Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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8
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2answers
1k 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 ...
2
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3answers
2k 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 ...
1
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2answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
3k 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 ...
1
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1answer
962 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 ...
2
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3answers
169 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 ...
0
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2answers
343 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
410 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 ...
2
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7answers
7k 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" ...
7
votes
5answers
3k 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, ...
1
vote
3answers
644 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
214 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 ...
4
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3answers
423 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"?
1
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5answers
159 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
314 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k 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?
1
vote
4answers
810 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
363 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
875 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
592 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: ...
5
votes
3answers
590 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
votes
1answer
533 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
686 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
6
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4answers
325 views

Does “If X discovers that Y is Z” imply that Y is Z?

Related Question: Entailment/Presupposition in if-clause. Consider the sentence "If John discovers that Mary is in New York, he will get angry." Does this imply that Mary is in New York now? Is ...
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2answers
1k views

What is a semantic script?

Recently, there was a question about 'semantic roles', and someone explained them to me here. It was great. So, I was hoping someone may also know what "semantic scripts" are. I've tried searching ...
7
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2answers
234 views

Is there any semantic difference between “absolutely no x, except y” and “except y, absolutely no x”?

Bit of a quibble on a discussion elsewhere. I made the following statement: They had absolutely no debt, except for their mortgage. Someone (with whom I disagree vehemently) has accused this of ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Does “establish” imply a chronological ordering?

The context is actually mathematics, and providing a proof for a particular fact. If one says "... which was established by Smith." does this have the connotation that Smith was the first to do it? ...
0
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2answers
584 views

What are the semantic roles of the nouns following the adjective 'suspicious' in this sentence?

A suspicious policeman looked at a suspicious man. Can anybody define the semantic roles of the nouns which follow the adjective suspicious in the quoted sentence?
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“No need to hurry yet…”

This question is from a diagnostic test of one ESL school in Bangkok. Ann wonders how much time she has to work on her assigned project. Her teacher says, “No need to hurry yet ________” a) ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

“Whether they are congruent”

A geometry test asks a student to find the length of two pairs of line segments and then instructs the student to tell whether they are congruent for each pair. Is the student obligated to tell ...
0
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2answers
591 views

All X are Y. Then Some Y is X? [closed]

I have the following statement: All the actors are girls. All the girls are beautiful. The conclusions are given below: Conclusions: 1)All the actors are beautiful. 2)Some girls are actors. My ...
0
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2answers
317 views

English comprehension task

The following is an English comprehension task, and we can't agree upon the correct answer. According to the textbook, answer B is correct. However, in my opinion, it is clearly lacking the word not. ...
1
vote
0answers
334 views

Semantics of “This is for good” [closed]

What is the meaning of "This is for good"? Does it mean this is final, this is so for a good reason or maybe this is good like it is? I couldn't find a good reference for it.
1
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1answer
942 views

Differences between Case Frames and Semantic role labeling

I'm learning about some basic linguistics theory and have come across case frame analysis and semantic role labeling as methods of determining agents within sentences, and arguments for verbs. ...
12
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3answers
2k views

“Bring 6 eggs. If there are potatoes, bring 9.”

This is with reference to this comic, called A Programmer's Life (translated from Portuguese): Programmer: My wife asked me to go to the market and said: “Bring six eggs. If there are potatoes, ...
1
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2answers
467 views

Improper usage of “subsequently” in the latest Futurama episode?

In the latest Futurama episode, called Cold Warriors, the professor says the following: The common cold died out 500 years ago and subsequently humanity lost all resistance to its ravages. ...
1
vote
1answer
710 views

Does the phrase “will ever be” include the past?

A colleague of mine told me that "Right now you are the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be." I don't believe this is the case. In my mind, the idea that he is trying to ...
5
votes
4answers
424 views

What's the proper interpretation of: “I was kissed by a girl twice”?

The other day I experienced two distinct but similar events. I wanted to convey this to a friend and this is what came to mind: "I was kissed by a girl twice." My question is, does this sentence say, ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Difference between “subsequently” and “consequently”?

When studying and reading course material in "softer" sciences that are descriptive the word "subsequently" appears in a way like "and subsequently" ...what does it mean, disctinct from "consequently" ...
2
votes
2answers
363 views

Etymology and meaning of “discretionary” [closed]

I found this sentence on a page about MyPyramid: There is one other category: Discretionary calories, represented by the narrow tip of each colored band, including items such as candy, ...
5
votes
4answers
38k views

What is the difference between syntax and semantics? [closed]

As a computer scientist and a writing hobbyist, I really ought to know these terms' meanings for memory. Can anyone clarify the difference between syntax and semantics, and provide some examples? For ...
0
votes
4answers
655 views

What does “The power to be strong” mean, and is it valid English?

I was reading Microsoft Encarta and in a part of it, Nietzsche’s ideology was put forward as: "For Nietzsche the power to be strong was the greatest value in life" Isn't "the power to be strong" ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a difference between “select of your own choosing [something]” and “select [something] of your own choosing”?

What is the semantic difference between "select of your own choosing a partner" and "select a partner of your own choosing"? Slightly awkward grammar aside, the first seems to suggest that the choice ...
1
vote
3answers
865 views

“Write out a prescription” vs. “make out a prescription”

Are "write out a prescription" and "make out a prescription" used more or less interchangeably?
5
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7answers
3k views

What is the meaning of “run someone out of town”?

I know it's hard to understand a sentence without context, but what situation comes naturally to your mind when you hear the following sentence? She ran the mayor out of town.
5
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6answers
1k views

Do we compile the source or the binaries?

When programming, we usually write text files in some programming language. These source files are fed into a compiler that compiles them into binary files. My question is whether to say: we ...
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2answers
270 views

Relationship words for a 'Semantic Network' and also a Sentence Dilemma

The two sentences below are for a user input form for a semantic network. It is a standard, HTML-based form with two drop down menus (the square brackets represent the drop-down menus). Users use the ...