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

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What are some useful strategies for shepherding readers through cognitive dissonance [migrated]

As a writer, it is difficult to help your readers hold two dissonant ideas in their heads. This can occur when the situation you are describing does not match well with the lived experience of your ...
4
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2answers
222 views

Why is “positive” chosen as the opposite of “normative”, as in “positive statement”?

I understand that the phrase "positive statement" means, when opposed to normative statement (like in economics), statements that describe facts without indicating (dis)approval, thus that are ...
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5answers
58 views

Useage of 'This' and 'That' at the beginning of the sentence

Dealing with informing people, sometimes in a public way, how a system or concept works can be a challenge. In an effort to educate myself on why people report confusion, feedback said the words ...
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1answer
38 views

In time or on time [closed]

I must hurry to get home ___ to watch the match. The blank should be filled with 'in time' or 'on time'?
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38 views

This question requires four answers to name the fields in a database table [closed]

I need the four names for my database table which I couldn't understand what the correct word to use for the field name. 1) I borrowed some money from a relative/friend, so what should I write the ...
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4answers
72 views

On the usage: Yes, please [closed]

I was watching a movie. A girl asked a boy: Hey, Rex, can you help me? The boy answered: Yes, please. Then they went out to a date (kind of). I am not exactly sure about the please part. I ...
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1answer
24 views

word usage Electricity charges or Electricity Rate

i am curious to know about how to use this word. like should i go for electricity charges are high or electricity rates are high? Thanks.
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1answer
49 views

A word/expression: more “valuable” than “valuable”? [duplicate]

I would like to say that something is "very valuable". Do we have better word/expression that can do the job? The suggestions in the other thread sound extravagant compared to what I would like to ...
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1answer
40 views

Is “It’s not unheard-of to do” not-an-unusual expression in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Hooray for Hillarywood” in New York Times May 30 issue: “You hear plenty of complaints about the president’s mingy care and ...
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2answers
42 views

Exaggeration of … into

I'm studying for the GRE and came across the following question: "Recent years have witnessed the posthumous inflation of the role of the hobbyist Alice Austen into that of a pioneering ...
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1answer
44 views

Why not “Big yet small”?

I'm confused that people use "big and yet small" rather than "big yet small." The reason I find this confusing is that but, which kind of resembles yet, is used differently--"big but small." Why can't ...
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1answer
51 views

Use of title capitals [duplicate]

Admiral Gonzeles told his men to search for a gun. A soldier asked if the admiral had any further instructions. Should the second time admiral is used be capitalized or not? Thanks Frank
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1answer
52 views

Usage of “scienter” [closed]

"Scienter" is most commonly used as a noun in the following contexts: "Whether the corporation acted with scienter in defrauding investors." (In this case, it appears to be the object of the ...
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0answers
103 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
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3answers
283 views

“Pass me by” or “pass by me”?

Should I say he passed me by or he passed by me? I think it's passed me by, but I'm not sure.
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3answers
69 views

What is his name again? vs. What was his name again?

Which sentence from the title sounds more natural when asking for clarification about something which has already been discussed? Is one tense preferable overall? Take the following examples: ...
2
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3answers
120 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, ...
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3answers
55 views

“Shortcut to” or “shortcut for”

Which of these sentences would be correct, or are they both correct? "A shortcut to finding the inverse of a 2x2 matrix is..." "A shortcut for finding the inverse of a 2x2 matrix is..."
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1answer
176 views

Are prior, previous, and preceding interchangeable?

If I have four moments in time (A, B, C, D), where moment D is the present, would previous, preceding, and prior be interchangeable as adjectives to refer to moments A-C? Is one of them more likely to ...
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0answers
23 views

Origin of the phrase “There's a fine line between pleasure and pain” [duplicate]

What is the origin (or original) of the phrase "There's a fine line between pleasure and pain"?
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1answer
114 views

What's the meaning of “I can't imagine why.”? [closed]

Does it mean "The answer is obvious to me." in a sarcastic way, or does it mean "I really don't know the reason."? I am inclined to go with the former. Surprisingly googling doesn't help. Secondly, ...
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2answers
63 views

Usage of touch the wood? [duplicate]

I've started using English language about 4 years ago after I moved to England. I came across this practice a few times: when people speak about their health or similar things they say this and touch ...
2
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3answers
135 views

Is “coin” still used to mean “money”?

To clarify, I'm NOT talking about money solely in form of metal coins. (As in: I then proceeded carefully to count out the entire 14 pounds 78 pence in coin - Oxford). I'm talking about using 'coin' ...
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4answers
87 views

“), or ,”) in the middle of a sentence? [duplicate]

I think commas are typically placed after closed parentheses and within quotation marks. This creates a dilemma when all three are used together. Example one: You may like snelms (or "snail helms,") ...
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1answer
99 views

Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?

I frequently see bumper stickers with quotations attributed to Mother Teresa that begin with the words "It is a poverty," for example: It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that ...
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2answers
388 views

How does an animal sit on their haunches?

This should be a relatively simple question—one that I cannot seem to find anywhere. Does, for example, a dog sit down on its haunches, or sit up on its haunches? "Charlie sat up on his haunches ...
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1answer
164 views

Is “cause” instead of “because” becoming Standard English?

Nowadays, I'm seeing a drastic increase in usage of cause in place of because, especially in written English. People are in such a hurry, that a statement like below passes off like Standard English: ...
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1answer
83 views

Dropping “then” in “If” statements [duplicate]

As an Example, I want to refer to this Wikipedia article where there are many conditional sentences. Some of them drop the "then", some of them use it. When I change that (drop it where it was used or ...
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2answers
76 views

“It had a lot of interest for me”

I was watching "12 angry men", and there's a line "What did you think of the case? I mean, it had a lot of interest for me." By referring to the context, it sure means that the case ...
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1answer
67 views

As to grammar and idiom, is the following extract correct: “… if you know the man or are him, call …”?

Obviously, my questions refers to the pronoun him. Am I wrong to suppose that the use of the subject case pronoun he instead of him would not improve the previous statement? What about this one: “… if ...
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1answer
252 views

Right usage of veranda

Can you please anybody give an example for right usage of veranda. I go through Google and Wikipedia, its not mentioned as proper in Usage
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1answer
46 views

Does this make sense with the use of 'breakthrough'?

Curiosity and imagination are the breakthrough to having any form of discovery. Does "breakthrough", as it is used here, make sense?
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1answer
44 views

lecture for Quality Inspectors - how to write on CV

I need to write a CV in English, however, I have a problem how to express an idea that I was giving lectures for quality inspectors and that I was giving lectures about a specific subject. Right now ...
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0answers
16 views

Known or be known

Is the usage correct? "Let the desire be known to them" —of course, the best would be: "let them know the desire"
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1answer
72 views

Swapping first letters of different words [duplicate]

What is it called when you swap the first letters of two words?, for example - red truck is what is intended...instead ted ruck is what comes out.
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2answers
55 views

Is “over-babble” a common word usable in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in New York Times (May 14) article under the title, “Wow, Jeb Bush is awful.”: "The bottom line is that so far he seems to be a terrible candidate. He couldn’t ...
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4answers
235 views

The Difference Between “I just love you” and “I love you” [closed]

What is the difference between "I 'just' love you" and "I love you"?
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4answers
107 views

Is this statement incorrect? “I'm a former English major” [closed]

Is this statement incorrect? "I'm a former English major" Is "I'm an English major" a better way to say it? Isn't the fact that a person majored in English make the usage of the word "former" is ...
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2answers
73 views

Why is “Grab” so common in advertisments (and other places where it might not make much sense)?

We area bombarded by advertisements which say "grab these offers NOW !" or "grab 2 @ 20% Discount or grab 3 @ 30% Discount !". Dictionary meanings of Grab : Take hold of so as to seize, ...
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3answers
92 views

What is the difference between “large” and “massive”? [closed]

What is the difference between large and massive? They both seem the same but when I read this article I stumbled across this: Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that ...
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15 views

“Didn't”, “did not”, “don't” and “do not” problem [duplicate]

Though English is for us all, I think it's not for me. I get confused every time I read books or hear people speak the words didn't, did not, don't and do not. I cannot figure out the right word to ...
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2answers
60 views

Usage of word “withheld” [closed]

I'm reading this one website insurance of employees and got confused. The employee's portion of the insurance contribution is withheld from the employee's pay So does it mean, the employee's ...
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2answers
47 views

What is better: I can tell or I tell..? [closed]

I tell a bad car from a good one by.. is this correct or should I use.. I can tell a good car from a bad one by.. I am confused because I always hear the second option but someone told me the first ...
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0answers
15 views

Difference between while and whilst [duplicate]

What is the difference between 'while' and 'whilst'? When to use them?
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1answer
40 views

Usage of 'that' in place of 'than' [closed]

Is it right to use 'that' in place of 'than'? Eg.football is more popular that cricket. 2.he is better that him.
2
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1answer
271 views

Is the expression, “I was the admissions mistake” grammatically right?

I was drawn to the phrase “I was the admission mistake” in the following passage in the article of the Washington Post (May 2) titled, “As Ben Carson bashes Obama, many blacks see a hero’s legacy ...
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0answers
47 views

Why are we using 'the' less?

I saw this ngram, and found that the word 'the' is less frequently observed these days, as compared to the past. I know this is a silly question. But why is this happening? Also, surprisingly, ...
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1answer
137 views

“Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” usage

Why is it customary for a heterosexual woman to refer to her heterosexual female friend as a "girlfriend",but not the case for a heterosexual man and his male buddy to call one another "boyfriends"? ...
2
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1answer
39 views

If A subtends B, can B also subtend A?

I wrote: Things farther away subtend smaller angles at the eye. Wiktionary has this example of the usage of "subtend:" A 43° angle subtends an arc about ¾ meter long on a circle with a ...
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2answers
71 views

Is it policy holder or policyholder?

I work in insurance where we refer to our customers as policyholders (one word); however, I always thought it was two. Can anyone enlighten me?