living room / front room / sitting room / living area
Living room is probably most standard when speaking about the general area used to sit and watch television (or "t.v.", not "telly") or otherwise congregate, etc in a house or apartment... er... flat.
We do say "front room" but often only if describing a "back room" as well as and it is less common than living room.
"Sitting room" generally means a side room meant for the purposes of relaxing or entertaining guests. This is likely not a "living room", unless the house has no "living room". "Living area" would work well for a posh estate, which would likely also have a smaller, separate "sitting room" in most American minds.
"tickled" meaning happy
This expression is fine but is probably somewhat more common as "absolutely tickled" or "tickled pink" (meaning extremely happy) in the US.
college mate / digs
We don't generally say "college mate" or "digs".
"My buddy at college" (male friend, male speaking to male/female(s)) or "My girlfriend at college" (female friend, female speaking to female(s)) are more natural.
"A friend of mine at college" is pretty gender neutral and common. "My roomate (at college)" is acceptable and gender neutral if you are referring to someone who lives in the same dorm room.
"my place" or "dorm" is more appropriate than "digs". This sounds really uncool, Daddio =).
We rarely say "dormitory" (almost always "dorm" or "dorm room") unless your are referring to the building itself.
If you want to say you have a higher education, it's "I went to college" never "I went to university" (full stop).
You can say "I went to university at (school name)" but for posh schools, you generally "attend" ( "I attended Harvard Law" ).
Not that you may care, but we have
- kindergarten (under age 6)
- grade or elementary school (years 1-6) (ages 6 - 12)
- junior high (years 7-8) (freshmen, senior - but this is less common terminology) (ages 13 - 14).
- high school (years 9-12) (freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior) (ages 15 - 18).
Sometimes "high school" refers to years 7-12 but this is rare unless you are from certain parts of the US. Freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior are also titles applied to the years at college.
"Primary school" and "Secondary school" aren't things we have in the U.S. and "secondary education" refers exclusively to education beyond high school (year 12), college or otherwise.
"I went to school at" covers everything from kindergarten to college.
shoulder/hard shoulder of a highway
Most shoulders are likely to be just shoulders.
I never hear "hard shoulder" but we do have "soft shoulders" (meaning gravel or dirt in most instances). That said, "soft shoulder" is likely unnecessary as well and saying "shoulder (of the road)" + description of said shoulder (paved, gravel, dirt) is probably sufficient (if it is even necessary).
"median" (general roadways, highway or otherwise), "center median" (redundant but used), "highway median" or "the median of the highway (road)".
"He takes the piss out of every banker he meets"
Huh... What? =P No, we never use this.
"He trashes every banker he meets" might work better, but since "trash" really means "puts down" you would have to be clear in a follow up that he was specifically mocking them.
"He shits on every banker he meets" - similar problem to trash. You would likely want to make sure the reader knows he is mocking them (how he is "shitting" on them or putting them down).
A simple "He makes fun of every banker he meets" might work, but doesn't have the same color... er... colour.
"I'm pissed off at him" / "I'm pissed at him."
Either works fine. =)
"I called my parents' landline."
"I called my parents" would probably be better but the original is acceptable.
"Landline" is used but generally only in stark contrast to a cell phone... er... mobile. (hint: we don't say "mobile" - it's "cell" or "cell phone"). "I called him on his landline" would more often be used for someone who has a cell but chooses to keep a traditional landline telephone anyway.
In most instances, "I called my parents' landline" would be a call out to how terribly uncool said parents were (since it implies they don't have cell phones) or that the person was going out of his or her way to avoid calling said parents' cell phone(s) (assuming they had any).
changing room / fitting room
Both are used here, though "changing room" might also be used at places other than department stores.
Perfectly acceptable. We have a lot of "whatchamacallits", too.
"Ropy" legs (no E) in the US are unusually unstable, verging on the point of imminent collapse (could be severely damaged/injured or under the influence of drugs or absolute exhaustion).
Furthermore, legs in the US generally "feel ropy" - "I can't walk. My leg feels too ropy."
"My (his, her) leg(s) (is, are, were) tired" is far more common and acceptable for regular "tired leg(s)" (also acceptable).
As pointed out by @Mitch in the comments, some American English speakers may have trouble distinguishing the meaning of this phrasing so it may be best to avoid it altogether.
Yes it shows up as "incorrect" here too. =)
It is a gerund or present participle of "surveil" and applies specifically to being watched. "surveil” or “surveilled" also aren't recognized.
In your case, "Security guards are watching the place" (or are "keeping an eye out" for trouble) would be more American.
MPH / KPH
"MPH" in the US. We have "KPH" (in much a much smaller font) on many cars but totally ignore it. We will stay with our weird, hard to use measurements thank you very much. =P
"Calm my jitters"
"Nerves" is likely more common but "jitters" is not totally out of the ordinary.
"fence" vs. "gate"
"Iron fence" springs to mind for what you describe (and yes, I am imagining it as iron). A "gate" would be a gate (a place to get through the fence). =)
Note that a "gated" area might be fenced in ("gated community", "gated compound").
"It cost a pretty penny" / "It took every ounce of strength" / "skiff"
All are acceptable American English, but as pointed out in another answer, "skiff" is a particular kind of boat.
You probably are already aware of these, but "boot" is always "trunk" (of the car) and "torch" is always "flashlight". We do not use "Brilliant!" unless we are praising ideas and rarely say "mental".
This seems mainly architectural in nature here.
Most common references are to people/things standing/waiting/sitting "in front of the elevator", especially when referring to most common kinds of (smaller) elevators... er... lifts.
While "elevator landing" is accurate American English for referencing all types of elevator receive and discharge areas, I would venture to say it's likely only going to be generally associated with larger or "fancier" types of elevators.
- A freight elevator might have a landing.
- An elevator in an upscale or posh hotel might have one (could be a regular elevator with an ornately decorated carpet in front of it, for instance).
- A personal elevator in a mansion or loft might have one as well.
"the landing" is likely fine but you may also want to consider "the landing surrounding the elevator".
That really funny area behind the front door
For lower middle-class homes, "entryway" is probably what you are looking for if it is a very short hallway, especially if you can hang generally dry jackets or coats but not really store shoes (like a mudroom).
If you are talking about homes with neither a "mudroom" nor a more general enclosed "entryway" there are a few options.
- "front hall", "front hallway" (smaller area, middle-class to upper middle-class home)
- "entrance hall" (medium-sized area, upper middle-class or minor wealthy home)
- "foyer" (large area, home is likely worth millions of dollars... er... pounds)
All three of these:
- describe an open area just past the front door
- describe an area with side rooms (e.g. "living room", "dining room", "sitting room", "study" etc.) attached directly to it.
- describe an area which may often have a main staircase (but this is not required).
For extremely wealthy homes or estates, "hall", "entrance hall" and "foyer" may all be effectively synonyms (though a "foyer" may be a bit smaller in this particular context).
"hall" or "hallway" can be a shorthand synonym for "entryway", "front hall" or "entrance hall".
- "She left him standing in the hall(way)"
- "Yeah, he's in the hall(way)."
However, "hall(way)" is most commonly used for enclosed interior passages of a home in the US.