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

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3
votes
1answer
87 views

An abundance of knees

Terry Pratchett is particularly fond of knees. More than once, he has used an expression describing an abundance of knees, or an excess of knees, or suddenly growign extra knees, to describe his ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Meaning of “Would you value the ethics of consequence over means?” [closed]

I've been reading a book for a while and I've stumbled on the following sentence, which I didn't quite understand: Would you value the ethics of consequence over means? The context is the ...
0
votes
1answer
142 views

Different ways of saying Aluminium [closed]

this is a very short question but me and a couple of friends have been discussing this for a little. Does anyone know why Americans and British people especially insists on saying "Aloominum" and ...
2
votes
3answers
8k views

What should be the proper reply for thanks?

I like a girl which is in same division as I am. Recently she was suffering from malaria and when I came to know this I sent a "Get well soon!" message. We have hardly exchanged any words in labs and ...
-1
votes
1answer
565 views

Is there a rule for how to pronounce words such as “dance”, “prance”, “castle”?

Is there a grammatical rule for the pronunciation of words such as dance, castle and prance? I believe the British English pronunciation is "ah", while in American English it is a short "a" sound.
1
vote
3answers
68 views

How would you group the terms “Single” and “Pair”?

I am working on a website at the moment and I am trying to perfect the User Experience. The products on the store are either sold on their own, or as pairs. What I want is a word or phrase to put in ...
0
votes
2answers
501 views

Latin abbreviation to use in English to replace “as such” [closed]

I was wondering if I can use "et al." in order to say "as such" after a list of elements in a sentence given as example. If not: What can be the correct Latin abbreviation to use to replace "as ...
1
vote
3answers
553 views

What does “no longer cease to exist” means?

I understand what "cease to exist" means, but "something" no longer cease to exist doesn't make sense to me. English is not my first language(obviosly).
3
votes
2answers
157 views

“Now that x, y,” vs. “Now x, y” (“Now” in dependent clauses): British vs. American English

I have noticed that British English speakers tend not to use that after now in certain dependent clauses where American English speakers will almost certainly use it. BE version of two examples: ...
2
votes
1answer
221 views

How do you eat your eggs?

When I was in America I was offered eggs for breakfast as either 'up', 'down', 'easy' or 'dropped'. None of them are in use in Britain, where we have our eggs, fried, scrambled, boiled, or poached. ...
1
vote
2answers
687 views

Difference between “about” and “Around”

What is the difference between "about" and "around" in following example ? I'll see you around 6 O'clock. I'll see you about 6 O'clock. Now, I usually the first one, but I heard the second one on ...
0
votes
3answers
783 views

What's the difference between “lad” and “mate” in British English? [closed]

Can "lad" only be used to address a male, while "mate" both male and female?
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Plural for “photo”?

What's the proper plural for "photo" - "photos", "photoes", or it is generally desired to rephrase the whole thing and stick with "photographs", "images", "shots", "pictures", etc? As for usage ...
1
vote
1answer
156 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
784 views

Where did the phrase “Give it some wellie” originate?

I've heard this a few times, and I would presume that it comes from Wellingtons, with the meaning of put some boot to it. Is there an origin for this phrase?
4
votes
3answers
474 views

What is the origin of gully and googly in cricket?

The OED supplies no clue to the origin of either gully or googly. It does not in fact mention etymology of the cricket sense of gully, which has led me to infer that it is from the ordinary meaning of ...
4
votes
2answers
585 views

What is the origin of 'cash'?

What is the etymology of 'cash'? According to the OED when it is used in 'cash-box' it descends from the French 'casse', and presumably Italian 'cassa'. However the word meaning 'loose change' is from ...
8
votes
1answer
290 views

How did Persian words arrive in English?

Some Indian words which have entered modern English, such as 'bazaar' and 'cummerbund', are of Persian origin. So it seems they have completed a journey from Persia to Western India to present-day ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

What Indian words appear in cricket's vocabulary?

One of the things I find surprising is that India seems to have had little influence on the vocabulary of cricket. Notwithstanding India being arguably the world's greatest cricketing nation, I can't ...
6
votes
1answer
772 views

What is the origin of Bishy Barney Bee?

The attached picture is of a delightful little creature which throughout the UK is known as a Ladybird (not sure what you call them in America) EXCEPT in Norfolk, where it is known as a 'Bishy Barney ...
3
votes
2answers
737 views

Usage of “last evening”

I have heard my friend say yesterday evening or yesterday night. I tell her it's last evening or last night. While she may be correct in that it is the night of yesterday, why is it then called last ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Lady Chatterley's Lover: “as rotten as high game”

I came across the following sentence in Chapter 15 of Lady Chatterlay's Lover, when the keeper talks about the English middle class: ... full of conceit of themselves, frightened even if their ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Hyphenation of the word “interferometer” in British English

How is the word "interferometer" correctly split at the end of a line in British English, i.e. what is the correct syllabification? I found two contradicting syllabifications: "in·ter·fer·om·e·ter" ...
1
vote
3answers
413 views

Use of “manifest” as an active verb

Recently I completed an English creative writing exam in which I used the phrase files and papers manifest, as if by some unholy magic at the tray on his desk. My teacher stated that my use of ...
4
votes
1answer
264 views

A vague definition in a dictionary, “shag:a sexual partner of a specified ability”. Is there any better or plainer explanation?

I'm not a native English-reader, I'm Chinese. So mostly I get meanings of words by consulting dictionaries. I read this in a dictionary about the word shag: a sexual partner of a specified ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

What does 'tickety boo' mean? [duplicate]

We had an engineer at our house the other day to check an appliance and he used the term 'tickety boo' at least three times. Clearly being British I am aware of the expression, and I also think I know ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Battery is flat

I was born and raised in some anglophone Asian country where people use the word "flat" to describe a battery when no electrical current can be generated by it. Some would even use the word "flat" to ...
4
votes
1answer
602 views

What is the origin & meaning of “It used to drive me spare”? [duplicate]

While watching the eponymous documentary on Stephen Hawking, his wife described her husband's behaviour when he was deep in thought. She said he could be surrounded by children and not even notice ...
-1
votes
3answers
108 views

Which department work is being carried out for

I am a non-English-speaking software developer who faces difficulties with the English language. I built a form for users submitting work for my department. The users should write down their name and ...
7
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
87 views

Origin of 'Son of a Gun' [duplicate]

According to the OED a 'son of a gun' was a child born to a woman who accompanied her husband on a Royal Navy gunship. However I distinctly remember hearing on a BBC Radio 4 history programme that the ...
2
votes
2answers
191 views

Orthography of definite-article contractions in the Yorkshire dialect

In the Yorkshire accent the definite article is shortened to just t. E.g. 'I went on the bus' becomes something that sounds like 'I went ont bus'. How does one punctuate this? Is it 'I went on t'bus', ...
0
votes
1answer
400 views

word meaning 'the day before'

I am looking for a word meaning 'the day before' that fits within the following sentence: 'day before the day the conference started' Alternatively a neater way of saying the same thing would be ...
5
votes
2answers
537 views

Can the word 'loo' mean bathroom (with bath and shower and all) [closed]

English is not my first language, so I may be completely wrong, but I always thought that 'loo' meant 'toilet', the thing itself as well as the small room with just a toilet and maybe a small sink, ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

What is a “dear grandma, love egg” moment? [closed]

Robert Peston recently wrote on his BBC blog: But it would mean that the perceived quality of all the trillions of dollars of bonds it has sold would deteriorate (here is one of my "dear grandma, ...
3
votes
4answers
591 views

Why do the British refer to things as 'posh'

Why do the British refer to something very smart, or people who are very well-off as being 'posh'?
1
vote
3answers
841 views

Meaning of “at least Dick Turpin wore a mask”

I tried to sell my stuff and one of the guys asked me if I could bargain on the item and I said no. He replied with the message, At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. What does that mean?
1
vote
2answers
508 views

In Britain the word 'normalcy' is ridiculed

Does anyone use 'normalcy'? It is ridiculed in Britain as an American affectation, especially since there is a time-honoured word which means exactly the same thing i.e 'normality'.
5
votes
2answers
304 views

Why does European packaging use “gb” to represent English?

Something I've always wondered is why companies that are based in Europe tend to use "country" abbreviations to represent a language instead of the language abbreviation itself. Given that there are ...
1
vote
1answer
474 views

What do you call someone who doesn't know how to swim?

Is there one word for someone who does not know how to swim? Even better if there is one word for someone who doesn't know how to swim but dives to save a drowning person? If no, then suggest a ...
0
votes
4answers
399 views

Is the verb “are” missing in this sentence?

I have a question about a possible grammatical error in this sentence: "We hope you find our toilets in good condition". I came across it lately on one of the mall's notice boards. In my opinion this ...
4
votes
2answers
434 views

What is the correct way to style academic degrees after a name in British English?

What is the correct way to style academic degrees in British English? I've got a name: Jane Doe RN Dip HV BSc My question is: How should I style the degrees? Jane Doe, RN Dip., HV, BSc. ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

How do they express the time, in American and British English?

I don't know if this is a good question. But as far as I know, and as I do it, American English also say "after" other than "past" in expressing times. For example, a quarter after six instead of, a ...
9
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
163 views

'Spick and span' /British phrase for a flawless person?

I was wondering if there exists a British expression to denote a flawless/good/spotless person. I'm thinking of using it in a context similar to 'he's no saint', which if I'm not wrong, is American. I ...
7
votes
5answers
454 views

Word for “invisible god-like voice”

I am Asian and in Asian mythology like epics like Mahabharatha, when some person is going to do something bad then a voice from nowhere comes from background, after a thunder or something, to stop him ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

Understand Rudyard Kipling's poem If

I came across Rudyard Kipling's poem If, quoted below: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, ...
5
votes
2answers
94 views

Balance paid prior to arrival to hotel

I am looking for adjective (if exists) for paying for hotel stay prior to arrival or if possible word that would describe paying upon checking-out ? If there is no such word, then is there any neat ...
14
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Can I use the phrase “Can I get x please” and have it considered 'proper' english? [duplicate]

I seem to say it quite a lot without really realising it. I know of course, it should probably be something along the lines of "May I have" - But is "Can I get" really that wrong? Thanks