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

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1answer
107 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?
2
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2answers
918 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 ...
0
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1answer
131 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 ...
1
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1answer
102 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 ...
0
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1answer
110 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
136 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
289 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 ...
1
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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?
0
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1answer
23 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 ...
0
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1answer
63 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 ...
1
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1answer
126 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 ...
1
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1answer
176 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
86 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 ...
0
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1answer
40 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 ...
13
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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.” ...
0
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2answers
100 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 ...
0
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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, ...
0
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1answer
48 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 ...
2
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1answer
296 views

Are “of course” and “naturally” pedantic?

I've noticed that in most cases, the sentence "of course", is used when someone is trying to sound superior, in a sardonic way. In constranst they use "naturally" when they are patronising someone, ...
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2answers
92 views

“Vagrancy” as a substitute for “vagary” in the phrase “the vagaries of (fashion, market, etc.)”

As far as your English variety goes, is it OK to substitute vagrancy for vagary in such a phrase as the vagaries of (fashion, mind, etc.)? E.g. Its popularity waxed and waned with the vagaries of ...
3
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3answers
245 views

Visit us at (the) booth 24, (the) room 56 etc. It's wrong, but why?

I know that "the" is wrong here, but I can't explain why it's wrong to my friend here, and I have trouble formulating a google search to find some descriptive "rule" or something. Help please?
4
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2answers
204 views

'Hope' vs. 'wish' in unlikely situations

Although 'hope' and 'wish' have many different uses, I've seen the basic difference often summarized as: 'wish' is for imaginary, unlikely or impossible things, whereas 'hope' is for more likely or ...
0
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2answers
84 views

“Am I going the right way for Downwood?” versus “Is this the right way to the station?” Why the change of preposition?

Two sentences taken from First Certificate Language Practice by Michael Vince, 4th edition, p. 104, ex. 4, n° 3, and p. 105, ex. 5, n° 5: "Excuse me, is this the right way to the station?" "Am I ...
0
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2answers
69 views

Does “shall no longer be” imply “forever not?”

Can "no longer" refer to a finite, forseeable time period, or does it indicate a long-term finality? For example, if someone says, in anticipation of a large meal, "I shall no longer be hungry," does ...
0
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1answer
62 views

How can I dedicate something to my family and make a special note of my wife?

In a formal media article that describes my achievements, I want to say something like the following: I want to dedicate this achievement/award to my family and especially to my wife for all the ...
1
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1answer
5k views

“In preparation for” or “In Preparation of”? [closed]

What´s the difference in use between "in preparation of" or "in preparation for"? They seem both correct. Context: The team practiced how they would respond to bad weather in preparation of ...
0
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2answers
92 views

Usage of “Which Birthday”

On the day of a Colleague's Birthday, I asked him "Which birthday" meaning to ask "How old have you become today". He was of the opinion that it is not a correct usage. Is the usage "Which Birthday" ...
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2answers
89 views

Agreement of articles and prepositions

Which of the following sentences would you consider most acceptable, and why? Please assume knowledge of the difference between the definite and indefinite articles here and that they are used ...
2
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2answers
219 views

Using “on” before days or dates

I've noticed that on many American TV shows, the speakers generally don't use the word "on" before names of days or before dates. For example: I'll see you Monday. Shouldn't it be: I'll see you on ...
4
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4answers
4k views

If the prefix “a-” means not, shouldn't “await” or “awaiting” mean, “Not waiting?”

If: Apolitical means "not political" and Amuse means...well, it should mean, "not thinking" then why does await or awaiting not mean "not waiting?" I read this earlier question (Is ...
15
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7answers
4k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
0
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1answer
81 views

Passive voice in this sentence

I am a bit confused about these sentences below. The word "encumbered" baffles me. "Encumbered" is usually used in passive sentences. I am not able to understand the agent in these following ...
3
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2answers
307 views

Does the expression “to go under the knife” carry a negative connotation?

Is there a difference in connotation between these two phrases? I asked my student whether her mother was scheduled to GO UNDER THE KNIFE this morning. I asked my student whether her mother was ...
0
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2answers
93 views

“Bar none (the most/the best…)” for “without exceptions or by far (the most/the best…)”

I once came across the idiom "bar none" for "by far/with no exceptions" as in "He's bar none the best player on the team", after what (for some reason unbeknownst to my forty three year old self) it ...
1
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1answer
101 views

appropriate usage of proceeded

The investigator proceeded at the crime scene? Is this correct? Can I use the word went instead?
1
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1answer
545 views

Nationalities - When do we use the singular or plural form

I always have doubts whether to use a singular or a plural noun when I refer to certain peoples. For example, we say Americans, Italians, Brazilians, Russians and Austrians. But we say The British, ...
0
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1answer
952 views

When is it appropriate to use the idiom “various and sundry”

To my ears the term "various and sundry" sounds redundant. What is the proper use of this idiom?
-3
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3answers
731 views

“Anticipate” for “look forward to” [closed]

Can "anticipate" be safely used as a substitute for "look forward to" in informal prose like emails and general correspondence, but also in business writing? e.g. I'm anticipating to hear from you. ...
1
vote
3answers
121 views

“Board” and “go/be aboard/on board” in AE

In AE, is it acceptable to say board/go aboard (and hence be aboard/on board) for such miscellaneous and various vehicular (or mobile) devices as an elevator, a bus, a truck, a van, a people carrier, ...
0
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2answers
56 views

Can “allophone” be used to mean “nonnative”?

Do you use allophone in replacement of nonnative? And, do you have more expressions meaning nonnative?
0
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1answer
44 views

Usage of “walking out clean”

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? "I just hope he walks out clean from the probe" If not, what is the correct form? EDIT: The context of the above sentence is a situation where you ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

“At all” in w-questions

I don't know how to say it but "at all" used in yes or no questions has a specific function. I would maybe call it "asking for a basic reality" but I don'T know if that makes sense to anyone. Do ...
0
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1answer
119 views

The problem with the word “quite” [duplicate]

"Quite" is probably the most ambiguous word in the English language. Merriam-Webster defines it three ways: 1: completely, wholly, totally (quite mistaken) 2: to an extreme : positively (quite ...
0
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2answers
385 views

'Deflected Off of' vs 'Deflected off' [duplicate]

A question straight from the football commentary pages : X's shot deflected off of Y before finding its way into the net. What is the correct usage here ? Deflected off of or deflected off ?? ...
0
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1answer
36 views

Does not or Might not?

This is the message: The user might not fall under the scope of this policy. It denotes that a setting is not applied to the user because the user is not part of the policy. He's surely not ...
10
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3answers
2k views

What does “have a pastrami on wry” mean?

I was drawn to the expression, “I wish I could have pastrami on wry“in the beginning sentence of Maureen Dowd’s article, titled “Still mad as hell” in New York Times (February 8): "I often wonder ...
1
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2answers
195 views

Differences between “very” and “very much” as adjective modifiers

The following examples are clearly wrong: × I am very much tired × She is very much clever But the following sounds fine (at least according to OALD): I am very much afraid that ... I am ...
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2answers
446 views

“I am poor in english” or “I am poor at english” Which one is correct? [duplicate]

Well the title pretty much speaks for itself. Also all kinds of other suggestions are accepted. I just want to know the correct usage.