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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
13answers
281 views

A word for reading something thoroughly until one understands it well? [duplicate]

I was wondering if there was one word in English for "to read something thoroughly until one understands it well"? I am trying to translate a word which has this meaning in Chinese. Thanks.
0
votes
3answers
593 views

Can one use “much” as in the statement “I am looking forward to seeing you much”?

It would seem natural (to me) to say "I am very much looking forward to seeing you." Could you then get rid of the 'very' and put 'much' at the end to get "I am looking forward to seeing you much"? .. ...
0
votes
4answers
59 views

Touch an extension - meaning

Joe, the senior developer in a team of six, has a problem with his program. He studies it for hours, with increasing frustration, but cannot figure out the source of the bug. He wouldn’t think ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Meaning: one Benghazi revelation away from impeachment

Spoiler alert: he's siding with his friend Vladimir Putin and not with President Obama, whom the action star believes is one Benghazi revelation away from impeachment. I can't get the meaning of ...
-5
votes
4answers
174 views

Adjectival “Anglican” for “English”, and “Anglicanism” for “Anglomania” in AmE

Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985 [Harrap's Shorter French Dictionary], points up adjectival "Anglican" as an Americanism for "English", and "Anglicanism" as an AmE ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

Where does “pay through the nose” originate? [closed]

Where does the saying " pay through the nose" originate?
0
votes
1answer
40 views

“To take in” and “to catch” in the sense "to attend and visit (or see) [the sights of (a city, etc.)] in AmE

Do these terms share the same degree of informality in the sense "to attend and visit (or see)" as of someone taking in/catching the sights of a place, or taking in/catching a show or a movie? E.g. ...
-1
votes
2answers
181 views

“Bakeshop” vs. “bake shop” vs. “bakery” vs. “bakery shop” vs. “bakehouse” for a baker's shop, and “bakeries” for “baked goods” in AmE

Are all four terms in current use in AmE today to refer to a bakery's shop where bread and other baked stuff like cakes and pastries are sold? As far as I know, "bakeshop", "bakehouse", and "bakery" ...
7
votes
1answer
400 views

Why is something fried on a griddle called grilled?

To my understanding, to grill is cooking with a heat source located beneath an open slatted grate (or ribbed closed pan). (For example, using a barbecue grill on one's patio.) The word grill is ...
2
votes
4answers
139 views

What adverb, typical of AmE, coincides the most with the BrE sense to “quite” [=to a noticeable or partial extent]?

As long as -- seemingly -- the adverb "quite" in AmE idiomatically carries an emphatic sense to it -- pretty much similar to saying "completely" or "absolutely" as in "That girl looks quite pretty!" ...
0
votes
3answers
199 views

Is writing “My English is not the best around” wrong?

I was wondering if I can use "is not the best around" in conjunction with language skills, but some mild googling gave me no results for languages like German or French (in a context where I'd ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

“To charge (that…)” for “to claim/to assert” in AmE

While browsing my bilingual dictionary, Ed. 1985, I stumbled upon the verb "to charge" in a meaning defined as an Americanism [3(b) U.S.: to charge that... alléguer que...(to assert that)] without any ...
1
vote
3answers
108 views

“To tame” for “to cultivate [vegetables, a land, etc.]” and “to domesticate (or farm) [poultry, fish, etc.]” in AmE

The Harrap's New Shorter French and English dictionary Ed. 1985, defines both verbal and adjectival "tame" as Americanisms for respectively "to cultivate" and "cultivated", as of a plant or a land ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Idiomatic AmE term for “B&B”/“bed & breakfast”/“chambre d'hôte” and “table d'hôte”

Is there an idiomatic term or expression in modern day AmE for what in the UK is designated by the shared "B&B"/"bed & breakfast", and seemingly by the originally FrF expression "chambre ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

“Knob” vs. “knoll” in AmE

The Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary Ed. 1985, defines one of the senses of "knob" as an AmE equivalent for "knoll", i.e. a small, rounded hill or eminence; hillock. Sadly enough, ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

In/on for “into/onto” in colloquial and not so formal AmE

If the context is crystal clear and, as such, allows no risk of misunderstanding or ambiguity whatsoever, unlike "Paul jumps into the lake (= Paul jumps into the lake from a certain point)" vs. "Paul ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

Dark vs Darkness

I have a usage related doubt about using 'Dark' in the following sentence: Each time, when he switches on the light, he is surprised how it vanishes ______ completely. 'Darkness' fits well here, ...
1
vote
2answers
385 views

Using besides in a sentence

Besides gaining my career, the course will surely contribute to our country’s wealth. Is this use of besides correct?
2
votes
3answers
203 views

Usage of the word suicide - validity of 'suiciding'

Is 'suiciding' a valid word by itself ? I have very rarely come across suicide being used in this form. Mostly, you see it being used with the prefix 'commit' as in 'committing suicide' rather than ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

The phrase “never even” in spoken English - Bookish ? Old-fashioned ? Sophisticated?

"She never even said good-bye !" instead of "She didn't even say good-bye !" in informal conversation. Would someone using it sound bookish ? Old-fashioned ? Sophisticated ?
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Why might 'undelivered' be preferred to 'undeliverable' regarding mail?

In the UK, I have noticed that on envelopes, the text preceding the return address has changed from "If undeliverable, please return to:" to "If undelivered, please return to:". To me, the term ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

“Bikeway” vs. “bike route” vs. “bike path” vs. “bike trail” vs. “bike track” vs. “bike lane” on US road signs

To proceed further on with the "cycling topic", which of these terms are most commonly found on US roads to designate respectively a path or part of a road in an urban area marked off or separated for ...
0
votes
1answer
119 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Is it acceptable to use the noun “swing” for both a short round trip and an extensive circular tour in AmE?

I remember once coming across, while browsing some bilingual dictionary, the noun "swing" pointed up as an AmE equivalent for "circuit". But, sadly enough, what the bilingual dictionary didn't say ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

“To set up” for “to arrange/prepare” or “to organize” in colloquial AmE

I already heard and read on various occasions Americans use the expression "to set up" to seemingly mean "to arrange" as in "I'll set up reservations for you" or "I'll be more than happy to set up a ...
1
vote
2answers
226 views

Does the idiom “in lieu of” for “instead of” sound legalese or affected in modern day AmE [closed]

I once came across the idiomatic "in lieu of" in some bilingual dictionary I can't seem to put my hands on anymore, but I remember pretty well the phrase being defined as an Americanism. And so, I ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Cyclists, cyclers, bikers, and bike riders in modern day AmE

Almost by analogy with my previous OP, how do the terms "bike rider", cycler", and "cyclist" differ in current AmE usage to describe someone that rides or travels by bicycle? My impression is that ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

Motorcycles, bikes, motorbikes, mopeds, motorcyclists, bikers, and motorbikers in AE

As far as I know, "motorcycle" is the formal term -- and "bike" the informal one -- for a powered two (and occasionally three) wheeled vehicle resembling a bike but larger, heavier, and a heap more ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

the USA vs the US

I am writing an essay where I need to make a reference to the United States of America. Often I hear this shortened to the US, but sometimes people also say the USA. Are there any difference between ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Is the word “annotation” suitable to describe “underline, highlight, strikethrough” made by reader/user? (labels in computer application)

I am not a native speaker so I would like to know what terms are suitable to describe notes highlight underline strike-through to the user, in computer applications where user can annotate text ...
1
vote
3answers
79 views

Any reason why the collocation “the wound healed” is more common than “the injury healed”?

"The wound healed" gets 890,000 hits when googled, whereas "the injury healed" only gets 525,000. Is there any reason for the difference? Whether the damage to someone's body is deliberate – wound – ...
0
votes
1answer
177 views

Is the practice of calling others by initials acceptable? [closed]

The answers and comments on my question about English alternatives to “Senpai” reminded me of the odd feeling I used to have almost 25 years ago when I observed my client’s staffs were referring to ...
4
votes
3answers
767 views

You yourself - double pronoun

You have made it up yourself. This is obviously ok. But if the pronoun it should be repalced by a long noun-phrase: You have made up the illusory world in which you move yourself. It would ...
0
votes
3answers
76 views

Usage of Phrase 'Hit the Bricks'

Can we use the phrase 'Hit the bricks' at the context of asking people to work hard?
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Where using “title” instead of “name” is justified?

Merriam-Webster and many other dictionaries defines Title as something that can be used instead of the Name of that thing. For example, based on what I understood, it seems logical to use these ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

Use of “last year” and “last one year”?

The term last year defines last year according to calender.So if I say last year in 2014, it means I refer to 2013. On the other hand, the term last one year refers to last 12 months.So if I use this ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do we say “Present Arms” instead of “Present Your Arms”?

There is a military command to Present Arms. And, depending upon the military and the situation, the typical response is to either salute or hold one's weapon in front of them in the prescribed ...
3
votes
3answers
275 views

Can you be sent on a quest or does it then become a mission?

A discussion on the Arqade sister site brought up an interesting question that I thought I'd share here. What is the difference between a quest and a mission? Given the roots of the words, quest ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

How to avoid repetition of “something” and “some stuff”? [closed]

Is there any other word which can be used instead of something and some stuff, and how can the use of something and some stuff be avoided. For example: He saw her dwelling on something; it ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Show Disrespect/Poor Behavior

The first sentence is good English: "The students showed disrespect toward the teacher." "The students showed poor behavior toward the teacher." Is the second sentence also good?
1
vote
3answers
162 views

Is “people with a bit of grit under their fingernail” an idiom, or just one-off phrase?

I was interested in the phrase, “people with a “little bit of grit under their fingernails” appearing in the New Yorker magazine’s (March 14) article titled, “American Ads, American Values.” It reads; ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Is it correct to say (Name of University) Academic Community welcome guests and participants to the first youth congress of ~?

I saw a tarp with this text: (Name of University) Academic Community Welcome to the First Youth Congress~~~~ June 15 - 17, 2013 (Name of University) Social Hall Theme: ...
0
votes
2answers
20 views

What terms should be used to mean the different states of attendance of volunteers in a clinical study?

In a clinical trail with several visits, it is common to see volunteers not attending their visits at some time point for different reasons. I have these different situations, and I would like to know ...
0
votes
3answers
114 views

“in” versus “at”

1 - I'm at home. 2 - I'm in the home. 3 - I'm at the home. I understand that the above three sentences are correct. If all the above are correct, then why this one is wrong? 4 - I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
30 views

“cost incurred before” vs “cost incurred until”?

I am wondering which of the following is correct/preferable: We need to take into account the cost incurred until action is finally taken. vs We need to account for the cost incurred ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

Place your orders on time/in time? [duplicate]

If you want to inform someone in advance to do something early enough so the person won't be in trouble later, do you say on time or in time? It's not a specified time, like order it today between 12 ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

We think we have a top-seller on/in our hands? [closed]

I know this on our hands/in our hands discrepancy has been discussed here in a broad way, but since it's idiomatic, I think it would be helpful to consider a few specific examples, like the one here. ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Using the word “doc”

Merriam-Webster obviously says that the word is an abbreviation for doctor, and I also acknowledge the fact that it's less formal than doctor. My question is: when talking to your doctor, would it be ...
-1
votes
1answer
92 views

How do we use 'Stockholm syndrome' in a sentence?

How do we use 'Stockholm Syndrome' in a sentence? Can it be used for the things we hate?