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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
2answers
108 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..."
-2
votes
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
62 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
votes
0answers
116 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
votes
0answers
197 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
vote
2answers
127 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
110 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
votes
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
97 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
votes
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?
-2
votes
2answers
51 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
491 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
votes
1answer
282 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
3k 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
915 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
votes
2answers
416 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
votes
2answers
136 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
votes
3answers
153 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
335 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
144 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
248 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
568 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
votes
2answers
174 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 ...
-1
votes
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. ...
-2
votes
1answer
219 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
votes
1answer
75 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. ?
-1
votes
2answers
817 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
vote
2answers
810 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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
161 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
votes
1answer
69 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
votes
1answer
1k 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
votes
2answers
388 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
votes
2answers
490 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
votes
1answer
343 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
200 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
311 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
vote
4answers
988 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".
-1
votes
1answer
3k 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?
2
votes
4answers
8k views

Does “turning down the air conditioning” make it warmer or colder?

As the title says, I've heard two possible meanings for "turning down" the air conditioning: It could mean "set the target temperature lower" (i.e. colder) or "make it work less" (i.e. warmer). ...
0
votes
3answers
290 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
395 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
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
4k 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
votes
3answers
875 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
votes
1answer
114 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
119 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
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...