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Questions tagged [british-english]

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

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What is the district police called?

I was chatting with a course mate the morning and we talked about alcohol, then he mentioned in Poland you can't drink publicly, as the 'civic guard' may talk to you. Neither of us knew what the ...
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44 views

Why is a private school called “public school” in the UK? [on hold]

Public school seems to have contradictory meanings, depending on the region you use the term: (in the UK) a private fee-paying secondary school, especially one for boarders. (chiefly in North America)...
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1answer
56 views

I see this paragraph in “The life of Samuel Johnson”

I see this paragraph in "The life of Samuel Johnson" "Pope, who then filled the poetical throne without a rival, it may reasonably be presumed, must have been particularly struck by the sudden ...
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42 views

Do you stick to the original spelling of a name regardless of British or American spelling?

For example, NATO stands for "North Atlantic Treaty Organization", which is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries, hence the American spelling of "...
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2answers
87 views

What does 'give the wall' mean?

I read in a book and see this paragraph: 'In the last age, when my mother lived in London, there were two sets of people, those who gave the wall, and those who took it; the peaceable and the ...
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2answers
42 views

Clearer title in American English for Liaison? What is a good verb to use for the action?

I've found using the word Liaison in general (especially as a title) in American English conversations is problematic. As many people seem to use it synonymously with manager or advocate. Is there a ...
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31 views

function name, “onButtonClick” or “onClickButton”

I am a Japanese Web developer. I want to be better at English. What is the proper name of a function that means, "when button is(was) clicked" ? "onButtonClick"? "onClickButton"? "onButtonClicked"...
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27 views

Redundancy errors

I have got a query on the differences between the usage of describe and tell about. To the best of my knowledge, normally describe and about won’t come together as describe itself means tell about. ...
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39 views

Are email salutations regional?

Best wishes is very popular ending for emails and replaces best regards in almost all emails I've received from academics in Cambridge (UK). At the same time I've never seen this used by American ...
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1answer
44 views

Why does British English use “Collective are” and others use “Collective is”?

Since Indian English uses "Collective is" I feel British English has adopted it after the colonial days. When did countries diverge on is/are and which countries use the British system?
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4answers
124 views

When do British people use the word “cookie”?

I have noticed that British people usually say "biscuit" to describe what an American would call a "cookie". However, I just heard a sports broadcaster in the UK using the metaphor "I wonder when he ...
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1answer
65 views

Why can't we say that “Horses are a useful animal.” treats horses as a class or set of objects?

(1)Computers are important research tools. (2)Computers are an important research tool. We can say that the first sentence treats computers as discrete objects. The second sentence treats ...
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1answer
72 views

In British English, which is more common — the em dash or the en dash?

I'm reasonably certain the em dash is more common than the en dash in American English. But which of the two is more common in British English?
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2answers
53 views

When was the term “reality” first used referring to a TV show?

According to Etymonline the expression is from the early ‘90, but they add no details: Reality television from 1991. Reality television as a genre appears to date back at least to the ‘40s as ...
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1answer
41 views

drop out vs dropout vs drop-out [closed]

If I understand correctly, I have to use one of these 3 forms depending on the case: verb: drop out noun: dropout modifer: drop-out Are the following 7 examples spelled correctly in British ...
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20 views

What does “break out the gavel ”mean?

In hopeless by coleen hoover sky says she will eventually "break out the gavel " any guesses what she means?
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3answers
44 views

is “Lighting the spark for XYZ” a meaningful phrase in english? [closed]

I am trying to translate or rather come up with an English expression for the German "den Funken überspringen lassen" for a title of an academic paper. My best solution so far is "Lighting the spark ...
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2answers
49 views

Is it deodoriser/deodorizer/deodouriser/deodourizer? In British English as well as American [closed]

British English would usually use "-our" and "-ser" and American English would use "-or" and "-zer". I don't seem to find an appropriate answer to this. Which combination is actually correct for ...
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1answer
53 views

Why do we put subject and auxiliary verbs at the end of the sentence?

Why do we put subject and auxiliary verbs e.g., have, be, do at the end of the sentence? I found this kind of sentences from a fantasy book named The last apprentice by Joseph Delany. Examples: ...
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19 views

Usage with conjunctions

She bought one for her, one for him. She bought one for her, and one for him The horse ran out of the gate, across the field. The horse ran out of the gate and across the field. Are the ...
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4 views

I was having a bath with my glasses wore/wearing? [migrated]

I want say a sentence like: I was having a bath with my glasses wore/wearing I've definitely come cross similar structure like this, with my stuff + past simple(or perhaps past participle). Hopefully ...
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0answers
12 views

usage with preposition and subordinate clauses

The performer died after falling ill on stage. This was thought by the audience to be a part of the act, until emergency services were called in, the audience was evacuated, and he was declared dead ...
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1answer
28 views

“Facing the resignation” meaning [closed]

What does it mean: "You'll just be spending your day working to overcome strains, trying to live your life and at various points facing the resignation that if you can't get your *** of this wheel ...
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1answer
51 views

How would you describe the movement of a lever?

The story is that I was describing an action happens in the car park in class, and I got stuck, I said something like: "after putting a coin in the slot of the parking meter, then the lever would be ...
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3answers
51 views

Why do U.S. Americans say “a good value” (using indefinite article “a”)

Take this example from the Airbnb website: "What would have made this listing a better value?" This souds absolutely horrible and incorrect to my Australian ears (I would omit the "a"). I've also ...
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0answers
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Using “went” in a statement [closed]

I would like to know if the below statement is grammatically correct. The context is that someone recently suggested us a solution that we already applied. "That's the solution we went with." Thanks....
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1answer
43 views

Thinking in English

I have been learning English for 10 years at the school, now I am at the last grade, I have passed an exam for B2 Level, but I still have problems with thinking in English. Sometimes my speech is ...
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2answers
68 views

Is it correct to say ‘I will go there in my own way’? [closed]

To express that I will use my own transportation means and route to get there rather than going with a group following the proposed route, can I say, ‘I will go (or get) there in my own way’? Does it ...
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2answers
82 views

“Class, open your books TO/AT page 13!”—Is it a matter of dialectal difference?

My original notion was, A) If there's a movement and a destination (as in the case of thumbing a book to reach a certain page), it should be to: Class, open your books to page 13! B) If there's ...
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1answer
46 views

What are British English alternatives for “jack sh*t”

If you want to say e.g. "He does jack sh*t (nothing) at work", what British English idioms would you use (apart from just 'nothing')?
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16 views

-ic vs. -ical adjective forms when talking about categories/fields [duplicate]

I will bring forward examples coming from my field of studies. For long time I have been wondering whether there are rationales or regional variances applied to the usage of dichotomies like: ...
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2answers
27 views

Is there another way to say, “drive the point in further?” or belabor the point?"

In a work I am writing, two characters are having a discussion that becomes quite heated. The man makes an observation about the woman that is less than flattering and then while she's still ...
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1answer
37 views

I am working for (company name) or i am working under (company name) [closed]

I am working for (company name) or i am working under (company name) which is correct?
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3answers
47 views

“However” as a conjunction [closed]

I know that the word "however" can serve as a conjunction meaning "in whatever manners". But may I confirm if this is only a practice of American English, or it is also commonly used this way in ...
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1answer
38 views

Past tense and future tense can be used together? [closed]

For example, They told me that they will support our next event. Can these 2 tenses be together?
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1answer
623 views

When “be it” is at the beginning of a sentence, what kind of structure do you call it?

I think it is kind of inversion and I'd found some info on Wikipedia, but I cannot recall what term this structure is, I even remember some examples from Wiki, say, "be it ever so humble, there's no ...
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1answer
37 views

can “naughty” be used to describe a child who didn't behave?

my opinion is "YES". The reason why I even asked is that this American friend strongly suggested never use it since it carries sexual suggestiveness. I, however, believe the usage heavily depends on ...
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1answer
40 views

What does “barely perceptibly” mean? [closed]

Barely perceptibly, he starts to cry. Does barely perceptibly mean losing control?
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1answer
38 views

Department or department? [closed]

I have been asked to review a document but I have a dilemma: "D" in below phrase should be capital? "It can flourish collaboration among the members of the Department"? Or job title: "The ...
2
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1answer
100 views

How do you pronounce the word Shaman?

I found 2 American pronunciation samples on Forvo, and they said /ˈʃæmən/ (audio), I wonder if British people say /ˈʃeɪmən/ (audio), or not? Could you please tell me something about that?
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1answer
38 views

Phrase meaning of equal parts

IN THE CUT-THROAT realm of reality TV, “Wanted Down Under” is a survivor. A daytime fixture that has just finished its 13th season, the BBC documentary follows Britons contemplating relocating to ...
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1answer
79 views

What to call a mass of meat in English? [closed]

I'm not talking about the meat itself. Could be a corpse or something lifeless. I think I've heard of the term "lamb" (British English). Is that the case though? (as lamb is sheep's meat). EDIT: ...
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1answer
44 views

What is the difference between to pollute and to contaminate? [closed]

I think they might be synonym, but I'm just not sure.
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1answer
142 views

spatio or spatial

Searching the Google scholar, "spatio-temporal" returnn 778,000 hits, "spatial-temporal" returns 798,000 hits, "spatial-temporal scales" returns 3,620 hits, "spatio-temporal scales" returns 13,...
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2answers
52 views

A word means “move one's hand across hair till it is flat and even” [closed]

I basically just forgot the word, I've got really vague recollection of it, I think it's SMOOTH, like I smooth my hair back But I only remember one of the example sentences in my app, I don't really ...
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1answer
74 views

Please translate to American English from the British the following: OH **UK!

The cover of the most recent Economist (March 16 - 22nd 2019) has in large type OH **UK! Whatever next? From the context, this is clearly a comment on the current Brexit mess. Is ** UK related ...
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4answers
46 views

How to express that a piece of information is the knowledge from a certain date?

I would like to express that a piece of information corresponds to my knowledge at a given date without implying anything on the past or future validity of the information. Example: The house down ...
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1answer
70 views

Usage of “to double down” in British and American English

The idiom "to double to on sth" in the sense of "continuing to do something in an even more determined way than before" is mentioned in the Cambridge Dictionary. However, personally, I've heard this ...
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2answers
60 views

What kind of TV show is an “asshole match” in British English? [closed]

You can see in this clip the "Right Honorable Gentleman" and speaker Bercow makes mention that there is an "Asshole Match on television very soon." I've never heard an Asshole Match, and the closest ...
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1answer
25 views

Use ''of'' and ''for''

What is the correct sentence? I am attaching invoice for this order. or I am attaching invoice of this order.