Questions about spoken English.

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0
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1answer
215 views

I need live conversation [closed]

Where (what Internet site) can I get a good, continuous conversation in real time from? I need some sort of resource where I have the possibility of just sitting there listening to the conversations ...
1
vote
1answer
387 views

Punctuation of reported speech within direct speech

I've got a fiction 'speech within speech' situation, and I'd like opinions on how to handle the internal final punctuation -- inside or outside the quotes. This is British English. Example: The ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it “good English” or “correct English” or something else?

Is it appropriate to say “I speak good English” or “I speak correct English”? I believe there can be varied replies depending on context, so let me narrow it a little; let’s say I want to convey how ...
-1
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1answer
156 views

Which use of the English language is correct? “A historic event” or “an historic event” [duplicate]

English is my second language, and I was taught that you use "a" before a vowel. Recently I have heard several TV Announcers use the letters "an" if it is used before a consonant. For example, it ...
0
votes
1answer
658 views

Ending a declarative statement with a question mark? [duplicate]

Recently, there was a debate as to when one can legitimately end a declarative statement with a question mark, like writing “I don’t know?” as an answer, and what that could possibly mean. The ...
0
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2answers
125 views

Is this worded correctly if it was spoken in an interview? [closed]

Is this worded correctly if it was spoken in an interview? I am like a clean slate. I do not have any preconceived notions about how the company runs
4
votes
0answers
179 views

Is the usage of latinisms perceived as common in the English language or does it sound like bragging in ordinary speech? [closed]

My question here is about perception. English has a great and wonderful variety in its vocabulary, and many concepts can be associated with different words, although with slightly different meanings ...
3
votes
1answer
200 views

Meaning of the verb 'snort' in a sharp dialog

I could not figure out the meaning of the verb 'snort' implied in Sir Elton John's reply to Lily Allen during some award ceremony, after her disrespectful comment on his age. He said: I could ...
-5
votes
1answer
463 views

Do people with a lisp write in the same way they pronounce?

Just curious to know whether people having a lisp (speech defect) write in the same way as they pronounce the word. For example they pronounce s as /θ/ and z as /θ/. So, do they write 's' as 'th' like ...
1
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6answers
1k views

Polite/professional alternative to 'It turns out'

I have been tasked with coming up with a nicer phrase to use than 'It turns out'. It is to be used in situations like the below: 'It turns out' that we cannot... 'It turns out' that we ...
0
votes
2answers
179 views

Is the phrase “breed of men” weird or just different?

Forgive me for asking two questions in a single post, but I think it would make more sense to post them together. So please indulge me. Sentence: He is not unique. We should be able to discover such ...
-1
votes
1answer
73 views

Using 'show' with 'treatment'

Is it proper to say 'show special treatment' for example in "He showed him special treatment."? I know it sounds more natural to say, "He took a special interest in him because of his background." ...
1
vote
2answers
324 views

Usage of 'on the brink of'

(Talking about a chimp): "In human age, he would have been on the brink of puberty." I was told that this sentence is odd because 'be on the brink of' is usually used for something negative: ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

Usage of the article 'a' before bait in this particular instance

Is it acceptable to use the article 'a' before 'bait' in this sentence? Is there a difference in meaning here when you use 'a' or drop it? "You would not have sent it to me for no reason. It was a ...
0
votes
2answers
416 views

How can you encourage native speakers to correct mistakes non-native speakers make? [closed]

My English is pretty advanced, yet I still make mistakes (not many, but some). I am constantly talking to native speakers and always tell them to correct my mistakes. My problem is that in most ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it necessary to begin a new paragraph after a person speaks?

When I was in school, I was taught to always begin a new paragraph after a quotation or after a speaker concludes a segment of dialogue. However, in recent years, I have seen authors abandon this ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

In which accent does Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) speak?

I don't know if Stack Exchange is the right place to ask this question but I am very keen to find out: Which accent has Brad Pitt adopted in the movie Inglourious Basterds for the role of Lieutenant ...
0
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3answers
3k views

“Night” and “knight” in speech

In English as Germanic language K is ignored at the beginning of word in speech. Night and knight have to be pronounced similar. Then how to differentiate?
1
vote
2answers
211 views

Does anybody use the elative degree in modern speech? [closed]

I read that English has the following degree of comparison: positive, comparative, superlative (with definite article) and elative (with indefinite article). I'm wondering, whether sentences like "it ...
0
votes
1answer
250 views

Is “be-gruntled” a word? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When does a word become a ‘word’? Someone in work asked about the welfare of my girlfriend, to which I replied "She's fine, a little be-gruntled but fine." People knew ...
2
votes
0answers
350 views

Appearance of “is is” in speech patterns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “The thing is, is that…” Why do some people say “the reason is is that,” with “is” twice in a row? For the past few years I've been noticing a curious phenomenon. ...
3
votes
1answer
262 views

Should the abbreviation 'i.e.' be used in speech?

I often hear people use the abbreviation 'i.e.' while speaking. It does not seem right to me. Similarly with 'e.g.' — I would always say 'for example' rather than 'e.g.'. So is it appropriate to ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

The word “dear” in public speech

I am a member of a Toastmaster club in the Czech republic where people work on their public speaking skills. It is a usual to open a speech by Dear fellow Toastmasters, dear guests,... It is a ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of “to be done” [closed]

The following is a transcript of the well-known recorded lecture by Prof. Michael Sandel of Harvard University (the cited portion starts at 43:36): The only argument this painter makes is that the ...
1
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1answer
339 views

Usage of “ain't” in formal conversation

Is it okay to use ain't in formal conversation? I know ain't can be used for am not, is not, are not, have not, has not. So if I can use it in day-to-day life, it will be easier for me I guess.
5
votes
1answer
545 views

Relative pronouns after prepositions: is it okay to use them in speech?

Consider the following usages of relative pronouns: The lecturer introduces a study in which participants were asked to choose one attractive picture. At the university I met famous professors, many ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Use of American-Indian “How” in British English

These are excerpts from Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Jerry Westerby screwed up his face in perplexity. 'That's what the boy wanted to tell me, you see, George. That's what he was ...
1
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3answers
169 views

How should the first “o” in “operator” be pronounced?

I've always been taught that a vowel before a double consonant following another vowel should have a short sound. Conversely, there are many situations where a vowel preceding a single consonant and ...
1
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2answers
2k views

“See you all” or “see you everyone”

When leaving from work, how to say "see you" to colleagues? Which one is appropriate, "see you all" or "see you everyone"?
1
vote
1answer
110 views

Is there a Public Library that lends English Audiobooks? [closed]

In germany there are now a plethora of public libraries where I can borrow Audiobooks. I can search and download DRM protected files and can use them for a couple of days or weeks before they get ...
2
votes
0answers
594 views

How to place pauses in a sentence when speaking? [closed]

I would like to know how to place pauses in a sentence when speaking (besides pauses on comma and semicolon) to deliver a better message to audiences. I researched this for a while but I don't find ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Punctuation of direct speech, edge cases

I recently learned that I have developed a consistent, but entirely wrong approach to punctuating direct speech in fiction. I am in the unenviable position of trying to relearn. Previously I wrote ...
8
votes
2answers
200 views

Pronunciation problem with “park” and “walk”. Is there a name for this “phenomenon”?

Now and then, I struggle to say a pair of words such as "park and walk". It may come out as "park and wark" or "pork and walk". It occurs generally when the two words are close together in a ...
3
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4answers
2k views

“You know” in spoken English [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to use “you know” Why is "you know" most commonly used in spoken English. Or to phrase it differently, why do native speakers use this expression a lot ...
4
votes
2answers
829 views

Simple present vs. present continuous

What is the difference between saying: Are you still working there? Do you still work there? Which is more common in spoken vs written English? Google books returned results for both of ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“Do my best” vs. “my level best” [closed]

Is there any difference between these two sentences? Which one is grammatical in speech? I will do my best. I will do my level best.
12
votes
3answers
28k views

Difference between “asleep” and “sleeping”

I know asleep and sleeping are interchangeable in many cases. But in these situations, I am not sure. I read stories to my son after he went to bed. After reading the stories, I stayed for some time ...
3
votes
1answer
540 views

What are some effective ways a foreign speaker can improve pronunciation in English? [closed]

How can a foreign speaker (where a "foreign speaker" speaks English as a second language) effectively improve their spoken English by improving their pronunciation and reducing their foreign accent. ...
2
votes
2answers
425 views

What does “I fort” stand for?

In Terry Pratchett's The Truth, Mr Tulip says "I fort" 5 times. "I fort that at the start" "I fort so!" (twice) "I fort you said this city was a -ing pushover?" "I fort we wanted to find.." Is ...
-2
votes
1answer
241 views

Indirect speech, past tense use

A member's post on another site has the structure: This a post I put on [site] and [member] suggested I posted here too. (emphasis mine) It appears that being reported speech, post is required to ...
-2
votes
3answers
512 views

What is the deeper meaning of the phrase “as I was just saying to X”? [closed]

This is the scenario I'm thinking of. Person A talks to person B about something. Then person C joins them. For some reason Person A says something to Person C that they were just talking about with ...
7
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1answer
819 views

What do people usually mean when they ask “Do you have a family?”

When American people ask you, "Do you have a family?" does that mean "Do you have any children?" or just "Are you married?"
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there rules of pronunciation for words in English? [closed]

I know that there is at least one language we can pronounce based on the word's form (Vietnamese) which means that once you know how to write it, you will also know how to pronounce it. But in ...
1
vote
2answers
673 views

Why/When need some kind of short spelling or pronunciation?

In regular usage, nowadays we use short spellings of words in speaking or writing. For example: They are in the cinema. => They're in the cinema. We have been waiting for me. => We've been waiting ...
0
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3answers
3k views

“Unconscious” versus “nonconscious” in everyday dialogue

These words have subtle distinctions in related research fields, but even there are often considered interchangeable or just an matter of tradition/trendiness in a particular field. Since I am a bit ...
0
votes
3answers
233 views

Should laconism be favored over clarity? [closed]

One might argue that to be as understandable as possible, one should use common words and phrases. On the other hand, unnecessary verbosity is often frowned upon. Stop acting so childish and ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

How can I learn to speak with various accents? [closed]

How can I learn to speak with appropriate English accents when reading books aloud? For example, are there simple rules for each accent? My question is general question, but my application is ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do some people say “the reason is is that,” with “is” twice in a row?

Does anybody have any conjectures as to why this quirk is so common? For an example, see this TED talk by Kevin Slavin.
13
votes
7answers
11k views

How should one say times aloud in 24-hour notation?

A couple years ago, I switched all my personal clocks 24-hour notation. I live in the US, and 24-hour time is used very, very rarely. So, I haven't been able to listen to anyone say times aloud. ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What's a Denver accent sound like?

I'm trying to learn to imitate the accent of someone from a slummy area of Denver (for a roleplaying game). Info on different local accents is welcome; a sound bite would be especially useful. If you ...