Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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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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24 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
24 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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2answers
122 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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78 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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40 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
69 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 ...
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3answers
44 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 ...
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1answer
54 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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121 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 ...
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1answer
225 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
56 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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56 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 ?
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2answers
65 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
182 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
45 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
79 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 ...
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1answer
120 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 ...
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1answer
49 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 ...
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2answers
146 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.
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1answer
50 views

Is this sentence constructed correctly? Also, would anyone be willing to read over a short essay? [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 ...
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97 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? ...
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72 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 ...
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3answers
243 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"?
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1answer
125 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 ...
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1answer
73 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 ...
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1answer
59 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 ...
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4answers
88 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 ...
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81 views

Is “a major overhaul” pleonasm?

Is it correct to say "a major overhaul", or the meaning of "major" is actually included in the meaning of "overhaul", thus a combination of these two words is a pleonasm?
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1answer
124 views

Origin of Spread Oneself Too Thin

Three questions: What is the origin of the English idiom, "spread oneself too thin?" Is this used as frequently in the U.K. as it is in the U.S.? What about Australia and New Zealand: Is it as ...
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2answers
263 views

How far (technically) is a “stone's throw?”

A "stone's throw" means a short distance. Questions: (1) How far--technically-- is a stone's throw in terms of its usage? (i.e., Can you use it for a few feet as well as a mile away?) (2) Is it ...
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2answers
420 views

Is it correct to use “or” in place of “and/or”?

Consider the following sentence: A project is a large and/or complex undertaking. To me, the expression “and/or” seems redundant since in formal logic “or” implies ...
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2answers
68 views

hierarchical representations of verb meanings

Nouns can quite easily be represented in semantic hierarchies... ...with "hyponyms" serving as specific instances of "hypernyms." Q: Does anyone know of similar representations of verbs? Some ...
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3answers
83 views

Is it wrong to use 'not" in sentences that have an “all…not” form

All of the women in the district did not vote for the lone female candidate. What, if any, is the semantic problem in the above sentence? I was suggested the following sentence by my senior ...
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59 views

Genre restrictions [closed]

How to say correctly: 'law of the genre', 'rules of the genre' or 'genre principles'? For example: — In your fashion magazine no suffering at all. There are no hungry children, old age people... ...
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72 views

What exactly is a “principle of action” or a “principle of conduct”?

Initial Context I was reading one of John Henry Newman's (Cardinal Newman for the non-Anglicans) sermons, specifically "Religious Faith Rational" from Parochial and Plain Sermons... Near the ...
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1k views

Is there a semantic difference between “manipulable” and “manipulatable”?

In all the sources I can find, the terms "manipulable" and "manipulatable" are both defined as some form of "able to be manipulated". But depending on the source, one word seems to be related to ...
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115 views

What is the semantical meaning of “To tell you the truth”

In many English literature the phrase-part "to tell you the truth" shows up. But in contrast to the literal meaning, this doesn't mean the characters were first lying about this. In Dutch these are ...
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67 views

What is the keyword used to designate a semantic field specific to a certain period of time?

When the words 'bowler hat, shilling, bobby...' appear in a text, they tend to show that it is from a certain time period. What's the word used to describe this sort of giveaway? It's kind of ...
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110 views

“in these cases use is the best guide”

Please, explain the meaning of the phrase "in these cases use is the best guide". I can't find it in a dictionary. No context. thanks in advance)
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54 views

Op-Ed or Editorial?

I have a piece that is an opinion written by a columnist. If I only had the designation of an op-ed or of an editorial. What word better describes the piece? An editorial is supposed to be written by ...
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1answer
77 views

“Watch out for exciting ways…” - is that correct? [closed]

So, I'm not a native English speaker and the company I work for received some copy for a website. One sentence states: "Watch out for exciting ways to..." etc. Is that correct? Doesn't watch out imply ...
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7answers
381 views

“I'm dry” meaning “Would you buy me a drink?” What semantic or rhetorical term describes such usage?

Instead of saying "Could I have some water, please?" a visitor says "I am thirsty". The host understands it perfectly and says "Let me get you something to drink. What would you like?" or at a ...
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1answer
184 views

Can a sentence be both a tautology and an oxymoron?

Sometimes I encounter sentences that are very difficult to unpack into coherent thought. Sentences with tautological double or triple negatives; and sentences where one part contradicts another in ...
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3answers
278 views

What is the grammatical construction in “Be but sworn”?

I have found several questions asking for the meaning, but the thing that troubles me here is the grammar actually and i haven't found anything on that. In Shakespeare's sentence "Deny thy father ...
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1answer
42 views

Is there a difference amongst hypercorrection, overregularization, and/or overcompensation? If so, how?

I've heard of the term "hypercorrection", but then I came across "overregularize" in a psychology textbook. I wondered how it differed from hypercorrect and tried to research it. In doing so, I came ...
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1answer
234 views

Beyond help or beyond helpless?

Beyond help is an expression meaning "beyond the help of anything" or "not able to be fixed". However, I have also seen the expression beyond helpless being used, for example, here and here. My ...
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104 views

A “list of Things I've done” including passives? How to explain how this is wrong?

Proofreading a website, it had a "List of Things I've Done" that went something like this: Danced in the moonlight Had a gun pointed at me Ate Lutefisk ...etc. The one that bothered me was the ...
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2answers
507 views

How to parse “once upon a time”?

Native speaker, but I got to wondering what the grammar and semantics of this old phrase are. What would be a direct translation to modern English? I'm not looking for a loose translation; everyone ...
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3answers
78 views

Is “willfully disingenuous” a tautologism?

It seems to me that definitions of disingenuous such as the following might imply willfulness: adjective lacking in frankness, candour, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; ...