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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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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

Sink vs Basin distinction

In australian-english, a sink is a fixture for washing dishes (kitchen sink), clothes (laundry sink, or for big ones, laundry tub), or buckets (cleaner's sink) while a basin is for washing hands (hand ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 1,754
19 votes
7 answers
3k views

"Wish in one hand, tacky in the other. See which fills up first". What's the meaning of "tacky" here?

I am reading a contemporary American novel. In a dialogue, one of the characters quotes a proverb her mother used to say: "Wish in one hand, tacky in the other. See which fills up first". I ...
Cicc's user avatar
  • 615
0 votes
0 answers
53 views

What is it called when you mess up or fumble on simple task in front of someone you are attracted to?

For example, most adults can drive well enough it's an unconscious know how to the do's and do nots of the laws of the road. Yet when they have their crush as the passenger they almost crash because ...
Katherine's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
216 views

Where does the second definition of applesauce, nonsense, come from?

Where does the meaning of nonsense in applesauce come from? I tried looking it up, and Etymonline says that The slang meaning "nonsense" is attested from 1921 and was noted as a vogue word ...
Sophia's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
2 answers
149 views

Is the spelling 'judgment' a feature of American English? (As opposed to the other -dg[e]ment words?)

According to the the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the "e" is optional when a word ends in                "-dg(e)ment". Dictionary examples: acknowledgement {also acknowledgment} ...
Loviii's user avatar
  • 742
1 vote
2 answers
226 views

Connotations of "that's too bad" between American and British english

I am a Canadian, but I study in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have discovered a peculiar feature of my speach that seems to surprise most people from here. When ill befalls others, I use the phrase "...
Jack's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
1 answer
548 views

Are either of the phrases "African-American individuals" or "European-American individuals" hyphenated? [closed]

This is in American English, but if it is different in British English, it is worth a mention.
BigMistake's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
416 views

How to quantify "hash browns"

Does "hash browns" refer to a countable thing? Or a substance? Have I had too many or too much "hash browns"? The word "browns" seems to imply a quantity. But, is there ...
svidgen's user avatar
  • 215
2 votes
2 answers
234 views

Acoustic description of the realization [ɛə] of the North American raised /æ/

The Wikipedia article on /æ/ raising uses the transcription [ɛə] for a realization of the North American raised /æ/, as in the words ram and ran. I'm having trouble interpreting this transcription, ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
  • 5,401
1 vote
1 answer
212 views

Idiom "Catches Me Out"

According to MW "catch me out" means: caught out; catching out; catches out transitive verb 1 : to detect in error or wrongdoing caught him out committing perjury 2 : to take unawares or ...
J D's user avatar
  • 1,099
19 votes
3 answers
17k views

"Boy howdy!" Where did this expression come from, who uses it, and what does it convey?

I recently became aware of "Boy howdy!" and figured it was some kind of rural expression of enthusiasm, but I want a bit more clarity. My first encounter was in a Western novel: It was ...
Robusto's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
127 views

Is hilarious pronounced /hɪˈlɛriəs/?

For the word hilarious, the pronunciation transcription in the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary is /hɪˈlɛriəs/ but if I click on the speaker icon, I hear /həˈlɛriəs/. Am I listening to it wrong or ...
Nam N's user avatar
  • 75
4 votes
3 answers
857 views

The meaning of "come home"

In India, when I ask a friend to "come home", it often means I am inviting the friend to my home. I am told that this is different in England or the US, where native speakers would use "...
Mohan Sivanand's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
901 views

What does "bang" mean in this phrase?

The sentence: I thought you said you was innocent, Carl? That you don't bang? I'm playing a game that this word appears, and I want to know in a gang context what does that word mean, can someone ...
gamer123's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is "yuns" a word? [closed]

I am asking if "yuns" is a word, and if it is, how do I use it? Maybe it's just a north east american term, but I'm unsure how it's used in a sentence like: How yuns doing?
John Kneeboi's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
185 views

Examples of the "Proper" use of "ain't" etc. in Georgia/American English Southern dialect?

In Hendrickson, Robert. The Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms. New York: Facts on File, 2000. p6 the introduction to "Whistlin' Dixie" we find (emphasis added): Another ...
Julian Moore's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
41 views

Welcome travelers and locals to your premises

"Welcome travelers and locals to your premises." I believe that sentence would be understood by Australian/NZ people. I'm just checking, is that something an American would understand and ...
user1946932's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
59 views

Is it grammatically correct [nowadays] not to invert the NP and copula in an indirect question? [duplicate]

I don't know if this is a recent phenomenon, but for the last decade, I've noticed when English speakers make statements denoting there are/were unknowns, they usually phrase them with a question ...
Lex's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
3 answers
2k views

Colloquial name for the airport-like fences (pictures attached)

What is the colloquial name of this type fences? Tape fences? Internet suggested "retractable belt stanchion set" and "airport fence", but they aren't used only in airports and &...
dee's user avatar
  • 616
5 votes
3 answers
340 views

Are Canadianisms like "aboat" equally common on the American side of the border, adjacent to it?

Most Canadians live close the the border. If you cross to the American side of border, in a rural area, do Canadianisms (1) like "aboat" (2) suddenly become much less common? Since this ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 1,436
2 votes
1 answer
189 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 ...
LP0956's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
348 views

"Coming in this country" or "coming into this country" [duplicate]

Is it correct to say coming in this country just as it is with coming into this country ? There's no doubt in my mind that I can use both with arrive: arriving in this country vs. arriving into this ...
gene b.'s user avatar
  • 197
17 votes
4 answers
7k views

In North America, is it normal to address children you don't know as "honey"?

From Now vaccinated, third grader who asked Joe Biden a question at town hall gets to visit the White House: Biden responded directly to Layla [who is 9 years old, as given in the article], ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 757
0 votes
1 answer
295 views

What is the origin of the meaning of 'counter' to express the surface on which goods or money is counted? [closed]

The OED does not appear to list the meaning of the noun 'counter' which conveys the concept of a flat surface over which goods or money is counted, except that it lists the verb 'to counter' as having ...
Nigel J's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
781 views

Do some Americans in the Midwest pronounce "sorry" similarly to Canadians?

I just listened to the closing arguments from the defense team in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. At one point, Mr. Rittenhouse’s lawyer pronounced the word “sorry” in a way that to my non-native ears ...
user178452's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
105 views

Does "I'm not sure" always cast a sense of disapproval? [closed]

I've got a feeling that when I say "I'm not sure if X is Y", people often take that as if I were saying "X is (probably) not Y". Is it a reasonable interpretation? Almost all times ...
IsaacS's user avatar
  • 123
0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Is “be confident in your capacity” grammatically correct?

I'm trying to learn some new English recently, is this sentence grammatically correct? Be confident in your capacity. Does it sound weird to say? To me it seems like when saying capacity some ...
killderich111's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
259 views

Why does "tarrier" as an American job title not appear in OED or Merriam-Webster?

The folksong "Drill Ye Tarriers Drill" is well-known: Wikipedia Drill Ye Tarriers Drill. The title refers to Irish workers, drilling holes in rock to blast out railroad tunnels. It may mean ...
Jacob Wegelin's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
89 views

Is America (grammatically) a "constitutional federal republic" or a "federal constitutional republic"?

Grammarly says the adjective federal goes before constitutional, but I'm not sure what type of adjectives federal and constitutional are. Here's what they said: It appears that the modifiers in the ...
Eloise Zeng's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
62 views

What does the intonation pattern on "online" mean or imply? [closed]

What does the speaker mean or imply with the intonation on "online" at 0:31 around? A negative and doubtful query? Does the intonation pattern on "online" completely fall at the ...
questionguy's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
719 views

Not everything is about you [closed]

What does it actually mean when people say "Not everything is about you." when they use it?
Mhr's user avatar
  • 21
3 votes
0 answers
85 views

What does the idiom 'It is noon in New York' mean in Chicago? [closed]

I do not have a context for the idiom. All I know it is from/related to Chicago. I did not find this idiom online.
nyaki's user avatar
  • 31
0 votes
1 answer
147 views

How do I pronounce names that end with "t" in the standard American dialect?

For example, how do I pronounce the "t" in "Robert"? (Assuming nothing is said after it, or the thing after it starts with a consonant) Is it a half-stop "t" or a regular ...
Madi's user avatar
  • 13
15 votes
10 answers
6k views

If I cannot win, then I will make it impossible for you to win

We have a joke about a foreigner that went to a wet market in zone 1 and saw a farmer selling live frogs in an open basket. As we all know, frogs jump. Actually, they jump about quite a bit when in a ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
106 views

New Year's what?

I have often noticed that Americans say "New Years" - and wondered why it was plural. But just reading Obama's biography I've noticed for the first time it is spelled with an apostrophe. ...
WS2's user avatar
  • 64.8k
3 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is "each's" a word? [closed]

I've looked, and while there does not seem to be any truly legitimate sources out there on the web that support "each's" being proper grammar. Opposing that, Google Docs does not put a wavy ...
New Saxony's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
38 views

What is Skinn & Sheer in the Ambrose Bierce fable: The Rainmaker?

In the tale of Ambrose Bierce - The Rainmaker it is said the following: hat is a pretty good joke," said the Reporter, laughing as well as he could in the strangling rain - "a mule driver's ...
Camilo Andres Espinosa Romero's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
128 views

American English: "Should have came ..."

So I'm watching Palmer, and Coles, a white, middle-class US American male, just said I shoulda came and visited you (refering to Palmer, who got out of prison earlier that week). The movie plays in ...
Sixtyfive's user avatar
  • 255
1 vote
1 answer
121 views

the meaning of these reading (Neither and Nor)

What is the meaning of the sentence in bold? How might this inability to recall early experiences be explained? The sheer passage of time does not account for it; adults have excellent recognition of ...
SeAlGhz's user avatar
  • 13
0 votes
2 answers
105 views

Confusion about an email reply [closed]

I am an undergraduate student. I was applying to transfer to another university. I wrote to a university official requesting some information, and here is the conversation: Me: ask if the college ...
GoogleME's user avatar
  • 113
2 votes
1 answer
568 views

Pronunciation of /æ/, when it comes before /m/ or /n/

I believe when /æ/ comes before m or n , it’s pronounced [ɛə] instead of [æ], (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//%C3%A6/_raising) but is it always the case?For example, how about the main stress is not ...
kay's user avatar
  • 31
4 votes
3 answers
514 views

What is the term for subconsciously doing something that you think you're dreaming

A friend of mine has been having these weird bouts of subconscious life interruptions. Not sure how to explain it correctly, that's why I'm here, I've researched it but I don't know how to explain it ...
Natalie's user avatar
  • 41
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Slang: "To have a twenty on me"

So I was listening to a song (bülow - Own me), and there's this one line that I can't really understand. Which is "Got nothing but a twenty on me", and I can't really understand what it's ...
Nuncy588's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

What's it means "yes validate just the what" [closed]

I asked my mentor "Do I need to validate the filed if it's type is required?” And he answered "Yes validate just the what" What's that means? It it means yes I should validate it? Or ...
Meilan's user avatar
  • 111
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the origin of the word "wash" to mean a net gain of zero?

"Wash" A situation in which gains and losses balance each other This appears to be informal North American usage. What is the origin of this use of "wash" to mean a net gain of zero?
Flux's user avatar
  • 381
0 votes
1 answer
125 views

What are the rules for using “to” with can and want?

Trying to explain to my Spanish-speaking friend the use of can vs. want, I realize I have no idea of rules for the use of "to". Sometimes it's used, sometimes not, I know what sounds right but I don't ...
claaay's user avatar
  • 1
2 votes
1 answer
482 views

"I'm asking you to middle a diamond"

In the movie Donnie Brasco, Al Pacino shows a jeweler a diamond and tells him "I'm asking you to middle a diamond for me here." What does it mean "to middle"? I cannot found 'middle' as a verb ...
robertspierre's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
59 views

I don't understand what a character says in a TV programme

I'm a non-native English speaker and English is my second language. I've been watching an episode of one of my favourite children's TV programmes for a minute and I already don't understand what one ...
Englishfan685's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
156 views

What is the meaning of "Falcon Friday"?

The term Falcon Friday was found on deviantArt Twitter and later found constantly used in academic domain, like in universities, what is the meaning of Falcon Friday when an university management use ...
KC_'s user avatar
  • 111
2 votes
1 answer
187 views

Social Distance vs Social Distancing

Quick question. Are there any differences between these two words? Social Distance Social Distancing What I understand from the first one is Social( ADJ ) + Distance (N). I do not understand why ...
Pichayut's user avatar

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