Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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3
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1answer
42 views

What does “semantic” mean when used dismissively? [duplicate]

The word "semantic" means "related to the meaning of things". I understand, for example, the difference between syntax and semantics. But people also say "X is just semantics", "they're just arguing ...
3
votes
4answers
712 views

Can you be sent on a quest or does it then become a mission?

A discussion on the Arqade sister site brought up an interesting question that I thought I'd share here. What is the difference between a quest and a mission? Given the roots of the words, quest ...
8
votes
2answers
238 views

Semantic constraints on “have a problem V-ing”

I'm looking for possible semantic constraints on the sequence have a problem V-ing. Can you say, for example, he has a problem speaking English? What about he has a problem playing the piano? ...
3
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

What does 'far' and 'long' mean in Conjunctive Phrases 'as/so far/long as'?

I already know, and so ask not about, the meanings of the Conjunctive Phrases : as/so + far/long + as. To paraphrase, they mean 'provided that' or 'to the extent that'. E.g.: So far/long as X ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Meaning in Thoreau's Walden: 'whether it cannot be improved as well as not.'

I'm having a hard time parsing this phrase from H.D. Thoreau's Walden, chapter I, Economy: I would fain say something, not so much concerning the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders as you who read ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Why do non-native speakers consider “bitch” to mean “prostitute”? [closed]

Why do so many non-native speakers from very different linguistic backgrounds seem to understand the term bitch as being a synonym for prostitute?-- I have never heard a native speaker use the former ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Is it semantically correct to use the word 'ahead' when referring to moving in time? [closed]

EDIT: As in the questions title, is it semantically correct to use sentences such as "the concert was moved ahead in time as the stage was no longer available". To me, this makes sense, but is ...
0
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0answers
33 views

Semantics question

Context: I am the main applicant. Spouse as a dependant, I am therefore her sponsor. I don't know whether to complete section 2 or not. Taken from EEA Permanent Residence form: "Complete this ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

Meaning of “available soon” (from a test item)

stackexchange! I've been referring to this site for a while now and have finally decided to join you all. This is a semantics and use question about the phrase "available soon" that appeared as part ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

What does it mean to say that a lexical item is specified for semantic negation? [closed]

What does it mean to say that a negative morpheme is specified for semantic negation while another negative morpheme is not?
-1
votes
1answer
8k views

Which is correct: I'll be moving next month or I'll be shifting next month?

For changing one's home from one place to another, I've heard people in western part of the world using the sentence: I'll be moving next month. In India, even in the English news channels, I'...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

“A and B both are” vs. “A and B are both” vs. “Both A and B are” vs. “Both of A and B are”?

A and B both are very good; A and B are both very good. Both A and B are very good. Both of A and B are very good. Are there subtle differences between the four sentences above?
1
vote
3answers
262 views

Depression and happiness [closed]

Are "depression" and "happiness" antonyms? Are they mutually exclusive? Does the absence of one imply the presence of the other? (I am trying to ascertain the semantic validity of using depression-...
21
votes
9answers
2k views

Is there a word for a question that leads to more questions?

I'm looking specifically for a word (noun or adjective) that means "A question that leads to more questions". Something that is difficult to answer because it would involve answering yet more ...
3
votes
7answers
16k views

What does “what for” mean and where did it come from?"

There is a fight scene in one of my favorite movies in which the main character says "Give them what for!" I've hear this term many times before (usually from old south-eastern Americans,) but no ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

are Cicadas kings or queens of the night? [closed]

Cicadas are insect that make sounds. They are very lout actually. Then, while talking about the night when cicadas do their work, one may say "The cicadas are kings" or "The cicadas are queens"? In ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

What does “Lizard in a ruin” mean in this Paragraph?

Paragraph (Taken from here): You can watch Piaf performing ‘La Foule’ on YouTube, in a recording of a concert in the Netherlands in December 1962. It is completely mesmerising. A journalist who ...
0
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2answers
73 views

The prefix “post” can it mean before? [closed]

The posterior is the behind, the postero-dorsal is behind the antero-dorsal. But when we're talking about time, postmodern means "of, relating to, or being an era after a modern one". So are there ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

How to specify when receiving payments, that customer should pay bank fees for international payments?

On my invoice I have statement like this, which is saying when client is doing international payment, client must pay bank fees for international payments: The cost of bank fees for international ...
-1
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2answers
89 views

What is the paragraph trying to convey? [closed]

The Paragraph : Having repudiated the basic commitments to nationalism and the ideal of scholarly detachment that had always sustained historical writing in the United States, professional historians ...
1
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1answer
106 views

What's the difference between strive and struggle

According to the Macmillan dictionary, strive is to make a lot of effort to achieve sth; and struggle to try hard to do sth that is very difficult. I would like to know the grammatic and semantic ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Does gramaticality depend on semantics?

The title is really the question but I will elaborate with some background and examples. I have lately seen a number of answers (on ELL mostly) which state that something is ungrammatical because its ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

Using “assumes” in a sentence

Are the sentences This formula assumes standardised features. This formula uses standardised features. semantically equivalent to This formula assumes that all features have been ...
13
votes
4answers
792 views

Can a piano be referred to as furniture?

In the sentence: The main space contained several pieces of furniture, such as some tables, several cabinets, and a grand piano. is it ok to refer to include a grand piano in the enumeration of ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Is the word “Until” used to show entailment?

Is the word "Until" used to show entailment? For eg.: An event doesn't happen until the third day. Does it entail that the event happens on the third day? Is there a possibility that the event may not ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What do “former” and “latter” refer to, here?

Here I am trying to peer into the meaning of this below paragraph (full version here).Being a non-native English speaker I am struggling in making sense, especially the bold part.The paragraph : ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

-er vs -ing when characterizing someone

For example someone wants to use both their nationality and occupation in their nickname (e.g. serb and coder), what is a better choice: coding serb coder serb I understand basic semantic ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

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 ...
1
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4answers
74 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
305 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 ...
1
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2answers
174 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 ...
1
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4answers
318 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 ...
8
votes
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" ...
4
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
71 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."
1
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2answers
122 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
70 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) ...
-1
votes
1answer
52 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
30 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
1
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2answers
41 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
94 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
51 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 ...
1
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3answers
124 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 ...
0
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1answer
306 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
764 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...