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

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21 views

What should EFL students learn? U.K. or U.S. English?

Is there any concrete difference between U.K. and U.S. English? I have been using a mix of both for as long as I can remember. But I get a lot of questions from my students asking which one is better ...
4
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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 ...
3
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1answer
108 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
37 views

Correct according to British English language rules [on hold]

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 ...
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3answers
420 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. ...
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3answers
253 views

“Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”? [on hold]

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). ...
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10answers
3k views

Speaking for the sake of saying something

Is there a word or phrase that describes the act of saying something for the sake of it?
2
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2answers
97 views

Can you “reach” someone to a location?

In "proper" British English, can you "reach" someone to a location? My mother in law keeps using the word "reach" as a synonym for "take" (or "transport"): "I'll reach you to the train station." It ...
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0answers
51 views

“How you can you not” vs “how can you not”

Is "How you can you not" grammatically correct? For example in the following sentence: We still aren't sure that there's any Golden hiding in her but whatever her lineage how you can you not love ...
3
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3answers
373 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 ...
15
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3answers
7k views

Why is “can I get” replacing “could I have”?

I noticed the other day when serving the public that when asking for something, people were saying "Can I get an xyz, please". The previous time I had such a job it was "Could I have an xyz", or "May ...
0
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1answer
14 views

Is there a verb for the act of making an object oblate (or prolate)?

I'm looking for a verb denoting the act of making a circle elliptic, i.e. making it oblate (or prolate for that matter). Is there a single word for it, or do I need to rewrite? I tried searching for ...
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3answers
6k views
3
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1answer
61 views

Not using 'like' for similes — where does this come from? [closed]

I just got back some feedback on a piece of work of mine from a proofreader. One of his comments is that I use like in similes a lot, and I shouldn't do that --- I should be using as if instead; he ...
0
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1answer
26 views

Sample Curriculum for levels of English users [closed]

Just curious, where can I find a sample TEFL curriculum for different levels of English users for the ff: Basic, Elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate and advance? I'm really ...
2
votes
1answer
150 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
36 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 ...
2
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1answer
43 views

“Having Too Much Feather in His Brain”--H.H. Asquith's Remark About Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton

Prior to Sir Ian Hamilton's appointment by Kitchener as Commander-in-Chief Dardanelles Campaign, P.M. H. H. Asquith said Hamilton 'has too much feather in his brain'. I think it's related to ...
2
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2answers
69 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 ...
1
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1answer
243 views

em-dash and comma, which comes first

I am confused about the preferred way to combine an em-dash insertion with a comma occurring in the outer sentence. Until now, I had preferred to write: The erosion responsible for residuals is ...
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3answers
2k views

Answering “Have you got” questions with “I do”

For the question "Have you got any ice cream?" which is correct: Yes I do Yes I have or inversely No I don't No I haven't got any
-1
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0answers
18 views

“The whole market doesn't know” versus “Not all of the market knows”

I've heard various examples of this in American speech (I'm British) and it always strikes me as incorrect. Statements like: "The whole market doesn't know..." I would phrase as: "Not all of the ...
3
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2answers
84 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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5answers
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 ...
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1answer
58 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 ...
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1answer
35 views

Analysis of the word [closed]

What's wrong with the sentence: Put the rest of the water at the back of the door in the kitchen
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2answers
788 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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1answer
111 views

From Livorno to Leghorn and back again

Can anyone tell me why the Ligurian 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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2answers
97 views

How is the past tense of “error” spelt in British English? [duplicate]

How is the past tense of "error" spelt in British English? Wiktionary says that it's "errored", but its entry for errored doesn't explicitly say it's valid for British English, and I thought it'd get ...
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4answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
60 views

Some problems with definite articles

Is there anything good on telly tonight? Why don't we place an article before "telly"? I think it should be "on the telly". He enjoys the beauties of nature in Siberia. Why do we use ...
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1answer
66 views

Pronunciation for the word “competent.”

I hope that some of you might be able to quell this dilemma of mine. I would like to know the British pronunciation for the word "competent." Is it pronounced as: "com-pɪ-tent" or "com-pə-tent" with ...
2
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3answers
120 views

Can I use “will” as non-auxiliary verb?

I was in England and I heard that some people use word "will" as non auxiliary verb, in meaning "wish". Have I misheard? If it is true, in which cases can I use "will" as non auxiliary verb?
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2answers
42 views

Un cancel? A word or phrase to say I'd like to cancel my cancellation

Say I have cancelled an appointment, but I then decide that I would like to go after all, so I cancel the cancellation... Do I uncancel the appointment? Seems a bit clumsy even if it's a valid ...
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2answers
85 views

“When will you come” vs. “When are you coming”? [closed]

One of my friends will come to my city "Ahmedabad" on 18th May 2015. In a WhatsApp group chat, my friend asked him, "When are you coming to Ahmedabad?" I corrected my friend: "When will ...
7
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4answers
8k views

Usage of “and” and comma when writing numbers UK style

I am trying to understand the rules for writing numbers in words under the UK rules (with "and"). I understand how to write small numbers (up to a few thousands), but I am not sure when to use "and" ...
27
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8answers
3k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
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6answers
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. ...
2
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8answers
4k views

How do American English and British English use the definite article differently?

I decided to make sure that I know this important difference between American and British English, so I wrote what I have found out so far and I would be grateful to anyone who reads this and tells me ...
3
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3answers
24k 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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2answers
4k views

“I'm on the brew”

A conversation between two Scots: — What do you do for a living? — I'm on the brew. Assuming that I have the phrase right, what exactly does "on the brew" mean here? Based on the context, I ...
4
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1answer
78 views

Is “hoover” capitalised? [duplicate]

In the UK (and sometimes Australia), a vacuum cleaner will be called a hoover, regardless of its brand. Likewise, the verb "to vacuum" is replaced with "to hoover". With a brand name being used in ...
8
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2answers
450 views

Q: Why isn't he answering? A: 1) He must have already slept 2) … must have been sleeping?

I didn't reply to a ping in the chatroom. The English enthusiast suggested this about me at the time: He must have already slept. Hours (and dreams) later, I came back, I saw the above ...
2
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1answer
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 ...
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5answers
8k views

“Enclosure” vs. “attachment”

If I understand it correctly, one usually uses the term enclosure when referring to extra documents to e.g. a letter. But what if these extra items are not other documents and papers? Say I have ...
9
votes
1answer
10k views

Why is “fulfil” spelt as “fulfill” in American English?

In this answer, simplification is stated as one reason for spelling variations in American English. But unlike in color and favorite, the number of letters to spell the word in fulfil increases in ...
0
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1answer
66 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?
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2answers
465 views

What is the students' jargon or abbreviation for assignments made up of “only” data downloaded from the internet in English? (If it exists)

Japanese students call a report and essay made up by only putting data downloaded from the Internet e.g. passages from Wikipedia put together without including their own thoughts or creative ideas, a ...
2
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1answer
50 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? ...
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4answers
772 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. ...