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

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3answers
37 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
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1answer
269 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
183 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, ...
0
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0answers
10 views

The barn needs painted [duplicate]

I was raised in California, the son of an English teacher, but when I moved to Indiana, I discovered an idiom that I haven't heard elsewhere. The idiom is to use the past participle form of a verb as ...
0
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1answer
83 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
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3answers
501 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 ...
4
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3answers
4k 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
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1answer
88 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
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3answers
155 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
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1answer
100 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
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7answers
3k 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
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2answers
945 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 ...
2
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1answer
51 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
179 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
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1answer
121 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
178 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
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1answer
115 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
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3answers
204 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
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1answer
175 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
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1answer
150 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
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1answer
59 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
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8answers
5k 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
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1answer
73 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
8k 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 ...
5
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1answer
195 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 ...
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2answers
67 views

How frequent is the use of 'Appropriation' in American English compared with British English?

How frequently is the word 'Appropriation' used in American English? In what contexts might young people commonly hear it?
0
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1answer
113 views

Meaning of “the crawling of the walls” [closed]

What is the meaning of "the crawling of the walls"? I can practically feel the presence of disease: the crawling of the walls, the energy tension— like the nesting of a thousand insects.
2
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1answer
810 views

difference between American and British /ӕ/ sound

When I presented British /ӕ/ sound to three Korean English-familiar persons online - they are doing answering English-related questions activities [case 1; case 2], and asked what sound it’s like /ӕ/ ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

British term for 'washroom'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Washroom”, “restroom”, “bathroom”, “lavatory”, “toilet” or “toilet room” What is the British equivalent of the American 'washroom'? (Besides 'loo', of course, as it is ...
6
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1answer
348 views

Why is “accidentally” pronounced “accident-ly” instead of “accident-tal-y”?

Why is accidentally pronounced accident-ly and not accident-tal-ly? Incidentally, some other adverbs have this same phenomenon, where some dictionaries show the second-to-last syllable as being ...
20
votes
5answers
8k views

Why does “corn” mean “maize” in American English?

I keep hearing "corn" as a synonym of "maize". This is widely popularized worldwide by popcorn. However, this is American English! In British English, "corn" can mean any type of "grain", especially ...
0
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1answer
5k views

“If I was to” vs. “If I were to” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? If I was to sum up my computer knowledge in one word, it would be “destitute”. If I were ...
13
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6answers
30k views

Origin of “More X than you can shake a stick at”

What is the origin of the phrase "more X than you can shake a stick at"? Every website I've seen on this basically says the same thing (e.g., http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-sha2.htm): Recorded ...
1
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1answer
2k views

Is “I wouldn’t have got left” grammatical?

In American English, is the following sentence grammatical? If I had run faster, I wouldn’t have got left.
7
votes
2answers
27k views

“travelling” vs. “traveling” [closed]

Is the correct spelling travelling or traveling? I’ve seen both in common usage, but I can't find an authoritative source that says one way or another. Is this a difference between British spelling ...
4
votes
8answers
879 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

The use of “hey” in North America

Having had my formative years in New Zealand, I was born in South Africa. I vaguely recall when I was VERY young having someone tell me when I said "hey" that "hay is what horses eat". I got that ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

When does realisation of velar nasal /ŋ/ as alveolar nasal [n] happen along with tensing of the preceding vowel (/ɪ/ to [i])?

I have observed some English speakers in North America who seem to produce this assimilation in words like "running" /ˈrʌnɪŋ/ (as /ˈrʌnin/) or "winning" /ˈwɪnɪŋ/ (as /ˈwɪnin/). I'm specifically ...
10
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5answers
1k views

Is the term “village” used in North America?

The post Difference between "town", "city" and "metropolis"? describes the usage of terms describing various sizes of cities. In the US, I have never encountered any ...
1
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2answers
361 views

How common is the short “be” in American English

A friend prompted me to look up the pronunciations of the homophones "be" (IPA: /bi/, /biː/) and "bee" (IPA: /biː/). We found that there are two ways to say "be" -- one is short and the other (the ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Swearing: “bollixed”

The House Ethics Committee has now hired an outside counsel to investigate its own bollixed investigation into the conduct of Representative Maxine Waters. (“The House’s Farcical ...
6
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3answers
2k views

Divergence in meaning of “just about” between UK and North American English

Does anyone know anything about how the meaning of "just about" came to have opposite meanings in the UK and North America. For example, in the UK, The team just about won. means that the team won, ...
8
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2answers
3k views

Dropping L in compound adjectives. Is it “skillful” or “skilful”?

We have been taught at school that when a word ending in "LL" helps form a compound word, "LL" becomes "L" (e.g. skill -> skilful). I have also come across the usage of this adjective as skillful ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Origin & history of name “she oak” or “sheoak” (a Casuarina tree)

In wikipedia's Casuarinaceae article (and somewhat similarly in its Casuarina article), one finds: The most widely used common name for Casuarinaceae species is sheoak or she-oak (a comparison of ...
15
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4answers
5k views

Is it awkward to use the word “aubergine” instead of “eggplant”?

According to Google Ngrams eggplant is far more common (although in British English aubergine seems to have a small advantage over eggplant). So, not being a native speaker of English I wonder ...
4
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3answers
683 views

Which flavor of English (British vs. American) first had standard modern spellings?

Which flavor, British English or American English, first standardised its modern spellings? I'm mostly interested in the direction of alteration; for example, was the u dropped from colour or was the ...
4
votes
8answers
8k views

Why is it called an “Indian file”?

I recently came across a US phrase, Indian file. This is utterly unheard of in the UK, and probably outside North America; at least I’ve certainly never heard of it. The phrase would be expressed in ...
8
votes
4answers
21k views

What does “go figure” mean?

Sometimes, people use a colloquial phrase of "it figures" or "go figure", which is kind of an acknowledgement of the correctness of a fact, or something like that. It's also sometimes abbreviated even ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Why is most North American speech rhotic?

Most North American speech is rhotic—why is that? Does it come from the early English settlers or perhaps from the Irish settlers?