Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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1answer
42 views

“confer” (“cf.”) vs “see also”

I used to think that "confer" ("cf.") is to be used to refer to another source discussing the same issue, or making the same argument etc. But it seems some (many?) people use it instead of "see ...
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3answers
33 views

Does it make sense to 'lift' an obligation?

I want to say that an obligation that was present previously has been removed in a new approach. Can I say that in the new approach, the obligation has been lifted?
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2answers
51 views

What is wrong with “cotton field”?

The news is very sad. The guy, Vester Lee Flanagan, was very crazy. (Please see the news: ...
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0answers
30 views

The right expression to give the semantics of “Creative, Brilliant, Innocent, Clever” [closed]

I'm going to build up a videogames software house. I would like to choose a slogan, and I want to give the idea of "Creative, Brilliant, Innocent, Clever, Not too serious". So I'm searching the right ...
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4answers
65 views

What is the precise meaning of “preliminary to”? [on hold]

Clarification: The point of this question is this: does Event A being "preliminary to" Event B require that Event B has happened or will have happened? Consider the following sentence: "Slaughter ...
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2answers
87 views

“dick all” meaning nothing, AmE, slang [duplicate]

"dick" has developed a lot of meanings. Pons.eu lists five different meanings. The semantic development of most of them can be understood, but "dick all/dick" for nothing is a bit mysterious (AmE, ...
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2answers
60 views

Is the sentence “That guy will make fall in love all those girls” correct?

Is the sentence "That guy will make fall in love all those girls" correct, like "all those girls will fall in love with that guy", can I rewrite it like above? Thanks for the attention!
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1answer
34 views

Is the phrase “I will infatuate you” correct? [closed]

Can I say "I will infatuate that girl" or "I will infatuate you", meaning that I will do something to someone and then that someone will become infatuated with me? Does it make sense? Thanks for the ...
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1answer
31 views

How to interpret confusing statements involving either/or/not? [duplicate]

I have a simple problem basically I am unable to understand the meaning of some questions involving or/not, and using comma with and. I have the following questions:- 1.Whats the meaning of, say , ...
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8answers
2k views

Is there a term for ascribing acts of the human mind to non-human objects, and when is it appropriate to do this?

Nota bene: English isn't my native language, so when I say acts of the human mind, I attempt to generalize things such as making assumptions, drawing conclusions and (to some extent) to reject. To me ...
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1answer
157 views

Is there an opposite term for [sic]?

In academics, the note [sic] (for Source InCorrect) is used to make it clear that material lifted from a secondary source was incorrect as the author found it, as opposed to a mistake in the text. Is ...
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1answer
48 views

Looking for a word to semantically represent the input data to a template

I am trying to come up with a very specific semantically narrow term for the information/data that fed into a template to materialize an output. data, info, input and the like are to generic and ...
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1answer
52 views

Verbal compounds such as come-to-be, come-to-know, come-to-X

Reading about intellectual history and the history of natural science, I have very often come across the expression to come-to-be as a synonym for to come into being, to start to exist, to originate, ...
4
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1answer
80 views

What is the difference between 'ceremonial' and 'ceremonious'?

Even having looked in the OED I am still slightly unclear as to which contexts require the adjective ceremonious and which ceremonial. The OED treatment of ceremonious is as below with some of the ...
4
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3answers
142 views

Difference of “I am just an ABC” vs “I am but a XYZ”

As far as I (non-native speaker) can tell, these two sentences have the same meaning: I'm just a humble merchant I'm but a humble merchant However I wonder if there is some subtle ...
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3answers
151 views

“This page intentionally blank” … but it isn't!

We are all familiar with user manuals or documents with pages printed with "intentionally blank" ... but with those words on them, they are no longer blank! I'm pretty sure I saw a user manual once ...
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3answers
57 views

Hypernym for “query” and “report” [closed]

One hypernym for teacher and student is person. Vehicle is a hypernym of car and lorry.... Is there a hypernym for query and report?
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1answer
85 views

Do we plan a strategy?

Is it grammatically correct to say : "He planned a strategy".
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2answers
78 views

How to distinguish “wherefore” from “therefore” [closed]

I'm aware that the word "wherefore" can be used in the same way as "why", as in classic Shakespeare: "Wherefore art thou Romeo" (NOT meaning where). However how else can it be properly used? Please ...
3
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3answers
196 views

Idiom: Bear with me

The sense of this formula is clear. It means be patient with me, be tolerant/lenient. Don't be too harsh on me. But how can a verb as "to bear" develop the meaning of to be tolerant? "To bear" is an ...
2
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2answers
94 views

Do English speaking subcultures attach different meanings to the phrase “I'm sorry”? [duplicate]

On a recent trip the US, someone explained to me that saying "sorry" meant taking responsibility for causing the loss. Thus you should only say sorry if you intended to fix the situation. (And ...
1
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1answer
775 views

“I'll be sure to do something” vs “I'll for sure do something”

I'm not a native speaker but work in an English-speaking international environment. One American guy wrote me: I'll be sure to let you know We at our company usually say: I'll for sure let ...
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2answers
184 views

Formal definition of “nearly”

When google for "define nearly" the provided definition was: adverb very close to; almost. closely. Does this means, despite almost no one use it this way, It is semantically ...
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5answers
482 views

Can someone please explain the syntactic rules at work here?

I'll use an example statement that's currently being used in a radio commercial for American Family Insurance (paraphrased.) They all told me that I couldn't build my dream home by myself; but, I ...
3
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2answers
115 views

A sentence with double negative [closed]

I came across the following sentence in Kurt Vonnegut's book Slaughterhouse Five. “Trout would have gone upstairs if Billy hadn't asked him not to.” If this sentence is considered independently, ...
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0answers
65 views

Does the word “writing” denote all forms of using characters to convey information?

In legal practices it is common to deliver a written notice to a defendant. This may be a physical letter or an email. This got me thinking about the meaning of written. The Oxford dictionary defines ...
4
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1answer
127 views

Definition of racism inconsistency?

For some dictionaries, such as the Oxford one, racism requires that prejudice/discrimination based on the belief that a race is superior/inferior. But I can't find this requirement anywhere for any ...
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1answer
41 views

Can “I'm springing” ever really have a present continuous meaning relating to a single spring?

As an homage to a certain kind of linguistico-philosophico question we see here now and then, I'm asking my own, since I have pressing things to do which I would like to do tomorrow, or the next day, ...
4
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1answer
165 views

How did we get ‘deft’ and ‘daffy’ from “daft”?

[ Etymonline for 'daft (adj.)'] Old English gedæfte "gentle, becoming," ... from PIE * dhabh- "to fit together" (see fabric). Sense of "mild, well-mannered" (c. 1200). [ Etymonline for ...
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1answer
58 views

Are these two sentences semantically identical? [closed]

Are these two sentences semantically identical? By using this website, you are certifying that you have read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, you are certifying that you understand our Terms of ...
2
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2answers
154 views

It was nice being here vs It was nice to be here

What is more appropriate to say: It was nice being here or It was nice to be here? I hear both constructions pretty often, and am aware of the slight difference, but it seems that people use them ...
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0answers
271 views

The difference between issue, matter, affair and question

I'm analyzing a text on marketing and I found this paragraph that has four lexemes which are synonymous and yet there seems to exist some difference between them. This is the text (the numbers ...
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1answer
90 views

Last, This, and Next (days of the week) [duplicate]

I (and my interlocutors) have often experienced confusion when communicating with others regarding "last [day-of-week]", "this [day-of-week]" and "next [day-of-week]" In my mind, what is logical is ...
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3answers
102 views

How did 'estate' evolve to mean 'area of land or property'?

The following are definitions of the word 'estate': estate {noun} = 1. An area or amount of land or property, in particular = 3. {archaic or literary} A particular state, period, or condition ...
1
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2answers
249 views

Starting a Sentence with a Conjunction [duplicate]

My high school English teacher taught us to never start a sentence with conjunctions, but throughout the years I have seen a lot of such usage in academic writings and novels. I have also read various ...
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2answers
122 views

“Any object in A and B”—What does it mean?

Does "any object in A and B" in English mean any object in A and any object in B; any object in A or any object in B; or any object in the intersection of A and B? Thanks a lot. Another ...
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2answers
56 views

Usage of the noun 'news'

I would like to ask you a question concerning the noun 'news'. I am aware that as an uncountable noun, it is, thus, not possible to use the indefinite article preceding it. I am a bit unsure, ...
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1answer
92 views

The tiger VS. tigers [closed]

Using just 'species' (for the sake of simplicity and consistency), the author's judgments can be summarized as follows: • (39a) the species of the tiger = (marginally) OK • (39b) the species of ...
0
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3answers
55 views

Origin of using “left” as something we still have [closed]

People express a quantity of something they still have (but is finding away) by using the word "left". Time left: 2 hours Where does this usage originates from. If one depicts a timeline, it ...
2
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1answer
68 views

What is 'only' is these sentences?

Are you hungry? Only I know a great pizzeria. Or should I make it one complete sentence and use only as a (coordinating conjunction?)? Are you hungry, only I know a great pizzeria? Only can be used ...
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3answers
188 views

root words and affixes lead to a limitless vocabulary?

Could anyone explain how a solid knowledge about root words and affixes ( which can alter words meaning presumably ) boosts one's vocabulary? I want to know how it works? I've read somewhere that good ...
1
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1answer
6k views

Is there a difference between feminism and egalitarianism? [closed]

The definition of feminism (based on merriam-webster): the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes While egalitarianism is defined as: a belief in human equality ...
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1answer
87 views

Assign an appropriate Grammatical function & Semantic Role to each phrase: [closed]

John's mother sent a letter to Mary. We placed the cheese in the freezer. John made a doll for his daughter. Mary received an award from the department. Alan gave the book to the students.
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1answer
91 views

Is there anything wrong with the phrase “constant variable” ? (used in context with programming) [closed]

The phrase "constant variable" seems semantically incorrect to me. Constant means something that don't change and variable means something that do change. How should I think in order to get this ?
2
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2answers
160 views

Nouns that describe actions but are not verb nouns [closed]

So I had a little semantics argument about English verbs, where the other side claimed, let me quote: They are one in the same, every action is a verb, every verb is an action. I disagree, but ...
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2answers
418 views

Can a sentence be grammatical without making sense?

Am I the only one whose athletic career bared fruit? While this sentence doesn’t make logical sense, seeing as it should be "bore fruit", is it still grammatically correct? Can a sentence that ...
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1answer
82 views

Elide versus omit [closed]

Do "elide" and "omit" mean exactly the same thing? Are they completely interchangeable? Or is there some nuance that would indicate that you should use one over the other depending on the ...
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3answers
124 views

Can I have an easy comprehension?

I want to know if it is possible to say this: "He has an easy comprehension of theory and methodologies, and a complete understanding of technologies, learning very quick the use of different Business ...
3
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1answer
236 views

What is an “aglet-baby” exactly?

This is a line from the Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare Grumio [to Hortensio]: Marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby . . . Although 'aglet' is an extremely uncommon word, its meaning can ...
0
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1answer
99 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...