Alternative terms for Men’s and Women’s T-shirts?

I’m going to be hosting an event that may include gender non-binary participants, and we have some t-shirts to give away. They are manufactured in Men’s and Women’s cuts. Are there any terms that can refer to these cuts without using gender names? The terms would need to be understood in Canada (which I am … Read more

Is it impolite to say hello to a doctor as “Hi, First Name”?

I’m based in Canada and I’m not a native English speaker. Is it impolite to call doctors and dentists by their first name instead of “Dr. Last Name” when answering a phone call? Answer Thirty years ago, ‘Hi, First Name’ addressed to a medical doctor (or, for that matter, anybody else that one does not … Read more

“‘ve” contraction in Canadian and Australian English

I’m wondering if in Australian or Canadian English you can use ” ‘ve” before a noun phrase in informal style: I’ve a car. They’ve a great time. The question is somewhat related to this one. The thread there shows that you can say this in British English but not in American English. Yet no one … Read more

“I have to face” or “I have been facing” and what is the difference?

I have to face the real face of life. Is this sentence correct? Or should I say: I have been facing the real face of life. What I am trying to say is that I have been forced to do this. Answer Both the constructions I have to face… and I have been facing… are … Read more

Are Canadianisms like “aboat” equally common on the American side of the border, adjacent to it?

Most Canadians live close the the border. If you cross to the American side of border, in a rural area, do Canadianisms (1) like "aboat" (2) suddenly become much less common? Since this created controversy, allow me to quote the dictionaries: (1) Canadianism noun a word, expression, or other language feature that is characteristically Canadian. … Read more

How do Canadians pronounce “eh”?

In a recent post, I was trying to describe Spanish vowels succinctly to an unsophisticated participant, and used the Canadian "eh?" as an example. A participant from the U.S. (California, to be specific) commented, ‘I thought Canadian "eh" is pronounced "ey", as a diphthong.’ Question 1a: How do Canadians pronounce "eh?"? Question 1b: Is it … Read more

How did cougar come to mean predatory woman?

The common slang connotation of the term cougar is that of older women who have sexual relationships with younger men. The expression appears to come from Canada but its origin is still unclear as the following sources suggest: The origin of the word cougar as a slang term is debated, but it is thought to … Read more

Meaning of “bareback”

I’ve been watching Guy Maddin’s 2007 My Winnipeg and there’s a sentence there I have difficulty understanding. The narrator is talking about the coldest month, January, and it goes something like this: The deepest part of the winter. No end in sight. The condoms come off. These are the bareback months of Winnipeg. Your breath … Read more

What does “blazes” mean in “Stay the blazes home!”

Canada Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil’s war cry against COVID-19, “Stay the blazes home”, trending #1 in Twitter Canada today (April 4, 2020). See news article coverage. What does “blazes” here mean? Is it a euphemism for a curse word? Has it been in use before, or was it the Premier’s invention? If it was … Read more

Is this the correct pronunciation of “heinous” in any English-speaking country?

I’ve never heard “heinous” pronounced “HI-ness” before; I always thought the only valid pronunciation was “HAY-ness.” Is “HI-ness” a valid pronunciation of “heinous” in any English-speaking country? The speaker in this case is a Canadian: Professor Jordan Peterson. I’m British and, at least in the UK, I only recall ever hearing “HAY-ness,” although that video … Read more