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

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6
votes
1answer
804 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
814 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
467 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
277 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
664 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
109 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
199 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
432 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
619 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
132 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
631 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
906 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
622 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
323 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
494 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
405 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
480 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
164 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
466 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
96 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
2
votes
2answers
392 views

What is the origin of the idiom “tearing hair out”?

What is the origin of the idiom "tearing hair out" or "pulling my hair out"?
9
votes
7answers
4k views

Confused by the British having “dinner” in the afternoon” and “tea” in the evening

I’m having problems with meal names in the UK. I’ve just learnt that dinner can refer to the afternoon meal, and that tea can refer to an early evening meal. Is this specific to a certain area in the ...
9
votes
2answers
720 views

Tomorrow will be Muggy, followed by Tuggy, Wuggy and Thuggy

I read an article, here is the original words: Lennon even created his own comic strip, which he called "The Daily Howl". This contained drawings, frequently of crippled people, and satirical ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

A British pronunciation issue

Most dictionaries list the pronunciation of issue as /ˈɪʃuː/ (ĭsho͞o) in American English and /ˈɪs.juː/ (ĭsyo͞o) possibly alongside /ˈɪʃjuː/ (ĭshyo͞o) and /ˈɪʃuː/ in British English. One informal ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

How to better phrase “I'm Alec who enquired about…” [closed]

I'm writing an email to an angel investor I met recently. The context is: Hi John, Pleasure to briefly meet you at the ... event last Thursday. I'm Alec who enquired about the best way of ...
1
vote
1answer
503 views

What is the proper use of “right the way along”?

I've heard the idiom "right the way along" used many times in British literature and video, however, I'm slightly unclear as to what it means. It seems, at first glance, to be a British variant on ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Who translated “He's a muddled fool, full of lucid intervals.” [closed]

I have revised herein my question of Aug 18 and update my research based on the most helpful suggestions of Peter Schor and tchrist of Aug 18, 2013. I'm not a Cervantista and don't speak Spanish. ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the exact word for the person who calls the speakers in an event using a mic?

What is a person who speaks on the mic that which person is going to come next to speak called?
-2
votes
3answers
638 views

What is the difference between rotate and revolve? [closed]

What is the difference between rotation and revolution? I don't find any difference between the two words from the meanings I read about them. Both words have the same meaning: moving in a circle ...
0
votes
1answer
663 views

“Nice to talk to” or “Nice to talk too”

One of my friends has corrected someone on their grammar on a social media site. And they think they should say "Nice to talk too". I think it is "Nice to talk to", because "too" is an adverb meaning ...
2
votes
4answers
223 views

Difference between 2 questions [closed]

I am filling in this form and on page two there are 2 questions (Q11 and Q12) that seem the same to me but probably are not. Q10: Your date of leaving UK Q11: Are you resident in the UK for the ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Pronunciation of “scone”

The argument about the pronunciation of scone:- skoʊn, skɒn noun 1. a small, light, biscuitlike quick bread made of oatmeal, wheat flour, barley meal, or the like. reappeared in the pub ...
3
votes
1answer
113 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?
1
vote
2answers
369 views

When referring to computer coding, would the correct verb spelling (in British English) be “to program” or “to programme”?

I already know that there are different spellings in British and US English for "programme". Usually, I refer to a computer program with the US spelling as all programming is done in US English, so it ...
-4
votes
1answer
3k views

which is correct? you no need to worry or you need not to worry [closed]

Can someone plz tell me which is the right one and naturally a better one? You no need to worry about it You need not to worry about it Thanks
0
votes
2answers
2k 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 — ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

The difference between Cool and Cold [closed]

I am not a native speaker of the English language but have been living in United Kingdom for last couple of years. Once I was with my friend who was an Irish and I said "Its cold outside" and he ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Second name or Surname in British English

I have recently been told by a Londoner that "second name" is the most common way of referring to one's surname. She explained that it arose from the fact that most people just use their first and ...
8
votes
8answers
11k views

“have” vs.“have got” in American and British English

I have looked through several questions and answers on EL&U, and often there is an indication that American English prefers "have" while British English prefers "have got". In addition, there are ...