How and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

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Effect of English Language & Usage Stack? [migrated]

Not sure if this is the appropriate forum, but: Is there a way to measure the effect of stack exchange on correct usage of the English language?
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52 views

Usage of “I'm incredulous!” as an exclamation of shock or disbelief

Would the exclamation "I'm incredulous!" be an appropriate response to finding out some unexpected news, if the intention is to convey shock or disbelief?
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2answers
65 views

Is “Click bait” an Internet buzzword? How can I rephrase it?

I found a video showing a fireman who rescued a suffocating kitten from a fire smoke and resuscitated her by oxygen inhalation introduced in the article titled “Why that video went viral” in New York ...
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1answer
37 views

Origin of the disapproval associated with “derivative” used as an adjective?

This is the first meaning of the word derivative used as an adjective(Oxford): 1 (Typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for ...
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3answers
113 views

past perfect tense and comma usage in Churchill's book

I'm reading a book called "My early life" by Winston Churchill. "I was working in the saloon of the Indiaman, and had reached an exciting point in my story." 1) why did he put comma before "and had ...
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29 views

Use of “although” without a contrasting statement [on hold]

In IAS 37 Clause 37 states: Although a constructive obligation is not created solely by a management decision, an obligation may result from other earlier events together with such a decision. ...
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Usage of previously vs earlier [on hold]

Sentence 1 : We need to read the essay we have written previously. Sentence 2 : We need to read the essay we have written earlier. Please tell the difference between Sentence 1 and Sentence 2.
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3answers
309 views

How to appropriately use the word “baby” as in the pattern “ ____ baby ___”; for example, “run baby run”?

As a non-native English speaker, I am not sure what is the meaning of this pattern "_ baby _" as in "run baby run"? Another example: "USA continues to "drill baby drill" (referring to oil). What other ...
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3answers
85 views

Is the usage 'literally nuts' correct? [on hold]

1) Suppose there is a very stupid person. Is it correct to tell that he/she is 'literally nuts'? 2) What about using it if the person is mentally ill? This came up in an informal talk with my ...
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2answers
59 views

“He didn't dare [verb]” vs. “He didn't dare *to* [verb]” [on hold]

Which one is correct? If both are correct, is there any difference in the meaning? He didn't dare to contradict his parents. He didn't dare contradict his parents.
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2answers
72 views

Why does “a bigger number of” seem wrong?

I noticed when answering this related question that I would never say a bigger number of. I have no issues with 5 is a bigger number than 3 (though I would probably say a larger or greater number ...
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1answer
85 views

Semi-colon or colon?

I'm writing a descriptive piece, and can't figure out whether this is grammatically correct, or whether I ought to place a semi-colon between "entry" and "crooked": "As I walked in using the cobbled ...
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47 views

Is it right say Invest on? [closed]

Is it correct idiomatically to say "invest on?" For example, "Invest on Peter " [a person].
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368 views

When would you say “I seen it.”

I am not looking for explanations of why "I seen it" is wrong (though with sight there's an unfair grammatical burden that doesn't impact the other senses, whose past tense and past participle are the ...
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1answer
45 views

Convey the idea of partial similarity in a list of things in a sentence/

I have the following sentence: Surveyed meta-heuristics techniques like Tabu Search, Simulated annealing and Constraint Satisfaction Problem(CSP). The problem is CSP is not a meta-heuristic. How ...
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1answer
61 views

“Confirm you are …” vs. “Confirm that you are …” [duplicate]

In the example from the title, is it mandatory to use "that" in the sentence? The original sentence I picked up was from a checkbox marked "Confirm you are not a spammer" - which I thought should be ...
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2answers
31 views

the X event after next…Th

Is it grammatically correct to say "at the steering committee meeting after next"? The idea is that there are meetings every two weeks, but the intention is for something to be presented not at the ...
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2answers
56 views

What's the difference between these two phrases?

What's the difference between these two phrases? their systems’ security posture their systems security posture Is there any difference in the meaning? If not, when we use either of ...
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1answer
37 views

Which verb has been modified?

Which verb has been modified by adverb "directly" in the following sentence? "Some governments even offer to help protect their critical infrastructure directly, by deploying sensors in the networks ...
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Is this the right use of “laid”? [duplicate]

The campfire crackled. Hunter laid in his sleeping bag and gazed up at the stars.
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115 views

Confusion about “very” and “very much”

I have few confusions regarding the usage of very and very much. 1. From OALD I found this usage guide - It states that very can be used with past participles used as adjectives, but not with ...
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1answer
52 views

bow’r, affin’d and pow’r [closed]

What usage is the following abbreviations? ‘Not boskiest bow’r,  When hearts are ill affin’d, Hath tree of pow’r To shelter from the wind!’ from The Woodlanders by Thomas ...
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1answer
25 views

Use of person years experience or another word for combined experience

I am preparing to write a statement about my previous company's founders experience in my resume and I am having a quandary as to how to write the following: ABC Info has been founded by people ...
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40 views

Use of 'Could' in the Past Tense

What are the possible meanings and implications of the following sentences: He could come yesterday. He could not come yesterday. He could have come yesterday. He could not have come yesterday.
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58 views

Is the expression “having a kitten in one's pocket” a proverb or slang?

Is the phrase, from ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ by Alexander Baron having one's kitten in one's pocket a proverb or common slang? How common is this expression? What exactly does it mean and how ...
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1answer
61 views

What does the phrase “behind deadline” mean?

If someone (or something) is behind deadline, does it mean that she/he has already missed a deadline or does it mean that she/he is about to miss a deadline ?
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Geographical Usage of “Mate”

I was wondering where the term, "mate," is most popular? When I think of the term, "mate," I think of Australia and England, but I was wondering if anyone else has some input on this. Mate here is ...
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246 views

What does “meth“ mean in “Meth heads snuck in to it to do meth.”?

There was the following passage in the New Yorker’s (September 22, 2014) article titled “Field trip” describing a photographer who travels to take pictures of oldest living things in the world: ...
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39 views

Is there a specific group of words that I can look for before/after “its/it's” to determine proper/improper usage?

Is there a specific group/category of words that I can look for before/after "its/it's" to determine proper/improper usage? I'm asking this for the purpose of writing code that corrects the usage of ...
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3answers
94 views

What's an evidential basis for discussing gender-neutrality of terms? [closed]

I keep finding myself looking at questions involving the concept of gender neutrality of words or phrases. (Check out the RELATED panel down to the right there.) "Craftmanship" for example - is it ...
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2answers
40 views

Stand-alone Use of 'There' in English

I was reading The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells. He uses There! without connection to other words (or maybe there is connection, but I don't see it). She glanced at his white-swathed head and blue ...
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3answers
45 views

Using the word “Disposition” as a Verb

I know disposition means a persons inherent qualities of mind and character and it is a noun. i know you would say "he has a very quiet brooding disposition" but my roommate was cleaning the house and ...
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1answer
47 views

Usage of “tum” in English speaking countries, other than the UK

I'm sure I've heard tummy used in American English and the English spoken in commonwealth countries as a sort of euphemism for stomach. I'm not sure so much how common it is to hear it reduced to tum, ...
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Why is it always women and not men in: “Soccer mom,” “Tiger mom,” “Helicopter mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” and “Security mom”?

In connection with my question about the meaning and currency of “Security mom,” I was drawn to the fact that all the following labels; “Soccer mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” “Security mom” are combined with ...
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44 views

Is it common to write only one “as” in a comparison?

This is a bit hard to explain, so here's an example: Hanging above the door was a huge smiley face put there to greet visitors. I hoped the people inside were just as friendly. Is this a ...
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132 views

Is there a difference between “tongue-tied” and “speechless”?

Earlier today, a student of mine was telling me a story about how his colleague, upon seeing him wearing an over-the-top jacket, was so surprised that she couldn't say anything. Question: Which ...
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2answers
71 views

Inherency as used in policy debate

Policy debate uses the word "inherency" in an unusual way. One side in the debate proposes a plan and part of what they are obliged to show is that the plan will not happen in the status quo. This is ...
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146 views

Pronoun usage and conjugation [closed]

Why do we say 'I am a teacher' instead of 'I is a teacher' when 'I' is a singular pronoun?
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73 views

Sentence start with “If then”

Can any one tell me that when we start a sentence with If then? I came across this one. If then a practical end must be assigned to a university course,I say it is that of training good members ...
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33 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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3answers
99 views

Why are web browsers browsers, but I am a surfer?

What is the origin of the name of a program being used to access the Internet is a browser, but a human looking around on the internet is surfing? Why is there this discrepancy?
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62 views

Is it common to use “totally” in such a way as “Michelle Obama’ s totally running in California.” [duplicate]

Vanity Fair magazine (October 23 issue) carried an article titled, “A brief history of Michelle Obama career-goal rumors,” and wrote as follows under the caption, “She’s totally running in ...
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Are “Real class” and “Paper class” well-received pair words?

Today’s (October 23) Time magazine and New Yorker carried articles dealing with a report of academic scandal of the University of North Carolina under the respective headline, “North Carolina releases ...
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Can I omit “had” if it is repeated too many times in a paragraph?

Example: I’d heard about this mystery before. However, I'd only thought it as a ghost story; something you'd tell around a campfire. Maybe I'm mistaken but the paragraph sounds better without ...
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4answers
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Expect vs. Foresee

Just read the sentence "This is not what I expect but what I foresee." Does this make sense to anyone here? Granted there are differences in meaning between 'expect' and 'foresee' but to me they are ...
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1answer
131 views

Why is “a couple of…” correct grammar, while “a few of…” often isn't?

Earlier today I started to type a message and I entered: I can take a couple of hours... After entering the text, I realized that I intended to express roughly three hours so I highlighted and ...
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4answers
61 views

“During” a Period of Time

I'm working on a sentence (example below). It doesn't quite feel right: I tried to count the number of cars driven during 1980-1990. Specifically, the issue here is about usage of the ...
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38 views

Are “a perfect fool”, “a proper fool” and “a precious fool” the same kind of “fool”?

Is there any (subtle) difference in meaning and usage when these adjectives qualify "a fool"? Are these adjectives perfectly interchangeable "A precious fool I would look, if I did that." "The ...
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Is the term “disillusion” being used correctly here?

It's easy to disillusion ourselves by thinking just because the output of our function looks very random, that it is very random. I asked a friend about this passage. I argue that it should ...
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Usage of the word terrorism

We read in newspapers and watch on TV many cases regarding students gunning down their classmates and teachers. Suppose a student brought a gun to class, pointed it at his friends and teachers, and ...