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

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4answers
2k views

Losing bottles and bottling out

ODO's definition for bottle includes the following: 2 [mass noun] British informal the courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous: I lost my bottle completely and ran ...
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2answers
23 views

“Sorry excuse for a” VS “Sorry excuse of a”?

Which of the two is the correct sentence: You are a sorry excuse of a magician OR You are a sorry excuse for a magician If both applies, then what is the difference between the two and when should ...
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1answer
59 views

Can “apocryphal” be used to mean “not true”?

I always thought that apocryphal should just mean "of doubtful authenticity". But more and more I am noticing that people use it positively to mean mythical or untrue, especially in phrases such as ...
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1answer
42 views

Usage of how instead of as? [on hold]

I am hearing and reading this construction more often: You can have your meal how you want it. AND Design your own color combination how you like. Whatever happened to "as"?
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2answers
51 views

What is the correct visualization of “first left down the hallway”?

I hear a lot of native speakers say something like this: Once in the arena take first left down the hallway Take your first left down the hallway. When you come to the second floor, make a left and ...
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2answers
35 views

as best I can vs as well as I can

I have to say I have an issue with the phrase "as best I can". After all, "best" is the superlative form of "well" and does not belong in the comparative construction "as... as" - not to mention that ...
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1answer
17 views

articles before two adjectives

If we describe a child as friendly and enthusiastic where should we use article?Is it she is a friendly and enthusiastic child or she is friendly and a enthusiastic child,
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1answer
54 views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with the preposition 'except' rather than 'except for'?

The sentence Except the buildings built towards the end of his life, the buildings erected in Istanbul can be assumed to be his. was recently used in a question here. I edited to replace ...
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1answer
70 views

How old are you? or What is your age? [on hold]

Which is more common or used more and also the correct way of asking?
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1answer
3k views

Is “keep updated” proper usage of those words?

I'm far from being an English major, but I have a simple question. If someone were to say keep updated in a sentence, is that correct? I know the usage, tense, and other things matter, but is it ...
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1answer
52 views

In what (semantic) context might “REFUSE” be used with a gerund complement?

I know that, prescriptively speaking, that the verb "refuse" is supposed to be followed by an infinitive. For example: The parents refused to buy the dangerous toy for their kid. Since language ...
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1answer
68 views

The use of possessive pronouns in phrases like “I don't know my geography” or “He certainly knows his Star Wars”

There's a rather peculiar use of possessive pronouns. In my experience, it normally occurs in the context of referring to someone's familiarity with a particular subject (or lack therof), e.g. You ...
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1answer
33 views

'Accessory' vs 'included' as adjective (BE)

I'm wondering about the use of the word 'accessory' as an adjective. Would it be preferable in BE to say something like 'This DJ controller comes with accessory headphones'? I feel that 'This DJ ...
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1answer
46 views

Dragons are “fantastic” creatures or “fantastical” creatures?

If I'm discussing fantasy as a genre, and I want to describe a noun as fitting that genre, should I call it fantastic or fantastical? It seems both words exist in (say) Merriam-Webster, but the -al ...
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1answer
44 views

Would an “affector” be appropriate for an event driver?

I'm trying to come up with a better word to describe a "driver" or "conditional"; basically, the name of an object or event which is a trigger for something else. Would it be appropriate to say that ...
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1answer
47 views

Another or/nor usage question

Both sound OK, but the phrase with nor seems more emphatic. Are both correct? "An examination that was performed greater than 30 days prior to patient services cannot be utilized nor updated." vs. ...
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2answers
51 views

“Time” versus “Time”: When is time plural?

I have difficulty in using time and times correctly. I understand that times may be used for some idiomatic purposes such as "at all times" or "of all times" or "some times", although sometimes it ...
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1answer
31 views

the usage of the apostrophe [closed]

Which is more correct to say: in todays' classes or in today's classes? Can we consider that today represents the days that we live in general, so it might be considered as plural, and add the ...
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3answers
2k views

The etymology of “redhead” vs. “ginger haired”

All my life I have known people with reddish, orangey hair, to be termed ginger haired. Just as you don't call a blonde a 'yellow head' red head just wasn't a word that was said (wouldn't orange head ...
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1answer
61 views

Are "out of the box“ and “(right) off the bat” interchangeable”?

I came across with two idioms associated with immediacy in different context recently: (1) Anyone who was hoping that the Watch would flop out of the box and fall short of the high standard that ...
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2answers
57 views

First floor vs ground floor, usage origin

Ground floor – First floor: In British English, the floor of a building which is level with the ground is called the ground floor. The floor above it is called the first floor, the floor above ...
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1answer
30 views

is there a special term for using “very” in combination with adverby which can only be either/or [on hold]

Sometimes people use the word "very" in combination with adverbs which can only be either/or. for instance: "the floor is very wet". This may not be the best example, but the floor can either be wet ...
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2answers
55 views

Prediction / Foreshadowing - Adverb

What is a way to say "as you _____ mentioned" where _____ is meant to convey that the person correctly predicted / foreshadowed your response?
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2answers
1k views

Does 'twink' imply a specific sexuality?

I know that twink is a slang term for hot young homosexual guys who do not have facial hair. This word is very common in the gay community (and their adult industry) and recently I've heard a debate ...
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1answer
27 views

usage of amid instead of between [closed]

Can I replace between with amid here? The engineers need to design the relationship between these function blocks. Turning into The engineers need to design the relationship amid these ...
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2answers
50 views

“most” vs “the most”, specifically as an adverb at the end of sentence

Which one of the following sentences is the most canonical? I know most vs the most have been explained a lot but my doubts pertain specifically which one to use at the end of a sentence. Do you ...
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1answer
18 views

Which is correct regarding worry about [closed]

You need not to worry about me stressing you out. Or You need not to worry about me who stresses you out.
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1answer
61 views

Usage of “On” vs “About” [closed]

In a recent history essay, I wrote the following sentence: "As banks began to fail, the regional banks were divided on whether to assist all banks or only member banks." My teacher corrected the "on", ...
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0answers
37 views

How to refer to something “demanding” which doesn't happen all of a sudden?

Looking for a verb to express something that requires some time and effort to evolve, like collecting. I want to express that collecting requires some time and the collection doesn't just come out ...
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1answer
37 views

When should I say “a clear voice” over “clear voice”? [closed]

I have a question about the usage of the word, voice. When should I say "a clear voice" over "clear voice"? I would like to say that A clear voice is one of the qualities for the job. Is it ...
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1answer
24 views

What's the difference between “end up” and “be ended up” [closed]

Is it possible to write as following sentence? I was ended up to have a serious injury on my left foot? I would like to know the proper usage of "end up". Please share the correct sentence and ...
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1answer
556 views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the ...
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2answers
35 views

When to use Proverbial? [duplicate]

I was just curious when I could use the word Proverbial in a sentence. Would it be correct to use when referring to often cliched expressions (i.e. putting the "proverbial" pedal to the metal, giving ...
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1answer
36 views

The usage of “got out” and the indefinite article “a” in the sentence “if it got out that they were related to a pair of”

I'm a English learner and I found the following sentence which seemed strange to me when I was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Chapter one, the American Edition): "if it got out that ...
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1answer
30 views

Watch and see usage

When should be used see and when watch? For example: if you look at a mirror you see you or you watch you? The same as if a camera is recording you an it appears in a tv in real-time, are you seeing ...
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3answers
70 views

Is “Heaven and hell both reside in the details” a well-received English saying?

There is the following passage in the contribution written by Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister of Israel under the title, “Iran Has Escaped a Noose.” in Time magazine April 2nd issue: “The ...
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2answers
174 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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1answer
42 views

Is it correct to say “Can I enter if don't have a ticket”? [closed]

Is it correct to say "Can I come in if don't have a ticket"? or, Which is more common in ordinary life: A. Can I enter if don't have a ticket? B. Can I enter if I don't have a ticket?
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0answers
31 views

Using “well” to start a sentence [duplicate]

What does "well" mean when used to start a sentence. Examples: "Well I never like going to the store with my aunt" "Well its still better than cooking onions"
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1answer
72 views

“Caldoniafied” In General Use in the 1980s?

I am curious about the word "Caldoniafied" meaning, roughly, hard headed, and presumably coming from the song entitled "Caldonia" ("Caldonia, Caldonia, what makes your big head so hard?". )Louis ...
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2answers
541 views

Why does 'I'm with stupid' have a positive connotation?

I see the phrase ... I'm with stupid ... used in many occasions, especially on forums using a smiley similar to this one: It's almost exclusively used with a positive connotation, in the ...
2
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1answer
37 views

Using “redouble” with an object other than “effort”?

While there is nothing in the definition to say otherwise, I can't think of any examples where I've seen the transitive verb "redouble" have an object other than "effort". Would a phrase like ...
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2answers
36 views

“greater”, or “greater than”, in a dropdown?

This is more a matter of usage and common sense than anything, but I'm faced with the following problem. I have a dropdown with things like greater, equal, between, and then a field where numbers can ...
2
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2answers
81 views

I found an unusual usage of adj, please tell me how it works [closed]

Following the terror attacks in London on July 7, 2005, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted those responsible were motivated by an "evil ideology," ... From CNN. It uses those ...
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3answers
204 views

Although correct, is “the above” to be avoided?

Although the phrase the above is not exactly incorrect, should it be avoided? For example, imagine a letter with a heading "Re: Order for 79 purple cardboard slugs". Should a paragraph in the letter ...
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5answers
9k views

What does “What are you into?” mean?

I personally don't use this question in spoken language but I usually see it in written language. I also frequently see that when someone asks this question, it elicits in turn the question "What do ...
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2answers
426 views

Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?

African American Vernacular English is shortened to a less precise phrase "Black English". Also, Black English is used in a broader sense: Black English is a term used for both dialects of English ...
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3answers
41 views

“come on as” versus “come across as”

Would you say that both sentences sound correct? On the whole, I think you came ON as sincere and credible, and your soft-spoken demeanor, laced with a dash of wry humor, was quite charming. On the ...
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2answers
51 views

Is “as to” used correctly in this context? [closed]

Is "as to" used correctly in this context? "John suggests they go see Billy while they make the decision as to whether or not they should agree to the operation." Thanks!
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2answers
71 views

Can “capable of being hurt…” mean a kind of ability?

"I think that’s what it means to be “real” as a parent or a teacher – to be vulnerable, to be capable of being hurt. The only way to avoid the pain of vulnerability is by shutting out all emotion and ...