Hi! First I wanted to say how fantastic i find this site! You offer so many services for foreign speakers without that we have to pay for it. Thanks a lot.

What I wanted to ask is

when to use the word tissue, and when to use handkerchief

what to say when somebody sneezes (once I sneezed on my vacation in the States and I got as a reply something like "bless" or so. Next day I sneezed on purpose twice but got no reply).

if that person said something after i sneezed, should i give a reply to his "bless"

what to say if I want a window to be opened, but not completely, just the top part, u know what i mean?

when to say fountain pen, ballpoint pen or just pen (dictionaries gave me all three definition for the mexican word) and finally

which of those two words to use in this sentence: I'm feeling cold, please turn on the heating/radiator

Thank you so much already in advance! Just one last request, if there should be a difference between u.s. and rest of world, could you please mention the u.s. variant, since I am planning to immigrant in that country (legally of course)

Thank you and god bless America and god save the Queen!
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Thanks for your lovely comments about the site!

I can answer try to answer your questions (mind you in British English only!) We have many American English experts - Trellis is one and I'm sure he'd be happy to give you the 'American' English version.

There is a difference between a tissue and a handkerchief. A handkerchief is usually made out of material (cotton) while a tissue is usually made out of paper. Sometimes we use the word 'ply' when we refer to the thickness of a tissue.

When someone sneezes, we usually say bless you and the usual reply to that is thank you.

There is no specific word for wanting only the top part of a window opened. However, if you want the window open a little, you could say: "Could you open the window a little please?"

I think you should refer the 'pen' question to a dictionary, I could give my version of all three but a dictonary would be better!

I'm feeling cold, please turn on the heating/radiator. Ok, a radiator is a noun so in this case I would say 'radiator.' 'Central heating' can replace heating to make the sentence valid: I'm feeling cold, please turn on the central heating.
Hi! Let's see...

> when to use the word tissue, and when to use handkerchief

"Tissue" here stands for "tissue paper" and a handkerchief is made of cloth.

> what to say when somebody sneezes...

When someone sneezes, people nearby may say "bless you". The reply is usually "(I'm) sorry". In other cultures, people say "thank you", but not in English.

> Next day I sneezed on purpose twice but got no reply).

Don't expect people to react the same everywhere. According to new etiquette, nothing should be said after someone sneezes. Remember that saying "God bless you!" started after an epidemic killed hundreds of people in Europe (in the Middle Age I think) for one of the initial symptoms was sneezing.

> what to say if I want a window to be opened, but not completely...

If you want it to be done well, do it yourself. Emotion: smile You can say "May I open the window slightly?". The expression "Shall I open the window?" means "do you want me to open the window?" If someone offers, ask him or her to do it, but slightly.

> when to say fountain pen, ballpoint pen or just pen...

A fountain pen is one which uses "liquid ink" and are usually refilled manually or with "cartridges" - these pensa are often expensive. A ballpoint pen uses "dry ink" and refills are purchased at any stationary's - these are the most common. If you don't care about the type, you simply call it a "pen".

> I'm feeling cold, please turn on the heating/radiator

A "heating" usually refers to the central system supplied for heating in a building. A "radiator" is a device for heating a room, building, etc., consisting of a series of pipes through which hot water or steam passes (electric versions are also possible).

> ...god bless America and god save the Queen!

Just in case, uh? Emotion: wink

Hope this helps! Emotion: smile
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Thank you for your great replies!

What I meant with the window question, is how to call it if you want the handle moved completly upward. To close the window, it is downward, to open it it is in the middle position, what does one say if one wants the handle to be put in the upward position, so that just the top part of the window opens. It is possible that you don't know what I mean because that kind of windows is not so common in America and in England I think.

After sneezing, should I say "Thank you" now or "I'm sorry"?

Thank you in advance!
> After sneezing, should I say "Thank you" now or "I'm sorry"?

"I'm sorry" is the proper one.

I think I know the type of windows you are refering to - in that case I would ask:

Could I open the upper part of the window please?

After sneezing, if someone says 'bless you' it is only polite to say 'thank you'

To be honest with you, when I sneeze, the first thing I say is 'excuse me' although this is not necessary!
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Here are the answers to your questions from the American point of view. There are a couple differences.

* Handkercheifs are made of fabric and are not common in the US. Tissues are made of paper and are thrown away after each use.

* If someone else sneezes, say "Bless you" or "God bless you" (which is pronounced more like "guhbless you". Some people say "gezhunteit". This is a German word. It is much more common just to say "Bless you".

* If you sneeze, you do not have to say anything. If someone says "bless you" to you, then you should reply with "thank you", or simply, "thanks"

* I don't know what kind of window you are talking about, but you could always say "Could you open the window a little?" or "Could you crack the window?" or "Could you open the top of the window?"

* Unless you need a specific type of pen, there is no reason to say "fountain" or "ballpoint". Every pen can be referred to as just a "pen".

*Radiators are not common anymore in the US. In that sentence, an American would say, "I'm cold, could you turn on the heat?" We don't use the word "heating" in that scenario. And you don't need to ask for a specific type of heat. Just "heat" is good enough.

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When people sneeze very often someone will say bless you. This certainly is English. Everything you mentioned is used in English. The language is always evolving and the dictionary lists new words all the time. Obviously some English words used mainly in America are incorporated into the language.
I know there was a time when I was corrected because I said God Bless You! But there are some who might find that offensive. So I started to say Bless You as well. But if you don't get a reply after a sneeze, it's because perhaps some are afraid to speak up and say Bless You. But I am sure they were thinking it all along.
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