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

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2answers
56 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
46 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
52 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
55 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 ...
2
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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
339 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
85 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
184 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
74 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..."
3
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1answer
190 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
157 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
69 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
139 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' ...
2
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4answers
110 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,") ...
3
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1answer
138 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 ...
2
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2answers
413 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
265 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: ...
2
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1answer
110 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
112 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
80 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
259 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
52 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
48 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
110 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.
2
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2answers
60 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
573 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
128 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
78 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, ...
2
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3answers
124 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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0answers
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
61 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
50 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
41 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
283 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
49 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
167 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
42 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
101 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?
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0answers
19 views

How do we use the words 'electric' and 'electrical' correctly? [duplicate]

These two words are used differently as shown below: Electric engineering (incorrect✖) Electrical engineering (correct✓) Electrical lamp (incorrect✖) Electric lamp (correct✓) And sometimes, they're ...
0
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1answer
60 views

Should I use “the” in a list of multiple subjects? [closed]

Which of these sentences is correct? The assets of the thesis are the parser library, tag library and external database, which can be used in other applications. or The assets of the thesis ...
4
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1answer
50 views

Am I parsing this incorrectly, or is it really possible to read in ambiguity without more context?

A while ago, I saw the following advert on Facebook: Uber is a flexible way to earn extra money and meet new people giving rides with your own car. Now, being a bit of a pedant, I concluded that ...
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3answers
85 views

Why Birthday/Event day is called birthday/Even tday but not birth/Event dayMonth

My birthday is 26 Jun 1992 assume I Celebrate birthday on 26 of June every year. So if it's birthDAY,then I, can celebrate Every 26(Not possible if I was born on 30th though). My question is why they ...
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0answers
100 views

Is is correct to say the a part of speech is a matter of its function? [closed]

Determining a part of speech is a matter of functionality. Do you agree or disagree?
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0answers
32 views

Correct usage of “anymore” [duplicate]

The word "anymore" is used as such: I can't take it anymore. He isn't here anymore; he left. But I have also seen it used like so: People are so dumb anymore. Are these both correct?
0
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1answer
77 views

What is the difference between “depth of the trench” and “trench depth”? [closed]

As a non-English native speaker, I don't know what is the difference between these following expressions and whether or not the first expression is correct? The first expression: Then you ...
0
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1answer
43 views

When to use “than” and “of” in comparative sentences [duplicate]

The self-storage industry has three times the footprint than McDonald’s. Or: The self-storage industry has three times the footprint of McDonald’s.
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2answers
81 views

“is to make sure” vs “is making sure”

I've encountered both variants: My goal is to make sure we are safe. My goal is making sure we are safe. Another example: His biggest challenge is making sure all the wood is legal. ...