Questions tagged [british-english]

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

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What does ” You got the shoes that I like” implies?

Recently, there’s a video quite popular. A boy called Megatron in a movie town “Daddy” jokingly. So Megatron said" You got the shoes that I like" Does it really mean that Megatron likes the ...
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2answers
58 views

Are comma splices more common in British English or American English?

To me it seems that they are more common in British English than in American English (and I say that as a Brit). From what I have noticed, American politicians' writing tends to have fewer comma ...
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This use of "that" in British English

Probably informal if not exclusively colloquial. The pattern is as follows <adjective>, that Some that I've seen: Awful, that. Wonderful, that. Suspicious, that. I understand the meaning ...
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38 views

Correct form of 'Linearised' as an adjective in UK English [closed]

I am writing a paper using UK English. If the word "linearised" is used as an adjective, shall I write "linearized"? For example:- "A linearized equation" instead of &...
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Determining the main verb in perfect tense [closed]

The boy has decided to run away from the terrifying dog. Which is the main verb (run away - has - terrifying - decided)?
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What are the qualities of a good english teacher? [closed]

It's my first time using this site. I have a question that's been on my mind for awhile. What do you think are some qualities of a good english teacher? Context: Currently I'm still pursuing my ...
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18 views

Has vs Have vs had [closed]

For this sentence, should it be had/has/have? The book captured the nature of grief in ways no other books has/have/had for me.
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3answers
57k views

In British English, should it be "licensee" or "licencee"?

We all know that "license" in American English is "licence" in British English. But what about the person to whom the licence is given? Various dictionaries show the 'c' version, ...
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3answers
576 views

How did "muggins" come into use?

In an episode of "Yes Minister", the Rt. Hon. James Hacker is appointed to be "Transportation Supremo" - in charge of devising an integrated transport policy. His permanent ...
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How would the queen of England say the f word? [closed]

I am looking for a very posh way of cussing after a failed task. Like dropping a hot cup of coffee or tripping on a tree branch. But it has got to be very polite, posh, and high-mannered. The closest ...
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76 views

Can ‘then’ be used in place of ‘than’ in English? [closed]

I am not sure if this is regional English (probably British) or obsolete English.  Here is the quote that I am referring to, but I found this multiple times, not just here. Spilling seed is more ...
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1answer
43 views

Dialectal variation in subtleties of usage of the word "sore"

I grew up in southern England, and now live in Scotland. There are many interesting and well-known quirks of usage that differ between Southern English English and the various Scottish dialects and ...
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1answer
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How to form a gerund from “practise”? [closed]

I (think) I know the difference between practise (verb) and practice (non-verb). However, I am not sure which form I should use in cases like the following ones: I love practising the guitar. ...
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3answers
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“Make sure to” vs. “Make sure you”

I am a middle-aged native British English speaker. Throughout most of my life, in the UK the phrase "Make sure you..." has been used universally. For example: "Make sure you collect ...
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2answers
135 views

Etymology of "brave", meaning insane

I was reviewing the hilarious and terrifying British English to other translation guide and I would be fascinated to know something. How has the use of brave in "That's a very brave proposal"...
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1answer
32 views

What does "make no expressed" means? [closed]

I've seen this sentence in the books publisher note. The authors and publisher have taken care in the preparation of this book, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no ...
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37 views

Can simple present tense express future meaning with "Either" and "Whether"

"Either I accompany you or stay here". "Either you come with us or stay at home" These sentences are expressing "Choices" or "Ultimatum/Threat " with future ...
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6answers
138k views

"Haven't you?" or "don't you?"

What is the right question tag (in British English) when we use the verb have? I have interviewed a few native speakers and none of them could explain why sometimes they prefer "haven't/hasn't" and ...
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4answers
408 views

Does the word “episode” apply to each individual broadcast of a TV program, no matter what the content each time?

Our studio has a one-hour TV program which runs three times a week and broadcasts different films. The content of the program is usually like the following, so can we call each broadcast an episode of ...
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Plural "-i" vs. "-uses" [duplicate]

Similarly to Latin words with no plurals in English I still have trouble with some plurals when the word ends in -us. For example, I have often been told that the plural for cactus is cacti, but then ...
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2answers
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"s" vs. "z" in BE vs. AE

I have trouble understanding why some words change "s"-es to "z"-s from BE to AE and some not. For example: analyse -> analyze characterise -> characterize hypnotise -> hypnotize But: compromise -> ...
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1answer
36 views

as mine - as I (am). semantics [closed]

I've asked a similar question before, but my thread is closed. As I've learned from previous thread, both these sentences are grammatical. My question is: what is the meaning difference between these ...
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5answers
2k views

What is the American equivalent of a "backie"?

From Collins informal Brit a ride on the back of someone's bicycle And here the words backie or backy is listed as an "untranslatable", the blogger found no American equivalent. The BBC have been ...
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“Can I ask it?”

In the TV show Ted Lasso, one character (of Nigerian descent) asks another for a roll of tape by saying “Can I ask it?” I wasn’t familiar with this phrasing. I think an American would have said “Could ...
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“From whom” usage [migrated]

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? My friendly neighbor, from whom I borrowed a ladder last night, is a nurse; The correct answer seems to suggest that My friendly neighbor, whom I ...
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6answers
10k views

Do brides in church weddings go up the aisle toward the altar or down the aisle toward the altar?

Nigel Rees, The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1987) has this entry regarding the question "WHY DO WE SAY ... BRIDES GO UP THE AISLE?" Sir Thomas Bazley fired off a letter ...
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4answers
411 views

Can Practice (verb) and Practise (verb) indicate two different meanings?

I recall that at school (in the late 1960s/early 1970s) in England I was taught how and when to use Practice and Practise. What I was taught was this: Practice, when used as a verb, means to do ...
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2answers
120 views

Does the phrase "met fate" always refer to a death? And is it different from the phrase "met one's fate"?

All of the examples I've found have "met one's fate" as referring to a death. The dictionary also has it as referring to a death. (Merriam Webster's definition is simply: "to die".)...
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5answers
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Very unusual meaning of "abortion"

The following use of the word "abortion" got my attention. It is from Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, published in 1951. Here is the context: "...Listen. I met a man on the Common today with ...
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2answers
80 views

Type of usage/accuracy

As the boy tames the wild bird, it evokes pleasure in him away from his hardship in society; the bird is bettering us here. verb gerund or present participle: bettering improve on or surpass (an ...
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2answers
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Usage of 'last June' in newspaper archive

I found a UK newspaper article from October 1918, which made reference to 'last June'. What's the likelihood of that meaning June 1917, as opposed to June 1918? I assume if it was 1917, they would ...
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1answer
55 views

No test that you wouldn't have had done before

No test that you wouldn't have had done before https://youtu.be/4nm6Xaxvqd0?t=200 (3:20) Is this phrase grammatical? There's no idiom such as would (not) have or have done. What about No test you ...
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286 views

Is the origin of "butch" really from Polari?

I've been researching the origin of the term "butch" and noticed that sources tend to be split on whether they mention it originating from Polari. OED, Green's Dictionary of Slang (adj., ...
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4answers
16k views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
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15k views

When do you use "middle" and when "center"?

The other day I was talking to a friend about when to use "middle" or "center". I was using it in the context of top, middle, bottom, as a listing, and he suggested it should be top, center, bottom. ...
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1answer
116 views

Olden version of "psychopath"

Apparently, the term "psychopath" was coined in 1888, and at that point, it might not have even been used by the laypeople. So, I*m wondering about a word used for people that display ...
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5answers
3k views

Why is stainless steel "stainless"?

Inox steel is stainless because it does not stain, but is stain the same thing as rust? I just want to understand since stain reminds me of clothing stains, for instance, and I am rather curious as to ...
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6answers
280k views

"Oriented" vs. "orientated"

What are the origins of the word orientated? As far as I know, the correct spelling is oriented and orientated is not an alternative spelling but an error that is in common use. Is it for example ...
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4answers
129 views

Does 'contact number' in BrE refer to the act of contacting or to an electrical telephone contact?

It is common in BrE to use 'contact number' where AmE would use 'telephone number'. Does the 'contact' in 'contact number' refer to the act of making contact, or is there a more technical origin, as ...
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1answer
69 views

Present Perfect and Past Simple in the this statement

I have a doubt concerning the following statement. Talking about the story of a family, which of the following statements is correct: My aunt has found a new job in Melbourne so they moved there. My ...
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2answers
66 views

What exactly is a "building" in the UK?

My question relates specifically to multi-storey residential buildings with several flats on each floor. Not necessarily high-rises or a "block of flats". An example would be the following ...
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1answer
42 views

Is it common to omit the preposition "of" when referring to dates in British English [duplicate]

In American English, we usually refer to dates using the month-day format. So the date today is spoken as "August eleven" without requiring the preposition "of". However, as far as ...
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2answers
60 views

Usage of being in English

Someone has written I would like to be a human being rather than being a feminist. Is it correct grammatically to use 'being' here after 'than'? What is the grammar behind it?
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3answers
1k views

What does it mean to "feel Humpty"?

I was reading a book written in the UK and a character stated that speaking to her sister made her "feel Humpty". I am not sure what she was feeling, as the rest of the dialogue gave no clue. Can ...
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1answer
94 views

What does "Benefit of a second's distance" mean

I was watching Silicon Valley (HBO) and one of the characters said this: ”I grant you with the benefit of even a second's distance, this isn't a good look." Now I understand the last bit and the ...
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1answer
104 views

What makes Jacob Rees-Mogg's accent posh? [closed]

The accent of the British politician Jacob Rees-Mogg is often described as posh, with many people going as far as saying it is an affectation of his. To my non-native speaker ears, his pronunciation ...
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1answer
42 views

Which of the following sentences is correct: Can you not travel during this period? or Are you unable to travel during this period? [closed]

I came across the following sentence written by a supposedly native (British) English speaker in a text I'm currently editing and it immediately struck me as being odd: We offer special discounts to ...
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1answer
67 views

Single word to express "all round support"

If somebody helped an author in many topics, how to express this with sincere gratitude? SENTENCE It is a genuine pleasure to express my sincere gratitude and appreciations to people supporting me ...
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2answers
7k views

No caption needed or no needed caption

I already know that " no caption needed" is correct but why? Needed is adjective and I think it should be before the noun Please explain
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3answers
118 views

How is the word "wrangle" used in Europe?

I'm starting a new online business in the US, and hope to attract customers in Europe as well. I'm thinking about using the word wrangler in the name of the business. The meaning I'm intending is &...

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