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

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5
votes
1answer
640 views

Why don't Americans refer to Indians (and others from the subcontinent) as Asians?

I know there is a related question here, but I am not seeing an answer to "Why is there a difference?" Merely that an explanation of what is used in each country. I am a speaker of American English, ...
1
vote
4answers
123 views

Nouns as verbs, Brits and Yanks: ID cards

I find it interesting that not only do British and American English speakers both use the noun 'ID card' as a verb in the context of (trying to be in a position of) purchasing age-restricted items, ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
4
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
417 views

Does “moonlighting” have a negative or neutral connotation?

We all agree that "moonlighting" denotes having a second job. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford Advanced Learner's don't define it in exactly the same way. For example, Merriam-Webster attaches a ...
0
votes
2answers
133 views

What does it mean? [closed]

"Thou hast been smitten?" https://www.google.nl/search?q=What+does+Thou+hast+been+smitten+mean%3F Doesn't deliver real results.
16
votes
7answers
6k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
1
vote
1answer
43k views

What informal and formal letter/e-mail closings are used the most? [duplicate]

I often struggle with doubts about the correctness of the closings which I use. I'm not a native speaker and I'm worried that I'll make a mistake in the last part of the letter/e-mail. Some examples: ...
0
votes
1answer
140 views

Pronunciations for “Either” [duplicate]

In general, EFL students are taught the two main ways of pronouncing the determiner "either" are the British [ˈaɪðə] and the American [ˈiːðər] varieties. However, I've repeatedly heard from specific ...
1
vote
2answers
336 views

What is the correct adjective that describes the temporal proximity between the two events?

I'm trying to find the best adjective to describe the temporal proximity between the two events: the creation of two WiFi networks. Currently I'm using almost concurrent to describe the proximity: ...
2
votes
3answers
307 views

How do Americans pronounce the word 'progression'?

In British English, we pronounce the word 'progress' as pro—gress. Whereas in American English it's pronounced as prog—ress. So how would Americans pronounce the word 'progression'? It ...
10
votes
8answers
5k views

Using “them” instead of “those”

Background: Nowadays, I see this usage a lot. I don't know if it was this common in the past. For example: "one of them people" When I did a research about it, some people say it comes from a ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

Which is correct: “I’m done” or “I have finished”?

Which of these alternatives is grammatically correct? I’m done. or I have finished Like I’m done sounds very American, but is it grammatically correct?
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

British and other English variants of 'write to me' - 'write me'' [duplicate]

In British English, the standard is 'write to me'. In American English the standard is 'write me'. Similar variants exist with 'out of the window' and 'out the window'. When did the dropping of ...
1
vote
1answer
586 views

Is American English more archaic or more modern than British English?

I insist that someone do something. (used more in American English, says Michael Swan's Practical English Use , for instance) versus I insist that someone should do somehting. (used more ...
0
votes
3answers
262 views

Is British English Outdated in Technical Writing?

I learnt English as my second language right from my school level and for the British colonial history of my country, my education was mostly in British English. In fact, during my school years, ...
3
votes
3answers
221 views

The word “geriatric”

Would you say describing somebody as "geriatric" is offensive? I think it's neutral in American English, but the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary describes it as "informal" and "offensive".
0
votes
1answer
149 views

Is “I have Asperger syndrome” grammatically correct? [closed]

I'm trying to write my first book. In it, the protagonist has Asperger syndrome. It was going well until I encountered this sentence (the boy is confessing to another person) and became confused. Is ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Usage of the word halt

I was looking for the meaning of Draw up and this was the definition:" to cause to a halt". The thing is it confused me more because I have no idea what halt means and in what sentences could I use ...
1
vote
2answers
477 views

Where is the word “cutlery” in common usage

During a trip to the US I realised that many Americans have never heard the word cutlery before ... however some have. Where in the English speaking world (and in particular where in the US) is this ...
0
votes
4answers
8k views

Is there a formal way to say we want to go to the toilet? [closed]

I've heard: "I've to go the potty", "I have to meet Mr John", "Nature is calling me, I have to go", "I've to go to the rest room". These sentences aren't formal, are they? Is there any other way ...
0
votes
2answers
409 views

“On the air” OR “On air”

Do you remember Northern Exposure? I hope so. Chris had a light-sign in his office: http://nevergoodbye.com/go/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/totalchris.gif And when you search google images for "on the ...
33
votes
7answers
5k views

Why do Americans go 'downtown' whilst people in the UK go 'up town'?

People in London, who live in the suburbs, may tell you they work 'up town', meaning in the City or the West End. In other large cities in Britain, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds etc., I think people ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

How do students respond to the “roll call” and how do you pronounce it?

I have two questions. In the UK, to do (or is it read?) a roll call is commonly referred to as "calling out the register". It's been so long since I was a child that I'm not absolutely sure how ...
8
votes
3answers
449 views

Are there any studies on changes in British English to become more like American English?

With the spread of American popular culture (movies, books, franchises, etc.) and technical jargon (manuals, Web syntaxes, default spell-check settings, etc.), I'm wondering if there have been any ...
1
vote
3answers
11k views

Should I use “arrived” or “reached”

Sometimes when I come back from my brother's house he asks me to let him know when I am at home. Now, in that situation which one of the following is correct : I've reached home now. OR I've ...
1
vote
2answers
306 views

Is there a British English equivalent for the expression “X has nothing on Y?” [closed]

I'm American and I'm writing a short story, one of the characters of which is British. I'm trying not to go overboard in my attempt to replicate British English in this character's speech, but I'm ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Why is the beginning of a quote in old text sometimes denoted by a capital letter but no quotation marks?

In the following text of Pamela by Samuel Richardson, well is capitalised — possibly to denote speech, where inverted commas have been neglected. As GEdgar points out, this is not an isolated ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“Were that you who did that” vs. “was that you who did that”

Which of the following is correct? Were that you who did that? Was that you who did that? Obviously one has to use were with you, but which one goes here in this case?
-1
votes
1answer
792 views

Got started or started

I am a learner of the English language. I have written two sentences, please give your two minutes and let me know, which one is correct? In the following sentences an action was started by my dog, ...
0
votes
0answers
10 views

Punctuation in my sentences [duplicate]

I am a learner of the English language and especially I am learning the punctuation marks in the English language. I have written two sentences. Please give your two minutes and let me know, which ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Is it right to say that “they have their utopia starting when they see a plate of food and water” [closed]

I have to do a presentation about a third world country next week and I started writing down what I am going to say and I am stuck in the introduction! I am speaking Greek and this phrase make sense ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

What is difference between the following sentences? I take a taxi/bus/train. I get a taxi/bus/train.
3
votes
1answer
59 views

At X's expense and of X's timber

The following string appears in Jenks, E. "The prerogative writs in English law" Yale Law Journal 32:6 (1923): ...the accused in the meanwhile [was] to be kept in one of the new gaols ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
3
votes
1answer
441 views

Where does the word “totty” come from?

There's been a nice bit of totty on TV over the holiday period; that is attractive women. girls or women collectively regarded as sexually desirable: But what is the etymology of the word? It's ...
3
votes
4answers
748 views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Good synonyms for “waste of time”? [closed]

Can't think of any off the top of my head, and the thesaurus comes up with bland results.
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Is “despatch” the British spelling for “dispatch” or is it an archaic spelling (or both)?

In John Ormsby's 1885 translation of Don Quixote, the word "despatch" is used. Is that the corresponding British spelling for "dispatch" or is it simply an archaic spelling (in both the American and ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Why are promiscuous women known as “slappers”?

Women who aren't interested in much more than sex are referred to as "slappers" in British English. British informal, derogatory a promiscuous or vulgar woman. Why is this? I can't find any ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How did “ropey” come to mean “of poor quality”?

Rope is typically long, strong and fibrous. So how did us Brits come to use "ropey" to describe something of poor quality? British informal of poor quality:     a portrait ...
6
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
881 views

Whence does “sprog” come?

The British informal word for a child. I couldn't get any work done because the sprogs were running riot. ODO has the following: 1940s (originally services' slang): perhaps from obsolete ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

Use of “ahoy” before “hello”

The word hello seems to have become popular with the coming of the telephone. Did our ancestors greet each other with ahoy before that?
9
votes
2answers
978 views

Where does the word “sh**” come from?

Once upon a time in America, particularly during the 1970s, if you asked an American whether they ‘fancied a shag’, they might well have thought of this: And therefore declined the offer for fear ...
3
votes
3answers
776 views

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'?

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'? I really want to know because "knocked" in the song, doesn't make sense to me.
0
votes
2answers
4k views

A/an hypothesis? [duplicate]

Is it a or an hypothesis? I am not a native speaker (and not very language talented) so I would appreciate any explanation/rules.
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Where did the word “quim” come from?

Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge. The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the word “snogging” come from?

Where does the word snogging come from, in the sense of canoodling? I’m looking for it etymology, not for its connotation or phonoaesthetic properties, as the answer of the other question provides. ...