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

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1answer
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How do I understand when to use the phrase 'mad props'?

In Legally Blond the musical they use the phrase: MARGOT: Dear Elle, He's a lucky guy. I'm like gonna cry, I got tears coming out of my nose! Mad Props! He's the campus catch, You're a ...
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5answers
371 views

Ambiguous meaning of NAmEng sense of “skill” in Harrap's English-French Dictionary

Harrap's New Shorter English-French/French-English Dictionary, Ed. 1982, states, skill n 1. habileté f, adresse f, dextérité f; technical skill, habileté, aptitude f, technique; ...
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1answer
96 views

word for “owners/operators of a pastry shop” and “patissier's wife”

What would native speakers call a couple who runs a pastry shop? In France, the one in the pair that makes the pastries would obviously be called pâtissier if a man, and pâtissière if a woman, but so ...
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2answers
72 views

Usage of Beautiful [closed]

I have been taught in English language classes that using "Beautiful" for a girl, represent your rudeness? for example you should not say "what a beautiful girl". Is it correct?
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2answers
124 views

“[ball]park” in AmEng vernacular

Are the terms ballpark and park specific to baseball in AmEng, or can they also be used for every which athletic stadium in which ball games like soccer or rugby are played? For example, would a ...
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4answers
133 views

“crash” vs. “wreck” for [road/air] accident in AmEng

What's the difference between those terms in relation to a road or air accident? crash verb (Aeronautics) to cause (an aircraft) to hit land or water violently resulting in severe damage ...
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3answers
127 views

“road” vs. “pavement” vs. “roadway” for French “chaussée” [road surface] in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference between those terms? Can they be used just about interchangeably? road: a long, narrow stretch with a leveled or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, ...
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3answers
506 views

Does “They don't have a life” sound correct?

As he and I walked past a group of individuals, my rude friend said, "They don't have a life." I hadn't heard the expression before that. Does it make sense? They were individuals (plural) but he ...
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1answer
43 views

Can be no less than or cannot be no less than [closed]

Which is correct, A or B ? A)I can be no less than genuine or B) I cannot be no less than genuine
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1answer
69 views

“tab” for “hotel bill” in AmEng

In AmEng vernacular, is the word tab specific to restaurant and bar checks, or can it also be used for hotel bills? E.g. Guest: We'll be checking out early tomorrow morning, so if it isn't too ...
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2answers
80 views

What's the meaning of “is there any other way to see it?”

A: Are you saying accepting your help obligates me? B: ls there any other way to see it? A: No. I found this line from the movie, As Good As It Gets, and I'm curious about this phrase "Is ...
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4answers
589 views

“[a/the] equivalent of” vs. “[a/the] equivalent for” vs. “[a/the] equivalent to”

Which of the following constructs sound more idiomatic to you? Is there any British/American equivalent to the French phrase "broyer du noir"? Is there any British/American equivalent for the ...
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5answers
73 views

Is it proper to say, “This is my Uncle Archie's current wife.”

He is on his 4th wife. Is it proper to say, "This is my Uncle Archie's current wife."
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0answers
38 views

“OF” between the subject and the verb “seem”?

When reading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," I came across the sentences as following: "'They of seem so helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these.'" What is this "of" ...
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1answer
43 views

Digging a grave vs Digging up a grave

Which of these phrases would be the most gramatically correct? Additionally, in the case of "climbing a ladder" and "climbing up a ladder", which makes the most sense? In case this is country ...
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0answers
21 views

“Imponderable” definition and usage

If "ponder" means "to consider carefully",did "imponderable" originally mean "not able to be considered"? And how did it seemingly evolve into its usage today meaning "unanswerable" (despite careful ...
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3answers
55 views

To feel adjusted (phrase usage)

Is it correct to say (and write), "I feel/don't feel adjusted to a house/country"? For example: I feel adjusted to Las Vegas because it's my hometown. Can someone really be adjusted or feel ...
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0answers
19 views

Me developing or my developing- Which is correct? [duplicate]

I would like to know which of the two usages - "me developing" or "my developing" - in the following sentence is correct: This has led to me developing an interest in the subject. This has ...
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0answers
34 views

Why do we give “respect” to differentiation variables?

I mean, if you've studied any calculus, you probably know this expression: "a derivative of [function] with respect to [variable]". Why is that word used though? I know it's probably an idiom, but I ...
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1answer
57 views

Repeated verb in a sentence?

I've seen some usages like this: You've got there some really nice thing, you've got there. He is a big jerk, he is. Or something like that. I don't have an actual example right now, sadly, ...
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2answers
282 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
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1answer
73 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “prospect for a residential tenant seeking office/retail accommodation plus storage”? [closed]

Based on the following description of a "shop + dwelling" (commercial milkbar with attached residential section) published in a rental advertisement would you say that it implies that the property is: ...
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1answer
80 views

…if somebody would've just did it

(This would never have happened) "...if somebody would've just did it." (Just heard on 'Undercover Boss' (US TV)) I know this is 'wrong'. And I realise that it is 'colloquial' (belonging to common ...
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8answers
581 views

What's up with the use of the word “black” in reference to skin color? [closed]

I've never liked the word black to describe people with dark skin. Those of us with pigment-enriched skin are certainly not black in color. Why was the term black used to describe people with dark ...
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0answers
53 views

“the hell with” vs “to hell with”

What is the etymology of "the hell with", which on the face of it is a corruption of "to hell with" or possibly a shortening ot "to the hell with". (See below.) In my experience, the former is rather ...
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1answer
35 views

Well-posed vs. well posed [duplicate]

I have a question that comes up when writing mathematical problems. Which of the following is correct: The problem is well-posed or The problem is well posed. I am sure the second is ...
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0answers
29 views

One two three-wheel vehicle examination. Does it make sense?

I want to compare two three-wheel vehicles. Does the title of my essay "One two three-wheel vehicle examination" make any sense? "One" refers to the examination and "two" to the number of vehicles I ...
3
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1answer
102 views

Are “pay phones” still, if ever, called “pay stations” in the U.S.?

What is pay station in the U.S.? If you look it up, say, on ODO, it is defined as an AmEng equivalent of pay phone. pay station: n. US term for pay phone ODO Now, if you search Google Images ...
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2answers
172 views

What is the difference between “irreligious” and “non-religious”?

Irreligious (Dictionary.com 1st definition) not religious; not practicing a religion and feeling no religious impulses or emotions. Non-religious (Google definition) not relating to or ...
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1answer
27 views

Is “overcome with” suitable to describe possible actions?

I stumbled upon a usage of a "overcome with" in a programming article (the first bullet right above the "See also" title) on Wikipedia and I am not sure if it is correct: "They pollute the main ...
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1answer
31 views

School or education in my resume?

I'm filling an employment application, so I want to know what is the most formal way to refer to my education block. Personal information. -Name: -Age: -Address: -Phone: Introduction & Goals. &...
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2answers
146 views

“When once they had done this, …” - what's with “when once”?

From George Orwell's 1984, part 2 chapter 9: For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and ...
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3answers
677 views

“jam,” “jelly,” and “jello” in AmEng vernacular

What exactly is the fruit preserve called "jam" in the U.S.? Is it what is referred to in France as "confiture"? If so, then what would be the French for, what is called "jelly" in the U.S. ("jam" ...
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1answer
58 views

Why we say Happy New Year without an article “a”, but we say “I wish you a Happy New Year” using the article?

I was wondering if there is any rule in English that forbids us to say A Happy New Year when we wish someone Happy New Year? I know that we just say it like that, but I was trying to find the rule ...
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1answer
45 views

Different usages of accommodation vs accommodating vs accommodate

I have learned English for years. But I have not been good at distinguishing how different is the use of accommodation, accommodating and accommodate. This is an example. I mean in this question that ...
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4answers
128 views

“bedrock” vs. “hardpan” for “very basis; foundation”

What's the difference between those terms in regard to their figurative sense? Can they be used just about interchangeably? Consider the following examples: Ownership of land is the bedrock of ...
2
votes
3answers
92 views

“pocketbook” for “wallet” in AmEng vernacular

Is pocketbook a common term for wallet in AmEng vernacular, or is it primarily recognized as another word for "purse/handbag"? If indeed a relatively commonly used word for "wallet/billfold," how do ...
3
votes
2answers
42 views

Synonyms for “untilted”

In a physical/technical context, I (being not a native speaker) am looking for an adjective that describes the absence of tilt and found “untilted”, which seems however not widely used. More precisely,...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

“wallet” vs. “[change] purse” in NAmEng and BrEng vernaculars

Is a man's change purse sometimes called wallet by their owner? If so, what would they usually call their actual wallet to distinguish it from their change purse? purse: a small bag, pouch, ...
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3answers
544 views

“cologne” and “aftershave” for “fragrance for men”

Per Farlex Trivia Dictionary, perfume or parfum is 20–40% oil and the highest concentration; eau de toilette is 10–18% oil, and cologne or eau de cologne is 3–9% oil. Leaving aside the technical ...
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2answers
202 views

What is the correct grammar: “we” or “us”

What is the correct grammar for this sentence fragment: She needed we the taxpayers to pay.... She needed us the taxpayers to pay.... because without "the taxpayers", the correct sentence ...
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2answers
63 views

Usage of “See you there”

Is it appropriate to say See you there if I won't be there myself? For example, I say to my colleague: See you at the concert! I won't be at this concert, but I can watch it on TV and so see ...
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2answers
128 views

“woodsy” vs. “woody” for “covered with trees/wooded” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those terms? Context would be a quaint little village nestled into a hillside covered with trees, sort of like this one. WOODY: 4. Abounding in trees; wooded. (...
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2answers
174 views

Disambiguation of “fluff” vs. chiefly AmEng “lint” vs. chiefly BrEng “bobbles” vs. “pills” for French “peluches”

Robert & Collins French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985 gives: lint: (US: fluff) peluches nfpl peluche (=bouloche): bit of fluff; fluff Collins French-English Dictionary Now, these are ...
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5answers
246 views

Collective “linens” vs. “linen” in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference in using the uncountable noun linen either in the plural or in the singular to refer to articles or garments, such as sheets, tablecloths, or underwear? How did originally ...
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2answers
63 views

Use of the word 'penultimate'

Can you use the word 'penultimate' to refer to December 30th?
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1answer
67 views

Usage of “Ado” Possesively [closed]

Can you use ado in this manner: A person's ado One's ado I've heard it used as "without much ado" but am not sure about the above
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2answers
267 views

“black ice” vs. “glare ice” vs. “glaze” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those varieties of ice forming on paved surfaces during the cold season? black ice sometimes called clear ice: a thin, nearly invisible coating of ice that forms on ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

“slick” vs. “slippery” for a road, sidewalk, etc. in NAmEng vernacular

What's the difference between these terms? slippery : tending or liable to cause slipping or sliding, as ice, oil, or a wet surface: a slippery road. Random House Kennerman Webster's College ...
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1answer
74 views

Need some help in writing an essay about education as the main goal in life [closed]

Good afternoon everyone! Can you kindly help me with these sentences (I really don't know if natives do write this way about the priority in life (which for me is education). For some people money is ...