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

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3answers
432 views

Does “intellectual gymnastics” always have a negative connotation?

As far as I know, “intellectual gymnastics” is used in a negative sense. For example, the discipline of philosophy can be belittled as “intellectual gymnastics”. However, a university in Japan seems ...
3
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4answers
130 views

Is it “Ministry of Economy” or “Ministry of the Economy”?

Recently, a government official gave me a business card that stated the official's department as "Ministry of Economy." I did a double take, because, in my mind, I took that to mean "Ministry of ...
0
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0answers
110 views

Where are you AT? [duplicate]

Is the use of the redundant "at" a regional idiosyncracy? As in "Where are you at?" when asking someone their physical location, or progress in a project? It seems to be a Chicago regional saying.
2
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0answers
156 views

Does issue as “Offspring, progeny; a child or children” have modern usage? [closed]

When looking at the word "issue" in the thesaurus I noticed that children was given as one of the definitions. Having not seen issue used in this context before, I decided to do some investigation. ...
1
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2answers
103 views

Difference between “Knock it off!” and “Drop it!”

What is the difference between "Knock it off!" and "Drop it!". I do translate both as "Stop it". Is there any context-based usage difference? Thank you.
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1answer
261 views

Is this sentence correct - “what an ephemeral rendezvous we had”?

I met some girls last month, and recently I came in contact with one of them. And I really wanted to say something about our first meeting. Can you please tell me if the following sentence is correct ...
2
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1answer
106 views

“nones” used to describe people who are spiritual, but not religious

I work for the Church and I've seen the term "nones" used to describe those who are non-Christian or those who are considered "spiritual, but not religious." I find the term belittling. What's the ...
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1answer
122 views

Why 007 said “You weren't using it”? [closed]

I've watched 007 skyfall. Had one scene, that Agent was driving and 007 sat beside her. She drove very fast and then car side mirror was removed because crashed with something beside the road. after ...
0
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0answers
44 views

When to use “programming's” vs. “programming is” [duplicate]

My sentence can be said as: Programming is fun. and it can also be said as: Programming's fun. Both seem to be correct. When should I use one instead of the other?
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2answers
50 views

Up to versus one's responsibility

Can "up to" be used to convey the idea of one's responsibility like in the quoted sentence below: It is up to the system to set all the needed variables. Is this usage natural or is there any ...
2
votes
1answer
338 views

Is it “to play a game on someone” or “play games with someone”?

I find this expression strange because it's clearly widely used, but seems sort of "unofficial", the "official" version, meaning the one described in dictionaries and grammar books, being playing ...
1
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1answer
513 views

Which abbreviation for the world wars is more correct; WWI or WW1?

At my daughter's school, there is an exercise in general knowledge; this term's is about " The World Wars". The question posed is which abbreviation is correct, the first with Roman numerals or the ...
0
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2answers
342 views

How can you encourage native speakers to correct mistakes non-native speakers make? [closed]

My English is pretty advanced, yet I still make mistakes (not many, but some). I am constantly talking to native speakers and always tell them to correct my mistakes. My problem is that in most ...
-1
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2answers
123 views

Is it OK to replace the preposition “through” with “during”? [closed]

You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who's working his way through college. This is a line from President Obama's address. My question is why it is through ...
0
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3answers
134 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 ...
1
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4answers
270 views

What's the meaning of “I put the chic in freak”?

I am a non-native speaker of English (Polish) and I teach English as a Foreign Language in Poland. A few months ago I came across this phrase / sentence printed on the student's notebook and got ...
0
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3answers
1k views

Behind of or in front of?

We daily use terms like "I was sitting in front of the television" and "Spent the all day behind the computer". What is the most appropriate term to use and why is it that people sit in front of the ...
4
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2answers
235 views

Is it typical native speaker usage to inconsistently use the pronoun “one” in a paragraph?

[NB: This is a re-post of a closed question that was rightly judged "off topic". It does present an interesting problem, though, so I've rewritten it and asked an on-topic usage question.] Is it ...
3
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2answers
558 views

Should I follow English conventions, or write what sounds better?

How a sentence sounds when read aloud or in your head can often "sound" different for each individual doing so; however, I was reading details regarding the usage of "data" and "datum" and was ...
0
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2answers
141 views

Pre-clause, Post-clause

I have two possible sentences of the some situation and I am confused: Realizing he did not belong there, he left the meeting early. He left the meeting early, realizing he did not belong ...
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2answers
90 views

Defective Passage [closed]

Could this small passage be defective in some way: book KENT SAW Helen at each evening meal, but otherwise only the spotless kitchen remained as a clue that another person shared the house. ...
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1answer
190 views

Which preposition goes with the word “altar”?

I am getting contradictory usages of the word altar : Sacrificed his family life on the altar of career advancement(Source:Merriam Webster) You probably aren't going to like the solution, but the ...
-1
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1answer
74 views

Possessive Ambiguity: sharing a house [closed]

Could this: Jason shared Michael's house. be an acceptable shortened version of this: Jason shared Michael's house with Michael. ?
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2answers
600 views

“What I have to do is” + verb inf [duplicate]

I'm confused about the following examples, and I'm pretty sure I've seen both of them in books and white papers. What I have to do is find her. What I have to do is to find her. What I would like to ...
1
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2answers
487 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
148 views

X Shared Y's Something [closed]

I was looking up information about popes and then I found this: found here Pope Julius III (1550–1555) was alleged to have had a long affair with Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte. The Venetian ...
0
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1answer
68 views

Urge Her Against Him [closed]

For this: google book "With one hand on the small of her back, and another just a bit lower, he urged her against him again. The woman was melting his resolve and calling into question his ...
4
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1answer
626 views

Fall Hard For Something

I am trying to find the right definition of "hard" in this piece of writing: newspaper Looking for a tranquil hideaway after years as a paparazzi magnet, Mr. Frazier bought the single-level ...
9
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2answers
241 views

Correct usage of the verb “to hock”

Sometimes I read/hear the verb "to hock" used as a synonym of "peddle/hawk", as in "The street vendor hocked his wares." Is that correct? I always thought that "to hock" meant "to pawn". Perhaps it's ...
0
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2answers
418 views

Can “kitchen” be used as an adjective? eg: Mother painted the kitchen wall [closed]

My little sister was to identify the adjective in this sentence: "Mother painted the kitchen wall purple and green". I understand how kitchen can be an adjective as in kitchen sink, but I'm not sure ...
0
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1answer
289 views

Under which cases should an article (a/an/the) not be used? [duplicate]

The current machine has been repaired. Current machine has been repaired. Which is more natural? What are the subtle differences between them? Under which cases should an article ...
3
votes
2answers
165 views

“this represents” vs “this is”

I want to explain to one of my students why this usage is so common in scientific or academic reports but not (as far as I can see) elsewhere: This represents the best evidence to date of ...
22
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6answers
2k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
1
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2answers
281 views

I am confused about the meaning of this sentence with the placement of the commas [closed]

All teachers under age sixty-five, and those over age sixty-five who are not eligible for Medicare, shall be allowed to purchase medical coverage. Does this mean: All teachers under age ...
1
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4answers
707 views

“Hold Out Promise” vs “Make a Promise”

Is "hold out a promise" the same meaning as "make a promise"? Or did I misunderstand them? I found definitions for "make a promise", but couldn't find definitions for "hold out a promise".
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1answer
2k views

Use of Apostrophes - FAQs vs FAQ's [duplicate]

Is it also correct to say FAQ's as some sites like http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html refer? Or is FAQs the right and correct way to say it?
1
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3answers
316 views

Purpose For, Of [closed]

1 He has no intention for marriage. 2 He has no intention of marriage. These two sentences are good English and have the same meaning. In this PDF I read: A review of the grading permit ...
0
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3answers
212 views

a hard close look [closed]

Are "close" and "hard" the same below? He took a close look at the cat. He took a hard look at the cat. Or are they subtly different? For this particular usage, web dictionaries appear ...
0
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4answers
754 views

How to ask “Where are you going?” when event already passed? [closed]

If my friend went to somewhere on weekend but i didn't know where did he go? And if i want to ask him like "Where are you going?" on Monday which sentences should i ask him? Where did you go? Where ...
3
votes
5answers
321 views

Is there any phrasal verb to mean “teeth are falling out because one is getting older”?

The sentence would be: He is Xing now. Where X means "losing teeth" or "teeth are falling out" because he is getting older. I am assuming such phrasal verbs or words exist because it would be ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Install on, install in, install to

When I say "programs to install on a new PC" it sounds alright to me, but I'm not sure if it's the correct usage. Which one of the following should I use? Programs to install on a new PC Programs to ...
5
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3answers
612 views

usage of “yet to be”

Can I say He is yet to be a murderer. to mean the he is not a murderer, but very soon he will be one?
5
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1answer
104 views

When Things Used To be “Worth 'X' Millions”

I was reading Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, and a character described a rich man as "Worth 20 millions". At least in AmE, we don't use "millions" in the plural anymore in this ...
0
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2answers
121 views

“One of the courses I took that year was x” where “x” is a unique identifier

I have a vague feeling that there is something wrong with this sentence I wrote: "One of the courses I took that year was John Doe's Introduction to Literature." I feel that the following sentences ...
4
votes
2answers
419 views

What is a term to refer something in the middle of a list just like “former” and “latter” is used in a list containing two things?

In a sentence, if someone says the former, they are talking about the first thing they listed, and says the latter for the last thing they listed. What would be the term to refer something in the ...
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1answer
106 views

Is this 2nd sentence grammatically correct? [closed]

The parent requested a copy of the minutes from the Discipline Committee meeting. However, Discipline Committee meetings, nor Discipline Appeal meetings, are formally recorded in any manner.
0
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2answers
999 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 ...
1
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3answers
996 views

Descent, Ancestry, Lineage

Please help me with the words 'descent', 'ancestry', and 'lineage'. Dictionaries show that they are loosely the same: 1a. He has German descent. 1b. He is of German descent. 2a. He has ...
1
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4answers
259 views

A letter to/for Jason?

Suppose Jason were at home and a mail carrier came to his front door with a letter addressed to Jason. Which of the following is correct? It was a letter for Jason. It was a letter to Jason.
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2answers
86 views

Post Question To

If Craig wrote a question on an online forum and the question was intended for Larry: Craig posted a question to Larry. Should the part "to Larry" modify "a question", or "posted"? In ...