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

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1answer
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Use of “nay” - still current?

I get the sense that the interjection nay is seen as outdated and used only for humorous effect. Is this assumption true, or is it still acceptable in serious writing?
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4answers
459 views

The proper term for a person who uses words incorrectly [duplicate]

What is the proper term for a person who uses words incorrectly, hoping to impress others?
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2answers
70 views

What is the difference?

Hello I was wondering what the difference was between these: I was having the man leave. I was having the man leaving. I had the man leaving. I had the man leave. are some of these ...
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2answers
73 views

Usage of the word “coordinated” in a professional report

Which is a more apt way of using the word coordinated in the given context: I thank Mr. XYZ, who coordinated with me on the project. OR I thank Mr. XYZ, with whom I coordinated on the project. ...
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2answers
335 views

What does “as” represent for in “Cantor quits as Majority leader” and “Cantor to resign as Majority leader”?

Today’s New York Times reported Eric Canter’s defeat in Primary election in Virginia under the headline: “Eric Cantor to step down as House Majority leader” followed by the text copy: “Representative ...
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1answer
50 views

The usage of … number(s) of [closed]

Here we wish to make sure the usage of ... number(s) of ..., which one below is correct? An even number of people An even number of cards Even numbers of people Even numbers of cards An odd ...
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2answers
59 views

The feminine of “He was a leading man of letters”

"William Shakespeare was a leading man of letters". What if we are talking about Florence Margaret Smith. Miss Smith was a leading...... Would you, native speakers, say "woman" ?
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2answers
63 views

captilization of words with abbreviation

I always used to capitalize first letter of words that have abbreviation. For example, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). I do this more often when i mention the ...
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1answer
479 views

Why don't Americans refer to Indians (and others from the subcontinent) as Asians?

I know there is a related question here, but I am not seeing an answer to "Why is there a difference?" Merely that an explanation of what is used in each country. I am a speaker of American English, ...
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2answers
75 views

Why do we use the gerund of begin but not end when discussing a range?

In colloquial speech, one often hears the use of the beginning and the end to denote a range, but you rarely hear them paired in the same form or or the opposite pairing: ie begin and ending, begin ...
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1answer
255 views

Is wrong to say “two and two are not five”…? [duplicate]

Since the childhood days we have been memorizing the tables of numbers saying : two ones are two (2 x 1 = 2) two twos are four (2 x 2 = 4) two threes are six (2 x 3 = 6).... However recently I ...
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1answer
516 views

Are “was/were able to” and “could” interchangeable?

In a grammar book, the claim was made that in the following sentences one cannot substitute "was/were able to" with "could." The fire spread through the building very quickly, but everyone was ...
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1answer
38 views

I am going to spray water on you

I am looking for a sentence to say when you are in a situation where you want to put some drops of water from your wet hands onto someone else's body, by flickering your fingers. What would be an ...
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1answer
108 views

Usage of “What does who want?”

I have stumbled upon the phrase "What does who want?" which puzzles me. Its unusualness makes me doubt. I have been told it is used just as "What does he want?", with [who] replacing [he] when we ...
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3answers
862 views

Is there a term/word for using an incorrect homophone

What would you call the following: Speak now or forever hold your piece.
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1answer
416 views

“nervous about” and “nervous of”

While going over the correct prepositions to use with adjectives, I came across a situation I can't define. I'm using a Longman dictionary and a Cambridge grammar, but neither defines the difference ...
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1answer
131 views

“Due to” vs. “owing to” [duplicate]

Is there any difference between due to and owing to? Are there some specific situations when owing to is to be used rather than due to?
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2answers
1k views

Why “like doing something” or “like to do something” but only “dislike doing something”?

At a further education course for teachers, in Switzerland, (given by two native speakers of English), someone came up with the question of whether you could say "dislike doing something" and "dislike ...
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4answers
230 views

Are terms like “policeman” still gender-exclusive if they refer to one specific man?

I'm reading a news article about a male police officer and the author calls him a "policeman." This word seems unsophisticated to me, but is it still sexist if it refers to a man?
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0answers
20 views

How to ask this as question [duplicate]

I am wondering how to turn the following into a question "Narendra Modi is the 18th Prime Minister of India" How to ask this as question, so that answer will be 18th I have tried searching ...
10
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1answer
498 views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the ...
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4answers
355 views

Yards, courtyards, and gardens in American English

As long as reportedly Americans commonly designate an area of land, usually planted with plants, trees, flowerbeds, etc., adjoining a house as a yard (front yard/backyard); and a plot of land used for ...
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1answer
2k views

“Have you ever been” to France? vs. “Have you ever gone” to France? vs. “Did you ever go” to France?

Which of the grammatical constructions above is (or are) more typical of what is commonly said and heard in colloquial AE? If all three options work, is there any difference to them meaningwise? ...
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2answers
108 views

Cowboys, cowpokes, cowpunchers, wranglers, vaqueros, and buckaroos

Depending on where you are regionally located in the US, can these terms be used just about interchangeably in the sense "a hired hand (a cowhand) who tends cattle and performs many of his duties on ...
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1answer
267 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
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1answer
69 views

Kvetch - Meaning

I was just reading a book (The Help) and came across a usage of "kvetch" that didn't quite fit with how I thought it was used. A publisher is talking about a person's writing style and comments that ...
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0answers
36 views

Be talking something? [closed]

First of all, I'm not native. I've heard this expression in some movies, I believe, and I'm wondering whether it's correct (or maybe I just thought I heard this and I'm mistaken). Can you say "be ...
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3answers
135 views

What is the usage of “need to want”?

"Indeed, whoever buys this needs to want a tablet and laptop in more or less equal measure." "Needs to want"? Isn't it a kind of unnecessary way around saying: "I think that people buy this if they ...
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2answers
5k views

On a page or In a page

Which is the correct usage: Something on a page OR Something in a page By page, I mean a web page, not a physical book page.
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3answers
1k views

Does the phrase “don't even pass the laugh test” pass as an idiomatic expression, or only a set of words?

I was intrigued to the phrase, ‘the argument doesn’t pass even the laugh test’ in the following statement of Bruce Schneier, a security technologist on the debate about whether Edward J. Snowden who ...
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3answers
104 views

Regarding 'for' used in the context of time [closed]

Is the following ambiguous? He has not lived in Boston for 2 years. Could it mean: It is not true that he has lived in Boston for two years. He might have been living in Boston for only ...
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2answers
598 views

Usage of “to be across”

I have only recently encountered "to be across", meaning "to understand fully". I have long been familiar with "to get across", of course. It seems to be the recipient that corresponds to the giver ...
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2answers
254 views

What is the meaning of “here” at the end of a sentence and how should it be used?

I have had a few international friends ask about "here" when used at the end of a sentence such as "I could use a little help here!" or "buy me some time here!". I would like to better explain this to ...
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1answer
88 views

What does ‘Konrad Lorentz’s observation was “one sentence”’ mean?

New York Times (May 20) introduces a study of Dr. Johanna H. Meijer at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands that proves mice are really enjoying wheel-running in the article titled, ...
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2answers
757 views

Geometric or Geometrical?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants "geometric" and ...
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1answer
134 views

Usage of “and so”

Take this as an example: I've a thought that - the life is worthless. Since the life is worthless, We're worthless. How to express this in a simple statement? Is this correct to say? "Life is ...
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2answers
394 views

What does repetitive “#s” before “pushy, bossy, polarizing women and men” account for?

New York Times (May 17) reported Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times decided to fire its executive editor, Jill Abramson, under the headline, “Times publisher denies gender ...
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5answers
3k views

Is a snake's venom poisonous?

This is a question more concerning the word 'poisonous' and 'venomous' than poison vs. venom. I'm wondering about the following, specifically the last sentence: Don't eat the plant, it is ...
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1answer
138 views

Disinterested vs. uninterested

I’ve always understood the difference between disinterested and uninterested as follows: uninterested: not interested, not up to it disinterested: impartial Consider the situation of someone ...
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1answer
380 views

Had you had asked

Let's say in this scenario: Someone asked me for help to do certain thing. I gave a negative response. That person then asked for the reason. I responded with: "Had you had asked me nicely ...." ...
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4answers
5k 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 ...
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1answer
57 views

The use of indefinite article with initials [duplicate]

Can you explain why we say AN NHS provision but A National Health provision. Or A UFO but An UNIDENTIFIED Fly Object. Are there any rules regarding the use of A or An when using initials such as ! In ...
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2answers
332 views

“Gain in popularity” vs “Gain popularity”?

I've got the following sentence: These issues have allowed for alternatives, such as Spotify and Pandora, to gain in popularity. A friend expressed concern and believes that it would be more ...
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2answers
252 views

“inquisitive” vs. “inquiring” in AmE and BrE

Do these terms share the same level of laudatoriness/pejorativeness in both BrE and AmE? Or, does one typically have a more positive/negative connotation to it than the other from your side of the ...
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1answer
65 views

“to” or “of” or both whilst referring to cities and places

I saw these billboards today: Turkey home of Istanbul Turkey home of Nemrut Nemrut is a mountain in Turkey with prehistoric monuments, and I think home of is the new slogan for Turkey. ...
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1answer
372 views

Proactive vs Preemptive [closed]

I need to explain the difference between "proactive" and "preemptive" and come up with a sample of the proper context of each word. Can someone point me to a previous post or give me their thoughts?
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6answers
2k views

Are there any names of food that are associated with political correctness other than Fried chicken?

The word Spanish golfer, Sergio Garcia used in answering a reporter’s question about the status of his current relationship with his rival, Tiger Woods on May 21st – “We’ll have him ‘round every ...
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2answers
185 views

Origin of “off the meter” idiomatic phrase

When and how did the phrase "off the meter" become established as an idiom? Urban Dictionary defines "off the meter" as the condition of being "very good, awesome, great". I have heard and said it ...
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1answer
43 views

Is “Alligators and Kangaroos” a set phrase to express an encounter with unexpected happening?

The Entertainment Movies section of Today’s (May 9) Time magazine introduces the Hollywood version of the children’s book, “The Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” under the ...
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2answers
36 views

Acronym or initialism presentation

When creating an acronyms/initialisms in a document which will be referenced throughout the document, what is the proper way to display it for the first time? ("Word") or just (Word)?