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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18
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
470 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

“compare with” or “compare to”

Please check both sentences and let me know, which one is correct and why? She compares me with her boyfriend. She compares me to her boyfriend.
9
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
386 views

Can relative pronouns be omitted in some regions?

“I guess it was Cal asked Lee.” (Aron, born in California) . . . . . . “That’s a smell could raise me out of a concrete grave.” (Adam, born in Connecticut) (John Steinbeck, East of Eden) In the ‘...
0
votes
2answers
236 views

How often is the expression “get on well” used? Is there any difference with “get along”?

I have been talking with a person from US and when I said something like this: They do not get on well with others She didn´t understand me at first, but later she said that was a funny sentence ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it possible to be grammatically correct without using past perfect?

Can you guys please help with which verb tense to use when talking about numerous specific events? In the example below, I'm not quite sure if past perfect really is necessary. "She sent me a new ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Can we use “to” before home, if we are using determiners (her, my, your etc.) before home?

I know these sentences are correct: I am going home. I am coming home. I went home. Please let me know, are these sentences also correct or not: I am going to her home. I am ...
10
votes
4answers
10k 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.
3
votes
2answers
9k views

In American English, why is the past tense of “plan” spelt “planned”?

In American English, a lot of words are spelt with a single consonant plus "-ed", rather than two consonants as you often find in British English. Why isn't "plan" spelt with a single consonant?
146
votes
8answers
31k 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 ...
57
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
28
votes
7answers
168k 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

“Are” vs. “is” after “parents and the family”

I was reading the news on Yahoo and found a mistake (as per my opinion). I need your valuable feedback to make sure if it was a mistake or I am wrong! It is a paragraph on Yahoo. Please check and let ...
5
votes
2answers
51k views

I have to go vs I have got to go [closed]

Can we say one of them is more American English or British English? I have to go to school. I have got to go to school. I got to go school. I gotta go. Gotta go.
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Feel like something

1. Does the structure 'feel like doing sth' stand for a polite way of 'want' in AmE or it's British? For instance do you Americans possibly say: I felt like swimming. 2. Do these sentences ...
8
votes
1answer
282 views

Singular they and gender neutrality

Gender neutrality seems like a tough nut in English. "One" seems very helpful, but since it's pretty difficult to phrase a right question regarding its usage because of the countless possible uses of ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

Is “life” a countable noun in English?

I am a learner of English. Sometimes I see an article (a and the) before the noun (life) but sometimes I also see the noun without any article. So I am confused when should I use an article before the ...
3
votes
4answers
294 views

Using 'may' and 'might' in AmE

Do the following sentences sound natural in formal AmE speech: You may go now if you want to. You might go now if you want to. I think both of them are correct, but the latter is far more ...
2
votes
3answers
410 views

Does `That's very sweet of you` in the US sound like `That's very sweef you`?

Does That's very sweet of you in the US sound like That's very sweef you? the of is only speak f and link with swee
2
votes
3answers
1k views

at IKEA or in IKEA?

I'd like to use the phrase: "Let's buy it at IKEA!" I'm not sure if I should use "at" or "in" in that particular case. Maybe both work? Is there any difference between them?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

When should I use “to” before “home”

I have read that we do not use to before home as home is an adverb here: I am going home. You come home. He goes home. We can use to before home in some cases: I am going to his home. ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Difference between “I'm home” vs “I'm at home”

What's the difference between these two sentences? And which one's grammatically correct?
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

am I a native speaker? [duplicate]

Ever since I was born, I'd lived with an American family. They were missionaries from Atlanta and they lived with me and my family for over 14 years. So I literally grew up with their kids and they ...
2
votes
1answer
26k views

Meaning of “Orange is the new black” [duplicate]

There is a TV show by this name. And I heard someone saying it too. I googled its meaning but the effort went in vain.
1
vote
1answer
184 views

Using Past Simple (verb to be) for Unreal (Counterfactual) Past Situations

In this post (Using just Past Simple in the Third conditional) Michael Swan says: 262 if (7): other structures found in spoken English 4 mixed tenses Sometimes a simple past tense is used ...
20
votes
4answers
284k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
77k views

“Tick” vs. “check” the box

I came across the following example: Tick the box if you would like more details. In the sentence, "tick the box" means mark the specific checkbox. If we have the following checkboxes ticking the ...
23
votes
3answers
24k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
189 views

a fighting for the glory - how do you understand this type of grammar?

A stanza from a song called John Paul Jones by Johnny Horton: When John Paul was a captain in the U.S. Naval Band A fightin' for the glory and the freedom of our land He made those British ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to learn English in quick way [closed]

I am not very good with the English language. I have three questions: While talking to others, most of them ask me why I am talking in much too complex a fashion (that is, they are not understanding ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

“Don't let you being tired affect your enthusiasm” Is it correct

Well, I know that I can colloquially say: It has nothing to do with you being poor The whole bolded phrase acts as a noun or gerund. Can I apply the rule so that the phrase acts as an object of a ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do people say “sports shoes” but not “sport shoes”?

In oxford dictionary: Sport: [uncountable] (British English) (North American English sports [plural]) activity that you do for pleasure and that needs physical effort or skill, usually done in ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

How is “X” pronounced in English?

The letter x can sound (most often) like [gz] and [ks]: [gz] in words like exam, exactly. [ks] in word like extra, hexagon, etc. I have found that x is pronounced [gz] whenever it’s in or before the ...
4
votes
2answers
706 views

“Grow out of clothes”

Is "grow out of clothes" used only for "kids who grow bigger and can't fit in their earlier clothes"? Or can it be used for anyone who has put on some weight(like adults). Like a lady says: I can'...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

I'm going to the SHOPS vs I'm going to the STORE (UK vs. US)

The day before yesterday I think, my daughter asked me where we were going and since I was not planning to do the weekly shopping on that day and I just wanted to buy some stuff from two stores, I ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Go to play VS go play

Please check both sentences and let me know which one is correct. You can't just order your children to go play while you watch TV. vs. You can't just order your children to go to play while ...
4
votes
1answer
713 views

both the men came in — both men came in

Example with context UPDATE 15/12/2016 (YouTube link broken): I let go of the door. The door opened and both the men came in. Is the grammar correct in that sentence? I've always thought that the ...
4
votes
5answers
12k views

“Can you do this?” vs. “Can you please do this?”

When someone asks me Can you do this? I feel that it is missing the “please”. Is “please” already implied by “can”, or is it proper to ask Can you please do this?
4
votes
4answers
39k views

Flat tyre and puncture

Please read the following sentences: My bike has had two punctures in the last three weeks. I got a flat tyre. My bike got a flat tyre. My bike got punctured or The tyre of my bike got punctured (...
3
votes
1answer
934 views

How to ask if power is there?

Well, sometimes we are having power cuts in our area. But before looking for other houses we cannot be sure if it's due to a general problem with electrical power, or if it's a problem on our side. So ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Problem listening to foreign accents [closed]

From the beginning I had some problems listening to foreign accents. Like when someone from my native country (India) speaks English I understand it at once, but if someone from a foreign country ...
2
votes
2answers
717 views

What is correct “Your father just told me” or “Your father has just told me.”

In Oscar a 1991 American slapstick crime comedy film directed by John Landis, I heard: "Your father just told me". Why do not correct to say "Your father has just told me."? Because in "How English ...
2
votes
3answers
627 views

How can you describe (in AmE) an aggressive guy who tends to fight with people most of the time?

What do you call someone who is an aggressive guy who is always making some kind of trouble which usually leads to a fight? Such a guy tends to turn a small issue into a fight. I found two terms and I ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

When are words like “that” and “the” unnecessary?

There are several cases where "the" and "that" are completely unnecessary for the understanding of a sentence. So, I want to know when they are unnecessary and why. For instance, in “She told me that ...
2
votes
2answers
678 views

Can I pronounce the first “d” of “didn't” as a flap sound? (American English)

As you know in American English if the "d" or "t" is between two vowels in a word or if it is at the end of a word after a vowel and before a word that starts with a vowel, it is pronounced as a flap ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

“How many months old” or “how old is your baby”?

Which one is correct between How many months old is your baby? and How old is your baby?? Which one is generally used?