Questions about English used in the United States and Canada, but usually not Mexico.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
4answers
48 views

Are there specific situations where one spelling variant is recommended over another?

I am not a native speaker of English so I get confused when writing since there are sometimes two different spellings of words in English — by which I mean an American spelling and a British spelling. ...
0
votes
1answer
75 views

What is the best dictionary for learning a contemporary American accent? [closed]

I’m using the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th edition, 2011). I know how IPA phonemes work and can also fathom American notations. So, which dictionary would best help a rookie to learn ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Are there linguistic markers that indicate to subordinates a desire to be addressed less formally

It's a bit of a shame that Is "pal" too informal when the other person is much older than me? was closed, as it dabbles in a difficult topic for all non-native speakers of English. Although ...
0
votes
3answers
40 views

order of using surname and given name

I am a South Indian. As per the passport my surname is Michael and my given name is Sukumar. How shold I write my expanded name (full name)- as Michel Sukumar or Sukumar Michael
0
votes
0answers
39 views

LINKING: Suffix -ed to Consonants [duplicate]

I read this in American accent book. I quote the text exactly how it is written in the book: The suffix -ed is not pronounced precisely when it is linked to another consonant. For example, mailed ...
-1
votes
1answer
48 views

Can I call you? [closed]

Can I call you tomorrow? Can't I call you tomorrow? I know the first one is right but what about the second? I never heard anyone say the second one unless "Why" is put in front of it. The ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Any rule for using nationality as a noun? [duplicate]

As you know there are times when using a nationality (without any modification) is a correct way to refer to a person of that nationality and there are times when it is incorrect. For example "He is a ...
1
vote
1answer
674 views

“I'll be sure to do something” vs “I'll for sure do something”

I'm not a native speaker but work in an English-speaking international environment. One American guy wrote me: I'll be sure to let you know We at our company usually say: I'll for sure let ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Pronunciation of the words “clothes” and “February” in American English

What is the correct pronunciation of the words "clothes" and "February" in the American English? A lot of people pronounce "clothes" as /kloʊz/, dropping the 'th', as for "February", I hear that the ...
1
vote
2answers
183 views

Fast speech and palatalization T+D

when the phrase "I understand you" is pronounced, does the palatalization happen in fast/connected speech? In other words, does the D+Y sounds more like a J sound as in Joke). Here's the way I ...
2
votes
2answers
473 views

Is “offloading a passenger” idiomatic?

Merriam-Webster and Oxford seem to suggest that we can offload things, not people, yet "offloading a passenger" is quite prevalent in Philippine English. Is it a phrase that somebody from the inner ...
2
votes
1answer
289 views

What is the history of “partner” being used to refer to boyfriend–girlfriend relationships?

In North America (especially Canada and the United States), the word partner is more and more commonly used to describe someone who would otherwise traditionally have been called a boyfriend or a ...
3
votes
2answers
130 views

In which countries would “tags” be understood to mean “License plates and stickers that show the registration is currently valid”?

On our sister site a user recently used the term "tags" in relation to taxis in China. I thought it might man some kind of official authorization to operate a taxi. But upon clarification I was told ...
2
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

“Gun an engine” vs. “Rev an engine”

The driver of the van brakes sharply at every red light or junction and guns the engine when we move off. I begin to sweat—travelling sideways isn't helping. "To gun the engine" is a new ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Is there an AmE/BrE difference whether “by date X” means by the beginning or ending of this date?

A job application in England wants applications to arrive by the 30th. I understand this to mean by the end of the 30th (in London time). The accepted answer to this question appears to indicate the ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

Calculus vs calculation

It is becoming more popular on American talk shows to say "calculus" instead of "calculation." To my mind, calculus is either a branch of Mathematics or a stone like in the gall bladder. Any comments? ...
2
votes
1answer
355 views

The word “cooker”

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the word "cooker" is "a person who tends a cooking process (a cook)." The dictionary provides the following example sentence: Dad was the ...
6
votes
3answers
598 views

What does “consound” mean?

Hello and happy holidays. While reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I came across the expression "consound it" in Huck's dialogue parts. "Consound it, Tom Sawyer, you're just old pie, 'longside ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

they would've got away with/would've gotten away with it [duplicate]

Which is right: They would’ve got away with it. They would’ve gotten away with it. I am interested in what we would say in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not in the ...
3
votes
3answers
476 views

Water caltrop in American English

There's a moderately popular fruit found in India known as panifal or singada in Hindi. The fruit comes from an aquatic plant that grows in stagnant or slow-moving water up to 10-15 foot deep. Here's ...
-1
votes
3answers
203 views

need confirmation or needs confirmation

I receive an issue reported in an issue tracker. That issue requires confirmation to check if it is a real issue. How should the label be names as: Need confirmation or Needs confirmation?
1
vote
3answers
234 views

What's the etymology for the term “greensheet”?

I've been looking for the etymology of the word greensheet, specifically when used in the context of academia. I know it's just another way to say "syllabus", but where did the "green" in greentext ...
1
vote
2answers
150 views

Were American, Australian, and New Zealand English dialects ever spoken in Britain before the colonization of these lands? [closed]

Were American, Australian, and New Zealand English dialects ever spoken in Britain before the colonization of these lands?
1
vote
1answer
695 views

Stative verbs in the continuous form?

As a nonnative speaker of English I was always taught in school that there are verbs that cannot be used in the continuous form, i.e. the stative verbs. However, I've seen some stative verbs used in ...
7
votes
1answer
445 views

Where did we get “buster” as in “Look here, buster”?

Americans, at least, have for some time used buster in speech or dialogue as a generic form of address. It has a range of tonalities, from light to affectionate to grimly confrontational. Listen, ...
-2
votes
1answer
198 views

Translating from American to Canadian, when these are used as verbs, is it “log in” and “log out” or “login” and “logout”?

This is not a duplicate of questions such as“Login” or “log in”? or “log in to” or “log into” or “login to”. The reason is that this question deals specifically with converting from American English ...
7
votes
3answers
536 views

Why do midwesterners say “the cancer”?

I was watching the TV show Fargo, which takes place in rural Minnesota. Most of the locals on the show speak with a recognizable midwestern accent, and there are some regionalisms that are common. The ...
5
votes
3answers
16k views

Why is mutton used for both sheep meat and goat meat?

The meat of an adult sheep is called mutton. The meat of an adult goat is called chevon or mutton. In the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, and in some parts of Asia, particularly ...
-1
votes
1answer
151 views

American Novels in Colloquial Language [closed]

I would like to know the names of novels that uses a lot of American colloquial expressions and idioms and it would be great if the novel portrays the exact way people talk in normal circumstances. ...
2
votes
3answers
399 views

Using the word “doc”

Merriam-Webster obviously says that the word is an abbreviation for doctor, and I also acknowledge the fact that it's less formal than doctor. My question is: when talking to your doctor, would it be ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

Why do English people pronounce 'sixth' as 'sicth'? [duplicate]

It's common practice in Ireland (and the US as far as I know) to pronounce the x in the middle of sixth: six-th [sɪksθ]. However, I've noticed from visits to England as well as watching British ...
0
votes
1answer
165 views

Noun for something important

Is there a noun for something important, something that plays a big role in a given situation? The term game changer doesn't fit the description in my opinion (because it implies the important thing ...
10
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
3k views

British and other English variants of 'write to me' - 'write me'' [duplicate]

In British English, the standard is 'write to me'. In American English the standard is 'write me'. Similar variants exist with 'out of the window' and 'out the window'. When did the dropping of ...
9
votes
3answers
464 views

Are there any studies on changes in British English to become more like American English?

With the spread of American popular culture (movies, books, franchises, etc.) and technical jargon (manuals, Web syntaxes, default spell-check settings, etc.), I'm wondering if there have been any ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Which term is more appropriate: Rate plan, Pricing plan or Tariff plan?

We are the provider of certain (on-line) services and we have different pricing for different user categories, depending on their volume of operations. Currently we use "tariff plan" as a term for ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

American English Pronunciation of “o” sound long or short?

I'm always confused about how to pronounce words with letter o in spelling. For example, in the word boss, I always pronounce the o as short o, when in fact it is long o. Collar is short, but I always ...
8
votes
3answers
277 views

What is the earliest mention of an “American accent”?

Do we have any idea how quickly the American colonists (specifically those British colonists living in what would later become the United States, but I'd be curious about French and Spanish colonists ...
-1
votes
1answer
199 views

The word “lad” in the south of the U.S

Is there any possibility that a farmer from the southern part of the U.S. will use the word "lad", or is it completely 'Brit'? the context is naming a pet (a mule) "lad".
3
votes
2answers
302 views

AmE Phonetics: T-voicing after <l>

Cut to the chase: While listening Eminem's track Headlights I've noticed a kinda voicing process in the sentence "You're still beautiful to me" around 1:13 on the song, where the preposition seems to ...
1
vote
1answer
217 views

AmE Phonetics: < I don't n-> /aʊn/ [closed]

Cut to the chase: While listening to the record 2.0 Boys by Slaughterhouse I've noticed that Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden pronounce such sequence of sounds — namely "I don't know" around 1:55 and ...
3
votes
3answers
250 views

Give it me! Write me! [duplicate]

Our young grandson, who is a Mancunian, says 'give it me', and 'give it me back', which is a northern British standard. It made me think that it is not only northerners who omit the indirect object ...
0
votes
1answer
321 views

What is the contemporary usage of the word “blouse”, namely in North America?

I've red some definitions of the word "blouse" and not all of them agree. From Wikipedia A blouse is a loose-fitting upper garment that was formerly worn by workmen, peasants, artists, women and ...
-1
votes
1answer
154 views

Is the U.S.A. America? [closed]

Why North Americans think America it is only the U.S. and the rest of the continent it is not?
0
votes
1answer
166 views

What is the origin of the phrase “bush league”?

I know it's baseball terminology, but I've never heard anyone explain why a feeder or low-level league is associated with shrubs. Is there some relation in the phrase to "farm system"?
15
votes
8answers
11k views

When did the term “flip flop” displace the term “thong” in North America for a type of sandal?

To Australians like me "thong" means a kind of sandal such as recently repopularized by the Havaianas brand but we know it means a kind of G-string in other English-speaking parts of the world. To ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

“How to succeed at”

I just watched a news story that used the phrase "How to succeed at university". I was under the impression that at in this specific phrase has to be follow a verb. Is "How to succeed at university" ...
2
votes
2answers
16k views

“Make sure to” vs. “Be sure to”: Is the first one correct?

These two versions below are used interchangeably where I live now in the United States: Make sure to do something. Be sure to do something. But I always have found the first version clumsy. I ...
6
votes
1answer
260 views

Punctuating a Question Ending with an Exclamatory Quotation in American Style

I've done quite a bit of looking for some definitive advice on this scenario to no avail, so I turn to you. What is the proper way to punctuate a question ending with an exclamatory quotation, such as ...