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

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3
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1answer
1k views

“anybody can dance” or “Everybody can dance”?

"Anybody can dance" or "Everybody can dance", which is correct? Or do they have same meaning?
18
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6answers
2k views

Are there any names of food that are associated with political correctness other than Fried chicken?

The word Spanish golfer, Sergio Garcia used in answering a reporter’s question about the status of his current relationship with his rival, Tiger Woods on May 21st – “We’ll have him ‘round every ...
0
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1answer
1k views

Is “Don't Nobody/Anybody/Anyone + verb” a double negative?

I was reading a passage in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and a character, a migrant farmer, says of another character's fighting ability: "Nobody don't know what Slim can do". And then a little ...
3
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2answers
284 views

Does “Paraphernalia” have a negative connotation?

By definition, the word paraphernalia does not portray either negative or positive emotions. Does it, in everyday usage? In my particular case, I am making a website about programming. I have a ...
2
votes
1answer
566 views

Can one feel claustrophobic?

I often hear people say they "feel claustrophobic" (e.g. in a lift). This sounds wrong. To me, one is claustrophobic, or one feels claustrophobia. Am I correct in assuming the expression "to feel ...
3
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1answer
250 views

about the expression 'on someone's behalf'

I know the expression 'on (someone's) behalf' usually reads or is understood as 'instead of someone' but I'm wondering if it's possible for it to have a benefactive reading, that is, if it can be used ...
5
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2answers
736 views

Is the expression 'too much, too young' grammatically acceptable?

I'm happy to see that grammar is being seen as important enough to be taught in English schools ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22403731 ) again. I think. At least it might improve some people's ...
5
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2answers
453 views

What's a useful replacement idiom for “money shot?”

I'm afraid I have been somewhat innocently causing offense by using the term "money shot" in its general, non-pornographic sense. My coworkers either have dirty minds or lack awareness of the other ...
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2answers
106 views

How do you say “I made books fall off the shelf” [closed]

One way is to say "I spilled the books off the shelf". I am looking for a more suitable usage of words.
0
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4answers
127 views

Alternatives to “enthusiasm declined”? [closed]

I'd like to say something like "My enthusiasm declined after I read the news", but I'm not sure decline goes well with enthusiasm. Is there a better alternative? Or is decline just fine?
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2answers
455 views

“With” in “difficulty with (verb)-ing”

Is this usage of "to have difficulty with" ok? I've been having some difficulty with reading the books that I decide to read. A Google search suggested that the "with" may perhaps be dropped, but ...
6
votes
1answer
509 views

Using “rather” to correct a misstatement

For some reason I have it in my head that I can use the word "rather" at the end of a phrase to indicate that I am correcting a previous misstatement. For example: Down the hall, you'll find the ...
0
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1answer
212 views

“Customer usage” or “customer use”? [duplicate]

I'm working for a truck manufacturer and I have to analyse what our customers do with their vehicles (for example, how many kilometres do they usually drive per day, or how much fuel do they use?). ...
0
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3answers
2k views

Use of “though” versus “however”

Consider the sentence E-books are on the rise, but they haven't suppressed paper books though. This usage seems to be quite common, but when I learned English I was taught to use "however" ...
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4answers
4k views

Why is poker a “sport” and not just a “game?” [closed]

So, first off, as tempting as it might be to do so, this is not an invitation to wax poetic on poker. I actually don't play it, but I know how it works. The question really is one of etymology. ...
2
votes
1answer
217 views

What does “Take the disguise” mean?

I was reading this particular sentence: She took the disguise of an old woman and came to Eleusis, where she was welcomed by the family of King Celeus. Disguise means costume. So, does it mean ...
-2
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1answer
2k views

“Perhaps” versus “probably” [closed]

Can I say Perhaps the most natural option is to... instead of The most natural option is probably to... Do these two sentences have the same meaning? Generally speaking, should I prefer ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

“Still” and “Yet” as Conjunctions

I know there are already many posts on still and yet, but I really find it difficult to use them as conjunction as in following sentences: It's a small car, yet/still it's surprisingly ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Is “to” inclusive in “I worked at company X from April 2012 to April 2013”? [duplicate]

I have a question about the use of the word to as a time proposition. Is to inclusive in the following sentence? I worked at company X from April 2012 to April 2013.
2
votes
1answer
235 views

Should I say “I make a living by teaching” or “I make a living teaching”? Which one is correct? Is the preposition 'by' necessary?

I am confused about the correct usage of the phrasal verb, 'make a living'. I don't know whether I should add the preposition 'by' at the end of it. I looked up several dictionaries, most of which ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

“Curious X”: X is the subject or an object

When 'curious' is used as an adjective (e.g., in the construction "A is a curious B"), there is ambiguity as to whether the noun it modifies is:- The subject: A feels curious (e.g., "Humans are a ...
5
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3answers
556 views

Is using past participle instead of present one more polite?

On christianity.stackexchange.com I asked this question: "Is it true that John Paul the Second restored the practice of selling indulgences in 2000?" and one supporter suggested that I replace ...
2
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0answers
829 views

Use of “any more than” to relate two different situations [closed]

In the following quote by Billy Sunday “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” can anyone pls explain/elaborate the usage and meaning of ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

To write or to write to?

Is it correct to say "I wrote him" or "I wrote to him"? My Mother was a stickler for English grammar and would say "I wrote your Uncle..." rather than "I wrote to your Uncle..."
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1answer
4k views

Meaning and usage of “Make me”

Sometimes the literal translations of "slang" sentences just don't make sense, so after reading a "Make me" answer (which I consider slang, due to its informal use, if I'm not wrong) to a request I ...
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2answers
65 views

“Lucid intervals” usage?

Does "Lucid Interval" immediately bring to mind medical disorder? I would like to use it as the title for a blog and I don't want people to be put off.
0
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0answers
118 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
210 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. ...
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vote
2answers
129 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.
2
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
-2
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1answer
130 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
votes
1answer
99 views

Adverse or averse? [closed]

I have been thinking about these two words for quite a while. I have looked up the dictionary on these two words and it seemed as if the two words are not identical. However, there are claims of the ...
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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votes
2answers
52 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
515 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
293 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

An approach to do something vs. an approach to doing something

What is the preferred way to express something like this: An approach to design a software system (here design is a verb) or An approach to design of a software system (here design is a ...
2
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
1k 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
425 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 ...
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2answers
140 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
157 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
vote
4answers
352 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
147 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
251 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
votes
2answers
569 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
179 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
91 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
232 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 ...