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

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0
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1answer
57 views

Difference between 'get at' and 'get on at'

E.g. 'My boss is always getting on at me even if I haven't done anything wrong.' 'Her parents keep getting at her for skipping classes.' I'm wondering whether these phrasal verbs have ...
1
vote
1answer
309 views

What are the origins of using the abbreviation “v.” for “very”?

Looking to figure out where the abbreviation "v." originates from. I know "v." was heavily used in "Bridget Jones Diary," but that movie came out over a decade ago and was British. What are the ...
4
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2answers
5k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
4
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3answers
449 views

Titles of British Lords [closed]

In an old episode of The West Wing, a British Ambassador is referred to as "Lord John Marbury". Ignoring that once he became Ambassador he'd be Mr Ambassador, what are the possible correct addresses? ...
0
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4answers
49 views

What are the following actions called

If you speak, and another person keeps doing/saying the following at near enough everything you say: Oh here we go again Oh bloody hell Sarcastic laugh Mumbles something to show disapproval but ...
3
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4answers
7k views

“And to you” or “you too”?

I really like to chat with English folks, so I have wished them Merry Christmas. To my surprise I have noticed the following pattern — the British answered "and to you", but Americans "you too". The ...
5
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2answers
258 views

What did “eating 'mad cow'” mean in the 1800's?

In the December 1885 Lippincott's Magazine article COOKHAM DEAN, about an artistic area 40 miles up the Thames from London, Margaret Bertha Wright (an American author) wrote: Probably nine-tenths ...
2
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3answers
946 views

“make” vs “incur” in this sentence

Like humans beings we incur into mistakes. Like humans beings we make mistakes. What's the correct sentence in British English?
2
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2answers
181 views

Help in demystifying the meaning of 2 sentences from an academic journal article!

1.) This is basically an english translation of a section of a Hittite Law code: "If someone wounds a man and makes him ill, he shall nurse him. He shall give a man in his place who will work in his ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
6
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7answers
11k 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 ...
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3answers
485 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
2
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1answer
99 views

Using pray instead of please in a sentence - Why? When? [closed]

I hear (mostly from people in the Humanities department) sentences that use pray instead of the word please: "Pray tell me, when will you be back?" Assuming that I haven't made any mistakes in the ...
11
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5answers
2k views

The Equivalent Term for Pharmacy in the UK

In the States, we use the term "pharmacy" or "drugstore," but what is the equivalent in the UK? I checked two sources, but came up with nothing.
1
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1answer
54 views

“All the unemployed” vs “every unemployed”

The right to work implies the obligation on the part of the government to give a job to all the unemployed. Can I replace all the unemployed with every unemployed. If yes then OK, but if not then ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

Recognizing a Welsh accent

For an American, I'm pretty good at UK dialects. I can immediately tell an Irish or Scottish accent from a typical (educated, Londoner) English accent. But I'm on shaky ground with Welsh accents, ...
0
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1answer
3k views

Why do English people pronounce 'sixth' as 'sicth'? [duplicate]

It's common practice in Ireland (and the US as far as I know) to pronounce the x in the middle of sixth: six-th [sɪksθ]. However, I've noticed from visits to England as well as watching British ...
10
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4answers
9k 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 ...
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8answers
10k views

Does British English use the term “heel” for the end slice of bread?

I'm Irish, and hence speak Hiberno-English. Here is a photograph of some sliced bread: The topmost slice of this (that's crust on the end), is called "the heel". Is this meaning for "heel" ...
8
votes
3answers
438 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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1answer
62 views

what does this mean “ I got 70 + application forms” [duplicate]

Today I saw, someone has written I got 70+ application forms What is the purpose of the plus sign in that statement?
0
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2answers
154 views

“Mobile” vs. “cellphone” in AE

I already heard Americans use the term "mobile" for "cellphone" -- which I thought was chiefly BE -- and so I wish you could tell if such usage of "mobile" has any currency in GAE? Unless it might be ...
8
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4answers
3k views

Difference in [ə] pronunciation at the end of a word in British and American English

I grew up speaking American English (San Diego to be specific). When I hear someone who speaks British English say a word that ends in [ə], like banana, I hear a weak but distinct 'r' sound attached ...
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10answers
45k 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, ...
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5answers
9k 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 ...
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9answers
1k views

What could be the equivalent term in British or Australian English to the American English word “hillbilly”?

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its ...
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5answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “lorry”, “worry” and “sorry”

I have always pronounced lorry as "lur-ee" (as if to rhyme with worry), for as long as I can remember. Everyone else I know pronounces it as "lor-ee" (as if to rhyme with sorry). Which one is ...
13
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4answers
21k views

Why is 'forty' spelled without a 'u' in Canadian/British English?

I was writing in Word today (with the Canadian English dictionary enabled) and it kept putting a redline under "fourty" which I couldn't understand. A bit of searching says that, even in British and ...
27
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4answers
2k views

Why are Leicester & co pronounced as they are?

What is the origin of the pronunciation of words like Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire? Presumably, the spelling predates the pronunciation but what is the history here? What language do the ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

Cockney wh-dropping

The Cockney accent typically, or at least stereotypically, drops the initial /h/ from many a word. Does it drop the initial /h/ from who, whole, whore, and whose? Wikipedia says yes, but I seek a more ...
14
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2answers
4k 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 ...
12
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7answers
11k views

How do I spell the truncation 'Cas', as in 'Sports Casual/Sports Cas'?

How do I spell the truncation 'Cas', as in 'Sports Casual/Sports Cas'? It may be UK only, and may have been spawned by Alan Partridge. Cash/Cas are not right. *As in a slang term, "he was acting all ...
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2answers
4k views

Why English pronunciation differs so much from written language, compared to German?

Given that English is derived mostly from German, when Anglo-Saxons (German tribes) migrated to Britain, how do you explain that although German has a strict correspondence between written language ...
18
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2answers
72k views

The British pronunciation of the word “schedule”

Is pronouncing the word "schedule" as "shed-ule" only an upper class thing in the UK? Which pronunciation, "sked-ule" "or "shed-ule" is more faithful to the original etymology of the word, i.e. which ...
11
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7answers
4k views

British pronunciation of “plait”

Having only seen this word in writing, I assumed it's pronounced "plate". howjsay (whose author is british) suggests the pronunciation that rhymes with "flat", but also offers the "plate" one. This ...
12
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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, ...
3
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2answers
4k views

“Theater” vs. “Theatre” in American English

Why is it that "theater" and "theatre" do not follow the traditional rules of British and American spelling? British spellings like "metre" and "centre" are consistently switched to "meter" and ...
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6answers
19k views

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face?

What do you call a person who always has a pleasant smile on his face. Is there anything better than calling him a "Pleasing personality"?
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Which organizations responsible for formalizing English Language (British and American) [duplicate]

I need this information to make my own English language site, but I do not want to use copy-paste from other sites or books. I need to find the source of information to make a correct content. If ...
1
vote
1answer
266 views

Why does Northern Ireland pronunciation sound similar to American?

Recently, I started watching a TV show The Fall, which takes place in Northern Ireland. Their intonations and accents are unique, but their pronunciation sounds a lot like North American English to ...
1
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2answers
117 views

“..which did what lay in it…” from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Ref: “A tale of two cities” by Charles Dickens. What does “..which did what lay in it…” mean in the following sentence? “As the bank passenger – with an arm drawn through the leathern strap, ...
2
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2answers
215 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. ...
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3answers
105 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
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1answer
34k 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
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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 ...
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2answers
224 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
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1answer
158 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 ...
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1answer
99 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
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1answer
33 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
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2answers
68 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. ...