History UsefulNotes / AmericanEnglish

10th Feb '16 7:58:30 AM GunnyOne
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Addition clarification
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*** Quite common, in the form: Waiter - "Will there be anything else?" Patron - "Just the check, please."
29th Jan '16 9:06:31 AM pittsburghmuggle
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* '''[French] fries''' (No one ever actually called them "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_fries freedom fries]]".) are what people in the UK call "chips". They can be dipped in many things -- ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce, and sometimes horseradish sauce are all fairly common. If you were thinking of asking for vinegar, don't. You'll get red wine vinegar, some very odd looks, and a rather confused waitperson (unless you're on the New England coast). However, malt vinegar ''can'' be bought at most grocery stores and at places that serve fish and chips.
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* '''[French] fries''' (No ([[BeamMeUpScotty No one ever actually seriously]] called them "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_fries freedom fries]]".) are what people in the UK call "chips". They can be dipped in many things -- ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce, and sometimes horseradish sauce are all fairly common. If you were thinking of asking for vinegar, don't. You'll get red wine vinegar, some very odd looks, and a rather confused waitperson (unless you're on the New England coast). However, malt vinegar ''can'' be bought at most grocery stores and at places that serve fish and chips.
21st Jan '16 11:34:37 AM CritterKeeper
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** In America, '''blackboard erasers''' are soft, made of something akin to rows of compressed felt, and if [[http://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2008/04/09 thrown at people]] do little more than leave a big white chalk mark on clothing, as opposed to the much harder, heavier, and sharper blackboard rubbers in the UK.
21st Jan '16 12:09:51 AM CritterKeeper
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** On a related note, very few Americans refer to "exams" in a general sense. There are two types of exams in American schools: midterm exams, or "midterms," and final exams, or "finals." Their names are fairly self-explanatory; generally, in high school midterms are delivered at the end of the first semester, with finals at the end of the second and the end of the year. In college, which gives classes by semester rather than by year, midterms come in late fall, and there are often multiple midterms for one class. Finals are given at the end of the semester. If you say "paper" or "papers" in this same sense, most Americans will think you are referring to an essay or writing assignment, not a test to be taken.
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** On a related note, very few Americans refer to "exams" in a general sense. There are two types of exams in American schools: midterm exams, or "midterms," and final exams, or "finals." " Their names are fairly self-explanatory; generally, in high school midterms are delivered at the end of the first semester, with finals at the end of the second and the end of the year. year. There will usually be numerous small short exams called "quizzes" (or a "pop quiz" if not announced ahead of time) and a few medium-sized ones referred to as "tests." In college, which gives give classes by semester rather than by year, midterms come in late fall, fall and late spring, or there are often may be multiple midterms for tests of roughly equal weight and one class. big Final. Finals are given at the end of the semester. semester. If you say "paper" or "papers" in this same sense, most Americans will think you are referring to an essay or writing assignment, not a test to be taken.
4th Jan '16 3:42:26 AM WildKatGirl
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* '''Bathroom''', where somebody goes to relieve themselves, and may or may not contain a bath or shower[[note]] Those which do not contain a shower or bathtub are referred to as "half-bathrooms," which is ''only'' really used when discussing real estate. It is also sometimes called a "powder room"[[/note]]. "Restroom" is generally reserved for public toilets, though the word "toilet" itself is considered a bit rude in polite society and, at any rate, refers only to the porcelain basin itself, not the room. Nobody uses "water closet" (unless it's necessary to distinguish the small, closet-like room that actually contains a toilet and nothing else from a larger part of a bathroom consisting of more than one room--but even then it's not something you hear every day and many people with WC's may not know the term). In Canada, a public "restroom" is called a "washroom," just a slight difference and even though not common, if you ask where the washroom is in the U.S., people will know you mean the restroom. "Lavatory" (which is pronounced as LAV-uh-tore-ee) is recognized but relatively rare (unless you're on an airplane), and "loo" is recognized in context (and giggled at), if the speaker is clearly British/Scottish. People with military experience sometimes use the terms "head" (Navy/Marines) or "latrine" (Army/Air Force). "John," "can," and "crapper" are increasingly harsh cacophemisms that are still mostly acceptable in public (except don't use "crapper" at a fancy dinner party).
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* '''Bathroom''', where somebody goes to relieve themselves, and may or may not contain a bath or shower[[note]] Those which do not contain a shower or bathtub are referred to as "half-bathrooms," which is ''only'' really used when discussing real estate. It is also sometimes called a "powder room"[[/note]]. "Restroom" is generally reserved for public toilets, though the word "toilet" itself is considered a bit rude in polite society and, at any rate, refers only to the porcelain basin itself, not the room. Nobody uses "water closet" (unless it's necessary to distinguish the small, closet-like room that actually contains a toilet and nothing else from a larger part of a bathroom consisting of more than one room--but even then it's not something you hear every day and many people with WC's may not know the term). In Canada, a public "restroom" is called a "washroom," just a slight difference and even though not common, if you ask where the washroom is in the U.S., people will know you mean the restroom. "Lavatory" (which is pronounced as LAV-uh-tore-ee) is recognized but relatively rare (unless you're on an airplane), and "loo" is recognized in context (and giggled at), if the speaker is clearly British/Scottish.English/Scottish. People with military experience sometimes use the terms "head" (Navy/Marines) or "latrine" (Army/Air Force). "John," "can," and "crapper" are increasingly harsh cacophemisms that are still mostly acceptable in public (except don't use "crapper" at a fancy dinner party).
3rd Dec '15 7:13:40 AM Synch
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* '''The government''' to an American means the entire ruling body, i.e. the State (a term Americans only use this way in a few particular idioms such as "church and state," for obvious reasons). The President and those under him are usually collectively called "the Administration" or more commonly "the [name of President] Administration."
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* '''The government''' to an American means the entire ruling body, i.e. the State (a term Americans only use this way in a few particular idioms such as "church and state," for obvious reasons). The President and those under him are usually collectively called "the Administration" or more commonly "the [name of President] Administration." "The White House" is also common, particularly in the media, as in "The White House announced today that..."
26th Oct '15 7:44:59 PM karstovich2
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* A '''truck''' is what we call it instead of a "lorry". A "box truck" is more likely to convey your meaning, since pickup trucks are very popular in America. A lorry to us is a type of bird.
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* A '''truck''' is what we call it instead of a "lorry". A "box truck" is more likely to convey your meaning, since pickup trucks are very popular in America. A lorry to us is either a type of bird.bird or the amusing word Brits use for "truck".
26th Oct '15 7:36:32 PM karstovich2
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** Similar term with a different meaning: '''Hooking someone up''' is slang for providing them with something they wouldn't ordinarily be able to get. (e.g. "Hey man, can you hook me up with some concert tickets?") This generally implies that you have special access to the item in question.
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** Similar term with a different meaning: '''Hooking someone up''' is slang for providing them with something they wouldn't ordinarily be able to get. (e.g. "Hey man, can you hook me up with some concert tickets?") This generally implies that you have special access to the item in question. Naturally, this is frequently used with respect to drugs (so a pothead might call a dealer his/her "hookup" for weed), or something else illegal or borderline (particularly notable being the "booze hookup" for younger college students, because students always love drinking but the drinking age in the US is 21).
26th Oct '15 7:32:53 PM karstovich2
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* Americans usually use '''jelly''' in the context of a fruit or fruit-like spread on sandwiches, often with peanut butter. "Jelly" exists with "jam" and "preserves" on a sliding scale: "jelly" is a clear spread made from fruit juice (the most common is grape jelly, especially Concord grape jelly, with apple coming next), while "jam" is made from mashed-up whole fruit and may have some small pieces of fruit in it and "preserves" have large pieces or whole fruit, depending on the fruit (most particularly, strawberry preserves--popular for peanut butter sandwiches--will have halved strawberries). To confuse matters further, any of these three could be called "jam" in casual conversation,[[note]]e.g.: A and B live together. A returns from the store and says "I bought milk, bread and jam." B would not be surprised if A produced grape jelly, raspberry jam, or strawberry preserves from his/her bag unless B was the biggest pedant on this side of the Atlantic.[[/note]] and formally all three are considered "preserves." What those in Britain refer to as "jelly" is normally '''Jell-O''' in the United States. It's a brand-name [[BrandNameTakeover but has fallen into generic usage]].
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* Americans usually use '''jelly''' in the context of to mean a fruit or fruit-like spread set with pectin (not gelatin) most often used on sandwiches, often with peanut butter. "Jelly" exists with "jam" and "preserves" (also set with pectin) on a sliding scale: "jelly" is a clear spread made from fruit juice (the most common is grape jelly, especially Concord grape jelly, with apple coming next), while "jam" is made from mashed-up whole fruit and may have some small pieces of fruit in it and "preserves" have large pieces or whole fruit, depending on the fruit (most particularly, strawberry preserves--popular for peanut butter sandwiches--will have halved strawberries). To confuse matters further, any of these three could be called "jam" in casual conversation,[[note]]e.g.: A and B live together. A returns from the store and says "I bought milk, bread and jam." B would not be surprised if A produced grape jelly, raspberry jam, or strawberry preserves from his/her bag unless B was the biggest pedant on this side of the Atlantic.[[/note]] and formally all three are considered "preserves." What those in Britain refer to as "jelly" is normally '''Jell-O''' in the United States. It's a brand-name [[BrandNameTakeover but has fallen into generic usage]].
26th Oct '15 7:23:46 PM karstovich2
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*** Those three funny letters after any Congressperson's name denote political party and state. For instance, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is a Democrat from California; John [=McCain=] (R-AZ) is a Republican from Arizona; and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is an Independent from Vermont. (Yes, [[UsefulNotes/AmericanPoliticalSystem we do have more than two political parties]].)
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*** Those three funny letters after any Congressperson's name denote political party and state. For instance, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is a Democrat from California; John [=McCain=] (R-AZ) is a Republican from Arizona; and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is an Independent from Vermont. (Yes, [[UsefulNotes/AmericanPoliticalSystem we do have more than two political parties]].parties]]--although confusingly, Sanders is running for the ''Democratic'' nomination for President in 2016, but we won't get into that.)
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