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77
votes
12answers
37k views

Which is correct: “could care less” or “couldn't care less”?

What's the deal with the phrase "could care less"? Whilst growing up, I've always known people (parents etc) to use the phrase "couldn't care less", but I've also come across people who use the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Garbage/stuff words

I've watched two interviews. One with Grace Park, one with Eliza Dushku. What one can't miss is that Eliza uses an awful lot of garbage words (or how is it called) — um, so, like, you know, ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

How do you decide which phrase to use when asking people to repeat what they said?

There are many different ways to ask people to repeat what they have just said. For example: Huh? What? Sorry? Pardon? What's that? Say that again, please I beg your pardon? I've ordered them ...
28
votes
7answers
4k views

What makes “like” and “so” popular?

So, I was like, why does everyone say like and so in every sentence? Where did this trend come from, like, what started it, and is it actually grammatically correct to like, insert like into our ...
12
votes
9answers
38k views

How often do people say “gotta”, “wanna” or “gonna” in English speaking countries?

I learned these three words from Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner's English Dictionary. got|ta /g'ɒtə/ Gotta is used in written English to represent the words 'got to' when they are ...
14
votes
7answers
17k views

When is it appropriate to use “Yeah” and “Yep” as variants of the word “Yes”?

As a learner of English I know that yes is a standard variant and other two are informal, spoken words. I know nothing more about it, and try always use the yes variant, just not to sound ...
7
votes
3answers
991 views

Is Wayne's World's (NOT) a modern invention?

Older users of this site may recall the 'Bill & Ted' 'Wayne's World' series of movies of the early 1990s. They were mindless but fairly amusing and their eponymous characters spoke in a unique ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do like loads of girls my age like saying “like” so much, like? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is Valley Girl speak like entering the language? Please can you explain the origins of where the annoying over-use of the word "like" came from? Does this have anything ...
15
votes
5answers
8k views

How should I address a professor in the US?

I am always puzzled about how students address a professor in America. Perhaps "Professor + Last name" is the most formal way to do. Here are my questions: What if the last name of a professor is ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What word describes our habit to use extremes in language, and what are its implications?

I have heard that in America, and likely elsewhere as well, we are beginning to be more gratuitous with our use of extreme words when not entirely accurate, such as the words "awesome", "always", ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

When is it OK to use OK?

I often use "OK" in business and personal emails and phone conversations. But I often feel uncertain if it is appropriate to use it in every type of context. Please tell how universally I can use ...
3
votes
2answers
134 views

Ask someone about their birth order [duplicate]

If I need to ask someone about their birth order, what question is usually used? Let's say I do not ask how many children his family has first. What is your birth order? or Which child are you in ...
7
votes
3answers
183 views

“Well” as an introduction to an argument

Say a child says: I want some ice cream! The parent's response is: Well, you can't have ice cream right now, we need to have dinner first. Why is the word "well" used as a conversational ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Are “Conditional apology” and “poisoned apology”, rude?

I've heard I'm sorry your frog is dead. I'm sorry if your frog's death causes you pain. I'm sorry my taunting you about your frog's death caused you pain. You should seek therapy. Do the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Answering a phone call with “Yes, XX, tell me” [closed]

I have heard a lot of people pick their phone and go "Yes, XX, tell me" (highly used in India). I think the right way should be "Hey, XX, what's up?" or "Hey, XX, what's going on"? But does this work ...
3
votes
0answers
620 views

What's the best resource for improving everyday speaking? [closed]

I'm having a job interview in a month. My writing, reading and listening are good. However, I have weak conversation skills. I need an efficient resource to improve my speaking. Any resource is ...
11
votes
2answers
64k views

Is “nice to meet you” an appropriate online salutation?

When one makes a new acquaintance with somebody in person, you may say "it was nice to meet you", e.g. when you leave. What if you make a new acquaintance over the internet, what do you say when you ...
6
votes
4answers
20k views

How do I ask for advice politely?

I came across the following phrase: I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice. Is it a natural construction for a conversational context? Can I use the following instead in ...
10
votes
8answers
6k views

Word/phrase/idiom to describe avoiding answering a question by stating the question doesn't need to be asked

I run into this situation often in the office. I have a specific question to ask somebody and have chosen the person to ask it, but that person doesn't know the answer. Instead of answering the ...
9
votes
3answers
50k views

Does the phrase “fine with me” have a negative connotation?

I have always thought that you could answer "it's ok with me" or "it's fine with me" when you agree with something that somebody proposed, like a meeting time. But apparently the phrase can have a ...
8
votes
9answers
9k views

Is it redundant to append “bye” to “speak to you later”?

Are the closing greetings "see you later", "talk to you later", and the like sufficient to end a conversation (especially a phone conversation) or must they be succeeded by "bye" or another word of ...
3
votes
4answers
10k views

How can I speak as though I were from the Victorian era?

I think that it would be really cool to be able to speak as though I was from the Victorian era. How can I learn to do this?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“Don't know what the name is” vs. “Don't know what it's called”

What is the difference between saying: A: Which meal do you want, Sir? B: Number 4. I don't know what the name is. A: Which meal do you want, Sir? B: Number 4. I don't know what it's ...
7
votes
4answers
13k views

Proper answer to “excuse me”

What is a proper reply for excuse me? Like for thank you, you can say no problem or welcome. I don't know what a proper reply for excuse me would be.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of 'be my guest' idiom?

I was surprised when I found out the meaning of a dialog like this: - May I do something? - Be my guest. As for me, it looks really weird. Why 'be my guest' has the meaning 'do it, I don't mind'? ...
4
votes
11answers
5k views

What's a good comeback to “obviously”?

If someone tries to sound smart in repartee by saying, Well obviously blah blah blah but what they said is actually wrong, then what's a good comeback to that, or what's a good way to phrase ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the polite way to acknowledge a pregnant lady after a long hiatus? [closed]

I knew her well, but I see her again when she's 7-months pregnant. Do I say, "Congrats on the upcoming baby?"
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Response to “What's up?” in various conversations [duplicate]

Exact Duplicate: What is an appropriate response to “what's up” greeting? What should be the response to "what's up"? I don't get satisfied and often confused with my answer ...