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

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1answer
75 views

What is the meaning of “a correspondence of principles”?

Which are the uses and meanings of this expression? From my own research, it seems to have: In politics, a formal meaning close of agreement or treaty: "a correspondence of principles was sign ...
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4answers
263 views

What does “Lose the Drama” mean as one of 7 ways for women at work to negotiate?

In an interview of co-host of NBS Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski by Erin Skarda of Time magazine, Brzezinski gave 7 tips for women to take into their next career generation starting “Don’t act like a ...
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2answers
532 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 ...
2
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1answer
105 views

Apostrophe usage in the Iliad (Lombardo) [duplicate]

I'm taking a classics class, and we're currently reading Lombardo's translation of the Iliad. It strikes me incredibly odd how possessive and plural nouns are formed: The met by the ancient oak ...
2
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1answer
787 views

Is “play chess when others are playing checkers,” a well-known / well-used phrase?

I found the phrase, “he’s always playing chess when others are playing checkers,” in today’s (September 11) article of New York Times, written by Charles Blow under the headline of “It’s a Mad, Mad, ...
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2answers
8k views

Is using “needing” correct?

I've had a debate with my friend about the "needing" usage. I know we can't use "needing" in continuous tenses but take a look at my example: - That's the man needing some money. I'm sure I saw ...
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3answers
286 views

Usage of “stood up” to mean “set up”

I was reading this question on meta.ELU and was struck by what, to me, was a strange use of the phrasal verb to stand up: The site for English Language Learners was stood up in large part so that ...
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1answer
905 views

What is the Use of an Adjective of the Same Word Twice in the Same Sentence called? [closed]

Is there a name for this type of usage using words (in this case adjectives) repetitively in typical sentence formatting? There has got to be. This is killing me. BTW, I'm no English professor. ...
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1answer
79 views

Usage of the abbreviation of a specific-type short phrase

Could you tell me how to abbreviate few-word phrases as in the use of "mobile" for "the mobile business" in the sentence "Company A's lagging position in mobile is the most pressing challenge?" ...
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2answers
254 views

“With” in “difficulty with (verb)-ing”

Is this usage of "to have difficulty with" ok? I've been having some difficulty with reading the books that I decide to read. A Google search suggested that the "with" may perhaps be dropped, but ...
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3answers
151 views

Is “close helmet” correct? Why/why not?

I've been debating this for a while now with a comrade of mine. Wikipedia (and others) give "close helmet" as a type of medieval helmet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_helmet ...
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1answer
1k views

An approach to do something vs. an approach to doing something

What is the preferred way to express something like this: An approach to design a software system (here design is a verb) or An approach to design of a software system (here design is a ...
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1answer
229 views

What is the proper use of “right the way along”?

I've heard the idiom "right the way along" used many times in British literature and video, however, I'm slightly unclear as to what it means. It seems, at first glance, to be a British variant on ...
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2answers
2k views

Using “An” and “A” in a sentence [duplicate]

I'm trying to understand this simple concept. As far as I understood it, back to the days when I was a student, "an" should be used only before vowel words, that is, only before the following words: ...
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1answer
2k views

“…that I have not got”, vs. “gotten”? [duplicate]

In such a context as... I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not gotten. vs. I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not got. ...
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1answer
144 views

Two verbs used consecutively [duplicate]

Is it correct to say Tsunami coupling in the code 'helps determine' human casualty i.e., is use of multiple verbs consecutively correct? Also, is it 'help determine' or 'helps determine'?
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3answers
745 views

Why do many professional writers hate adverbs, and what should be used in their place?

In response to the death of Elmore Leonard the New York Times has posted a list of writing tips he composed back in 2001. Among them is the following: To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) ...
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3answers
206 views

What does Susan Sarandon’s remark, “you can’t just vote your vagina” in distancing from Christine Quinn mean?

I’m often startled with, and at the same time enjoy finding unordinary expressions and quotes in Maureen Dowd’s column in New York Times. But I batted my eyes when I saw the actress, Susan Sarandon’s ...
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1answer
107 views

Usage of the phrase “couldn't help without”

I am getting confused at the usage of the phrase "couldn't help without." For example, "I couldn't help without answering the call" Is this correct & what does this sentence mean?
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1answer
87 views

Mentor and Mentoring

Would someone who is not a professional but knows a subject (such as automotive repair) in depth and offers advice and hands-on assistance with repair procedures be considered a mentor? Is the act of ...
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1answer
1k views

“Would it be” vs “Will it be”

I was writing an email to my colleague and as part of it I wrote Would it be possible for you to help me with this? I felt a bit awkward after sending the mail. Should it be would or will? I ...
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2answers
53 views

Usage of the word “antiquarian”

This question concerns the word "antiquarian". Is it a legitimate adjective from the word "antiquity"? I want to say something along the lines of "antiquarian context", to mean context from ...
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1answer
6k views

What does “leaning in” mean as basic qualifications of women in the pursuit of positions in the workplace? [duplicate]

New York Times’ article written by Scott Schieman, et al under the headline, “When Leaning in doesn’t pay off” starts with the following sentence; ...
2
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1answer
386 views

Usage of “to be across”

I have only recently encountered "to be across", meaning "to understand fully". I have long been familiar with "to get across", of course. It seems to be the recipient that corresponds to the giver ...
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2answers
247 views

“avocation” vs “hobby”

When do I use avocation and when do I use hobby? Or can I use them interchangeably? I need to choose between these two words or a url. Would www.kunalthehobbyist.com sound better or ...
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1answer
97 views

Use of “would” for subjunctive phrases

This has been bugging me for some time; I tried to look for previous questions here but my language tools may not be sharp enough to phrase my query correctly so please forgive me if this has already ...
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4answers
152 views

Does “drape oneself in something” have the meaning of “be armored in”?

Gabe Rottman , a legislative counsel and policy adviser at the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union contributed an answer to the question, “Is it wrong for credit card ...
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1answer
59 views

lying down and then sit up/down? [closed]

If your child is lying down and you want them to get in the sitting position, how do you ask them to in an informal/everyday language? If you could provide more than one way, it would be appreciated.
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2answers
4k views

Usage of had in past tense

Being a non native speaker of English I am not sure about the usage of had. In my academics I have learned that had is only used to show that something happened prior to some event in the past ...
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2answers
613 views

Doubt about “held at” usage

Every time I see the prepositional phrase held at being used, it is somehow related to a physical location. Suppose I'm in a process comprising many stages, is it possible/idiomatic to use the held at ...
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2answers
384 views

“Has reported” as present perfect vs. “has” as present + “reported” as a noun

In the following sentence below, I want to use the word reported as a noun, but it looks like I’m using the present perfect form has reported. How can one be clear when constructions like this ...
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3answers
165 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
621 views

“Pair” or “couple”?

Can anyone tell me the difference between pairs or couples? Especially I need to know if you say "a pair of puffins" or "a couple of puffins" if you mean a female and male bird.
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1answer
265 views

What does someone “pushes back and crack some eggs” mean? Is it a popular turn of phrase?

In Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Who’s that candidate in the teal toenail Polish?” in New York Times (August 3), ...
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2answers
396 views

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

I came across the phrase “a State Department spokesperson had walked back his (John Kerry’s) comments in the Time magazine’s (August 2) article titled, “Oops: John Kerry gaffes, Washington ...
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5answers
851 views

In English you have 'above', 'on', 'over' and 'on top of' but in Italian one word, 'sopra', covers all four meanings

In Italian if I were to say, "sopra l'albero" (albero = tree) you might rightly ask: "Yes but where, exactly?" But "sopra" is a great word to learn in Italian, not only is it a very flexible ...
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4answers
382 views

Is the expression “the dead of night” or “the dead of the night”?

I always thought it was just "the dead of night" - no "the" following "of"(unlike "heat of the night"). But I recently came across "dead of the night" and I'm wondering if its correct.
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1answer
381 views

Comma or no comma before “only”?

Sample phrase: Use the item for those purposes, only. vs. Use the item for those purposes only.
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1answer
81 views

Use of “unique” [duplicate]

UNIQUE should not have a qualifier? Does it not mean "one of a kind" and thus it is incorrect to say, for example, "more unique'? One sees this misuse in advertising frequently. Is it now acceptable ...
2
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3answers
148 views

Is “Compete to get scraps from a shrinking pot” a set phrase, or President Obama’s ad hoc turn of phrase?

In the New York Times’ interview to President Obama in Galesburg, Ill. on July 28 (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/us/politics/obama-says-income-gap-is-fraying-us-social-fabric.html?hp), Mr. Obama ...
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2answers
98 views

Is this worded correctly if it was spoken in an interview? [closed]

Is this worded correctly if it was spoken in an interview? I am like a clean slate. I do not have any preconceived notions about how the company runs
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1answer
368 views

What does “tell someone to hard-delete” mean? [closed]

I posted a question about the meaning of ‘hit Delete’ a couple days ago. Now I came across another texting word, “hard-delete” in the headline of Maureen Dowd’s article dealing with Anthony Weiner’s ...
2
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1answer
482 views

What's the difference between “a year”, “per year” and “out of a year”?

Suppose I want to say that I'm at sea seven months out of twelve. (Just an example.) I think I can say "I'm at sea 7 months a year" or "I'm at sea 7 months per year" or "I'm at sea 7 ...
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1answer
63 views

How should I use commas in the middle of compound sentences? [closed]

How do you punctuate the following sentence? The introduction of a low cost Hartford Cycle line had staved off the competition for a number of years, but, by 1897, with 700 competitors in the ...
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1answer
33 views

Accredited school versus accredited degree

Is it proper use of the adjective "accredited" to say or write "an accredited degree?" I can't find it used in this manner in a dictionary and I feel like the adjective in this sense should be applied ...
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4answers
4k views

You didn't miss me, right? (possible answer with correct use of English)

A) No, I didn't miss you. B) Yes, I didn't miss you. C) No, I did miss you. D) Yes, I did miss you. According to my common sense perfect answers can be C) and B) only, and reason behind it is- ...
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3answers
260 views

Is there any scenario, situation, or way to make “doing something selfishly” have a positive connotation?

The thing is, I am confused whether the word selfish itself can be used without expressing a negative connotation. I am a bit biased about it since I believe that by using this word it automatically ...
2
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2answers
307 views

Does “coming down” mean “traveling south”? [duplicate]

In the context of traveling, I have heard of and used the phrase "coming down" when referring to a journey from one place to another place that is further south. Perhaps, it's because I have always ...
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0answers
26 views

“I am yet to see” versus “I have yet to see” [duplicate]

What is the difference between I am yet to see X and I have yet to see X and in which situations would each be preferred?
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4answers
775 views

Difference between “ignorant” and “uninformed”

What is the difference between ignorant and uninformed? In ordinary usage, is one considered a put down and the other considered a statement of fact? If so, why? Am I ignorant or simply uninformed?