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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
3answers
3k 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
3k 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
86 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
682 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
114 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
24k 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
162 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
629 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
132 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 ...
28
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
115 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
124 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
116 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
40 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
985 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
68 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
1k 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'?
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Asking about date [duplicate]

I'd like to know which way of asking questions is more common in the UK. Is there any difference? 1 What is the date today or What date is today? 2 What is the day today or What day is today? ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

When to use Might & May? [duplicate]

Is it correct to say "MIGHT I have a look around? OR "MAY" I have a look around? Which is correct and why ? Thanks
-1
votes
1answer
7k views

date has already passed OR date has already past? [closed]

Which is correct : date has already passed , or date has already past ? Thanks
0
votes
2answers
90 views

Is checklist or tick box (or something else) more common in British English?

When referring to a list of items that you check off as you complete, would the British say, "checklist," "tick box," or something else?
2
votes
1answer
69 views

'Lack of Side' as used by Dick White, former Intelligence Chief of MI5 and MI6

During Dick White's post-Oxford academic career he traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1928 to continue studying history at the University of Michigan. Upon arrival at the campus White was warmly ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

British usage: add verb forms of “do” after a conditional

Is it standard British usage to add forms of the verb "Do" after a conditional like "Would"? e.g., If I could, I would do"?
2
votes
1answer
242 views

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word read?

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word usually read out loud? For example, with "Anglo-Saxon", do we say: "It is spelt as ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Separate vs. joined words (hyphen or not) [duplicate]

English is not my native language, and sometimes it's confusing.. Especially uk-english vs. american and hyphens Can someone explain a bit when to use which of these? It's for a global english ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Difference between “ditch”, “trench” and “gutter” [closed]

I have been trying to understand the difference between the three, is this a usage difference between American English and British English? What is the difference?
2
votes
1answer
110 views

“Rather !” as a reply: old-fashioned? Colloquial? Unusual?

Is "Rather" as a reply (BrE), with heavy stress on the second syllable, old-fashioned ? Colloquial ? Unusual ? e.g. "Did you enjoy yourself?" "Rather!" Can "pretty much so!" be its AmE ...
-1
votes
1answer
172 views

How to write the date of an event that lasts a few days [American / British English]

I saw this topic: How to write the date of an event that lasts a few days But have some questions. Firstly, I would like to know how to say the same but in British English. I think that "The event ...
2
votes
1answer
194 views

Meaning of “clot” in the following sentence

I've searched all of the reasonable sources for a meaning of clot as the word appears in the following sentence. I've also tracked down a couple of people who shear sheep and neither of them was able ...
1
vote
1answer
216 views

Whats the past of present unreal conditonal?

What is the past of present unreal conditional ? I wish I were king ( how to make it past, is it - I wished I had been king ) What's the difference between the following two - "I wish it stopped ...
0
votes
3answers
230 views

Etymology of “shagged [out]” (BrE exhausted, knackered)

I was intrigued by this comment to an earlier ELU post... [shagged out] Meaning 'very tired', presumably originating from having lots of sex but used generally to mean tired for whatever reason ...
4
votes
1answer
415 views

What is the reason that American English and British English use “Post” and “Mail” with different frequencies?

Common usage in the UK is that a postman of the Royal Mail Service delivers the post, and someone may post a letter (see BrE Ngram), whereas in the USA, usage has become equally common that a mailman ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde unknown ( Biblical?) Reference [closed]

Okay, so I am an avid reader, and have recently undertaken a challenge to read Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, along with Robert Louis Stevenson's other literature. Having recently completed Jekyll & ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

What does “trouble at pit” mean?

I saw this in an article about which British accents sound more intelligent, apparently Yorkshire was once deemed as a place with "trouble at pit". It probably has an origin related to auto racing, ...
1
vote
2answers
120 views

A “Frankenstein's monster” similar metaphors

Although originally it's a novel character, a "Frankenstein's monster" became a metaphor for "something that cannot be controlled and that attacks or destroys the person who invented it." However, are ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

What meaning would you ascribe to “to spy a parable”?

What meaning would you ascribe to: "to spy a parable"? Here is the context: "It is tempting to ponder these two NASA stories, and to spy a parable about much that is wrong with the America of 2014." ...
3
votes
1answer
775 views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
1
vote
3answers
105 views

Cool rush of air uphill

Do you know the word to describe a cool rushing current of uphill air? I think it has something to do with the air coming from a cool place on a warm day.
2
votes
1answer
224 views

Present Perfect, American English and “since”

I'm wondering: I was always taught at school that when using "since", you always have to use Present Perfect (BrE), e.g. Since when have you played chess? But is Since when did you play ...
3
votes
4answers
99 views

Could “shingled” mean “pebbly”?

One of the definition of shingle is a mass of small rounded pebbles, especially on a seashore. You can say a shingle beach (more common usage in UK than US perhaps) Is it also correct ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

“Named for” vs. “named after”

As a Brit, I'm used to the phrase named after being used to say how something got its name. For example, in Wikipedia's List of eponymous roads in London, we read that Addison Road is named after the ...
0
votes
1answer
236 views

Asking a “Do you have…” question without do-support

Is the following sentence correct English? Have you the address? The address in question is obvious to the person being asked. It's normal to ask such a question as "Do you have the address?" ...
0
votes
2answers
52 views

is 'do we actually know where we are going any more' a question?

I'm confused as to if do we actually know where we are going any more is a question or not, because of the 'do' I think yes but when read it seems like a sentence.
3
votes
2answers
97 views

You're Coming On All-(blank), Coming Over All-(blank)

I'd like to know how widespread these statements are in the UK. In the movie 'In Bruges' Ralph Fiennes says to, a suddenly, soft-sounding Brendan Gleeson (employed as a hit-man by Fiennes): ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Can I use “will” as non-auxiliary verb?

I was in England and I heard that some people use word "will" as non auxiliary verb, in meaning "wish". Have I misheard? If it is true, in which cases can I use "will" as non auxiliary verb?
1
vote
4answers
535 views

Apartment building - flat building?

Does anyone in the UK say 'flat building'? I live in the US, mind, so I have no clue. It sounds a bit funny saying that. Do they say 'apartment building' instead, maybe? Or is there another word for a ...
0
votes
1answer
101 views

Pronunciation problem [closed]

I am from India. I am very eager to learn English. So I am used to add some English words with my language. But My friends says that you are having problem with your pronunciation. I tried a lot of ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...