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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

5
votes
3answers
442 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
970 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
16k views

When to use “Well” or “Good” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do so many people get this wrong? “How are you? / I'm well.” How would you answer the question "How are you?" I'm well. or I'm good. I ...
5
votes
3answers
6k 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?
5
votes
3answers
307 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
372 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
489 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
398 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the difference between “to oblige” and “to obligate”?

What's the difference between oblige and obligate? Speculating, is the latter an Americanism of the British former? Or is there any distinction about what/who has caused someone to be oblig(at)ed to ...
5
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
224 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

American English: which vs that [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it appropriate to use 'that' as opposed to 'which'? We've had an American Americanise some phrases for us (with the point of teaching children ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
870 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!
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 ...
4
votes
8answers
968 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
796 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
2k 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
388 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
8k 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 - ...
4
votes
4answers
668 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

“Equal” versus “Equals” [duplicate]

I've seen variants of this question, but nothing explicitly like the one below: Three feet equals/equal a yard. Which is correct? Is there a definitive explanation? Please indicate BrE vs AmE ...
4
votes
3answers
479 views

Roundel vs Roundabout [closed]

What, if any, is the difference between the two? My best guess is that a 'roundel' is the traffic island or structure that you drive around, while the 'roundabout' also includes the road you're ...
4
votes
1answer
210 views

Why use “constitutionality” instead of “constitutional”? [closed]

This morning I heard the word "constitutionality" being used by a journalist with regard to the debate over the legality of health care reforms here in the US. This grates on my British ears as I ...
4
votes
3answers
450 views

Help me understand this article

I read this article about 5 times and looked up every word I don't understand and I still am completely clueless as to what exactly is the article talking about(the topic). It really irritates me and ...
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
674 views

London dialect usage

I found the following sentence in this article and was trying to understand it. I could get the meaning from the context, but I cannot deconstruct the sentence at all. They introduced pugnacity, ...
4
votes
3answers
10k views

Does the interjection “steady on!” mean something to a Brit?

More from the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. In this particular scene, one character, Sergeant George, is infuriated at another character, Mr. Smallwood, his petty landlord come to ...
4
votes
3answers
906 views

“Never mind” in AmE and BrE

Reading some forum pages about the meaning of this phrase, I realized that there's a difference in usage of it, between American and British English. What's the difference in meaning of "never mind" ...
4
votes
5answers
7k views

What does it mean to be “hard done by” - a phrase I heard from a Canadian friend

From the context of discussion, I took "hard done by" to mean "taken advantage unfair of" as in "He felt hard done by by former friends." I had never heard the phrase before and have not heard it ...
4
votes
3answers
25k views

Usage of “shall we?”

What does it mean and where would I use it?
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
3k views

What connotation exactly does the word “noddy” have in British English?

I watched a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby the other day, and came across a bit of dialogue I couldn't quite decipher: A character named Squeers: ...
4
votes
2answers
635 views

The children are creating

In the lyrics of Friends Will Be Friends by Queen: Another red letter day So the pound has dropped and the children are creating. What does the phrase highlighted in bold mean?
4
votes
2answers
399 views

Meaning of Down to the?

What is the meaning of down to the? E.g. in this statement: In order to use this feature, the statements must be exactly the same - down to the number of spaces, tabs, capital/small letters. ...
4
votes
2answers
321 views

Cockney wh-dropping

The Cockney accent typically, or at least stereotypically, drops the initial /h/ from many a word. Does it drop the initial /h/ from who, whole, whore, and whose? Wikipedia says yes, but I seek a more ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does there exist a difference in spelling between British English and American English?

I understand that the use of different terms for the same item (e.g., "car park" vs. "parking lot") has already been discussed, but I'm interested to know why we spell the same words differently in ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

What Kind of Connotations are Associated with the word 'Bruv'?

I encountered the slang word 'bruv' for the first time not long ago while playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The word is used quite a lot by a genius scientist character named Gladstone Katoa, but ...
4
votes
3answers
399 views

Is it possible to learn English by just listening and speaking (without knowing formal grammar rules) [closed]

My native language is Chinese. Most people in my country grow up without having been taught formal grammar. I am surprised to find foreigners being taught Chinese and learning grammar rules that even ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

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

Which of the following is correct? If both are correct, do they have different meanings or usage? Take a taxi/bus/train OR Get a taxi/bus/train
4
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Pinpointing British accents

After having watched British TV and movies for a while, I came across several accents I liked. But I'm not completely sure what they are, so I need your help :) David Tennant as The 10th Doctor ...