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

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Pronunciation of GUI in British English

I've heard a lot of Americans pronounce abbreviations like GUI as goo-ey. Is this the same with British English, or is it more common to spell out the word, like gee-you-eye?
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6answers
2k 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 ...
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6answers
3k views

Are these phrases too posh-sounding for conversational English?

I'm German, and I try to speak British English as best I can, it's the language I've learned at school, and I'm always trying to be consistent. However, much of my English vocabulary and phrasing I ...
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1answer
819 views

Is it true that the English have many words for hill?

I've heard it said that Eskimos have many words for snow and that the English have many words for hill. If so what are they?
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3answers
1k views

Etymology and meaning of the word “snog”

Having looked to urban dictionary, witionary, online etymology, dictionary.com, Wikipedia and wordfreaks.tribe.net, I have found a wide variance in the etymology and definition of the word snog. I ...
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2answers
733 views

Unfamiliar use of “cricket”

I came across a use of the word cricket today that was new to me. It was in an article written by an American author about his recent trip to Egypt and about the role of the U.S. in the current ...
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11answers
1k views

What should I call the English spoken in UK?

I have read that saying British English is too specific, and that I should say English English. Is that true? When I say British English, what do people think I am referring to?
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2answers
522 views

What is the meaning, history, and current popularity of “of a Monday” (or Tuesday, or Wednesday, etc.)?

I was watching a 1934 Hollywood film today and one of the American characters used the phrase, Of a Tuesday. I don't think I'd ever heard an American use this in real life or in a film before then, ...
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3answers
1k views

Is the phrase “all to c**k” considered profane?

I occasionally use the colloquialism "all to cock" to mean "disastrously wrong". I've always thought it a benign phrase, but recently I've wondered whether the use of the word "cock" in this situation ...
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2answers
313 views

How would a native British speaker say “Betteredge”?

I am reading Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, and a prominent character in the story has the name of Betteredge. My question is (since I like to imagine the dialogue in a British-English book as if ...
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2answers
1k views

Identifying accents of British actors

As an American, a large part of my impoverished experience of British accents comes from ancient BBC comedy imports on PBS. I'd very much like to identify the regional accents the following actors are ...
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2answers
707 views

When can “have” be used without “got”?

I read this article and now I'm confused when got can be omitted when using have. Could this be explained in plain English without technical terms? Is there a different usage in past tense?
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5answers
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“Be mother” - Etymology and usage

I recently came across the idiom "Be mother" in a crossword. It is supposed to mean 'to pour tea'. I was surprised by the meaning, and want to ask if there is any etymology or history behind this ...
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3answers
346 views

Does “fathers” in RP exclude R and unvoice the S?

In received pronunciation, the word "father" ends in /ə/. I haven't found an IPA transcription of the plural form, and am wondering: RP being non-rhotic, is the "r" here excluded? Is the S voiced ...
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1answer
589 views

How should I parse the name of the UK? [closed]

I've grown up in the UK and always considered that it is a United Kingdom of four countries: the three countries on the island of Great Britain and the country/province1 of Northern Ireland. ...
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1answer
6k views

Is “weightage” an English word?

Is weightage an English word? We use it a lot in India, but I couldn't find it in my Oxford Dictionary.
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1answer
5k views

Can one answer “Have you got…?” with “Yes, I've got.”?

As an American in Europe I often get questions about the British "have got" which is hard for me to answer since I have little feeling for what is correct. E.g. someone today asked me: If someone ...
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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 ...
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3answers
4k views

Do “You see me?” and “You get me?” mean “Do you understand what I mean?”

Sometimes after finish explaining something, people will say, "You see me?" or "You get me?" I wonder if they are equivalent to "Do you understand what I mean?"
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1answer
3k views

What is the etymology of the word “dinlo”?

dinlo n. stupid person; idiot Suggested etymology from urban dictionary a Romany (gypsy language) word that has been adopted widely by the east coast. Sorry if this language offends but I ...
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1answer
4k views

Where does “three line whip” come from?

In parliament a three line whip is said to be applied when a party seeks to ensure every MP turns up and votes the party line. But why the term "three line" whip? And is there such a thing as a one ...
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2answers
9k views

“Can” vs. “could” in asking a question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I am a little bit confused about asking a question: Can you please tell me my next work? or Could you please tell me my next ...
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1answer
1k views

What is a person if they are described as a “wet hen”?

In Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (Witches Abroad in particular), the character Magrat Garlick is often called a "wet hen" by at least one of her witch colleagues. Web searches only yielded the ...
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3answers
344 views

Is the expression “quote you happy” accepted English grammar? What is its history?

I'm editing a document written by someone who grew up in the UK, which contains the phrase "We'll quote you happy". That doesn't parse for me (I grew up in New Zealand), but a quick search about the ...
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2answers
1k views

Dissecting an English sentence using a pattern?

I am trying to make a script that can dissect an English sentence. Problem is, I have no idea how to dissect an English when the words are not familiar. I know what the nouns, verbs, etc are, because ...
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5answers
1k views

Police in general as “feds”

There are many slang terms for the police, and one which has recently been in the news in the UK is "the feds", as in if you see a brother... SALUT! if you see a fed... SHOOT! Cassell's ...
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1answer
157 views

Meaning behind of “X leads from Y”

I was watching the BBC broadcast of the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend, and the announcer kept using the phrase "Vettel leads from Alonso". He took this to mean that Vettel was in first and Alonso ...
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1answer
882 views

What does “you'll be in your whack” mean?

Another colorful expression from that British movie I mentioned earlier. The context of the quote here is that there are these guys trying to smuggle ecstasy pills, and there's another guy hosting ...
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1answer
1k views

What are all the ways the British use the word “lovely”? Especially towards pretty girls?

From watching many period dramas and plays set in England, as I like to do, I've become more acutely aware of the British overloading of the word lovely. In particular, I have two questions: What ...
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3answers
5k views

“At the beginning of the century” or “in the beginning of the century”?

At the beginning of the century. In the beginning of the century. How to clearly distinguish when to use at, or in?
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3answers
173 views

What word describes a university class in both the UK and the US?

In the US words like class, subject, course are used to describe a university class, while in the UK, words like subject and course are used to describe the name of the whole university degree. ...
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2answers
758 views

Why does “going to kip” mean “going to sleep”?

"Night, folks; I'm off to kip." noun 1British a sleep or nap:       I might have a little kip [mass noun] :       he was trying ...
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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 ...
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2answers
298 views

Are constructions like “That's me out, then” primarily British rather than American?

Prompted by comments to this question on English Learners (about "That's you done"), I've been searching Google Books for similar constructions of the general form that's [pro]noun adjective (for this ...
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2answers
622 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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
381 views

How has the usage of 'should' varied over time? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Should” versus “would” In Spring 1936, Evelyn Waugh sent a marriage proposal to Laura Herbert, in which he wrote: [...] On the other ...
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2answers
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What is the meaning and etymology of the adjective “jammy”, of Yorkshire English?

What is the etymology of the adjective jammy? As in, Thou art a jammy bugger! I confess I've never seen the word before. When I looked it up, I found confusing etymologies: one source says it ...
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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 ...
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1answer
202 views

Cardinal British Dates - A Kiwi Original?

I had never heard the use of cardinal numbers in dates when speaking until I moved to New Zealand. It seems particularly prevalent in TV and radio advertising, but doesn't seem to follow either ...
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4answers
2k views

British English - “In two hours time”

From users of British English, I have noticed the pattern of adding "time" after a unit of time, as in: He has class in 30 minutes time. My initial impression as an American is that this is ...
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9answers
1k views

Is it really rude to use the terms “the john” and “the loo” in lieu of “the restroom”?

I usually use the term "restroom" (or "toilet" if I want to make sure that everyone in the Czech Republic understands me at once), and, while I've always understood that the terms "john" and "loo" are ...
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4answers
807 views

The name given to the trail of afterburn (of a jet perhaps?)

What is the name of the trail (of after burn) left by a jet? I know it's something nearly like "after burn", but I can't be sure as I've not used it for quite a long time!
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8answers
824 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 ...
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5answers
5k views

What is currently the most obscene word in British English? [closed]

In a recent question, I realized that while I know what's currently considered the most obscene word in American English ("cunt"), I am told that word is much more unexceptional and workaday in ...
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5answers
632 views

Accurate British English term for an oblong deck from shore out into a lake where you tie your rowing boat

This is a typical image of the structure in question: There are also some variations, shown in this Google image search. But I'm after the often not very wide, some 20-30 feet long wood ...
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7answers
1k views

What’s “maiden name” all about?

I was pondering the term maiden name when talking with British English speakers recently. They don’t seem to have that term. So my question is two-fold: Is there another term for maiden name, ...
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3answers
323 views

What were the British equivalents of Webster's dictionary and the Simplified Spelling Board that standardized spelling and usage?

I am familiar with questions about when to double 'l' and differences between British and American spellings. However, I stumbled across this image. As you can see, several words end in the double ...
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2answers
4k 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 - ...
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4answers
597 views

Is “ringing somebody up” exclusive to telephone use in British English?

Is ringing somebody up exclusive to telephone use, or can it be used to say you made a call on somebody's person? EDIT: Note that my question is specifically asking about British English; I would ...