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

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“To a fare-thee-well” for “perfectly well” in AE

Does the idiom "to a fare-thee-well" have any currency in modern day AE speech and writing, or does it have sort of an old fashioned feel to it? http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fare-thee-well ...
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2answers
76 views

what does it mean, “foot up” as verb? [closed]

I'm just guessing "foot up" means "kick something up"? Can I say "do it , or foot up your face"? Thanks,
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1answer
67 views

“Hussy” for a sewing folder in AE

Does the term "hussy" [alteration of Midde English husewif "housewife"] have any currency in modern day AE to refer to a sewing folder, or is it sort of better known as a derogatory term for a ...
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1answer
78 views

“Mobile” vs. “cellphone” in AE

I already heard Americans use the term "mobile" for "cellphone" -- which I thought was chiefly BE -- and so I wish you could tell if such usage of "mobile" has any currency in GAE? Unless it might be ...
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1answer
66 views

“To be retired” vs. “to be a retiree” vs. “to be a retirant”

Are both of these responses in current use in modern day AE to the question: What's your job? Is it I don't have a job, I'm retired. Or I don't have a job, I'm a retiree. Also, does ...
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2answers
235 views

Translating Gerunds from Spanish to English (verb+ing)

In Spanish, the gerund form (-ando, -endo) is frequently used adverbially to modify and describe the verb: El alma es dichosa dando y sirviendo. El niño anda bailando. El artista vive provocando ...
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2answers
155 views
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2answers
58 views

Have a sexed up weekend ahead! - is this correct [closed]

Have a sexed-up weekend ahead! This is what my friend told me. He wanted to convey that I have a good/crazy/exciting weekend. Does it make sense?
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1answer
203 views

Is it ordinary to use “between” for selection among two or more things?

AP Radio News (March 3) narrated that: “It’s anybody’s guess who win the best picture. It seems to be a close race between “American Hustle,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity.” I was under ...
3
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1answer
905 views

“Balconies”, “porches”, “decks”, “terraces”, “verandas”, “lanais”, “galleries”, and “piazzas” in GAE and dialectal AE

In AE, a porch is apparently just about the same structure as a veranda, i.e. an open or enclosed gallery or room attached to the outside of a building. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/porch ...
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2answers
174 views

Is it correct to say “We did a make”?

When we build software using Make or a similar build tool, is it correct to say "We did a make"? Also, do we need to say "The files were built using make" instead of "The files were made"?
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2answers
81 views

Is the expression “The States” used by Americans when referring to the US?

Does the expression "The States" have any currency in AE when referring to the US, or is it chiefly used by native English speakers from outside?
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2answers
104 views

“A food is fed (to) someone or something” vs. “Someone or something is fed on (or with) a food” [closed]

Focusing on the passive voice, which of the following grammatical constructions is (or are) more typical of AE? More research is necessary before *soy formula is fed to babies^ source More ...
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1answer
107 views

I've been betrayed by the Jedi Order, but I don't wish “for” them to all die [closed]

Does the presumably nonstandard construction "(verb) for someone/something to (verb)" instead of "(verb) (someone/something) to (verb)" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE speech and "not so ...
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2answers
348 views

“Sofa bed”, “hideaway couch”, “hide-a-bed”, “couch bed”, “sleeper sofa”, “day bed”, and “studio couch” in AE

Which of these terms is (or are) more typical of AE to designate a convertible consisting of an upholstered couch that can be converted into a double bed?
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1answer
38 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 ...
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1answer
35 views

The problems with “Showed”

Is it right to say " Fisher (1935) has showed that normality is guaranteed in case 1" Or should it be " Fisher (1935) has shown that normality is guaranteed in case 1" ? Personally, I guess both ...
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1answer
243 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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1answer
117 views

“Should I” vs. “Shall I” vs. “Do I” in AE

In colloquial prose, is there some difference to saying "Should I/we", Shall I/we", "Do I/we" to ask someone's advice? E.g. Should I call the police? Sounds like I'm asking someone (or myself) ...
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3answers
106 views

Borrowed idea synonym

I am preparing a presentation to pitch for an 'idea' that I think should be implemented in my team. The problem is that it is not something new and it is not my brainchild. Several implementations of ...
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2answers
226 views

“Occupation” and “professional occupation (plus calling and career)” vs. “vocation” and “professional vocation” [closed]

Is "professional vocation" an acceptable alternative to "professional occupation", and to "professional calling or career" also? You might want to consider the following sourced examples for this: ...
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1answer
360 views

“Assist someone do” vs. “assist someone to do (or ”in/with“ doing)”

I just recently came across "assist someone do" searching Google for examples to my previous question, and would like to check with you whether it is an acceptable option to "assist someone to do (or ...
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1answer
132 views

'See' and 'Hear' in the progressive?

I'd like you to go into details about the difference between 'see', 'hear' and 'seeing', 'hearing'. I'm not a native speaker, so it's a bit hard to understand this explanation that 'see' and 'hear' ...
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1answer
48 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 ...
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3answers
486 views

“Coat” vs. “jacket” in AE

In some regions of the U.S., can the term "coat" be used to designate what other native speakers of other U.S. regions -- and from farther out -- would call a jacket? Please consider this Ngram: ...
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1answer
195 views

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

My bilingual dictionary points up “snub out” as an Americanism for “stub out” as in, “He snubbed out his cigarette.” But, does is this expression current enough in modern day spoken AE to be used ...
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1answer
220 views

“To be headed for” and “To be headed over to”

Can these expressions be used just about interchangeably for all but the most formal prose, or is there a subtle difference to them? E.g. He is headed over to the garage. He is headed for the ...
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2answers
45 views

Proper usage for the word “obverse”

I believe "obverse" has several meanings, with one being "the flip side of something (coin)." I'm trying to cleverly contrast opposite approaches of a person's management duties. "From a wide ...
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4answers
225 views

Why do we say that we “observe” traditions?

Why do we say that we "observe traditions" rather than "following traditions" or some other term?
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4answers
897 views

Is “Know how to cook leeks”an idiom? What does “Read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks” mean?

There was the following sentence in New York Times’ article (February 28) titled “What you learn at 40s.”: "Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” - - The conventional wisdom ...
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1answer
108 views

“Alligator pear” and “sparrow grass” for “avocado” and “asparagus”

Do "sparrow grass" and "alligator pear" have any currency in spoken AE, or are these terms chiefly dialectal?
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2answers
1k views

“Sitting room”, “lounge”, “lounge room”, and “front room”

Each of these terms seem to be used to designate a room, in a private house or in the front of a public facility, where one can sit and relax and talk. But, are there any differences to them -- or do ...
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1answer
142 views

“Lobby”, “foyer”, “front (of house)/front room”, “entranceway”, “entry”, and “entryway”

"Lobby", "foyer", "entry(way), "entranceway" and "front (of house)/front room" seem to be used to designate an area or a room near the entrance to a public building such as a hotel, where one can ...
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1answer
118 views

Difference between “Upscale”, “high-toned/tony”, “fancy”, “high-end”, “select”, and “exclusive”

Can these terms denoting something expensive, elegant and/or fashionable be used just about interchangeably, or are there any subtle differences to them? E.g. Alone in a tony restaurant...source ...
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121 views

Does using the word “idealist” to self-describe carry an air of arrogance?

Forgive me if this question is off-topic as POB. But, I believe there is a language usage/philosophical question here. My wife and I were having a discussion about politics this evening, and she ...
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1answer
154 views

“Smart casual” vs. “casual chic”

As far as apparel code goes, is "casual chic" just about the same as "smart casual", or is there a nuance I am missing?
2
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4answers
292 views

Can “beefcake” serve as a verb to mean showing off big muscles?

I was confused by the ending line of the following sentence from the article titled, “The last, disposable action hero” in the February 28th edition of Time magazine: “American movie market now ...
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1answer
58 views

usage of infinitive after feel [duplicate]

What is grammatically wrong with the sentence, "I feel to eat."? After the verb feel, can the infinitive of another verb be used?
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1answer
24 views

“win” vs. “win out” in their transitive forms

Is there a hairbreadth of difference between saying "he won the race (or the battle, the fight, etc.) and "he won out the race (...)" either in a literal or figurative sense, or does it all mean just ...
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1answer
66 views

“He's liable/likely to win” and “He's likely/liable to lose”

"Liable" is often loosely used in colloquial, nonstandard AE for likely:"My favorite horse is liable to win" -- but discriminating use generally applies "liable" only to what is undesirable: "An ...
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1answer
166 views

“Return” and “come back” as intransitive verbs

Does "return" imply a longer absence than "be back" -- in analogy with "Batman returns (after a ten-year absence) -- in such a way that it would sound sort of awkward or weird to say of someone that ...
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1answer
193 views

“Opposite of (someone/something)” for “across from/opposite” in nonstandard colloquial prose

Consider the following quotes (emphasis mine). For a split second, I meet eyes with an older man standing in a still gaze just opposite of me amidst the sudden chaos. source Taking a seat ...
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3answers
98 views

Using 'the' with abbreviations of nouns [duplicate]

Consider United States of America or United Kindgom. While using these, it is customary to add the before it. Eg. I'm travelling to the United Kingdom However, when I use the abbreviation, it ...
29
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8answers
5k views

Why do Americans add “The” in front of a team name, but the British do not?

I'm not certain that there is an answer to this one: Americans refer to our teams as The Example: The New York Yankees The British in my experience do not. Example: Manchester United I ...
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44 views

'Is also on the works' or 'is also in the works', which is correct? [closed]

An android version of the app is also on the works. or An android version of the app is also in the works. Which is correct?
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9answers
1k views

Is it really rude to use the terms “the john” and “the loo” in lieu of “the restroom”?

I usually use the term "restroom" (or "toilet" if I want to make sure that everyone in the Czech Republic understands me at once), and, while I've always understood that the terms "john" and "loo" are ...
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3answers
1k views

What is the grammatical function of “a Catholic” in “She was raised a Catholic”?

I was drawn to the following line in New York Times (Feb.25) article: “De Blasio, who has said his mother was raised a Catholic but did not bring him up in the church.” ...
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2answers
108 views

Difference between “not as…as” and “not …er than”

In what kind of situation can we use "not as...as" not "not ...er than"? This question is not as easy as that one. This question is not easier than that one. This question is more difficult ...
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1answer
56 views

what will be the alternate word for convey in the following sentence

I am writing my first official email in English which happens to be my second language. I am unsure about the correctness of the following sentence. Please help. The detected error is false positive, ...
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1answer
50 views

“Bother and do” for “bother doing/to do” in colloquial speech and writing

As far as your English variety goes, does it sound acceptable to say "bother and do" instead of "bother doing/to do" in colloquial speech and not so formal writing? E.g. Please spend a moment of ...