JoFrhwld
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Please explain "I Am America (And So Can You!)"
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18 votes

It's a play on titles from self help programs which utilize ellipsis. For example I lost 20 pounds in 4 days, and so can you. This is a kind of strange ellipsis, because just tacking on "[lose ...

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Is it appropriate to use short form of "have" ('ve) when it means possession?
16 votes

I think what you feel uncomfortable with is contraction of "have" as a main verb. When it's an auxiliary verb in, say, a perfect, contraction feels fine: I've had a car before. But contraction of ...

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Are there rules about using "that" to join two clauses?
12 votes

In the example you gave, "I was not joking" is a subordinate clause. One way to think about this is that there are two sentences He will understand X. X = I was not joking. "that"...

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"So long as" vs. "as long as"
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11 votes

I don't know that the distinction between these two is formality. I think that "so long as" indicates a logical predication, and "as long as" indicates a specific time interval. Take your two ...

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Is "denormalized" a word?
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11 votes

The -s vs. -z is a British vs. American spelling convention. Anything with the suffix -ize is spelled -ise by people following British conventions. As for whether or not it's a word, I believe its ...

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Are double negatives proper English (e.g. "I don't know nothing")?
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10 votes

The second one is correct for most dialects of English. The first one is a double negative, or as we call it in linguistics, exhibits negative concord. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on double ...

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What is a West Coast (U.S.) accent?
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10 votes

The Atlas of North American English has a rather broad definition of the West. Its primary characteristics are: The merger of words sounding like cot and caught (they're pronounced the same) The ...

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Where is standard American English derived from?
10 votes

Some people will point to the Midwest as the location where Standard American English is spoken. But, most dialectology work has found that there is no region without a regional accent (for example ...

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Meaning of "owedst"
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8 votes

This is a second person past tense form of "to owe." To give a parse of the morphology: owe - d - st owe - past - 2sg The "-d" or "-ed" is the usual past tense (and participle) marking we know ...

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Is it appropriate for me to pronounce words ending in "ths" (e.g. "paths") with a "z" sound at the end?
7 votes

What you are describing sounds like "regressive voicing assimilation." Usually when forming a regular plural, whether or not you use an -s or -z sound depends on the voicing of final sound ...

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Are -er insults a British phenomenon?
6 votes

American English doesn't have these -er insults, but don't think it lacks -er insults all together. Wikipedia has a list of pejoratives for people, and on the list I saw these -er examples that I'm ...

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Linguistic name for verbs like 'want', 'expect', 'beg',
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5 votes

Within theoretical linguistics, these are called Exceptional Case Marking verbs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECM_verb "You" is actually the subject of "to come." In most cases, infinitives can't ...

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Is it correct to speak of New York dialect?
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4 votes

In discussing English, we don't usually make a big distinction between dialects and accents. For day to day discussions, people will probably understand and appreciate "New York accent", and if you're ...

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Improper use of "Whenever"
3 votes

This is a known dialect feature of the American South (but I can't find a reference right now). I don't know that it has a different meaning from "when" in your dialect.

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Is there a difference between the pronunciation of a teenager, and the pronunciation of an adult?
2 votes

The answer to this will massively depend upon where in the United States you travel. Most dialects in the US are undergoing changes in progress, and are they not all changing in the same way (again, ...

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Is there a 1950's American accent?
2 votes

Pronunciation in America certainly has changed a lot since the 1950s, but to identify exactly what has changed depends on where you are (see my answer here). It's also probable, but I don't know the ...

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