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

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18
votes
3answers
966 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: ...
4
votes
6answers
447 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

I thorougly enjoy _____ [closed]

Does thoroughly fit well in this sentence? Is it appropriate to use it in a formal sentence?
1
vote
6answers
966 views

Is “evidence” as a verb an Americanism?

We need to evidence the agreement with these forms. Is this usage predominantly American?
0
votes
2answers
310 views

What is the word used to describe a forced choice

I am looking for a word to describe a certain situation where you must choose one option or the other, as in it's either me or her. For example: If you stay friends with her we can't be in a ...
3
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
149 views

1920's terms for parents/children

What would young children (aged around 5-ish) have called their parents circa 1920's England? Were there specific terms of endearment, or would it just be "mother" and "father"? I'm particularly ...
0
votes
1answer
367 views

Will that be fine?

Quite a few times now, a waiter or shop assistant has asked me: Will that be fine? I've noticed that I've only ever heard Indian English speakers use this turn of phrase. To my (British) ear, ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Is there a more proper way to denote the question-and-answer literature, as title of academic work? [closed]

In a context of an academic publication addressing readers favoring British English, what would be the better way to denote the "Questions and Answers" genre? I am looking for a more specialised way ...
0
votes
1answer
84 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"?
4
votes
4answers
226 views

Why is taking a side street called a “rat run”?

I stumbled upon this expression for the first time while doing some research for an answer, and I have to admit I love it! An explanation of rat running/ a rat run is as follows "Rat running/ A ...
1
vote
3answers
283 views

What is “Broken Britain”?

It's not a flattering term for Great Britain but due to its catchy alliteration it has not run out of steam among newspaper editors. Wikipedia says Broken Britain is a term which has been used ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Purpose of Subjunctive Past [duplicate]

What is exactly a subjunctive past? When do we use it? Could anyone please give some examples of the occasions we use the Subjunctive Past?
2
votes
3answers
248 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
15k views

(UK-US English) If “mom = mother” then why “mum” isn't “muther”? [closed]

So, I've noticed something weird. People who speak US English say Mom. Mom represents the word "mother". People who speak UK English say Mum. Mum also represents the word "mother". Why isn't it ...
1
vote
1answer
227 views

Why are doctors addressed as Mr. in the UK?

In the US most physicians, surgeons and dentists are addressed as "doctor". Very few other professionals receive the same title. In the UK, however, surgeons and dentists seem to prefer to be ...
2
votes
3answers
174 views

“Can I help you, love?” Love as a form of address: is it used regionally to talk to strangers?

I've been reading a chapter about the vocabulary of the Yorkshire dialect in the UK. Among other interesting curiosities ("child" plural "childer", "lad and lass" for "son an daughter") I've come ...
0
votes
4answers
238 views

Did I show you my graduation photo or have I shown you my graduation photo?

So I was on my way home from school, and I overheard two people talking about something. The one asked the other: ''Did I show you my graduation photo?'', I asked my self whether it shouldn't be ...
3
votes
3answers
186 views

Congestion/queue signs on British roads

On British roads (especially dual carriageways or motorways), signs indicating heavy traffic are a regular occurrence. The most common ones are: Congestion caution Congestion ahead Congestion after ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

Can you have a strong milky coffee?

At work today a debate got rather heated between myself and a colleague, so I've turned to stack overflow. He says that if you have a lot coffee and a lot of milk its a strong milky coffee. My ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

practice vs practise sentence question [closed]

Do both these sentences work? (British form) she needs more English practice. she needs more English practise.
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin of “have a gander”? (When meaning “look”.)

The phrase "have a gander" meaning "have a look" is common in the UK. (Also can be "have a goosey gander" or just "have a goosey".) What is the origin/meaning of this phrase? I always assumed that it ...
0
votes
0answers
70 views

Using hyphens in numbers (British English)

I heard that there is some recent rule which says that you shouldn't hyphenate numbers such as "twenty-two". Is this true?
1
vote
1answer
77 views

How is “whinge” pronounced? [closed]

I once noticed somebody spelled "whine" as "whinge" and thought it was an egregious and hilarious typo. But it turns out that "whinge" is an acceptable spelling among writers of the "Queen's" ...
4
votes
3answers
454 views

Help me understand this article

I read this article about 5 times and looked up every word I don't understand and I still am completely clueless as to what exactly is the article talking about(the topic). It really irritates me and ...
7
votes
1answer
106 views

When do you use middle and when center?

The other day I was talking to a friend about when to use "middle" or "center". I was using it in the context of top, middle, bottom, as a listing, and he suggested it should be top, center, bottom. ...
1
vote
2answers
164 views

Please help me explain the grammatical error

I don't think the following sentence is correct: "Your English is terrible regardless of where you derive.", but my elementary school English lessons have worn thin over the years. The closest I can ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Referral Campaigns or Your Referral Schemes

I have a referral program which comprises of 50% UK users and 50% US users. Taking into account location, what would be the most appropriate title to use... Your Referral Campaigns Or Your ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

When did people start “boinking”?

Is "boinking" an onomatopoeic and/or a blend word? I would have said so, I believe the word boink refers to the sound of the mattress springs squeaking under the weight of a couple making love. A ...
27
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
-5
votes
1answer
65 views

What does “Thanks! Sounds like XYZ forgetting that he’s changed teams to me” mean? [closed]

XYZ has been transfered to other team.After seeing his behaviour(I gave him hints), my boss sent me. "Thanks! Sounds like XYZ forgetting that he’s changed teams to me". What does it mean?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle coin the proverb “A change is as good as a rest”?

The proverb a change is as good as a rest is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as: A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation Cambridge ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

BrEng: “pull your finger out”, “cock up” and “stuff it” What do they mean?

In the British sitcom, The Thin Blue Line, Detective Grim makes three intelligently crafted sentences, which are given below. What do they mean? It's my arse on the line, so you better pull your ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

To sightsee …or ..to go sightseeing?

How common is it, nowadays, to say that one 'sightsees', rather than 'goes sightseeing'?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Usage of “fanny” as verb

I am not a native English speaker, hence please bear with me. I understand that fanny means mess around and waste time. Can someone suggest how I might make a sentence which uses fanny, as an ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

May you pass me - Will you pass me [duplicate]

My Grandchildren say "May you pass the salt" etc. They say their teachers say this is ok. To me it sounds very clumsy and I had never heard it used except by them. They have grown in Wiltshire while ...
10
votes
3answers
616 views

Why is the surname Gray more common than the surname Grey in the UK?

An EL&U question from 2010 asks Which is the correct spelling: "grey" or "gray"? The answers very sensibly point out the split between the UK and former British commonwealth ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

Can someone please explain the need of quotes in the following text?

I saw this as a slogan in an episode of Drop the Dead Donkey and just wanted to know why were quotes needed on the word synergise: Let nowness "synergise" with excellence. I think it makes sense ...
3
votes
1answer
20k views

How do I use “as of now” correctly?

Just to clarify, I am not a native English speaker. I occasionally hear from other non-native English speakers the use of the phrase: "As of now" with the meaning of Currently. Initially I did not ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Dropping the '-ly' in adverbs used in a negative response to a question

Two British gangsters riding in London traffic. One says: 'Have you seen him?' Other says: 'Not recent. One says: 'do you still go there?' Other says: 'Not regular.' Is this a colloquialism, idiom or ...
6
votes
6answers
559 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
128 views

How would a king have phrased “I need to use the bathroom”? [closed]

With literary or historical references, what phrase would an English-speaking monarch have used to indicate to either their attendants or to their court that they were in need of using the toilet ...
27
votes
8answers
3k 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

What is the difference between Anglia and England?

What is the difference between Anglia and England? When it's used. Some examples of modern usages: probably coincident, but Anglia in Polish language is England, there are regions called East ...
2
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

Meaning of Science Block (British English)

In the British radio comedy show, Cabin Pressure, the following exchange of dialogue occurs: Martin: Your doctor? What doctor do you know? Simon: Good old Doc Smiley, of course. Martin: ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

How to phrase “analysis into a company”

I want to say : Analysis conducted at a insurance company showed that... or Analysis into a insurance company showed that... What is the best way to phrase this?
21
votes
7answers
950 views

Eww! Has it crossed the pond yet?

I hear eww (sometimes spelt as ew) fairly regularly on American sitcoms, usually uttered by a scatterbrained beautiful blonde girl when she sees or hears something disgusting. I don't recall it ever ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

If subscription is a contract to receive something, what is a contract to send something called?

I'm using the word subscription with the following meaning: subscription: an arrangement to receive something, typically a publication, regularly by paying in advance. (Definition taken from ...
3
votes
2answers
943 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'?