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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

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
2answers
56 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
82 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
86 views

“Associate with [someone]” for “socialize with [someone]” in colloquial AE

What's the difference in AE between saying "I like to associate with new folks" and "I like to socialize with new folks"? E.g. I am a positive person and I like to associate with other positive ...
-1
votes
4answers
205 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
3
votes
1answer
204 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
88 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
109 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, ...
2
votes
3answers
231 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
194 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
68 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
89 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
143 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
375 views

“As long as” for “since” in AE

Some of you might have noticed that I oftentimes use the conjunction "as long as" in my questions and my posts. I was just wondering -- does "as long as" in the sense "since" [=in view of the fact ...
4
votes
1answer
177 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
379 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
82 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 – ...
2
votes
1answer
205 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
990 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
80 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
101 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
134 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
281 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
70 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
1answer
87 views

In AE, is it okay to drop “with” in grammatical constructions with “to supply”, “to furnish”, “to present”, “to issue”, and “to endow”?

In analogy with "to provide" and "to feed", which can be both constructed with and without "with" (at least in AE) -- [This application will provide you (with) all the information you need] and [The ...
0
votes
2answers
80 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
votes
1answer
110 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?
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
173 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; ...
-3
votes
1answer
122 views

Is it grammatically acceptable to drop “to” in constructions such as [to cater “to” someone] and [to entitle someone “to” something]?

Back when I was a student, I was taught as a rule that verbs such as "cater" and "entitle" should be followed by "to" before "someone" and "something" respectively. Yet, I was kind of puzzled the ...
0
votes
2answers
60 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
311 views

Charge payment “to”, “on”, or “against” a credit card/an account; charge a credit card/account/a person “with”an amount

Are all of these options acceptable and in current use to denote payment with a credit card? E.g. Please charge this amount on me/my credit card/my (credit card) account. Please charge this amount ...
0
votes
3answers
125 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
32 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
114 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
2answers
408 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

“Hew to” and “conform to/with” in AE

Can "hew to" and "conform with/to" be used just about interchangeably for whatever register of AE, including the most formal prose? ...shall hew to the law and the recognized standards of legal ...
4
votes
2answers
411 views

In AE, is “tin” used instead of “can” to designate an eco friendly BPA free can of sardines?

I've always thought that "can" was the typical term to refer to a can of sardines (or the like) in AE, and "tin" the BE equivalent, until I recently stumbled across "tin" used instead of "can" on a US ...
-1
votes
2answers
121 views

Using “should” makes a sentence sound feminine?

I've heard that using "should" makes a sentence sound more feminine. For example, "What should I do?" Is this true? If so, can you give me an explanation? Thank you in advance.
0
votes
2answers
119 views

What is the difference between “a” and “per”?

1.The train runs 60 miles an hour. 2.The train runs 60 miles per hour. What is the differen between the two sentences.
1
vote
1answer
190 views

I want to know the meaning of “ to be”

There are two sentences She appears to be stupid. She appears stupid. What is the difference between the two sentences?
0
votes
2answers
49 views

“To dedicate” for “to inaugurate” in AE

What's the difference between "to dedicate" and "to inaugurate" in the sense [to open or begin use of formally with a ceremony, as of a highway, park, or building]? What's the story to "dedicate"? ...