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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
2answers
54 views

A concise equivalent of a phrase meaning “to be pulled in turns by two subjects”

I am writng a personal statement for a degree in game development and would like to begin with a decisive and concise statement. I wanted to express something like: before discovering myself in ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

“I undertake that …” or “I undertake to …”

Suppose I want to give an assurance. Which one is correct? I undertake that I will give you your money as soon as I get home I undertake to give you your money as soon as I get home
0
votes
0answers
34 views

What is the rule for pronouncing the “a”? [duplicate]

While British people mostly seem to speak a hard "a", American people tend to make an "ae" in some cases. Here are some examples of what I mean, grouped by pattern: glass/grass ...
4
votes
3answers
719 views

A summer house, a cottage or a cabin?

When I want to refer to a (rural) vacation home, what would be the most appropriate term in BrE? I know in American English cabin and camp are used for those, but what would correspond to those in ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

What do we got? [duplicate]

What do we got? In vernacular American speech, I have heard this structure several times. A search in COCA yields 36 results for "what do we got" and 107 results for "what do you got". This is what ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “stationery” the name of the store that sells pens, pencils, paper, school things, etc.?

In Brazil we call this store by the generic name of papelaria, something like "paper store". What is the correct name for this? Is "Stationery" the name in any country that speaks English? I read ...
3
votes
2answers
234 views

“Quite” American vs British English

In looking at the answers for this question, Using "quite" with a noun, it occurred to me that "quite," although having a dictionary definition, might be used differently by AmE and BrE ...
3
votes
1answer
203 views

Why the does 'tu' get pronounced 'tyu' in British English?

Despite being a native Brit, I've always found it an oddity that words like "tutor", "tube", "tumour", and "duty" are pronounced as "tyutor", "tyube", "tyumour", and "duty" in British English. For me, ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Set the table, or lay the table?

I have read that set is American and that lay is British. But I do not think it is nearly as simple as that. I grew up in rural England in the late 1940s/50s, and we always set the table. In fact ...
2
votes
4answers
258 views

What adverb, typical of AmEng, coincides most with the BrEng meaning of “quite” [=to a noticeable or partial extent]?

As long as -- seemingly -- the adverb "quite" in AmEng idiomatically carries an emphatic sense to it -- pretty much similar to saying "completely" or "absolutely" as in, "That girl looks quite ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Is “all together” a valid alternative to “altogether” in US English? [closed]

I'm British. I am editing a document, and I was going to correct a use of "all together" where the author clearly meant "altogether" (as in "entirely"). But then I realised this might just be a ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

what is the meaning of “co-indexed” in English?

I know that English people use "co-" prefix to show something is "joint" or "jointly Verb" with something else . But I encountered a key sentence in a article and I cannot understand it well: "we ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

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

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
951 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.
1
vote
2answers
76 views

Douglas Adams and his foibles. This one is for the Brits, I think

There are a few versions of the Hitchhiker's Guide series, with slight differences here and there. (I'll read anything, by the way, and I do find certain passages from the series absolutely ...
0
votes
3answers
96 views

“Authorization” vs “Authorisation” - I'm in some real dilemma [closed]

I'm writing a professional business-related project summary, whereby half of the clientele is in the U.S while the other half of the same business is in the U.K. - and I don't want to disappoint ...
4
votes
2answers
80 views

'to blind someone with science' — Not known or rare in the US?

This definition states (my emphasis) blind with science (British & Australian) if you blind someone with science, you confuse them by using technical language that they are not likely to ...
5
votes
5answers
356 views

Is “crash into a bend” BrE and must there be a structure at the bend in order to use the phrase?

Includes 10 uses, showing it is far from a one-off phrase. Numbers 4 & 5 (bicycle) and 7, 8, 9, 10 ("everyday usage") are the uses I am most interested in. Question 1 If a vehicle ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

What is a plausible etymology of “dosh”, a British slang word for money?

Neither Wiktionary nor The Online Etymology Dictionary seem to know anything. UPDATED (October 25 2015) dosh ‎(uncountable) (Britain, slang) Money Etymology Unknown. ...
7
votes
10answers
65k 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
171 views

Pronunciations for “Either” [duplicate]

In general, EFL students are taught the two main ways of pronouncing the determiner "either" are the British [ˈaɪðə] and the American [ˈiːðər] varieties. However, I've repeatedly heard from specific ...
0
votes
3answers
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
17k views

What would be the British Equivalent Words to “Freshmen” “Sophomore”

I know that to describe which year you're in, with American English, people usually use words like: Freshmen - 1st year college/university student Sophomore - 2nd year Junior - 3rd year Senior - ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Difference in usage of “all right”, “ok”, “very well”

When I agree with doing something annoying or what I originally didn't want to do is there a difference between starting the reply with: "all right", "ok", "very well" or others? Does "very well" ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

Why does “smashing” mean “very good”?

Smashing is a BrE slang which means "very good" or "impressive". Most folks might know this already, due to its use as a catch phrase by various BrE characters in media. However, from the usual ...
-1
votes
2answers
511 views

“That's bang out of order”: pun, anagram or play on words?

There is a one-liner by Tim Vine, a British stand-up comedian, that sees him pull out a card with the word... BNAG and exclaim: That's bang out of order! The joke is derived from the idiom ...
1
vote
0answers
63 views

“He could do X for England”. Are there similar expressions in other parts of the English-speaking world to this derogatory sentence?

In Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe novels, I've read the phrase: "He could [do x] for England. It is always derogatory. It is a lovely phrase! Because I can't put my finger on a quote from these ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Manuals of Style and Typography for British and American English [closed]

I would like to know which manuals of style and typography are the most common ones for British and American English. I am interested in the basic manuals and the manuals for technical scientists ...
8
votes
2answers
692 views

Is the expression “one's cup of tea” used in American English?

OK, the Free Dictionary defines this as one's cup of tea: Something that is in accord with one's liking or taste. For example, Quiz shows are just my cup of tea, or Baseball is not her cup of tea. ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

What does “betraying the fact” mean?

I'm reading a BBC article on ketamine abuse. In the article it says: The doors at the Baiyun drug rehabilitation clinic are always locked, betraying the fact that the patients inside aren't ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views
6
votes
5answers
8k views

Using “to my mind”

English is not my native language. I am curious about the usage of "to my mind". Is it a British English phrase? Is it used in American English? Is it formal/informal? I've found an interesting ...
0
votes
2answers
517 views

The exact meaning of “Enquiries Over $xxx,xxx”

I often see "Enquiries Over $xxx,xxx" in real estate ads, e.g. "Enquiries Over $500,000". Does the "over" literally mean offers should be above the figure (or don't bother approaching the seller), ...
14
votes
3answers
3k 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
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Equivalent AmEnglish expression of BrEnglish slang term “cheeky”

I play an online game with a group of people, one of whom is UK-based. He was going out of town for several days, so he told us to "feel free to do a cheeky quest" without him. What does the word ...
12
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
116 views

Interested in him learning French - with accusative 'him' [duplicate]

Good morning everyone! Is it correct to say " I' m interested in him learning French in the future"?
5
votes
6answers
3k views

“tag question” vs. “question tag”

I've just read this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_question So regarding this passage: The term "question tag" is generally preferred by British grammarians, while their American ...
26
votes
7answers
20k views

Is “used in anger” a Britishism for something?

On a different board, someone referred to a computer language that had achieved popularity beyond the academic world as "used in anger", the way a shot fired in combat instead of on the practice range ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

Why does “hard cheese” mean “bad luck”?

Particularly in British English, a common saying in response to someone's complaining about something is, "hard cheese". This basically means, "tough luck". How did this expression come about; what ...
4
votes
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 ...
29
votes
5answers
40k views

Is there a difference between “arse” and “ass”?

From a comment here, in frequent usage, arse and ass are often interchangeable when used to refer to buttocks or to a person of dubious charms. However, although “to arse about” has a vague connection ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

What does a “man of leisure” do exactly? What is the definition and the connotation?

I watched the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit some weeks ago, and have happily remembered a question I had forgotten from it just now. In this dialogue, Mr. Clennam, a dashing and ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

Hospital versus *the* hospital [duplicate]

One oddity in the difference between UK and American usage is that Americans say "I went to the hospital" but British people say "I went to hospital". Is there an explanation for this grammatical ...
6
votes
1answer
161 views

Why in Britain do we stop for a 'coffee', but a 'cup of tea'?

In polite company in Britain one asks ones guest if they have time for a coffee - usually if it is morning. But if it is afternoon one would ask them if they would like a cup of tea. Now this is not ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

How the British pronounce “want”?

I'm not a native English speaker, so I am learning the pronunciation of words mostly from using Google. The way I found how to pronounce the word "want" was more or less like how I (british-way) say ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“Neither . . . nor” vs. “nor . . . neither”

In my native language we have a neither-nor-like structure which can be used either as: I neither like thing A and nor thing B. or as: I nor like thing A and neither thing B. Is it ...
-1
votes
1answer
109 views

what does it mean by 'you are onto a winner'? [closed]

Somebody explains a situation and told me that in that situation 'you are onto a winner'. what does it mean by 'you are onto a winner'?
0
votes
3answers
54 views

Synonym of keel? [closed]

What would be the synonym of keel from all three given below.I don't find any of these words related to keel..so plz tell which one is it's synonym from ascend, morose and stumble?
1
vote
1answer
1k 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 ...