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Questions tagged [north-american-english]

Questions about English used in the United States and Canada, but usually not Mexico.

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37 views

Is it acceptable to use “and” and an ampersand in the same sentence?

Editing copy on marketing collateral for my company can be tricky. There are lots of lists involved; it can be hard to balance clarity with keeping things concise. My biggest issue recently has been ...
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1answer
126 views

Is this correct in American English: It has helped me developed

I've come across a brief overview about a Canadian sales representative that says : I grew-up in a family business specializing in short-term rental accommodations. Our resort, Tyrolean Village ...
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1answer
113 views

Why is there a US idiom of using China to mean far away?

I live in the UK, and a lot of US culture reaches us in the form of film and TV. There seems to be a trope of referring to something as being in China to mean it's a long way away. Things like: "I'...
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1answer
106 views

Why do some Americans pronounce K and B after vowels sounds like G and P

For example, ‘speaker’ sounds like ‘speager’ and ‘Stop it’ sounds like ‘stob it’.
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53 views

Final /s/ vs /z/ sound at the end of verbs/nouns issue [duplicate]

So, I've seen this rule at several English books about how if a word has a voiced final sound (e.g. r, voiced th, l, m, n..) then added 's' is pronounced more like /z/. If the final sound is voiceless ...
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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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1answer
25 views

What's this “Jl. Sg.” appended to a name in the Social Register?

Screenshotted from the (fictitious) "1929 Social Register" in the opening sequence of the film Down to Their Last Yacht (1934). "Miss Linda Colt-Stratton" I get, but what's the "Jl. Sg." after her ...
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1answer
56 views

What are the feminine equivalents of “Running mate”?

From Wikipedia: In the United States, "running mate" refers not only to a candidate for vice president (federal), but also to a candidate for lieutenant governors of those states where the ...
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4answers
63 views

What is/are the synonym/s for 'to move to sit closer to someone'?

I have a couple of things in mind, but I'm not sure if they can be applied to sitting position. For example, if I'm sitting on the other end of the couch, and then I move to sit closer to someone ...
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3answers
44 views

Expressing “with a higher variance” as an adjective

Is it possible to express has a higher variance in the sentence Dataset A has a higher variance than dataset B as an adjective? Would Dataset A is more variable than dataset B be the ...
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1answer
42 views

Stove, Cooker, Range, Oven, Hob

Whenever we go to Canada, we go self catering. Usually the cooker (English word for the combination of an oven with gas or electric burners on top which can be used when cooking with saucepans) we had ...
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1answer
20 views

“Stay on us for this” [closed]

In response to "Thank you. Much appreciated" Reply was "Please stay on us for this" What is the exact meaning of this response.
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1answer
40 views

Co-pay vs copartnership: Prefix hyphenation in AmE

In AmE, we tend to close up prefixes like co-, re-, pre-, post-, etc. unless the first letter of the main word is the same vowel as the last letter of the prefix. But I see some exceptions like ...
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0answers
24 views

over the years/thoughout the years/for years

What are the cases in which each of those is used? Can you give more detailed examples and differences in meaning and usage than the ones I found below if there are any? Here's what Google says: ...
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7answers
4k views

What is a small tent kind of shop on the side of the road called?

What is a small tent kind of shop on the side of the road called? It can sell stuff like newspapers, snacks, coffee, and other small things. The only two things that come to mind are "a hot dog stand"...
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1answer
193 views

Does “throw a leg over” means “riding a horse” or “sexual intercourse”?

Now anyone reading this article - http://mentalfloss.com/article/31841/why-new-york-city-called-big-apple and especially this line from that: "The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a ...
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1answer
63 views

Why it is “the Grinch” but not just Grinch as it's his personal name

We don't use the definite article with personal names, however here....why is it so? Yeah, I know sometimes we can use "the". When it's a person everybody knows about or smth like that. But why it'...
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0answers
52 views

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday!

Sources available on line say that the expression “Cyber Monday” is just a few years old, dating its coinage to 2005: The term "Cyber Monday" was dreamt up in 2005 by a marketing team at Shop.org,...
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0answers
53 views

Vowel shift in Michigan accent?

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Michigan because my grandparents live there. By today’s standards, they have very heavy accents, with full Canadian raising and the northern cities vowel shift. ...
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1answer
158 views

question about meaning of `off-service`

There is a sentence in an article which says : "Workers are hard-pressed to finish work during a tight off-service window". Can anyone explain my questions : 1. does *tight off-service* mean *tight ...
4
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1answer
75 views

Young native-speaking males emphasizing deep voices

Recently a possibly new speech pattern has come to my attention and I am wondering whether it is genuine or whether I am mistaken. It is young, male native speakers emphasizing a deep, "rough" voice. ...
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5answers
805 views

How infrequent is “a non-zero chance”?

I misinterpreted the expression “a non-zero chance” as an emphatic way to stress that there was no possibility or likelihood of something happening. there is a non-zero chance that they will pay ...
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1answer
155 views

Is the voicing voiceless consonants common in the US?

I don't know if I should trust my non-native ears, but I've heard a couple of people (Katie from CollegeHumor is the first one come to mind) who say "thank you" with a voiced "th" instead of the ...
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4answers
180 views

Idiom for premonition

I am trying to remember an idiom that is used when someone has a premonition about something, often coincidentally i.e. I am thinking about someone and then they call me. I know there is the ...
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1answer
34 views

Go and come as verbs and the ommitting of and

I have a question relating to the verbs "come" and "go" plus another verb. Why do americans say come sing with us (for example and not come AND sing with us (as is the norm in English English. Like ...
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2answers
678 views

Is the expression “jam-packed” of American origin?

I came across this expression at random, and when reading its definition and reading it in within context, it struck me as a particularly American thing to say. When trying to confirm my suspicion, I ...
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2answers
677 views

What are the names of the two phonetic changes in this sentence?

I'm going to be teaching English to French high school students for another year in September, and they all have a hard time with my variety of English (they're used to hearing British English). ...
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3answers
792 views

The meaning and usage of ‘stiffs’ in “Of Mice and Men”

I would really appreciate it if someone could confirm whether I have interpreted correctly the meaning of “stiffs” in the following excerpt “I had enough,” he said angrily. “You ain't wanted here. ...
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3answers
925 views

“The cat that got the cream” - is there any innuendo?

I think this is a British idiom. The American version would be, "The cat that killed the canary." I was about to say this to a female friend, intended as a "well done" sort of compliment, ...
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1answer
2k views

initialised or initialized which one is correct spelling? [duplicate]

I have often seen initialised in lots of text, but when I want to write it in Microsoft office word, it says it was misspelled and it should be initialized instead of initialised. so here is my ...
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2answers
1k views

“There is a woman with a snapper.”

So far, I haven't found a clue to this use of the word "snapper" (1851) to describe an energetic, irrepressibly attractive woman at any of the 19th century slang websites so far. Here is part of the ...
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5answers
2k views

Do native speakers of major English varieties actually say “a software” or “softwares”?

So I've looked up the word "software" around, and I've learned that -ware words are uncountable, and there's even a claim at the Wiktionary entry for this word that "a software" or "softwares" are a ...
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1answer
131 views

“How long do you have” — what does it mean?

"How long do you have?" -- What does that mean? The conversation regards my potential trip to another country to visit someone. It means how long I want to stay there? Or How many time I (will) ...
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1answer
162 views

Accented syllable after a glottal stop in NA English

Does anyone know of any studies on the change in use of accenting after a glottal stop? I am in my late 40s, and first heard this maybe 10 years ago used by an adult. I have a nephew who is 11, and it ...
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1answer
198 views

Meaning of these phrases

What is the meaning of "long way out" and "long way yet"? Like in a sentence :: We are all aware that our country has achieved self sufficiency in food but we have to go a long way _____ in order to ...
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1answer
200 views

The word Hindu in American English

I, as an Indian, am often surprised when the Americans use the word Hindu, when they actually mean The country of India The Indian subcontinent The Hindi language (possibly) whereas it should ...
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2answers
181 views

What is the local pronunciation of 'Chicago'?

What is the local pronunciation of Chicago? (specifically the 'a') The standard American English pronunciation is /ʃɪˈkɑ.ɡoʊ/, /ʃɪˈkɔ.ɡoʊ/ or (what I think) is the PALM or LOT lexical sets in ...
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3answers
353 views

The curious case of “UChi” and its pronunciation

The Free Dictionary tells me that UCHI is the acronym for The University of Chicago. But if that were the case, shouldn't it be TUOC? I visited the official university website and it says said Our ...
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2answers
351 views

When is it OK to start a sentence with “But”? [duplicate]

Is starting a sentence with a "But" still bad? I know some Harvard graduates who are native English speakers and do this when they write. Is it acceptable now? What are some of the examples where "...
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1answer
43 views

Is my sentence sounding formal? [closed]

I am having difficulties in describing a situation where there have been two lab tests A and B and where I receive two results without indicating which belongs to A and which to B. Can I ask: "Could ...
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1answer
3k views

Is it “what movie did you watch?” Or “ which movie did you watch?” [duplicate]

I’m confused about the right way of saying it. Please tell me the correct answer and why it is correct.
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2answers
343 views

Origins of “sure” meaning “yes” in American English

I notice that the use of the word "sure" to mean "yes" seems to be much more common in American English than in other dialects. Can anyone point to any evidence as to the origins of this divergence?
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2answers
483 views

What does the expression “If + subject + was/were + infinitive” mean in American English

I just want to ask you guys about the general meaning of expressions that use the following pattern in colloquial American English: If + subject + was/were + infinitive, ... Examples: (Written by ...
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1answer
73 views

does the /d/ in the [nd] combo tend to be unreleased?

I'm asking about north-American English. In words like "refund", "band" and "diamond", is the /d/ is fully released (as an un-aspirated /d/), or stopped, like the /nt/ combo? (different can and ...
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1answer
90 views

Use of the article “the” when referring to an organization or entity

Is there a preferred use of "the" in American English when referring to an organization or entity? For example, on an episode of the "1A" on NPR, guests of the show referred to the U.S. Food & ...
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2answers
4k views

Why is “medicine” pronounced differently?

British English drops the unstressed second syllable to make it sound like med-sin /ˈmɛd.sɪn/. American English keeps it as a 3-syllable word meh-dee-sin /ˈmɛ.dɪ.sɪn/ In Australia I've only ever ...
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3answers
8k views

The “old switcheroo”: Where did the “-eroo” suffix come from?

The -eroo suffix works as an intensifier of sorts, though it also seems to have other, less well-defined properties. The online OED has only this to say about it: -eroo, suffix   ...
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1answer
3k views

The meaning of leaving someone back [ in American English ]

I just watched a great video (a kind of short documentary) about two educators who strive to afford better education for their students in a college in Red Hook (a neighborhood in Brooklyn). The video ...
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2answers
226 views

Word for the act of trying to change a new environment to match the one you came from

I heard this word years ago and can't seem to dig it out of my brain or search engines. Specifically, the conversation was about the type of people who move from the city out to a rural town to ...
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3answers
7k views

How did “biscuit” come to have a distinct meaning in North American English?

The Oxford Living Dictionary makes a clear distinction between the usage of biscuit in Britain and North America: British: A small baked unleavened cake, typically crisp, flat, and sweet. ‘a ...