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

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What are usages similar to “Need I say more?”?

I recall hearing usages like Need I say more? Need I remind you that ...? instead of Do I need to say more? Do I need to remind you that ...? Indeed, they sound better, at least to ...
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2answers
343 views

Why does European packaging use “gb” to represent English?

Something I've always wondered is why companies that are based in Europe tend to use "country" abbreviations to represent a language instead of the language abbreviation itself. Given that there are ...
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57 views

Is the given usage of Outrage is correct? [closed]

Outrage in my mind, Smile on my face. This is Life. Can outrage be used the way I used above?
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1answer
243 views

Ending a sentence with “and thanks”

I have a colleague who ends many emails with "and thanks". To me it sounds awkward and random, but I wonder if anyone has seen this usage before? Examples (note particularly the third one!): "That ...
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1answer
495 views

What does “sense of community” mean?

Currently, I'm living in HK. But I am Chinese and I know nothing about Cantonese which is the mother tongue of Hongkongers. So, I feel lonely here and I don't think I belong here. So, can I say I ...
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178 views

Question about subject-verb agreement

Is this a run-on? By 1990, it was even easier to make bottles and paper products quickly; as a result, competition among companies grew and stores featured products with increasingly interesting ...
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2answers
2k views

Should I say “more exact”/“more precise”?

My understanding with the words exact, precise and accurate is that they are absolute. Meaning, there cannot be less accurate or more accurate. Is my understanding correct? If it's exactly 1 meter, ...
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16 views

Usage of 'it' in the sentence [duplicate]

What does it refer to in the sentence: It is dark outside?
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2answers
822 views

Why is “Good Night!” dismissive

To start off let us construct a situation were I am walking along and I pass another person. Depending on the time of day and to be polite I say one of the following: "Good Morning!" "Good Evening!" ...
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2answers
127 views

Infinitive Clause For “Curious”

I need some help about the infinitive clause that comes after "curious". Let's say that I am "curious" about a locked room. Then, could I write this: I am curious to open the door. I ...
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2answers
499 views

Is the usage of “night and day” as “completely different” very common?

There was the following line in December 2nd AP News, “Chief White House trouble shooter for healthcare gov.web site says the web site is night and day from where it was October 1st. Jeff ...
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166 views

Her love letters--to and from Daddy--were in an old box,

Her love letters--to and from Daddy--were in an old box, tied with ribbons and stiff, rigid-with-age leather thongs:1918 through 1920;... Why (Daddy) in this sentence was written with a capital D?
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2answers
442 views

Is the phrase “I feel you” too colloquial?

Does the phrase "I feel you" sound too slangy and somewhat horrible to a British person? Is it ok to use it as a synonym of "I understand what you feel/say" in an informal, casual conversation?
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88 views

“the like” sequence

I have a question about "the like" I found in a book. The sentence: "you who have never seen the like can scarcely imagine what delicate and wonderful flowers..." I've seen "the more you know the ...
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5answers
1k views

“Hello” as a verb

A dictionary says that Hello could be a verb, noun and interjection. I'm not sure I saw it to be a verb though. Q: Could someone provide an example of 'hello' where it's used as verb. In the meaning ...
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1answer
122 views

“Advice I wish I'd had ears to hear” — is this phrase in common use? Origins?

Productivity writer Merlin Mann often uses the phrase "ears to hear" on his podcast. An example from his writing: "a discursive mishmash of advice I wish I'd had the ears to hear in the year or ...
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2answers
129 views

Is 'damn you' abusive or offensive? [closed]

I would say in jest to someone, "Damn you!, you always get your way." He insisted that I was being abusive. Since my tone or tenor did not convey it, I put it down to his studying in a Catholic ...
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2answers
224 views

Is “nowadays” the same as “today”?

When helping an Italian speaker with her written homework, a cover letter, I told her to change the expression nowadays to that of today. Her original sentence was the following: I would be ...
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0answers
43 views

“She told I ate an apple” or “She told that i ate an apple” [duplicate]

Should I use That in this case? On my native language (Brazilian Portuguese) the That would be like conjunction Que, I don't know if in english, That are also used like a conjunction. If yes, the ...
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1answer
11k views

Correspond to vs. Correspond with

Is there any significant difference between Correspond to and Correspond with? I only mean in the sense of "matching", here, rather than "communication". I've looked at a few sources, but I can't ...
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2answers
576 views

How did “classic” and “classical” come to mean “historic”?

I assume the words classic and classical have a basis in the word class — which is to say, of a category. Why do we use those words to mean old or historically important?
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1answer
1k views

Is there a significant difference between “sorry,” “pardon” and “excuse me”? Are they interchangeable?

I was amused with the line, “Stand-alone 'sorry' may have dressed like a gentleman, but his heart was made of India rubber” in the article titled “A poor apology for a word” in December 13 New York ...
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3answers
4k views

Why does “Please approve it” sound wrong?

Whenever I read an email like this, the English sounds incorrect to me. "I would like to take tomorrow off. Please approve it." I want to say that "Please approve" is more natural, but why is that?
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Do 'learn by heart' & 'learn by rote' mean the same?

Here in India, both the phrases learning by heart and learning by rote are taken to have the same meaning, i.e., blind memorisation without true understanding. However, some sources say that to ...
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perfect infinitives with main verbs

My question is about usage of perfect infinitives with main verbs e.g. I would like to have lived in the 13th century. She was going to have worked in her mother's business, but decided ...
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89 views

How to use WHEN on the following occasion? [duplicate]

When I lived in there, I got to know John When I was living in there, I got to know John. While I was living in there, I got to know John. While I lived in there, I got to know John. I have been ...
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93 views

Is it possible to 'give prosperity'?

Here's the sentence: Who knows how the prosperity you give becomes the prosperity you get Is it possible to 'give prosperity'?
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275 views

Can altering the syntax of a sentence, without in any way changing the diction used in describing the subject itself, change the subject's number?

There have been debates raging both here and on ELL about this, but the question has, to this point, been focused solely on expletive constructions with compound subjects. This is not intended to ask ...
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4answers
8k views

Does “turning down the air conditioning” make it warmer or colder?

As the title says, I've heard two possible meanings for "turning down" the air conditioning: It could mean "set the target temperature lower" (i.e. colder) or "make it work less" (i.e. warmer). ...
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3answers
11k views

“kindly requested” vs “requested kindly” & “provide with us” vs “provide us with”

I am a contracts engineer working in the construction industry in the Middle East. A part of my job description is to manage official correspondence with the client. I am not a native English speaker, ...
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1answer
70 views

Is “subject to a theft” a thing?

Is it acceptable to say something has been "subject to a theft"? The only use case I can find is in this policy document from Lloyds Bank. Has it been adopted elsewhere?
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2answers
455 views

Lately, I keep hearing and seeing “embarrassed of…” used instead of “embarrassed by…”

It seems very awkward to me. You never hear "thrilled of you", it's "thrilled by you," so what happened to "embarrassed by you"?
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6answers
472 views

Is there a way to intensify “blooming” in “The flowers are blooming”?

In some languages, for example, in Korean, it is possible to intensify the act of blooming. For example, using the phrase 핍니다 would imply blooming, for example, simply "The flowers are blooming". ...
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100 views

Nobody must [+ verb]

"Must not" vs. "don't have to" is a famous false friends for many languages. That said, what about a phrase like, say, "nobody must know": Does that mean that a) nobody is allowed to know, or b) that ...
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3answers
7k views

“was able to” vs “could”

According to my grammar book, here are some usages of was able to and could could can be used to refer in general that someone has a skill. e.g. At that time I could still read without spectacles. ...
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2answers
112 views

Use the word “higher” or “more” when referring to costs?

Is it proper to say that "the cost of X is more than the cost of Y" or "the cost of X is higher than the cost of Y"? Or are they interchangeable?
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1answer
149 views

Equivalence at word level [closed]

Is there a one-to-one relationship between word and meaning?
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1answer
269 views

The usage of “but” in non-shift sentence

I have found a sentence: He returned several times to India briefly, but only returned permanently early in 1915. I believe this sentence does not contain any shift. We can say that He returned ...
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2answers
60 views

Parentheses surrounding footnote body [closed]

It's unbelievably hard to find relevant information online, as almost every Google search just gives pages of advice and questions regarding citations and referencing styles. If I use a footnote in ...
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5answers
285 views

Word for inability to think in certain ways

Am looking for a word that loosely means inability to think in certain ways. For example, for lyricists (or writers) lyrics come so naturally, but for non-lyricists it's very difficult to think how ...
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1answer
32 views

Professor Bob's lab

I know "Bob's house" and "Bob's" mean the same thing. Question 1: Is there a name for this grammatical phenomenon? Can one call it an abbreviation? Question 2: In the context of within a ...
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3answers
4k views

“Normalise” or “normalize” (British English)?

Is normalise perhaps obsolete in British English, and normalize preferred instead? I have done some Googling, it seems British English dictionaries prefer normalize, but I haven't found any ...
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1answer
203 views

Meaning of “Smiles Slip”

I don't quite understand something: source Brazil will, in one form or another, be ready for the World Cup. But when it comes to hosting the tournament, those famous Brazilian smiles may ...
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1answer
106 views

Is “curate the market” common usage of “curate”?

I found New York Times (November 25) article titled “Helpful definition of modern author” intriguing. It provides humorous definitions of book-related terminologies such as authors, publishers, ...
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3answers
256 views

Meaning of “Discretion”

I saw this dictionary entry, and it says "discretion" could mean approximately either 1) the right to choose what to do or 2) the quality of being careful what you do. The dictionary has these two ...
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1answer
54 views

Lose Attendence Numbers

When some sport is "losing attendance numbers", what does "numbers" refer to? I can't find a good definition in dictionaries that would fit this usage.
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2answers
440 views

Holding off on it or Holding it off or Holding off of it?

I would like to say that I'm pausing / postponing work on something. I wasn't sure which of the following is the right way to say it: I'm holding off on it for the time being I'm holding off of ...
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0answers
38 views

Is the moment come? [duplicate]

"You comfort me so much! I am so ignorant. Am I to kiss you now? Is the moment come?" I came across the sentence above on page 480 of the novel A Tale of Two Cities. I've never seen the usage ...
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197 views

The type of expression that makes transitive verb to look like an intransitive verb: How common is it? Should I use it in formal writing? [closed]

The sentence structure Subject has got noun to verb. basically places a noun behind a verb with the help of the infinitive marker to, and it makes the transitive verb looks as if it is an ...
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1answer
453 views

What is the difference between “excuse me” and “forgive me”?

I am hesitated when I use the sentence "forgive my fault, please." instead of "excuse me, please." because the word "forgive" has a religious theme and probably carries some additional meanings. Also ...