Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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Is “to” inclusive in “I worked at company X from April 2012 to April 2013”? [duplicate]

I have a question about the use of the word to as a time proposition. Is to inclusive in the following sentence? I worked at company X from April 2012 to April 2013.
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2answers
103 views

Is “Cutting Across the Afternoon of Life” grammatical? [closed]

I'm using this for a title of short story. The title has to reflect the last line of the story, which is as follows: A long, dark shadow cuts across the countless cubicles. I've thought of ...
2
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1answer
170 views

When a sentence contains both “not” and “or”, which one has priority?

I am changing a piece of text which current reads: Payment not deducted to also include the situation where payments are withheld. The suggested revision of text given to me is Payment not ...
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4answers
2k views

Is it acceptable to use “womyn” or “womin” instead of “women”?

I have often seen/heard these two terms in many articles and speeches about Feminism or women's rights issues. I couldn't find them in any online dictionary except for the Oxford Dictionary which ...
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3answers
103 views

Does ordering make a difference?

I would like to know whether there is a grammatical or semantical difference between "notion of " and "-notion". I do not know what to search for to answer this question so maybe someone can help me ...
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2answers
365 views

Is “I don't work here” literal or does it mean “I am not an employee of this establishment”? [closed]

Part of my work involves visiting retail establishments during business hours. Often, when mistaken for an employee of the store, I am asked a question about where to find something in the store, to ...
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2answers
123 views

How to analyze lightly varying senses of adjective *very*

Use of very as an adjective is (in my experience) most frequently attested in phrases like ...the very person I was looking for. To use adjective very with the indefinite article sounds quite ...
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5answers
12k views

Is the phrase “it's just a matter of semantics” meaningless?

I hear this phrase from time to time, and I really don't know what it means. Two people are debating, and one says "the difference between your position and mine is just a matter of semantics." ...
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4answers
5k views

Is it appropriate to write RIP for expressing grief? [closed]

I came to this question after I saw a Facebook post about someone who passed away with everyone posting rip as a comment. Wikipedia tells me the following about the abbreviation of RIP: "Rest in ...
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1answer
617 views

Guidelines for interpretation of “all but a few”

For a clause of the type [all but a few X] [Y], there seem to be two possible interpretations. The first one is "Y is the case for all things/people/places, except for a few X," as in the following ...
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1answer
5k views

Christmas: Christ + Mas? [closed]

What is the meaning of Christmas in the English language? Christ + mas = Christmas? Is it because Christ is associated with a cross that it sometimes reads X-mas? And where is the mas coming ...
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2answers
3k views

“Don't condescend to me” or “Don't condescend me”? [closed]

I've recently heard that the correct usage is "Don't condescend to me", but I've always used "Don't condescend me". Google has mixed quotes. Which is the correct usage? The dictionary has this ...
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2answers
1k views

“I wouldn't ever” vs. “I would never”

The two expressions from the title, “I wouldn't ever” and “I would never”, are very similar. But are they completely equivalent or do they bear any subtle differences? If so, how do they differ in ...
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3answers
520 views

Semantic difference between “if I did not want” and “if I wanted”

I was reading My Antonia and came across this line: [She] asked me if I did not want to go to the garden with her (12) And was wondering why Cather chose if I did not want over if I wanted. Are ...
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3answers
1k views

Difference between “boundary” and “limit” [closed]

Is there a difference between the semantics of the two words boundary and limit? Is it possible that only one of the two has an inclusive meaning regarding the set we want the limit/boundary of? ...
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4answers
5k views

“Postfix” or “suffix”?

Wikipedia and The Free Dictionary were not much help — is there a practical difference in the semantics of suffix and postfix, except that the latter is more rare? File name extensions are well ...
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4answers
255 views

“Your interview with him.” Who is the interviewer?

You write something like this: I'm interested in your interview with Barack Obama. Most people would take this to mean that it was Obama who was the interviewee (the one answering questions). ...
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3answers
105 views

Does “allegedly made a drug that does X” or “made a drug that allegedly does X” sound better? [closed]

As an engineering-type fellow, I was thinking about this article about a drug that replaces sleep. It occurred to me that I could frame it in two ways: Scientists allegedly created a drug that ...
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2answers
690 views

“for good” expression in an unfortunate event?

I just heard an expression while watching a TV series yesterday. Someone just died and they said: He is gone for good I googled it and found that "for good" means "forever" in this context. But ...
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1answer
1k views

phrases where opposite words can be used to mean the same thing [closed]

For example "1 in 20 Americans suffer from..." and "1 out of 20 Americans suffer from..." "it is down to you" and "it is up to you" They seem like great ways to add to creative writing. Are there ...
4
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2answers
158 views

Does this phrase mean what I want it to mean?

I want to say that "the value decreases at a rate at least x" (i.e. faster than or equal to x). Does the phrase "the value decreases at minimum rate x" mean the same thing? If not, is there any other ...
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2answers
941 views

Is “want” a causative verb?

I've always held on to the definition that Causative Verbs express how the Noun before the Verb influences the execution of an action. Similarly, the Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written ...
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3answers
2k views

How to Identify a Rhetorical Question?

I am familiar with the idea of a rhetorical question, but are there any criteria to mark or identify one? Can a rhetorical question be recognized alone or does it need surrounding context? It ...
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2answers
780 views

Is there a clear delineation between the usages of 'this' and 'that' in American English?

One of my linguistics professors speaks English as a second language, and remarked that she never knows which of the two is appropriate. Given a list of examples, all native speakers in the classroom ...
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3answers
1k views

Indicator vs. Indication

The Merriam Webster Dictionary gives the following definitions. Indicator - "one that indicates" Indication - "something that serves to indicate" How are they different? Is saying that an ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the distinction between terms 'where', 'while', 'whereas' and 'whenever'? [closed]

It seems all of these four words can denote 'at the same time' or 'if and only if', but do the meanings of them identical? Update: e.g. Day comes where the sun rises. Day comes whereas the sun ...
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2answers
1k views

Is it correct to use the word “then” to imply something of the past?

I am trying to identify something that was once a new thing. I used the word "then" to imply the subject as something that is already a past. But I am not sure if this is grammatically and ...
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0answers
1k views

Differences between 'Ideology' and 'Paradigm'? [closed]

What are the differences between the terms 'ideology' and 'paradigm'? paradigm: the generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time. ideology: an orientation that ...
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1answer
559 views

“Is” with singular and plural nouns

I came across the sentence My biggest grievance is grammar mistakes. I'd be inclined to write it as My biggest grievance is with grammar mistakes. or Grammar mistakes are my biggest ...
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3answers
154 views

Fact in Fiction [closed]

Is a fact implied within fictional literature still a fact actually? Imagine this real-life conversation: Person 1: "Does Deadpool have better healing abilities than Wolverine?" Person 2: "I ...
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2answers
273 views

“bio“ VS “autobiography“ for a text field where users fill up their life stories (or histories)

The Oxford English Dictionary states that bio is an informal form of biography and biography An account of someone’s life written by someone else. So... Would it be more accurate to use ...
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1answer
272 views

Trouble with second conditionals (with **could**)

"I would do B if you could do A." This is a statement which has been bothering me for quite a while. I come across such statements often and, to me, they make no sense. Could is the subjunctive of ...
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3answers
3k views

I'll take you home / I'll bring you home

Being both non-natives, I had some discussion today about the following situation: suppose you're at a party and you want to take/bring your drunk buddy home. I believe that: "I'll take you home" ...
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5answers
2k views

What exactly is “verbal irony”

My daughter has been given the task - by me - of explaining irony. She identified and did a jolly good job of explaining 5 of the 6 apparent types of irony: dramatic, cosmic, socratic, situational, ...
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3answers
401 views

Does *tourist* have a derogatory connotation of *inexperienced* or any other meanings in the clip of Ice Age3? [closed]

As a major in tourism, I've already acknowledged that tourists' notoriety among the destination dwellers by taking pictures of anything,disregarding the unwritten rules ... Here I will not go on to ...
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1answer
178 views

Is this sentence well formed? [closed]

I want a well formed sentence in english GB and US (two sentences if necessary…) from this french sentence: Cette page n'existe pas dans cette langue. Voici son contenu original : Here is what ...
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3answers
296 views

Does the word “catching” apply to people?

If we can say "I am running to catch the train", is it also appropriate to say that "I am going to the office early to catch the boss"?
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5answers
146 views

Precedence: and > or?

The question Precedence of “and” and “or” asks if there is any notion of precedence ordering in the English and it would seem not, based on the answers. Regardless of that, if you saw the following ...
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4answers
288 views

It is an existential question

A question on another site asks, I have a laptop ... Now I am trying to install Windows 7 and it shows a message saying "Driver not found". Whereupon a commenter asks, What is the "it" that shows ...
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3answers
959 views

Can we call a person who loses things a “loser”?

Think > Thinker Draw > Drawer Can we call a person who loses thing a loser? Of course, I do not mean that they are not successful or failed but what should I call them?
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4answers
458 views

Does a claim have to be explicit?

I have heard the claim that a claim must be explicit by definition, but do not see any definition that supports this. An example of how "implicit claim" is used from this Wikipedia page on ...
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3answers
212 views

“Life finishes” vs “life is finished”

To convey that someone arrives at the end of his life or simply dies, which sentence is more correct or more common? I prefer the first. His life finishes. His life is finished. If the ...
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6answers
709 views

Is 'low speed' finally proving its merit?

Technically, you should expect the term low speed, not slow speed (which is obviously illogical). However, it seems the two phrases co-existed as long as one can look back: with low speed fighting ...
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3answers
419 views

Using the gerund “Starting”

Does the gerund clause Starting in imply the future tense? For example, is this correct? Starting in January, 2012, we will use public transportation. Or is it proper to use the following: ...
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3answers
349 views

What's the semantic difference between “overrated” and “overvalued”?

I often see those two words used together like "overrated & overvalued". That implies that they have different connotations. I wonder if that's really the case or they are used together just for ...
3
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1answer
419 views

Meaning of “Which two of the following…?” versus “Which of the two following…?”

I've just taken a multiple-choice test and one of the questions read like this: "Which of the following two statements about effectiveness of control measures are false?" To answer this ...
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2answers
2k views

Use of “promise”, “guarantee”, “swear” and “assure” for future and past

Can verbs such as promise, guarantee, swear and assure be used to mean convince others that something will (not) happen in the future or did (not) happen in the past? In other words, are they used for ...
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4answers
1k views

“Doubt” vs. “suspect” [closed]

I have never used doubt or suspect properly before. Now I understand that they seem to bear quite the opposite meanings in a sentence. For example, Everybody believes him, but I suspect he is ...
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2answers
448 views

Does a comparative always need to compare with something?

As I understand it, comparatives compare with something. So something that is colder is more cold than another thing. However, can't a word like colder be used as an adjective without being compared ...
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4answers
3k views

Difference between “fluency” and “fluidity”

Fluent seems to most commonly refer to language mastery, but in that context isn't it just saying that its delivery is fluid? If so, am I communicating something different when using one over another ...