For questions on how and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
3answers
4k views

When did “by way of” start meaning “originally from”

Some years ago, after returning to New York from some years living abroad, I began to notice New Yorkers of a certain generation (in their 20s and early 30s) describing themselves or others as "from [...
-4
votes
2answers
84 views

Her or him - English is polite or what! [closed]

The usage of "her" in this sentence caught my eye today: "The root user can do almost everything, because the operating system does not apply the usual protection mechanisms to her." Don't have a ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Is there a specific word or phrase for the drowsiness one might feel soon after a heavy lunch?

After a lunch, especially a nutritionally dense one, one might drift off into a drowsy state, sort of a "I sure could use a nap" feel, likely due to the breaking down of the foods in the digestive ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Use of “skill” and “competence/competency” in specific scenario

To me, skills are something related to mechanical performance. Someone is very skilled at playing football, for instance. Competence/competency on the other hand is more related to knowledge. ...
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Double Negatives [duplicate]

Is the phrase "Isn't there no need" considered a double negative and would resolve to a positive? Or is it considered an intensifier? So would it resolve to "There is a need"? The full sentence that ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Sentences start with Of

What is the meaning of of when it starts a sentence? For example, and what is the grammatically correct way to write a sentence starting with of?
2
votes
1answer
73 views

“stop over” vs. “stop off” vs. “lay over” in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference between those terms? Can they be used just about interchangeably? stopover n./stop over v. Dictionary.com noun A brief stop in the course of a journey, as to eat, sleep,...
19
votes
5answers
900 views

How did the adjective “just” come to take on so many adverbial meanings?

Just is a pretty useful adverb. It can carry several different meanings: very recently: I just finished the novel. exactly: That’s just what he meant. by a narrow margin: He just missed me ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Usage of definite article with nationalities [closed]

Bering's men found Eskimos in Alaska. or Bering's men found the Eskimos in Alaska. Which is right?
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Is it correct to say “must you drive me crazy”?

Is it correct to say "must you drive me crazy"? Does it sound stylistically correct for native speakers? Thanks!
1
vote
1answer
76 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “prospect for a residential tenant seeking office/retail accommodation plus storage”? [closed]

Based on the following description of a "shop + dwelling" (commercial milkbar with attached residential section) published in a rental advertisement would you say that it implies that the property is: ...
3
votes
3answers
465 views

“Trace” as a synonym for “trail” in AmEng

As far as AmEng is concerned, does "trace" mean just about the same as "trail" in "break/blaze a trace", and -- if indeed it does -- can "trace" be used pretty much interchangeably in every which ...
1
vote
2answers
39 views

No question mark after reported question

I am not sure if this was asked before since I don't know if there is a specific terms for this usage. Is it fine not to put a question mark at the end of a sentence like this? He hadn't gone to ...
0
votes
3answers
225 views

“To tame” for “to cultivate [vegetables, a land, etc.]” and “to domesticate (or farm) [poultry, fish, etc.]” in AmE

Harrap's New Shorter French and English dictionary Ed. 1985, defines both verbal and adjectival "tame" as Americanisms for respectively "to cultivate" and "cultivated", as of a plant or a land [adj. 1....
1
vote
4answers
5k views

Difference between control and manage?

They seem to function the same. Manage is even "control in action or use" according to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/manage. Control is a verb so isn't that in action as well? Thus, is it the ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Limit v/s limitation

I suffer from over reading. Have I again? I was looking for a new contract when I arrived at Octapace Consulting. Here is a quote that anchors that page. It reads: “When you compete with a person,...
3
votes
3answers
107 views

“trade” for “business deal; transaction” in North American vernacular

Harrap's New Shorter English-French Dictionary, Ed. 1982, states, trade [...] 2. (b) NAm (i) transaction (commerciale); (ii) clientèle f (d'une maison); carriage trade, grosse clientèle. ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

What was the usage of EModE’s four-form system for answering yes–no questions?

It is well-known that Early Modern English, if not earlier forms of English too, had a four-form system for answering yes–no questions. ‘Yea’ and ‘nay’ answered questions phrased positively (analogous ...
0
votes
3answers
258 views

Can the word petrify be used correctly in the sentences below? [closed]

Can the word petrify be used correctly in the sentences below? He was petrified with exhaustion! He was so petrified he slept without moving a muscle.
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Interview, taking, giving, being interviewed

So what is correct to use in the context of the interview? (If one is an interviewee) I am taking an interview. I am giving an interview. I am being interviewed. (If one is an interviewer) I am ...
5
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the exact meaning of “You've got yourself a deal”? Is it only an American slang?

I came across the phrase, ‘got yourself a deal’ being introduced as a vulgar American English by a character in Jeffery Archer’s, fiction “The Fourth Estate.” In the scene Keith Townsend, Australian ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

“available (availability)” vs. “valid (validity)” for “having sufficient power or efficacy” in AmEng vernacular

Per Random House Webster's College Dictionary, Ed. 1991, available suitable or ready for use; of use or service; at hand: I used whatever tools were available. readily obtainable; ...
0
votes
2answers
80 views

Any better alternatives to “open doors to a new world/findings/horizons/etc. for sb”?

Results of experimental models show great dependency on site conditions and experiment method. Under these conditions, statistical and AI-based methods (artificial neural networks and fuzzy systems) ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Is “yet” and “ever” interchangeable in “the most pivotal contest yet / ever”

Today’s (February 7) Time magazine carries an article titled, ”Republicans ready for eighth debate,” which starts with the paragraph, “Republican presidential candidates will face off in New Hampshire ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

a or the before “better” [closed]

I am bit confused on what to put - 'a' or 'the' before "better" for example better life better job better work
9
votes
4answers
773 views

“[a/the] equivalent of” vs. “[a/the] equivalent for” vs. “[a/the] equivalent to”

Which of the following constructs sound more idiomatic to you? Is there any British/American equivalent to the French phrase "broyer du noir"? Is there any British/American equivalent for the ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

must vs have to: British usage and academic rules

I am teaching 'have to' vs 'must' (British English usage) and, according to the book, the difference is as follows: must: it's necessary to do it (because the speaker says so) have to: it's ...
0
votes
2answers
219 views

How to refer to something “demanding” which doesn't happen all of a sudden?

Looking for a verb to express something that requires some time and effort to evolve, like collecting. I want to express that collecting requires some time and the collection doesn't just come out ...
0
votes
0answers
51 views

How do you tell the difference between “wrong” and “run” in perception test?

Background Just developing a linguistic test - native English speakers can pass(100% correct), and L2 learners cannnot pass(even though they are very proficient). "Wrong vs run" pair was chosen. ...
5
votes
2answers
205 views

What is the difference between “irreligious” and “non-religious”?

Irreligious (Dictionary.com 1st definition) not religious; not practicing a religion and feeling no religious impulses or emotions. Non-religious (Google definition) not relating to or ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

word for “owners/operators of a pastry shop” and “patissier's wife”

What would native speakers call a couple who runs a pastry shop? In France, the one in the pair that makes the pastries would obviously be called pâtissier if a man, and pâtissière if a woman, but so ...
1
vote
2answers
258 views

“Thousands-Dollar” or “Thousand-Dollar”? [duplicate]

If a prize is worth thousands of dollars, is it called a thousands-dollar prize or a thousand-dollar prize
0
votes
5answers
82 views

Is it proper to say, “This is my Uncle Archie's current wife.”

He is on his 4th wife. Is it proper to say, "This is my Uncle Archie's current wife."
0
votes
1answer
55 views

How do I understand when to use the phrase 'mad props'?

In Legally Blond the musical they use the phrase: MARGOT: Dear Elle, He's a lucky guy. I'm like gonna cry, I got tears coming out of my nose! Mad Props! He's the campus catch, You're a ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

Usage of Beautiful [closed]

I have been taught in English language classes that using "Beautiful" for a girl, represent your rudeness? for example you should not say "what a beautiful girl". Is it correct?
3
votes
2answers
127 views

“[ball]park” in AmEng vernacular

Are the terms ballpark and park specific to baseball in AmEng, or can they also be used for every which athletic stadium in which ball games like soccer or rugby are played? For example, would a ...
2
votes
3answers
146 views

“road” vs. “pavement” vs. “roadway” for French “chaussée” [road surface] in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference between those terms? Can they be used just about interchangeably? road: a long, narrow stretch with a leveled or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, ...
-2
votes
1answer
141 views

Various meanings of “mind and do” which can mean “be cautious/careful to do”, “take notice/give heed and do”, and “behave obediently and do”

How would you define the meaning of "mind and do" in the following examples: I will mind and do as I am told, Master Yoda... Mind and do your work properly... As long as you mind and don'...
-3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Bakeshop” vs. “bake shop” vs. “bakery” vs. “bakery shop” vs. “bakehouse” for a baker's shop, and “bakeries” for “baked goods” in AmE

Are all four terms in current use in AmE today to refer to a bakery's shop where bread and other baked stuff like cakes and pastries are sold? As far as I know, "bakeshop", "bakehouse", and "bakery" ...
3
votes
2answers
895 views

“Snub out a cigarette” for “stub out a cigarette” in AmEng

My bilingual dictionary marks "snub out” as an Americanism for “stub out” as in, “He snubbed out his cigarette.” Is this phrasal verb common enough in present-day spoken AmEng that it can be used ...
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

Can be no less than or cannot be no less than [closed]

Which is correct, A or B ? A)I can be no less than genuine or B) I cannot be no less than genuine
1
vote
1answer
73 views

“tab” for “hotel bill” in AmEng

In AmEng vernacular, is the word tab specific to restaurant and bar checks, or can it also be used for hotel bills? E.g. Guest: We'll be checking out early tomorrow morning, so if it isn't too ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

What's the meaning of “is there any other way to see it?”

A: Are you saying accepting your help obligates me? B: ls there any other way to see it? A: No. I found this line from the movie, As Good As It Gets, and I'm curious about this phrase "Is ...
2
votes
1answer
216 views

“Connected by” vs “Connected with” vs “Connected to”

I want to know the difference and when to use which construction. For instance: The island and the city are connected with a bridge or The island and the city are connected by a bridge ? ...
8
votes
3answers
703 views

“jam,” “jelly,” and “jello” in AmEng vernacular

What exactly is the fruit preserve called "jam" in the U.S.? Is it what is referred to in France as "confiture"? If so, then what would be the French for, what is called "jelly" in the U.S. ("jam" ...
5
votes
2answers
293 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

“OF” between the subject and the verb “seem”?

When reading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," I came across the sentences as following: "'They of seem so helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these.'" What is this "of" ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Digging a grave vs Digging up a grave

Which of these phrases would be the most gramatically correct? Additionally, in the case of "climbing a ladder" and "climbing up a ladder", which makes the most sense? In case this is country ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

“Imponderable” definition and usage

If "ponder" means "to consider carefully",did "imponderable" originally mean "not able to be considered"? And how did it seemingly evolve into its usage today meaning "unanswerable" (despite careful ...
0
votes
3answers
56 views

To feel adjusted (phrase usage)

Is it correct to say (and write), "I feel/don't feel adjusted to a house/country"? For example: I feel adjusted to Las Vegas because it's my hometown. Can someone really be adjusted or feel ...