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 Gawd dammit!

Pvt Hank The Yank, Adventures in the Rifle Brigade.


Phrases often used by Americans in fiction, especially of the stereotypical kind. Ironically, most of these show up in American fiction as stock regional phrases.

See also American Accents and American English.

  • "Dude!" was originally an Californian expression having nothing to do with the ranch term. A dude is a person, usually male but it can be gender neutral. "Dude!" by itself can be used as a generic exclamation.
  • Common farewells:
    • "Have a nice day" or "Have a good one." A generic farewell. "Have a nice day" in particular is a cliche used by service personnel, so using it with people you know will feel distant and rigid.
    • "Goodbye" or "bye" is the typical farewell when you're on the phone. Saying "goodbye" in person has more connotations of a formal or long-term farewell.
    • "See you (around/soon)," "see you later," "see you" and "later" are all more informal versions of "goodbye".
  • Greetings:
    • "How are you?", "How you doing?", and "How's it going?": Often used in place of "Hello." One must be aware of whether the speaker is simply greeting you or if he is actually trying to initiate a conversion. It's usually just a greeting. In this case, the expected response is a short neutral or positive statement such as "Fine," or "Great!" If someone really wants to start a conversation, they'll make the statement a bit longer, such as "So, how have you been doing lately?"
    • "What's up?" or "What's going on?": Another greeting, usually with limited expectations on the response.
    • "Hey" by itself is a very informal greeting, and can be considered somewhat rude, especially when used with your elders or social betters.
    • "Honey, I'm home!" The generic announcement for a man arriving home after work. Comes from Fifties sitcoms, in which the working husbands always arrive to stay-at-home wives.
    • "Howdy!" Short for "How do you do?" but now used as a synonym for "hello." This is a stock Texan phrase, used there unironically, and in parts of the South and Southwest, but ironically everywhere else.
  • While "you" is considered standard for both singular and plural second person statements, some regional dialects informally use different forms for second personal plural:
    • "Y'all," short for "you all," is strongly associated with the South. For additional emphasis that every single person is included in the statement, the speaker might say "all y'all."
    • "Youse" or "youse guys" is used on parts of the Northeast.
    • Yinz, associated with Pittsburgh and some surrounding areas.
  • "Fuhgeddaboudit" is "forget about it" said in a Northeastern, Italian-American accent, most heavily associated with Brooklyn. The phrase has a number of uses, from the literal, to "oh my god!" to "shut up!"
  • "Mason-Dixon Line." A demarcation line that initially marked the northern border of Maryland, it was later stretched west to denote the traditional boundary between Northern culture and Southern (Dixie) culture, running along the northern borders of Virginia (now West Virginia) and Kentucky. Thus, "north of the Mason-Dixon line" would be Northern, and vice-versa. Today, the distinction between North and South has become more vague. Maryland and northern Virginia (the Washington DC suburbs) are now generally seen as being more Northern than Southern, while parts of southern Illinois and Indiana are often treated as an extension of the South.
    • And then there's Florida, where the demarcation is inverted - the northern part of the state is Southern in culture, whereas the more southern parts have taken on Northern sensibilities, thanks to snowbirds from the Northeast.
  • "God bless America!" a traditional patriotic statement, now reduced to cliche by politicians and two centuries of overuse. Often used ironically when you're annoyed about something related to the government.
  • "Wicked" is a regional intensifier heavily associated with Boston, but also used throughout the Northeast. Elsewhere, the word is held with particular disdain or amusement.
    • Can also indicate proper construction. As in "Waxed and wicked as a candle."
  • "Sure" affirming a choice, alternative is "ok". Used as a less direct form of Yes.
    • "Sure", when drawn out, expresses doubt or disbelief. For example, if someone says, "I totally kicked that guy's ass" and the other person doesn't believe them, they might say, "Sure" or "Sure you did." Drawing out the word "Right" can also mean the same thing.
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