Questions about spoken English.

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13
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13answers
7k views

Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?

I have been learning English for many, many years now and think I have acquired quite some mastery. Yesterday I saw just another English (American) flick and thought it was a different language, but ...
-1
votes
2answers
48 views

Swearwords and their strength degree [on hold]

"J*rk", "f*ggot", "*sshole", "b*stard", "idiot", "stupid"... All these words are offensive. "B*tch", "wh*re", "c*nt", "sl*t" and others are offensive words for girls as well. However, as in most of ...
3
votes
2answers
372 views

Is there a standard for speaking “1500” as “one thousand five hundred” versus “fifteen hundred”?

I was asked by a French colleague, and had no clear answer, whether it's more correct to say "One thousand five hundred" or "fifteen hundred" when speaking the number 1500. Putting aside how we say ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Use of the word 'relishing'

Recently when talking to a friend about the lack of elevators in Asia he told me. You should be relishing stairs As a native English speaker the use of the word 'relishing' here sounded strange ...
1
vote
2answers
66 views

difference between “be free” and “get free”?

What is the difference between the two? And if I want to meet a friend what would I say "I'll be free soon " or "I'll get free soon "
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Is there a word that means English-Language-Centric?

There was an argument about how someone spelled "Revolution" and they said "No, I did not write it incorrectly. I used the Spanish version: 'Revuloción' without the accented o to make my life a little ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

When in connected speech do we read 'r' after the end of a sentence or a passage?

For example in policy debates, in continuous reading or for example an interruptive briefing - there is a dot (.) It was summer. A strange shade was moving. Before the turning of the street there ...
23
votes
32answers
6k views

Alternative ways to say “I cannot answer that question”? [closed]

I'm getting bored of repeating the same "I can't answer that" phrase over and over. I'm trying other phrases, like "I'll leave that to your imagination," but that one sounds too weird. Specifically, ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

When should we say 'Thanks' and when, 'Thank you'? [closed]

While I'm communicating with my colleagues and clients, I used to say 'Thanks' and 'Thank you'. I normally use 'Thank you' when I want to express it to a single person usually through e-mails, ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Meaning Of “Wrapped Around My Finger” and “See Ya When I See Ya” [closed]

Will you help me to understand the meaning of these phrases? Wrapped around my finger and See ya when I see ya
-1
votes
3answers
89 views

Children caught by an adult doing something wrong, relaying the blame onto each other

Here's the basic situation: two fairly young children, boy and girl, caught by an adult after doing something really wrong (i.e., for example, breaking some sort of precious vase or something like ...
1
vote
3answers
109 views

Difference between would and will

Thank you for your time reading this. I am from China and have learned British English for years from my middle school to undergraduate time. I normally take 'would' as the past form of 'will', ...
1
vote
0answers
31 views

Spoken English. Need suggestions for improvements in spoken english [closed]

Please suggest a good website or book for improving my spoken english and public speaking skills.
4
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
9answers
12k views

Indirectly saying “I love you”

I want tell to someone "I love you", but not in that manner (indirectly but to get that idea). How can I do it in a modern way?
-1
votes
4answers
253 views

“Talking to someone is nice.” or “It is nice to talk to someone.” but “It was nice, talking to you.” Why?

General statement: a. Talking to someone is nice. (verb as subject in front position = gerund) or b. It is nice to talk to someone. (verb as subject after dummy subject 'it' = full infinitive) ...
3
votes
4answers
749 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
12k views

Films/Series that are extremely good to understand (and that are not…)

Some time ago I asked "Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?" To my surprise even many native speakers answered that they had difficulties understanding some movies and ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Differences between “very” and “very much” as adjective modifiers

The following examples are clearly wrong: × I am very much tired × She is very much clever But the following sounds fine (at least according to OALD): I am very much afraid that ... I am ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Is it good to begin my response with “Good One”? [closed]

I am planning to respond a comment in one of the other forums in StackExchange! I was wondering if I can begin my response by saying "Good one, .." to confirm that it was a "Good suggestion". In ...
-3
votes
2answers
108 views

“Can I” vs “May I” [duplicate]

You may have heard the argument "it's not can I go to the bathroom, it's may I." If this is true, then any question such as "can you get me a glass of water?" could have the same argument applied to ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Variation(?) on Antanaclasis

US President Obama in his recent annual State of the Union address to the Congress: In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise ...
3
votes
8answers
5k views

Would you say “quote/end quote”?

A girl said, quote, I want a lollipop, end quote, as she walked past the candy store. Would you say it like that out loud?
1
vote
4answers
115 views

How would you name/define “huh…” or “hum…” or “hm…” in a sentence?

Sorry for the convoluted question but I'm not sure how to ask this. These examples should make it clear what I'm talking about: "Well, hum... you know." "It's, huh... there!" "Hm... now where were ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Is there a term for speaking English with a foreign accent to make it easier for foreigners to understand?

I was just recalling Joey Barton's interview with the French media in which he speaks with a French accent, seemingly to make it easier for his audience to understand. As humourous as it may be, is ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Should the first word after a dash used as self-interruption be capitalized?

When writing dialogue, a dash can be used to denote interruption. For example: “Hello, can I ask you about—” “No.” If a character is interrupting themself, should the first word of the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Answering your own question

I have been wondering if this particular speaking device had a specific name. My wife uses a speaking technique where, instead of just making a statement, she presents it in the form of a question, ...
8
votes
1answer
174 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
795 views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
0
votes
1answer
126 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
268 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
9k views

What are the conventional words for characters (A-Z)?

I have just read the newest post of DOGHOUSEDIARIES, and I am wondering whether the words for characters are fixed in the USA or the UK, as I am not a native English speaker. For example: A as in ...
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 ...
5
votes
10answers
2k views

Fun and enjoyable ways to practice pronunciation?

English is not my native language and I'm really proud of being able to write it quite well. I have lots of problems with pronunciation though. In Finnish most words are pronounced the same as they ...
2
votes
6answers
7k views

Which one is it? “Damn” or “damned”?

I know that commonly in America, they use "damn" or "damned" to describe things. Sometimes, more appropriately, it's even "darn" or "darned". For example, This damn/damned computer is too slow. ...
14
votes
10answers
5k 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
101 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
673 views

Intention of rising pitches

I have been wondering about the rising pitch used in almost every sentence, by especially young Americans. What is the purpose/intention of rising pitch except in questions? Is it friendly and ...
0
votes
1answer
471 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
votes
2answers
98 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
123 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
157 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
250 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: ...
-5
votes
1answer
376 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
9k 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. ...
1
vote
6answers
930 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
112 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
67 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." ...
0
votes
2answers
153 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
342 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 ...