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

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'Cromulent' Etymology

Given its first use: "I don't know why, it's a perfectly cromulent word." The verb is "is" (=> it's) and the noun is "word". Since cromulent links them both and directly addresses the noun, ...
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2answers
106 views

“Did China Birth the Next Steve Jobs?”

As the title of a Forbes article, it has been drawn to my attention because of the use of birth as a verb. I think it should be give birth to or bear.
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0answers
198 views

What does it mean that I made a doctor? [closed]

I want to know exact meaning that I made a doctor. Does it mean that I strived to be a doctor and I finally became a doctor? I want to know the exact meaning of it?
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4answers
208 views

“Removals Service” or “Removal Service”?

Take for example the tag line: "reliable removals service". Is this correct grammar/usage? Or should it be just "removal", singular? To me, "removals" seems more correct because it is describing ...
5
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4answers
346 views

What is 'draw on'

This question was asked earlier (not by me), but closed and deleted by a mod. But I thought it was interesting, because I didn't know the answer. So I'm reposting it.... The verb phrasal 'draw on' ...
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1answer
6k views

Usage of “In the hope that” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it all right to use “in hopes of” to mean “with the aim of”? Which of the following is preferable: "I'm doing this in the hope that it will be helpful to someone", or ...
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3answers
5k views

“You got it” vs. “I got it”

When I watch TV drams or movies, I sometimes come across the expressions “I got it” and “You got it” meaning “I will do as you ask”. I am wondering if there is any semantic or pragmatic differences ...
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3answers
526 views

Term for strong/weak words (in context)

Over in Mi Yodeya Meta, commenting on the proposed Mi Yodeya site scope — for people who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more — I ...
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2answers
610 views

What is a term to refer something in the middle of a list just like “former” and “latter” is used in a list containing two things?

In a sentence, if someone says the former, they are talking about the first thing they listed, and says the latter for the last thing they listed. What would be the term to refer something in the ...
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2answers
137 views

Incorrect? “I only have one distinct memory from the movie, a scene where …”

Should I say “I only have one distinct memory from the movie, that of a scene where …”, or would it work without the that of? If it wouldn’t work without the that of, what if I replace the comma with ...
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3answers
648 views

Does “intellectual gymnastics” always have a negative connotation?

As far as I know, “intellectual gymnastics” is used in a negative sense. For example, the discipline of philosophy can be belittled as “intellectual gymnastics”. However, a university in Japan seems ...
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3answers
296 views

Where can you use “and/or”?

I know that in formal contexts, the construction and/or is very ugly and undesirable (and there are many questions here that deal with said formal usage). Has it become acceptable to use it ...
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1answer
191 views

What kind of noun is 'splurge'?

I was reading a grammar book the other day, it was mentioned to omit articles "before names of substances and abstract nouns (i.e uncountable nouns)." The nouns splurge and howler are abstract nouns ...
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2answers
7k views

Usage of “make up my mind”

Can "made up my mind be used" in context like: I made up my mind about quitting smoking. I am being persuaded that resolved should be used instead, but it seems to me that both versions are ...
2
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1answer
497 views

How do you use the expression “to come out in front” (as in “to gain an advantage”)?

The usage of the expression "to come out in front", in the sense of gaining an advantage, or succeed in an endeavor (in spite of all odds?), isn't very clear to me. As far as I can tell people use it ...
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5answers
446 views

Is there any phrasal verb to mean “teeth are falling out because one is getting older”?

The sentence would be: He is Xing now. Where X means "losing teeth" or "teeth are falling out" because he is getting older. I am assuming such phrasal verbs or words exist because it would be ...
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2answers
2k views

Meaning of 'within' in “the task has to be submitted within a month” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Within” and “in” when referring to time if there's a sentence : The task has to be submitted within a month Does it mean that the task has to be submitted before ...
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2answers
99 views

When is “place” used as “home”?

Today, while chatting, I just made a sentence: I want you at his place at 9. But I am not sure when to use place with the meaning, home, or work place? Is it correct usage? What will be the ...
2
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1answer
252 views

Omitting “nothing” in “nothing but” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The construction of “Known but to God” Difference between “but” and “nothing but” Is it acceptable to omit the word nothing in the following sentence? Knowledge ...
4
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2answers
268 views

Usage of hain't

According to Dictionary.com, ain't has two meanings: Nonstandard except in some dialects. am not; are not; is not. Nonstandard. have not; has not; do not; does not; did not. When I ...
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1answer
295 views

Usage of “without strain” word combination

Can word combination "without strain" be used in figurative sense, for example "He speaks English without strain." and is it literary?
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3answers
2k views

Usage of recommend?

I can’t recommend the book enough. Does it mean that it’s not a good book or it’s a really really good book?
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3answers
534 views

Does “Smugness” imply “Having or showing low opinions of others”?

I have a little confusion whether "smugness" implies a "low opinion of others" in contrast to a "high opinion of oneself" I have consulted ODO and wiktionary; they showed the meaning of "Smugness" is ...
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5answers
1k views

How many adjectives can be chained without sounding weird?

In spoken and written language, in colloquial and formal context. Is there a general rule to use in sentences like the following: "How many broken yellow plastic toys?" "All those old ...
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2answers
586 views

Pronoun “you” can be omitted as subject in imperative form, what other pronouns can be omitted, when and why?

The pronoun you can be omited as a general rule, but sometimes I’ve seen sentences that should have used I or it as the subject but it was omitted.
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6answers
2k views

History and usage of “dooryard”

I have been interested in the expression "dooryard stop" recently. This is an expression that is used to describe a short visit in someone's dooryard (driveway) that often means not staying long ...
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1answer
940 views

Mixing British English and American English [closed]

I'm a non-native English speaker and as such, I was taught one variety of English In school--in my case, American. However, I've also been extensively in contact with British English, and now I ...
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4answers
345 views

Can et al. be applied to companies?

I am used to seeing this used to condense a list of authors; however, is it correct to apply it to a list of companies? For example, would it make sense to say: Seminars being held by Google, ...
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1answer
2k views

Does “awe” have a colloquial meaning (similar to “awesome”)?

The meaning of awe is given in dictionaries as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime" (this definition is from ...
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1answer
577 views

What is the correct name for 'soda'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct: “soda” or “pop”? Is it correct to say soda, or is it pop, or is it soda pop? My friend and I are going back and forth: he says soda is "Soda ash" ...
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1answer
140 views

Is it okay saying “What the deal with him is that …”

I am non-native english speaker, and I just realized that I use expression like this a lot "what the deal with is that he is too laid-back and reckless". I just checked on the internet and I did not ...
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2answers
351 views

Is “default” used for “a value used when nothing has been explicitly set” outside of IT world?

In a discussion at another question, rajah9 mentioned that default is used to mean to fail to repay a loan, but that in the computer world we now use it to mean a value used when no value has been ...
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1answer
3k views

When using “an” before a vowel sounds wrong [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Consider the following sentence: "This is a one-time deal" sounds right "This is an one-time ...
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3answers
241 views

What dialect is “I be doing this”?

In which part of the world do people use sentences like "I be doing this" (missing out the 'will' after the 'I')? Sounds like some of the 'street-ghetto' to me. What is it exactly?
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4answers
329 views

Is it usual to use “full-cry” as a stand-alone adjective?

Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Spellbound by Blondes, Hot and Icy” appearing in December 1st NY-Times jumps from Alfred Hitchcock’s favor of blonde actresses to the dispute of Hillary Clinton’s ...
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2answers
1k views

“More that” vs. “more than” [closed]

Here is an example of something I occasionally encounter, and it always trips me up. The title of an applied mathematics book from Stanford University in 1959 is (bold mine) Partial Differential ...
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2answers
8k views

Usage of had in past tense

Being a non native speaker of English I am not sure about the usage of had. In my academics I have learned that had is only used to show that something happened prior to some event in the past ...
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1answer
712 views

Active usage of “taken aback”

The expression to be taken aback is very common; a typical example sentence (that I just made up) would be I was taken aback by the way she laughed. However, I sometimes find myself wanting to ...
12
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1answer
442 views

Is “tidbits” Bowdlerized or original?

Our American English local paper insisted on changing a title from titbits to tidbits for a column on minor local events and stories. I, a British English speaker, have always pronounced and spelled ...
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0answers
439 views

What is a “group of managers” called? [closed]

What is the term used for a "group of managers"? For example He has a fleet of managers or He has a legion of managers Though the sentences above might not be correct. I want to know that ...
0
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1answer
118 views

What does “mouth worked” mean? [closed]

I always thought that “mouth worked” describes when someone moves their mouth as if they are speaking, but no sound is emitted. This happens when they are so surprised that that they don’t know what ...
0
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1answer
654 views

Explaining the comparative form of “numb” [closed]

The most common definition I have of numb is: "Deprived of the power of sensation." "Deprived of feeling or responsiveness." These definitions show up in nearly the same form in multiple ...
2
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1answer
4k 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 ...
2
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3answers
238 views

Can adverbs of high/increasing speed be applied to not doing something?

There was some chat earlier about adverbs. We were trying to demonstrate that maybe is an adverb. Reg did this deftly by replacing maybe with other adverbs and then a noun, to show that the noun ...
4
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1answer
6k views

“Thus” vs. “Thusly”

I read an article that used "thusly" and was wondering if there is any grammatical credence to it. The quote: The issue started when Sokolowski quickly ran out of storage capacity in his 32GB ...
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3answers
245 views

Is it possible for the words “exorbitantly grateful” to be interpreted as a bad thing? (or over the top)

Normally I use the word exorbitantly to describe an excess in a negative sense, however this time I used it to express an abundance of appreciation and gratitude. Could a critical reading of "I am ...
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2answers
3k views

what is the difference in usage of 'pertain' and 'appertain'?

In the dictionary the meanings of these two words seem interchangeable so why do the two words exist? Are there different contexts for their usage? Definitions by Merriam-Webster: Definition of ...
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2answers
1k views

Why is it correct to say “He came and said something to me” but not “He came and said to me something”?

This question was just posed to me and I couldn't give a clear answer beyond that the second just feels wrong and one would generally use a direct or indirect quotation, as in "he came and said to me ...
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3answers
1k views

Does “reinventing the wheel” have negative or positive connotation?

I've always assumed that the expression "reinventing the wheel" meant something negative. For me it means doing something that has already be done without making any improvement. However, a few ...
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1answer
248 views

Comma usage after a direct quote? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Punctuation of direct speech, edge cases Schwimmer promised Ciccaroni “nothing would happen to any teacher of mine under my watch,” and told him not to bring any ...