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18
votes
6answers
5k views

Time and tide wait for no man

In the old proverb: Time and tide wait for no man. Our first record of the proverb is from St Marher in 1225: And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet. When it was ...
8
votes
2answers
755 views

Is size inherent in the meanings of “plant” and “factory”?

I always had the impression that a plant was bigger than a factory and that a plant might contain several factories, but we wouldn't say that a factory contains several plants. According to ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
5
votes
2answers
362 views

What is the meaning of “What a box to sweat in!”?

I have started to read "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway. I stumbled a lot shortly after the beginning, as I'm a middle-aged Japanese dude who is struggling to learn English. I need someone's ...
5
votes
5answers
836 views

Does a laser “etch” things, or does it “engrave” them?

Which (if any) of these adjectives would you use for describing a surface that has been cut using a laser beam: a laser-etched surface a laser-engraved surface a laser-(something else) surface a ...
4
votes
3answers
843 views

Is ‘anything in a skirt” a popular idiom? Does it have special overtones?

I came across the words, ‘anything in a skirt” in the following sentence of Jeffery Archer’s “The Fourth Estate”:- Page 202. “(Captain Armstrong is entitled to a car and driver) if the brigadier ...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

“visceral” vs “emotional”

What's is the difference in nuance between visceral (relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect) and emotional? How do we decide when to use one over the other?
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Must cookies contain chocolate in BrE?

In British English, my friend informed me that my use of the word cookie was incorrect in referring to a baked item having no chocolate bits in it. Instead the appropriate term would have to be ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

Self-Learner vs Self-Taught vs Autodidact

Which of these three terms is the most relevant in a resume? Should any be avoided? For clarity, I do understand the irony of pretending to be a self learner posting questions on StackExchange, ...
3
votes
2answers
543 views

Is there a neutral word for an olfactory impression?

While creating this proposal I was struggling to find the right words for olfactory impressions. Is there a neutral word for an olfactory impression? smell seems to have a negative connotation ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Any difference between “Are you done?” and “Are you done yet?”

I see people in movies saying Are you done? and Are you done yet? And I wonder what that the addition of yet might mean or suggest in the second version which is absent in the first ...
3
votes
2answers
759 views

“in order to” vs. “for the sake of”

These two phrases seem to be interchangeable in most cases. But I found one case where it seems that "in order to" works, and "for the sake of" sounds like it's not as good a choice of words. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Letter opening with name only--what does it convey?

I sometimes get emails (e.g. from professional contacts or people I don't know well) which simply start with FirstName, [ ... letter body ... ] They don't use "Dear FirstName," or "Hello ...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

Connotation of term autodidact

I would like to know if autodidact has a positive, negative, or neutral connotation behind it. These questions asking about usage imply: A neutral connotation: Autodidactic as a Verb What would ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

What’s the difference between “kerfuffle”, “commotion”, and “fuss”?

What’s the difference between kerfuffle, commotion, and fuss? For example: What’s all this kerfuffle about? What’s all this commotion about? What’s all this fuss about?
2
votes
1answer
53 views

How to translate the German term “Selbstverständnis” with respect to organisations?

The German term "Selbstverständnis" can be used in the context of (typically) not-for-profit / non-profit organisations to denote the aims they have and the (typically social) changes they try to ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

difference between suffixes '-ish' and '-y'

Recently Prince Charles used the word 'Hitlery,' in the sense of "possessing some properties of Hitler." Is there any difference between the suffixes -ish and -y ?
2
votes
2answers
329 views

“Crisis”, “drama” and similar words in the news

Today I read the economist headline: On to the next crisis. Automatic spending cuts took effect on March 1st; more drama is to come I startled at the word ‘drama’. It would be regarded as ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Nuance of “Intellectual Bad Ass” [closed]

To me as a non-native to the English language, it reminds funny, geeky, nerdy hero, like Tony Stark (Iron Man) excluding his riches and Iron Man suit. But what are the nuances of "intellectual bad ...
1
vote
4answers
423 views

Sincerity and generosity in sentences

(1)   If you want anything to eat, there are plenty of eggs. (2)   If you are at all hungry, there are plenty of eggs. (3)   If you're the ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

“Given that” vs. “Granted that”

Understanding that "given that" and "granted that" are both used to mark the premise of an argument (or conditions that are assumed to be true), and the actual meaning is almost identical, I have to ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

“The key doesn't work” vs. “The key is not working” [closed]

Here's a situation. You go to your hotel room and the key that you have is not working. When you go back to the reception, should you say: The key is not working, can you fix it. Or The key ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

PrP Continuous vs. PrP | Nuance?

I have a question regarding the usage of the Present Perfect and the Present Perfect Continuous. So first, here's the context: I was playing an online game with a couple friends and in this game you ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Does “absent friends” have definite association with deceased family/friends?

Having gotten married this year and acting as best man for my brother, one of the responsibilities for speeches was a toast "to absent friends". With some of our family no longer being alive, for us ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

'Closest Healing' or another phrase for a book title?

I have written a book and will publish it. I have suffered a lot from a disease over a decade, but after I prayed to God in fasting I found its healing was very close, not far from me. Therefore, I ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

“Never” and past tense

Considering these two sentences in the past tense, using "never": The film has never been released The film was never released Are they both correct? If so, is there a difference in the ...
0
votes
2answers
180 views

“Protagonist in” or “protagonist of”? [closed]

If I were to write an intro for a protagonist in say, a game, would I say he/she is the "protagonist of [title]" or the "protagonist in [title]"? Or does it matter?
0
votes
3answers
625 views

A lot of people seem to be 'working for the man'. Who is this guy? [closed]

I have heard the expression 'working for the man' a lot. Mostly in podcasts made in the US. What does that mean? Does it express an opinion about the employer? Something along the lines of big, ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

“Can” vs “Able to”: People/Animals vs. Inanimate Objects

I’m wondering if the English grammar “rule” given below, which I have heard from numerous non-native speakers, has any validity. “can” is used for people, animals, and inanimate objects. ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Larger organization – usage

What would be the correct verbiage for referring to an outside organization? For example: “Your team provided an opportunity for this division to derive change within our larger organization”
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Difference between “in” and “to” in this context

My friend is taking an English conversation class. In it, she said I have been teaching math in high schools for more than 10 years. Before that I taught math in junior high schools. However, ...
0
votes
2answers
428 views

any differences between fund and funding when used as a noun?

Are there any differences between fund and funding when used as a noun? They seem both to have a meaning of "money made available for a particular purpose", and I was wondering why we need "funding" ...
0
votes
3answers
131 views

Why use “what is … to/by me” rather than “my … thing”?

I noticed that in English we say, "My favorite thing", and it's okay, but we don't say, "My well-liked thing". Why is this? Why use, "What is well-liked by me ..."?
0
votes
1answer
355 views

“Inspect” vs. “control” [closed]

Which of inspect or control is more appropriate when referring to action checking the operational state of something? Context: Workers are checking the operational state of a billboard with regards ...
0
votes
2answers
204 views

“What need is there to …” vs “Is there a need to …”

Is a question that starts with "What need is there to" grammatically correct? For example: What need is there to tell a lie just to make a joke? If so, is there a difference in meaning or ...
-1
votes
1answer
361 views

Difference between explaining and explanatory? [closed]

What's the difference between explaining and explanatory? I've looked in the dictionary and the translations are the same. Are they synonyms?
-2
votes
1answer
174 views

Should sentence-to-sentence allusions allude only to subjects?

For example, "My friends asked me to kick his butt. He was just a scrawny kid, though. I didn't want to fight him." vs., "My friends wanted me to kick his butt. They're jerks. I don't know why ...
-2
votes
1answer
4k views

“the very best” vs. “by far the best” vs. “much the best”

What does the following sentence exactly mean? He is the very best student in our class. Is it any different in meaning from the following? He is by far the best student in our class. ...
-2
votes
1answer
158 views

Is “all of your everything” common English?

Is the phrase “all of your everything” proper English? It seems to mean “all of your belongings”, but what special connotations does this phrase have? It can be found here but the search engine of ...