89 votes
Accepted

Two thousand seventeen VS twenty seventeen: What is the rule for year pronunciation?

I am a native speaker with a careful ear. From my experience, I can tell you that when the millennium turned from 19xx to 20xx, we said "two thousand" plus the remainder throughout the aughts (01, 02, ...
  • 14.4k
81 votes

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

"Can it" in this instance means "Shut up", stop talking - it has nothing to do with ability. It is very probably a remote reference to canning food to preserve it, the link being that to can ...
  • 13.5k
79 votes

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

Still (/stɪl/) and steel (/sti:l/) are distinguishable. The vowel sounds in these two words are different. Steal and Steel (/sti:l/) are homophones and are pronounced exactly the same. However, the ...
  • 170k
78 votes

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

Admittedly, I'm answering a BrE question as an American, but your source is suspect. 9.36 twenty-four minutes to ten This is grammatical, but nobody in their right mind would actually say ...
  • 10.1k
61 votes

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

Articles (and determiners in general) in English are important because it connects the flow of expectations between speaker/writer and listener/reader and helps one side understand what's expected to ...
  • 36.2k
60 votes
Accepted

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

You seem to understand most of the implications, but the verb you are adding to the front leads to a different meaning than what was intended. Specifically, you expand "2 for 5" as Pay 2 dollars ...
60 votes

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

There is variation in how people use these words and the meanings are shifting. In the past it was rare for an older person to be in an open, romantic relationship with someone, unless they were ...
  • 170k
54 votes
Accepted

How do Americans respond when asked for their names?

There are as many answers to this as there are situations. In informal settings, one might only give their first name. So, if I'm at a bar and I start chatting with someone, I would usually only give ...
  • 25.3k
48 votes

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

Yes, absolutely. Some don't mind, some do, but all will notice. It's jarring to the native listener, and immediately betrays a less-than-fluent non-native speaker.
48 votes
Accepted

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."

What you have here is the colloquial use of go meaning say. Example: She looks at me like I'm a monster and she goes, "You're not wearing that to the mall, are you?" and I go "Why the ...
  • 14.4k
47 votes

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

I think the simplest, yet most idiomatic way to say that in English would be this: Cover her eyes with your hands. Or, as was suggested by brichins down below, the sentence can be made even ...
47 votes
Accepted

Are you an English? Are you a British?

It's a peculiarity of the language that in some cases the noun for a person of a particular nationality is the same as the adjective, in other cases it is not. He is American (adj.) - an American (...
  • 39.2k
37 votes

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

I'd personally go with this example: Come over to my place, dude. I'll treat you to a delicious pizza. to treat means to give someone something, typically food, either because they've done ...
37 votes
Accepted

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

It's fine as a response to an apology. However you should be careful not to use it if the accident is your fault (even if they apologize first) since, "It's all right," implies that you forgive the ...
  • 87.4k
37 votes

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

Context is the key to understanding. If your reader or conversation partner understands you are talking about someone or something with a habit of misappropriating steel, then it is perfectly ...
  • 17.6k
34 votes

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

"Save" is being used to mean "put away for later". "Save" is often used this way when referring to money "Saving up to buy a car", or if someone wants you to ...
  • 429
32 votes
Accepted

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

Yes, to "do someone" can mean to impersonate them (wiktionary sense 16). That would be a reasonable interpretation given the context. If this is from Friends (as indicated in a comment), the actual ...
  • 170k
28 votes

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

I will eat you a pizza doesn't make sense. I will make you eat a pizza means I will force you to eat a pizza. This does not suggest that it is a treat. Maybe you were thinking of I will make you a ...
  • 45.1k
27 votes
Accepted

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

I can't speak to its accuracy, particularly since it doesn't even merit inclusion in the overlong Hiberno-English page over at Wiki, but in North American books, shows, and movies it's a standard ...
  • 4,624
27 votes
Accepted

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

No she bludgering well won't! From what I understand, a bludger is a kind of ball in the wizarding world. However, here, bludgering looks like a euphemism/minced oath for bloody: → No ...
  • 45.1k
27 votes
Accepted

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

It's from Italian, and it's a borrowed word in English. American Heritage Dictionary "ciao" interjection: Used to express greeting or farewell. There's a history of the word at that link, ...
27 votes

Students doubt the usefulness of the Present Perfect tenses

Of course not. The perfect tenses are freely used by native speakers of English. Five to ten percent of verbs are used in the perfective (sorry this is anecdotal and I can't remember my source for ...
  • 170k
25 votes
Accepted

What does it mean by ask a question?

As "B" is quoting "A" directly, in written English you should place quote marks What do you mean by "ask a question"? In speech there are intonation and rhythmic ...
  • 170k
23 votes

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

This is a verb based on use of a can, specifically a trash can. can, v.³ 2. trans. a. U.S. slang.... b. can it: used in the imperative to command someone to stop talking, esp. on a ...
  • 4,624
23 votes

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

In this particular context your interpretation seems to be correct. Saying that you can "do someone" could mean that you can imitate them. However, the vast majority of time this is a euphemism for ...
  • 357
22 votes
Accepted

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

There's nothing wrong with that construct, and nothing in English forbids it. Of course, if you think it is awkward to read, see, or hear, you could change the wording easily enough: "I," I said, ...
  • 109k
22 votes

How do Americans respond when asked for their names?

In the United States it is not very common to lead with your last name when introducing yourself. Mostly, this will happen in situations where what you are is more important than who you are, and ...
  • 361
22 votes

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

Yes, we do notice but it seldom affects the meaning. Some people get upset by things like that others do not. When Chinese colleagues give me their work to edit I always put the articles back in ...
  • 4,443
21 votes

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

I believe the phrase "my treat" covers this, as in: Come over to my place for pizza, my treat. "my treat" was referenced in another stack exchange question here:
  • 515
20 votes

'This is speaking' is correct on the telephone

You wouldn't normally refer to yourself as "this" without using a personal pronoun in the predicate. I usually say, "This is she," but my usage is probably a bit overly correct. Probably, most people ...
  • 4,620

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