Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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18
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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 ...
2
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
42 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
votes
1answer
71 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
votes
3answers
136 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
143 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
56 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?
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Do we plan a strategy?

Is it grammatically correct to say : "He planned a strategy".
1
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2answers
73 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
votes
3answers
182 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
votes
2answers
84 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
vote
1answer
369 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
177 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
446 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
votes
2answers
108 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, ...
0
votes
0answers
52 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
67 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
38 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
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
53 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
votes
2answers
137 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
158 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
64 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
95 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
vote
2answers
216 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
106 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
53 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
87 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
votes
3answers
53 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
votes
1answer
65 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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
169 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
vote
1answer
4k 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
76 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.
-1
votes
1answer
84 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
votes
2answers
123 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
366 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
74 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
111 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
votes
1answer
214 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
votes
1answer
84 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
636 views

“I'm curious as to how to…” [closed]

Is that worded properly? I'm not sure if it's off. Thank you for any help you give.
2
votes
1answer
70 views

“No longer could I wait”: Valid construction? [closed]

A lack of capital and experience had always kept me from pursuing this dream, but no longer could I wait. I'm unsure whether or not the no longer could I wait fragment is correct. I have just ...
0
votes
2answers
135 views

Comma required to avoid syntactical (but not semantic) ambiguity?

Consider this sentence: You may worry about the Fed raising interest rates, or a market meltdown, but these risks should not change your investment plans. Could the comma before "or" be omitted? ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

Does 'lending' an object require its relocation?

I was recently in an argument with a friend who - equipped with an apparent understanding of the etymology of the words lend and borrow - insisted that to lend an object required not just the ...
3
votes
3answers
264 views

Semantic role of “the coat” in “the coat lay on the bed”?

What is a semantic role of "the coat" in the sentence "the coat lay on the bed"?
0
votes
1answer
252 views

What is the semantical difference between reliable and trustworthy?

When one literally translates the Dutch word betrouw-baar (dash added) one gets trust-worthy (dash added). But when one uses Google translate, it generates reliable. Based on my experience with ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Semantics and malapropism

When correcting somebody on the application of a word, could it be said that you are being critical of their use of semantics? For example, calling the tool used to pick a lock a "tension wrench" is ...
3
votes
1answer
626 views

What is the difference between in receipt, on receipt and upon receipt?

I got the following message from a book store: I am extremely sorry for this lapse as I hurriedly sent you the book to reach you on time when I received the book from the Publisher. I will ...
2
votes
4answers
102 views

few followed by fewer issue?

"In X, few had been to town Y. Even fewer aspired to go to town Z." Are these two sentences together correct? Few technically means a small number that could be as low as zero. Based on that, does ...