Nouns are words that refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept.

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Difference between “condo” and “apartment”

I have never really understood the connotation of someone calling their domicile a condo over the word apartment. I have a vague feeling the former is fancier and more up-scale, but are there any ...
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American 'cup' measurement — for cheese

One recipe states "one cup of cheese, shredded". Now, does this mean you need a "cup" of cheese (i.e. 8oz.) and then grate it (I am English), or do you grate it first and then measure your "cup" of ...
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What is the plural of “scenario”?

What is the plural of "scenario"? I have always used "scenarios", but have recently come across "scenaria" and "scenarii". Should I be treating it as an Italian or Latin word?
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Why “soft” drink?

Why are soft drinks, such as lemonade etc., called soft drinks?
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Tom, Jake and Jenny aren't looking forward to Thanksgiving. Why?

And "Hen" (their mother) isn't much looking forward to it either. Why? I can answer that question myself, it's because they're all turkeys. Tom is an adult male turkey (also often referred to as a ...
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Does the word “newbie” have a negative connotation?

Imagine that I'm running a friendly and informal online business. I would like to introduce my service to the new customers by a blog post that entitles, 'Are you a newbie to XYZ.com?'. Will that ...
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“User accounts” or “users account”

Is it correct to say user accounts or users account when referring to the accounts any user has on a site like this one? In general, in the case of a noun that is used as adjective for the noun that ...
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Difference between “movie”, “film” and “motion picture”

What is the difference between movie, film and motion picture? In school I learned that a movie is played in a cinema, but film is also used to describe this.
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Why is “idea” sometimes pronounced as “idear”?

I know that idea is pronounced as /aɪˈdiə/, but I've meet several people in real life who put an 'r' at the end of the word. How come?
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Why is “guinea pig” used as the colloquial term for test subjects?

Why do we refer to people as guinea pigs when discussing the subjects of an informal experiment? Surely mice, rabbits and rats are much more common experimental subjects. Indeed, it's rare that you'll ...
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What do you call a person who talks about nothing but himself? [duplicate]

How to describe a person in a word who keeps mentioning about his own life story or about himself for every topic that is being conversed? Be it interesting or boring, he has the ability to pick out ...
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Are there sentences in languages which use grammatical gender that lose meaning when translated into English?

English nouns which don't denote people or animals with natural gender do not (apart from a few rare examples) use grammatical gender. So for example, "table" is always an "it" in English, whereas it ...
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What do you call someone who chooses to stay single for life?

Not necessarily a virgin, but someone that has consciously chosen to stay single for life (and is content with that decision). Hopefully, there is a single word for it. Example: Ralph Nader UPDATE: ...
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Why “be king”, not “be a king”? [duplicate]

I've heard people say "be king" (as in "I can't wait to be king") in movies and TV. Why don't they say "be a king"? Which is correct?
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''Honey'' Usage Question

my friend (he's from Europe, white in his 20s) was in the U.S. a while ago and went to a diner a few times. A woman there (in her late 40s, most likely), kept calling him ''honey'' and ''sweetie'' ...
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Difference between “theorem” and “theory”

What is the difference between a theorem and a theory? The two words seem to be used to describe very similar things, but yet do not seem to be interchangeable. For example, we have Pythagoras' ...
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Is “audience” singular or plural?

I want to use 'audience' in the following sentence. In what form should I use it? Is it a singular or plural noun? How the audience demotivate players in the NBA. How the audience demotivates ...
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Is there a difference between “holiday” and “vacation”?

What is the difference, if any, between these two words?
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When is it correct to capitalise 'earth'?

At the beginning of a sentence is obvious. I'm referring to the following examples: A handful of earth. The earth under this house. The earth beneath my feet. What on earth? The ...
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Word like “sirsee” for an unexpected, usually small, gift?

Throughout our marriage, my wife would occasionally come in from shopping and hand me a bag containing an unexpected gift...anything from a small bag of candy to a shirt. When I'd ask why she got ...
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Word for people who live in the same city

What are the people who live in the same city are called? Any words for that? I want to use it in the following context: I and my ____ are happy.
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What is an unmown lawn called?

To me "a lawn" conjures up an image of something well-kept, mowed green grass and flowers. So I've been thinking if a person doesn't care for the space in front of his house and lets it run wild, with ...
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Translation of a German word: “Gutmensch”

The word "Gutmensch" consists of gut = good Mensch = human Sounds like a compliment but actually the word is very insulting. It describes someone who (for example) is not able to take ...
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Respectful Noun for Really Hard Worker

I'm reading Jon Gertner's The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. In describing the history of the telephone, Gertner describes Thomas Edison (whose inventions helped ...
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What do you call somebody who asks a question and somebody who answers a question?

What do you call somebody who asks a question and somebody who answers a question? I have exhausted the thesaurus with no real luck... any ideas? EDIT: It is in reference to this - or any other ...
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What's the difference between 'subway', 'metro' and 'tube'?

When I watched the "American Album" program, Susan and Henry talked about New York, and she used the word 'subway'. When I listened to BBC's '6 minutes English', I heard 'tube' used in the ...
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Is there a difference between “leading edge” and “bleeding edge”?

It seems to me that "leading edge" is the more established phrase, while "bleeding edge" is basically the same thing but the user has adapted the phrase for extra (rather meaningless) emphasis. Or is ...
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How do you form the 'north' and 'south' versions of 'occident' and 'orient'?

How does one correctly form the "north" and "south" forms for which occident and orient are "west" and "east"? I found boreal and austral, but those look like adjectives and I'm after the nouns. ...
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“flat” vs. “apartment”

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition Flat: noun. [ countable ] ( BrE ) a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building. Apartment: noun. ( ...
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What is the difference between an apocalypse and a cataclysm?

What is the difference between an apocalypse and a cataclysm? I've been told that an apocalypse is an act of God, but we seem to use it as a generic term for any grand disaster. What is the ...
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Is the term “hack” more positive or more negative?

What emotional association does the word hack have nowadays in the first place: negative or positive? Is it more for doing something illegally or without permission? Or for doing something in a ...
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Is there a word for the spot between the two eyebrows?

Is there a word for the spot between the two eyebrows (right above the nose, but below the forehead)?
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Difference between “pain” and “ache”

What's the difference between pain and ache? I often see the two words used (almost) interchangeably. At the same time the phrase "aches and pains" is pretty common, and seems to suggest that the two ...
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What is a noun modifying clause?

This is actually a question that came up when I was studying Japanese. Unfortunately my grasp of the technical language of syntax is very limited, and I never fully comprehended the idea of a noun ...
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What's the difference between a jumper, a pullover, and a sweater?

Following on from a recent question, in Australia we have the word jumper for a knitted long-sleeved garment, typically woollen and long-sleeved. When cosuming foreign media I always assumed the ...
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“Use” vs. “usage”

When should one use usage instead of use? Examples?
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Is there a term for words that have identical singular and plural forms?

Is there a term for nouns that have identical singular and plural forms? For example, sheep fish glasses aircraft/spacecraft etc.
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Etymology of the color name “orange”

Etymonline shows orange c.1300, from O.Fr. orenge (12c.), from M.L. pomum de orenge, from It. arancia, originally narancia (Venetian naranza), alteration of Arabic naranj, from Pers. narang, ...
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“Analysis” vs. “analyses”

The (U.S.) National Institutes of Health website has a webpage that states that it contains reports, data and analyses of NIH research activities I feel as though this sounds awkward. Would ...
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What's the most accurate term for phrases such as “storm in a teacup” and “making mountains out of molehills”?

Are phrases such as "storm in a teacup" and "making mountains out of molehills" best described by one of these terms: anecdote proverb saying expression metaphor If not, which term is the right ...
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“Battery” and “Battery”, why are they called the same?

This post made an interesting point about what would be understood when the word battery is used. In the U.S. at least, the word battery is so rarely used outside the legal phrase assault and ...
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What's the difference between a vicar and a pastor?

What's the difference between a vicar, preferably of the Church of England, and a pastor? I browsed Wikipedia, but most of the gist of the article is that vicar is an ecclesiastical office, and ...
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What is the correct usage of the word “Cartesian”?

While working on an essay for my English class I included this sentence: The best solution is to take a page out of Cartesian theory and take a proven approach. However, my teacher corrected it ...
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When should “Mom” and “Dad” be capitalized?

I am trying to understand capitalization rules with Mom and Dad. I believe I have it correct below, but please let me know if I do not. The one thing I learned from my dad was that it was good to ...
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Etymology of “midsummer” — why is the first day of summer called “middle of summer”?

I always found it strange that the day which marks the beginning of the season of summer is called "mid-summer", which I understand would mean "middle of summer". While midsummer is on the summer ...
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Is the game, “go,” a proper noun? What about “checkers” or “chess”?

The game of Go is... or The game of go is... Apparently the International Go Federation capitalizes it. Its dictionary entry doesn't appear to be (from what I have seen). It seems to fit ...
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“Stack” vs. “pile” vs. “heap” of paper

What is the difference between stack, pile or heap of something, let it be for example paper? CS+IT people might tend to use the word heap, because there is a widely known datastructure by that name. ...
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“Dependence” vs. “dependency”

These are two words that have baffled me for long. Dependency is given as 'excessive dependence' in Chambers, but I would love to know how the spoken usage is. My guess is dependency has a political ...
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What's the difference between “Kind” and “Type”

For example: This is some type of mushroom. This is some kind of mushroom. There are different types of books There are different kinds of books I think that there are all valid ...
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Difference between “packet”, “parcel” and “package”

The definition on OALD is identical for parcel and packet. parcel (especially British English) (North American English usually package) something that is wrapped in paper or put into a thick ...