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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

2
votes
2answers
140 views

Is the phrase “Hello, my dear fellow” considered weird nowadays?

I was wondering if the "Hello, my dear fellow" salutation is considered weird nowadays. A friend of mine (one British chap) once said it sounded "gay" =) I'd like to ask native speakers' opinion. ...
4
votes
3answers
97 views

News lacks plural but what about TIDINGS?

News is used only in the singular (being one of the uncountable nouns). There is an old-fashioned word meaning pretty much the same - tidings, so my question is: Is this expression used only in ...
1
vote
1answer
26k views

What informal and formal letter/e-mail closings are used the most? [duplicate]

I often struggle with doubts about the correctness of the closings which I use. I'm not a native speaker and I'm worried that I'll make a mistake in the last part of the letter/e-mail. Some examples: ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

How should I capitalize “Keep On Running/Keep On Moving” and “Walk On Down”? [duplicate]

These are the song titles by Spencer Davis Group/Deep Purple and Aerosmith accordingly, I know that if a preposition is a part of a phrasal verb it is capitalized, but everywhere I look, I see "Keep ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

Define “plate” from Sweeney Todd musical

The opening song of the Sweeney Todd musical contains the following passage about his wife: There was another man who saw that she was beautiful... A pious vulture of the law who, with a ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Are there any famous English poems that every British-raised or American-raised person knows? [closed]

In the Chinese language, there is a poem named Quiet Night Thoughts(Jing Ye Si) by Li Bai, which is known by everyone that is native to China (from little kids to very old people, even if they are ...
-1
votes
1answer
81 views

Use of “although” without a contrasting statement [closed]

In IAS 37 Clause 37 states: Although a constructive obligation is not created solely by a management decision, an obligation may result from other earlier events together with such a decision. ...
2
votes
1answer
30 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
66 views

1902 use of phrase “giving a tiger” in the context of paying homage to the King's coronation

In Mrs Aeneas Gunn's autobiographical 'The Little Black Princess : A True Tale of Life in the Never-Never Land, 1905, she writes about previously celebrating the coronation of Edward VII in the bush. ...
6
votes
5answers
737 views

How toffee-nosed is “toffee-nosed”?

Not being a speaker of British English, I was much amused on discovering the new adjective toffee-nosed. The American Heritage dictionary doesn't list it at all, but I found a definition in Collins: ...
0
votes
4answers
101 views

What's the oral address of “fellow student”?

I have known "fellow student" is a formal address and we used this in somewhere formally. But in oral situation, how to introduce a senior student to my friends when we face to face? If I say "this is ...
0
votes
4answers
85 views

A word to describe a person who is in top/winning bracket of a competitive game

I am looking for a word that would describe a player who is, for example, in a TOP 10 chart and is eligible for a prize. That means that if he would suddenly lose his/her position and get ranked 11 or ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

Meanings of word “nick” in British English

Word nick seems to be used to describe many things. According to the dictionary, the main meanings are: a small notch, groove, chip, or the like, cut into or existing in something. a hollow place ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?
2
votes
1answer
1k 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. ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

Declension is a noun. What is the verb? [closed]

Based on Wikipedia article, in linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number (at least singular and plural), case (nominative or subjective, ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

'parameterized' or 'parametrized' [duplicate]

In the following sentence: To avoid the attacks, most frameworks and DB systems provide mechanism for parameterized queries. My browser wants to correct the highlighted word to parametrized, but ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

Which is longer: snooze, nap, kip, 40 winks or siesta?

How long is a snooze? My boyfriend will invariable take an afternoon snooze which might last anything up to two hours. A nap on the other hand, can be short, quick or even long, and sometimes they are ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

speech balloon vs speech bubble usage and meaning

I am from the UK, and am not familiar with the term "speech balloon". I have always used and heard "speech bubble" instead. Are the 2 meanings the same? Is there some kind of difference in ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Should a serial comma be used when mimicking Victorian-era British text?

I am editing a manuscript that mimics the style of late 19th-century British writing. To what extent were serial commas used during this time period?
2
votes
2answers
104 views

“Muso” and “Journo” Usage and Origin

I have been watching a lot of British TV recently and I hear the word "journos" for journalists and "musos" for musicians, but I don't ever hear these words in the US. From my understanding they don't ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

How do Brits pronounce [ee] in “queen” differently to [i] in “pita”?

This explanation of Welsh pronunciation says Welsh u is pronounced like i in pita, whereas Welsh i is pronounced like ee in Queen. What's the difference?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it pejorative to use “old girl” to refer to a woman?

Does it encompass any specific age group? (young, middle-aged, elderly, all of them) I heard it in an old film and read it once in sentences like: "Come on, old girl, cheer up." "Who is ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is stainless steel “stainless”?

Inox steel is stainless because it does not stain, but is stain the same thing as rust? I just want to understand since stain reminds me of clothing stains, for instance, and I am rather curious as to ...
3
votes
2answers
316 views

English subways have 'Cars', but English Surface Trains have 'Carriages'. Why the Difference?

I heard both terms used in an episode of 'Sherlock'. It seems like one term or the other should do for both surface and underground trains.
8
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
217 views

What type of punishment was “Then thou shalt drink !”?

In The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood (1562) among the many historical English proverbs which I recognized, one particular epigram stood out. Entitled “Of Catching a Fly” It ...
-1
votes
1answer
32 views

Third-party or third party? [duplicate]

Does British English use a dash in between third-party, or is that for American English?
5
votes
8answers
3k views

How to choose between British and American English for technical documents

I'm not a native English speaker. I'm Italian and I'm doing my thesis in the Netherlands. I have to write technical documents for non-native English speakers, so I didn't receive any advice for ...
6
votes
2answers
441 views

Odd British pluperfect subjunctive construction?

I read this sentence in the Guardian today, and I couldn't figure out if it was an error or a regionalism. (I did, however, figure out that I don't know my grammar too well!) [the mid-18th ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

What is the different between who and whom [duplicate]

When I have been learning english I can not understand different between who and whom?
17
votes
3answers
713 views

The origins and usages of “waffle”

Scottish dogs used to waff American voters waffled in 2000 British politicians “waffle on” for hours And Swedish children eat them on March 25th Waffle nowadays has basically three meanings: ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

Geographical Usage of “Mate”

I was wondering where the term, "mate," is most popular? When I think of the term, "mate," I think of Australia and England, but I was wondering if anyone else has some input on this. Mate here is ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

“to bath” vs “to bathe”

Recently, I came across the verb to bathe written as bath in two Italian textbooks. The first time I saw it, I dismissed it as a typographical error and told my private student that the verb was ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Time period in a date period [closed]

I want to mention the date and time I collected my questionnaires in an academic report. Let's say they are distributed: Time period: 1:00PM - 4:00PM Date period: 1 October 2014 - 3 October ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
10answers
72k views

What is the difference between “English” and “British”?

As an American, I naively think of British and English as exact synonyms. I know I'm wrong, but I just don't know in what way. I am vaguely aware that people in the UK hold strong opinions about one ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views
33
votes
6answers
94k views

“Oriented” vs. “orientated”

What are the origins of the word orientated? As far as I know, the correct spelling is oriented and orientated is not an alternative spelling but an error that is in common use. Is it for example ...
8
votes
5answers
8k views

What's the equivalent phrase in the UK for “I plead the fifth”?

In the United States, a person under examination on the witness stand may "plead the fifth" to avoid self-incrimination. In other words, a person asserts his or her Fifth Amendment right. Citizens of ...
6
votes
2answers
210 views

What is the origin of using the word “our” preceding a first name when speaking directly to the person so named

In the BBC's Keeping Up Appearences, and Lark Rise to Candleford, "our Rose" and "our Laura" are used in both the third person and second person. The usage seems understandable as a third person ...
4
votes
6answers
353 views

What's the English for the Italian 'materico'?

Speaking about contemporary art, I often use the adjective 'materico' to describe the quality of a painting realized with thick layers of colour. It is not simply a question of thickness. In the art ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Omission of 'for' with various quantified time intervals: influence of verb

I came across these two examples, given to illustrate 'a case' where the inclusion of the preposition for is considered optional in the paper "Acquisition of Preposition Deletion by Non-native ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Processor vs Processer

Is there any difference between "processor" and "processer"? Some spelling dictionaries only have the -or form, and some have both. Is it a US vs UK English thing? Or something else? More ...
1
vote
1answer
164 views

Is there a systematic difference between /a:/ in BrE and /æ:/ in AmE?

so another question I have is that whether it is systematic (a regular pattern) between /a:/ in BrE and /æ:/ in AmE or not. There are words that a pronounced differently like dance or rather. I have ...
9
votes
13answers
2k views

What's the word for someone who always likes being different?

...particularly with respect to the use of technology, taste in music, movies etc. I have seen my share of people like this who like to go "alternative" just to set themselves apart and I would like ...
16
votes
1answer
15k views

I'm British, so should I take a rain cheque?

I want to write the phrase "take a rain cheque" and am British. Should I therefore use the British spelling of the word cheque, or respect the baseball origin of the phrase "rain check" and use the ...
2
votes
3answers
221 views

How to explain “Cool” to a Briton

I was recently having a conversation with a friend from England. During the conversation I described someone as being cool, but he seemed confused by the term and asked me what I meant. I couldn't ...
116
votes
3answers
4k views

Where were “should”, “shall”, and “must” in the 18th Century?

According to the following Google Ngram, in the U.K. the modals should, shall, and must were virtually missing from English writing during the 18th Century (I've added will for a comparison modal ...