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

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3
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1answer
24 views

What principle guides word combinations with “almost”?

I am trying to explain to non-native speakers how to use "almost." I can't formulate (a) rule(s) to follow with regard to nouns/pronouns. So far, my only ideas are that almost can be collocated only ...
6
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2answers
119 views

What Defines a Utah Accent?

I have heard a number of people refer to the "Utah accent." What is it that distinguishes a Utah accent from others? I have noticed that, in some cases, people from Utah omit the 't' from words such ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Usage of “ladies and gentlemen” to address two people of diiferent sex

It seems to be not quite logical to use the traditional address "ladies and gentlemen" when there are only a single lady and a single gentleman in the room, not counting for the person who is ...
0
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1answer
61 views

usage of “constitute” and “thankful”

A senior researcher has single-handed[ly] constituted one of the most comprehensive collections of field recordings. I have three questions, two pertaining to usage and one to grammar:  1. ...
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0answers
70 views

Karma is a bitch PART II [on hold]

When someone utters the phrase "Karma is a bitch," I was curious how different minds interpet, specifically, the usage of the word "bitch." The question is. Which of the two examples do you feel ...
0
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2answers
66 views

Can the verb 'judge' collocate with 'of'? [on hold]

I saw this sentence in an essay: Children’s cognitive development is on the preoperational stage, so they cannot consider as logical and judge of dangerous events. I would say "judge sth" or ...
2
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3answers
196 views

Is there any difference between “word-for-word translation” and “word-by-word translation” and is the latter actually valid?

First off, some data: According to COCA "word-for-word" has 60 usages, 3 of them are "word-for-word translation". "Word-by-word" has 26 usages, none of them are "word-by-word" (but some with ...
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1answer
42 views

what does “early next week” means when said on Sunday?

I just received an email from my boss on Sunday afternoon saying that "please submit your work early next week". Does this mean the Monday or Tuesday of the coming week or the Monday or Tuesday of the ...
0
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1answer
47 views

Is “two-thirds” or “two thirds” correct? [duplicate]

I just recently answered a question related to how much water was filled in a glass. I answered "two thirds" but the answer was wrong because in the key answer book it was "two-thirds". Please tell me ...
2
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1answer
98 views

When did “sci-fi” become popular?

When did the term sci-fi come into usage?
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4answers
76 views

What does “a bookstore-counting mood in Paris prompts soul-searching over Amazon’s 41 % share of new book sales in America” mean?

In the article titled “The French do buy books. Real books” appearing in New York Times (July 9), the author, Pamela Druckerman writes: “Recently when I was strolling through my museum-like ...
0
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1answer
26 views

How to use the word “restriction”

I am not sure about the usage of the word “restriction”. I would like to use it in a sentence like: “This video has some distribution and/or age restrictions”. Can I use “has some” or is there a ...
0
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3answers
1k views

To Be Used Of/For

Does "to be used OF" mean "to be used FOR": wikipedia The English term "empiric" derives from the Greek word ἐμπειρία, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Dependent clause after pronoun

This question arose from why sentence #1 is correct and why sentence #2 is incorrect - I pity those who lost their money in gambling. I pity them who lost their money in gambling. I have ...
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1answer
36 views

Is “help out” an inappropriate phrase? [closed]

I have seen statements like: She helped out her grandmother. OR The boy was helping out in the laundry. But, does it make any sense to have the “out” there? Is it even incorrect, in spite ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

More Than One “from” in a Single Phrase

I apologize if this has already been raised elsewhere. I was unable to find an answer to the question of when, if ever, it is acceptable form to include multiple uses of the word "from" in a single ...
0
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0answers
62 views

Replacing “yes” with “absolutely”: multiple “w” ' s

Replacing simple, concise words with longer, more obscure ones has long been a hall mark of bureaucratic reports and student papers, but I'm asking here about the particular example of replacing "yes" ...
0
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2answers
136 views

Should we avoid a “double passive”?

Does it sound strange to say "An emergency meeting is expected to be held soon." or "The new highway is proposed to be built across the swamp." Should we avoid this type of construction ?
0
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1answer
58 views

Are “to flee from” and “to run away from” interchangeable?

The verb "to flee" means "to run away" but are they interchangeable in every aspect? I'm kind of confused which one to use. It seems to me that the use of the verb flee could be more elaborate when ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Antonym of heartbreaker? [closed]

In one of my short stories, I have to compare a guy who is a heartbreaker to someone who is exactly the opposite of him. Instead of describing the opposite character of the guy, I am looking for a ...
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1answer
45 views

Is this a example of parody of Shakespears play [duplicate]

Is this an example of parody "A-Midsummers-Nights-Dream " http://www.scribd.com/doc/233474857/A-Midsummers-Nights-Dream-erotic-poetry These are the reasons I think it is parody I am interested ...
2
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2answers
355 views

What does someone “pushes back and crack some eggs” mean? Is it a popular turn of phrase?

In Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Who’s that candidate in the teal toenail Polish?” in New York Times (August 3), ...
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1answer
80 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 ...
7
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3answers
355 views

Gendered terms — particularly female — becoming neutral?

I have been hearing that many gendered terms are simply being absorbed into the masculine equivalent, while many other words are retaining their usage. A few examples are the terms "actress" becoming ...
0
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1answer
502 views

Are “I will have been going” and “I would have been going” rarely used today?

As far as I know these are tenses that you do not often use. Am I right? Will have been + verb+ing Would have been + verb+ing
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0answers
52 views

Sentence diagramming trouble with figuring out subordinators and relative pronouns

http://imgur.com/a/dyALV for the pictures. In the diagrams my main concern was figuring out if the use of "that" was under the context of it being a relative pronoun or a subordinator. I have trouble ...
16
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2answers
2k views

What does “Clearasil-scented grammatical sloth” in casual American speech mean?

John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University comments on the growing sophistication (or devolution) of English language among Americans in the ...
1
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1answer
64 views

Trying to figure out proper form of “that” in sentence

I currently have the sentence "Seahorses are the only fish that practice steadfast monogamy." to tree diagram for class, and cannot freakin' figure out what the word "that" would be used as in this ...
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2answers
44 views

Different from x Different to x Different than [duplicate]

In the following sentence: "When I visited my old school after so many years, it looked completely different in the classrooms and the backyard /from what/to what/than/ it had been when I was a ...
2
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2answers
106 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

What led to the increased usage of “schtupping”?

I was listening to a television show the other day and one of the characters used "schtupping": schtupping — to have sexual intercourse with Dictionary.com notes that the term's origin is ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Is “balanced literacy” a generic term, or elementary education specific?

“The Room for Debate Section” of New York Times (July 3rd) deals with “the Right Approach to Reading Instruction,” and throws the question; “The student-led approach to reading and writing known ...
0
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0answers
36 views

Is “of which” always followed by “the”? [migrated]

I'm looking for a cap of which color is pink. Someone told me that it is an ungrammatical sentence because after "of which" we always use "the". So, I'm looking for a cap of which the color ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

“This is Figure 7 on page 777” or “This is Figure 7 on the page 777”? Why not “the”?

I cannot understand what is wrong with "on the page 8"? My instructor claims that it is "on page 8". It is a specific page to which I referring to on a particular book. What is wrong with "the" in ...
2
votes
2answers
285 views

“Follow close behind” vs “follow closely behind”?

I just came across something I'd written a while ago that contained the phrase "follows close behind", and my first thought was that it was incorrect and should be "follows closely behind", i.e. to ...
1
vote
1answer
241 views

“Visible strap of the bra on shoulder”?

Is there any word for the strap of the bra that is visible on shoulder.? Mostly it is addressed as strap which is obviously a common word not specific to bra or any inner-wear.
0
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2answers
38 views

Usage of the term 'non-reproducibility'

Studies on genetic factors of schizophrenia are characterized by high heterogeneity and non-reproducibility. Is the usage of term 'non-reproducibility' appropriate in the above sentence? Is ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Usage frequency for “gambit”

Not sure if the tag I've selected is appropriate. Feel free to correct. I've googled gambit and got the definition as depicted below. Then, I folded out the frame to see see the usage graph and it ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Age old question: What's the meaning of 'word'? [duplicate]

An old question, for which I could find absolutely NO reference on the internet for many years. Perhaps I wasn't looking in the right places, but I have no clue about its usage either. Then I ...
2
votes
2answers
135 views

Can the word ‘fillet” be used as a verb to mean criticize or ridicule?

There was the following sentence in the New York Times article titled “Marry first, Then cheat” dealing with François Hollande’s “mistress scandals”: “Over good wine and small portions across ...
5
votes
1answer
351 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 ...
1
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4answers
70 views

Usage of the word “through”

what is the meaning of "The malware affects IE9 through IE11(Internet Explorer)"? why can't we use "from IE9 to IE11" instead
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How did “fʌck” become taboo? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How long has the f-word been in use as an abusive term? What makes a word offensive? I recognize that this is similar to Etymology of the term "curse words" ...
13
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7answers
419 views

Why doesn't English have a separate word for “head hair”? (head hair vs. body hair)

The answer can be "Because it doesn't!" or "It wasn't needed!" in short but there might be a historical or linguistic explanation behind this. (Of course, every language might be lacking a word that ...
3
votes
2answers
49 views

Does “relatable” (without “to s.t.”) say anything that “understandable” does not say as well or better?

A colleague recently complained to me of the usage of relatable in student writing. It appears to derive from intransitive relate, OED sense 9, attested only from 1947: intr. With to. To ...
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2answers
131 views

What does 'address an issue' mean? [closed]

I always understood 'address an issue' to mean fix or solve an issue. However, a colleague of mine questioned this today and after doing a web search it seems that the more correct or common meaning ...
0
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0answers
10 views

Use of “to” or "for in a sentence [duplicate]

Use of to or for: Should I name a folder "Guides to The Correct Use of English", or should I name the folder "Guides for The Correct Use of English" ?
0
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1answer
59 views

“A bunch of nincompoops!” Really ? In the 21st century?

With the FIFA World Cup going on here, I recently heard a tourist use the word "nincompoop" in the sentence "A bunch of nincompoops!". Then I realized I hadn't heard that word for a long, long time. ...
0
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2answers
78 views

What does “rooster tail”(ing) mean?

"The Winnebago galumphs across the landscape, scattering cows. It catches a wheel and sprays a rooster tail of red dirt." "catches a wheel"? And "rooster tail"? If "Catches a wheel" means the ...
25
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8answers
6k views

“When I was in college…” Do you really mean college? Or university?

When someone in the US says "When I was in college..." he can mean "college" but he can also mean "university", so I've been told. If that's true, how can we know which one he is talking about? If I ...