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79
votes
3answers
49k 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?
45
votes
6answers
232k 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. It is ...
41
votes
11answers
10k 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 ...
19
votes
12answers
4k views

What's the term for not just being wrong, but the exact opposite of right?

I'd like to concisely (ideally, in one word) express my opinion that the styling on the Removed permissions and Added permissions text in the picture below is not just wrong, but the exact opposite of ...
19
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.
10
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
297 views

How do I show that a singular word is louder than any other in a sentence when writing it?

I know that when a word is capitalized it expresses yelling. What about text showing someone is talking and emphasizing a particular word, but he clearly isn't yelling the word out? How is a "non-...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Whence “emphasis mine”?

Writers often highlight part of a quotation to emphasize the point they're making. They use a variety of phrases to indicate that the emphasis did not appear in the original text. In order of current ...
7
votes
13answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k 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?
6
votes
3answers
743 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.
6
votes
1answer
60k 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 ...
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
610 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
2k 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
4k 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
2k 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.
4
votes
3answers
840 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
3answers
4k views

Is one allowed to use capitalization for emphasis? [closed]

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
823 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
3answers
151 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
80 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
1k 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
782 views

Actually work vs Actually does work?

Is there any differences between following two sentences. I have seen both in various places and I can't really find a difference between them. It actually works. It actually does work. ...
3
votes
2answers
563 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
2k 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
1answer
86 views

For words that can be a noun or not a noun, why does the noun have the emphasis at the start?

There are some pairs of words that can act as a noun or not a noun (a verb or an adjective. For instance: rebel present compact Why is it that the noun version of these words have their emphasis ...
3
votes
2answers
591 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
2answers
14k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
11k 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
369 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
66 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
282 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
2k 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
354 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
298 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
1k 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
3answers
65 views

How should you punctuate the construction of “She read until she reached the word x.”?

What is the correct way to highlight a specific word in the following way? She read until she came to the word packet. I feel like it's either one of the following ways, but I'm unsure. She read ...
2
votes
2answers
829 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
376 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
349 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
782 views

“What have we here?” vs. “What do we have here?” [closed]

Could someone explain which structure is correct and if it's okay to say the other one? Oh, what have we here? Oh, what do we have here? Can we simply invert the subject and the verb to ...
2
votes
1answer
141 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
97 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 you're ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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
2answers
5k views

“I know“ or “I do know”

I have seen people using I do know that instead of I know that Is this usage correct?
1
vote
1answer
98 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
1answer
36 views

“I don't recommend …” vs “I recommend we don't …”

[This question comes from a sentence I read in a book. Anathem, if you must know.] I'm a native English speaker (California style) and I understand what the semantic difference between "I don't ...