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

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How to ask this as question [duplicate]

I am wondering how to turn the following into a question "Narendra Modi is the 18th Prime Minister of India" How to ask this as question, so that answer will be 18th I have tried searching ...
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131 views

Why “like doing something” or “like to do something” but only “dislike doing something”?

At a further education course for teachers, in Switzerland, (given by two native speakers of English), someone came up with the question of whether you could say "dislike doing something" and "dislike ...
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4answers
116 views

Are terms like “policeman” still gender-exclusive if they refer to one specific man?

I'm reading a news article about a male police officer and the author calls him a "policeman." This word seems unsophisticated to me, but is it still sexist if it refers to a man?
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57 views

Kvetch - Meaning

I was just reading a book (The Help) and came across a usage of "kvetch" that didn't quite fit with how I thought it was used. A publisher is talking about a person's writing style and comments that ...
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Be talking something? [closed]

First of all, I'm not native. I've heard this expression in some movies, I believe, and I'm wondering whether it's correct (or maybe I just thought I heard this and I'm mistaken). Can you say "be ...
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102 views

What is the usage of “need to want”?

"Indeed, whoever buys this needs to want a tablet and laptop in more or less equal measure." "Needs to want"? Isn't it a kind of unnecessary way around saying: "I think that people buy this if they ...
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5answers
1k views

What does “What are you into?” mean?

I personally don't use this question in spoken language but I usually see it in written language. I also frequently see that when someone asks this question, it elicits in turn the question "What do ...
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2answers
54 views

Does “relatable” (without “to s.t.”) say anything that “understandable” does not say as well or better?

A colleague recently complained to me of the usage of relatable in student writing. It appears to derive from intransitive relate, OED sense 9, attested only from 1947: intr. With to. To ...
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103 views

Is “keep updated” proper usage of those words?

I'm far from being an English major, but I have a simple question. If someone were to say keep updated in a sentence, is that correct? I know the usage, tense, and other things matter, but is it ...
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54 views

Regarding 'for' used in the context of time [closed]

Is the following ambiguous? He has not lived in Boston for 2 years. Could it mean: It is not true that he has lived in Boston for two years. He might have been living in Boston for only ...
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647 views

On a page or In a page

Which is the correct usage: Something on a page OR Something in a page By page, I mean a web page, not a physical book page.
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What does “stuff one's nose into another's orifices” mean?

According to Maureen Dowd's article in New York Times (May 20) under the headline, “Remember to forget,” the European Court of Justice ruled last week that Google and other search engines can be ...
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What does ‘Konrad Lorentz’s observation was “one sentence”’ mean?

New York Times (May 20) introduces a study of Dr. Johanna H. Meijer at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands that proves mice are really enjoying wheel-running in the article titled, ...
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2answers
128 views

Geometric or Geometrical?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants "geometric" and ...
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1answer
75 views

Usage of “and so”

Take this as an example: I've a thought that - the life is worthless. Since the life is worthless, We're worthless. How to express this in a simple statement? Is this correct to say? "Life is ...
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2answers
369 views

What does repetitive “#s” before “pushy, bossy, polarizing women and men” account for?

New York Times (May 17) reported Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times decided to fire its executive editor, Jill Abramson, under the headline, “Times publisher denies gender ...
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Disinterested vs. uninterested

I’ve always understood the difference between disinterested and uninterested as follows: uninterested: not interested, not up to it disinterested: impartial Consider the situation of someone ...
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Is a snake's venom poisonous?

This is a question more concerning the word 'poisonous' and 'venomous' than poison vs. venom. I'm wondering about the following, specifically the last sentence: Don't eat the plant, it is ...
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55 views

Trans Fat is italicized

Why is trans fat always italicized on food labels, so that it says trans fat? Is it just due to convention, or is there an actual reason (like for emphasis)?
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The use of indefinite article with initials [duplicate]

Can you explain why we say AN NHS provision but A National Health provision. Or A UFO but An UNIDENTIFIED Fly Object. Are there any rules regarding the use of A or An when using initials such as ! In ...
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105 views

“Gain in popularity” vs “Gain popularity”?

I've got the following sentence: These issues have allowed for alternatives, such as Spotify and Pandora, to gain in popularity. A friend expressed concern and believes that it would be more ...
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2answers
113 views

“inquisitive” vs. “inquiring” in AmE and BrE

Do these terms share the same level of laudatoriness/pejorativeness in both BrE and AmE? Or, does one typically have a more positive/negative connotation to it than the other from your side of the ...
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1answer
114 views

Proactive vs Preemptive [closed]

I need to explain the difference between "proactive" and "preemptive" and come up with a sample of the proper context of each word. Can someone point me to a previous post or give me their thoughts?
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Is there any difference between “word-for-word translation” and “word-by-word translation” and is the latter actually valid?

First off, some data: According to COCA "word-for-word" has 60 usages, 3 of them are "word-for-word translation". "Word-by-word" has 26 usages, none of them are "word-by-word" (but some with ...
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50 views

“to” or “of” or both whilst referring to cities and places

I saw these billboards today: Turkey home of Istanbul Turkey home of Nemrut Nemrut is a mountain in Turkey with prehistoric monuments, and I think home of is the new slogan for Turkey. ...
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Is “Alligators and Kangaroos” a set phrase to express an encounter with unexpected happening?

The Entertainment Movies section of Today’s (May 9) Time magazine introduces the Hollywood version of the children’s book, “The Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” under the ...
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Acronym or initialism presentation

When creating an acronyms/initialisms in a document which will be referenced throughout the document, what is the proper way to display it for the first time? ("Word") or just (Word)?
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91 views

Origin of “off the meter” idiomatic phrase

When and how did the phrase "off the meter" become established as an idiom? Urban Dictionary defines "off the meter" as the condition of being "very good, awesome, great". I have heard and said it ...
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what's the difference between “Remarks” and “Note”?

When I make a table, there is a column we left for the things we forget to write down on it. What would we call this item? Remarks or Note?
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By taking the public relations offensive - meaning

By taking the public relations offensive, the Russians have time and again been two steps ahead. U.S. and Western officials, not to mention the Kiev government, are left scrambling to debunk the ...
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What's the difference between 'working in/from' and 'working at' a coffee shop?

Does working at a coffee shop necessarily imply being employed there? Is working at a coffee shop never synonymous to working in/from the coffee shop?
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58 views

To cheers of “well played” - meaning [closed]

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/pro-russian-militants-attack-police-hq-ukraines-odessa-141824310.html In a bid to calm the crowd, police freed one of the detained pro-Russians, who emerged to cheers ...
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332 views

What does “love me do” mean?

As many of you know, there is a famous song by the Beatles entitled Love Me Do. Nevertheless, I have some doubts about the correctness of such a title. Does "love me do" mean the same as "love me" or ...
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Why is mutton used for both sheep meat and goat meat?

The meat of an adult sheep is called mutton. The meat of an adult goat is called chevon or mutton. In the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, and in some parts of Asia, particularly ...
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317 views

“Very much true”: how often have you heard a native speaker say that?

How often have you heard a native speaker say "very much true"? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzMx1Oo7hvg&t=0m18s
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96 views

“I have been working…” versus “I have worked…” in response to “Who have you worked with so far?” [closed]

Q: Who have you worked with so far? A: I have been working with people from all over the world. The best answer would be 'I have worked with people from all over the world'. One of my ...
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509 views

Combine sentences with “although”

The question goes; Make a sentence from the given sentences using 'although'. a. We've known each other for a long time. b. We are not very good friends. The intended answer is ' Although we've known ...
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59 views

Does “Much of the work towards this end” sound natural?

Would the following sentence sound natural to native speaker? If not, what would be the modificiation? Much of the work towards this end focused on [some concept].
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121 views

Is the word, “kinda-sorta” accepted as a normal word to be used in writing?

I was drawn to the word, “kinda, sorta” which appeared in the article of Time magazine (April 27) under the headline, “The Clippers Should Have Boycotted Game After Owner’s Racist Remarks”: The ...
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113 views

Why does 'I'm with stupid' have a positive connotation?

I see the phrase ... I'm with stupid ... used in many occasions, especially on forums using a smiley similar to this one: It's almost exclusively used with a positive connotation, in the ...
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98 views

The usage of “ inside-out and outside-in ” [closed]

Do we have both the usages of inside-out and outside-in? inside-out means: with the inner surface turned outward. So basically they are the opposite meaning? Perform inside-out and then perform ...
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65 views

Backfill - meaning

Source: http://rt.com/news/155168-us-eu-sanctions-russia/ But Europe has much to lose from imposing economic sanctions on Russia, and Obama said he sees how US-only sanctions won’t work. “If ...
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3answers
61 views

Can 'degenerate' be used with no derogatory meaning?

Degenerate is used to indicate a change of state ( physical or mental) which has generally worsened from its previous one. Could this term be used just to indicate a change that does not necessarily ...
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35 views

Partisans interest - meaning [closed]

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/al-qaeda-chief-urges-westerner-kidnappings-prisoner-exchanges-114335980.html "The Ummah (Muslim world) must support this jihad with all that it can, and the ...
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50 views

the usage of 'which'

I'm doing review for a journal. There are many sentences which really confuse me. For example: We employ similarity learning using Ranking-SVM to learn parameters Is it better to change it like ...
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59 views

Difference between “insensitive” and “not sensitive”

Is there any subtle difference implied when using "insensitive" as compared to "not sensitive"? I am writing: A is insensitive to changes in B. But someone suggested that it conveys a strong ...
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Are the 'beautiful things' of life, the 'beautiful' of life?

The following question set me thinking: Can we use all "nouns" as adjective? What about the opposite? Can adjectives be used as nouns? What are the rules or the stylistic limits to their ...
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industrial-grade - meaning

The future of PHP looks very bright. Leading platform vendors such as IBM, Oracle, MySQL, Intel, and, most recently, Red Hat have all endorsed it. The new Collaboration Project initiated by ...
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Usage of the phrasal verb “to wind down”

-Barclays to wind down commodities trading. (from Financial Times, April 21st) -Senate Bill seeks to wind down Fannie Mae in five years.(Bloomberg, March 17th) Is the use of to wind down becoming ...
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…if to a reduced degree - meaning, usage

Even so, many of the original advantages of stored programs (such as enhanced security and reduction in network traffic) still apply, if to a reduced degree. The use of stored programs is still ...