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

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2
votes
1answer
774 views

Mixing British English and American English [closed]

I'm a non-native English speaker and as such, I was taught one variety of English In school--in my case, American. However, I've also been extensively in contact with British English, and now I ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Why do we say 'Tearing about' [closed]

Why do we say 'tearing about' meaning rushing around in a rather haphazard way. I can't find the expression in any dictionary or thesaurus and am not sure if I am spelling it correctly. Most ...
0
votes
1answer
233 views

Is “be-gruntled” a word? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When does a word become a ‘word’? Someone in work asked about the welfare of my girlfriend, to which I replied "She's fine, a little be-gruntled but fine." People knew ...
-1
votes
2answers
93 views

Is “subordinated” a good translation of the Italian legal term “subordinato”? [closed]

I've found this translation http://www.wordreference.com/iten/subordinato but I am not sure if English legals use subordinate to define a party that is subordinated to another. Any suggestion? EDIT: ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

Use of 'That“ rather than ”the"

The weather reports on the BBC frequently use the word "That" when I was expecting either no article or possibly "the". For example 'There will be more of that cold weather.' when no cold weather has ...
1
vote
1answer
589 views

“Drawing room” or “sitting room”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What’s a reception room / parlor / parlour / drawing room? Please consider the following room: The house is a late Victorian townhouse. The room (A) has a size of about ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

“If I was to” vs. “If I were to” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? If I was to sum up my computer knowledge in one word, it would be “destitute”. If I were ...
5
votes
3answers
980 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
768 views

What's the difference between “bloke”, “chap” and “lad”?

Several synonyms are used in the UK: bloke, chap, lad. What's the difference between them?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

“S'il vous plaît” = “If you please”?

In Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot detective stories, Poirot uses the phrase “if you please” a lot. Does this come from the French phrase “s’il vous plaît”?
7
votes
2answers
902 views

Wedding invitations in British English

I'm an American calligrapher living in France, designing a suite of wedding invitations for a Spanish bride living in London! Complicated enough? I can't really go to the bride with questions ...
1
vote
2answers
428 views

Is “my place” correct and common in British English?

I was recently told that "my place", such as in "let's go to my place" is not commonly used in British English? Is that the case and what would you say instead?
-3
votes
1answer
197 views

Origin of “happen” [closed]

What is the origin of the word happen? If it comes from the word hap, what is the early usage of that word?
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Should “each” be followed by a singular or plural possessive?

If a possessive noun, which is plural, is preceded by "each", then should it use the singular or plural possessive form? For example, which of the following is correct? spend time in each other's ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

“I'm on the brew”

A conversation between two Scots: — What do you do for a living? — I'm on the brew. Assuming that I have the phrase right, what exactly does "on the brew" mean here? Based on the context, I ...
3
votes
3answers
311 views

He considers that X is Y. vs He thinks that X is Y

The following verb in sentence 1 strikes me as strange when it has the same meaning as in sentences 2 and 3 below. He considers that blue cheese is delicious. He thinks that blue cheese is ...
1
vote
2answers
305 views

In British English, do you favorite or favourite a post? [closed]

When using "favorite" in a computer technology sense (for example, bookmarking a question on Stack Overflow), do British English speakers still use "favourite" (the traditional spelling in British ...
1
vote
2answers
599 views

Is there a difference between British English phrases and American phrases? [closed]

My goal is to learn British English because I'm going to study there. I've found a good book about English phrases. However, the book is originally from the US. Is there a difference between ...
2
votes
2answers
171 views

Help in demystifying the meaning of 2 sentences from an academic journal article!

1.) This is basically an english translation of a section of a Hittite Law code: "If someone wounds a man and makes him ill, he shall nurse him. He shall give a man in his place who will work in his ...
-1
votes
1answer
209 views

Correct headline in scientific pro/contra table

Which words are appropriate for the headline in a table with pros and cons in a scientific paper (physics)? PROS CONS ice cheap cold fish expensive warm
4
votes
2answers
809 views

Sapu Lidi: A broom made of many wooden sticks

For many Indonesians, the name sapu lidih or sapu lidi is somewhat familiar. Well, this "sapu lidih" is actually a broom made of many wooden sticks. If you translate the name directly to English, it ...
1
vote
3answers
965 views

Pronunciation of “lorry”, “worry” and “sorry”

I have always pronounced lorry as "lur-ee" (as if to rhyme with worry), for as long as I can remember. Everyone else I know pronounces it as "lor-ee" (as if to rhyme with sorry). Which one is ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Different Meanings of 'Jumper' (Transatlantic embarassment)

I'm originally from Wales, now living in the USA, and as the cold weather is approaching I'm determined, this year, to start using the word sweater to describe the item of clothing I'm wearing, as ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Alternative names for a place of trade [closed]

I am wondering what alternative names or nicknames there are for a place of trade. I know of market but I am hoping for others.
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of “odds and ends”?

There's already a question (and answer) for "bits and bobs", which I believe is a Britishism, but what is the origin of "odds and ends"? "Odds" I have some reckoning for (as in, "odd items", meaning ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the equivalent phrase in the UK for “I plead the fifth”?

In the United States, a person under examination on the witness stand may "plead the fifth" to avoid self-incrimination. In other words, a person asserts his or her Fifth Amendment right. Citizens of ...
6
votes
5answers
404 views

Is to “tell off” a particularly British expression?

I'm translating a short story from Spanish into English. A small child says (literally): Why don’t we knock?” I asked. “They’re gonna tell us off.” (The Spanish is: Nos van a regañar.) I've ...
2
votes
3answers
206 views

how to handle EN US/UK differences [closed]

If you are from Great Britain, or other English speaking country (except US), or even most of European countries where you learn british-english and are working for an American company would you ...
1
vote
0answers
677 views

Apparent contradictions in English English communication [closed]

I came across this list about the apparent contradictions in communication by some English people. Whilst it was probably intended as humour, as I am a learner of English and think that, in ...
4
votes
1answer
371 views

Is it acceptable to omit “I” when it's the subject? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it acceptable to begin a declarative sentence with “Am”? Is it correct English to omit I from the beginning of a sentence when it's clearly implied? For example... ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of the dated British expression “I say!”

It doesn't appear that this expression was a minced oath or something along those lines. Was it shortened from a longer phrase, or did it just enter the vernacular as is (similar to "listen up" or ...
4
votes
3answers
398 views

Titles of British Lords [closed]

In an old episode of The West Wing, a British Ambassador is referred to as "Lord John Marbury". Ignoring that once he became Ambassador he'd be Mr Ambassador, what are the possible correct addresses? ...
-1
votes
1answer
3k views

“Three-hundred forty-two” or “three-hundred and forty-two”? [closed]

So on this answer here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12699791/finding-the-word-version-of-a-number/12700097#comment17146082_12700097 We were having the argument whether it is “three hundred and ...
2
votes
7answers
2k views

US and UK English: queue or waiting line?

What do you usually say, depending on the context and depending if it's US or UK English? wait in line or queue
-2
votes
2answers
308 views

of areas involved with patients’ care - or patients care? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: User’s/Users’/Users Group What would be the correct way with UK English spelling: patients' care or patients care? I have terrible search skills, I could not find an ...
8
votes
2answers
846 views

Where is “Wednesday” pronounced “Wedinzday”?

I recently heard a BBC radio announcer pronounce "Wednesday" in a peculiar way. The 'd' wasn't dropped, resulting in something like "Wedinzday" (wɛdnzde). I've read some Scottish dialects use this ...
9
votes
2answers
349 views

How was “ben't” used, and when did it cease to be used?

In Jane Austen's The Watsons, the maid of the titular family utters the following sentence: "Please, ma'am, master wants to know why he ben't to have his dinner?" I have never encountered ben't ...
8
votes
3answers
304 views

“A similar hat to Jane” vs “A hat similar to Jane’s”

Of late I have noticed British people using the following sort of construct: John and Jane make such a cute couple because John always wears a similar hat to Jane. To my ear, that is ...
7
votes
2answers
161 views

How did the practice of identifying an object after using a pronoun evolve?

While watching Barclay's Premier League matches on the Fox Soccer Channel, the announcers often identify an object by name immediately after using a pronoun. For example, in a match occuring right ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Using “to my mind”

English is not my native language. I am curious about the usage of "to my mind". Is it a British English phrase? Is it used in American English? Is it formal/informal? I've found an interesting ...
0
votes
1answer
934 views

“your heart just shrank” vs. “your heart just shrunk” [closed]

If I say: Your heart just shrank two sizes too small. Is the verb shrank correct as is? Or should it be in participle form? Your heart just shrunk two sizes too small. Which one would be ...
8
votes
1answer
508 views

Capital Letters from 1700 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Capitalisation of nouns in English (historically) After reading a recipe from 1747, I noticed that all of the nouns are capitalized. Is that a normal thing for that era? ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Use of American-Indian “How” in British English

These are excerpts from Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Jerry Westerby screwed up his face in perplexity. 'That's what the boy wanted to tell me, you see, George. That's what he was ...
0
votes
1answer
116 views

“Is it” South Africa only

I don't know if it is still in vogue but ten years ago in South Africa the phrase "Is it?" was common. It could be used as a response to almost any statement. Is it (ha ha) unique to South Africa or ...
3
votes
1answer
431 views

pronunciation: question about dictionary phonetic symbol

I was looking up the word "meditative", and in one dictionary, the fourth letter "i" is pronounced "ə", but in another dictionary it is pronounced "ɪ". I don't know which phonetic symbol I should ...
15
votes
1answer
10k views

I'm British, so should I take a rain cheque?

I want to write the phrase "take a rain cheque" and am British. Should I therefore use the British spelling of the word cheque, or respect the baseball origin of the phrase "rain check" and use the ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“s” vs. “z” in BE vs. AE

I have trouble understanding why some words change "s"-es to "z"-s from BE to AE and some not. For example: analyse -> analyze characterise -> characterize hypnotise -> hypnotize But: compromise ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Is on/before 15 July better than by 15 July if I want to be precise and unambiguous? Which is the more common form?

When the last day of registration is, let's say, 15 July, we currently say "please confirm your registration before 16 July" but students often send their confirmation on 16 July, rather than 15. I ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?