For questions on how and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

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4answers
11k views

Trustable or trustworthy?

For a long time I have been using trustworthy as the adjective for of trust. However, I recently heard someone say trustable, and it piqued my interest. Apparently it is a word on Merriam-Webster as ...
3
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4answers
120 views

Is it possible to use “demotivate” with something not related to studying or job?

The question is in the title. Actually, I need something of a synonym to "disencourage" and "demotivate" was the first word that came to my mind. Also, if it's possible to use "demotivate" with ...
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3answers
483 views

How bad is the use of “n***er” today?

If I call a Black person "nigger", how bad is this today? If a Black calls another Black with this word, is it wrong?
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1answer
51 views

Is “claimer” primarily a term for a customer notorious for their frivolous complaints?

In Japanese this English loanword is being used in this way, and I am curious as to whether the usage is technically correct. While I realize that in English the definition of "claimer" extends ...
2
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2answers
30k views

When to use “in the last year”, “last year” and “in the past year”?

I'm curious about the differences between "in the last year", "in the past year" and "last year". I went to NY in the past year Last year I went to NY. In the last year I went to NY (This sounds ...
2
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1answer
92 views

Is it possible to “revenge” a situation?

From the usage I am familiar with, it sounds strange to use "revenge" as a verb by itself. I am used to hearing it together with another word, such as "get revenge" or "take revenge". My dictionary ...
2
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1answer
503 views

Can a person be “overly literal”

It's common to say someone is being overly literal if their interpretation of a phrase is too strictly literal either intentionally (nitpickers) or unintentionally (people learning another language). ...
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0answers
61 views

Mark Twain and the tenses

Maybe I'm being too pedantic for my own good, but here's the thing. There is in Mark Twain's short story titled Journalism in Tennessee a passage in which, if you take a good close look, the simple ...
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1answer
110 views

run out on someone (meaning be used up)

The intransitive multi-word verb run out meaning be used up is well known. The transitive multi-word verb run out on meaning {OALD}: run out on somebody (informal) to leave somebody that ...
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2answers
216 views

In the sentence below, is the verb 'render' used correctly?

Consider the sentence: What matters is to render the idea from the field of theory into practice. Could the verb render be replaced by the verb translate without changing the meaning? Which is ...
2
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3answers
164 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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4answers
142 views

Usage of the word “submittal”

It it appropriate to use the word submittal as follows? The report is ready for submittal. Or, is it better to just say: The report is ready to be submitted.
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2answers
125 views

Further explanation of “among others”

I know that "among others" is used when we mention one or more than one person. But still, I am a little confused. For example: "Among others, Adam and Smith supported me at the meeting." (I am ...
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2answers
105 views

Can the word, “OK’er,” be used in other area than copy editing?

I recently heard the word,’OK’er” in the New Yorker’s Live video, in which Mary Norris, New Yorker’s copy editor and author of "How I proofread my way to Philip Roth’s heart,” “Between You & Me on ...
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1answer
76 views

Can “the day after tomorrow” be used as an adverb?

I've come across this expression while having a conversation over the phone with a native English speaking friend. However, I am not sure if he said "at the day after tomorrow" or "the day after ...
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0answers
32 views

How wide is singular “they” being used? [duplicate]

One might want to use a generic pronoun, that doesn't specify the gender of the person. Although "he" can be used in such case, they decide that "he" still reflect the history time when male was ...
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3answers
21k 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?
3
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1answer
564 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 ...
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2answers
4k views

When did replacing “yes” with “absolutely” come into common usage?

Replacing simple, concise words with longer, more obscure ones has long been a hallmark of bureaucratic reports and student papers. Consider the response "yes" (and its other less formal variants) ...
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0answers
34 views

Is Alliteration Orthographic or Sonic?

Is this alliteration: Chocolate-colored Chows chew caffeinated Chow chow, chasing crabby calico cats Cherry cobbler clings close chastely, catapulting Cincinnati Centerfielders crosswise ("...
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1answer
98 views

Word for someone who repeats words

What is a word for someone who uses a word excessively in conversation? For example, using the same swear word in every sentence.
0
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1answer
121 views

Why does the word “nugatory” become nugatory?

This is the follow up question of When to use “nugatory”? So if we look at the Ngram of the word nugatory, it is noticeable that the word has been nugatory throughout the time. The trend starts from ...
2
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1answer
5k 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 ...
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3answers
8k views

What's the official rule regarding use of “welcome” versus “welcomed”?

Which is correct, and why?: Growing my business has been a welcomed challenge. OR Growing my business has been a welcome challenge.
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1answer
60 views

Use of the prefix Im- [closed]

I have read the rules for using im- versus un- and agree with the general ideas put forth. A word that I used recently, seems to fall into a category all its own. The word is (im)provable, meaning ...
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2answers
246 views

Is “pride and joy” singular or plural?

Which is correct: Her pride and joy are ... Her pride and joy is ... Or does the use of 'are' or 'is' in this case depend on whether the object of the sentence is singular or plural?
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3answers
3k views

“Wise man” vs. “wise guy”

Two very similar expressions yet quite opposite connotations. Wise man is an older phrase but wise guy is a newer one. I found two possible connections to wise man. There is the surname Wiseman ...
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10answers
7k views

What does ‘If she’s a feminist, then I’m a T. Rex’ mean? [duplicate]

There was the following passage in New York Times’ (October 6) article commenting on GOP Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina under the headline, ‘If she’s a feminist, then I’m a T. Rex’: “Her ...
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2answers
46k views

Is using “needing” correct?

I've had a debate with my friend about the "needing" usage. I know we can't use "needing" in continuous tenses but take a look at my example: - That's the man needing some money. I'm sure I saw "...
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1answer
62 views
-1
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1answer
49 views

How to identify an adverbial clause

I find it difficult to identify an adverbial clause in the following sentence: Saturday is the day when I get my hair done. Is the clause "when I get my hair done" adverbial?.
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1answer
218 views

“The young” means young people, but are they “the modern young”

Please answer my following question. I think that "the+'adjective'" means "adjective people". For example, the young means young people. Then, I have a question. Can I use two or more adjectives in ...
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1answer
43 views

forced break usage

Let's say I need to go on a trip, and thus will be skipping some of my gym sessions. Can I say I'm taking a *forced break* from gym or another phrase should be used here?
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1answer
279 views

Can you express 'thousands' in number?

Is there any plausible way of expressing a sentence like There are thousands of people in this city Could you express that with numbers? Using the figure 1000 would make it look like "a ...
2
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1answer
74 views

About “polyptoton”

I am struggling with these phrase and sentences. Please translate in plain English or can you make it easy to understand. 1) Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds. 2) Tut, tut! Grace me ...
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1answer
74 views

Why we should say North and South City instead of South and North City? [duplicate]

Why we should say North and South City instead of South and North City??
3
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2answers
248 views

Is ‘scooplet’ a popular word?

I came across the word, ‘scooplet’ in the statement of New York times’ reporter in its “What we are reading section” (October 24). Carolyn Ryan introduces “Time Machine” written by Kitty Kelley by ...
0
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1answer
110 views

“Walk in” or “Walk into”? How to decide whether to use “in” or “into”? [duplicate]

"You can't just walk in/into the class without permission". What is the word to go by in this statement?
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3answers
365 views

In a story written in past tense, is using present tense grammatically correct in the narration?

For example, just something quickly made up: Sam started to run from the house to the nearby forest. The freezing weather caused him to shiver, but the warmth from running very rapidly heated up ...
-1
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3answers
256 views

Is it possible to say “we were better” meaning “we better” in the past tense?

I know that textbooks maintain that this phrase (even not exactly this, since it's the "incorrect" version of "we had better") should be used only in the present and future tenses but I wonder if it's ...
3
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2answers
165 views

Why did the word “alluring” peak in the 1920s?

As per title. This is the Ngram Graph for the word alluring: For comparison, this is the same graph for the word remarkable:
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2answers
54 views

Would you italicize chapatis?

I guess "chapati" is foreign word and should be italicized in a text. But what about plural? The foreign word is actually chapati, and the plural is made using the English "s" (even if, maybe, chapati ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Usage of “to be across”

I have only recently encountered "to be across", meaning "to understand fully". I have long been familiar with "to get across", of course. It seems to be the recipient that corresponds to the giver ...
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2answers
174 views

Preposition to use with the phrase “come to an understanding”

So, I'm to translate a sentence to English. It's something like: We've succeeded in coming to an understanding ______ all questions discussed. I suppose that I should use either about or in to ...
0
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0answers
10 views

ask question about the past [duplicate]

English is my second language. Is it correct to say " How did your college ranked on the previous list? Should I use rank instead? Thanks.
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2answers
100 views

the usage of the phrase 'be axed'

According to Dictionary.com, one of the meanings of the word 'ax' is... '(informal) to dismiss, restrict, or destroy brutally' (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ax?s=t) Labor reforms ...
0
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2answers
43 views

peripheral equipment - only for computers?

If I say "peripheral equipment", does this always refer to equipment attached to computers (such as printers, mice, keyboards, etc), or can it also be used for other things? For example, can I talk ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

Hospital versus *the* hospital [duplicate]

One oddity in the difference between UK and American usage is that Americans say "I went to the hospital" but British people say "I went to hospital". Is there an explanation for this grammatical ...