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

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9
votes
4answers
259 views

How did “ropey” come to mean “of poor quality”?

Rope is typically long, strong and fibrous. So how did us Brits come to use "ropey" to describe something of poor quality? British informal of poor quality:     a portrait ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

To have a game in hand

I have come across the expression game in hand in an article on England Premier League, as follows: Third-place City has a game in hand but the surprise result against Sunderland, coupled with ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

How many of the “Top 10 favorite British words” are understood by Americans?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online shows “Top 10 Favorite British Words”. I’m interested in knowing how many of the listed words are understood or accepted by Americans as English, whichever British ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does “go spare” mean “get angry”?

I don't know whether the phrase "go spare" is used in the US, but it is very common in the UK. e.g. You're an hour late. Mum's going spare upstairs! I would like to know where the phrase comes ...
19
votes
5answers
6k views

Reason for different pronunciations of “lieutenant”

While Americans (and possibly others) pronounce this as "loo-tenant", folks from the UK pronounce it as "lef-tenant". Why?
-2
votes
2answers
43 views

Your vs yours - is there a rule?

English is not my first language so maybe this is the reason for this question - is there a formal rule whether to say 'your' or 'yours': This is your hat. but The hat is yours (not 'your')
1
vote
1answer
39 views

What is the thought process to solving anagrams à la Countdown

I'm not sure if this best belongs on this Stack Exchange site, or some psychological one, but here goes. I'm wondering what the thought process behind solving anagrams is, as in, pulling words out of ...
1
vote
2answers
37 views

usage of the verb to bridge in “Bridging someone to something”

My friend suggested a tag line for our project: "Bridging you to your dream higher education online" and I have doubts that "bridging you to smth." is a proper word usage. I've never heard this ...
10
votes
7answers
14k views

What is the meaning of the term “herbert” in British slang?

In the song Get Out of My House by The Business, the chorus is: Out, out get out of my house, you'd better take your sheepskin too no son of mine's going round as a hippie or a scruffy little ...
2
votes
1answer
25 views

Is British English the one used in European academia?

English is used all over Europe in (more or less) academic papers and books that are not necessarily related to reviews and publishing houses based in UK or US, and that are not necessarily intended ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

A word for old-fashioned, dirty bar/place (spit-and-sawdust)

Is there a (common) single word for an old-fashioned, non-modern, simple, dirty, untidy bar/place ? A noun would be preferable. Details: There is an informal British term: spit-and-sawdust ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Do these phrases have any sense? [on hold]

To besmirch the honor of mr. Johnson. When we compare mr. Johnson with mr. Jackson, we disrespect the latter one (is it understandable that 'the latter one' refers to mr. Jackson?).
-1
votes
2answers
54 views

us english vs uk english [closed]

Why US and UK English is different. Though both are English, why there are different words in both countries like movie in UK and Cinema in US.
0
votes
2answers
35 views

using has to or have to [closed]

I have example of two sentences here He has to write a report.' with he, she,it we will be using has. but why we are using have here instead of has with "She" She doesn't have to wear a uniform ...
14
votes
3answers
687 views

Difference between styles of English in technical communication

I have a collaborative software project with two other users. Nearly every technical report and documentation written goes through the following editorial changes to some of the sentences (examples ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Synonymity of “is that so” and “really”

Do these have the same meaning? Oh is that so? Oh really?
1
vote
3answers
566 views

Meaning of “at least Dick Turpin wore a mask”

I tried to sell my stuff and one of the guys asked me if I could bargain on the item and I said no. He replied with the message, At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. What does that mean?
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Is the English-speaking Internet community moving towards Americanized spelling?

Some of my spelling checking software failed to recognize the American spelling of the words "organize" and "realize" when a British English dictionary is being used. Curious, I looked up the British ...
2
votes
3answers
177 views

correct idiom for if you were me

I am looking for an idiom that can be used for this like "if you were me you would have done the same thing " OR something like empathy , think from my sight, is there any idiom for such scenerio? I ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

Why is the English devil “old”?

Looking up the etymology of the Devil's nickname, Old Nick, I came across this article in OUPblog written by Anatoly Liberman For some reason, devils, at least in English, are often called old: ...
2
votes
2answers
64 views

Usage of *what* for *that* or *than* in BrE

Occasionally, when watching British television or movies, I've come across a construct that isn't used in AmE. Using what as a replacement for that or than as a determiner or comparison. Here is an ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Best British English Grammar book? [closed]

The internet is full of resources and book reviews for American English. But I couldn't find even review or a suggested list of good reads for British English Grammar. Please suggest a good book with ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
2
votes
2answers
76 views

Does the English language have an official Academy?

For some languages, there are academies that decide topics such as grammar and spelling of things, for example, for the Spanish language, there are 22 academies in 22 different countries, all making ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

Single vs double quotation marks for nickname?

I am trying to conform to the British practice (specifically Oxford Style Guide) and I am a little confused which to use to mark a nickname: Andrew 'Andy' Johnson Andrew "Andy" Johnson I know ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

British slang: larl

I've seen this word a couple of times in twitter and I've not gotten a clear definition. A friend of mine wrote a mock British text that went like this "al av ya mum ya larl cunt" so that might give ...
3
votes
2answers
51 views

Is the English language used by the European institutions the British one?

I find here an article on the use of English within EU institutions. It says: "our publications need to be comprehensible for their target audience, which is largely British and Irish, and should ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

Simple past or present perfect when describing a series of recent actions

I, as an American, would opt for the simple past rather than the present perfect in the following sentence: Today she has gone to a class, and after that she has been shopping. Is this sentence ...
28
votes
6answers
37k views

“Oriented” vs. “orientated”

What are the origins of the word orientated? As far as I know, the correct spelling is oriented and orientated is not an alternative spelling but an error that is in common use. Is it for example ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

how should makeup be written?

By "makeup", I mean cosmetics, as in lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, etc. My assumption is that it should be written as "makeup", but others have suggested "make up" or "make-up". In case there are ...
17
votes
5answers
864 views

Etymology of “nick” in, in the nick of time?

We have the nick meaning prison, as in "he served time in the nick", then we have the verb to nick, meaning to steal; but if the police catch you red-handed, then "you've been nicked". And if you led ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Does British English use the term “heel” for the end slice of bread?

I'm Irish, and hence speak Hiberno-English. Here is a photograph of some sliced bread: The topmost slice of this (that's crust on the end), is called "the heel". Is this meaning for "heel" ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Understand Rudyard Kipling's poem If

I came across Rudyard Kipling's poem If, quoted below: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, ...
1
vote
3answers
52 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
610 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
13k views

What does the British idiom “taking the piss” mean?

I most recently heard this in the context of a business deal: Sorry gents, looks like we'll be taking the piss on that one. I understood that the business had suffered a financial loss, although ...
9
votes
9answers
953 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
votes
1answer
33 views

What tense should I use here? Present perfect/past simple

It's been two years since the accident and she (forgot or has forgotten?) her lesson.
12
votes
2answers
3k views

“Oestrogen” and “oesophagus” — why are they spelled differently in British English?

Within Biology, there are some biological terms that differ in spelling between the British English and American English dictionaries. For example, oestrogen and oesophagus, as well as the word ...
1
vote
1answer
73 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
152 views

What does the enterprise to “feed the duck on Epsom Downs” mean?

There is the following sentence in the ending part of Jeffery Archer’s “The Forth Estate,” which I waded to after months. In the showdown of the media owner Dick Armstrong and Sir Paul Maitland, ...
2
votes
4answers
94 views

What adverb, typical of AmE, coincides the most with the BrE sense to “quite” [=to a noticeable or partial extent]?

As long as -- seemingly -- the adverb "quite" in AmE idiomatically carries an emphatic sense to it -- pretty much similar to saying "completely" or "absolutely" as in "That girl looks quite pretty!" ...
6
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

Does the electricity “go or cut” “off or out”? [closed]

Which of the following choices are correct? While I was reading a book last night, suddenly the electricity ______. cut off cut out went off went out What are the differences ...
8
votes
3answers
18k views

“Checked shirt” vs “check shirt”

My son is learning English as a foreign language and I notice a mixture of British and American words in his vocab lists. Is there such thing as a checked shirt, or should it be a check shirt?
1
vote
1answer
39 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
1
vote
2answers
103 views

Etymological analysis of swearwords [closed]

I'm writing a thesis about the etymological analysis of swearwords (profanity) in the English language; that is, I need to compare British and American English regarding the etymology of their ...
6
votes
1answer
379 views

Processor vs Processer

Is there any difference between "processor" and "processer"? Some spelling dictionaries only have the -or form, and some have both. Is it a US vs UK English thing? Or something else? More ...
0
votes
2answers
50 views

What is the difference between the word around and round

When I am writing I come across these two words a lot and I was wondering what is different about them and how they would be used in different contexts
-4
votes
1answer
42 views

how has language changed from the Tudor era until now? [closed]

i want to know what the dramatic changes between now and then. And what language techniques have disappeared or are still in use today. And just anything that proves that language has changed (: ...