I know it can make a large difference in culturally accepted definitions. I've heard some pretty absurd definitions given that were accepted which are far from commonplace here in the United States, and thought it might be because they were in the context of the United Kingdom.

Any thoughts on this?


All dialects of English are on topic and welcome. Just make sure you give sources for your definitions when they come from dictionaries and cultural and geographical background if your answer is based solely on personal experience.

I would, however, avoid calling a something absurd just because it doesn't conform to your own experience and your own cultural background. Many words are used quite differently in different dialects and all are as valid as each other.

You are free to spell using BrE or AmE customs. I don't know of any other choices off the top of my head, but if there are and are considered standard in any part of the English speaking world, then they're welcome here as well.

Our top users are from both sides of the pond (and beyond), there is no one dialect or style we're supposed to cleave to.

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    I didn't mean to sound closeted, it's just that in my experience there are different definitions of correctness when it comes to the English language, which can lead to to subjective down or even upvoting which may bring about substandard ramifications. – jdero Nov 24 '15 at 19:14
  • Not to be tangential, but in my visits to India I've seen entire cities & regions use a version of English which is conflicting with a western implementation of the language, and I'm curious if it's ever caused problems here. – jdero Nov 24 '15 at 19:17
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    @jdero the community here tends to be very much in the descriptivist camp. So, as long as you can demonstrate that your answer is based on popular usage somewhere you should be fine. – terdon Nov 24 '15 at 19:21
  • Isn't there some deleterious effect when users from all sides of the pond contribute to answers with some sense of colloquial bias? In a sense, with the ~100 or so threads I've read here, I've seen a high ratio of answer-to-question posting, leading me to believe that, because of the complex nature of the English language (when applied to a particular locale), there is not one right answer. Isn't that against the SE modus operandi? – jdero Nov 24 '15 at 19:45
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    @jdero no, quite the contrary. This site is populated by people who find language fascinating. We therefore thend to be very interested in such regional variations. Answers with regional biases are welcome as long as their bias is clearly stated. As for the "correct" answer, that's rarely a thing anyway. The OP will accept whichever answer they feel best suits them. That's all that accepting means. – terdon Nov 24 '15 at 22:52
  • I have nothing against language :) I think it's just interesting how it's a bit of a grey area. I would argue everyone has a regional bias, and nobody is stating them in their posts. If you think I don't find language fascinating, you're misinterpreting my intent entirely. – jdero Nov 24 '15 at 22:56
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    @jdero the thought never crossed my mind! And yes, of course many people don't state their biases. I'm trying to give the utopic prespective here :) . My main point is that no, there is no one particular bias on this site or, at least, we try not to have one. – terdon Nov 24 '15 at 23:15
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    @jdero Descriptivists are basically prescriptivists at heart, very rule based, but they allow many more varieties than a single one. To that end, the style here, when it becomes apparent that an answer is variety dependent, is to add that context information to the question or answer. – Mitch Nov 25 '15 at 1:43
  • @Mitch If you can say that you musn't understand the debate. Descriptivism is about what is, and what is can clearly have rules, just as the physical world does. Prescriptivism is about what ought to be. – curiousdannii Nov 25 '15 at 9:27
  • @curiousdannii come to chat and we can discuss at length. I actually think I layed out the debate pretty well as simply as possible. Descriptivists think that prescriptivists make up arbitrary rules (like no splitting the infinitive or ending sentences in prepositions) and prescriptivists think descriptivists say anything goes. And both those are caricatures. As to your last sentence, that may very well be the case, because prior to that, people are making mistakes (in the single variety they care about). – Mitch Nov 25 '15 at 13:42

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