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

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323 views

Is the usage 'the message didn't send' grammatically correct?

I have often encountered this sentence on Facebook; even a web-search of this string indicates that it is used quite commonly. However, is it correct to say so? The dictionary definitions of the word ...
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1answer
468 views

Does one say “allegory for” or “allegory of”?

How does one correctly use the word "allegory" in a sentence? For example: This story is an allegory [for|of] pride. I have seen examples of both: the long poem is an allegory of love and ...
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3answers
233 views

Is this usage of 'of which' correct?

I'm working on an employee manual and I came across this one: "Our team philosophy is to become the best of which we are capable." Is this a correct sentence? The point it's trying to get across is ...
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1answer
65 views

Op-Ed or Editorial?

I have a piece that is an opinion written by a columnist. If I only had the designation of an op-ed or of an editorial. What word better describes the piece? An editorial is supposed to be written by ...
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1answer
51 views

Language Evolution

Language changes all the time, most often in usage but also in spelling and grammatical form. At what point does a widespread misspelling or incorrect grammatical usage become acceptable and correct? ...
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1answer
209 views

Aspect (simple, perfect and progressive): What are the differences?

Could you please explain to me the differences between the simple, progressive and perfect aspects. 'Simple aspect' means completed action (action starts and finishes) but I don't really understand ...
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4answers
107 views

Usage: derogatory + towards + X

Came across this sentence today" "I've never been derogatory towards taxi drivers," he said. from the BBC's, Uber boss Travis Kalanick: I'm no bully. Can one really be derogatory towards ...
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0answers
36 views

“In” after “happiest” or “content”

I feel the happiest and most content knowing I can always count on them. OR I feel the happiest and most content in knowing I can always count on them. Is it correct both ways? or does this ...
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1answer
697 views

“in fact” vs “indeed”

This might sound silly, but are "indeed" and "in fact" interchangeable? Here's a case: Q: Is that a nice house? A1: Yes, it's really nice indeed. A2: Yes, in fact it's really nice. It sounds to me ...
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1answer
58 views

What's “hawk dubious” supposed to mean? [closed]

While reading a programming book, I've come across this piece of text: Public message boards like Yahoo! Groups and Usenet have long been victims of postings that are unrelated to the board’s ...
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4answers
2k views

Does “reinventing the wheel” have negative or positive connotation?

I've always assumed that the expression "reinventing the wheel" meant something negative. For me it means doing something that has already be done without making any improvement. However, a few ...
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0answers
28 views

Conditional: More than 1 [duplicate]

The stoplight turns green if there (is/are) more than 1 car(s) waiting I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out the above statement. Which configuration is correct? This is odd, as I'm a native ...
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3answers
129 views

Verb to use with “workload”

Just wondering which verb is the most natural to native speakers to use with 'workload.' Among I wish to receive heavier workload. I wish to take heavier workload. I wish to have heavier ...
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5answers
5k views

Do you know the meaning of the American idiom “pot calling the kettle black”? [closed]

I would like to know something more about this American idiom and how north American or English speaking people use it. Can you guys answer my questions? Do you know the meaning of this idiom? Are ...
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1answer
67 views

Can a phrase including past participle be put right behind the preposition 'of'?

For all the English grammar my teacher taught me, the element put right behind the preposition 'of' can be: 1. a noun. The leg of the desk 2. gerund leading phrase which acts as a noun: The result ...
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1answer
54 views

Usage of the phrase 'reviewing over'

I've come across the phrase 'reviewing over' and at first I disregarded it as a hold over from grammar in a foreign language but now I've seen a native English speaker use the same phrase. For ...
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4answers
259 views

I'm tired of writing out the phrase “himself or herself”. What are my options? [duplicate]

Because of English's lack of a gender neutral third person singular possessive pronoun, whenever the need for such a referent presents itself in the course of writing, we seem to be left with ...
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1answer
73 views

Is it an approval or disapproval?

In following sentence: From the perspective of a ‘cyber warrior’, cyber crime can offer the technical basis and cyber terrorism the social basis with which to execute nationally sanctioned ...
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3answers
276 views

The phrase “never even” in spoken English - Bookish ? Old-fashioned ? Sophisticated?

"She never even said good-bye !" instead of "She didn't even say good-bye !" in informal conversation. Would someone using it sound bookish ? Old-fashioned ? Sophisticated ?
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5answers
79 views

Usage of “persons”

I know pretty well that the plural for 'person' is 'people'. But my literature professor used once the word 'persons' because, he said, he was using the word the same as it will be used 'individuals'. ...
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1answer
90 views

What preposition: “on the mobile” or “in the mobile”?

I read this: The battery's flat on the mobile. I think we should say in the mobile not on the mobile.
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5answers
3k views

What is the difference between “bias” and “opinion”? [closed]

What is the difference between "bias" and "opinion"? Are they synonyms? Are all opinions biased? Is there such a thing as an "unbiased opinion"? The sentence, "Lima beans are vile" is an opinion ...
2
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2answers
414 views

How do I use “The screaming abdabs”?

I have recently come across the phrase "the screaming abdabs". It is used in sentences such as "it gave me the screaming abdabs", abdabs being and old-fashioned word meaning 'a case of extreme ...
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3answers
954 views

“to prefer something over something” or “to prefer something to something” [duplicate]

Which syntax is more correct: to prefer something over something else or to prefer something to something else or maybe both are correct?
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1answer
451 views

“over a call” vs “on a call”

I will explain about the project over a call I will explain about the project on a call I have read here that over can be used as during So is explain over a call correct? which is the correct ...
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1answer
47 views

Nuances when returning physical mail in the UK [closed]

“Return to sender” carries very little meaning to the sender: Who returned it? The postal service, the intended recipient, or some other person? Why was it returned? Was it considered spam, was the ...
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0answers
78 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 ...
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4answers
1k views

“A new pair of ” or “A pair of new”

a new pair of shoes / pants / scissors a pair of new shoes / pants / scissors I can’t find which one of those two it should be, and I’ve seen some debate about it. “A new pair of shoes”: Could it ...
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1answer
1k views

“All the more so” - correct use:

Is this sentence correct: "If this was true fifty years ago, it must be all the more so in modern times" Did I use the expression "all the more so" correctly in this sentence? Thanks
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5answers
612 views

Is there any reason for saying “he is good-looking”, instead of “he is well-looking”?

A person who has............is said to be.............. "good manners".........."well-mannered" "good behaviour"........"well-behaved" "good intentions"........"well-intentioned" "a good ...
4
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1answer
359 views

Usage of adverbs like reasonably, practically, essentially, ridiculously, basically

I have recently noticed a phenomenon in English, that seems quite common. The phenomenon is regarding the usage of certain adverbs: Practically should mean in a practical manner. But it is often ...
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1answer
106 views

Kudos Vs. bravo

Has the word kudos outdated the word or exclamation bravo! Here's what Google Ngram shows: ...
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2answers
86 views

Usage of “as because”

I would like to know if "as because" is a correct usage. It feels so wrong, yet I see people using it. e.g. She couldn't come, as because she was ill. I suppose only because should serve the purpose ...
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1answer
138 views

’Tis the season

Google has a new doodle that says ’Tis the season when you put your cursor on it: What is the origin of this usage? or even the contraction ’tis? Details: There is a popular carol called “Deck ...
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1answer
180 views

“get one's head around” vs “get one's arms around”

I have seen both idioms used in practice. The definitions I found, http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/get+arms+around, and http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/get+head+around don't indicate much ...
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5answers
2k views

Why is the action of removing a digital file named “Delete”?

After reading these questions: Difference between "delete" and "remove" How much use did the word 'delete' get before the technological boom? Delete or Remove (ell.SE) ...
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2answers
358 views

'solid' used as an adverb

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition contains the following (on the hyphenation or otherwise of compounds): 6.38: The trend in spelling compound words has been away from the use of hyphens; ...
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2answers
103 views

1 % of (the) GDP - with or without the article?

What is the correct form? I have consistently encountered both forms. Definite article: required, optional or wrong?
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4answers
75 views

The verb “to participate” for an object

Can the verb "to participate" be used for an object (and not a person)? For example: "This equipment will participate in a qualification test." Is this correct?
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1answer
77 views

Who are “the perks people”?

I was drawn to the phrase 'the perks people' in the headline of an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal (November 20, 2014 issue) — The perks people: Meet silicon valley’s ‘Little elves'. ...
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77 views

Are commas needed to set off the word “then” in the following sentence? [closed]

What, then, could be more wonderful than to have a faithful friend?
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3answers
152 views

What do “leaps of faith” and “get the best of somebody” mean? [closed]

I came across these two phrases when reading The Da Vinci Code. Why not-if we're assuming the Church was able to uncover the identities of the Priory members, then certainly they could have ...
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1answer
204 views

usage of “constitute” and “thankful”

A senior researcher has single-handed[ly] constituted one of the most comprehensive collections of field recordings. I have three questions, two pertaining to usage and one to grammar:  1. ...
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1answer
684 views

What does “Empedocles’ sandal” mean in terms of English usage?

I first heard the expression “Empedocles’ sandal” a long time ago without knowing what it referred to. It seems to derive from the legend of the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles (who was ...
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6answers
2k views

History and usage of “dooryard”

I have been interested in the expression "dooryard stop" recently. This is an expression that is used to describe a short visit in someone's dooryard (driveway) that often means not staying long ...
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2answers
63 views

How does a “research scientist” differ from a “scientist”?

I have seen the term research scientist in several job descriptions. Does the qualifier research distinguish a special kind of scientific role, or is this actually a redundant phrase? How can you work ...
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2answers
153 views

Use of 'Could' in the Past Tense

What are the possible meanings and implications of the following sentences: He could come yesterday. He could not come yesterday. He could have come yesterday. He could not have come yesterday.
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4answers
232 views

Why is it always women and not men in: “Soccer mom,” “Tiger mom,” “Helicopter mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” and “Security mom”?

In connection with my question about the meaning and currency of “Security mom,” I was drawn to the fact that all the following labels; “Soccer mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” “Security mom” are combined with ...
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1answer
135 views

Is it correct/idiomatic to say “got informed there?”

I thought the phrase was common/idiomatic. So I was surprised when I got 0 results on Google Books. The school was filled with gossip. So Anna probably got informed there (about someone's ...
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0answers
397 views

Spelling alphabet: Should I spell out each letter in my name using the spelling alphabet, or only the confusing letters?

I have a long name and spelling out every letter as "a as in alpha, b as in bravo" would take a very long time. I've heard people using only the expansion for confusing letters like M, N, etc. and ...