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

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3answers
7k views
3
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1answer
94 views

Not using 'like' for similes — where does this come from? [closed]

I just got back some feedback on a piece of work of mine from a proofreader. One of his comments is that I use like in similes a lot, and I shouldn't do that --- I should be using as if instead; he ...
0
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1answer
56 views

Sample Curriculum for levels of English users [closed]

Just curious, where can I find a sample TEFL curriculum for different levels of English users for the ff: Basic, Elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate and advance? I'm really ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

“Having Too Much Feather in His Brain”--H.H. Asquith's Remark About Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton

Prior to Sir Ian Hamilton's appointment by Kitchener as Commander-in-Chief Dardanelles Campaign, P.M. H. H. Asquith said Hamilton 'has too much feather in his brain'. I think it's related to ...
1
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1answer
281 views

em-dash and comma, which comes first

I am confused about the preferred way to combine an em-dash insertion with a comma occurring in the outer sentence. Until now, I had preferred to write: The erosion responsible for residuals is ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Answering “Have you got” questions with “I do”

For the question "Have you got any ice cream?" which is correct: Yes I do Yes I have or inversely No I don't No I haven't got any
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5answers
2k 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 ...
1
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1answer
183 views

“In the cards”, “on the cards” origin(s)

In another question in EL&U "Positives changes on the cards" — meaning? , it came up that at least one of us AmE speakers had always heard this idiom as "in the cards" and never as "on ...
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1answer
39 views

Analysis of the word [closed]

What's wrong with the sentence: Put the rest of the water at the back of the door in the kitchen
-1
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2answers
126 views

How is the past tense of “error” spelt in British English? [duplicate]

How is the past tense of "error" spelt in British English? Wiktionary says that it's "errored", but its entry for errored doesn't explicitly say it's valid for British English, and I thought it'd get ...
4
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4answers
7k views

Etymology of 'slap-up'

Apparently this is a peculiarly British term, but we'll sometimes use the phrase 'slap-up' to mean 'excellent', as in: That's a slap-up meal! or They held a slap-up do. What's the origin ...
1
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1answer
97 views

Some problems with definite articles

Is there anything good on telly tonight? Why don't we place an article before "telly"? I think it should be "on the telly". He enjoys the beauties of nature in Siberia. Why do we use ...
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1answer
112 views

Pronunciation for the word “competent.”

I hope that some of you might be able to quell this dilemma of mine. I would like to know the British pronunciation for the word "competent." Is it pronounced as: "com-pɪ-tent" or "com-pə-tent" with ...
2
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2answers
136 views

Can I use “will” as non-auxiliary verb?

I was in England and I heard that some people use word "will" as non auxiliary verb, in meaning "wish". Have I misheard? If it is true, in which cases can I use "will" as non auxiliary verb?
1
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2answers
249 views

Un cancel? A word or phrase to say I'd like to cancel my cancellation

Say I have cancelled an appointment, but I then decide that I would like to go after all, so I cancel the cancellation... Do I uncancel the appointment? Seems a bit clumsy even if it's a valid ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

“When will you come” vs. “When are you coming”? [closed]

One of my friends will come to my city "Ahmedabad" on 18th May 2015. In a WhatsApp group chat, my friend asked him, "When are you coming to Ahmedabad?" I corrected my friend: "When will ...
7
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4answers
9k views

Usage of “and” and comma when writing numbers UK style

I am trying to understand the rules for writing numbers in words under the UK rules (with "and"). I understand how to write small numbers (up to a few thousands), but I am not sure when to use "and" ...
28
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8answers
4k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
2
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8answers
4k views

How do American English and British English use the definite article differently?

I decided to make sure that I know this important difference between American and British English, so I wrote what I have found out so far and I would be grateful to anyone who reads this and tells me ...
17
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2answers
5k views

“I'm on the brew”

A conversation between two Scots: — What do you do for a living? — I'm on the brew. Assuming that I have the phrase right, what exactly does "on the brew" mean here? Based on the context, I ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Is “hoover” capitalised? [duplicate]

In the UK (and sometimes Australia), a vacuum cleaner will be called a hoover, regardless of its brand. Likewise, the verb "to vacuum" is replaced with "to hoover". With a brand name being used in ...
8
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2answers
647 views

Q: Why isn't he answering? A: 1) He must have already slept 2) … must have been sleeping?

I didn't reply to a ping in the chatroom. The English enthusiast suggested this about me at the time: He must have already slept. Hours (and dreams) later, I came back, I saw the above ...
2
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1answer
3k views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
2
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5answers
10k views

“Enclosure” vs. “attachment”

If I understand it correctly, one usually uses the term enclosure when referring to extra documents to e.g. a letter. But what if these extra items are not other documents and papers? Say I have ...
10
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1answer
12k views

Why is “fulfil” spelt as “fulfill” in American English?

In this answer, simplification is stated as one reason for spelling variations in American English. But unlike in color and favorite, the number of letters to spell the word in fulfil increases in ...
0
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1answer
72 views

“negotiate” with /s/

OED lists two ways of pronouncing negotiate: Brit. /nᵻˈɡəʊʃɪeɪt/ , /nᵻˈɡəʊsɪeɪt/ Which British dialects use /s/ rather than /ʃ/ and in what contexts does this difference appear?
4
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2answers
513 views

What is the students' jargon or abbreviation for assignments made up of “only” data downloaded from the internet in English? (If it exists)

Japanese students call a report and essay made up by only putting data downloaded from the Internet e.g. passages from Wikipedia put together without including their own thoughts or creative ideas, a ...
2
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1answer
90 views

Duvet or “Cover bed” …?

I have a few concerns about sleeping words. Could You please help me? Is there such a word like: "cover bed"? Or the one appropriate word is: duvet? What is the difference between duvet and quilt? ...
33
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4answers
7k views

When did “More tea vicar?” start to be used after farting? Where did it come from?

In England when someone farts they might say "More tea vicar?" When did this start, and how did it come about? It feels unusual enough to have a definite creation - some comedian perhaps? Web ...
3
votes
5answers
597 views

Expression for becoming homeless, which has the word 'street' in it? How about “pushed to the streets”?

If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression can I use which has the word 'street'? Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the ...
7
votes
1answer
245 views

Is the pronunciation of “oa” in “broad” unique?

The "oa" in the word "broad" is pronounced like the words "or" or "awe". In phonetic symbols that is ɔː . However in all other examples I can think of it is pronounced like the "oe" in "toe". Or in ...
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5answers
2k 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 ...
4
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9answers
1k views

Dinky cars (toy cars)

I came across this term while proofreading an unpublished poem by an Irish poet. The context is not important so I'll just say that it is clear that it means “toy cars”. I Googled the term and see ...
0
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1answer
81 views

Help with Plural Objects and Subjects

I know to use 'is' for singular and 'are' for plurals. I was recently listening to a song and it reminded me of a 'rule' a teacher once told me about. The chorus repeats: Line 1: BIG GIRLS CRY WHEN ...
7
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4answers
201 views

We might have to do some “fiddling”

I like the word fiddle, and I quite like the musical instrument too. If you're fiddling with a device, it means you're trying to repair it. It might be tricky because of all the tiny bits and pieces ...
4
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2answers
954 views

What does it mean when someone says “noted” to you? [closed]

I was talking to my friend about something I find disgusting and she replied, "Noted." I replied, "Noted what?" and she said, "All dat." I am a little confused about what she was trying to say? Is ...
14
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5answers
17k views

What's the difference between “rent” and “hire” in British and American English?

The tip I used to teach was the verb, hire, should be used for things which are transportable hence, you hire a car, sports equipment, a boat, a bike etc. Rent, on the other hand, is primarily used ...
2
votes
3answers
65 views

Referring to someone's country of ancestry in an informal way?

What is a good way to refer to a person's country of ancestry? Im going pretty much everywhere in Europe this year and in Australia we have so many Australians of European ancestry. For example a ...
4
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7answers
7k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “chance would be a fine thing”?

I've heard this phrase used many times. e.g. -Got a completion date back on your new conservatory? -Ha! Chance'd be a fine thing. I think I have a general idea of what it must mean from ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Regional usage of “Violet” and “Purple”

I am looking to describe a flower such as the one in the following picture for a game: After showing the game to a number of beta testers, I noted that about half of them were fine with "violet" ...
0
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1answer
113 views

Should 'in-principle' be hyphenated?

Is it correct to say, 'your loan has been approved in principle' or 'your loan has been approved in-principle'.
0
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2answers
3k views

Negation in English

In English, there are at least two ways to express negation, for example: — I don't have money — I have no money or — No objects were found — Objects were not found or — No restrictions are applied ...
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3answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
25
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17answers
3k views

A question asked in order to expose ignorance

I am looking for a particular word that describes: a question that is asked in order to expose ignorance/lack of knowledge. As with a rhetorical question, the questioner knows the answer, but ...
0
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3answers
80 views

`Good/correct English' for a 'pay back the effort' [closed]

I'm looking for a term/expression/word that is less plumb then Introducing the following concept is difficult but will pay back in the end.
1
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1answer
74 views

What is the correct pronunciation? [closed]

Today, I talked with my friend. And we both have different opinion to each other. The subject is Does British English (native) speaker pronunce the R letter at end of the word. You only think the ...
-1
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1answer
117 views

A dataset of equivalent English phrases?

There is a similarity or even equality between many sentences in English language such as: I happened to come across the scientific definitions while reading. I came across the scientific ...
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2answers
108 views

Why should one study English in India? [closed]

I'm a teacher teaching English in a village school.I need a concrete reason to continue to do so.I am looking for opinions,facts,references & even specific expertise.
3
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2answers
2k views

In the cards or on the cards?

This seems to be a BrE/AmE distinction - is it? And do Americans use the phrase with more of a mystical Tarot card slant, compared to its British English meaning of simply 'likely to happen'?
6
votes
3answers
11k views

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

What is difference between the following sentences? I take a taxi/bus/train. I get a taxi/bus/train.