Questions tagged [british-english]

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

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Is there more difference between European and American English than between European and American Spanish? [closed]

As a Spanish (Spain) speaking person I can notice the differences between European and American Spanish. Is there also such a big difference between European and American English?
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3 answers
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Does spot have a negative connotation to it?

We are searching for a word that would mean place/site. The word spot sounds nice to us, as in Let's go to that spot. However looking at the definition, it is also used to mean a stain. So we wonder ...
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Difference between approximate and approximative [closed]

French is my native language and "approximative location" sounds better to my native tongue. However I'm surprised that google spell checker is correcting "approximative location" ...
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-1 votes
0 answers
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Wind blew through the leaves of the tree.. other verbs? [closed]

what's the verb? The same as the wind brushed against her cheek, but for trees?
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0 votes
2 answers
42 views

"Lecture notes in" or "Lecture notes on"

I have seen both options used interchangeably, is there a reason why? Example with on: https://www.springer.com/series/15362 Lecture Notes on Data Engineering and Communications Technologies ...
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Beginner Question About "proceed to" [migrated]

I saw an English sentence that says:"The driver change frustrated Almirola, who proceeded to leave the track before the race ended.". I don't understand Why we need "proceed to" in ...
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Issue with an expression using the -ing form [migrated]

What should I know about these two expressions? I have two expressions but I do not know which one is correct and which one should I use. Above all what is the difference? I am not the one writing ...
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0 votes
0 answers
57 views

Is there a name for how some people pronounce their s slightly differently?

I've noticed how some people pronounce the s sound in words using their upper teeth teeth and lower lip (instead of the conventional mostly internal way). This makes it sound almost lispy. I don't ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Is this a gennel or just an alley?

This is a follow-on from a question I asked on Movies.SE, about the following shot from a TV show: I've always called this a gennel (probably more popularly known as a ginnel throughout the rest of ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Can "is" in "is a" be omitted?

Can the "is" in the following sentence be omitted? "Those who think a cure for Alzheimer's Disease is a possibility must act now."
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2 votes
1 answer
129 views

What happens to 'l' in between words as in "Neal Evans"?

What happens to 'l' in between words? For example in "Neal Evans, is the extra /l/ sound extended to "Evans"? So that "Neal Evans" becomes /niːl levəns/ in British ...
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3 votes
2 answers
122 views

Etymology of the word "erre" in English

I'm currently working on Bible translations and have stumbled accross the word "erre" in James (1: 2-18) of the King James Bible. To be more specific in verse 16: Doe not erre, my beloued ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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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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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0 votes
1 answer
50 views

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
42 views

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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-4 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
1 answer
75 views

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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0 votes
3 answers
43 views

"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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0 votes
0 answers
33 views

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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0 votes
2 answers
54 views

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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0 votes
1 answer
84 views

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
97 views

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
51 views

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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1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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
0 answers
182 views

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
86 views

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
108 views

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
664 views

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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2 votes
1 answer
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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
2k views

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
62 views

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
119 views

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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0 votes
2 answers
55 views

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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2 answers
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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
6k views

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
83 views

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
2k views

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
122 views

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
1k views

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
47 views

"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
73 views

"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
32 views

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
88 views

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
218 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
84 views

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
138 views

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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