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

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64 views

Proper usage of “engendered”

"His actions engendered a revolution in the Capitol." This sounds a bit off to me. But going by the dictionary meaning, this is legal and correct. Is this correct in terms of readability and ...
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1answer
72 views

Can “in alpha” be used as an antonym to “in beta,” or it’s a totally different animal?

I was drown to the phrase, “in beta” in the following passage of New York Times’ (June 16) publicity of their own new scheme, Trending: “The Times unveils a new tool, Trending, that shows you ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
61 views

lecture for Quality Inspectors - how to write on CV

I need to write a CV in English, however, I have a problem how to express an idea that I was giving lectures for quality inspectors and that I was giving lectures about a specific subject. Right now ...
2
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1answer
230 views

Correct usage of “switch between A and B”

I want to show that a switch between A and B, and vice versa, is not allowed in a specific situation. Is "Between A and B" the correct usage in this case? I've been told that omitting "vice versa" ...
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4answers
6k views

Confusion in using “due to”

I usually meet "due to" usage in a document or conversation, but in different ways. I did some research and found out that "due to" is adjectival. Thus, the correct sentence should be: The ...
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0answers
155 views

What is the difference between “matter-containing media” and “matter”?

I'm reading the English Wikipedia entry titled "Radiation". You can find the word in the first paragraph, or by searching. What is the difference between "matter-containing media" and "matter"?
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1answer
1k views

Difference between certain, specific and particular

While browsing an online dictionary I found many translation for the same word in German. Those are certain, specific and particular. In my opinion are all three synonyms and can be used ...
3
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2answers
44 views

How do you punctuate the end of a quote within a quote: “Billy said, 'This is acceptable.' ” [duplicate]

At the end of such a sentence, does the single quote come before the punctuation? If it does not, is a space between the single quotation and double quotation marks necessary? >>, ' " or '"? ...
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2answers
82 views

Yes or No ambiguity in a dialogue

The following is a dialogue between Alex and Haley appearing in episode 11 of Morden Family season 6. Haley: I just wish there was something that you could teach me. Alex: Uh-huh. Haley: Wait, what ...
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4answers
3k 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
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1answer
92 views

Interesting usage of “considered” [closed]

A recent article on BBC online had the following phrase describing a Bedouin subject in an interview" ... he speaks considered English slowly ..." Is this an acceptable usage of "considered" in this ...
1
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1answer
344 views

Referring to the Seasons correctly: Summer versus Summers [duplicate]

Which of the below seems the correct usage: (A) The family spent the academic year in Berkeley, retreating to a Napa Valley estate in the summers. (B) The family spent the academic year in ...
2
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2answers
6k views

Is “play chess when others are playing checkers,” a well-known / well-used phrase?

I found the phrase, “he’s always playing chess when others are playing checkers,” in today’s (September 11) article of New York Times, written by Charles Blow under the headline of “It’s a Mad, Mad, ...
4
votes
2answers
709 views

Why is “positive” chosen as the opposite of “normative”, as in “positive statement”?

I understand that the phrase "positive statement" means, when opposed to normative statement (like in economics), statements that describe facts without indicating (dis)approval, thus that are ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
58 views

In time or on time [closed]

I must hurry to get home ___ to watch the match. The blank should be filled with 'in time' or 'on time'?
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4answers
467 views

On the usage: Yes, please [closed]

I was watching a movie. A girl asked a boy: Hey, Rex, can you help me? The boy answered: Yes, please. Then they went out to a date (kind of). I am not exactly sure about the please part. I ...
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1answer
34 views

word usage Electricity charges or Electricity Rate

i am curious to know about how to use this word. like should i go for electricity charges are high or electricity rates are high? Thanks.
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1answer
200 views

A word/expression: more “valuable” than “valuable”? [duplicate]

I would like to say that something is "very valuable". Do we have better word/expression that can do the job? The suggestions in the other thread sound extravagant compared to what I would like to ...
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3answers
2k views

“Pass me by” or “pass by me”?

Should I say he passed me by or he passed by me? I think it's passed me by, but I'm not sure.
1
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1answer
94 views

Is “It’s not unheard-of to do” not-an-unusual expression in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Hooray for Hillarywood” in New York Times May 30 issue: “You hear plenty of complaints about the president’s mingy care and ...
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1answer
55 views

Use of title capitals [duplicate]

Admiral Gonzeles told his men to search for a gun. A soldier asked if the admiral had any further instructions. Should the second time admiral is used be capitalized or not? Thanks Frank
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1answer
76 views

Why not “Big yet small”?

I'm confused that people use "big and yet small" rather than "big yet small." The reason I find this confusing is that but, which kind of resembles yet, is used differently--"big but small." Why can't ...
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1answer
100 views

Usage of “scienter” [closed]

"Scienter" is most commonly used as a noun in the following contexts: "Whether the corporation acted with scienter in defrauding investors." (In this case, it appears to be the object of the ...
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3answers
238 views

What is his name again? vs. What was his name again?

Which sentence from the title sounds more natural when asking for clarification about something which has already been discussed? Is one tense preferable overall? Take the following examples: ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Nationalities - When do we use the singular or plural form

I always have doubts whether to use a singular or a plural noun when I refer to certain peoples. For example, we say Americans, Italians, Brazilians, Russians and Austrians. But we say The British, ...
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0answers
103 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Yards, courtyards, and gardens in American English

As long as reportedly Americans commonly designate an area of land, usually planted with plants, trees, flowerbeds, etc., adjoining a house as a yard (front yard/backyard); and a plot of land used for ...
2
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5answers
2k views

Did the CIA really introduce 'conspiracy theory' into popular usage after JFK?

I heard that after the JFK assassination the CIA, through assets in mass media, introduced the term 'conspiracy theory', with it connotations of something clearly ridiculous, and only believed by ...
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3answers
168 views

“Shortcut to” or “shortcut for”

Which of these sentences would be correct, or are they both correct? "A shortcut to finding the inverse of a 2x2 matrix is..." "A shortcut for finding the inverse of a 2x2 matrix is..."
0
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1answer
828 views

What's the meaning of “I can't imagine why.”? [closed]

Does it mean "The answer is obvious to me." in a sarcastic way, or does it mean "I really don't know the reason."? I am inclined to go with the former. Surprisingly googling doesn't help. Secondly, ...
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0answers
23 views

Origin of the phrase “There's a fine line between pleasure and pain” [duplicate]

What is the origin (or original) of the phrase "There's a fine line between pleasure and pain"?
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3answers
38k views

“parentheses” vs “parenthesis” [closed]

What is the difference between "parentheses" and "parenthesis"?
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3answers
183 views

Is “coin” still used to mean “money”?

To clarify, I'm NOT talking about money solely in form of metal coins. (As in: I then proceeded carefully to count out the entire 14 pounds 78 pence in coin - Oxford). I'm talking about using 'coin' ...
0
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1answer
137 views

Usage of touch the wood? [duplicate]

I've started using English language about 4 years ago after I moved to England. I came across this practice a few times: when people speak about their health or similar things they say this and touch ...
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4answers
238 views

“), or ,”) in the middle of a sentence? [duplicate]

I think commas are typically placed after closed parentheses and within quotation marks. This creates a dilemma when all three are used together. Example one: You may like snelms (or "snail helms,") ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Is “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet” a common or respectable English expression?

Today’s edition of the New York Times (December 16, 2014) carries an article written by Mark Bittman under the headline “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It begins with the following passage: “What’s ...
2
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2answers
581 views

How does an animal sit on their haunches?

This should be a relatively simple question—one that I cannot seem to find anywhere. Does, for example, a dog sit down on its haunches, or sit up on its haunches? "Charlie sat up on his haunches ...
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2answers
511 views

“It had a lot of interest for me”

I was watching "12 angry men", and there's a line "What did you think of the case? I mean, it had a lot of interest for me." By referring to the context, it sure means that the case ...
2
votes
1answer
170 views

Dropping “then” in “If” statements [duplicate]

As an Example, I want to refer to this Wikipedia article where there are many conditional sentences. Some of them drop the "then", some of them use it. When I change that (drop it where it was used or ...
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1answer
75 views

Does this make sense with the use of 'breakthrough'?

Curiosity and imagination are the breakthrough to having any form of discovery. Does "breakthrough", as it is used here, make sense?
2
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2answers
81 views

Is “over-babble” a common word usable in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in New York Times (May 14) article under the title, “Wow, Jeb Bush is awful.”: "The bottom line is that so far he seems to be a terrible candidate. He couldn’t ...
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1answer
306 views

Right usage of veranda

Can you please anybody give an example for right usage of veranda. I go through Google and Wikipedia, its not mentioned as proper in Usage
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0answers
17 views

Known or be known

Is the usage correct? "Let the desire be known to them" —of course, the best would be: "let them know the desire"
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2answers
96 views

Why is “Grab” so common in advertisments (and other places where it might not make much sense)?

We area bombarded by advertisements which say "grab these offers NOW !" or "grab 2 @ 20% Discount or grab 3 @ 30% Discount !". Dictionary meanings of Grab : Take hold of so as to seize, ...
1
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1answer
467 views

Swapping first letters of different words [duplicate]

What is it called when you swap the first letters of two words?, for example - red truck is what is intended...instead ted ruck is what comes out.
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4answers
2k views

The Difference Between “I just love you” and “I love you” [closed]

What is the difference between "I 'just' love you" and "I love you"?
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4answers
354 views

Is this statement incorrect? “I'm a former English major” [closed]

Is this statement incorrect? "I'm a former English major" Is "I'm an English major" a better way to say it? Isn't the fact that a person majored in English make the usage of the word "former" is ...
2
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3answers
349 views

What is the difference between “large” and “massive”? [closed]

What is the difference between large and massive? They both seem the same but when I read this article I stumbled across this: Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that ...