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Nov. 13th, 2016



Clothing Questions

Hello! I have 2 questions today around clothing...

1) Is there any difference in British English between jacket and coat? Can they be used interchangeably or is one more standard or do they mean different things?

What I'm really hoping for is the right word for what Harry might wear outside during fall/winter in London.

2) Sweaters?! Is "sweater" never used in the UK? Is it always a jumper or pullover instead? I've been trying to figure this out, but it seems like maybe "sweater" is something starting to be used?? Is this true or would it be very bizarre for someone to refer to that clothing item as a sweater? Is there a specific difference between a jumper and a pullover?

And is there any difference between what different genders wear? For example, Harry and Hermione... jumper/pullover/sweater... do these terms indicate anything anything about which one a man might be likely to wear vs a woman?

Lastly, what would this specific item of clothing be called: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5057/5574565005_6ee0d05522_z.jpg

Thanks, all!

EDIT: Thanks, everyone :) I think I've figured out everything I need to keep my lil wizards cozy this season. Thanks!!

Nov. 5th, 2016



"Taking Candy From a Baby"

There's an American expression (a cliche by now) used to indicate that some action has been ridiculously easy -- "it's like stealing/taking candy from a baby."

Is there a British version of this saying? Or might HP characters use the version above?


ETA -- Sorted! Thank you all so much.

Sep. 4th, 2016

h/d black&grey pencil


thumbs up

An American way to give a positive response without speaking would be to hold up a thumb, with the other fingers all folded over. It's called "giving a thumbs up." Here it is a simple way to say 'yes.' It doesn't have a lot of cultural overlay.

Do Brits do this?


Sep. 3rd, 2016

khalulu, kanji



When "redundant" is used in British English to mean laid off from a job, is it possible to just say a person is redundant ("you're redundant now"), or is it always the person has been made/is being made/will be made redundant?


ETA: Okay, "made redundant" it is, thanks everyone!

Aug. 23rd, 2016


goose bumps or goose pimples

You know the danger of being too helpful, right?  You keep getting asked for more help.

Would you say "goose bumps" or "goose pimples?"

Aug. 22nd, 2016



Hello All!

I'm beta reading my first Harry Potter fic, and I just have a quick spelling question--stylized or stylised?  I have my spellchecker set to British English, but it didn't catch this.  Is this an either/or, or would it definitely be spelled with the -ised ending in British English?  The spell checker also didn't catch realized and suggest realised instead, so same question there.  It did catch a few missed American spellings like -or- instead of -our- and one "L" vs. two, but not these two with the -ise as opposed to the -ize.  Before I suggest the author change them, I want to make sure the should be changed.  She did a really good job with British spellings most places, just a couple American spellings that slipped in.

Thank you to everyone who replied for all your help and suggestions.  I believe I've replied to everyone, but the way it displays comments and replies makes it hard for me to be sure I didn't accidentally miss a comment and not say thank you.

Aug. 17th, 2016

neck, main


Draco's language use in private

I'm currently having a beta read through my Draco-centric FF, and we repeatedly disagree on his use of language when at home/in private...

What I mean is, I know he had the upbringing of British upper-class and that it should be reflected in his use of language. I'm just not sure how formal he would speak in private, with people he considers - or comes to consider during the FF - as family.

One such disputed moment is:
"[...]We could do something else. You know chess?
Tom nodded eagerly, a big smile on his face. “Of course I do.[...]" (instead of "Do you know chess?")

"You okay?" (instead of "Are you okay?")

Friend and I agree that he sees it a bit more relaxed when in private, hence dropping modal verbs and stuff, but would stick to the proper, more formal usage when out in the public to maintain the reputation.

That's where my beta disagrees, as she thinks that his upbringing as a member of the upper-class wouldn't allow for such a non-formal usage even in private. Now I'm curious what others think about that...

EDIT: Woah! I never thought that my question would bring such a response...

I should have added that English is not my native language, though it was one of my subjects at university, and we did touch the subject of sociolect -- that's why I probably struggle with that apparently not so simple point. ;-)

THANK YOU for answering! It did help me in the end... :-)

Aug. 14th, 2016

khalulu, kanji


plurals of roof and hoof


I was looking for rhymes for "hooves" and somewhere listed "rooves". (There were a lot of listings of words like "proves" as rhymes for "hooves", but for me the vowel in hooves is like the vowel in hook, not in who, so that doesn't work. I can pronounce roof with either vowel.)

I'm used to "roofs" as a plural of roof, but online I see that there are people who feel strongly that "rooves" is correct - but I don't know when or where they learned it. Alternatively, some people may use hoofs as the plural of hoof.

Any guesses as to how Harry or Draco, say, would make those (roof and hoof) plural, and whether those plurals could rhyme?

ETA: Thanks everyone! It seems like the vowel sounds are not an issue for most respondents, in which case I could use moves, proves, grooves. (Maybe as an American, non-horsey person, I just don't pronounce hoof like most British people would.)

I'm not trying to say any pronunciation is correct or not, just to find out who might use what. Descriptive not prescriptive. You say potayto, I say potahto. (If you have a few minutes, you might enjoy seeing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing that and tap-dance on roller skates, or listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing it.)

Jul. 31st, 2016

khalulu, kanji


"whom" in conversation

How common/obligatory is the use of whom (rather than who, for an object pronoun) in conversational British English? It sounds kind of stilted in conversational American English unless we are using it after a preposition (but we usually just dangle the preposition at the end instead). So I don't have a good feel for its use in Britglish. The speaker is sort of a timeless AU version of adult Remus, speaking to Minerva, and he's saying something like "Who(m) did you bring with you?". Would it make a difference if it was Sirius or Hagrid speaking? Does it matter who(m) they are talking to?

ETA: Looks like I can leave it as "who" - thanks everyone!
Wikipedia is accurate (citation needed)


Mastering [?] the Art of Potions: the Hard [?] Way

Sorry if this was asked; i took a look but wasn't sure what this might get tagged as :/

Would Potions be considered 'hard'? 'Tough'? 'Difficult'? Something else? Does it matter if it is Harry or Snape saying it?

And we know snape as potions master means he teaches it, but how would you say one has learned a lot about something but doesn't teach it... It may just be a hobby.. Has one 'mastered' the art of potions still? Or what is a better word?

Context is an ironic inversion of common 'teach yourself'[subject] or 'mastering [subject]', 'the easy/fast/simple/etc way (in just 3 weeks!)'.... So something like 'Mastering the Art of Potions: the Hard Way (a 5 decade commitment)' but if this wording is too americanised, how would both harry and snape suggest a title like this for a book? Suggestions for other ironic 'teach yourself' type titles also welcomed.

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