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68

Dinner is considered to be the "main" or largest meal of the day. Whether it takes place at noon or in the evening is mostly a cultural thing. For instance, many people who grew up in the American South and/or on farms traditionally ate larger meals at noontime to give them the strength to keep working through the afternoon. Supper is more specifically a ...


56

If your target audience is the world, then you target not only people with a knowledge of American English, British English, and so on, but also people like myself, to whom English is not a mother tongue but a foreign language. If reaching these people is important to you, then you might want to write in a relatively simple English, avoiding not only ...


55

There really isn't much of a basis in fact at all, but it has some non-fiction roots. "Nearly all of our notions of their behavior come from the golden age of fictional piracy, which reached its zenith in 1881 with the appearance of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island." - Adams, C. "The Straight Dope", October 12, 2007 The Straight Dope – Fighting ...


54

For me (native German speaker who spent some years working in England), this is exclusively an American word of Yiddish origin. I don't think I have ever heard this word in the UK or read it in British media. I would first assume it to be an allusion to Louise Mensch, who has been over the British media a lot in recent years. Sometimes German words are used ...


42

I've heard the "needs washed" construction so many times that it sounds completely normal to me. Your other three examples, however, don't sound familiar. I'm having a tough time thinking of a set rule for dropping "to be." I think it could work with want in addition to need, e.g. "The baby wants changed." But I can't think of other verbs that it would ...


39

I would say successfull is a typo. Neither Merriam-Webster nor Wiktionary mention it as an alternative spelling. The British National Corpus has 10695 cites for successful and exactly one for successfull. According to OneLook, 33 dictionaries have an entry for successful, but only Wordnik has a few cites for successfull (without a definition). Edit: by ...


37

As a native speaker of British English, I've never heard that phrase in my life and have no idea what it might mean. It's not a phrase I'd expect British people to understand, unless it's been used in one of the many American TV series that have been popular in the UK.


35

"Thy" is an English word that means "your" in the second person singular. English used to have a distinction between singular and plural in the second person, such that we had the following: Singular: thou, thee, thy Plural: ye, you, your Nowadays, we just have "you" and "your" in place of those six distinct words (which is why in nonstandard English, ...


31

This is a construction that is restricted to certain dialects of US English. In Standard English, it is not grammatical. (This construction is also often stigmatized, which means you would want to be especially careful before using it — you could be judged!) However, this construction is used systematically in certain dialects of American English. To ...


31

The a- prefix is a reduction of Old English an/on, meaning on, used to express progressive aspect. English used to have more of a distinction between present simple and present progressive; what we now say as “the times are changing” was expressed in Old English as “the times change”. In order to emphasise the progressive aspect (the times are currently in ...


31

What do we mean by "dialect"? First of all, let me say that the distinction between "dialect", "slang", and "language" is fuzzy, arbitrary, and fundamentally a social (cultural, political) construct. Two dialects of the same language can be mutually unintelligible (e.g. Moroccan and Baghdadi Arabic — significantly different on every level), while two ...


31

It's completely regional. You will find, in addition to "soda" and "pop," such terms as "soft drink," "coke" and "tonic." Note that "coke" in this instance is used generically to indicate any fizzy soft drink. "Do you want a coke?" "Sure, thanks." "OK, what kind? We have Sprite, Coke, Diet..." Here's a map that breaks down some of the regional variation: ...


31

My initial thought is that bad at (or good at) is followed by a word that describes some kind of activity and that bad with (or good with), is followed by the name of a thing or a type of person. It works with at least the following: Bad at: swimming, math, lying, football, acting, planning, French, cooking, chess Bad with: children, his hands, money, ...


30

From my own experience, this is an idiom one can only use reliably in a diverse and cosmopolitan American milieu. I employ it with no hesitation if there are Jews present, because I am certain they will understand it. But educated people with a lot of multicultural awareness probably will as well. It is not something one would be likely to use in, say, a ...


29

Yes and no. Reading around on the internet, it seems that this was originally just an error (and still is one for most native English speakers), but in some non-native-speaker speech communities it has become established as a common usage. From Paul Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage The most common meaning of “revert” is “to return to an earlier ...


26

A few answers here give good sources for various words that are commonly used when 'talking like a pirate'. It may surprise some of you to learn though, that the 'accent' that most people go with (Rolled 'R's, dropped 'h's, gruff voice, etc.) actually originates from Robert Newton, the actor who played Long John Silver in the first sound production of ...


26

what other kind of student is there? College students. Private students. Home-schooled students. Student drivers. As Keshlam noted in a comment: It says "school students" because if it just said 'students" many of us would indeed translate it as "student drivers." Which is a somewhat different kind of hazard. A car full of school students isn't likely ...


25

I would suggest writing in the version of English you are most comfortable with. That's what you'll communicate in most clearly, and everyone else will understand it from that domain.


24

This phenomenon is called metathesis. I humbly direct you to my answer to a related question for details. Here, I will just note that aks goes back to Old English, where there were two versions of the verb, ascian and acsian. See this Language Log post: As the [Oxford English Dictionary] explains, the verb form spelled "ax", and meaning "To call upon any ...


24

I'm an American from the south, and in contrast to other Americans who have answered, I've never heard that idiom before. I didn't have any clue what the word mensch was supposed to mean until after reading comments/answers here, and I still have to look it up to be actually sure what it means. I find it surprising that this is referred to as an Americanism, ...


23

I didn't become familiar with the term mensch until the 1970s, when I moved from Texas to the east coast (Maryland) for college. At the time I assumed that it was simply a regional term. However, the frequency of "a mensch" in Google Book search results suggests that the term's popularity in published writings has grown substantially since the 1950s. Here is ...


23

Harvard's Dialect Survey had the question, "What is the distinction between dinner and supper?" Here's the geographic distribution of their results from 10,661 American respondents:


23

This varies greatly by geography. In the Southeastern United States, it is not uncommon for some women to address or answer people--even strangers--of either sex with terms of endearment, such as Honey, Sugar, Sweetie, Darling, Baby, etc. This practice is so intimately associated with "The South," that it will almost always be awkward or at best unusual ...


22

As a native British-English speaker, who has lived in New Zealand for over 10 years, I have never heard this word before in either country. I would say this is exclusively American-English, and probably only from certain big cities, as well. Its use is somewhat akin to my saying "I'm going to see the whanau" and expecting anyone outside New Zealand to ...


21

Only full is spelled with two Ls. All other -ful words are spelled with only one L: helpful, successful, skillful, beautiful.


21

Heighth is no error It is a misunderstanding that the spelling or pronunciation of heighth is an illiterate and uneducated error. Although many wrongly consider it such, history is not on their side, nor are the better dictionaries. Despite how in particular over the last century the heighth spelling has come to be stigmatized, heighth is a perfectly ...


20

In working-class families in the North of England, dinner was traditionally the noon-time meal, and there is an afternoon or evening meal called tea. However, this is changing to some extent as people move about and some try to sound more "Southern". (English usage in the South of England, or sometimes, more particularly the South-East, is generally taken to ...


20

I have lived in various cities throughout the US, and I have never heard anyone use "paper bag" to refer to all types of bags when shopping. If I went to the supermarket and asked for a paper bag and were given a plastic bag (or vice versa), I would assume that the person was not paying attention to what I was saying. This type of extension or ...


19

This terminology dates back to the Anglo-Norman Kings who, having conquered Saxon England, started collecting taxes methodically, of which The Domesday Book is a famous example. For accounting, they were using a large board with rows and columns not unlike a chessboard, or un échiquier in French (from Persian origin, imported via Latin). The person ...


19

I grew up in West Lancashire (near the Yorkshire border), and pretty well every one of my parents generation used thee, thou, thy and thine. The first three were sometimes combined into a multipurpose “tha”. Along with this perseverence of the informal second person singular, the equivalent verb form was still often used, e.g. “where goest thou?” instead ...



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