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

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2
votes
1answer
43 views

Duvet or “Cover bed” …?

I have a few concerns about sleeping words. Could You please help me? Is there such a word like: "cover bed"? Or the one appropriate word is: duvet? What is the difference between duvet and quilt? ...
1
vote
5answers
586 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. ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

When did “More tea vicar?” start to be used after farting? Where did it come from?

In England when someone farts they might say "More tea vicar?" When did this start, and how did it come about? It feels unusual enough to have a definite creation - some comedian perhaps? Web ...
3
votes
5answers
491 views

Expression for becoming homeless, which has the word 'street' in it? How about “pushed to the streets”?

If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression can I use which has the word 'street'? Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

You're at a restaurant waiting for a table. People leave a table, now can you say “a table just became free”? [migrated]

You're at a restaurant waiting for a table. People leave a table, now can you say "a table just became free"? or "a table just became available"? or something else? What's the most common/natural way ...
7
votes
1answer
129 views

Is the pronunciation of “oa” in “broad” unique?

The "oa" in the word "broad" is pronounced like the words "or" or "awe". In phonetic symbols that is ɔː . However in all other examples I can think of it is pronounced like the "oe" in "toe". Or in ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Losing bottles and bottling out

ODO's definition for bottle includes the following: 2 [mass noun] British informal the courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous: I lost my bottle completely and ran ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

British English phrase “dot and carry one”

I've been re-reading 'Treasure Island' by Stevenson, and, at one point a character says, "... my pulse went dot and carry one" meaning, I think, that his pulse started racing. Has anyone heard this ...
7
votes
3answers
243 views

Was the BrEng term “coloured” derogatory in the 1970s?

SAM Look... I owe it to myself to say this to you, okay? Leave Tony Crane. Just go far away from him. He's gonna ask you to marry him and he's gonna make you a business partner. EVE Is ...
4
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Help with Plural Objects and Subjects

I know to use 'is' for singular and 'are' for plurals. I was recently listening to a song and it reminded me of a 'rule' a teacher once told me about. The chorus repeats: Line 1: BIG GIRLS CRY WHEN ...
6
votes
4answers
160 views

We might have to do some “fiddling”

I like the word fiddle, and I quite like the musical instrument too. If you're fiddling with a device, it means you're trying to repair it. It might be tricky because of all the tiny bits and pieces ...
5
votes
4answers
208 views

Is “crash into a bend” BrE and must there be a structure at the bend in order to use the phrase?

Includes 10 uses, showing it is far from a one-off phrase. Numbers 4 & 5 (bicycle) and 7, 8, 9, 10 ("everyday usage") are the uses I am most interested in. Question 1 If a vehicle ...
4
votes
2answers
89 views

What does it mean when someone says “noted” to you? [closed]

I was talking to my friend about something I find disgusting and she replied, "Noted." I replied, "Noted what?" and she said, "All dat." I am a little confused about what she was trying to say? Is ...
14
votes
5answers
13k views

What's the difference between “rent” and “hire” in British and American English?

The tip I used to teach was the verb, hire, should be used for things which are transportable hence, you hire a car, sports equipment, a boat, a bike etc. Rent, on the other hand, is primarily used ...
-1
votes
0answers
24 views

A different way to learn English [closed]

I look for a creative way to learn English ... I love writing, I love talking and I believe that you can learn by reading books, watching movies, singing beautiful songs ... anyone agree with me?
2
votes
3answers
45 views

Referring to someone's country of ancestry in an informal way?

What is a good way to refer to a person's country of ancestry? Im going pretty much everywhere in Europe this year and in Australia we have so many Australians of European ancestry. For example a ...
4
votes
7answers
6k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “chance would be a fine thing”?

I've heard this phrase used many times. e.g. -Got a completion date back on your new conservatory? -Ha! Chance'd be a fine thing. I think I have a general idea of what it must mean from ...
2
votes
1answer
915 views

Regional usage of “Violet” and “Purple”

I am looking to describe a flower such as the one in the following picture for a game: After showing the game to a number of beta testers, I noted that about half of them were fine with "violet" ...
2
votes
1answer
111 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
votes
1answer
34 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Should 'in-principle' be hyphenated?

Is it correct to say, 'your loan has been approved in principle' or 'your loan has been approved in-principle'.
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Negation in English

In English, there are at least two ways to express negation, for example: — I don't have money — I have no money or — No objects were found — Objects were not found or — No restrictions are applied ...
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 ...
24
votes
17answers
3k views

A question asked in order to expose ignorance

I am looking for a particular word that describes: a question that is asked in order to expose ignorance/lack of knowledge. As with a rhetorical question, the questioner knows the answer, but ...
0
votes
3answers
50 views

`Good/correct English' for a 'pay back the effort' [closed]

I'm looking for a term/expression/word that is less plumb then Introducing the following concept is difficult but will pay back in the end.
1
vote
1answer
54 views

What is the correct pronunciation? [closed]

Today, I talked with my friend. And we both have different opinion to each other. The subject is Does British English (native) speaker pronunce the R letter at end of the word. You only think the ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

A dataset of equivalent English phrases?

There is a similarity or even equality between many sentences in English language such as: I happened to come across the scientific definitions while reading. I came across the scientific ...
1
vote
2answers
539 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
82 views

Why should one study English in India? [closed]

I'm a teacher teaching English in a village school.I need a concrete reason to continue to do so.I am looking for opinions,facts,references & even specific expertise.
0
votes
0answers
42 views

“In the cards”, “on the cards” origin(s)

In another question in EL&U "Positives changes on the cards" — meaning? , it came up that at least one of us AmE speakers had always heard this idiom as "in the cards" and never as "on ...
3
votes
2answers
709 views

In the cards or on the cards?

This seems to be a BrE/AmE distinction - is it? And do Americans use the phrase with more of a mystical Tarot card slant, compared to its British English meaning of simply 'likely to happen'?
5
votes
3answers
8k 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.
12
votes
10answers
28k views

“have” vs.“have got” in American and British English

I have looked through several questions and answers on EL&U, and often there is an indication that American English prefers "have" while British English prefers "have got". In addition, there are ...
2
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

“Who has” or “Who have” when referring to a collection of people in a department [duplicate]

I have spoken with Education Unit who has requested a contract. I have spoken with Education Unit who have requested a contract. Which of the above is most acceptable in British English?
0
votes
3answers
80 views

In search for universal formal greetings [closed]

I am dealing with a system which is supposed to autoreply to certain emails. It cannot start with 'Dear (forename)' as it cannot parse a forename from email address or original email. It also cannot ...
-1
votes
1answer
77 views

Why is English used internationally? [closed]

Why is English so globally prevalent, including its pervasiveness on the web? Is this because Britishers ruled the world decades ago, thereby disseminating English to those respective regions?
7
votes
2answers
419 views

Can your use of Latin-derived words indicate your social class?

It is certainly true that educational level and social position usually walk together in most societies. Not considering that, however, and based only on how often one uses Graeco-Latin versus ...
-1
votes
3answers
208 views

Although correct, is “the above” to be avoided?

Although the phrase the above is not exactly incorrect, should it be avoided? For example, imagine a letter with a heading "Re: Order for 79 purple cardboard slugs". Should a paragraph in the letter ...
-1
votes
1answer
740 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, ...
6
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English

I am a British English speaker and often use "shall" and "shall not". When I contract "shall not", I pronounce it [ʃɑlnt] -- that is, the "l" sound remains. My question, therefore, is how do I spell ...
6
votes
3answers
496 views

How do “you” pronounce eczema?

/ˈɛɡzɪmə/, /ˈɛksɪmə/, /ˈɛksmə/ As I no longer live in the UK I don't usually hear how eczema is pronounced, so I've always pronounced it as ig-zee-muh but recently my English boyfriend told me that ...
10
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

“negotiate” with /s/

OED lists two ways of pronouncing negotiate: Brit. /nᵻˈɡəʊʃɪeɪt/ , /nᵻˈɡəʊsɪeɪt/ Which British dialects use /s/ rather than /ʃ/ and in what contexts does this difference appear?
10
votes
2answers
351 views

Is “kip” Chinese in origin?

While looking up the history of kip, I realized that the information about its origins is rather scant. The noun and verb to kip in BrEng is often said when a person wishes to take a short sleep or a ...
1
vote
3answers
90 views

Is it ok nowadays to say numbers instead of digits, while expressing a sum?

( example: 2345 - these four numbers make the sum..) or must I say digits?
1
vote
2answers
909 views

“Named for” vs. “named after”

As a Brit, I'm used to the phrase named after being used to say how something got its name. For example, in Wikipedia's List of eponymous roads in London, we read that Addison Road is named after the ...
2
votes
2answers
58 views

“on” or “at” when talking about flight dates

I originally had text on a web site that stated: Showing flight results for flights from LON to NYC leaving at 01/06/2015 and returning at 08/06/2015 One of the testers has said that this ...