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21
votes
10answers
5k views

Is “I believe x does not equal y” the same as “I don't believe x equals y”

Given x and y could be any phrase, do these phrases always mean the same thing? If not, what's the difference? I believe x does not equal y I don't believe x equals y
12
votes
4answers
3k views

A word that describes the polite phrases we use to begin our letters

How can we refer to the polite phrase used at the beginning of a letter (email in my specific context)? For example, we may start our letter: Dear Bob, I hope that you're well and had a nice ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

learn how to [verb] vs. learn to [verb]

"learn to [verb]" "learn how to [verb]" Is [1] merely a less formal version of [2]? If not, does [1] communicate something subtly different? Consider the following: In [2], the object of learning ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

“Should either be” or “should be either”?

Which is more correct: This rule specifies that an object should be either visible or invisible, but not partially visible. Or This rule specifies that an object should either be visible or ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

“Each X” vs. “each of the Xs”

Are each X and each of the Xs interchangeable? For example, in the following sentence, I would use each of the characters: Each of the main characters is interesting. But one could also write ...
5
votes
2answers
815 views

OK to use two “there”s in a sentence?

A teacher once told me that it is improper to use two there words in a sentence, such as There is a woman there. or Is there a man there? and instead state A woman is there. or ...
4
votes
7answers
896 views

Is there any suffix expressing “demand a lot”?

For example, a job that demands a lot of effort is effort-***? Or a program costs lots of money is money-***? Or a task needs high patience is patience-***?
4
votes
3answers
243 views

What do you call a statement like “No fake lures”?

We have a car dealer around here with an ad that reads "No Fake Lures". Now, as I understand the concept of a lure, if it doesn't attract attention, it's not a lure. And if a lure does attract ...
4
votes
6answers
470 views

Can a negative be used to express a positive, such as “mangoes are sweet and so aren't papayas.”

Is it incorrect to use the positive/negative construction when the intent is positive/positive? In other words can these two statements be viewed as equivalent: Mangoes are sweet and so aren't ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Can you rephrase this sentence (about storing files)?

Starting from this date all such files will be stored in folder B. Is it possible to re-phrase this sentence without changing its meaning in such a way that it would start from "Starting from ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

“Half” or “A Half”

This argument has come up at work, and I actually found it pretty interesting. My colleague is arguing that you might say "a quarter of a pizza", whereas you'd just say "half of a pizza" rather than ...
3
votes
2answers
604 views

Should I follow English conventions, or write what sounds better?

How a sentence sounds when read aloud or in your head can often "sound" different for each individual doing so; however, I was reading details regarding the usage of "data" and "datum" and was ...
3
votes
3answers
12k views

Alternative structures for “not only … but also …”?

I'm trying to write this essay and I find myself writing too many "not only ... but also ..." structures. Can you guys help me come up with some alternatives? Basically, I want this kind of ...
3
votes
2answers
601 views

Wording an 'If-Then' Statement Tense

I need help phrasing the last part of this conditional sentence (assume I can't change the first conditional statement): If I died tomorrow, I would have wanted to go skydiving. or If I ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Wishing someone that something goes easily for them

I'm trying to phrase a sentence in which I'm wishing that something goes easily for someone, but can't get the wording to sound right, and not awkward. For example, someone may be studying for a test ...
3
votes
3answers
109 views

Is this correct: “[x] is where [explanation]”

When explaining a concept, for example, recursion, is it valid to use a construction such as: Recursion is where a subroutine calls itself. To my ear, "is where" sounds somewhat weird. Do you ...
2
votes
7answers
1k views

What makes this sentence 'clunky'? [closed]

I've had comments that the sentence below seems awkward and clunky. Can anyone help me clarify what it is that is off about it. Background being: "An issue has been found but not correcting in this ...
2
votes
3answers
133 views

What's the name of this kind of act?

What's the name of this kind of act? It is commonly seen between friends. (I mean the act between two people, not necessarily 4 people like this one.) Or can you describe it with a few words?
2
votes
7answers
288 views

What would be a valid replacement of “as”?

Say I want to write something to say: John looked over his shoulder as he opened the door slowly. However, for stylistic reasons I don't really want to use as in that sentence. There must be ...
2
votes
3answers
862 views

Can you “do a goal” or do you have to “meet a goal?” [closed]

If I am asking a client what they will be doing to meet a fitness goal, i.e. riding a bike to be more active (the goal is to be more active). Can I say, "how will you do your goal?" in a goal setting ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Negating two verbs separated by or

I'm curious about the logical implications of phrasings of the form: not given or received In my mind, this can parse as either "not (given or received)" or "(not given) or (received)", which ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

How to avoid ordinal numbers when referring to a place in a queue?

I have the following sentence: "You are currently 5th in the queue" I'd like to avoid using ordinal numbers. What is the best way to rephrase this sentence such that it conveys the same meaning, ...
2
votes
3answers
76 views

Way of saying 'washes hands of it' but implies physical

Looking for a non-crappy way of describing someone doing that washing hand motion you do to clear your hands of dust or dirt, but without saying 'washing hand motion'. I feel like there's a good way ...
2
votes
2answers
319 views

Predicate or noun after “nationality”

Which one is correct? To put a predicate after nationality His nationality is Chinese. To put a noun after nationality His nationality is China.
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it rude to say “how did you end up here”? [closed]

Is it rude to say, "how did you end up here?" to a teacher? I said it to my English teacher, and then thought, "damn, I don't know if I'm supposed to phrase it that way or not." So, is it?
2
votes
2answers
71 views

“This what is” vs “This that is”

Came across the following choice of words from a British-Australian writer. It is not very recognizable to me, and am wondering if it's a question of dialect, or was just a mistake/typo: All this ...
1
vote
5answers
105 views

Is saying “I have checked futilely” correct?

For example: After checking a few stores futilely, I found a store with what i needed Is that correct, or is there better phrasing?
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Different ways to say “hope to Learn”

I am writing a study proposal broken into three sections. The third section will cover "what I hope to learn," which is not the greatest phrasing for a section. Alternative suggestions would be ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

How to better phrase “I'm Alec who enquired about…” [closed]

I'm writing an email to an angel investor I met recently. The context is: Hi John, Pleasure to briefly meet you at the ... event last Thursday. I'm Alec who enquired about the best way of ...
1
vote
2answers
595 views

Is it redundant to say, “…based on any arbitrary criteria?”

Should "arbitrary" suffice on its own, or does it make sense to include "any?"
1
vote
4answers
574 views

A more formal phrasing of “in the future”

Is there a more formal or better way of phrasing "in the future"? Example: Please refrain from using said substance in the future.
1
vote
2answers
4k views

“Regardless to the fact” vs “Regardless of the fact”

I want to say that something will happen regardless of whether something else happens. However, in my particular situation, using regardless of sounds awkward. Some arrangements work better than ...
1
vote
3answers
129 views

A shorter phrase for “is a poor predictor of”

This is a bullet point in a presentation: Coronary angiography is a poor predictor of the hemodynamic relevance of stenosis "is a poor predictor of" feels very round-about, but I can't think of ...
1
vote
3answers
96 views

Less Freedom or Fewer Freedoms?

I'm trying to describe that two nations which both guarantee their citizens the right to free speech, asssembly, etc, can have different enforcement policies, resulting a a nation that: a) has less ...
1
vote
5answers
109 views

Do you have a better way to cater to the need to express something as being “uncatered” to?

I needed "cater" as an adjective today, and I didn't enjoy how it worked out; and not only due to the spell checked thumbing its nose at me. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/uncatered appears ...
1
vote
3answers
252 views

Is it correct to say “conscientious of the fact”

I'm writing out an e-mail blast and part of the sentence is I’d like to send this e-mail out as a reminder to everyone to be conscientious of the fact that if there are changes to be made to... ...
1
vote
2answers
162 views

How does 1:30 sound? [closed]

Someone overheard me say "How does 1:30 sound?" and suggested that the preferred way to phrase this question (i.e., when scheduling a meeting) would be to ask "How does 1:30 work?" or "Does 1:30 sound ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

Legitimacy of “construct from nothing”

I was thinking today about the phrasing of 'construct something from nothing' (the context was constructing ideas), and I began to wonder if 'construct' was really a good word to use. Maybe I'm just ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

phrase replacement [closed]

I sometimes use common phrases that I'd rather spruce up with a single word or more direct phrase, or perhaps just by using fresher wording. One phrase I'd like to change is: "was the fact that." My ...
1
vote
1answer
547 views

Can “to revolve around” mean “to deal with/pertain to”?

... around which the book revolves. Can I use this expression to say that the book is dealing with a subject, addressing an issue, or talking about something? I'm open to suggestions if there is a ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Can I say that a woman is shocked about something that's happening and standing with 'her eyes ripped wide open'? [closed]

I'm writing a story and a woman is negatively surprised about something/ standing in the room in shock. Can I use the phrase 'she stood (in place X), her eyes ripped wide open.' ? I'm not sure if I ...
1
vote
1answer
17 views

“Select parent set of selected items to change to”…?

I am writing a program where each item has a "parent set" attribute. I am trying to create a function that changes the "parent set" value of selected items, and am having troubles trying to phrase ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

Proper phrasing of “My first foray into”

I am writing a purpose statement for a PhD program in mathematics and would like advice on properly phrasing this sentence: My first foray into unusual mathematics was an introductory course in ...
1
vote
1answer
288 views

To be about; to be all about

I have a nagging feeling "to be all about" is vastly different than its "all"-less counterpart. This game is all about teamwork. To me this means the very basis, the fundamental element of this ...
1
vote
4answers
901 views

Looking for a word that means “a lack of listening skills”

This is my first time here, and I am hoping this community can help me out. The context is as follows: I witnessed a slow transition from awareness and excitement to Wallace's "natural state" - ...
1
vote
1answer
335 views

President of [Country][Name] vs President [Name] of [Country]

I came across the following sentence in The Guardian (emphasis mine): President Vladimir Putin of Russia said the EU was putting pressure on Kiev and organising mass protests against President ...
1
vote
1answer
534 views

proper phrasing for “avoid X in favor of Y”

I'm having a brain cramp: if cookies should be avoided, and carrots are preferable instead, is it correct to say: Avoid cookies in favor of carrots. or if not, what's the correct way to phrase?
1
vote
2answers
295 views

“Sorting on” vs. “Sorting by”

Recently asked a question of a colleague: Are you sorting this list by acronym? He responded: Yes, I’m sorting on acronym (ascending). Emphasis mine in each case. Is one correct and not ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Does another comma belong somewhere in this sentence?

In conclusion, their failure to properly house their animals and educate the human population are just two reasons why zoos are not as good as they claim to be. I'm trying to say that their failure ...
1
vote
2answers
34 views

Phrasing a sentence [closed]

In this section, nonlinear effects of two-photon absorption in a photonic crystal cavity are examined. In this section, nonlinear effects of two-photon absorption are examined for a photonic crystal ...