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

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2
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2answers
273 views

“Sitting room”, “lounge”, “lounge room”, and “front room”

Each of these terms seem to be used to designate a room, in a private house or in the front of a public facility, where one can sit and relax and talk. But, are there any differences to them -- or do ...
1
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1answer
82 views

“Alligator pear” and “sparrow grass” for “avocado” and “asparagus”

Do "sparrow grass" and "alligator pear" have any currency in spoken AE, or are these terms chiefly dialectal?
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Difference between “Upscale”, “high-toned/tony”, “fancy”, “high-end”, “select”, and “exclusive”

Can these terms denoting something expensive, elegant and/or fashionable be used just about interchangeably, or are there any subtle differences to them? E.g. Alone in a tony restaurant...source ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Does using the word “idealist” to self-describe carry an air of arrogance?

Forgive me if this question is off-topic as POB. But, I believe there is a language usage/philosophical question here. My wife and I were having a discussion about politics this evening, and she ...
4
votes
4answers
778 views

Is “Know how to cook leeks”an idiom? What does “Read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks” mean?

There was the following sentence in New York Times’ article (February 28) titled “What you learn at 40s.”: "Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” - - The conventional wisdom ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

“Sport”, “sports”, and “sporting” as modifiers

Is there a difference between a "sports jacket", a "sport jacket", and a "sporting jacket"? Or are these merely dialectal differences? For instance, why do various outerwear and sportswear brands ...
1
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1answer
43 views

usage of infinitive after feel [duplicate]

What is grammatically wrong with the sentence, "I feel to eat."? After the verb feel, can the infinitive of another verb be used?
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Is there a word that means English-Language-Centric?

There was an argument about how someone spelled "Revolution" and they said "No, I did not write it incorrectly. I used the Spanish version: 'Revuloción' without the accented o to make my life a little ...
-3
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1answer
70 views

“Smart casual” vs. “casual chic”

As far as apparel code goes, is "casual chic" just about the same as "smart casual", or is there a nuance I am missing?
0
votes
1answer
22 views

“win” vs. “win out” in their transitive forms

Is there a hairbreadth of difference between saying "he won the race (or the battle, the fight, etc.) and "he won out the race (...)" either in a literal or figurative sense, or does it all mean just ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

“He's liable/likely to win” and “He's likely/liable to lose”

"Liable" is often loosely used in colloquial, nonstandard AE for likely:"My favorite horse is liable to win" -- but discriminating use generally applies "liable" only to what is undesirable: "An ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

“Have a seat” vs. “Take a seat” in modern AE

To answer this question you first might want to consider this Ngram.source In light of this chart, it's apparent that "have a seat" is preferred to "take a seat" as far as modern day AE is ...
2
votes
4answers
209 views

Can “beefcake” serve as a verb to mean showing off big muscles?

I was confused by the ending line of the following sentence from the article titled, “The last, disposable action hero” in the February 28th edition of Time magazine: “American movie market now ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

“Return” and “come back” as intransitive verbs

Does "return" imply a longer absence than "be back" -- in analogy with "Batman returns (after a ten-year absence) -- in such a way that it would sound sort of awkward or weird to say of someone that ...
2
votes
2answers
196 views

“Say for someone to do something” in colloquial AE

In colloquial prose, is the idiomatic "say for" an appropriate substitute for "tell" in "tell someone to do something" whatever the context? E.g. Have I ever said for you to pretend to be someone ...
0
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3answers
43 views

Using 'the' with abbreviations of nouns [duplicate]

Consider United States of America or United Kindgom. While using these, it is customary to add the before it. Eg. I'm travelling to the United Kingdom However, when I use the abbreviation, it ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

'Is also on the works' or 'is also in the works', which is correct? [closed]

An android version of the app is also on the works. or An android version of the app is also in the works. Which is correct?
1
vote
1answer
121 views

“Opposite of (someone/something)” for “across from/opposite” in nonstandard colloquial prose

Consider the following quotes (emphasis mine). For a split second, I meet eyes with an older man standing in a still gaze just opposite of me amidst the sudden chaos. source Taking a seat ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

Difference between “not as…as” and “not …er than”

In what kind of situation can we use "not as...as" not "not ...er than"? This question is not as easy as that one. This question is not easier than that one. This question is more difficult ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

“Flash (one's attention/eyes)” for “focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)”, and “flash one's eyes at” for “stare with lust or passion at”

As far as your English variety goes, is it acceptable in every which register of speech and writing, and rather common usage, to say "flash" for "focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)", but also for ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

“Bother and do” for “bother doing/to do” in colloquial speech and writing

As far as your English variety goes, does it sound acceptable to say "bother and do" instead of "bother doing/to do" in colloquial speech and not so formal writing? E.g. Please spend a moment of ...
13
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3answers
1k views

What is the grammatical function of “a Catholic” in “She was raised a Catholic”?

I was drawn to the following line in New York Times (Feb.25) article: “De Blasio, who has said his mother was raised a Catholic but did not bring him up in the church.” ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do Americans add “The” in front of a team name, but the British do not?

I'm not certain that there is an answer to this one: Americans refer to our teams as The Example: The New York Yankees The British in my experience do not. Example: Manchester United I ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

Are “of course” and “naturally” pedantic?

I've noticed that in most cases, the sentence "of course", is used when someone is trying to sound superior, in a sardonic way. In constranst they use "naturally" when they are patronising someone, ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

“Trace” as a synonym for “trail” in AE

As far as AE is concerned, does "trace" mean just about the same as "trail" in "break/blaze a trace", and -- if indeed it does -- can "trace" be used pretty much interchangeably in every which literal ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

“Appear” instead of “look” in compounds (good appearing, cheesy appearing, etc.)

As far as your English variety goes, is it OK to substitute "appearing" for "looking" in compounds without altering the meaning? ... for a business to want good appearing, well dressed, healthy ...
4
votes
1answer
168 views

Why don't Americans refer to Indians (and others from the subcontinent) as Asians?

I know there is a related question here, but I am not seeing an answer to "Why is there a difference?" Merely that an explanation of what is used in each country. I am a speaker of American English, ...
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votes
2answers
62 views

“Vagrancy” as a substitute for “vagary” in the phrase “the vagaries of (fashion, market, etc.)”

As far as your English variety goes, is it OK to substitute vagrancy for vagary in such a phrase as the vagaries of (fashion, mind, etc.)? E.g. Its popularity waxed and waned with the vagaries of ...
3
votes
3answers
228 views

Visit us at (the) booth 24, (the) room 56 etc. It's wrong, but why?

I know that "the" is wrong here, but I can't explain why it's wrong to my friend here, and I have trouble formulating a google search to find some descriptive "rule" or something. Help please?
1
vote
1answer
142 views

There is (there's) vs.There are

What are the roots of the creeping usage of "there's" for both singular and plural predicates? (This seems to be more common in spoken English.) I have 2 theories. Perhaps it is because spoken ...
4
votes
2answers
83 views

'Hope' vs. 'wish' in unlikely situations

Although 'hope' and 'wish' have many different uses, I've seen the basic difference often summarized as: 'wish' is for imaginary, unlikely or impossible things, whereas 'hope' is for more likely or ...
11
votes
2answers
274 views

Why is it “A first,” not “The first” for U.S Ice Dancing team taking the top spot in Sochi”?

I heard that the announcer, Tim McGuire reported that; “A first for U.S. Ice Dancing team, Gold. Meryl Davis, Charlie White taking the top spot in Sochi.” in February 17 AP Radio News. I also ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

“This is Figure 7 on page 777” or “This is Figure 7 on the page 777”? Why not “the”?

I cannot understand what is wrong with "on the page 8"? My instructor claims that it is "on page 8". It is a specific page to which I referring to on a particular book. What is wrong with "the" in ...
0
votes
2answers
50 views

Does “shall no longer be” imply “forever not?”

Can "no longer" refer to a finite, forseeable time period, or does it indicate a long-term finality? For example, if someone says, in anticipation of a large meal, "I shall no longer be hungry," does ...
4
votes
9answers
1k views

Is it really rude to use the terms “the john” and “the loo” in lieu of “the restroom”?

I usually use the term "restroom" (or "toilet" if I want to make sure that everyone in the Czech Republic understands me at once), and, while I've always understood that the terms "john" and "loo" are ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

How can I dedicate something to my family and make a special note of my wife?

In a formal media article that describes my achievements, I want to say something like the following: I want to dedicate this achievement/award to my family and especially to my wife for all the ...
1
vote
1answer
472 views

“In preparation for” or “In Preparation of”? [closed]

What´s the difference in use between "in preparation of" or "in preparation for"? They seem both correct. Context: The team practiced how they would respond to bad weather in preparation of ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Usage of “Which Birthday”

On the day of a Colleague's Birthday, I asked him "Which birthday" meaning to ask "How old have you become today". He was of the opinion that it is not a correct usage. Is the usage "Which Birthday" ...
1
vote
2answers
68 views

Agreement of articles and prepositions

Which of the following sentences would you consider most acceptable, and why? Please assume knowledge of the difference between the definite and indefinite articles here and that they are used ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

If the prefix “a-” means not, shouldn't “await” or “awaiting” mean, “Not waiting?”

If: Apolitical means "not political" and Amuse means...well, it should mean, "not thinking" then why does await or awaiting not mean "not waiting?" I read this earlier question (Is ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Passive voice in this sentence

I am a bit confused about these sentences below. The word "encumbered" baffles me. "Encumbered" is usually used in passive sentences. I am not able to understand the agent in these following ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

Using “on” before days or dates

I've noticed that on many American TV shows, the speakers generally don't use the word "on" before names of days or before dates. For example: I'll see you Monday. Shouldn't it be: I'll see you on ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Can the word ‘fillet” be used as a verb to mean criticize or ridicule?

There was the following sentence in the New York Times article titled “Marry first, Then cheat” dealing with François Hollande’s “mistress scandals”: “Over good wine and small portions across ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
3
votes
2answers
190 views

Does the expression “to go under the knife” carry a negative connotation?

Is there a difference in connotation between these two phrases? I asked my student whether her mother was scheduled to GO UNDER THE KNIFE this morning. I asked my student whether her mother was ...
2
votes
1answer
794 views

Reservation “under the name”, “in the name”, or “by the name” of Ms. X

Which idiom of "by the name", "under the name", and "in the name" is appropriate for reservations? e.g. There's a reservation by the name of Cullen... She made the reservation in the name of Jordan ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

“Put over” for “put off” in AE

In AE, can "put over" interchange with "put off" in the sense "postpone" in all contexts, or only in some specific ones? I'm all the more anxious to know the answer as I didn't get any hits searching ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

“Bar none (the most/the best…)” for “without exceptions or by far (the most/the best…)”

I once came across the idiom "bar none" for "by far/with no exceptions" as in "He's bar none the best player on the team", after what (for some reason unbeknownst to my forty three year old self) it ...
-1
votes
2answers
143 views

Does “none the more…” mean “far from (being)…” in American English?

I'm familiar with the somewhat colloquial turn of phrase "nowhere near as ... as" / "not anywhere near as ... as" to say "far from being as ... as". However, I'm a little less familiar with the ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

appropriate usage of proceeded

The investigator proceeded at the crime scene? Is this correct? Can I use the word went instead?