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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
1answer
97 views

Which is correct: 'leaving at…' or 'leaving by…', '..end of this week'?

My understanding of correct usage is 'leaving by end of this week', and that is what I have been using all along. However looking at an example of 'informal letter', at an IELTS preparation site, I ...
4
votes
5answers
262 views

For computer science, are the files corrupted or corrupt?

Computer files: Are they "corrupt" or "corrupted"? I feel they could be both. What is the standard?
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Remove extra “the”s and improve a sentence [closed]

I have the following statement describing a course learning outcome: At the end of this course, the students will be able to: Apply concepts of lighting and illumination technology and ...
1
vote
3answers
71 views

Usage of “cooperate.” [closed]

Almost all of my students use the word "cooperate" in this way: "My company cooperates with X." X can be a company or person. For example, if the student works at MediaTek, they will say "We ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

“Is” or “was” written by?

We usually speak of the events of a work of fiction in present tense, even though they may clearly have happened in the past: "Macbeth hallucinates a dagger floating before him." This is because the ...
0
votes
0answers
102 views

How to ask a question about ordinal number? [duplicate]

There are many pupils in the classroom. Peter was the n th( n is a positive integer) student to arrive. Now I want to ask Peter about what n is. How can I ask him? It seems that it is very difficult ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

Colloquial for House of Commons

In the United Kingdom, what is colloquial for House of Commons? Would you say a member addressed the House, addressed Commons, or would you also say he or she addressed the House of Commons?
-2
votes
1answer
61 views

Is “have to” appropriate in formal writing [closed]

Is it appropriate to use have to in formal writing? I've seen a number of posts about the meaning of that phrase but none regarding whether it is appropriate compared to alternatives. EDIT: Here's ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

Usage of a pronoun properly [duplicate]

I had this question in mind for long and I think this is the perfect spot to ask. Consider the following sentences (Just for instance). We are an equal opportunity employer. However when applying ...
1
vote
2answers
136 views

Is “Me” instead of “I” as a nominative pronoun actually acceptable?

TL;DR; Has 'Me and whoever' long become acceptable usage in informal speech? In the comments on this answer on ELL, I corrected the usage of "me" instead of "I". "My boyfriend and I.. " 😁 ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Why “off the table” is not included in major English dictionaries while “on the table” is shown as an idiom in all of them?

I recently saw a cartoon in which President Obama in a physician’s costume followed by an elephant and a buffalo in suit is lifting up the one end of a surgery tolley marked “Big farma and insurance ...
3
votes
3answers
982 views

1 o'clock in the morning OR 1 o'clock at night?

Could you help me on this? In my native language I would speak about the "night" starting from around 11 pm till 4 in the morning. So every time I see an English phrase like "2 o'clock in the morning" ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

When did it become common to say “because X” instead of “because of X?” [duplicate]

When did this usage become common, especially in a sarcastic or ironic context? Carnegie Mellon erroneously sends computer science admission letters to 800, because computers. [emphasis added] ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

“Experimented person” as synonym of “Experienced person”

I occasionally find some occurrences of experimented as adjective, such as experimented user, experimented soldier, etc., but they are relatively rare. Is is accepted usage to consider both words as ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Is there a difference between “entrée” and “entry”?

From a recent op-ed in the Washington Post (emphasis mine): But immigration gives Trump entrée to African Americans with an issue that will resonate with many and at least give him a hearing. I ...
1
vote
2answers
96 views

“Snag (a chance, an opportunity, etc.) for ”seize/snatch" in AE

Does "snag" have any currency in modern day AE to say "snatch (or seize) (a chance, an occasion, etc.), and can it be used just about interchangeably with the latter? Or, is there a subtle difference ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

Can we use “depart” in the following sentence?

Can we use "depart" in the following sentence? I departed from Jared, heading to the north as he went to the opposite direction. I guess "depart" is mostly used for places. I wonder if it can be ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

Is there any difference or nuance between “At the start, …” and “In the beginning, …”?

"At the start, ...", this is from the book, I am reading now. It sounded very rare to me so I was wondering what an occasion I can use this expression comparing "In the beginning, ...". Thanks.
1
vote
1answer
120 views

How do I choose between “was” and “were”? [closed]

Should I use the singular “was” or the plural “were” in the following sentence? The first thing that I noticed was (OR) were the street performers singing near the main entrance of the park. ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

“eldest” vs. “firstborn”

A family genealogist discovered that his grandparent who was believed to have had six siblings actually had two more who had died very young; one died a few days after birth. The firstborn died at ...
-1
votes
1answer
80 views

Can't understand a 'but' word usage [Daniel Defoe] [closed]

Can someone please explain me why Daniel Defoe uses a 'but' word literally everywhere? (See photos, last string in both occasions). Thanks a lot for your answers!
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Use of “workarounds”

Let's say there is problem X, and I have in mind some methods, each is a workaround for X. For a single workaround, it seems fine to say: "I am suggesting a workaround X", but I feel the following ...
32
votes
7answers
2k views

Can a statement be “hissed” without any sibilants?

Is using hissed as a replacement for said technically acceptable in dialogue without the presence of any sibilants? "You fool!" she hissed. I understand that hissed could be used to indicate a ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

What is the definition of definition?

Does a definition need to provide a unique or near-unique description or can non-unique descriptions also be categorized as definitions? For example: Is the statement "An apple is a fruit" a ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What is meant by a “two-lane” road?

When people say that a road has "two lanes"? Two lanes total, one travelling in one direction, and one travelling in the opposite direction? Two lanes travelling in one direction, and two more ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

“Directory” for the main board in an airport, etc., informing people on arrivals/departures, floors/levels to certain stores, etc

In AE, is it appropriate to designate as a "directory" the main information board found in the concourse or front room of a public place such as a passenger station, an airport, a shopping mall, an ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Are proper adverbs falling out of usage in current spoken American English?

While watching American movies and TV series, I notice that in dialogue very often the usage of a proper adverb is replaced by the corresponding adjective (in the case where the adverb is formed by ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Usage of “so to” in the place of “to” as part of infinitive construction

Example: We make wine by hand in small lots and taste the wines constantly so to profit from its constant change. I would normally drop the "so" and phrase it like "we do it to profit" Are both ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

The meaning of 0% and 100% as opposed to other percentages?

Oftentimes, percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number. A $49.99 item may be marked 50% off, even if the price becomes $24.99 (it should be 50.03% off). However, I have come to notice that ...
2
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

“sympathetic” : one who “feels” sympathy or “deserves” sympathy?

Can one who others feel sympathy for, be described as sympathetic? I've always believed that sympathetic only describes one who bestows sympathy, not one who receives sympathy. Incorrect Example? ...
3
votes
2answers
33 views

What is the difference between “feudal” and “feudalistic”?

They are both adjectives related to feudalism. But what is the difference between the two in actual usage.
0
votes
2answers
208 views

Usage of the word: realpolitik

Can the word realpolitik correctly be used to describe how a country deals with its citizens, or only between countries to describe a form of diplomacy? If not, what word best describes my example?
0
votes
2answers
40 views

The second verb of subject should be express according to number or not? [closed]

He is a man who has a bad heart. or He is a man who have a bad heart. Which one is correct? I tried to search "He is a man who have" and "He is a man who has" on Google but I got quite ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Using “Chances are…”

Here's the sentence I'm wrestling with: "Chances are most of your customers are..." Is this correct? Or should it be "Chances are that most of your customers..." or "Chances are, most of your ...
2
votes
3answers
113 views

What is the meaning of this life quote? [closed]

I am trying (but failing) to understand the meaning of this life quote: Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you are afraid to try. Can you explain what it means?
0
votes
2answers
168 views

“Looks like” in more formal way [closed]

I want to write It looks like I misunderstood Berta's explanation But in more formal way. Thanks
0
votes
0answers
90 views

Usage of the word together

I need to know the meaning of the following sentence, if being sent to one person. "Would you be interested in trying out a new restaurant together sometime"? Does this mean that this is a group ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

“…the city of Berlin was divided ________ the USSR, the USA and the UK” [duplicate]

After the second world war, the city of Berlin was divided ________ the USSR, the USA and the UK. Options by with between among My Approach: I am not able to solve this ...
0
votes
2answers
52 views

Why the word “common ground” as noun does not contain or unnecessary to have a hyphen?

Why the word "common ground" as noun does not contain or unnecessary to have a hyphen? Is this compound term correct?
3
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

In anything but…meaning and usage

I am reading some documentation and cannot fully understand the meaning of 'In anything but..' In anything but the smallest applications it makes sense to organize the service definitions by ...
1
vote
3answers
155 views

Which is correct, “to take refuge in” or “to take refuge with”?

Concerning refuge with a higher existence such as an Omnipotent being, what is more befitting to use, English wise: To take refuge in [Omnipotent being] To take refuge with [Omnipotent being] ...
-1
votes
1answer
118 views

Best practices to address a person having the same name? [closed]

I am not a native speaker. I would really like to know how you address someone with the same name as you have. Like my name is Daniel. I met a colleague who is also called Daniel. By the way, we ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Can we say “same to you” in response to “nice to meet you”?

Is it ok to respond with "same to you" when someone says Nice to meet you ? I am getting confused because "you too" can be interchangeably used for "same to you".
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Long-term v lifelong [closed]

Should I say "It's been a long-term dream of mine to do sth" or "It's been a lifelong dream of mine to do sth"
0
votes
1answer
134 views

Which future tense for holidays or doctor appointments?

Although I know the general rules when to apply which tense, I'm often confused and do not really know which one to use. I can find pros and cons for each tense. Two examples: In terms of spending ...
0
votes
4answers
105 views

Use of “this was suggested to me by…”

I say to my friend Mark: "You should read this book". Later, Mark talks with another person about this and says: "This book was suggested to me by a friend". Is this correct? Does it sound natural or ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Why does this use of “the” seem wrong?

I'm helping a colleague edit his paper before submission. He is a native French speaker and I am having trouble saying why "the" isn't necessary in "the threads" or in particular "the shared memory," ...
2
votes
3answers
123 views

How I can use a word of “whereas”?

I looked up Oxford dictionary: In contrast or comparison with the fact that: "you treat the matter lightly, whereas I myself was never more serious" I am still confusing about this meaning. Please ...