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

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16
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
9
votes
14answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

How come the Latin word “Vulgaris” acquired such negative meaning in English?

Today, while reading Dan Brown's latest novel Inferno, I came to know that vulgar is actually derived from the Latin word vulgaris, literally meaning "of/pertaining to common people". I really don't ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

what do you call the small decorative tanks built in restaurants or in parks? [on hold]

I have seen small tanks with fishes in it used as decorative structures in hotels. Usually they are concrete structures. Is there any particular word to refer to such tanks?
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Period with Colon?

Which of these is correct (The word manager is abbreviated to Mgr): Your Line Mgr: OR Your Line Mgr.:
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Is the perfect aspect used differently in Indian English compared to AmEng and BrEng? [on hold]

Some people in India speak English but there's differences. But to what extent does it differ in perfect tenses like present, past, future, etc. perfect? I choose to compare it with British English ...
-2
votes
0answers
79 views

What's the original English language is it BrE or AmE? [on hold]

There are lots of English speakers around the world and they have different languages somehow so what is the first language ever?
1
vote
2answers
1k 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 ...
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 ...
24
votes
5answers
15k views

Capitalisation of nouns in English in the 17th and 18th centuries

It seems to have been common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain to capitalise the first letters of nouns in English, e.g. At which Time he prov'd himself the Noah's Dove, that ...
17
votes
13answers
10k views

American vs. British English: meaning of “One hundred and fifty”

I've noticed that Americans do not say "and" when speaking numbers: for example, 150 would be pronounced "one hundred fifty". I and most other British-English speakers would pronounce it "one hundred ...
-1
votes
1answer
34 views

If it was or if it were or if it is [duplicate]

My friend wrote a status like this Working on read-only environment makes you couldn't do anything. You can only get notice and warning. We are required to obey and submit to the circumstances ...
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Does name + “boss” mean something?

One of my colleagues in Britain keeps addressing me as "Armen boss" in mails and skype. Like, Hi, Armen boss. Can you please verify...? I am in no conceivable way his boss and our relationship ...
29
votes
14answers
7k views

Friendly way of saying “I love you”

In Spanish, Te amo (I love you) has more romantic feeling than saying Te quiero. The last one is used as a friendly way of saying I love you, but without romantic purposes. However, if translated to ...
3
votes
3answers
365 views

Does “moonlighting” have a negative or neutral connotation?

We all agree that "moonlighting" denotes having a second job. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford Advanced Learner's don't define it in exactly the same way. For example, Merriam-Webster attaches a ...
0
votes
1answer
36 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?
1
vote
2answers
638 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Born(e) (out?) of the desire

I'd be most grateful to anyone who could tell me which of the following is right xyz was born out of the desire to... xyz was born of the desire to... xyz was borne out of the desire to... xyz was ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

what does “withhold no sacrifice” mean? [closed]

Reading Churchill's speech, I don't think I understand the following "withhold no sacrifice, grudge no toil, seek no sordid gain", what does this statement mean?
7
votes
9answers
3k views

What is “plaice” in the US? Would love a good fish and chips

When we went to the market, at the fisherman's counter we asked for plaice with which we would make fish and chips. Now here in the States when we ask for plaice, they don't understand what we mean. ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

“22 Acacia Avenue” British idiom

What is the meaning of this British idiom? I was watching BBC's Top Gear and the presenters were cracking jokes about people who live in the 22 of the avenues. And that the people who live there like ...
1
vote
3answers
7k views

Is the phrase “getting on” commonly used in British English? What register would its use be in?

I've collected a new phrase from my watching of British television, getting on, as in "How's he getting on?" From various contexts, I think I've gotten the meaning down to "how's he doing?" Anyway, ...
10
votes
4answers
684 views

“I park my car in the yard”

What is the origin of the different pronunciation of words like park, yard, cartoon, margarine in American and British English? In other words, why doesn’t British English generally pronounce the r ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

What's the difference between respected and respectable? [closed]

He is highly [respected/respectable] owing to his good manners and gratefulness. I know the difference but I can't decide which one to choose, either he is respected (the passive form)or he is ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Hurray vs Hooray? [duplicate]

I've seen two different spellings of this word - which is correct: hurray, or hooray? As in: You haven't got any outstanding alerts to action — hurray! I'm interested specifically in ...
27
votes
4answers
3k views
2
votes
2answers
206 views

Why does “garage” have different pronunciations?

Whenever I'm teaching private students and we are faced with the word garage, I always hesitate a little. Italians have borrowed the term garage, which they pronounce /gaˈraʒ/. It stands for the ...
1
vote
0answers
34 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'.
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What's the difference between “slap-up meal” and “gourmet meal”?

The following quote comes from a collocation book for ESL purppose. I can see it's trying to teach us about the usage of different expressions to describe different kinds of meal. "Whether you want ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “targetted” a standard British English spelling?

Wiktionary says that the difference between "targetting" and "targeting" is that the first one is a British spelling and the second one is American. Meanwhile, Oxford Dictionaries says that ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

What do the British mean by “bolshie”?

In this week's edition of The Economist there is a review of Edith Pearlman's latest book of short stories. In it, the reviewer says the volume is characterised by prose that is bolshie yet ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

“Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”?

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). ...
6
votes
3answers
216 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
45 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a person if they are described as a “wet hen”?

In Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (Witches Abroad in particular), the character Magrat Garlick is often called a "wet hen" by at least one of her witch colleagues. Web searches only yielded the ...
0
votes
1answer
23 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
248 views

What is “Broken Britain”?

It's not a flattering term for Great Britain but due to its catchy alliteration it has not run out of steam among newspaper editors. Wikipedia says Broken Britain is a term which has been used ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

When will “Present Perfect vs. Past Tense” cases be affected by culture?

Regarding actions taken in the past, besides the differences those two tenses have semantically, my teacher shared that it could be a British vs American English case. When talking about past ...
6
votes
6answers
420 views

Why does “smashing” mean “very good”?

Smashing is a BrE slang which means "very good" or "impressive". Most folks might know this already, due to its use as a catch phrase by various BrE characters in media. However, from the usual ...
12
votes
3answers
511 views

How did Persian words arrive in English?

Some Indian words which have entered modern English, such as 'bazaar' and 'cummerbund', are of Persian origin. So it seems they have completed a journey from Persia to Western India to present-day ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

“Financier” in British and American English

I am teaching English to a group of university students whose major is Finance, and whose native language is not English. I have no background in economics in general or finance in particular. I am ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Is “would you be keen to consider___?” too cheesy to use?

On a formal / professional email, is the following question acceptable, or is it too much politeness it looks unprofessional? The intention is to ask someone, who is not a subordinate, to do ...
14
votes
2answers
962 views

What do “orange” and “spindle-shanked beaux” mean in this quote?

While looking up the word "bye" I found this 18th century quotation. Our present race of spindle-shanked beaux had rather close with an orange wench at the playhouse, than engage in a bye battle ...
18
votes
9answers
2k views

A modern equivalent for “at the coalface”

I let you believe that I am one of the nation's top geneticists, when actually I am a moderately successful scientist who is now coasting on past research, doing the odd bit of examining or ...
-1
votes
2answers
97 views

I want to learn English for 3 months [closed]

I'm Egyptian and I want to learn English for 3 months. What advice do you have for me? I'm free for 3 months. What is the solution? Thank you.
10
votes
4answers
4k views

What does “on a hiding to nothing” mean?

I watched a movie with English actors just the other day and came across this phrase in the dialogue. What does it mean, and who would typically use it? EDIT: What is the sense of the hide in ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Diminished “R” Phoneme in NE AmE & BrE

Q: New Englanders habitually mute or diminish the R phoneme (?) in many words, (park, car, Harvard, etc.). What is the name of this characteristic of their speech? So many of the patterns of New ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

What is meant by “we got a live one” in following context?

Here is the clip from "Finding Nemo" where "live one" was used. http://youtu.be/zycSnw5PP0g?t=2m19s
-4
votes
1answer
29 views