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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 134

a protestation of incredulity—this perhaps is too familiar to need notice. His hear, hear! and oh, oh! are also well known. He is much less prodigal with good-bye than the American; he uses good-day and good-afternoon far more often. A shop-assistant would never say good-bye to a customer. To an Englishman it would have a subtly offensive smack; good-afternoon would be more respectful. Various very common American phrases are quite unknown to him, for example, over his signature, on time and planted to corn. The first-named he never uses, and he has no equivalent for it; an Englishman who issues a signed statement simply makes it in writing. He knows nothing of our common terms of disparagement, such as kike, wop, yap and rube. His pet-name for a tiller of the soil is not Rube or Cy, but Hodge. When he goes gunning he does not call it hunting, but shooting; hunting is reserved for the chase of the fox. When he goes to a dentist he does not have his teeth filled, but stopped. He knows nothing of European plan hotels, or of day-coaches, or of baggage-checks.
  An intelligent Englishwoman, coming to America to live, told me that the two things which most impeded her first communications with untraveled Americans, even above the gross differences between English and American pronunciation and intonation, were the complete absence of the general utility adjective jolly from the American vocabulary, and the puzzling omnipresence and versatility of the verb to fix. In English colloquial usage jolly means almost anything; it intensifies all other adjectives, even including miserable and homesick. An Englishman is jolly bored, jolly hungry or jolly well tired; his wife is jolly sensible; his dog is jolly keen; the prices he pays for things are jolly dear (never steep or stiff or high: all Americanisms). But he has no noun to match the American proposition, meaning proposal, business, affair, case, consideration, plan, theory, solution and what not: only the German zug can be ranged beside it. 26 And he has no verb in such wide