Adjectives are words, or phrases naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.

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“Supposed” versus “expected”

What is the difference between supposed and expected? For example, which one should be used in the following example? I am confused about the two words base and basis. I often use one when ...
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4answers
366 views

“Deliberate recluse” or “deliberately reclusive”

I was touching up my profile when I came upon this: Aspiring autodidact, deliberate recluse. Is the phrase deliberate recluse syntactically correct, or should I use deliberately reclusive ...
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4answers
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“Sour cream” versus “soured cream”

Does anyone besides my husband insist on adding an -ed to sour cream? Etymonline dates "sour cream" to 1855, but has no mention of "soured", so I don't think this is analogous to "iced tea" or "ice ...
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4answers
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Difference between “smart” and “clever”

What is the difference between smart and clever? As far as I understand the latter is offensive. But the Cambrige Dictionary gives similar definitions of smart and clever.
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7answers
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Why “Greater Toronto” rather than “Great Toronto”

Many big cities have their names preceded by Greater. Why not just Great? Does Greater indicate that the city is ambitious to expand itself? Why is Greater not used for country names such as Great ...
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2answers
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Plural of “fleece” when referring to fleece jacket

Is the word fleece when referring to a fleece jacket also the plural form, or is that fleeces?
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12answers
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What is an adjective that means a person that easily trusts others?

I'm looking for a word that could describe a person who is very gullible and easily trusts people. My specific example is Fortunato from Edgar Allen Poe's story: The Cask of Amontillado Edit: the ...
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2answers
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Can a property be “idiosyncratic to” an object?

Is it grammatically correct to write (property) is idiosyncratic to (object) in the same way that one could write (property) is unique to (object)? For example This feature is idiosyncratic to ...
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2answers
509 views

Does using an adverb three times almost always imply the opposite?

Dana is very, very, very nice. A real housewife of Beverly Hills It seems that almost exclusively, the reiteration of a such a clarifier - very in this case - ends up actually meaning the ...
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1answer
567 views

Is there a name for adjectives that are based around someone's name?

Some examples would include: Shakespearean Christian Mesmerized Pavlovian Newtonian Boolean Darwinian
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1answer
294 views

Are the rhetorical meanings of “elliptic”, “hyperbolic”, and “circular” connected to their mathematical meanings?

The words "elliptic", "parabolic" (or "like a parable"), "hyperbolic", and "circular" all have meaning in rhetoric. Are these meanings etymologically connected to the conic sections?
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4answers
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“Unconscious” versus “nonconscious” in everyday dialogue

These words have subtle distinctions in related research fields, but even there are often considered interchangeable or just an matter of tradition/trendiness in a particular field. Since I am a bit ...
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5answers
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Argentine or Argentinian?

I was taught in my school days that Argentine was the correct adjective for something relating to the country Argentina. However, these days, even in common speech (but moreover in formal English on ...
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6answers
459 views

What is a gentler word than “suspended” or “closed”?

What word can show that an action is redeemable? Is there a synonym for closed/suspended that connotes a chance at redemption?
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3answers
4k views

What is the superlative of “fun”? [closed]

I've seen funniest a few times in that context, but isn't that a derivation of funny? Is there a superlative of fun or do we really use funniest for the lack of one?
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8answers
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What is a better way to name “The Wrong Question”?

On StackOverflow.com I often find that people ask questions about problems that arise due to poor design choices (typically due to a lack of knowledge about the particular programming language). For ...
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3answers
188 views

“Political magazine” or “politics magazine”

Which is more grammatically correct? London's first political magazine London's first politics magazine
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3answers
5k views

Increasingly + positive or increasingly + comparative?

For instance, would you rather say "It became increasingly hard" or "It became increasingly harder"? From my understanding, both are possible, but their meaning is slightly different. The first ...
12
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2answers
48k views

Difference between “valuable” and “invaluable” [closed]

Invaluable intuitively seems to imply a higher degree of importance. Please explain the difference between valuable and invaluable and in what context you'd use one or the other.
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6answers
374 views

How to Say Something was 'Not an Improvement'

There is a mother, Ann, who has a stereotypical 'good' personality: she is religious, a teacher, and a very generous lady. Her daughter, Emily, isn't the nicest lady: she whines a lot, insults people,...
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3answers
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What is the difference between “pliable” and “pliant”?

I am confused between pliable and pliant. What's the difference? The explanation in the Oxford Dictionary seems vague: pliable 1. easily bent; flexible [quality leather is ...
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6answers
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Are the rules regarding absolute modifiers too absolute?

A common grammar lesson that was taught to me in the US and that I've had to teach abroad in EFL classrooms is that we're not to use adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers, just as we're not ...
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1answer
3k views

Usage of “cowardly” and “coward”

I recently discovered that cowardly, which looks like an adverb, is actually also an adjective. So far so good. Then what is the difference between cowardly and coward, and is there any preferential ...
2
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1answer
464 views

What's it called when you make an adjective post-positive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify? In English, adjectives usually precede the nouns they describe, as in "organic carrots". However, in some cases "...
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2answers
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Does “flattered” have a negative meaning in this context?

When I finished my business trip, my customer unexpectedly invited me to his home for dinner. Can I say "I am flattered" to show my unexpectation of their kindness? And what else can I say in this ...
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3answers
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“Unexplainable” vs “Inexplicable”

What is the difference between unexplainable and inexplicable? Are they exact synonyms or are there situations where one is preferred over the other? Is unexplainable a clumsy modern variant (...
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2answers
167 views

Are “misty-eyed” and “misty” interchangeable?

Today, I came across a pair of sentences using these terms: And while people may get misty-eyed about the "open web", or the "neutral net", this kind of utopianism was always naive in the extreme. ...
4
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3answers
160 views

Is “obscure” the same as “undocumented”?

I posted a question on another SE site that was quickly closed due to issues irrelevant to my current question. My question was about an "obscure" behavior of a programming language called Python. ...
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17answers
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Noun for “person with intermediate skill”

I'm looking for the noun form of "person with intermediate skill". For example, in the context of a particular activity, "person with no skill" might be designated a novice, and "person with much ...
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3answers
10k views

Is “uncomplete” a word? [closed]

Or would I just use incomplete? Would there be any instance that one would uncomplete?
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2answers
8k views

What are the adjective counterparts for “sense” and “sensibility”?

What are the adjective counterparts for "sense" and "sensibility" as in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility? Would the one for "sensibility" be "sensible"? What is the one for "sense"? Does it have ...
6
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2answers
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Difference between “notable” and “noteworthy”

Which would be more appropriate in this case? I currently do not have any affiliation that would be notable in the context of this election I currently do not have any affiliation that would ...
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5answers
8k views

Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify?

Right now I can only think of one instance in which this regularly occurs. The adjective proper is sometimes placed after the noun it modifies, e.g: Reptilia: A class of cold-blooded oviparous or ...
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7answers
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Do “asymmetric” and “dissymmetric” have different meaning?

I get that usually a- (or un-) and di- prefixes mean different things, e.g. uninterested and disinterested. However, both asymmetric and dissymmetric refer to the lack of symmetry (which the NOAD ...
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3answers
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A positive alternative to “smelling” to describe something with a pleasant odor

When one hears that something smells, one would generally assume that it smells bad. Isn't there a word which wouldn't bring to mind the idea of a bad odor? For example, how would you describe pot-...
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10answers
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Difference between “I'm fine” and “I'm good”

When my coworker in the US asks me "How are you?" I usually answer "I'm fine", but the last time I told him "I'm good" and he replied "I'm glad to hear that". It looks like "I'm fine" means "I'm OK" ...
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10answers
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Adjective for “Visual Cacophony”

What is an adjective that describes something very visually crowded or busy? Cacophonous is perfect, but it describes sound.
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3answers
192 views

What is “outbearded”?

I was reading Scott's Woodstock the other day, and came upon the word outbearded. Searching with Google reveals nothing relevant and I am wondering what it means. The context is that Everard and a ...
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2answers
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Is “subtle” a positive, neutral or/and negative word?

I wonder whether subtle is a positive, neutral or/and negative word? Looking up its definition, it seems that the word means things unclear for good reason. For example, I  wonder if subtle can ...
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6answers
403 views

How do you say 'self-important' when applied to a group of people?

I am writing a text about how the team "Leopard Trek" (Tour de France) is perceived by people in Luxembourg as a 'luxembourgish' team, even though it has an international roster of multiple countries. ...
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5answers
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“Demonstratable” — a dictionary word, or just a well known hack?

Someone has just pointed out a mis-spelling on my site - demonstratable, as in "demonstratable experience of...". I can't see it in the New Oxford American Dictionary or the Oxford Dictionary of ...
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3answers
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What is the adjective form of “turmoil”?

What is the adjective form of "turmoil"? Might it be "turbulent"? I have a feeling that that isn't it, though.
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3answers
2k views

Is there any adjective synonymous to “to the point”?

Is there any adjective synonymous to "to the point"? For example, "Jack's and Jill's answers are quite to-the-point, but Mary's answer is the most-to-the-point one" EDIT: A better example: ...
1
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1answer
281 views

Is “what a badass of a barber!” correct?

If one wants to informally exclaim about the excellence of someone, say a barber, using the word badass, should one say "What a badass of a barber!"? Or is "What a badass barber!" more correct? Are ...
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1answer
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Use of a comma within a descriptive phrase

In the sentence "Their work involves commercial solar heating systems," should there be a comma after the word "commercial"? These are solar heating systems for commercial use as opposed to private ...
2
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1answer
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What is an appropriate word for a third-tier item (primary, secondary, …)? [closed]

If a first-tier item is called primary, and a second-tier item is called secondary, what can third, and greater, -tier items be called?
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6answers
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“Optimal” vs. “ideal”

I was wondering when to use which because both optimal and ideal convey the same meaning to me. For e.g., comparing these two usages: This is the optimal temperature for the machine to work ...
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4answers
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“Nose” is to “nasal” as “ear” is to what?

If the adjective relating to the nose is nasal then what is the adjective relating to the ear? I don't think it's "aural". I think it begins with ot-.
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2answers
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How to use the words ending with “-ly”?

First question: in the grammar world, where do the -ly ended words belong? Second question: how to use them correctly? Rarely (oops!), if ever, I get myself using -ly ended words in my writing. I'm ...
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Any adjectives for the noun 'Renaissance'?

I have a blog titled 'Renaissance' which means revival of art and literature. I was keen on slightly changing the title of the blog by adding a proper adjective to the noun 'renaissance' but I could ...