For questions on how and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

-1
votes
1answer
70 views

Past tense means politeness? [closed]

Questions asked using past tense, some examples like: "Would you mind...?", "Could you please...?", "Should I do...?", "Did you want...?" It seems people are using past tense in these sort of ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

What does “drop and give me zen” mean? [closed]

What does "drop and give me zen" mean? Maybe it's some kind of idiom. Can you explain it to me?
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Does “nails” imply painted nails? [closed]

A google image search for "nails" displays almost exclusively painted nails, whereas searching for "fingernails" displays almost exclusively unpainted nails. Is this due to a difference in the meaning ...
5
votes
2answers
83 views

What is a word for something that you desperately want and/or craved for, but NEVER GOT?

Take this situation; Everyone was given ice cream at the birthday party, except for Todd. After Todd got home, he felt very disheartened that he never got the chance to taste the ice-cream there. He ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Which is correct? Try to … or - Try and [duplicate]

I hear and read people saying for example - "Try AND do it" or "Try AND do that" instead of the way I learned it - "Try TO do it" or "Try To do that". I thought Strunk & White told us to use - ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Origin of “even you” without connotations of surprise/insult/praise? (Indian English)

I live in southern India, and I've noticed that in a Indian English, the word "even" can be used without indicating surprise, as it does elsewhere. Some examples: Even you should be able to ...
18
votes
4answers
368 views

What is the origin and extent of the Indian English usage of “only” to emphasize something?

I live in southern India, and for a long time I've been curious about this phenomenon that I've observed. Indian English uses the word "only" in a special way. It's used to emphasize things. Sort ...
0
votes
2answers
52 views

The usage of “it is recalled that”

My professor (whose first language is not English) keeps adding "It is recalled that" at the start of different sentences describing facts/products. I do not think it is used appropriately. What ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

An old (19-20th century) usage of “but”

Here's the sentence "Not a wrong in this world but had him as its champion ; not a cause of liberty or reform but gained his support." The statement falls in a paragraph of introduction of a ...
-1
votes
4answers
203 views

“defeat Trump badly”

In a live-streamed speech, the Vermont senator made it clear he is no longer actively challenging Clinton and that the goal is to ‘defeat Trump badly’ … “The major political task that we face in ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Why does “face” turn to “faced” when used as a compound adjective? [closed]

I ask this question out of curiosity more than anything. We use the word "face" as a noun, but when it is used in a compound adjective, it turns into "faced": The features of his face hardened. ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

“Responsible for” vs. “responsible to” [closed]

1.Method responsible to retrieve active offices by country. 2.Method responsible for retrieve active offices by country. For and To when to use? That's right ?
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Use “will” or “would” in the following sentence?

The following dialogue is part of a TOEIC test I am editing: W: Good afternoon, sir. What seems to be the problem? M: Well, all of my joints are aching, and I think I have a fever. W: Have you ...
3
votes
2answers
75 views

Use of “Vigorous” in a sentence [closed]

I'm editing materials for a TOEIC test and the following answer came up: "Leo is quite vigorous." The picture shows a boy on a bicycle struggling to get up a hill. There is a discussion in the ...
-2
votes
1answer
45 views

What is your position in the company? [closed]

When someone sent you an email without signature, how to ask - in a polite way - which is the person's position in the company ?
6
votes
1answer
118 views

an idea about “for vs. to” issue [duplicate]

I am into finding a convincing formula, or at least a rule of thumb, about when to use "to" and when to use "for" after adjectives - such as easy, difficult, important, interesting, and useful - and ...
2
votes
2answers
55 views

Usage of “unless”

I have found a restriction on the use of "unless" which was difficult to explain to my students (advanced ESL). The student's sentence was: I would have had to go to the bank unless you had lent me ...
1
vote
2answers
32 views

Mac OS X “Revert Changes” usage/syntax in dialog?

The use of "Revert Changes" always throws me off and I was wondering if this usage/syntax is actually correct. It seems to me that technically speaking, when you select that you're not actually ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

'Poetries' as plural form used in 'poetics'

My friend used 'Poetries' in a poem to rhyme with 'trees', to which my son objected saying 'as a uncountable Noun, it has no plural and 'Poetries' is wrong'. I replied that in poetics, although ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

What's the difference between fully, wholly, completely and totally? [closed]

I would like to know if there are any differences in usage, grammar and meaning of: fully, wholly, completely and totally. According to the Macmillan Dictionary; fully means completely, completely ...
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Help with meaning of “the difference narrowing the longer women had the vote”

In the quoted passage below, I came across a sentence I don't understand: In 1955 Maurice Duverger published The Political Role of Women, the first behavioralist, multinational comparison of ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Can “nor” be used after “and”? As in “and nor”?

I came across this post on Facebook: "Well, if it makes you feel any better..." It doesn't, and nor do I think you intended it to. Can "nor" be used after "and" like that? Doesn't look ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Whence visa “stamp”?

This question is inspired by http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/69496/whats-the-deal-with-stamping-us-visas. The US government calls the visa sticker that is inserted into a passport a foil. ...
0
votes
2answers
36 views

Use of 'this' – relates to the directly preceding noun

I am a german native speaker. I am currently in the finishing stages of writing a thesis. One of my advisors (English is his mother tongue) provided feedback on the language of my writing. One point ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

difference Criterion vs Criterium [closed]

Extending this question: "Criteria" versus "criterion" What is the difference between "criterion" (singl, noun) and "criterium" (singl, noun) ?
1
vote
2answers
55 views

“Answers arrive in a piecemeal fashion”

I am being told that this sentence is not in a proper construction: "Answers arrive in a piecemeal fashion." Neither Book Google nor standard Google search yields a single result using quotation ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Is “thanks to” now used also in negative contexts? [closed]

Recently I saw some uses of the idiom thanks to in negative contexts. They sound strange to me, probably because thanks express a grateful feeling or acknowledgment of a benefit, so I thought thanks ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Usage : Am yet to read those

Conversation : A- I am reading the Harry potter series. B- I am yet to read those. or is it better to use "I am yet to read them" or is there a better alternative?
7
votes
2answers
182 views

Is 'take a sauna' the correct expression?

I'm not a native English speaker and I was just wondering if take a sauna is a correct way to say that I'm going to sauna, the same way you can say take a shower. I have tried to search this up online,...
-1
votes
2answers
65 views

Use of catch you “in some time” [closed]

I had an interesting discussion regarding this. We (non-native speakers) tend to transliterate the words in English whilst trying to convey our message. I have often seen here, people use this ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

scene to vs scene of

I am a non-native speaker wondering which of the following sentences would read more naturally to a native speaker: The market looked like it had been the scene of a mass murder. The market ...
-1
votes
5answers
298 views

What's the reason for using the ‘passive voice’? [closed]

I would like to know the why and when the 'passive voice' is used instead of the 'active voice' in English. The following definition did not help me very much. passive voice the voice ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Pant legs or pants legs?

With all this I don't see the answer to which is the correct form "He rolled up his pant legs" or "he rolled up his pants legs."
2
votes
2answers
29 views

Use of the word competent

Can you use competent in the context of an inanimate object such as an instruction manual, or a voltmeter? e.g. "In my opinion Standard 12345 is considered a competent document." or "The potentials ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Present Perfect usage in a sentence; continue with the same tense or move to Past Simple?

I've been rewriting a known quote: Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back. I used the Present Perfect and turned the quote into: Curiosity has killed the cat, but ...
2
votes
4answers
74 views

Can you be ill from an injury (I don't mean an infection) [duplicate]

This is something that crops up on the BBC a lot and irks me. For example, from a story today: One woman is critically ill and three others have been injured after they were stabbed near a ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Question on Garner's explanation of subjunctive

I'm puzzled by an example given in Garner's Modern English Usage illustrating correct use of the subjunctive mood. In this example, Garner offers both the incorrect and the correct usage: "But the ...
2
votes
0answers
112 views

Does “mouse” in the computer sense come from nautical slang?

Computer "mouse" is an English term known and used worldwide. Reference about its origin appears to suggest that the term, which obviously refers to the shape of a small mouse, may actually come ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

What our students have to say. Grammar question

I often hear the phrase "what our students have to say" in testimonials, and I am confused with the grammar here. It can be taken in two ways as follows. 1) Our students have something (what) to say ...
-1
votes
1answer
40 views

Dealing with usage where nouns or pronouns are treated as adjectives

"That is so Dave!" I had a discussion of this on another forum where I said that 'Dave' is being treated here as an adjective. The only responses I got were on the lines of "'Dave' is a noun." And to ...
5
votes
10answers
318 views

Speaker Paul Ryan said “encouraged with” but media is saying “Ryan encouraged by”. Why?

*Note: The first half of this question, in bold, is streamlined and expresses the gist of my message. You can skip the second half of the question if you would rather not slog through all my ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

Western end or West end? [closed]

"I proposed on the west/ern end of the beach" Which one's correct?
0
votes
0answers
52 views

In what contexts is the word fertile used in this manner, and is it ridiculous or at best misleading?

I have seen a very strange definition for fertile. OED fertile: 1. Bearing or producing in abundance; fruitful, prolific. Const. of, in, rarely to. a. lit. of the soil, a district or region, ...
-1
votes
1answer
70 views

“To whom it may concern” or “To whomever it may concern”? [duplicate]

Which is the best usage? "To whom it may concern" or "To whomever it may concern"?
2
votes
1answer
29 views

May / might usage based on the probability of the event happening [duplicate]

I just taught may / might and the book tells the students that, "you use 'may' with things that have around a 50% chance of happening and might with a 30% chance". Is this true? I, for one, use ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

The colloquial use of the pronoun “you” followed by “adjectives”

Utterances like you pig!, you bastard! or you silly! are quite common but it is hard to find grammatical explanation about them as they are prevalent in the colloquialism. I would be glad if ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

Why does “to dip” mean “to leave”?

So, "dip" has come to mean "leave" in American slang. As in, "Let's dip," i.e. "Let's get out of here." How did that happen? The best I could come up with is: a dip in the road obscures vision, so if ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

It is + (time) + to + (verb)?

Actually, I'm asking for an another way to say "it takes + (time) + to + (verb)". For example, is "It is 1 hour to go to the hospital" correct or the "it takes + (time) + to + (verb)" construction is ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

Is the usage “how many ever” correct?

Eg : You may use it how many ever time. I know the sentence can be phrased better but I just wanted to given an example. So my question is, Is "how many ever" a correct usage?
2
votes
1answer
19 views

Need to understand the difference

1) Jo will have been waiting for an hour by the time i meet him 2) Jo will have waited for an hour by the time i meet him