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  1. #1
    Bennevis's Avatar
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    Default a/the American (or British) accent

    Is it possible to use just the definite article with the word "accent" at all times when talking about someone's English? I mean can we say "He speaks with the American accent"? Or do we have to use "a", rather?
    By "accent" I mean the brand of English one has been speaking.
    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Is it possible to use just the definite article with the word "accent" at all times when talking about someone's English? I mean can we say "He speaks with the American accent"? Or do we have to use "a", rather?
    By "accent" I mean the brand of English one has been speaking.
    Thank you in advance.
    Do you mean "dialect" rather than "accent"?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    I'd say no. I can rattle off at least a dozen regional accents in the US, so there is no single accent.

    However, even if there were only one accent, I'd still use "a" to mean "an accent that is American."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    There are many different American accents (accents which are used by American people), and many different English accents etc.

    If you mean, for example, that someone says "sidewalk" instead of "pavement" then you simply say that they speak American English, not British English. Their accent is irrelevant.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    No, use "a" or "an." Even if the accent is well defined and singular, you still do not say "the."

  6. #6
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    There are many different American accents (accents which are used by American people), and many different English accents etc.

    If you mean, for example, that someone says "sidewalk" instead of "pavement" then you simply say that they speak American English, not British English. Their accent is irrelevant.
    Good point. I was thinking pronunciation. Even so, whether you say "faucet" versus "tap" or "sack" versus "bag" will vary based on where in the US you are. I expect the same is true in other countries where English is widely spoken. (I mean, with the words that vary there, not necessarily faucets and bags.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. #7
    Bennevis's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    Would that be a sort of mistake to say "He speaks American English", meaning the person was born and bred in the US and does pronounce the r's, for instance?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Would that be a sort of mistake to say "He speaks American English", meaning the person was born and bred in the US and does pronounce the r's, for instance?
    I would take it to mean that he uses distinctively American vocabulary and grammar. One can attempt to speak British English with an American accent, and American English with a British accent.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  9. #9
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    Would that be a sort of mistake to say "He speaks American English", meaning the person was born and bred in the US and does pronounce the r's, for instance?
    I think it's just fine to speak of an American accent in general. It will vary from Texas to New York, but it wouldn't be mistaken for London or Cardiff.

  10. #10
    Bennevis's Avatar
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    Default Re: a/the American (or British) accent

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Do you mean "dialect" rather than "accent"?
    I mean the way the person pronounces different words. And I got it now!

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