Topics having to do with multiple meanings of a word or phrase.

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2answers
46 views

Does “unexpectedly” apply to one or both following verb phrases?

We're having a discussion in a forum on rulings in duplicate bridge. In duplicate bridge, each partnership has their own set of bidding system agreements, and there are regulations that specify that ...
-1
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2answers
48 views

Etymology: 'pray in aid'

I wish to delve into the definition, which I already understand and so ask NOT about. I already tried the OED; it doesn't explain 'between the lines'. (See 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary ...
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0answers
53 views

Urgent explanation needed!

I am translating an article in my native language from English, that has to do with anti-system parties, but I am having some difficulties with some pharses, I cannot translate them in the right way, ...
2
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1answer
33 views

“Do not rely” on something, does rely focus on never using “something”?

So, I was talking with a friend of mine a little while back about what "relying" on something means. His take was that to "rely" on something was to completely depend on the "something", as in only ...
2
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1answer
42 views

Should “unmeasurable” be used to describe missing data due to obstacles in obtaining measurements?

I am seeing the term "unmeasurable" used occasionally to describe measurements that could not be taken due to unusual circumstances. For example, audio qualities might not be measurable if there is a ...
1
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2answers
173 views

The meaning of ETA - to origin or to destination?

I'm writing an application with the embedded Uber taxi app functionality. In short, when the user points to a point near his or her location in our app, a Uber button appears, with the following text: ...
0
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2answers
31 views

Does vacillation imply intention or a mind? Can non-intelligent things vacillate?

A friend and I are arguing about this. Does vacillation imply a mind? Can a non-intelligent thing vacillate? In the context of video games my friend mentioned that his ping was vacillating. I argued ...
1
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2answers
88 views

Why are ambiguous phrases like “ain't no something” still used? [duplicate]

There are some phrases in English that lead to nothing but unnecessary confusion and frustration, especially for non-native speakers. For instance, I've seen the phrase ain't no something being used ...
4
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2answers
57 views

Never perhaps did any man suffer death with more justice, or deserve it less

Source: From Alexander Hamilton to Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens, 1780 October 11 ... [Major John André] he ought to be considered as a spy and according to the laws and usages of nations to ...
2
votes
1answer
179 views

Charles Bukowski's “best dick” [closed]

I am reading Charles Bukowski's Pulp and as non-native English speaker I am finding decoding certain expressions challenging. For example the main character, Nicky Belane, often refers to himself ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Does 'extraordinary', 'exceptional', 'outstanding' always carry positive connotations nowadays?

When I take the word 'extraordinary', 'exceptional' and 'outstanding' literally, it simply means something 'out of the ordinary', 'rare and/or unusual', or something which 'stands out from the rest', ...
0
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2answers
57 views

Using “Oldtimer” for items?

Can I use oldtimer for a place or an item that people get used to using during certain times? For example: That photo booth has become an oldtimer for the fair goers.
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1answer
65 views

Words to use instead of 'because' because 'because' is inherently ambiguous

What alternatives do we have other than 'because'? 'Because' guarantees you will be partially understood at best because unmodified uses of the word 'because' could mean 'solely because' or 'partly ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Memorable or Recall or what

I used in a sentence: your most memorable dream. I meant it as the dream I thought of first. It was interpreted as the dream which is remembered with the most detail. Memorable means, "worth ...
3
votes
2answers
296 views

One sentence with two meanings! “The door was locked”

I'm learning English. I think the sentence "The door was locked" has two meanings!. I'm very confused. First of all, let's look at this example: I broke the glass (Active) The glass was broken ...
-3
votes
2answers
58 views

a word that is commonly used as either an adjective or a noun [closed]

I'm trying to come up with some sort of play on word, but for that I need a common word that can be used as either a noun or an adjective. here is what I am trying to write: you are a little [word] ...
0
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2answers
55 views

What is the difference between “in March” and “by March” [duplicate]

What is the difference between "in March" and "by March". Is there any ?
2
votes
3answers
134 views

What is the difference between “illness” and “disease”?

Are there any differences when those words are used? By whom they are used? Google n-gram All English English fiction: I would guess that "illness" is rather a term which is used in spoken ...
1
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4answers
331 views

Does 'affect' imply negative effect?

when I say A affects B, does it imply that A has a negative effect on B?
12
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9answers
1k views

Safer alternative to “opaque”?

As a child I was taught that opaque means doesn't let any light through at all, as opposed to translucent (lets some light through, but diffused/frosted) or transparent (completely clear, lets you see ...
0
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2answers
53 views

Is there a name for this: an idiom that ambiguously refers to itself?

Two examples I can think of: The athlete's Achilles heel was her Achilles heel. The chef's bread and butter is his bread and butter. In both cases, the order of the idiom and the thing it ...
0
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3answers
44 views

How to determine the right meaning of 'no not I' ? (1762, UK)

Source: The original Miller of Dee from Bickerstaffe's "Love in a village" (1762) There dwelt a miller, hale and bold, beside the river Dee; He danced and sang from morn till night, no lark so ...
0
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0answers
26 views

“Sales” ambiguity

I'm a software developer and for a store system I need to have two tabs in a menu. One tab for listing all the "sales" (a list of every time some items have been sold) and another tab for listing ...
1
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2answers
84 views

because I am funny, not good-looking [duplicate]

a. He likes me because I am funny, not good-looking. b. He likes me because I am funny, not because I am good-looking. In which case am I good-looking? In which case is it possible that I am ...
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2answers
71 views

Idiom or phrase meaning

I can not find the meaning of this phrase: perished of fits. What does it mean? It is an idiom? Thanks for help and understanding.
2
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3answers
76 views

I can make it, I will leave. What's the precedence and ambiguity?

Here's a scenario. I am confounded when after a discussion with a friend, they arrive at my place on Saturday, here's the transcript. her: I can make it on Saturday. me: Ok, see you then anytime! ...
1
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2answers
59 views

Is saying “back to back” an AmE or BrE usage [duplicate]

I have been often intrigued by the phrase "back-to-back". Referring to "back" is reminiscent of the rear of the human body. I usually hear- back-to-back meetings
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3answers
70 views

“Their ”Is being used in the below sentence for whom? Please reply fast [closed]

Mental-health practitioners whose clients kill themselves can face stigma from "their colleagues".Whose Colleagues ,their own or the client?
1
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3answers
63 views

2 nights per week per month [closed]

When I asked a rehearsal studio how much time I would be allowed to use their studio if I payed the monthly fee, the reply I got was "2 nights per week per month". When I asked for clarification I ...
1
vote
5answers
69 views

Ambiguity with adverbs when using the word “or”

If you take the sentence "Bob will run or walk fast." how is the ambiguity resolved between the following two meanings? Bob will either run fast or he will walk fast. Bob will either ...
1
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1answer
34 views

What does “what has changed with” means here?

What has changed with this tragedy is people’s willingness to recognize that religion really does make people do terrible things. This is from the latest New Republic, the author means that as ...
-3
votes
1answer
37 views

Writing a sentence being less ambiguous [closed]

I have following paragraph with two corrections. A- In the 1980s the largest single provider of day care for children was the federal government, which offered B- The federal government was the ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Calculus vs calculation

It is becoming more popular on American talk shows to say "calculus" instead of "calculation." To my mind, calculus is either a branch of Mathematics or a stone like in the gall bladder. Any comments? ...
4
votes
3answers
131 views

How to use the phrase “come doing” properly?

How do you use the phrase 'come doing' properly? On the one hand, 'come doing' means that someone comes for doing something. For example, "Why not come dancing tonight?". This sentence never means ...
0
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2answers
85 views

Comma required to avoid syntactical (but not semantic) ambiguity?

Consider this sentence: You may worry about the Fed raising interest rates, or a market meltdown, but these risks should not change your investment plans. Could the comma before "or" be omitted? ...
0
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2answers
59 views

Is “sub-project” more like “support project” or “child project”? [closed]

I have a controversy of my project's leader about the meaning of "sub-project". When we need to translate sub-project from English to our native language (Vietnamese), I think that we should ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

why say “take” when we really mean “leave” (a piss, etc.)

The use of "take" in colloquial expressions of urination and defecation continues to both confound and amuse even the youngest of language enthusiasts. Just ask my son, who will insist with a smile ...
0
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2answers
217 views

How do you write the expression of disgust that sounds like “er”?

My daughter said to me this morning (the context is irrelevant): Er, it's all wet! The interjection I have written here as Er was synonymous with Yuck. Its wetness did not cause great happiness. ...
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votes
2answers
45 views

ambiguity of a phrase

my grammar book deals with the ambiguity of phrases. I read that "EMT Helps Raccoon Bite Victim" can grammatically - in addition to the wrong meaning that the medical personell helped a raccoon bite ...
0
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1answer
71 views

Can “extremely professional” have a negative connotation? [closed]

If someone is described as extremely professional, might there be a negative side to it? This is how I would take it in many contexts, and I'm wondering whether it's justified. If some chap at work ...
6
votes
5answers
149 views

How to avoid ambiguity in the question: “Why do you think…?”

Let us say I want to know why the sky is blue, my understanding is that I can ask you: "Why do you think the sky is blue?" regardless of whether you have thought about it before or not. It seems from ...
0
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0answers
54 views

Commas for parenthetical info when against technicality and ambiguity

I write the following sentence as follows: "The lady spent a few seconds gently patting the two chocobos at the coach, a popular species of avian bred throughout the country". Where does one draw the ...
1
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2answers
242 views

You do not need to take further action/s. Action or actions?

Okay, so this as been a great bother for me over the years. As a general rule of thumb, I usually follow this format: using "a" for singular and none for plural. Like so, You do not need to take ...
0
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2answers
90 views

Meaning of Evenly distributed [closed]

What is the exact meaning of evenly in phrases such as: Users are evenly distributed between these types or Users were split roughly evenly among these categories does it mean on the ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Ambiguity of “just” in a context

I know that there are similar questions, but I'd like to know what's the "preferred" meaning of "just" in a specific sentence in this context. I was watching a GTA V movie, called "Meltdown". In a ...
1
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1answer
47 views

use of expediency and entail?

I wonder if the following sentence conveys the right meaning. Even if they make a big mistake, expediency entails to forgive each other for the bigger cause of friendship. Can expediency entail ...
5
votes
3answers
406 views

“For he that fights and runs away, May live to fight another day”: wisdom or mockery?

The question is about the contemporary usage of the following distich: For he that fights and runs away, May live to fight another day ; ...and whether historical events and imprecision ...
0
votes
4answers
445 views

Why is 'weird' given a sexual connotation nowadays? [closed]

Anyone who watched the chilling ITV drama this week The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, will be aware of the context in which the tabloid news media, back in 2010/11 depicted him as a sexual ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

What does this sentence mean generally? [closed]

"I am off it" What does this sentence mean generally? I am not well, interested etc?
1
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1answer
122 views

Does “Friday midnight” refer to the beginning of the day on Friday or to the end? [duplicate]

I always thought it would be end of the day, but I'm not sure.