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Questions tagged [speech]

Questions about spoken English.

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17
votes
12answers
507k views

Which is correct: “drive safe” or “drive safely”?

When someone is going to drive their car somewhere, I always used to say "drive safely" to them. Recently I was told I should say "drive safe." (From: Would you ask someone to drive safe or to ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

Punctuation of direct speech, edge cases

I recently learned that I have developed a consistent, but entirely wrong approach to punctuating direct speech in fiction. I am in the unenviable position of trying to relearn. Previously I wrote ...
22
votes
7answers
78k views

How should one say times aloud in 24-hour notation?

A couple years ago, I switched all my personal clocks 24-hour notation. I live in the US, and 24-hour time is used very, very rarely. So, I haven't been able to listen to anyone say times aloud. Here'...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do some questions not start with an auxiliary verb?

When I learned English, my teachers told me that all questions must have an auxiliary verb at the beginning, just like Are you mad? or Is she playing? do. But when watching some movies or talking ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Intention of rising pitches

I have been wondering about the rising pitch used in almost every sentence, by especially young Americans. What is the purpose/intention of rising pitch except in questions? Is it friendly and ...
66
votes
8answers
21k views

“kinda”, “sorta”, “coulda”, “shoulda”, “lotta”, “oughta”, “betcha”, “tseasy” etc. What are these?

In linguistics, is there a term describing this phenomenon, i.e., when the syllables of two words are slurred together in the spoken language? They are not contractions. While contractions are ...
32
votes
7answers
5k views

What makes “like” and “so” popular?

So, I was like, why does everyone say like and so in every sentence? Where did this trend come from, like, what started it, and is it actually grammatically correct to like, insert like into our ...
43
votes
4answers
34k views

What term can be used to describe Yoda's speech?

What is Yoda's speech called? Is there a particular name for it (such as "dangling...")?
28
votes
13answers
59k views

American vs. British English: meaning of “One hundred and fifty”

I've noticed that Americans do not say "and" when speaking numbers: for example, 150 would be pronounced "one hundred fifty". I and most other British-English speakers would pronounce it "one hundred ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some people say “the reason is is that,” with “is” twice in a row?

Does anybody have any conjectures as to why this quirk is so common? For an example, see this TED talk by Kevin Slavin.
5
votes
2answers
9k views

Simple present vs. present continuous

What is the difference between saying: Are you still working there? Do you still work there? Which is more common in spoken vs written English? Google books returned results for both of them....
1
vote
2answers
6k views

How to write out dates correctly

I have a document dated 05/05/2012. What should I say? Based on the document from 05 May. Based on the document from 5th May. Based on the document from 05 of May.
18
votes
13answers
38k views

Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?

I have been learning English for many, many years now and think I have acquired quite some mastery. Yesterday I saw just another English (American) flick and thought it was a different language, but ...
8
votes
0answers
465 views

When to use passive and active voice [closed]

When is it better to use passive voice in writing and speech? When is it better to use active voice in writing and speech?
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it bad behavior to add filler words such as “so”, “um” in business speak?

Sometimes when I speak with my fellows at work, I start my sentences with "so" or "um". I don't know if this a bad behavior in business speak or not? If so, how can I get rid of those filler words?
5
votes
1answer
940 views

Punctuation within quotes

When I was at school I was told that a quote should end with a comma. For example: "The car is on the road," said Tom. "No it isn't," replied Dick. "He's right — it's over there!" said Harry. ...
31
votes
12answers
7k views

Just how offensive are the terms “retarded” and “gay”?

My college-age son and his friends use the terms "retarded" and "gay" pretty much interchangeably to mean substandard, bad, lame (in the sense of ineffectual or weak) or just plain wrong. I've ...
10
votes
6answers
29k views

Difference between would and will

Thank you for your time reading this. I am from China and have learned British English for years from my middle school to undergraduate time. I normally take 'would' as the past form of 'will', ...
4
votes
6answers
44k views

Which one is it? “Damn” or “damned”?

I know that commonly in America, they use "damn" or "damned" to describe things. Sometimes, more appropriately, it's even "darn" or "darned". For example, This damn/damned computer is too slow. ...
1
vote
2answers
187 views

Is there a special word/name/phrase for the money/income generated by student while he is in college? [closed]

Is there a special word/name/phrase for the money/income generated by a student while he is in college by working part time?
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Non-standard British use of possessive “me”

Native North American speaker here. It's fairly common in certain British dialects to substitute "me" for "my" (Shiver me timbers) in informal speech. My impression is that some speakers mix the ...
0
votes
1answer
97k views

date has already passed OR date has already past? [closed]

Which is correct : date has already passed , or date has already past ? Thanks
0
votes
4answers
258k views

How to say the total amount?

I'm not sure if the saying of the total amount USD 23,428.32 is correct below (esp. the 'cent' part after the dot): Say U.S. dollars twenty-three thousand four hundred and twenty-eight and thirty-...
23
votes
3answers
179k views

Difference between “asleep” and “sleeping”

I know asleep and sleeping are interchangeable in many cases. But in these situations, I am not sure. I read stories to my son after he went to bed. After reading the stories, I stayed for some time ...
2
votes
5answers
23k views

Films/Series that are extremely good to understand (and that are not…) [closed]

Some time ago I asked "Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?" To my surprise even many native speakers answered that they had difficulties understanding some movies and ...
12
votes
6answers
12k views

Do native speakers understand all the words in songs? [closed]

I'm wondering if native speakers understand all the words in songs. For me it is very very difficult, as I can usually understand only 30% of words and phrases in songs. While listening to people's ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the best way of conveying respect to elders in English? [duplicate]

In Afrikaans, it is considered very disrespectful to use "you" ( "jy") when referring to someone who is above the level of a peer. Instead, it is expected that you use "u", which is a very respectful ...
6
votes
5answers
18k views

In which accent does Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) speak?

I don't know if Stack Exchange is the right place to ask this question but I am very keen to find out: Which accent has Brad Pitt adopted in the movie Inglourious Basterds for the role of Lieutenant ...
3
votes
2answers
31k views

Usage of “to be done” [closed]

The following is a transcript of the well-known recorded lecture by Prof. Michael Sandel of Harvard University (the cited portion starts at 43:36): The only argument this painter makes is that the ...
6
votes
2answers
16k views

Answering your own question

I have been wondering if this particular speaking device had a specific name. My wife uses a speaking technique where, instead of just making a statement, she presents it in the form of a question, ...
5
votes
2answers
11k views

History of the phrase “I was like..” or “I was all…”

When telling a story, it's near essential at some point to state what you said or felt. The younger generation uses phrases "I was like...", OR the similar "I was all...", to express a past state or ...
2
votes
0answers
380 views

already , southern pronunciation ≈ [ʰɑɾi] “oddy”

Cut to the chase pals Could anybody confirm the southern pronunciation of "already" as something like oddy ? if so, What's its phonetic transcription? is there any eye spelling for it? I've noticed ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Differences between “very” and “very much” as adjective modifiers

The following examples are clearly wrong: × I am very much tired × She is very much clever But the following sounds fine (at least according to OALD): I am very much afraid that ... I am ...
4
votes
1answer
650 views

What is Mother Gothel's Accent?

What is the accent of Mother Gothel in the movie Tangled? In an interview with the voice actor (see here), she has a pretty neutral American accent (GenAm + father-bother + caught/cot, from what I ...
4
votes
1answer
981 views

Should the first word after a dash used as self-interruption be capitalized?

When writing dialogue, a dash can be used to denote interruption. For example: “Hello, can I ask you about—” “No.” If a character is interrupting themself, should the first word of the ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

How are basement levels in shopping malls designated?

In a mall or somewhere with multiple basement levels, what is the proper way to designate each underground level? We have: first floor, second floor, etc. for above ground floors. Underground levels ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What are some effective ways a foreign speaker can improve pronunciation in English? [closed]

How can a foreign speaker (where a "foreign speaker" speaks English as a second language) effectively improve their spoken English by improving their pronunciation and reducing their foreign accent. ...
2
votes
0answers
821 views

Appearance of “is is” in speech patterns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “The thing is, is that…” Why do some people say “the reason is is that,” with “is” twice in a row? For the past few years I've been noticing a curious phenomenon. People ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word read?

How is the spelling of a hyphenated word usually read out loud? For example, with "Anglo-Saxon", do we say: "It is spelt as A—N—G—L—O—dash—S—A—X&...
2
votes
4answers
35k views

Using “mentioned above” when speaking

Is it valid to say "mentioned above" when one reference to something one have previously said? Context example (transcript from The Law of One): Questioner: George Van Tassel built a machine in ...
2
votes
1answer
923 views

How do you 'say' the numbers in: “section 20.1234” in a government regulation? [closed]

How do you read section 20.1234 in a regulation by a government agency? For example, the law is 38 C.F.R. section 20.1234. How do you read 20.1234? Do you read it as "twenty one two three four" or ...
2
votes
3answers
789 views

N or AND in pronunciation

Can I say «n» instead «and»? Example: I like apples n pears.
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Are there rules of pronunciation for words in English? [closed]

I know that there is at least one language we can pronounce based on the word's form (Vietnamese) which means that once you know how to write it, you will also know how to pronounce it. But in ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Which speech impediments contain the phonemes affected by said impediments?

There are at least a few terms used to describe specific speech impediments which are themselves difficult for a person with said speech impediment to say. For example: Lisp: Frequently conceived ...
1
vote
0answers
113 views

Is “church” one syllable or two? [duplicate]

I read like twenty years ago that the word "church" (clutch, hatch, match) is undoubtedly one syllable when written but that an argument can be made that it's two syllables -- CHUR-ch -- when spoken. ...
1
vote
3answers
35k views

What is the formal way to say “a bit”?

What is the formal way to say a bit in an essay, for example, in the sentence beginning “It is a bit different from”? Is a little formal enough?
1
vote
3answers
6k views

How can I learn to speak with various accents? [closed]

How can I learn to speak with appropriate English accents when reading books aloud? For example, are there simple rules for each accent? My question is general question, but my application is ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Ending a declarative statement with a question mark? [duplicate]

Recently, there was a debate as to when one can legitimately end a declarative statement with a question mark, like writing “I don’t know?” as an answer, and what that could possibly mean. The ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
-1
votes
1answer
711 views

Take my word for it or take my word for this? [closed]

Me and a friend got into an argument. He says that you can say "Take my word for this". I say that the proper use is "Take my word for it". Could someone elaborate on each of those and tell us who is ...