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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
3answers
117 views

What's an evidential basis for discussing gender-neutrality of terms? [closed]

I keep finding myself looking at questions involving the concept of gender neutrality of words or phrases. (Check out the RELATED panel down to the right there.) "Craftmanship" for example - is it ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Is there a specific group of words that I can look for before/after “its/it's” to determine proper/improper usage?

Is there a specific group/category of words that I can look for before/after "its/it's" to determine proper/improper usage? I'm asking this for the purpose of writing code that corrects the usage of ...
0
votes
3answers
196 views

Using the word “Disposition” as a Verb

I know disposition means a persons inherent qualities of mind and character and it is a noun. i know you would say "he has a very quiet brooding disposition" but my roommate was cleaning the house and ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

Stand-alone Use of 'There' in English

I was reading The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells. He uses There! without connection to other words (or maybe there is connection, but I don't see it). She glanced at his white-swathed head and blue ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Usage of “tum” in English speaking countries, other than the UK

I'm sure I've heard tummy used in American English and the English spoken in commonwealth countries as a sort of euphemism for stomach. I'm not sure so much how common it is to hear it reduced to tum, ...
15
votes
8answers
8k views

When did the term “flip flop” displace the term “thong” in North America for a type of sandal?

To Australians like me "thong" means a kind of sandal such as recently repopularized by the Havaianas brand but we know it means a kind of G-string in other English-speaking parts of the world. To ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Is it common to write only one “as” in a comparison?

This is a bit hard to explain, so here's an example: Hanging above the door was a huge smiley face put there to greet visitors. I hoped the people inside were just as friendly. Is this a ...
2
votes
3answers
298 views

Is there a difference between “tongue-tied” and “speechless”?

Earlier today, a student of mine was telling me a story about how his colleague, upon seeing him wearing an over-the-top jacket, was so surprised that she couldn't say anything. Question: Which ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

There is (there's) vs.There are

What are the roots of the creeping usage of "there's" for both singular and plural predicates? (This seems to be more common in spoken English.) I have 2 theories. Perhaps it is because spoken ...
1
vote
2answers
158 views

Sentence start with “If then”

Can any one tell me that when we start a sentence with If then? I came across this one. If then a practical end must be assigned to a university course,I say it is that of training good members ...
0
votes
3answers
103 views

Why are web browsers browsers, but I am a surfer?

What is the origin of the name of a program being used to access the Internet is a browser, but a human looking around on the internet is surfing? Why is there this discrepancy?
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Is it common to use “totally” in such a way as “Michelle Obama’ s totally running in California.” [duplicate]

Vanity Fair magazine (October 23 issue) carried an article titled, “A brief history of Michelle Obama career-goal rumors,” and wrote as follows under the caption, “She’s totally running in ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Usage frequency for “gambit”

Not sure if the tag I've selected is appropriate. Feel free to correct. Google's definition of gambit is shown below. Interestingly, the ngram usage graph shows that the popularity of the term ...
2
votes
4answers
133 views

Expect vs. Foresee

Just read the sentence "This is not what I expect but what I foresee." Does this make sense to anyone here? Granted there are differences in meaning between 'expect' and 'foresee' but to me they are ...
3
votes
4answers
251 views

Are “Real class” and “Paper class” well-received pair words?

Today’s (October 23) Time magazine and New Yorker carried articles dealing with a report of academic scandal of the University of North Carolina under the respective headline, “North Carolina releases ...
2
votes
3answers
100 views

Is the term “disillusion” being used correctly here?

It's easy to disillusion ourselves by thinking just because the output of our function looks very random, that it is very random. I asked a friend about this passage. I argue that it should ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

When Things Used To be “Worth 'X' Millions”

I was reading Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, and a character described a rich man as "Worth 20 millions". At least in AmE, we don't use "millions" in the plural anymore in this ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

Can I omit “had” if it is repeated too many times in a paragraph?

Example: I’d heard about this mystery before. However, I'd only thought it as a ghost story; something you'd tell around a campfire. Maybe I'm mistaken but the paragraph sounds better without ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Does “walk back” have a meaning of ‘deny’ or 'keep distance from somebody / something.' as an idiom?

I came across the phrase walked back from time.com: a State Department spokesperson had walked back his (John Kerry’s) comments in the Time magazine’s (August 2) article titled, “Oops: John Kerry ...
0
votes
4answers
771 views

Is “left for heaven” a common phrase in English?

Is "left for heaven" a common phrase for native English speakers?
0
votes
4answers
275 views

“During” a Period of Time

I'm working on a sentence (example below). It doesn't quite feel right: I tried to count the number of cars driven during 1980-1990. Specifically, the issue here is about usage of the ...
2
votes
3answers
313 views

Using the word “doc”

Merriam-Webster obviously says that the word is an abbreviation for doctor, and I also acknowledge the fact that it's less formal than doctor. My question is: when talking to your doctor, would it be ...
13
votes
5answers
8k views

the USA vs the US

I am writing an essay where I need to make a reference to the United States of America. Often I hear this shortened to the US, but sometimes people also say the USA. Are there any difference between ...
1
vote
4answers
247 views

“Removals Service” or “Removal Service”?

Take for example the tag line: "reliable removals service". Is this correct grammar/usage? Or should it be just "removal", singular? To me, "removals" seems more correct because it is describing ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

“similarly to” in the sentence beginning

Similarly to the previous version of this product, this version contains the same feature and .... (a long description of the product) Is the usage of "similarly to" in the sentence beginning ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Are “a perfect fool”, “a proper fool” and “a precious fool” the same kind of “fool”?

Is there any (subtle) difference in meaning and usage when these adjectives qualify "a fool"? Are these adjectives perfectly interchangeable "A precious fool I would look, if I did that." "The ...
2
votes
3answers
466 views

'out of' vs 'from' (a series)

Is it acceptable to say something along the lines of "this microphone is out of the 122 series" instead of "this microphone is from the 122 series" ? I have a colleague who insists that using 'out ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

What does the phrase “do your bit for your fellow gentlemen” mean? [closed]

Does gentlemen in the phrase "do your bit for your fellow gentlemen" mean yourself, or fellows at your company, or someone else?
0
votes
1answer
280 views

What is the meaning and usage of this “is true of”?

Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes ...
0
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
64
votes
9answers
12k views

Why is the word “Holy” used before swear words?

People usually use the word "Holy" before "Shit", "Crap" or any other bad words to express their feelings, like surprise, anger, etc. Is there any reason why the word "Holy" is used with these bad ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

Why is corner preferred over curve for racing tracks?

For example in car racing, the non-straight parts of the track are almost always called corners, even though many of them are very far from the typical (point-like) corner of a rectangle. ...
2
votes
3answers
278 views

“go home straight” or “go straight home”

Which one of the following is the proper usage below? "go home straight" or "go straight home"? thanks.
-1
votes
1answer
61 views

What is the meaning of this “General Government”?

No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. (from Up from Slavery)
2
votes
2answers
270 views

“I'm flabbergasted!” - Old fashioned? Pedantic? Refined? Educated? [closed]

To flabbergast - to overwhelm with shock, surprise, or wonder. "I'm flabbergasted!" - I have only one friend who uses this phrase, so I can't figure out what kind of person uses it. Although ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

Is this a correct usage of the phrase “give way”? [closed]

Libraries are peaceful and give way to thought. I appreciate any help you give.
1
vote
2answers
401 views

What is the difference between “&” and “and” in writing?

Can I use either whenever I want to use an and? e.g., I like to play and sing I like to play & sing We will walk and she will run. We will walk & she will run.
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Can “the rubber meets the road” be used as a stand-alone phrase to mean “stop disaster in its tracks or keep it at bay”?

I didn't know the idiom, "the rubber meets (hits) the road." So I was drawn to the passage, “When it comes to Ebola, the rubber met the road at the Firestone rubber plantation” appearing in NPR’s ...
-2
votes
4answers
939 views

Does seriously have only sarcastic connotations in this context?

This is the context: Lol! How brave... a down vote with no explanation. Seriously, tell me if I should just delete this. Please! That statement was found to be sarcastic, despite ending with ...
0
votes
3answers
132 views

What is an “apologetic question”?

What does this mean, "apologetic question". For example in this statement: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions "Apologetic" sounds like apologizing for something, but I don't ...
0
votes
3answers
263 views

is the phrase “long time later” correct?

I have come across this weirdly formed phrase in a book , but i am not sure of its correctness. If this is correct, what would be its proper usage? Is saying "I met you a long time later" correct?
0
votes
1answer
44 views

What does “strategic defence review” means?

In phrase "strategic defence review" which one is correct? review on strategic defence startegic review about defence Thanks
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Can the heart 'approach what it yearns', or must it 'approach what it yearns for'?

Paul Simon's lyrics ... how the heart approaches what it yearns... has always seemed to me an incorrect usage, although it's difficult to state why. It seems to me that the verb yearn ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

anthropomorphic vs. anthropomorphized

When is it most appropriate to use "anthropomorphic" as opposed to "anthropomorphized"? Is there any difference between the two?
1
vote
1answer
223 views

Why are doctors addressed as Mr. in the UK?

In the US most physicians, surgeons and dentists are addressed as "doctor". Very few other professionals receive the same title. In the UK, however, surgeons and dentists seem to prefer to be ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Does use of the superlative form imply that there is only one?

The question in the title doesn't strictly apply to the English language but to language in general (I think). For example can we point an item from the group where there are multiple items with the ...
4
votes
2answers
317 views

Using the word 'come' to mean 'when it comes'

I am currently playing the game Max Payne 3 and I came across an interesting formulation: I hope Fabiana will not be served to the fishes come feeding time. Is this normal in American English?
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Are these interchangeable?

He's not here. Can I take a message? He's not here. Can I get a message? Are these two sentences 'Can I take a message?/Can I get a message?' interchangeable?
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Accommodate a problem to solution?

The topic is the following: I present a problem and a potential solution to it. After explaining the solution is it correct to say : "In order to adopt this approach in our evaluation .." Or ...
0
votes
1answer
151 views

use English or local language for the address when writing a formal letter? [closed]

I am writing a cover letter in English to The Netherlands. I don't know whether to use English when writing the address or Dutch (in the letter, not on the envelope). All the terms are translatable to ...