Questions tagged [american-english]

This tag is for questions specifically related to the English language as spoken and written in the USA. If you are interested in a difference between American English and British English, please use transatlantic-differences.

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140
votes
8answers
28k views

Why “grand theft auto”, not “grand auto theft”?

There is a video game series called "Grand Theft Auto". According to its Wikipedia page: The name of the series references the term used in the US for motor vehicle theft. [...] Motor ...
55
votes
6answers
15k views

Is it OK to mix American and British English?

I normally write using the American English forms, but for some particular words, I tend to naturally write it in the British manner (like with the word favourite rather than favorite). Is it wrong ...
38
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “thru” for “through” acceptable? “Tho” for “though”?

I've been told that in American English, sometimes words ending in -ough are written -u: for example thru instead of through. Is this correct English, or is it simply a common error? If it is ...
33
votes
6answers
7k views

How do Americans respond when asked for their names?

I heard a character on TV, when asked for his name, responded: My name is Bond, James Bond. Why doesn't Mr. 007 reply, "My name is James Bond". I am not familiar with first/middle/last name ...
33
votes
4answers
170k views

What does “Nailed it” mean?

I came across a few combinations of 'nailed it' or 'nailed down' in various contexts. According to the blog-posts, it seems to be widespread on the internet. However, I have never heard these ...
29
votes
6answers
7k views

Is “plugging out” electronic devices an American expression?

Are these valid in American English as opposed to "unplug". Plug out the charger from the wall. I plugged out my TV. I found my radio plugged out. I started hanging out with some guys ...
29
votes
3answers
9k views

Why are 'beef' and 'pork' and 'mutton' used to refer to the meat of cows and pigs and sheep?

Why are 'beef' and 'pork' and 'mutton' used to refer to the meat of cows and pigs and sheep? Other animals keep the same name. Is it just some weird preference in the English language?
28
votes
7answers
159k views

What do they mean with “Hi, how are you doing”?

When I was in New York the workers at the counter (in a shop) always said Hi, how are you doing? I was, and still am very confused if they just mean "hello", or actually want to know how I feel. ...
26
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the sports hall in schools called in English?

What is the sports hall in schools called in English? I've translated from my language and the translation is "sport venue", but the according to the picture on Wikipedia I suspect that it is not what ...
26
votes
10answers
8k views

What does “meat” mean?

I asked my friend what he was cooking and he replied, "I am cooking meat." I asked "what meat?" He said, "dude, meat. Don't you know meat?" I asked him again in a more clear way, "Yes, but what meat? ...
26
votes
3answers
7k views

What do Americans call a person when they cannot remember the right name?

In contemporary American English, what do you call a person you’ve temporarily forgotten the name of? Let’s suppose the following scenario. What would you use to fill in the blank? Bill: Hey, Jack, ...
25
votes
4answers
8k views

The female equivalent of “don't break my balls”

We all know that someone who can never be quiet, who criticizes, moans and nags until your patience wears thin and snaps. Some men will intimidate the nagger by saying: Stop breaking my balls! I ...
23
votes
3answers
23k views

What should I say if someone from the opposite side of the earth says “good morning”?

This may sound like a silly question, but I'm having a bit of confusion. I'm not sure what to say. I work remotely and I am a member of a team on the opposite side of the earth. On the chat, when ...
22
votes
8answers
5k views

Is “tin foil” for “aluminium foil” deprecated?

In my native language, the stuff is called "aluminium foil". In English, I always heard people use the phrase "tin foil" for that. I adopted that phrase thinking that despite the foil being made of ...
19
votes
4answers
231k views

'I got a cold' versus 'I caught a cold'

The questions here are not about meaning. They are about the usage of the verbs get and catch in the context of getting a cold. My dictionary says that get can be used to mean 'to become infected ...
18
votes
3answers
6k views

When is using the past perfect tense not necessary?

Is it more natural to speak in simple past or past perfect when explaining past events to a friend? It seems like Americans use more simple past in everyday life than past perfect. I found this ...
17
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the difference between “behavior” and “behaviour”?

In the online version of Cambridge Dictionary, there are these definitions for the next two words: Behaviour = the way that someone behaves Behavior = a particular way of acting What would be ...
17
votes
5answers
891 views

Simple present for speaking about the future the way natives do

I searched the whole internet but couldn't find anything else than the standard rules/guidelines as to how to use the simple present for future events. I understand that when something is scheduled, e....
16
votes
1answer
33k views

What is the meaning of “Redonkulous”; is it an English Phrase?

I want to find out the meaning of an English word called redonkulous. Is it a phrase or something? I found this word in an animated movie called Bolt. I searched in "Google" and in "Google Translate" ...
15
votes
6answers
253k views

What's a professional synonym for “would love to”?

I frequently use the expression "I would love to" when I write e-mails to request things from the other party. As in "I would love to have a call to discuss..." I feel like it conveys humility, ...
15
votes
2answers
8k views

“Mobile homes” in American and British English

I'm always getting these types of mobile homes mixed up. Could someone please explain the difference between the following? A mobile home. Is this any home that can be towed by a car? Is this ...
15
votes
4answers
702 views

What should a language learner know about political correctness?

There are many impolite expressions. In the European country I come from, using the (translation) of the word gypsy is considered rude, yet as far as I know Americans say the word openly. On the other ...
14
votes
6answers
9k views

American equivalent of British “takeaway”

What's the American English equivalent to the British "takeaway" when referring to prepared meals that are intended to be eaten elsewhere?
14
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3answers
3k views

“What's your favorite actor?” (AmE)

What's your favorite actor? Is such a formulation ("what", not "who") acceptable in AmE? Some source says that it is acceptable and even fine. Update. Some examples: 1) what's your favourite actor? ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do we use the plural of movies in this phrase “We went to the movies last night.”?

I found this sentence: We went to the movies last night. at the following URL: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/movies Why do they use the plural "movies", why not use the ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What does (R-TN) after a name mean?

An example: US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wants to make sure the Federal Communications Commission never interferes with "states' rights" to protect private Internet service providers from having ...
13
votes
3answers
12k views

Which is the correct English out of the following sentences. I gave her your number. or I gave your number to her

Which is the correct English out of the following sentences? I gave her your number. I gave your number to her. Please explain me the better ways to form the above sentence.
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Villages and hamlets in US native parlance

How common or uncommon are the words village and hamlet in US native parlance? In the small discussion following this comment, one user said that the word village is not a word we use here, but ...
12
votes
5answers
56k views

If somebody calls you “Hello Trouble”, what does it mean?

What does it exactly mean if somebody says "Hello, Trouble" to you? One of my colleagues said "Hello, Trouble" to me this morning. I just replied "Hi", as I was not sure what to say. So just ...
11
votes
5answers
22k views

what does “dogs and cats” mean?

I have this sentence. It rains dogs and cats It makes me crazy because I didn't know the meaning of it, until someone told me that it means "it rains a lot." Now I have this sentence. If we ...
11
votes
2answers
16k views

What is the meaning of Five Thousand and No/100 Dollars in a contract?

The following snippet is part of a business agreement. I don't understand the meaning of 'five thousand and no/100 dollars (5,000.00 USD)'. For A's responsibilities and services under this ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Special term/phrase for the 'perfect' or 'impossible' object or solution?

In German there is a phrase that describes a fictional animal that can lay eggs and at the same time provide wool, milk and meat. Also this animal manages to finish your tasks yesterday (funny). This ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Do Canadians and Americans really use “gotten” as past participle when speaking?

The OALD has the following note about get: In spoken North American English the past participle got•ten /ˈɡɒtn/ /ˈɡɑːtn/ is almost always used. I know that I have got a car just means I have a car....
10
votes
4answers
9k views

Meaning: “waiting for 6 hours” vs. “6 hours since I was waiting”

Do the following sentences denote the same thing? I have been waiting for you for 6 hours. It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you.
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “stove element” a common name for this object?

I read in a book it's called a oven stove element, and I used this word. But it might sound formal, is there another more common name for it? If not, what else is it called?
9
votes
2answers
11k views

When talking of American money, what does “pennies” mean?

Time ago, I was talking with an American friend of mine. She was checking how much money she had and said "[…] a dime and four pennies." Since 100 cents make a dollar, why did she say pennies? Is ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

Is “I never saw him yesterday” grammatical?

Is "I never saw him yesterday" grammatical, used to mean that "at no point in time in yesterday did I see him"? Does the sentence sound weird to a native speaker of AmE?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

“Silverware”, “Tableware”, and “Dishes”

What are the common and current, American English general words encapsulating: 1. Knives, forks, and spoons. I know the words "silverware" as well as "flatware", but I don't know which one is more ...
9
votes
2answers
65k views

Visualization or visualisation

Both of them are used: visualization and visualisation. Visualisation is more commonly used in UK. But, visualization is more common in US. What is the history of this word? Which is officially ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

“Gotten” versus “got”

When in a sentence I want to use the present perfect of get, I say have/has gotten. A friend of mine (who is American) corrects me, saying I should use have/has got. From my English classes, I ...
9
votes
3answers
361 views

Is “singular they” widely used?

I often use singular they to keep my sentences gender neutral. Many of my friends (none of them are native speakers), however, consider this to be grammatically incorrect, and suggest me not to use it ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Do Americans pronounce 'are' as 'do' in “What are you waiting for”

It seems a stupid question, but I already hear American on TV or movies or even songs, say Are like Do in this context What are you waiting for I just listened to it again in this song https://...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

When can we omit the preposition “on” before weekdays

I am a bit confused. When can we omit the preposition on before weekdays? (Monday, Tuesday etc.) Sometimes I read weekdays without the preposition on. If the preposition is left out, does it work the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any situation where we can use the preposition “in” before a bus?

I always use the preposition on before a bus. But today when I was reading a novel (The Bridge Across Forever) I noticed the writer used the preposition in before a bus so I got confused and landed ...
8
votes
4answers
10k views

Is “in one go” British English or just English?

I'm playing a game on a forum that involves guessing who posted. An American English speaker said that because the poster wrote "in one go" (meaning "in one sitting"), they were probably British or ...
8
votes
2answers
27k views

For example VS for an example [duplicate]

I always read this (for example), but example is a countable noun. So, I think it should be 'for an example'. Please check both sentences and let me know, which one is correct: Knowing the weather ...
8
votes
1answer
830 views

Is this figure of a man a statue or a monument?

My friend and I were arranging a place to meet. She suggested the place and referred this as a monument. I thought this is a statue. What is a common word to call this, statue or monument? I just ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Pronunciation of I'll

Do Americans pronounce ‘I’ll’ as ‘all [ɔ:l]' as an American ESL teacher says, frequently? [Her YouTube Channel]
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of look up to God and its usage

When we say we're seeking for help from God. We look up to him. Is this correct ?
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Comma after “that is”

Now we present the main result, that is (that is to say), the achievable region... Could you please tell me if it's obigatory to put a comma after "that is" ( and "that is to say") or we can skip it?