Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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Archaic verb form “bare”, its semantics

In King James Bible, John 12:6 we read: This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. As said here, bare is archaic ...
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0answers
39 views

Is the phrase “Disintegrated explosively” correct? [closed]

I'm asking to check if the sentence is correct in terms of semantics or grammar or in any other way. For example, in a sci-fi piece, the sentence where it can be used is, He landed on a rock. It ...
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4answers
64 views

Grammar rules governing a phrase from the US Constitution:

The U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5 reads No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall ...
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5answers
264 views

“Are YOU coming to get me” / “Are you coming to GET me” Is there any grammatical or semantic difference?

Is there any grammatical or semantic difference between the phrases: "Are you coming to get me?"—used to imply the question of whether that particular person is coming to get whoever. And this ...
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2answers
66 views

Semantics of 'the extent which' vs 'the extent TO which'

'the extent which'    vs    2. 'the extent to which' : 3. Semantically, how do these compare? I know that to is a preposition and so a Functional Morpheme, but does 'to' affect anything ...
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4answers
294 views

A word or short phrase to reduce the influence of something

When talking about depression, I prefer to use positive/active words as opposed to combative or oppressive words. I'm looking for a word that fits in this sentence that is active and positive: I ...
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1answer
61 views

An Example of Lexical Semantic Ambiguity?

As a joke, is A seal walks into a club... an example of semantic ambiguity, lexical ambiguity, or the expression I just recently discovered, lexical semantic ambiguity? Or put another way, is ...
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1answer
8k 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" ...
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3answers
1k 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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0answers
38 views

Doubt about the relationships in the Semantic Triangle [migrated]

I was reading the wiki on The Semantic TriangleWikipedia, but it is not as good, so I have few doubts: As I read on many places an example for the vertices could be (I may have written ...
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2answers
53 views

A word that defines something that is valuable for its lack of function and productive value?

I'm looking for a word that means "something valuable (intrinsically) because of its dysfunctional nature that makes it unnapealing for profit or production."
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2answers
67 views

Should we use the word “Actually” before a sentence? [closed]

Someone asked to me about some particular information. I replied to the email like this:- Hi, "Actually I was assigned the following task by my Manager"........ Is it grammatically correct to start ...
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2answers
66 views

If this is really accepted usage, can somebody explain its logic to me?

I guess it's just me, but this kind of sentence: "All the elephant trainers have not been informed of this decision." ...seems misleading to me; what is meant (which can be deduced from the context) ...
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1answer
51 views

Best form for language [closed]

I would like to compile lists of activities, things, actions etc. that are relevant in an engineering context. A common rule is to use a verb-object form when creating lists in an attempt to present ...
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0answers
28 views

Use of conditionals with the word accuracy [closed]

When I get questions in the form "(do something) to achieve at least 5% accuracy (in the final result)", I interpret this as meaning that the obtained result must be different from the desired result ...
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1answer
24 views

How to use the expression “loser hands”? [closed]

I heard sentences which involved the expression "loser hands", e.g. "this is one of the loser hands" (with reference to some concept which someone had expressed perplexity about). Which is the ...
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1answer
43 views

Is it technically correct to say I have “one exam” if I actually have four exams? [duplicate]

If a college student asks one of his fellow students the question: Do you have one exam? and the student replies: Yes, I have one exam. when he actually has four exams, is the answer ...
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2answers
35 views

Are these rhetorical questions?

According to Google: A rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The question might be one that does not have an answer. It might also be one that has an obvious ...
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2answers
91 views

'A / One / At least one student entered the room.' Are these the same? (truth-conditionally)

I just wonder if the two following sentences are truth-conditionally the same. Sentence 1 essentially means there existed a student who entered the room, and this situation includes two, three or more ...
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3answers
42 views

a time frame for

I'm wondering how you understand the following sentence: There is a ten year time frame for the implementation of the new policies. Does it mean that the new policies are supposed to be ...
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1answer
3k views

Is there a term for two differently phrased sentences with the same meaning?

Is there a term that describes the relationship between different sentences with the same meaning, in the way "synonym" describes the relationship between different words with the same meaning? For ...
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3answers
76 views

Opposite of honorary member

Defining a honorary member as a person which isn't actually a member of an organization but is recognized as such by the organization because of his/her contributions to the organization or society as ...
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1answer
252 views

Semantic difference between “spectator”, “beholder”, “observer” and “viewer”

As I understand it (not being a native speaker), a beholder has a more active relation to the scene or object he is beholding. It is "in the eye of the beholder", but not in the eye of the spectator ...
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8answers
620 views

Why is this use of the word “meaning” not quite right?

Today one of my students gave me some writing as part of her preparation for a Cambridge Proficiency exam. She was describing how after she'd moved away to go to university she'd temporarily lost ...
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4answers
995 views

Is there an opposite term for [sic]?

In academics, the note [sic] 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 there an opposite term ...
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2answers
357 views

What is a non-awkward way of referencing your child[ren] to a 3rd party of the opposite gender as yourself?

Here's the situation: You and your spouse are talking with a third person who is of the opposite gender as yourself. e.g., my wife and I are talking with a woman named - let's call her Joan. If I'm ...
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3answers
7k 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 ...
2
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1answer
57 views

Is there any relation between the meanings of the word “cataract”?

Oxford defines "cataract" as "a steep waterfall" as well as gives the more common meaning of the word i.e. the medical condition that causes a loss of sight. Also, "cataract", as meaning ...
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8answers
1k views

Commutative, or “semantically palindromic” sentences

Being a mathematician with mathematician friends, my friends and I occasionally like to joke about the peculiarities of the English language. This one came up recently: Obviously, most English ...
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7answers
11k 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 ...
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2answers
61 views

How should I use “as” and what is its semantic nuance?

I wrote a sentence that didn't sound right to my ears. As a leader, he did not act accordingly. What I intended to say was: even though he was the leader, he did not act accordingly, as he ...
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5answers
2k views

Better than the next?

I've heard people using this idiom, such as "each day is better than the next", or "you hope that each experience you have is better than the next" (heard this one on a TV show not long ago), ...
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1answer
34 views

Does the use of “until” entail that the verb in “until” will happen?

For example, in a sentence like This machine will keep working until the button is pressed. Does this entail that the button will be pressed? Is a sentence like This machine will keep ...
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2answers
4k views

Humans or people?

This is the sentence I've read: Freedom is something humans in all times have fought for. I am under the impression that the use of humans is not adequate here. Thus, my question is: when to ...
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1answer
132 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 ...
2
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1answer
53 views

Indolence vs lassitude? [closed]

I came across this sentence: "Jim and Huck spent days of indolent lassitude on the craft." I wasn't quite sure what to make of the phrase 'indolent lassitude' because to my mind they both sort of ...
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2answers
184 views

Historical differences in usage of “Mrs” for “mistress” or “missus”

The title Mrs. stands for mistress, but some English native speakers claim mistress is only used to indicate the woman with whom one has an (illicit) affair and that missus is the long version of Mrs. ...
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1answer
49 views

Can I refer to the object of the previous list item with “it”?

Is it ambiguous to use it to refer to the dog in the following sentence? I was seen driving the car, hitting the dog, and burying it.
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1answer
84 views

Split horizontally or vertically – which one is which?

Given some object, you can split it with a horizontal cut into two objects that are laid out vertically (above each other), or you can split it with a vertical cut into two objects that are laid out ...
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3answers
165 views

Is “exceptioned” a word?

The question is a little more complex than the title states. Exceptioned is not in the dictionary. But I am not trying to use this as a verb. I work in IT. We keep a list of exceptioned words that we ...
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1answer
64 views

What is the right way to say “has recovered to within a threshold”?

Let's take the following sentence: X has recovered to within the maximum threshold of Y. What's really the right way to say this? Some ideas that come to mind are: to within the maximum ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
3
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1answer
238 views

Abstract nouns: countable and uncountable

What is the element that causes many abstract nouns to be both countable and uncountable (not with different meanings)? To illustrate the point, a word like taste as a noun when it means "the ...
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1answer
110 views

Force somebody to do something vs. force somebody into doing something

Is there a difference between 'to force somebody to do something' and 'force somebody into doing something'? What about other expressions like 'persuade sb to do/into doing sth', 'trick sb to do/into ...
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1answer
40 views

“going through someone's car” [closed]

I encountered the following sentence: He and two friends were going through someone's car and someone caught them and shot at them, killing my student. What does "go through someone's car" mean? ...
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1answer
75 views

Midnight semantics

I received an email with a discount code valid 'until Saturday midnight' but when I went to use it on Saturday lunchtime it had expired already, at 00:00 Saturday morning. My understanding was that ...
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1answer
112 views

difference between the prefix “un” and “not” [closed]

is there any plausible way to seperate the semantics of undefined - not defined or undetermined - not determined ?
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1answer
80 views

Nag vs. Complain

I read a text in which a guy was complaining to his friend about school. I noticed the title of the passage was "nagging". But as far as I know nag means "annoy someone by complaining a lot about ...
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1answer
225 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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0answers
43 views

What does it mean when someone uses two periods? [duplicate]

In past communications with non-native English speakers, I occasionally see the use of two periods. Some examples: Ok.. let's meet soon. Sounds good.. Thursday Meeting.. This seems to ...