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

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More Than One “from” in a Single Phrase

I apologize if this has already been raised elsewhere. I was unable to find an answer to the question of when, if ever, it is acceptable form to include multiple uses of the word "from" in a single ...
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147 views

Replacing “yes” with “absolutely”: multiple “w” ' s

Replacing simple, concise words with longer, more obscure ones has long been a hall mark of bureaucratic reports and student papers, but I'm asking here about the particular example of replacing "yes" ...
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2answers
190 views

Should we avoid a “double passive”?

Does it sound strange to say "An emergency meeting is expected to be held soon." or "The new highway is proposed to be built across the swamp." Should we avoid this type of construction ?
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114 views

Are “to flee from” and “to run away from” interchangeable?

The verb "to flee" means "to run away" but are they interchangeable in every aspect? I'm kind of confused which one to use. It seems to me that the use of the verb flee could be more elaborate when ...
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182 views

Antonym of heartbreaker? [closed]

In one of my short stories, I have to compare a guy who is a heartbreaker to someone who is exactly the opposite of him. Instead of describing the opposite character of the guy, I am looking for a ...
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1answer
141 views

Is this a example of parody of Shakespears play [duplicate]

Is this an example of parody "A-Midsummers-Nights-Dream " http://www.scribd.com/doc/233474857/A-Midsummers-Nights-Dream-erotic-poetry These are the reasons I think it is parody I am interested ...
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454 views

What does someone “pushes back and crack some eggs” mean? Is it a popular turn of phrase?

In Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Who’s that candidate in the teal toenail Polish?” in New York Times (August 3), ...
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Is “keep updated” proper usage of those words?

I'm far from being an English major, but I have a simple question. If someone were to say keep updated in a sentence, is that correct? I know the usage, tense, and other things matter, but is it ...
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461 views

Gendered terms — particularly female — becoming neutral?

I have been hearing that many gendered terms are simply being absorbed into the masculine equivalent, while many other words are retaining their usage. A few examples are the terms "actress" becoming ...
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2k views

Are “I will have been going” and “I would have been going” rarely used today?

As far as I know these are tenses that you do not often use. Am I right? Will have been + verb+ing Would have been + verb+ing
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100 views

Sentence diagramming trouble with figuring out subordinators and relative pronouns

http://imgur.com/a/dyALV for the pictures. In the diagrams my main concern was figuring out if the use of "that" was under the context of it being a relative pronoun or a subordinator. I have trouble ...
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What does “Clearasil-scented grammatical sloth” in casual American speech mean?

John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University comments on the growing sophistication (or devolution) of English language among Americans in the ...
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117 views

Trying to figure out proper form of “that” in sentence

I currently have the sentence "Seahorses are the only fish that practice steadfast monogamy." to tree diagram for class, and cannot freakin' figure out what the word "that" would be used as in this ...
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70 views

Different from x Different to x Different than [duplicate]

In the following sentence: "When I visited my old school after so many years, it looked completely different in the classrooms and the backyard /from what/to what/than/ it had been when I was a ...
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269 views

Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?

African American Vernacular English is shortened to a less precise phrase "Black English". Also, Black English is used in a broader sense: Black English is a term used for both dialects of English ...
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174 views

Is “balanced literacy” a generic term, or elementary education specific?

“The Room for Debate Section” of New York Times (July 3rd) deals with “the Right Approach to Reading Instruction,” and throws the question; “The student-led approach to reading and writing known ...
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102 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 ...
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2answers
821 views

“Follow close behind” vs “follow closely behind”?

I just came across something I'd written a while ago that contained the phrase "follows close behind", and my first thought was that it was incorrect and should be "follows closely behind", i.e. to ...
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277 views

“Visible strap of the bra on shoulder”?

Is there any word for the strap of the bra that is visible on shoulder.? Mostly it is addressed as strap which is obviously a common word not specific to bra or any inner-wear.
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43 views

Usage of the term 'non-reproducibility'

Studies on genetic factors of schizophrenia are characterized by high heterogeneity and non-reproducibility. Is the usage of term 'non-reproducibility' appropriate in the above sentence? Is ...
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1answer
106 views

Age old question: What's the meaning of 'word'? [duplicate]

An old question, for which I could find absolutely NO reference on the internet for many years. Perhaps I wasn't looking in the right places, but I have no clue about its usage either. Then I ...
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2answers
191 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 ...
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808 views

Does 'twink' imply a specific sexuality?

I know that twink is a slang term for hot young homosexual guys who do not have facial hair. This word is very common in the gay community (and their adult industry) and recently I've heard a debate ...
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Usage of the word “through”

what is the meaning of "The malware affects IE9 through IE11(Internet Explorer)"? why can't we use "from IE9 to IE11" instead
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2k views

How did “fʌck” become taboo? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How long has the f-word been in use as an abusive term? What makes a word offensive? I recognize that this is similar to Etymology of the term "curse words" ...
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692 views

Why doesn't English have a separate word for “head hair”? (head hair vs. body hair)

The answer can be "Because it doesn't!" or "It wasn't needed!" in short but there might be a historical or linguistic explanation behind this. (Of course, every language might be lacking a word that ...
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87 views

Does “relatable” (without “to s.t.”) say anything that “understandable” does not say as well or better?

A colleague recently complained to me of the usage of relatable in student writing. It appears to derive from intransitive relate, OED sense 9, attested only from 1947: intr. With to. To ...
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7k views

What does 'address an issue' mean? [closed]

I always understood 'address an issue' to mean fix or solve an issue. However, a colleague of mine questioned this today and after doing a web search it seems that the more correct or common meaning ...
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Use of “to” or "for in a sentence [duplicate]

Use of to or for: Should I name a folder "Guides to The Correct Use of English", or should I name the folder "Guides for The Correct Use of English" ?
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74 views

“A bunch of nincompoops!” Really ? In the 21st century?

With the FIFA World Cup going on here, I recently heard a tourist use the word "nincompoop" in the sentence "A bunch of nincompoops!". Then I realized I hadn't heard that word for a long, long time. ...
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138 views

What does “rooster tail”(ing) mean?

"The Winnebago galumphs across the landscape, scattering cows. It catches a wheel and sprays a rooster tail of red dirt." "catches a wheel"? And "rooster tail"? If "Catches a wheel" means the ...
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“When I was in college…” Do you really mean college? Or university?

When someone in the US says "When I was in college..." he can mean "college" but he can also mean "university", so I've been told. If that's true, how can we know which one he is talking about? If I ...
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137 views

Difference between “insensitive” and “not sensitive”

Is there any subtle difference implied when using "insensitive" as compared to "not sensitive"? I am writing: A is insensitive to changes in B. But someone suggested that it conveys a strong ...
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489 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.
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4answers
159 views

Is the term “professional” justifiably reduced to “being paid to do something”?

I very often hear people call themselves professional at something they haven’t been doing long. On the rare occasions that I ask them how they feel able to qualify themselves as professional, the ...
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In English you have 'above', 'on', 'over' and 'on top of' but in Italian one word, 'sopra', covers all four meanings

In Italian if I were to say, "sopra l'albero" (albero = tree) you might rightly ask: "Yes but where, exactly?" But "sopra" is a great word to learn in Italian, not only is it a very flexible ...
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115 views

“Tote” vs. “carry” in AE

Aside from formality/informality registers, what is to "tote" that is not to "carry" to AE native speakers? Does "tote", unlike "carry", imply a certain way to hold or support something while moving? ...
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90 views

What are the effects of the passive voice other than changing emphasis?

As this excellent answer points out, the passive voice can change the emphasis of a sentence from the subject to an object. That seems to be its primary function: this other answer provides an example ...
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80 views

Are the 'beautiful things' of life, the 'beautiful' of life?

The following question set me thinking: Can we use all "nouns" as adjective? What about the opposite? Can adjectives be used as nouns? What are the rules or the stylistic limits to their ...
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123 views

“More acrid than” but “stupider than” Why is that? [duplicate]

I've just read this quotation here at StackExchange: "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." I've checked a few online dictionaries and there ...
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909 views

Plural of input [duplicate]

What is the plural of input ? It proves unclear which is correct, input or inputs --- or both up to context of usage.
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3answers
1k views

Pretty Please and Similar Phrases

I was wondering who uses 'pretty please?' Is it used mainly by girls? Under what circumstances? Thank you for replying.
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410 views

“Battled-hardened,” Is this one of New Yorker's renowned idiosyncrasies?

There was a really entertaining short story describing customary exchanges of fierce words between a restaurant patron and waitress in New Yorker magazine (June 14.) under the title, “Lunch at ...
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129 views

Usage of “acknowledge” [closed]

Is it acceptable to write "We acknowledge Dr. AAA for his useful advice" to express gratitude or appreciation?
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128 views

Is “Well-spokenness” a phrase in current use ?

I had never heard or read this before, but a job ad required "well-spokenness". The American Heritage Dictionary never even mentions "spokenness". Nor does the OED online. Although I think I ...
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57 views

Use of 'not' with 'currently'

Being a non-native English speaker (and not good at English too), I am bit confused about the use of not with currently. For Example: In my Visual Studio tool, I got a message - This key ...
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71 views

What does “pay the graces” mean? [closed]

Have the Three Graces actually been paid? Is that the origin? I found it in the lyrics for a song, where it doesn't seem to make sense at all: I had an impulse to clear it all away oh I used the ...
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99 views

“Me too invited” Is this correct? [closed]

A friend of mine recently got invited to a speech given by Barack Obama on his trip to Brussels. She wrote "Me too invited" on her Facebook profile. I told her it sounded pidgin. She didn't seem to ...
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237 views

Is “wanna” more common with non-native speakers?

Is the word "wanna" (as opposed to "want to") more common in the writing of non-native speakers than in the writing of native speakers of English? Is this effect more pronounced when you exclude ...
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Is there a word for the second part of a story title after a main character?

I commonly see the format: Main Character(s) and some other important idea Story titles: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day The ...