This tag is for questions related to English as spoken in the isles of Britain and sometimes Ireland.

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3answers
633 views

Spelling protocol (American/British/Canadian) for an International conference

If I'm a Canadian who'll be presenting in an international conference, should I use my country's spelling, which is the Canadian/British spelling like "grey" or the more used American spelling like ...
4
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2answers
940 views

Are any of the t-glottolization, th-fronting, h-dropping, etc. in English a phonological complex?

Wikipedia gives the following, with plenty others ommitted by me, as some of the features of Cockney English: T-glottalisation: Use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ in various ...
4
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1answer
168 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, ...
4
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1answer
111 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?
4
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1answer
654 views

What does “to have a little form” mean?

In the article, "Not nein...but TEN reasons why we should love Germany", the following phrase is being used: LET’S face it, Britain and Germany have a little form over the past century. ...
4
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2answers
652 views

Does modifying a collective noun with a number make the subject plural?

The word dozen is a collective noun, i.e., singular when we think of them as groups and plural when we think of the individuals acting within the whole. So we might say: Talking about eggs: "A ...
4
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2answers
367 views

Etymology of “nutmeg”?

What's the etymology of the British informal usage of the word "nutmeg" as a verb to mean "kicking a ball through a player's legs", usually used in football? It doesn't seem to bear any relation to ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Is the term “city boy” a commonly used appellation for London bankers? Does it only apply to them, or is it colloquial for other London denizens?

I was watching the British series Sherlock Holmes and I noticed a couple of times they referred to bankers Sherlock was investigating or talking to as city boys. How common is this usage? Would the ...
4
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2answers
459 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
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2answers
296 views

Have American English speakers always used the term “last name” instead of surname?

I am aware that speakers of British English generally use the term "surname" and AmE speakers use "last name." What I want to know is how long it has been this way, i.e. if AmE speakers ever used the ...
4
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2answers
564 views

What's a “right old roarer” in British English?

I was reading an Amazon review just now, and came across someone (Tchaikovsky) being described as a right old roarer. I'm guessing this is familiar slang to Brits, but I'm not getting good search ...
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2answers
8k 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 ...
4
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3answers
304 views

What is the origin of gully and googly in cricket?

The OED supplies no clue to the origin of either gully or googly. It does not in fact mention etymology of the cricket sense of gully, which has led me to infer that it is from the ordinary meaning of ...
4
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2answers
390 views

What is the origin of 'cash'?

What is the etymology of 'cash'? According to the OED when it is used in 'cash-box' it descends from the French 'casse', and presumably Italian 'cassa'. However the word meaning 'loose change' is from ...
4
votes
1answer
207 views

A vague definition in a dictionary, “shag:a sexual partner of a specified ability”. Is there any better or plainer explanation?

I'm not a native English-reader, I'm Chinese. So mostly I get meanings of words by consulting dictionaries. I read this in a dictionary about the word shag: a sexual partner of a specified ...
4
votes
1answer
314 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... ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

“Wednesday week”

I know that the English will say "Wednesday week" to mean a week from Wednesday. Is there a name for this sort of construction? Also, I have a friend from India who will say "today morning". Is ...
4
votes
1answer
9k views

“Lunch” vs “luncheon” [closed]

What is the difference between lunch and luncheon? Is it just American spelling vs British spelling, or do they have some sort of formal/professional touch to them, say, a casual midday meal with ...
4
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2answers
329 views

What is the origin of “oh noodles!”

Noodles are tasty. I like them, but why are they also used as an exclamation of dismay in the following? Oh Noodles!
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4answers
497 views

“Who him?” as a stand-in for “Who is he?”

I'm curious: is this valid under some rule of grammar I don't know? Was it ever valid, or was it slang or a personal idiosyncrasy? Or (I shudder to think) was it invented by later authors, as a ...
4
votes
2answers
792 views

Meaning of “it was gone 2pm”?

The chicken in the “chicken and egg” soba was so tough I swore that it had seen active service in the First World War. I was of course the only customer (well, it was gone 2pm). Please give the ...
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1answer
393 views

What is the origin & meaning of “It used to drive me spare”? [duplicate]

While watching the eponymous documentary on Stephen Hawking, his wife described her husband's behaviour when he was deep in thought. She said he could be surrounded by children and not even notice ...
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3answers
713 views

Why is the Yorkshire dialect called 'Tyke'?

From Wikipedia: The Yorkshire dialect refers to the varieties of English used in the Northern England historic county of Yorkshire. Those varieties are often referred to as Broad Yorkshire or ...
4
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1answer
2k views

Plural for “photo”?

What's the proper plural for "photo" - "photos", "photoes", or it is generally desired to rephrase the whole thing and stick with "photographs", "images", "shots", "pictures", etc? As for usage ...
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2answers
265 views

What is the correct way to style academic degrees after a name in British English?

What is the correct way to style academic degrees in British English? I've got a name: Jane Doe RN Dip HV BSc My question is: How should I style the degrees? Jane Doe, RN Dip., HV, BSc. ...
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2answers
532 views

Is it true that Cockney English is disappearing? And being replaced with “Jafaican”?

I read a couple of comments to that effect on this Youtube video, which is basically a man ranting in Cockney from the movie Football Factory (2004). The comments bemoan American ignorance about the ...
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1answer
547 views

Punctuation within quotes

When I was at school I was told that a quote should end with a comma. For example: "The car is on the road," said Tom. "No it isn't," replied Dick. "He's right — it's over there!" said Harry. ...
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3answers
370 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? ...
4
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1answer
909 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 ...
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4answers
718 views

What is the exact word for the person who calls the speakers in an event using a mic?

What is a person who speaks on the mic that which person is going to come next to speak called?
3
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3answers
280 views

Use of 'pagan' in an essay: is it acceptable or not?

I'm writing an essay right now and I'm deliberating whether or not I should use Pagan gods instead of Greek gods (to provide variation in the essay). I've looked up the word pagan in the dictionary ...
3
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3answers
2k views

What is the difference in meaning between “pattern” and “rhythm”?

What is the difference in meaning between pattern and rhythm? It seems to me that the former is more American-English and the latter more British-English. Are these more or less synonyms or are there ...
3
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6answers
974 views

US usage of 'mad'

When Americans say something like, "Are you mad at me?", is there any difference between that and, "Are you angry at me?" To me, as a Brit, 'mad' means 'insane'. Saying, "Are you mad at me?" should ...
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3answers
7k 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 ...
3
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4answers
500 views

Why do the British refer to things as 'posh'

Why do the British refer to something very smart, or people who are very well-off as being 'posh'?
3
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2answers
116 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
15k views

Difference between “get” and “take”

What is the difference between "get" and "take"? Both are used to describe receiving something. By intuition I mostly guess which one to use, but would like to know some rule which will stick in my ...
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3answers
11k views

Usage of “shall we?”

What does it mean and where would I use it?
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5answers
17k views

British English: “fantasise” or “fantasize”?

I would like to know which spelling is more common in the UK: fantasise or fantasize?
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5answers
2k views

UK emphasis on the second syllable vs US emphasis on the first

Why do some British speakers of English emphasize the second syllable of words such as con-TRO-versy. One British woman I knew (living in Oxford) did this to many words including (unbelievably) the ...
3
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1answer
157 views

Meaning of the verb 'snort' in a sharp dialog

I could not figure out the meaning of the verb 'snort' implied in Sir Elton John's reply to Lily Allen during some award ceremony, after her disrespectful comment on his age. He said: I could ...
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3answers
358 views

Is “Most of the world does not distinguish captions from subtitles” true?

In the wikipedia article about closed captioning one reads Most of the world does not distinguish captions from subtitles. In the United States and Canada, these terms do have different meanings, ...
3
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3answers
831 views

“Amendment” or “Addendum” for book correction

A clarification of a European building code has been issued, therefore a separate correction for the book is released. What would this correction be called? I have had the words amendment and ...
3
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3answers
798 views

Are you being served/helped?

Being an L2 English speaker, quite often I get into funny - and sometimes embarrassing - situations. It usually happens when I say something pragmatically inappropriate for a situation. For example, ...
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1answer
3k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
3
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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5answers
2k 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: ...
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2answers
2k views

Why did this Brit say “took a punt”?

Recently listening to a podcast, I heard someone (of unknown British origin) use 'take a punt' in the sense of 'take a chance.' Perhaps this is due to punting in American English referring to American ...
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6answers
3k views

In what contexts would one use the slang word “minging” in British English?

I was watching a Youtube video on English accents, and in the middle of a Yorkshire one, I think, the author of the video used the word "minging", in what seemed to be an insult. So I have two ...
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3answers
2k views

Etymology of 'slap-up'

Apparently this is a peculiarly British term, but we'll sometimes use the phrase 'slap-up' to mean 'excellent', as in: That's a slap-up meal! or They held a slap-up do. What's the origin ...