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

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2
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2answers
103 views

Why do we say “apologies to” when we quote someone?

I just replied to a comment on StackOverflow, writing: "I know of nothing but miracles (apologies to Walt Whitman)" But then I got to wondering: why do we apologize to someone for quoting them? ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

“Accessory” vs “included” as adjective (BE)

I'm wondering about the use of the word accessory as an adjective. Would it be preferable in BE to say something like "This DJ controller comes with accessory headphones"? I feel that "This DJ ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Is the `that` in phrase `Only the best product that can survive` properly used? [closed]

I searched online that the word that has a function of stress/emphasize. And this usage comes up to my mind when designing for our company motto. Is it proper here? The colleague edition: Two ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Business English: contracted forum?

I would like to know your opinions regarding the use of the term "contracted forum". The context is a long-term project for which steering committee meetings are being conducted. At one time, the ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

What is a relish tray versus a veggie tray?

I have heard both of the terms "relish tray" and "veggie tray" used somewhat interchangeably. It seems as though there is some overlap between the two based on some simple Google Images searches (...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Non-Medically Necessary?

I'm working under contract for an insurance company, can't divulge much more due to NDAs. On one form they state they will cover a service if it is "medically necessary" but not if it is "non-...
30
votes
13answers
5k views

What is the “fundamental” difference between ‘search’ and ‘seek’?

So why do human beings spend so much time playing? One reason is that we have time for leisure; animals have very little time to play as most of their life is spent sleeping and (2)________ food. ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Is there a word for “an only child”?

Some languages (Aramaic and Arabic for instance) have a word for someone who's an only child. Does English have a word for it? Perhaps it's obscure or "extinct"? "Sole child" and "sibling-less" are ...
4
votes
3answers
23k views

What's the difference between “content” and “contented”?

What's the difference between "content" and "contented"? I feel content with my present condition. I feel contented with my present condition. When she calls me by my name sweetly, I ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

Appropriateness of usage of the phrases “and such forth”, and “so hence forth”

I have a colleague who frequently uses the phrases, "and such forth" and "so hence forth" in conversations with clients. I find particularly the use of "and such forth" to be nonsensical and ...
32
votes
9answers
4k views

Is “best” still a superlative in “best friend”, as in can you have more than one “best friend”?

I was speaking to a 15-year-old native English speaker (in Australia), who referred to someone as her "best friend". Later, she revealed that this wasn't her only best friend. She had four best ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Usage of the word “hand” in the context

We're using a textbook called "English for Management Studies" by Tony Corballis and Wayne Jennings at our English classes at university. I'm saying this so that you know that the following sentence ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Do vulgarity and linguistic flexibility actually correlate? [closed]

Regarding “fuck”, Wikipedia states: [it] has a very flexible role in English grammar, which stems from its vulgarity; the more vulgar a word is, the greater its linguistic flexibility. I ...
2
votes
4answers
131 views

What does the west wind signify to New Yorkers?

The New Yorker carries the archives of entertaining old articles. Among them there was a short piece titled “The street and into the grill” written by E.B. White and published in October 1950. A man ...
2
votes
2answers
676 views

Speed, rate, pace, tempo: what's the difference?

I looked up these three words in Oxford Dictionary and I found that they seem to be interchangeable in some cases. Here's the question: what's the difference between the three words? Rate: [...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

Regional omission of “to be.” [duplicate]

I've noticed that people from the Washington, Oregon area tend to omit "to be" when describing something that needs to be completed. For example, just today one of my consulting engineers sent me an ...
2
votes
4answers
301 views

What adverb, typical of AmEng, coincides most with the BrEng meaning of “quite” [=to a noticeable or partial extent]?

As long as -- seemingly -- the adverb "quite" in AmEng idiomatically carries an emphatic sense to it -- pretty much similar to saying "completely" or "absolutely" as in, "That girl looks quite pretty!"...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “Give a chicken in every pot” mean?

There was the following statement in October 29 New Yorker’s article that came under the title, “Why the G.O.P. Candidates Don’t Do Substance”: Did any of the candidates detail how they would pay ...
1
vote
3answers
928 views

What website will give me the frequency of a word in the English language?

Is there a website that will give me a frequency of a word in the English language? I am looking for some thing like this: I would type in the word, and it would give me a frequency rating. I have ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Correct use of culling

I received an email that included the phrase "culling through posts." I feel like the word "through" doesn't work here. Culling is defined as - "select from a large quantity," which makes me think ...
0
votes
2answers
129 views

Usage differences between 'exit' and 'egress'?

Are they perfectly interchangeable? Dictionary definitions seems to agree.
0
votes
0answers
39 views

What are the differences between “come on down” and “come down”?

"I answered the phone in my apartment and heard the sloping drawl of one of my students , Travis." Miss Diana, " he said, "Could you come on down the stairs a minute?" It was early May on the ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

Thoughts on today's article on “farther” vs “further”?

See the article for context. Seems like a plausible suggestion to me, but I'm curious what others think. Consider the house, tree, and sunflower in the illustration at the top of this post. The ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

To laugh over vs. about

Most of the time when I need to reference something using the word "laugh", my go-to preposition is "about". However, at times, "over" sounds much more adequate in day-to-day use. The big question, ...
2
votes
2answers
213 views

When, if ever, can I use “balded” in modern English?

"balded", as in the past tense of the verb to bald, is apparently a word. But when, if ever, would I use this? If a person is losing their hair, they are balding. If they have already lost it, they ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

How to use a comma correctly [closed]

Where do I put commas in a sentence like this....? Mom told me to buy butter milk a dozen eggs and six apples at the store.
0
votes
1answer
59 views

“We have sour 3 proctors.” What exactly does “sour” mean here? [closed]

Someone sent out an e-mail to me and many others asking for help proctoring some exams. This person got all the proctors she needed, and sent out a follow-up e-mail with the title "We have sour 3 ...
1
vote
0answers
175 views

How to specify we don't know the gender

I was talking about the short story "The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen" by Graham Greene. The narrator is part of the story and also talks about himself/herself. They ask me what we know about the ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

How to properly borrow words from other languages? [closed]

For example, if I took the Russian word "Toska" and transposed into an English word "tosk (pronounced as "təʊsk") and created such words and phrases as "toskful", "tosk-stricken", "toskfulness", "to ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

Cry on chest / in cuddle

I want to describe this picture: The man is crying on the woman's chest. The man is crying in the woman's cuddle. Which one is correct? Thank you.
1
vote
2answers
378 views

Isn't it redundant to use “then” after “if”?

Since "if P, Q" is grammatical, is it not the case that the "then" in "if P, then Q" is redundant? Where P and Q are clauses. For example, "if it rains today, the road shall be wet tomorrow" is ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

“Inverse” and “Converse” in academic writing [closed]

Do the words "inverse" and the words "converse" have the same meaning in academic writing as they do as logic terms? Or would it cause confusion? If I write, "conversely...", will it mean that ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with the preposition 'except' rather than 'except for'?

The sentence Except the buildings built towards the end of his life, the buildings erected in Istanbul can be assumed to be his. was recently used in a question here. I edited to replace '...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

“I'm cooperating!”

One day, I was chatting with my friend in English. We were talking about something and we both knew that we were joking. The conversation is as follows: My Friend: I am going to watch all episodes of ...
0
votes
2answers
399 views

“Need be” vs. “Needs to be”

I've written the following in a sentence, but now that I look at it, I'm doubting my grammatical instincts and wanted to get a second opinion. ...the balance need be swayed only slightly... Is ...
-1
votes
2answers
104 views
3
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4answers
132 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
489 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?
1
vote
1answer
57 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
votes
2answers
32k 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
votes
1answer
96 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
votes
1answer
541 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). ...
0
votes
0answers
65 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
121 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
230 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
4answers
150 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.
1
vote
2answers
138 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 ...