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

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1answer
68 views

Are “a perfect fool”, “a proper fool” and “a precious fool” the same kind of “fool”?

Is there any (subtle) difference in meaning and usage when these adjectives qualify "a fool"? Are these adjectives perfectly interchangeable "A precious fool I would look, if I did that." "The ...
2
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3answers
263 views

'out of' vs 'from' (a series)

Is it acceptable to say something along the lines of "this microphone is out of the 122 series" instead of "this microphone is from the 122 series" ? I have a colleague who insists that using 'out ...
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1answer
75 views

What does the phrase “do your bit for your fellow gentlemen” mean? [closed]

Does gentlemen in the phrase "do your bit for your fellow gentlemen" mean yourself, or fellows at your company, or someone else?
0
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1answer
178 views

What is the meaning and usage of this “is true of”?

Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes ...
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2answers
948 views

“Assist someone do” vs. “assist someone to do (or ”in/with“ doing)”

I just recently came across "assist someone do" searching Google for examples to my previous question, and would like to check with you whether it is an acceptable option to "assist someone to do (or ...
62
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9answers
11k views

Why is the word “Holy” used before swear words?

People usually use the word "Holy" before "Shit", "Crap" or any other bad words to express their feelings, like surprise, anger, etc. Is there any reason why the word "Holy" is used with these bad ...
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1answer
132 views

Why is corner preferred over curve for racing tracks?

For example in car racing, the non-straight parts of the track are almost always called corners, even though many of them are very far from the typical (point-like) corner of a rectangle. ...
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3answers
187 views

“go home straight” or “go straight home”

Which one of the following is the proper usage below? "go home straight" or "go straight home"? thanks.
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1answer
44 views

What is the meaning of this “General Government”?

No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. (from Up from Slavery)
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2answers
214 views

“I'm flabbergasted!” - Old fashioned? Pedantic? Refined? Educated? [closed]

To flabbergast - to overwhelm with shock, surprise, or wonder. "I'm flabbergasted!" - I have only one friend who uses this phrase, so I can't figure out what kind of person uses it. Although ...
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1answer
55 views

Is this a correct usage of the phrase “give way”? [closed]

Libraries are peaceful and give way to thought. I appreciate any help you give.
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2answers
95 views

What is the difference between “&” and “and” in writing?

Can I use either whenever I want to use an and? e.g., I like to play and sing I like to play & sing We will walk and she will run. We will walk & she will run.
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3answers
1k views

Can “the rubber meets the road” be used as a stand-alone phrase to mean “stop disaster in its tracks or keep it at bay”?

I didn't know the idiom, "the rubber meets (hits) the road." So I was drawn to the passage, “When it comes to Ebola, the rubber met the road at the Firestone rubber plantation” appearing in NPR’s ...
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4answers
863 views

Does seriously have only sarcastic connotations in this context?

This is the context: Lol! How brave... a down vote with no explanation. Seriously, tell me if I should just delete this. Please! That statement was found to be sarcastic, despite ending with ...
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3answers
107 views

What is an “apologetic question”?

What does this mean, "apologetic question". For example in this statement: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions "Apologetic" sounds like apologizing for something, but I don't ...
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3answers
153 views

is the phrase “long time later” correct?

I have come across this weirdly formed phrase in a book , but i am not sure of its correctness. If this is correct, what would be its proper usage? Is saying "I met you a long time later" correct?
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1answer
40 views

What does “strategic defence review” means?

In phrase "strategic defence review" which one is correct? review on strategic defence startegic review about defence Thanks
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1answer
49 views

Can the heart 'approach what it yearns', or must it 'approach what it yearns for'?

Paul Simon's lyrics ... how the heart approaches what it yearns... has always seemed to me an incorrect usage, although it's difficult to state why. It seems to me that the verb yearn ...
2
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1answer
39 views

anthropomorphic vs. anthropomorphized

When is it most appropriate to use "anthropomorphic" as opposed to "anthropomorphized"? Is there any difference between the two?
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1answer
142 views

Why are doctors addressed as Mr. in the UK?

In the US most physicians, surgeons and dentists are addressed as "doctor". Very few other professionals receive the same title. In the UK, however, surgeons and dentists seem to prefer to be ...
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1answer
50 views

Does use of the superlative form imply that there is only one?

The question in the title doesn't strictly apply to the English language but to language in general (I think). For example can we point an item from the group where there are multiple items with the ...
4
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2answers
291 views

Using the word 'come' to mean 'when it comes'

I am currently playing the game Max Payne 3 and I came across an interesting formulation: I hope Fabiana will not be served to the fishes come feeding time. Is this normal in American English?
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1answer
30 views

Are these interchangeable?

He's not here. Can I take a message? He's not here. Can I get a message? Are these two sentences 'Can I take a message?/Can I get a message?' interchangeable?
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0answers
40 views

Accommodate a problem to solution?

The topic is the following: I present a problem and a potential solution to it. After explaining the solution is it correct to say : "In order to adopt this approach in our evaluation .." Or ...
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1answer
108 views

use English or local language for the address when writing a formal letter? [closed]

I am writing a cover letter in English to The Netherlands. I don't know whether to use English when writing the address or Dutch (in the letter, not on the envelope). All the terms are translatable to ...
2
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1answer
2k views

How is 'Tacenda' used in a sentence?

I am confused about the usage of this word. I know the meaning it conveys. Help?
2
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1answer
224 views

Are there any universal rules in appropriating “_an,” “_sh,” “_es,” “_ch” for the demonyms of countries? [duplicate]

Suffixes indicating people and language of country vary by country: _an: American, German, Italian, Belgian, Australian, Russian, Ukrainian, Korean, Mexican, Brazilian, Chilean, Argentinean, ...
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2answers
72 views

How offensive is/was the phrase 'Beat it' ? Also, what exactly does/did it mean? [duplicate]

I've heard this phrase mainly in old movies. From the context, I inferred that it was a mild form of swearing and not considered terribly offensive. However, I'm not sure what the 'it' in 'beat it' ...
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0answers
30 views

Is it “a spyglass TO the past” or “a spyglass INTO the past”

I'd like to use the phrase XYZ as a spyglass (in)to the past. as title for a publication on a scientific method that allows me to infer knowledge about the past from data available now. E.g., the ...
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3answers
154 views

The usage of “banzai”

I started to reread a pretty old mystery of Thomas Harris, “The silence of the lambs,” which I once gave up reading because of difficulty of understanding the narrative studded with technical jargons ...
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2answers
78 views

Is it grammatically correct to use “we” or “us” as well as the name of a group? e.g. “A meeting of we employees went very well.”

Is "we + [name of group]" a grammatically correct construction? Example: "A meeting of we employees went very well." Also, what about this: "They gave donuts to us employees at the meeting."
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1answer
1k views

What is the difference between interaction, communication, conversation, and discussion? [closed]

I think all of these are kinds of communication. But can't think the difference between the other terms
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0answers
45 views

Question about about various uses of “to be” and correctness of their usage in my sentence

If I were the man involved, and didn't know my wife was 'pretend', I would be totally crushed when I did find out she was fake. How could I make the above statement correct? If it already is, ...
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4answers
98 views

Questions from Japan - For guys: When do you use “Please”? [closed]

Will you use "Please" when asking your close male friends to pass you the salt? Why? When do you/don't you use "please" with them (your close male friend)? Were your parents strict in using "Please"? ...
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0answers
48 views

Reference material for change in English usage over time

How words have changed in meaning and usage over time is frequently a hot topic both on here and the wider community, and I find it fascinating. Are there any good reference works which document this ...
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2answers
2k views

Would you say 'yes, neither do I' / 'yes, me neither'? [duplicate]

My question does not have to do with the correctness/incorrectness of 'neither do I'/'me neither', but with the presence of the 'yes' (or 'yeah', which is how it most often 'comes out' for me) at the ...
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7answers
5k 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 ...
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2answers
117 views

How are basement levels in shopping malls designated?

In a mall or somewhere with multiple basement levels, what is the proper way to designate each underground level? We have: first floor, second floor, etc. for above ground floors. Underground levels ...
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3answers
1k views

The etymology of “redhead” vs. “ginger haired”

All my life I have known people with reddish, orangey hair, to be termed ginger haired. Just as you don't call a blonde a 'yellow head' red head just wasn't a word that was said (wouldn't orange head ...
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1answer
51 views

Phrase: give pause

What exactly does the phrase give (sb.) pause mean? Is it just a simple shortening of the following?: give pause to someone (or give someone pause for thought) cause someone to think ...
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1answer
56 views

What's the difference between patent and obvious?

Patent is used a lot more in "serious" matters, like legal breaches, such as a "patent breach of law," but does that really mean anything? Does "patent" just sound more refined?
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3answers
4k views

What's the difference between: Is it ok for you?, and: Is it ok with you?

What is the difference and in which context you can use: Is it ok for you? or: Is it ok with you?
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1answer
43 views

why we say in a sea of multiculturalism

the question is about definite and indefinite. why do we say in a sea of multiculturalism rather than in the sea of multiculturalism. cause i think it is multiculturalism not any other things so it ...
1
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2answers
248 views

What two words best describe these features?

I am in the middle of developing an app. I'm having some trouble trying to decide the best usage for two features in particular. I know what both of these words mean, but I am becoming increasingly ...
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1answer
701 views

Difference between audience and audiences? [closed]

I've heard some people say the word audiences in conversation. How does audiences differ from audience and when do you use it?
0
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1answer
266 views

Whom did you meet? [duplicate]

I am confused to use the word "whom" in a sentence.Is the above sentence correct? Give me a bit of your mind at what contexts we generally use whom with proper examples.
0
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1answer
109 views

He didn't so much as thank me OR to thank me?

I have heard both ways 'He didn't so much as thank me' and 'He didn't so much as to thank me'. Which is correct and is the other wrong or can it be used colloquially? Thank you.
4
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1answer
125 views

'Aesthetical Qualities' - a term to describe pleasing characteristics in texts?

I am trying to figure out if I can use 'aesthetical qualities' to refer to qualities that writers or readers find pleasing in texts. This question comes from a remark by a professor on an essay I ...
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0answers
80 views

What is the difference between “matter-containing media” and “matter”?

I'm reading the english wikipedia entry titled "Radiation". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation you can find the word in the first paragraph, or by searching. so... What is the difference between ...
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3answers
2k views

Why do many professional writers hate adverbs, and what should be used in their place?

In response to the death of Elmore Leonard the New York Times has posted a list of writing tips he composed back in 2001. Among them is the following: To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) ...