Slightly in response to the previous post...
I'm a native American English speaker who's emigrated to the UK, and time-telling in the two different countries occasionally gets tricky. "Half ten" has already been mentioned, but try this on for size:
American: "quarter after (ten)"
British: "quarter past (ten)"
American: "quarter of (eleven)"
British: "quarter to (eleven)"
British: "half ten", "half past (ten)"
"Quarter after" my Brit friends have no trouble understanding (although one of them once did say, "What a curious way to tell the time!" He was a bit camp, though.). "Quarter of" they find completely incomprehensible ("....sorry, I'm too tired today to deal with American time.") and I generally have to "correct" myself to British usage.
So here's a question: anybody know where these differences come from, and whether they're recent or not? And how did we end up with the preposition of in the States? I mean, isn't quarter of ten, like.... 2:30?
EDIT: I very stupidly listed the pronunciation of 10:45 in British and American English as 'quarter of (ten)' and 'quarter to (ten)'. It is, of course, 'quarter of (eleven)' and 'quarter to (eleven)'. It's fixed now.
EDIT 2: My point with 10:30 was more that in American English there's no alternative to 'ten-thirty'; we never say 'half past ten', for example.
EDIT 3: Wow, I didn't realize this was such a regional thing. I'm from Southeast Pennsylvania, and I'm kind of used to thinking of us mid-Atlantickers as not having any kind of regional... well, anything, really. Didn't realize there was so much variety in the States. Learn something new every day!
Hello all. Thank you again to everyone who helped me with my Arabic name questions.
I'm still working on my translation of a Spanish play and encountered a saying. I understand what it means, but I'm having trouble thinking of an English language equivalent:
Eso es echar fieros a sus espaldas, y después temblar en su presencia.
It's refers to speaking ill of someone behind their backs and fearing them when face to face.
I'd appreciate any help.