The tag has no wiki summary.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

74
votes
3answers
38k views

Is “believe you me” proper English?

I understand the phrase "believe you me" to be an emphatic version of "believe me" but how did it come to be? Is it a poor translation into English?
40
votes
11answers
7k views

Is the usage of 'personally' in 'I personally don't like something' redundant?

What is the difference between the following? I personally don't like wax museums. I don't like wax museums. The adverb personally does not seem to emphasize anything here. Is it ...
29
votes
5answers
148k views

“Whether or not” vs. “whether”

This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job. This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job or not. This will depend on whether or not he's suitable for the job. ...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”

Where did you come from? What is the nuance of this emphasis? I could understand it if the emphasis were on where.
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to add emphasis to a modal verb

To add emphasis to a normal verb, we use the emphatic do: He does run fast. Do come in. Do brush your teeth. Obviously, with modal verbs this would be a grave mistake: (*) He ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Why is “their” italicized? [closed]

I'm having trouble understanding this sentence by Noam Chomsky. Noam published many English-related scientific papers in his professional career and I have no doubt that this italicization is ...
6
votes
13answers
965 views

Is there a common expression for “origin of everything”? What could it be?

In some languages there is a common pathetic hyperbole that goes like "the origin of origins" or "beginning of beginnings". Is there anything similar in English [or Latin]? Context: consider a ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why use “Hell” to emphasize a statement?

I was watching Rocky last night and one of the lines got me thinking. I was wondering why we use Hell in sentences like "A Hell of a lot better than…," "Hell, that's the best thing that's ever ...
6
votes
1answer
556 views

How can I determine the proper stressing of words?

I am working on a sonnet. This pretty much mandates the use of iambic pentameter and therefore requires that I have a good grip on emphasis. However, I'm not exactly sure how to properly research ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to properly emphasise words with italics in sentences?

I'm not sure if I can ask this question here, because it is more of a writing issue. My native language is French and I have been reading and watching stuff in English and I am quite fluent with the ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Is misplaced emphasis a form of mispronunciation?

I was speaking with someone today and he brought up the TV show "South Park", and he emphasized the "Park" whereas most people (and the show itself, I believe) emphasize the word "South". This got me ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Can “be” be used with the modal verb “do”?

These two sentences are both valid I write this sentence. I do write this sentence. Are these both valid? I am writing this sentence. I do be writing this sentence.
5
votes
3answers
600 views

How did the phenomenon of doubling words come about?

I am referring to phrases such as: "Do you like her, or do you like like her." Can someone provide an explanation of this? There are many more examples but none come to mind at the moment.
5
votes
2answers
1k views

“It is only me that is” or “It is only I that am”

It is only me that is confused. or It is only I that am confused. The first one sounds more natural to me while the second one appears to me as grammatically correct. Which one is correct?
4
votes
3answers
566 views

Is there a difference between “Joe said” and “said Joe”?

Does the subject/verb order make a difference when writing a dialog tag? "The sky is blue," Joe said. "The sky is blue," said Joe. Is one preferable over the other? Does one emphasize the ...
4
votes
2answers
610 views

Usage of a comma for emphasis

It is grammatically acceptable to say the following? Don't forget, they could be tricking us.
4
votes
1answer
29k views

Is it correct to say “I myself”?

I thought it was incorrect to say I myself as in: I myself don’t like this idea. However, last night I was watching the second Harry Potter movie, and one of the characters said: In case you ...
4
votes
3answers
133 views

Punctuation of a dependent clause for strong emphasis

Which of the sentences below is correct if I want to strongly emphasize that the pencil is not is not white? This is a black instead of a white pencil. This is a black, instead of a white, ...
4
votes
1answer
42 views

Emphasizing part of a word

Couldn't find much on this particular stylistic method, but I was wondering: how would one emphasize only part of a word in an informal novel-like case? "It wasn't new in any way—just newer." ...
3
votes
3answers
807 views

How to call attention to “I” without “I myself” or the pretentious “even I”?

I find that in persuasive conversation, whether written or oral, it is sometimes useful to draw attention to the "I" in the sentence, giving the connotation that you are confessing or conceding to ...
3
votes
2answers
454 views

Wrong usage of “myself ”, or just putting emphasis on “me”?

I was writing the following sentence, and I realized it somehow sounds odd: I am constantly trying to remind myself to think carefully before speaking, but those moments I forget to do so end up ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Pronunciation of voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ as ʃ (/sh/) in slang?

Observed some words get pronounced with a /sh/ rather than /s/ in certain situations. Stripes as "Shtripes" (from some "The Wire" episode) Screw it as "shcrew it" (from a rap song) In both ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is one allowed to use capitalization for emphasis?

In written English, is it okay to emphasize words by capitalizing them? As in: I would NEVER do that! Are there other methods to achieve this? On an aside: Dutch uses acute accents for ...
3
votes
2answers
382 views

Can I use the adjective as the first word?

Is it okay if I rearrange the sentence The apple on the table was green or The green apple was on the table to put the adjective in front, as the first word, like Green, was the apple on ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Is “much” used for emphasis in “much to your surprise”?

What is the main difference between these sentences: To your surprise, he is alive. Much to your surprise, he is alive. Is much only used to emphasize your surprise? Can I have a ...
3
votes
2answers
320 views

Can all question words be followed by “the hell”?

What the hell did I marry? Why the hell did I marry? When the hell did I marry? Where the hell did I marry? ... Can all question words be followed by "the hell"?
3
votes
2answers
54 views

Contrasting emphasis of an uncountable noun

In this translated sentence, water is supposed to be emphasized in contradistinction to the sand in an hourglass/sand clock: Like an hourglass, the device is made of glass and metal, except that ...
3
votes
1answer
216 views

Cleft sentences

Let's assume that John gave me a cat. I can rephrase the fact with: What John did was to give me a cat What John did was give me a cat What John did was, he gave me a cat But can I say the ...
3
votes
2answers
850 views

Is “learning yourself” the same as “learning by yourself”?

(Other than the first also meaning to learn about oneself...) Is learning yourself the same as learning by yourself? How much do these two phrases differ? In India's spoken English, the former is ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

How do different languages convey shades of meaning as English does with stress?

Browsing this site recently, I noticed a lot of discussion, not to say bickering, about whether some languages are more expressive or nuanced than others. It reminded me of a question I had in my ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin and use of “in and among itself”

Where does the expression in and among itself come from? Is it only used for emphasis compared to in itself? For example, This would be interesting in and among itself.
2
votes
3answers
282 views

Can a double negative be used to express caution or uncertainty?

In the following statement, what is the effect of the double negative? Is it necessarily emphasis? Or could it be a kind of cautious statement implying a degree of uncertainty? If a double negative ...
2
votes
1answer
976 views

Emphasising sentences

It's pretty clear that using do/did we can emphasise a verb. Such as I do recommend reading that book. or I did enjoy the movie. But the question is, how to emphasise sentences like I am keen ...
2
votes
2answers
697 views

Meaning based on emphasis

Is there a term used to explain how some words change meaning based on the accent? For example, "convict" can be both a noun and a verb depending on which syllable is emphasized. The same is true for ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

How common it is to emphasize a sentence by adding periods between words?

I am thinking about this style of writing: We. Do. Not. Negotiate! First of all, how would you call that? I have difficulties finding references about it, even though it seems to me that this is ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

How to explain the use of stress to emphasize agreement

In a discussion with someone whose first language is not English, the phrase "that is fun" came up, with the stress applied to emphasize agreement. This was taken as an insult; he thought the stress ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

“The” for laying emphasis

Is this a correct statement? "The lion and tiger belong to the cat family." Or should it be - "The lion and the tiger belong to the cat family."
2
votes
2answers
55 views

Does the word “buttress,” which is both a noun & verb, follow the rules about where to put emphasis based on its part of speech? [closed]

buttress (n.) any prop or support buttress (v.) to support by a buttress; prop up Words like combat, abstract, project, and convict change the syllable that's stressed based on whether ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

8-in-1 sentence - depending on emphasis

I have learned that this sentence has different meanings depending on which word is emphasized: She said she did not take his money. It was not someone else who said it. She said she did not take ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

“the wedding” versus “a wedding”

If I want to talk to my coworkers about my wedding do I say "I had a wedding last month" or do i say "I had the wedding last month"? Since it is the only wedding I shall ever have, and it is the very ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

What are rules on 'so that' vs. 'such that'? [duplicate]

When I want to emphasize a result or aim, I use a phrase with 'so that'. Other authors use 'such that'. I wonder if there are any rules or if both can be used interchangeably. For example ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Using 'so' for emphasis

A quick question. Is it possible to use 'so' for emphasis in the following sentence: Indeed, the religious ethos so permeates the book If so, should the following clause be a that-clause? '..so ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Context for “He never DID like her” and “He always DID like her”

I am trying to understand the usage of focused do/does/did that are preceded by adverbs such as never, always, still, etc. Are the following conversions idiomatic? A: John liked Mary before. B: No! ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between “in terms of” and “as far as is concerned”?

What's the difference of their emphasis? Often I felt these two are very similar. For example, In terms of quality, A is better than B. is similar to: As far as quality is concerned, A is better ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Is “It is these two issues that we need to pay attention to.” a correct sentence?

I hear many native speakers do say sentences that do not strictly follow the subject-verb agreement grammar rules. (This is off-topic, but do they do it without realizing it?) But in writing, this ...
0
votes
4answers
468 views

“former” vs “last” as in “my former, only and last husband”

I was reading a book and found this expression: [...] my former, only and last husband. Could anyone tell me what are the differences between former and last in this case? Also, would former and ...
0
votes
3answers
720 views

Words like “do/does/did” to emphasize, but for “am/is/are”

So X said to Y: I did tell you yesterday! As far as I know, the word did there is to emphasize my point or tell him that I'm so sure I've told him the story yesterday. What I want to ask is, ...
0
votes
1answer
657 views

The use of “actually” and “whatsoever”

The word, actually means to "emphasize a fact or a comment, or that something is really true." So why is whatsoever used in this sentence You have no right whatsoever to read what is written ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between “so much” and “quite so much”?

I was told that "so much" is more emphatic than "quite so much", but I am not sure. Could you explain the difference between the following pairs of sentences? Don't put so much emphasis on that ...
0
votes
3answers
46 views

Is there a general rule that dictates how the connotation of a sentence changes depending on the ordering of its words or clauses?

For instance: "This morning I ate breakfast quickly because the train was late." "I ate breakfast quickly this morning because the train was late." "Because the train was late I ate breakfast ...