Chiefly American: Also known as side spin , english (which is usually not capitalized) is spin placed on the cue ball when hit with the cue tip to the left or right of the ball's center. English has a marked effect on cue ball rebound angle off cushions (though not off object balls), and is thus crucial for gaining shape ; and can be used to "throw" an object ball slightly off its otherwise expected trajectory, to cheat the pocket , and for other effects. "English" is sometimes used more inclusively, to colloquially also refer to follow and draw . In combination one could say bottom - right english , or like the face of a clock (4 o'clock english ). The British and Irish do not use this term, instead preferring "side". See illustration at spin .