Questions tagged [british-english]

This tag is for questions related to English as used in Great Britain, and sometimes Ireland.

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If he went to the museum, he will (OR would?) be more intelligent [closed]

is will or would both right and if not, which one and why?
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Why I found the Lord of the Rings quite hard to read as a non-native speaker? [closed]

I am reading the Lord of the rings. But as a non-native speaker, I found it very hard to visualize in my head the settings of the scenes and also the landscapes established by the author. Has anyone ...
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This moment carried the weight of significance [closed]

Does this sound right? Or is it weird/ how better to express it?
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-2 votes
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pull a face in shock? [migrated]

What's the correct expression? I'm not a native speaker. I want to describe that he made a expression of shock; like pulled a face in shock; but I feel that's wrong. How can I see it concisely?
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1 vote
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Monosyllabic triphthongs with R are distinguished from sequences with disyllabic realizations

In British Received Pronunciation, and most other non-rhotic (r-dropping) varieties of English, monosyllabic triphthongs with R are optionally distinguished from sequences with disyllabic realizations:...
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1 answer
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How many countries are listed in “France, England, Scotland and the UK”? [closed]

I have four papers, each describing a separate clinical trial. The papers state trial locations as France, England, Scotland and the UK (without specifying where). I want to say that the trials were ...
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2 votes
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What are attractions at fair called, where you buy food? [migrated]

What are the houses called where you can buy food at fairs? Like the shops, are they called stalls? And what are other attractions in a fair called? Is fair even the right word or is adventure park ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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Are English Wikipedia articles written in British English (BrE) or American English (AmE)? [closed]

Wikipedia allows multiple languages for its articles. But how about dialects? English has multiple varieties. How does that work at Wikipedia? It's one thing to know the policy that Wikipedia has ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the dialect feature in British English where "W" is pronounced as "Y"?

It is very rare but I've heard some people from Great Britain pronouncing it like that for some reason. For instance: He said "However" pronouncing it as "Hoyiever". He said "...
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What is the exact word for vintage fashion which is returning in present time? [migrated]

My native language is not English. I want to know the word about fashion (past) which is returned in present. Remake is not the right word but I think something like this.
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1 answer
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Should "lecturer" be capitalised?

At work, I am sending notifications out to individual students about their lecturer contacting them. My boss keeps writing the phrase “Your Lecturer will be in touch soon”, however I thought in this ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Trouble pronouncing "queer" being myself a native British speaker [closed]

I'm a native British speaker from Bristol and for some reason I'm having real trouble pronouncing the word queer. Any ideas? I'm also fluent in German and for some reason I think I'm saying it with a ...
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History of "literally": Who changed the definition of "literally" to no longer mean "figuratively" in the first place? [duplicate]

According to my research, "literally" used to mean "figuratively", or at least it was used by many people to mean "figuratively" several centuries ago. Yet, although ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Question about Dog and Dog's female

I am a non-native speaker trying to learn English. I have a question about an animal. Why is "dog" considered a good word and while its female equivalent, "bitch", is considered a ...
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3 answers
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"close resemblance in/on ..." OR "closely resembling ..." [closed]

I have two quite similar fracture populations and I try to emphasize this in the following sentence. But which of the prepositions/solutions is correct in British English? The baseline ...
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Use of the word "local" to mean "domestic" or "national" in certain forms of English

In Maltese English, it is very common to use the word “local” to mean "domestic" or "national" / "Maltese". To give some context – Malta is a tiny independent island-...
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2 answers
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What's the American or British English equivalent to "take a download from", meaning get to know the information from someone?

In Indian English, we often use the phrase "take a download from" which isn't common outside India or at least South Asia. This phrase means to get to know the information from someone. For ...
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1 answer
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What does "arse-knit" mean?

In Alan Hollinghurst's 2004 novel The Line of Beauty, winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize, there appears the term arse-knit. What does it mean? In context, it seems to be some kind of uncomfortable ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is 'peasant' generally considered derogatory?

Is peasant when used in general to describe a modern socioeconomic class considered to be derogatory? Apparently there is no issue when talking about European history... I read in the Brtitannica ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Correct writing of "clinical- and policy-relevant evidence"

I'm struggling with concise writing of the following. None of the sentences "sound" nice. Could you give some guidance? A) There is a need for both clinically and policy-relevant evidence? ...
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Meaning of a sentence in David Copperfield

The phaeton was a very handsome affair; the horses arched their necks and lifted up their legs as if they knew they belonged to Doctors’ Commons. There was a good deal of competition in the Commons on ...
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Ground or grounded - and why? [closed]

In the sentence, This particular discipline was ground by the strict protocols of its predecessors. Why is it ground and not grounded? To me it feels like I should use the infinitive 'ground' as a ...
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5 votes
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American vs British English: using 3rd person singular pronoun or person's name?

I grew up in the UK and now have a lot of American friends and colleagues; I tend to notice an almost systematic difference in the way Americans use 3rd person singular pronouns in preference to a ...
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1 answer
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What does “in our children we lived again” mean?

From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens He was full of eloquence. He gave us to understand that in our children we lived again, and that, under the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, any accession ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How is "composite" as a verb pronounced in British English?

I always pronounce "composite" as COM-posite when it is used as an adjective or a noun. But in some technical contexts as "alpha compositing" it is also used as a verb, and in this ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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American using weak conjugations for BrE strong and vice versa

Reading American literature of questionable quality, I often come across words like leaped, kneeled and creeped, and they always cause this Englishman to hesitate. Can anyone explain the usage? I ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What's the meaning of this paragraph in David Copperfield?

Within the first week of my passion, I bought four sumptuous waistcoats — not for myself; I had no pride in them; for Dora — and took to wearing straw-coloured kid gloves in the streets, and laid the ...
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Is short /ɪ/ or long /i:/ being used for the pronunciation of "Mid" on Cambridge Online Dictionary

To my ears, the Cambridge dictionary pronounces the word "Mid" /mɪd/ really like /mi:d/ for British accent. So the long /i:/ is being used instead of the short /ɪ/. Compare: https://...
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10 votes
4 answers
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Usage of the phrase "do not play the saint"

I have noticed that some Maltese-speaking people tend to use the phrase "do not play the saint". It's intended to mean "Do not act all innocent" or "Do not act so 'holier-than-...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the earliest example of "tops/at tops" for "at the most," and is it now more common outside of AmE?

The OED's entry and earliest citation for tops are: plural tops n. (also at tops) at the most, at the latest. Usually finally. colloquial (originally and chiefly U.S.). 1956 ‘B. Holiday’ & W. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can the idiom "fall off the wagon" be said to be "chiefly American"?

I read an answer on another site which referred to the idiom of falling off the wagon as being "chiefly American". That got me curious since I would have thought that this particular idiom ...
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What's the meaning of this sentence in David Copperfield?

Could anyone explain to me about the last sentence "as if a thousand things it makes a noise about, were not one-half so good for it, or me". Who is "it" and so on? As I think of ...
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What's the meaning of "that vagabond was made for the next two days"?

I am currently reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. There is one sentence which has puzzled me. But the Doctor himself was the idol of the whole school: and it must have been a badly ...
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25 votes
1 answer
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What does ‘Garden Girl’ mean?

The following passage was in Lord Tebbit’s recent column in The Telegraph: Mr Pascall wrote that he was “amazed to read that there are now 400 staff in Downing Street” and goes on to say that in ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Simplification of 'ou' in suffixes of American words which differ from British version

As mentioned in other posts (like here), words which contain an 'ou' in their British spelling are typically spelled with an 'o' in the American equivalent. I'm interested in the reasoning and ...
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15 votes
3 answers
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Use of "Say ..." to begin sentences, particularly in BrE versus AmE?

We were looking at this sentence, or actually a line of dialogue: They're in the car. JACK Say John! I better concentrate. Would you be able to figure out the AC? Our colleague Jane who is generally ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How do American speakers use the present subjunctive in a less formal way on American-English?

Although we don't use present subjunctive often, there are some kind of times you practically need to use it. For example, in British-English you usually use "should" in the present ...
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16 votes
3 answers
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Where does the word stoothing come from? Is it used in any other contexts apart from "stoothing wall"?

My father uses the expression "stoothing wall" to refer to a stud or internal wall. What is the origin of the word "stoothing" ? Is it ever used in any contexts other than "...
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0 votes
2 answers
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"A letter is written to inform" vs "A letter is written to be informed" [closed]

I write a letter to inform him I want to convert this sentence into the passive voice. But then wrote down these three sentences. I can't understand the difference between these sentences. Can anyone ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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"All hazards and dangers we barter on chance"

This is from the lyrics of "Arthur McBride" by Paul Brady. ...“But,“ says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes For you’ve only the lend of them, as I suppose And you dare not change ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Comma needed before "as does"? [closed]

Should I write this without a comma: The evidence from this study suggests that stroke may impose a comparable risk on the survival of older patients as do heart attack due to the close resemblance ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Is there a term to describe someone that is neither genuine or a hypocrite?

In definition, Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another or the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's ...
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8 votes
3 answers
206 views

What does having a hat "on three hairs" mean, and where does that expression come from?

In my reading I came across this description: His old red coat was sponged and pressed, his whiskers shone with pomade, his cap was on three hairs, his cane under his arm, and his monocle in his eye. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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A north country question: is Varmint the root of Warm 'un?

I would like to examine the proposition that the Yorkshire and north country term warm ‘un may derive from the word varmint. I was brought up in south Yorkshire and often heard children referred to as ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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How is "of " pronounced?

I was wondering why we pronounce the word of as ä in the phrase "piece of cake" and as ov in the phrase "part of life". What I've tried: After searching on the internet, I've ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Is there a word for a picture or a symbol that teaches a lesson?

I'm looking for a word that describes a picture or symbol that teaches a lesson or conveys an important message. For instance, the picture of Sisyphus and the rock is meant to teach the observer that ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Why do the British navigate, and orientate, but not conversate or confrontate? [duplicate]

Americans orient, Britons orientate. Both amputate when performing an amputation. In a conversation, one converses but doesn't conversate. But both Americans and Brits merely compute, rather than ...
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26 votes
6 answers
4k views

Did Peter Piper steal a peck of American pickled peppers?

In the children's renowned tongue twister, which was first published in London 1813, we learn Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Do non-rhotic (British) English speakers often insert a silent "r" when respelling certain words?

This question on SF&F Stack Exchange asked how a particular name ("Chasch", made up by the author) from a novel would be pronounced. An answer to the question referenced an audiobook of ...
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-2 votes
3 answers
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Please explain the meaning in the context [closed]

Question: I have been told by my instructor that you need to question who or what to the verb to get the direct object. Also she said that wherever there are prepositional phrases there is no object. ...
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