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

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0answers
48 views

Incorrect or just different grammar? [duplicate]

A friend of mine has noticed something I say differently to move people. Most would contract the sentence "we have not done" into "we haven't done". I turn it into "we've not done". This seems to be ...
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2answers
69 views

(go) off the boil

"(go)off the boil" seems to mean "past the crisis" in British English. What is the origin/etymology of this expression? Is it used nowadays?
2
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1answer
59 views

Swear words in common usage by educated people in 1916

What swear words might have been commonly used in conversation (and, in particular, oral argument) in and around 1916, by literate men? As sources from the time are largely written, it is difficult to ...
2
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2answers
45 views

How does “to quieten” differ from “to quiet”?

I recently saw this headline from the BBC: Indonesia seeks to quieten noisy mosques during Ramadan I'm a native AmE speaker, and have never seen this usage (which I am assuming is BrE, due to ...
1
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1answer
45 views

Which is correct: “Real Madrid compete very well,” or “Real Madrid competes very well?” [duplicate]

I think there's a difference in the ways in which sports announcers from the U.S. and U.K. refer to the teams. If my memory serves me correctly, I think announcers in FIFA from the U.K. will use forms ...
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4answers
6k views

How do they express the time, in American and British English?

I don't know if this is a good question. But as far as I know, and as I do it, American English also say "after" other than "past" in expressing times. For example, a quarter after six instead of, a ...
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4answers
1k views

Do brides in church weddings go up the aisle toward the altar or down the aisle toward the altar?

Nigel Rees, The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1987) has this entry regarding the question "WHY DO WE SAY ... BRIDES GO UP THE AISLE?" Sir Thomas Bazley fired off a letter to The ...
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3answers
3k views

'Ours' meaning 'our home' - where is it used outside the UK, if anywhere?

In expressions like: Let's go back to ours and have some food. There's a party at ours on Friday. There's a bottle of brandy at yours, isn't there? 'ours' and 'yours' are synonyms for ...
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2answers
59 views

How to stay true to a Welsh setting? [on hold]

I'm currently in the process of writing a short story set in Wales. I think I've done justice to the setting of the story and used it convincingly enough. The only thing that bothers me is that the ...
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5answers
1k views

What word to choose as the opposite of “self-aware”?

What word would describe the quality of not being self-aware? unselfaware unself-aware un-selfaware un-self-aware non-self-aware I am aware that it is allowed to have multiple hyphens in a word. ...
0
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2answers
36 views

To gain/acquire/obtain comfort with something abstract - is this idiomatic, or at least acceptable?

I am encountering the expression "to gain comfort", "to acquire comfort", and to "obtain comfort" more and more lately. Example: "This issue was looked at in depth in 2013 and we obtained comfort at ...
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2answers
48 views

Is 'yeah-nah' a uniquely Australian idiom?

There is a response in Australian English that means "Yes I hear you and empathise with your situation, but no this course of action won't work for me." [Yeah-Nah] I assumed this was a normal part of ...
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1answer
33 views

“Why has this watch stopped?” Thought Ahmed,

"Why has this watch stopped? " Thought Ahmed, How to change this sentence into Narration? I tried to make its Indirect speech, but I could not change it.
4
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4answers
1k 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
509 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 ...
1
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2answers
198 views

Ma'am: Is it as in “ham” solely for the Queen, whilst it remains spoken “ma”+“um” (less any glotal stop) for all others?

It's become conventional wisdom that, when addressing the Queen after introduction, one must be sure to address her as "ma'am" as if it were to rhyme with "ham". Only "ma'am" and "ham" don't rhyme. ...
0
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1answer
26 views

what does “slash the odds of something” mean?

it seems cutting the odds means, according to this website, decreasing the possibility of something happening. I thought slashing the odds meant the same but apparently it's the opposite? Unilad ...
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5answers
1k views

What do you call a building, or rooms within it, where doctors see their patients?

My understanding is as follows. Is this universally agreed? The OED sense 2a of surgery explains its use to describe the room where a doctor sees his patients. The OED gives no indication that this ...
2
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1answer
85 views

Pronunciation of 'finance' and 'financial' in the media

This is just something I've noticed over the last few years in the English (UK) media and I wondered if there is some explanation for it. It used to be that 'financial' and 'finance' were pronounced ...
11
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5answers
3k views

The Equivalent Term for Pharmacy in the UK

In the States, we use the term "pharmacy" or "drugstore," but what is the equivalent in the UK? I checked two sources, but came up with nothing.
0
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1answer
33 views

Which of the following sentences is correct? (“Due to address” vs. “Due to addressing”)

Due to address the convention in July, Brown planned to address the issue of low-income housing in his speech. Due to addressing the convention in July, Brown planned to address the issue of ...
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1answer
44 views

“Accessory” vs “included” as adjective (BE)

I'm wondering about the use of the word accessory as an adjective. Would it be preferable in BE to say something like "This DJ controller comes with accessory headphones"? I feel that "This DJ ...
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4answers
1k views

Pronunciation of 'cos' (as in the mathematical term)

What is the correct pronunciation for the mathematical abbreviation 'cos' when it is not pronounced in its complete form 'cosine'? I pronounce it as 'k-aw-ss', but a couple of Canadian friends I have ...
2
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2answers
98 views

Is “have/has got” a perfect for BrE, but not AmE?

In BrE the past participle of get is in most cases got, while in AmE it is almost always gotten. Does that imply that in the context of BrE "have/has got" is a genuine perfect construction, whereas ...
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4answers
5k 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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3answers
2k views

What is the origin of “have a gander”? (When meaning “look”.)

The phrase "have a gander" meaning "have a look" is common in the UK. (Also can be "have a goosey gander" or just "have a goosey".) What is the origin/meaning of this phrase? I always assumed that it ...
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3answers
318 views

How do I identify a British idiom from an American one?

I live outside the US and the UK. I just started reading a book titled "Speak English like an American". The book teaches numerous idioms but I don't know if these idioms are usable outside the the ...
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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 ...
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4answers
4k views

The mysterious, unenunciated “w” in the “-wich” of English place names

Doing some reading lately, I've been pondering the strange pronunciations of English place names — namely, that of the 'w' in the "–wich" suffix, which, as I understand it, is not ...
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3answers
62 views

What phrase can describe the final moments before a deadline?

I got a call from a friend while 10 minutes were left of my birthday. I want to put it like that The phone call from him ___________ was the icing on the cake. How to express that only 10 ...
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2answers
2k views

Use of “manifest” as an active verb

Recently I completed an English creative writing exam in which I used the phrase files and papers manifest, as if by some unholy magic at the tray on his desk. My teacher stated that my use of ...
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3answers
71 views

What is a “lemus”? [closed]

Here's a fragment from "The Complete Fursey" by Mervyn Wall: Other religious settlements were sadly plagued by disembodied spirits, demons, lemuses and fauns snorting and snuffling most fiendishly ...
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7answers
2k views

How does “spanner” come to mean “a wrench”?

"Wrenching" refers to an injury in which some muscle is forcibly twisted. A wrench is a tool that applies a twisting force to something, so that seems consistent. "To span" means to bridge a gap. ...
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2answers
1k views

“Sport” vs “Sports” Origin

I was recently reading this article on the use of "math" vs. "maths" as a collective noun (Americans use the former, Brits the latter). However, the trend seen in "math/maths" is reversed in ...
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2answers
178 views

When someone leaves at 4pm - should I say “Have a good afternoon” or “evening”? [closed]

Could you please help me? I started work as a receptionist. I have to greet people that come and go. What should I say in this occasion: example: It is 4 pm and the client is leaving. Should I say ...
5
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1answer
132 views

What does “Rabbit” mean on 1st of June

My english teacher told me, that is common in England to say "Rabbits" on the 1st of june. What does it mean? where does this tradition come from? Does the people say it only on the 1st of June? ...
5
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3answers
190 views

How to reply to “you ok” in British? [closed]

I recently shifted in UK and started to work, here people always say "you ok?" When I am in kitchen or I am working and they pass by. How should i respond to it. Is it rude to simply say I m good or ...
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2answers
79 views

Why do we say 'Salt to taste'?

Why do we say Salt to taste and don't say salt according to taste or salt for taste?
8
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1answer
158 views

From Livorno to Leghorn and back again

Can anyone tell me why the Tuscan city of Livorno used to be called Leghorn in English? An increasing number of British writers, artists, philosophers, and travelers visited the area and ...
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3answers
97 views

got ready vs is ready

A friend of mine corrected my sentence but I couldn't understand it. Just hoping someone can explain it properly for a non English speaker. My sentence is: "Finally your passport GOT ready for ...
3
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2answers
98 views

Capitalization in mid-20th century British English

While reading the early "Thomas the Tank Engine" books (published in the 1940s and 50s in Britain) I was struck by the somewhat odd capitalisation used. Most of the text is capitalised as in modern ...
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3answers
615 views

Connotations of using “boy” by upper-class liberal Britons in beginning of 20th century

Could someone provide (ideally documented) evidence for the following details of the possible meanings/connotations of the word "boy" as used by a start-of-20th-century upper-class British person of ...
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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?
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14answers
3k views

What's the word for someone who always likes being different?

...particularly with respect to the use of technology, taste in music, movies etc. I have seen my share of people like this who like to go "alternative" just to set themselves apart and I would like ...
0
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1answer
110 views

What's the meaning of “I can't imagine why.”? [closed]

Does it mean "The answer is obvious to me." in a sarcastic way, or does it mean "I really don't know the reason."? I am inclined to go with the former. Surprisingly googling doesn't help. Secondly, ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
134 views

Colloquial English word for: a “Remote control”

What is the most popular word used for calling: "Remote control" in British families? How do the people call it? How the children call it? Thanks!
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1answer
66 views

Correct according to British English language rules [closed]

I have a sentence which looks as if it may have some grammar rules problems. Can someone correct it according to British English rules? I am going to hospital to see a friend who has undergone ...
1
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3answers
644 views

How do you write the expression of disgust that sounds like “er”?

My daughter said to me this morning (the context is irrelevant): Er, it's all wet! The interjection I have written here as Er was synonymous with Yuck. Its wetness did not cause great happiness. ...
2
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3answers
282 views

“Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”? [closed]

I have faced a problem with my writing which I could really do with some clarification on. My question applies to both British and American English (which is fairly standard on the internet). ...