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

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3
votes
2answers
24k views

“Is equal to” or “equals” [duplicate]

Are both is equal to and equals similar in meaning? Which is the more natural? For example, one plus one equals two or one plus one is equal to two.
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What does it mean by “It's been good because it's been bad”? [closed]

Once I asked my friend 'how's the summer treating you?', he replied 'It's been good because it's been bad.' What does it mean? Good or bad?
3
votes
3answers
20k views

“features and characteristics”

In English, the phrase "features and characteristics" is often used. However, I, as a non-native English speaker, can't understand the difference between them. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary ...
4
votes
2answers
24k views

Is “received with thanks” stilted English?

I just got a receipt which said "Received with thanks the sum of ..." Thanks stands for gratitude, so this looks fine to me as far as grammar is concerned. But is this old-fashioned and/or stilted? ...
5
votes
4answers
911 views

How do I formally speak dates?

How are dates formally spoken? Are there any differences in the British and American versions?
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Why doesn't English use umlauts more frequently? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the standard rule for using or not using hyphen and diaeresis on the words like reelect , reexamine, and cooperate? I was reading this article in the New Yorker ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

When is it appropriate to use “scare quotes”?

For example, is putting scare quotes around "scare quotes" appropriate? Wikipedia says the term means usage of quote marks "to indicate that [a word or phrase] does not signify its literal or ...
3
votes
5answers
32k views

When to use 'ourselves' vs. 'our self'

I wrote when we place our self meaning each one of us, his or her self -- and was told to use "ourselves" instead. Who is right?
-2
votes
3answers
732 views

Unusual sentence construction [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using -ed vs. -ing in the “needs washed” construction "The car needs washed." I can understand what the speaker means to say, but this is strange to ...
4
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
919 views

Dustbins & litter

Why do dust bins have the phrase "Do not Litter"? I checked the dictionary meaning - litter means garbage or waste. Aren't dustbins meant for that ?
3
votes
3answers
123 views

Is it correct to say “aging X years or more”?

Hundred participants (aging 18 years or more) were selected from each of the cities. Is the phrase within the parentheses correct? Any suggestion to better express the idea will also be ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Is “well-connected” correct here?

I want to use well-connected in the context of The James family was a well-connected family in ... Can someone suggest better ways to say it? I want it to mean that that particular family was ...
0
votes
4answers
222 views

Dabbles in cooking?

I want to say someone dabbles in cooking - is it correct? -is there a better (fancy) way to say it? (this intends to add bit of humor too)
5
votes
2answers
993 views

Did Victorians say “We are quit”?

Is “We are quit” (meaning “We’re even, no more mutual obligations”) a usage from the 18–19th centuries? Or are the examples of this on Google hits just people making it up (possibly a bad cognate ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Which is correct..Nothing last forever? or Nothing lasts forever? [closed]

Why is 'Nothing lasts forever' correct instead of 'Nothing last forever'?
5
votes
2answers
29k views

“The other way around” or “the other way round”

I see both phrases the other way around and the other way round very often. Which is correct? Please provide usage examples.
5
votes
4answers
887 views

Difference between “ignorant” and “uninformed”

What is the difference between ignorant and uninformed? In ordinary usage, is one considered a put down and the other considered a statement of fact? If so, why? Am I ignorant or simply uninformed?
2
votes
1answer
942 views

Correct usage of “so would” and “a priori”

Is this phrase syntactically correct? Because X may take different forms, a priori so would Y. I am especially asking about the usage of "so would", but also about the place of "a priori". ...
0
votes
1answer
280 views

Origin and usage of the phrase “my son”

When I was watching the movie documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11", one of the interviewed lawyers told Michael moore "sit down, my son". After that, I just couldn't stop thinking about this phrase, and how ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

Usage of Lets vs Let's for 'Let us' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Let's” vs. “lets”: which is correct? Lets now see how it can be done. Let's now see how it can be done. Is sentence 1 wrong?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

“Actually” vs “really”

Sometimes I wonder if he is actually/really as lavish as he pretends to be. I know that this sentence can work without either actually or really, but if we were to use one of them to make an ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Insight into whether” vs “insight as to whether”

I've seen the expressions insight into whether and insight as to whether used. Are both correct? If so is there any difference between them?
11
votes
1answer
4k views

“I can't help it.” Why help?

Why do we use the verb help in sentences such as the following to mean something like refrain from? I try not to eat junk, but I can't help it. I couldn't help laughing. I can't help but admire her ...
0
votes
2answers
591 views

What does “higgledy-piggledy” mean? [closed]

What does "higgledy-piggledy" mean? Does higgledy and piggledy means anything separately? How to use these two words?
2
votes
3answers
326 views

What are the replacements for “i.e.” and what are their differences?

I can think of "that is to say", "in other words", "put differently". And I'd like to know if there are any subtle differences in the usage of these synonyms. Can they always be used interchangeably ...
1
vote
0answers
5k views

Use “Hi gents” in an e-mail? [closed]

I would appreciate if someone could tell me if it would be appropriate English to write "Hi gents" in an e-mail to fellow directors? It's in a very informal context.