Questions about spoken English.

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7
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
14k 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. ...
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.
8
votes
0answers
422 views

When to use passive and active voice [closed]

When is it better to use passive voice in writing and speech? When is it better to use active voice in writing and speech?
11
votes
5answers
813 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
585 views

Punctuation within quotes

When I was at school I was told that a quote should end with a comma. For example: "The car is on the road," said Tom. "No it isn't," replied Dick. "He's right — it's over there!" said Harry. ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

What makes “like” and “so” popular?

So, I was like, why does everyone say like and so in every sentence? Where did this trend come from, like, what started it, and is it actually grammatically correct to like, insert like into our ...
15
votes
13answers
11k 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 ...
16
votes
12answers
9k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
12answers
3k views

Just how offensive are the terms “retarded” and “gay”?

My college-age son and his friends use the terms "retarded" and "gay" pretty much interchangeably to mean substandard, bad, lame (in the sense of ineffectual or weak) or just plain wrong. I've ...
37
votes
5answers
11k views

What term can be used to describe Yoda's speech?

What is Yoda's speech called? Is there a particular name for it (such as "dangling...")?
3
votes
1answer
605 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
932 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
5
votes
11answers
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 ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Do native speakers understand all the words in songs? [closed]

I'm wondering if native speakers understand all the words in songs? For me it is very very difficult, as I can understand only 30% of words and phrases in songs usually. While listening to people's ...
4
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it bad behavior to add filler words such as “so”, “um” in business speak?

Sometimes when I speak with my fellows at work, I start my sentences with "so" or "um". I don't know if this a bad behavior in business speak or not? If so, how can I get rid of those filler words?
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word read?

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word usually read out loud? For example, with "Anglo-Saxon", do we say: "It is spelt as ...
2
votes
0answers
388 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. ...
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
votes
2answers
51 views

Take my word for it or take my word for this? [closed]

Me and a friend got into an argument. He says that you can say "Take my word for this". I say that the proper use is "Take my word for it". Could someone elaborate on each of those and tell us who is ...