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

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0answers
46 views

What is the proper way to pluralize a last name initial, if at all? [closed]

For example: I placed the box in Jennifer K.'s office. Who is that man in Tom R.'s parking spot?
3
votes
1answer
88 views

“receptacle” vs. “outlet” in AmEng

What's the difference between receptacle and outlet to cal the device in a wall you put a plug into in order to provide electricity for a lamp, television, etc.? outlet (also ...
0
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1answer
29 views

The usage of “was always”

Good evening everyone! Recentle I've been wondering if it's okey to use always with past simple. Here's a sentence I made up as an example: Baking cakes was always a hard task for me. Is it ...
1
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1answer
41 views

Can “collection” pertain to a single object? [closed]

Can "collection" pertain to a single object? For example, is a library with a single volume a "library"? Suppose the curator aims at acquiring more works of the same type as the one it possesses - ...
1
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1answer
48 views

“The Stars and Stripes” vs. “Old Glory” vs. “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Is there a difference in using any which of those terms to call the national flag of the U.S.? Which one is most commonly used? The Stars and Stripes The national flag of the U.S., ...
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2answers
79 views

What exactly is “censorship” and on what scale can it be applied to? [closed]

So recently in the video game industry there's been a lot of hubbub about what is and isn't censorship. Games like Fire Emblem: Fates, Overwatch, and Bravely Second have sparked numerous heated ...
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0answers
22 views

Started to support or supporting? [duplicate]

I started to support or I started supporting? Was wondering which one is correct since I saw people using both ways pretty often and if there is any rule about the usage.
0
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1answer
43 views

“call someone/something” vs. “call someone/something up” for "make a phone call to someone/something

What's the difference between call and call up to mean make a telephone call to? Is the latter any more informal than the former, or is it mainly a regional thing? call someone or something up ...
3
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1answer
149 views

“vastly” for “to a [very] great degree; extremely” in contexts not involving comparison or measurement: BrEng vs. AmEng usage

Does using vastly to mean to a [very] great degree; extremely in contexts not involving measurement or comparison, now sound common and idiomatic to British ears, or is it still likely to be ...
4
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2answers
62 views

Difference between the verbs “appropriate” and “expropriate”?

Expropriate has the following definitions (Merriam-Webster): to deprive of possession or proprietary rights to transfer (the property of another) to one's own possession For example, in ...
0
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0answers
30 views

“varietal” vs. “various” vs. “varied”

Please, consider the following sourced excerpts: An ideal romantic daytime date might be to pack a blanket and take your lady to Old Town Silverdale. Settled in 1854, this beautiful little town ...
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2answers
42 views

Can a snowboard be considered a device?

I am wondering if it is proper to consider a snowboard a device? I am writing a blog post on a person's perspective on Devices including his Technological and Transportation devices. I am trying to ...
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12answers
4k views

“God's own country”

According to Collins-Robert English-French Dictionary by Beryl T. Atkins, Alain Duval, and Rosemary C. Milne, ed. 1985, manufactured in the United States of America by Rand McNally & Company, ...
9
votes
18answers
1k views

Idioms for a 'obvious' or 'needs no explanation'

I need to find an idiom for the following situation. I am talking to the HR department about a particular policy. I did not know about the policy beforehand and HR had never explained it to me. For ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

“Attack on all of humanity” or “attack against humanity”: which is better? [closed]

Hello ladies and gentlemen, this is Semin from Turkey. I'm wondering which of the following is better in terms of grammar and meaning: I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in Brussels. ...
5
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4answers
411 views

“exhibition” vs. “exposition” vs. “exhibit” in AmEng

What's the difference between those words with regard to a public showing, as of goods or works of art? Can these be used interchangeably? Both "exhibit" and "exposition" are marked as Americanisms ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

What word or term = propaganda + manipulation?

I wanted to create a website section devoted to articles about propaganda, disinformation, brainwashing, etc. But it occurred to me that I should include manipulation, which really goes hand in hand ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Is “put someone on/over to” for “put someone through/connect someone to” idiomatic?

Where in the English speaking world do they say, "put someone on/over [to]" for "put someone through/connect someone [to]" as in: If you'd like to speak direct to one of our technicians about ...
4
votes
2answers
115 views

“throw out/away” vs. “toss (out)” vs. “pitch (out/away)” for “dispose of; discard; get rid of as worthless or useless” in AmEng

What's the difference between "throw out/away," "toss out," and "pitch (out/away)" to mean, "get rid of as worthless or unnecessary"? Can these be used just about interchangeably? THROW AWAY ...
0
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0answers
18 views

Is “these ones” correct?

I know many people use it, but it really does sound informal. Should I avoid it anyway? Case is. I have a pair of earings on the table and I want to refer to them, so I say: "Are you talking about ...
6
votes
2answers
126 views

Usage of “homework,” “schoolwork,” and “assignment” in AmEng for schoolwork given to students to do at home

As far as AmEng goes, is there any difference in using either homework, schoolwork, or assignment to call schoolwork given to students to be done at home? Can these be used just about interchangeably? ...
0
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0answers
21 views

Using a slash (/) between multi-word phrases [duplicate]

How would you suggest using a forward slash (/) between multi-word phrases? Should a slash be even used between multi-word phrases? For example - Following are the open/in progress issues. or ...
0
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1answer
61 views

Can you say “don't tell me” in a monologue?

"Don't tell me" is often used in dialogues, for example "Don't tell me you're tired already!". But can you use it in a monologue? Let's say you have a character in a movie just talking to themselves. ...
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5answers
233 views

What do you call a seemingly stupid question that, to most people's amazement, can't be answered? [closed]

How's Obama any better (or different) than George W. Bush? For those people who still do not or cannot understand the question, here's yet another way of putting it: Imagine a country where ...
1
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1answer
34 views

Same as.. vs as much as

I'd like to know whether the following sentences express the same meaning. Are both of them correct without the "provided with" at the end? Have the foreigners been provided with the same level of ...
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2answers
48 views

What is the difference between “As per” and “As for”? [closed]

What is the difference between "As per" and "As for"? As for our professional services or as per our professional services?
4
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4answers
495 views

Using “who” twice, why?

I'm intrigued by the use of 'who' twice in the following quote from the movie 'The Imitation Game' Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do things that no one imagines. ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

temporal “directly” in AmEng usage: “immediately/without delay” or “shortly/in a little while”?

What does directly commonly mean in standard AmEng when used as a temporal adverb, immediately/instantly/at once/right away/without delay -or- soon/shortly/in a little while? DIRECTLY At ...
5
votes
3answers
281 views

“conclude” vs. “decide” in AmEng

Can, in some instances, conclude and decide be used just about interchangeably as far as AmEng goes? Please, consider the following examples: The committee concluded on a plan of action. The ...
2
votes
2answers
754 views

What is the meaning of “morality is a question of time”?

I never succumbed to that or to any of her many other lewd temptations, but she did not believe in the purity of my principles. Morality, too, is a question of time, she ...
0
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0answers
37 views

Having 'At Least' x Versus Having x [duplicate]

Here is a really juicy one for a hard-core grammar nerd with some decent logical reasoning skills: Suppose I have FIVE $20 bills in my pocket. Is it correct to say "I have 20 dollars in my pocket" or ...
0
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3answers
43 views

Reversal in word meaning [duplicate]

Are there any words that were pejorative but are now used in a positive way? Obviously, there are slang words that have changed meaning, but are there any others?
0
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1answer
61 views

“Have ever eaten” or “Ever ate”

I'd like to express that the steak I had (last Sunday) was the best one I have ever eaten. Is "Have ever eaten" correct or do I have to use the past simple "I ever ate", since the process (of eating) ...
4
votes
4answers
328 views

“[will] likely” vs. “[will] probably” in AmEng usage

As far as AmEng goes, can likely be an acceptable alternate to probably in the following OUP quiz? The traffic is terrible so I'll probably be late this morning. Climate change is likely to ...
3
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1answer
101 views

How can one best clarify the different senses of “compare”?

I have long felt that the taboo on comparing anyone to Hitler and many similar inhibitions were based on a confusion between “compare” in the senses of “liken to” and in the sense of “compare and ...
1
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1answer
49 views

Whence come “Alaskan” and “Hawaiian” as adjectives?

Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times, refers to "Rubio’s lonely Minnesotan triumph." This just sounds wrong to me. Is "Minnesotan" ever used as an adjective? Garrison Keillor frequently invokes ...
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votes
2answers
52 views

The car won't start because the battery is dead [closed]

"The car won't start because the battery is dead." This sentence looks a bit strange to me. I think I'm not familiar with the usage of "Won't". Would you add some words for the meaning and usage of ...
11
votes
5answers
996 views

Is there any bad connotation when we say one thing is cheaper than another? [closed]

I'm aware that when we say things like: It's a cheap cell phone. That's a cheapo, throw it out. It does mean something is clearly of bad quality. But how about when comparing things? for ...
2
votes
1answer
309 views

Which is correct? …as from today or from today onwards [closed]

I have a water filter in my office. It is broken. I wrote a reminder telling the staff. The word I would like to highlight is "as from" or "from." Water filter can only be used as from 1st ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Usage of “commit [oneself] to” (=promise)

PPer Cambridge Dictionary Online, commit verb (PROMISE) [I or T] to ​promise or give ​your ​loyalty, ​time, or ​money to a ​particular ​principle, ​person, or ​plan of ​action: Like so ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

“separate” and “terminate” for “dismiss/discharge” from employment in AmEng

According to Oxford Dictionary Online, separate US Discharge or dismiss (someone) from service or employment. terminate chiefly North American End the employment of (someone); dismiss: ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

“downtime” vs. “time off” vs. “free time” vs. “spare time” in AmEng vernacular

How do those terms differ from each other? downtime North American A time of reduced activity or inactivity: everyone needs downtime to unwind ODO spare time Noun time available ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

“I had been done that” Is this correct?

I teach freshmen English in inner-city Baltimore, and I often get the following: Teacher : Did you complete the homework? Student : I had been done that! I have not been able to give a ...
1
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2answers
64 views

Meaning of the slang “a”? [duplicate]

What does the a mean in the following sentences? She is a do it like this. Sam is a visit the new market today. Does the word a represent a future action like : Sam will visit the new market ...
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1answer
42 views

Is “conventionally” as adverb used properly here: “It's not conventionally casino news, but …”?

It doesn't sound wrong to the ear for me. But conventionally is an adverb, and it should modify a verb or an adjective. In this case it is obviously the verb is. Can conventionally modify be? On the ...
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2answers
68 views

How should “that” be used?

I am an audio transcriber. One of my clients systematically dictates sentences such as : I feel that, if the company wanted to use the procedure, that it would seem likely it would have to .. To ...
0
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2answers
33 views

should I use “is” or “are” in this phrase? [closed]

I'm glad at least one of us are thinking. should I use are or is in the phrase above?
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1answer
50 views

The front door sign reads: The Brushes [closed]

The John L Brush family has a sign outside their front door that reads: "The Brushes". Is that correct? I interpret the sign to indicate it's the Brush's house, or that the Brush family lives ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

“flat,” “stone,” “dead,” “dirt,” “plumb,” and “right” as indicators of directness, completeness, or general intensity [closed]

What's the difference between those words? Can they be used just about interchangeably as adverbs indicating completeness or totality? Please, compare: Looking back over my years of wildlife ...
-1
votes
1answer
30 views

Which sentence is better to use? [closed]

Which one of the following is correct? Placed his work of art on the museum wall last week or Placed last week his work of art on the museum wall