Questions tagged [spoken-english]

The way in which English is spoken, either formally or informally. As opposed to written usage.

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65 votes
9 answers
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Two thousand seventeen VS twenty seventeen: What is the rule for year pronunciation?

When I started learning English in junior school I was told that I had to pronounce the year 1997 nineteen ninety-seven and the year 2007 two thousand seven. I've always followed the rule and ...
user avatar
45 votes
11 answers
10k views

Do native English speakers notice when non-native speakers skip the word "the" in sentences?

I always wanted to know if native English speakers notice when someone is skipping articles during a basic talk?
sushi's user avatar
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42 votes
7 answers
9k views

What's the meaning of "Can it, will you?"

I was watching a TV show, and one scene in a movie theatre goes like this: Film viewer: We know, sit down. Jason: Maggie. Maggie: How are theatre owners gonna know how we feel about this ...
Qing's user avatar
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40 votes
6 answers
17k views

Can fluent English speakers distinguish between “steel”, “still”, and “steal”?

Can fluent English speakers understand this sentence the first time they hear it? What? They still steal steel? Can they hear a difference between the pronunciation of the words still, steal, and ...
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39 votes
5 answers
16k views

Are the terms "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" limited to some age in the spoken language?

Are the terms "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" limited to some age in the spoken English? I'm asking it because the word "girlfriend" is a closed compound noun which literally (in the narrow meaning of ...
Virtuous Legend's user avatar
34 votes
6 answers
9k 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 ...
Abdul Rehman's user avatar
33 votes
8 answers
6k views

Does “you can go now” sound rude? Context provided in question

As an IT guy in a college, I was helping a professor with his phone problems. After I was done helping him, I told him “you can go now.” to end the interaction as I had another student waiting for my ...
mathdummies's user avatar
32 votes
9 answers
8k views

2 for 5 (bucks) vs 5 (bucks) for 2

I heard a Burger King promotion on a radio, saying: Beautiful! 2 for 5! // It means 2 hamburgers, 5 bucks To me, '2 for 5' sounds like you pay 2 hamburgers to buy 5 bucks, which is illogical. I ...
dan's user avatar
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30 votes
4 answers
8k views

How to get rid of mistakes in spoken English?

I started to learn English about 15 years ago. I cannot say that I was learning it all the time but I use it almost every day (reading, listening, sometimes speaking). My English level is not high, ...
MasterPJ's user avatar
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29 votes
4 answers
28k views

Was it impolite for me to say "That's alright" when someone ran into me? Are there any better expessions?

I was travelling on a crowded bus. Someone suddenly ran into me and touched me when the bus stopped suddenly. The man said sorry to me. I did not get angry because I could see there was an auto ...
kitty's user avatar
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27 votes
10 answers
12k views

Can any time on clock be spoken as it is in numbers only (hour + minutes)?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, the answer for “What time is it?” depends on the minutes. When the times outside five-minute intervals, we say minutes past or minutes to: 9.01 one ...
Virtuous Legend's user avatar
26 votes
9 answers
10k views

Are you an English? Are you a British?

I once encountered a lady who seemed to come from America or the United Kingdom. When I asked Are you an American? she said no. I was reluctant to ask if she is an English because it sounded very ...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
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26 votes
7 answers
10k views

When is "me" used as a possessive pronoun, instead of "my"?

In books I often see characters speak "me" instead of "my": I saw it with me own eyes. I'm going to the bathroom to wash me hands. What English is this?
SovereignSun's user avatar
21 votes
8 answers
17k views

How do I invite a friend "on my expense"?

I ask my friend to come over to my place and I want him to eat pizza on my expense. Is it correct to say like this: Come over to my place bro! I will eat you a pizza. or Come over to my home ...
Saqeeb's user avatar
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21 votes
7 answers
572k views

Responding to "It was nice to talk to you"

How can I reply to "It was nice to talk to you" properly both formally and casually? Actually, I want to make this question a bit general, but since I heard this sentence a lot I used it as an ...
Mrt's user avatar
  • 11k
17 votes
4 answers
16k views

How to pronounce the 'schwa' sound

I have seen lately many questions related to the pronunciation of the schwa (ə) sound. Today, I again found this question, What exactly is the "schwa" sound?, at EL&U, so I wanted to ask how the '...
Damkerng T.'s user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
4k views

How should I correct my spoken error?

Being an English language learner for about 30 years, I still make mistakes. In a written language, when I have misspelled and noticed it in a timely manner, I simply navigate to a wrong word and edit ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
15 votes
6 answers
5k views

Can "do somebody" mean "imitate somebody" in spoken English?

I heard this exchange from Friends (an American TV show): ... ... A: They do you. B: Do me? ... ... (Unfortunately, I don't know the episode number.) The context is that A is B's ...
dan's user avatar
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14 votes
8 answers
4k views

Students doubt the usefulness of the Present Perfect tenses

I've got the same questions from different students recently. They question the necessity of learning Perfect tenses (even the Present Perfect Simple) claiming that as rumors say or as they hear in ...
NadinSh's user avatar
  • 189
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Meaning of "I just look out and go" in "Doctors will be, walk a couple of miles every day. And I just look out and go, can't be bothered."

From a speech by a depressed man who was told to exercise more: And the doctors will be, just go out and do a couple of mile walk every day. And I just look out and go, can’t be bothered. Can’t be ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
2k views

"You first" "You second" "You third"

Suppose I'm telling a bunch of people to do something. I'm about to tell a person :"You first", can I say to the others :"You second", "you third" ... ? And is there another way to say that ?
quintana43's user avatar
13 votes
10 answers
3k views

Fear to speak in English [closed]

My mother tongue is Hindi. I also like to speak, write, read and learn English. My English is weak, I fear to speak English with my friends, Social media, and with professionals. I've fear about ...
Mithlesh Upadhyay's user avatar
12 votes
8 answers
13k views

What is an idiomatic way to tell someone to put their hands on someone's eyes in order to not let them see?

I would like to know how do you say this action in common spoken English. Suppose that someone puts their hand on someone's eyes in order not to let them see. So, someone is ordering someone else ...
Shahrooz's user avatar
  • 514
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Delete the phrase "I'm" from the sentence by native speaker [duplicate]

I hear many native speakers say, for example, "glad to connect" or "Not sure about that". Where they delete "I am" at the beginning of the sentence, Is that kind of "short the talk", I mean to speak a ...
hbak's user avatar
  • 527
11 votes
4 answers
8k views

How to Improve Intonation?

Anyone who has successfully improved intonation in a non-native environment? I consider myself as an expert of English grammar as well as when it comes expressing myself in speaking. At least that is ...
HarryPunjabi's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
15k views

What are some polite ways to respond to the people who call your name but you don't know them

I was waiting for the elevator to arrive at the ground floor and a man called my name. I turned to him and saw him looking at me but I could not recognize him. I was surprised because I did not ...
kitty's user avatar
  • 5,585
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the meaning of "that sorrel of yourn hadn't hurt himself

I'm reading O. Henry The Roads We Take, and there is the phrase, that doesn't make any sense for me. Shark Dodson got up and leaned against a tree. "I'd a good deal rather that sorrel of yourn ...
Konstantin Malikov's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
6k views

What does "Did you save room for dessert?" mean?

What does "Did you save room for dessert?" mean? I'm an English learner. I don't know what this sentence means, especially the "save room" part. Please describe its meaning for me.
Vali Asghari Bakhtavar's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is "ciao" equivalent to "hello" and "goodbye" in English?

I'm from Vietnam, and I'm learning English. I remembered someone said "Ciao" to me once. I wondered if they could speak Vietnamese since "Ciao" is the same as "Chào" in ...
Hồng Văn Vít's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
89k views

"I'm in" meaning?

I've seen these lines from the TV show Mom. A is a woman and B is a man A: So, should we do it? B: Yeah! Sure. A: Okay! Great! Tonight! Burgundy Bistro. 8:00 and I'll wear a red scarf. ...
dan's user avatar
  • 13k
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does it mean by ask a question?

Should the "ask" be in an "ing" form? Consider the following conversation, A: I think I can ask a question on Stack Exchange. B: What do you mean by ask a question? Should I ...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
  • 3,461
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

'I', I said, 'am not amused'

I've not seen; 'I', I said,.... often. Is it OK? Does anyone have any examples? ('She', she shouted, 'goes to Hell')
JMP's user avatar
  • 1,256
8 votes
2 answers
12k views

Is there a short form of "greater than or equal to" (≥)

From this question I know that when mixing "greater than" (>) and "equal to" (=) the correct expression to say is "greater than or equal to"(>=). However, I remember that my math teacher, when writing ...
Mitja's user avatar
  • 215
8 votes
1 answer
781 views

Is formal English the same as written English?

In some languages there is a difference between written, formal and informal language. For example, I listened to a US president speak. He was not reading anything, but I think all words were ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to understand "No she bludgering well won't!"

"She's only Stunned," said Professor McGonagall impatiently, who had stooped down to examine Alecto. "She'll be perfectly all right." "No she bludgering well won't!" bellowed Amycus. "Not after ...
dan's user avatar
  • 13k
7 votes
6 answers
18k views

How do natives say how they would like to pay?

How do natives answer the question "How would you like to pay?" When I want to pay with my bank card, sometimes they ask credit or debit? Sometimes they ask Visa or Mastercard? So I now usually say ...
Qian's user avatar
  • 997
7 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ?
Ardis Ell's user avatar
  • 2,007
7 votes
1 answer
33k views

Shorter phrase or word to say `the day before yesterday`

Is there any phrase or word to say 'the day before yesterday' but shorter? It seems very explicit say 'the day before yesterday' and in other languages there are sentences and words with this meaning....
Pau Chorro's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
13k views

Difference between "What does that matter?" and "Why does that matter?" [closed]

"What does that matter?" Vs "Why does that matter" What is the difference between these two?
Ardis Ell's user avatar
  • 2,007
7 votes
1 answer
3k views

"ain't … nobody" or "ain't … anybody"?

I just watched a TV show and the guy says: I ain't trying to fight with nobody with a baby. So here, I can't understand the "nobody" since it make no sense to me, but it sounds like anybody, and ...
Jiehong Jiang's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do native speakers pronounce "The" like "a"?

I don't know If I can hear native speakers correctly but I feel like they don't pronounce the word "the" properly when they speak fast or naturally. For example: The sentence "in the world" is ...
Michael George's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

How to speak as well as a native English speaker?

I'm originally from central Europe, currently living second year in the UK. I work in an IT company surrounded only by native English speakers. I can feel that the speed I learn English has rapidly ...
user29467's user avatar
6 votes
6 answers
5k views

What does "That was like three seconds" mean?

I was watching the movie "Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" when I heard the phrase "That was like three seconds" from Kate Winslet. You can find this phrase at 01:14:25. She and Jim Carrey ...
helen's user avatar
  • 4,294
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do native speakers often use relative clauses?

Do native speakers use "relative clauses" much when speaking? For example: "The bag he is carrying is very heavy." or "Have you seen the photos Ann took?" Do native speakers ...
Carter's user avatar
  • 1,169
6 votes
6 answers
6k views

Per American pronunciation, "a ear" or "an ear"?

I just watched YEAR vs. EAR - American English Pronunciation (EAR vs. HEAR), and I hear absolutely no difference between the pronunciations of "ear" and "year", given we should use ...
Wenfang Du's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
152k views

"You are" vs. "you're" — what is the difference between them?

“You are” vs. “you're” — what is the difference between them? I get confused between the two a lot. I want to understand how to use them appropriately, because I hate making mistakes.
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
96k views

Joke's on you or Jokes on you

I hear that idiom quite often but honestly don't know if it's "Joke is on you" or "Jokes on you". The pronunciation is basically the same, and it's mostly used in speech. So, is there a correct way or ...
Vinícius Martins's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
12k views

The answer "I don't think so" to the question "How is he?"

Haram finds a person who lies down on the street. Haram looks the person over if he's fine as Linda comes up to him and says, "How is he?" "I don't think so." Haram answered. Do you think ...
Bunch's user avatar
  • 345
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

What expression should I use in these situations? [closed]

I'm studying in America but I'm having a hard time using proper expressions in proper situations..So I'm really nervous when I speak English.. When I order 2 meals and want to tell a staff that I ...
JoAnn's user avatar
  • 523
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can "correct" be used in the sense of "decent" in "My day was correct/decent"?

After a discussion with a French native speaker, I am asking here: Can the sentence "My day was correct" be used synonymously with "My day was decent" when answering to "How ...
Anon's user avatar
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