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

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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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2answers
187 views

“You just won the lottery? Chapeau!”

"You just won the lottery? Chapeau!" This is the first time I have seen such usage in English. Literally 'Chapeau' means 'hat', but the intention (that I get from the internet) is something ...
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2answers
1k views

When did replacing “yes” with “absolutely” come into common usage?

Replacing simple, concise words with longer, more obscure ones has long been a hallmark of bureaucratic reports and student papers. Consider the response "yes" (and its other less formal variants) ...
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46 views

Use of 'My' vs. 'Me' as in 'Me doing something'? [duplicate]

So I believe I've heard this before but I'm not entirely sure, nor am I sure if it's correct grammatically or not: using the word 'my' instead of 'me' with some form of 'doing'. Here's an example: ...
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3answers
170 views

Participants' vs Participantses [closed]

So I know an apostrophe is used to show possession. E.g The participant's book. However, what if I wanted to show possession with several participants? If I was referring to the scores of each ...
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2answers
470 views

Is “offloading a passenger” idiomatic?

Merriam-Webster and Oxford seem to suggest that we can offload things, not people, yet "offloading a passenger" is quite prevalent in Philippine English. Is it a phrase that somebody from the inner ...
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1answer
79 views

What does it mean by “has to say”? [closed]

I would like to add more about my question. Rob and Finn were the hosts at the learning English program. They wanted to listen to an expert about their topic. So, they said "Let's listen to what the ...
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1answer
1k views

Why does the word 'calculative' not exist in the Oxford dictionary?

My friends and I have been using 'calculative' and not 'calculating' to describe a person given to doing or planning things only for their benefits; but it seems like we have been wrong for so long. ...
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2answers
131 views

What does “About its lot” mean?

In Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Chapter 2, when talking about how long the Electric Monk believed silly things, the book says: How long did the Monk believe these ...
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3answers
130 views

Is “Thrashing Win” an oxymoron?

According to me, a "crushing defeat" and a "thrashing win" are opposites. I have always seen the usage of these two terms in sports. But I have seldom seen the usage of "thrashing defeat". Is ...
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46 views

“generations now past” - is “now” appropriate here?

...structure will stand for generations to come, just as it did for generations now past... Is the word now grammatically correct in this usage or even necessary?
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2answers
240 views

Corporates - is there any such word? [closed]

The use of "corporates" as a word to mean companies, organizations, etc., has been gaining popularity of late, at least here in India. Although I believe it is standard to speak of "corporate" life, ...
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142 views

Which preposition follows “in the week” when denoting a specific week of the year?

I'm pretty sure that the correct preposition is of: I'll probably start working on this issue in the week of June, 8th. However, there are thousands of hits on Google using the preposition from. ...
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2answers
216 views

… to feel sick Tuesday afternoon / on Tuesday afternoon / from Tuesday afternoon. Which one is correct?

Are these all correct? He was feeling good on Monday, but he started to feel sick Tuesday afternoon. He was feeling good on Monday, but he started to feel sick on Tuesday afternoon. He was feeling ...
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36 views

The use of 'contract'

Is it right to say 'He is contracted with a virus which causes his immunity to be weak against diseases'? Can the word 'contract' be used with 'with'? Thanks.
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2answers
102 views

Do usage errors exist?

...for the descriptive linguist? I've noticed that some users on English Stack Exchange, and some reference works, tend to answer questions about word usage by referring to how words are used in ...
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3answers
2k views

Does ‘sugarplum’ have the meaning of ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’?

There is the following advice for ‘defusing an argument with one word’ in a website: In an argument in which the fight systems are fully armed you need to provide an abrupt interruption. Have a ...
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2answers
105 views

In what situations would a native English speaker omit the last g in an -ing verb?

Examples: I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later. -Mitch Hedberg The jazz boom was goin' on then so there was a lot ...
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3answers
415 views

Usage of hain't

According to Dictionary.com, ain't has two meanings: Nonstandard except in some dialects. am not; are not; is not. Nonstandard. have not; has not; do not; does not; did not. When I ...
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3answers
540 views

Is there a rule about using the adverb “utterly” followed by negative adjectives?

I have noticed that most of the time it is the case in usage, but I'm not sure if it is a rule or not. I. e. would it be right to say "utterly wonderful" or does it sound oxymoronic? Thanks
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4answers
348 views

“Cousined to them” expression [closed]

What is the expression that sounds like "cousined to them" meaning accepted or gotten used to? For example, The city councilors passed the building code but the planning department was set in ...
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1answer
663 views

How is “erogenous” incorrectly formed?

When I check the etymology of erogenous in OED, it is mentioned that it is incorrectly formed (along with erogenic). Etymology of erogenous from OED: formed as erogenic adj. + -ous suffix. ...
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1answer
79 views

usage of adverb never [closed]

Is this sentence correct? "We had a fight and never spoke again". I think the verb "spoke" should be either in simple present or present perfect, shouldn't it?
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3k views

Confused on how to use “instead” in the middle of a sentence

I am dumbfounded on why the man does not spring for Walton’s help, instead, he makes sure the vessel is headed North. I'm confused on how to use "instead" in the middle of my sentence. Is that ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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Does “is that ok for you?” means the same of “does that work for you?”

Do they mean exactly the same? Is one form more formal/casual than other? Can I say one of them in a email that is not very formal?
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2answers
301 views

How to explain an acronym inside a quote [duplicate]

I'm currently doing an essay and I haven't previously given context "private contractors with top secret clearance had access to GCHQ databases." how d I explain what GCHQ is? Is this correct? ...
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2answers
447 views

Is there a name for words which are pronounced differently depending on which definition is being used?

I was thinking about the word "fillet" recently. When I teach high school freshmen about the word (in a machining/engineering context), they refuse to believe that it is pronounced "FILL-it," rather ...
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2answers
32 views

Can laboring and belaboring be used in the same way?

While reading the book, Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future (amazon link), I came upon the following sentence: I know I am laboring this point, but the reason for going through this example ...
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Is it “is” or “are” in “There is/are two of us here”? [duplicate]

I have a question, which one of these sentences would be grammatically correct, or can they both be? There is two of us here. Or, There are two of us here.
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141 views

Rules for verb usage

I'm fairly new to the world of linguistics and this is my first post in this forum. I've been helping a friend to learn English and one of her questions has me stumped, even as a native speaker. She ...
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4answers
894 views

Can I use the word “promise” with gerund?

Is it possible to use gerund after the verb "promise"? For example, in the sentence "He promised cleaning the window. I'd prefer to say: He promised to clean the window. But today I was told that this ...
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2answers
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“Nice little place you've got here” - is it derogatory? [closed]

That is, does "little place" imply that the place is small, but pretty nevertheless? When told, would this offend a person owning a large mansion?
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2answers
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Was vs had been

I guess this question has been asked before, but please take a look the following sentence and tell me if there is a difference between them. When the transaction had been completed, A was still a ...
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3answers
976 views

“Short for” vs. “Stands for”

US stands for "the United States". US is short for "the United States". What are the subtle differences between them?
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178 views

Why is it “a President” when it's clear to anybody that it's refering to the present President? [closed]

The New York Times (January 20, 2015) carries an editorial board article under the headline, “At the State of the Union, a President outgunned in Congress is still combative.” It begins with the ...
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2answers
194 views

A house “made of ” or “made from” mud bricks? [duplicate]

I know the difference between "made of" and "made from", but could you help me choose which one I should use in the following sentence? This house is made of (or) from mud bricks
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5answers
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What does “Anyone who is married” mean in “Anyone who is married should know that facts and logic are not always helpful to one’s cause”? [closed]

I’m drawn to the phrase, “anyone who is married” taken from Benn Steil's recently published book, The Battle of Bretton Woods that deals with the battle engaged by Maynard Keynes and Harry White, each ...
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1answer
855 views

Is the usage of 'Due to urgent personal errands' valid? [duplicate]

I see in my company mails, there is a lot of usage of the statement Due to urgent personal errands (..I may not report to office today) which, by hunch, I guess is not a proper usage. What is the ...
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2answers
170 views

What does “cheffed-up” in “Traditional ramen that hasn’t been cheffed-up” mean?

In connection with my previous question about the meaning of the line, “This is a lot of cargo for noodle soup” in NYT’s (March 4, 2014) article, “Ramen’s Big Splash,” in its Dining & Wine ...
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1answer
53 views

Is the preposition necessary

Is it correct to use a preposition in this usage? Tommy doesn't need any shouting at, he does as he is told. Tommy doesn't need shouted at, he does as he is told. Or is the preposition ...
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0answers
25 views

Proper usage of the words “that” vs “which” [duplicate]

usage of "that" vs "which" Is there an improvement to X "that" or "which" you think should be considered?
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3answers
956 views

What is difference between sadness and sorrow?

What is the difference between sadness and sorrow? I researched a lot on internet but the results literally show the same meaning. If both sadness and sorrow are different, what are their usage?
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4answers
137 views

Word for a problem that goes away when a larger thing changes?

What is a word or expression for a problem has effectively gone away because of a larger change that makes the problem no longer a problem? I'm thinking "obviated" or "made unnecessary," but it ...
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5answers
75 views

Verb have in experience

Is this a valid usage of have? "As I was waiting in line I was having a lady next to me disrespected very badly." Does the example above make any sense? If so what exactly does it imply?
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2answers
452 views
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205 views

Difference between “ADJ enough to VERB” and “so ADJ as to VERB”

What's the difference between the two structures: ADJ enough to VERB "he is fool enough to pretend like that" "But was their crime great enough to merit a death sentence?" "Apple offers products ...
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9answers
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Is “layman” an offensive term?

Is it offensive to use the term layman nowadays? Does it insinuate that the people to whom you are referring are uneducated? I am wanting to say This is just one of the ways that CERN's research ...
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1answer
78 views

Can it be correct to have a bracket as its own sentence?

Is it correct English to have a sentence, and then a bracketed sentence as its own sentence? If you don't get what I mean, here's an example: The garden set on fire. (Even the fence set on fire). ...
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2answers
734 views

Is “those information” valid, or is it “this information”?

I know information does not have a plural form (syntaxically talking), which leads me to the following problem: The username and password are missing. I need [this/those] information. I feel ...