland, coupled with ...
19
votes
5answers
9k views

Reason for different pronunciations of “lieutenant”

While Americans (and possibly others) pronounce this as "loo-tenant", folks from the UK pronounce it as "lef-tenant". Why?
1
vote
1answer
67 views

What is the thought process to solving anagrams à la Countdown

I'm not sure if this best belongs on this Stack Exchange site, or some psychological one, but here goes. I'm wondering what the thought process behind solving anagrams is, as in, pulling words out of ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

usage of the verb to bridge in “Bridging someone to something”

My friend suggested a tag line for our project: "Bridging you to your dream higher education online" and I have doubts that "bridging you to smth." is a proper word usage. I've never heard this ...
10
votes
7answers
17k views

What is the meaning of the term “herbert” in British slang?

In the song Get Out of My House by The Business, the chorus is: Out, out get out of my house, you'd better take your sheepskin too no son of mine's going round as a hippie or a scruffy little ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Is British English the one used in European academia?

English is used all over Europe in (more or less) academic papers and books that are not necessarily related to reviews and publishing houses based in UK or US, and that are not necessarily intended ...