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

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20
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5answers
2k views

What does “bupke” mean?

There was the following passage in the New Yorker's (August 27) article titled, “A scandal at the C.I.A. May be.” : In January I (David Shafer, novelist) filed a Freedom of Information Act request ...
2
votes
3answers
421 views

Can the word “proxy” be used as a preposition?

At the end of a sentence, I want to insert the following (parentheses included): (proxy my parents, of course). E.g., I sent my brother to his room (proxy my parents, of course). But this ...
2
votes
4answers
683 views

Can I use the word “promise” with gerund?

Is it possible to use gerund after the verb "promise"? For example, in the sentence "He promised cleaning the window. I'd prefer to say: He promised to clean the window. But today I was told that this ...
4
votes
2answers
622 views

“Please, cut the apple in halves.” or “Please, cut it in half.”?

I've heard native speakers use "half" but never "halves" in such sentences. If we cut an apple into two identical pieces, we get two halves. It shouldn't, therefore, sound wrong if one used ...
1
vote
2answers
565 views

“Dish of the day“ vs “today's special”

Many restaurants offer a menu which doesn't change from day to day, and in addition offer one choice which varies from day to day, perhaps depending on which ingredients are available. This choice can ...
0
votes
1answer
53 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Usage of “coruscating”

Can coruscating be used as a one word adjective to describe "interesting and exciting"? Basically the usage is "his interesting and exciting research work" which will end up as "his coruscating ...
1
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3answers
719 views

When should we expect an answer

What is the proper way to ask this question? When should we expect an answer or When can we expect an answer
2
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2answers
104 views

Is the describer needed in 'not…but…" type constructions?

Consider these two sentences: "His actions reveal him to be a husband who is not jealous but is zealous." "Those words demonstrate not his jealousness but his zealousness." Are the words ...
55
votes
8answers
6k views

“My personal opinion is…” Is it always pointless to use the words “personal” and “personally”?

Is this kind of redundancy acceptable in both speech and writing, formal and informal ? Would the following sentences have their meaning changed if we omitted "personal" or "personally" ? Would they ...
0
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3answers
2k views

Confused on how to use “instead” in the middle of a sentence

I am dumbfounded on why the man does not spring for Walton’s help, instead, he makes sure the vessel is headed North. I'm confused on how to use "instead" in the middle of my sentence. Is that ...
0
votes
3answers
926 views

“Wise man” vs. “wise guy”

Two very similar expressions yet quite opposite connotations. Wise man is an older phrase but wise guy is a newer one. I found two possible connections to wise man. There is the surname Wiseman ...
3
votes
2answers
153 views

British usage: add verb forms of “do” after a conditional

Is it standard British usage to add forms of the verb "Do" after a conditional like "Would"? e.g., If I could, I would do"?
0
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2answers
59 views

Sudden popularity of: obfuscate, why? [closed]

I hope there is a real reason for this and that my question won't be seen as 'primarily opinion based'. What's the deal with the sudden popularity of the word 'obfuscate' and it's variants? Ngram ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

“Rather !” as a reply: old-fashioned? Colloquial? Unusual?

Is "Rather" as a reply (BrE), with heavy stress on the second syllable, old-fashioned ? Colloquial ? Unusual ? e.g. "Did you enjoy yourself?" "Rather!" Can "pretty much so!" be its AmE ...
1
vote
1answer
399 views

Can all verbs ending in “-ise” be written with the suffix “ize”? [closed]

Are there any "-ise" (or "-yse") words which cannot be (or are never) written using "-ize"? I searched for prior questions, and came across: Correct use of "ise" vs "ize" at the ...
2
votes
1answer
204 views

Why are names considered proper nouns?

Names are supposed to be proper nouns because they refer to a unique entity, right? But what about when the condition of specificity is not applicable? Take the word "Albert". It's supposed to be a ...
0
votes
1answer
133 views

He didn't so much as thank me OR to thank me?

I have heard both ways 'He didn't so much as thank me' and 'He didn't so much as to thank me'. Which is correct and is the other wrong or can it be used colloquially? Thank you.
4
votes
7answers
1k views

Is it redundant to say that something is “clearly evident”?

Here's a sentence: "The volume of resources invested is clearly evident." Is this redundant?
0
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0answers
29 views

Usage or abusage? [duplicate]

English is not my first language. I live, and work, among people who do not have English as their first language. I notice many instances where grammar has been abused. Sometimes, I am not sure ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Legitimacy of the usage of “homeworks” [duplicate]

Teachers and students sometimes refer to homework assignments as "homeworks". Is that an acceptable usage?
0
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1answer
232 views

Can we use “bad” as an adverb in writing and formal speech? [duplicate]

Should a lecturer say "He felt bad" or "He felt badly"? "His tooth ached so bad he couldn't sleep" or "His tooth ached so badly he couldn't sleep"? Are both forms acceptable in formal ...
1
vote
6answers
155 views

Proper usage of “trying”

Let's say there is an atmospheric condition where the water in a bucket partially freezes then reverts back to a completely liquid state and vacillates back and forth but never actually freezes. Is ...
0
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0answers
13 views

Usage of I or me [duplicate]

The use of me and I what it the secret to this struggle. When is it appropriate to use me and when to use I?
2
votes
1answer
248 views

“exact soluble model” or “exact solvable model”, “analytic” or “analytical” solutions

In physical science and math, we encounter some models that can be analytically solved. This means that the properties of models are fully understood and determined by the analytical solutions. In ...
1
vote
2answers
311 views

What two words best describe these features?

I am in the middle of developing an app. I'm having some trouble trying to decide the best usage for two features in particular. I know what both of these words mean, but I am becoming increasingly ...
-1
votes
4answers
174 views

Does the verb “trounce” have dual meanings of active and passive voice in its gerund form,”trouncing”?

There was the following sentence in Time magazine (June 28) article titled, “Reform in Japan – The third arrow” analyzing Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe’s so called, Abenomix policies to ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

When did “by way of” start meaning “originally from”

Some years ago, after returning to New York from some years living abroad, I began to notice New Yorkers of a certain generation (in their 20s and early 30s) describing themselves or others as "from ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How often is “more often than not”?

A person, supposedly a native speaker of English, assured me that I would say "often" means roughly 50-60% of the time, whereas "more often than not" means 75-95% of the time, and is closer in ...
1
vote
2answers
109 views

Using future simple tense in a thesis

Being a non-native speaker, I have of course a bit of a problem with writing my thesis in English. In the thesis, I propose a software solution and I describe it. What I am not sure is: should I use ...
0
votes
1answer
149 views

Usage of “Only when X will Y and then only when Z” [closed]

This sentence: Only when input goes to logic 1 (s) will the FSM move from state s0 to s1, and then only when a clock pulse arrives. I have read in a book related to digital logic. I know the ...
-1
votes
2answers
102 views

Is 'Loneliness is profound on weekends' correct? [closed]

Profound being an adjective, is its usage in the sentence below correct? Loneliness is profound on weekends.
0
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0answers
20 views

Which should I use? That or which? [duplicate]

I am confused on the usage of "that" and "which". Would using "that" on both clauses of the following sentence be correct? Which ones should I use instead if it's not? "Why did you eat the pie that ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

What principle guides word combinations with “almost”?

I am trying to explain to non-native speakers how to use "almost." I can't formulate (a) rule(s) to follow with regard to nouns/pronouns. So far, my only ideas are that almost can be collocated only ...
0
votes
1answer
176 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What Defines a Utah Accent?

I have heard a number of people refer to the "Utah accent." What is it that distinguishes a Utah accent from others? I have noticed that, in some cases, people from Utah omit the 't' from words such ...
-1
votes
1answer
5k views

what does “early next week” means when said on Sunday?

I just received an email from my boss on Sunday afternoon saying that "please submit your work early next week". Does this mean the Monday or Tuesday of the coming week or the Monday or Tuesday of the ...
0
votes
2answers
173 views

Can the verb 'judge' collocate with 'of'? [closed]

I saw this sentence in an essay: Children’s cognitive development is on the preoperational stage, so they cannot consider as logical and judge of dangerous events. I would say "judge sth" or ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Is “two-thirds” or “two thirds” correct? [duplicate]

I just recently answered a question related to how much water was filled in a glass. I answered "two thirds" but the answer was wrong because in the key answer book it was "two-thirds". Please tell me ...
2
votes
1answer
256 views

Dependent clause after pronoun

This question arose from why sentence #1 is correct and why sentence #2 is incorrect - I pity those who lost their money in gambling. I pity them who lost their money in gambling. I have ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Is “help out” an inappropriate phrase? [closed]

I have seen statements like: She helped out her grandmother. OR The boy was helping out in the laundry. But, does it make any sense to have the “out” there? Is it even incorrect, in spite ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

More Than One “from” in a Single Phrase

I apologize if this has already been raised elsewhere. I was unable to find an answer to the question of when, if ever, it is acceptable form to include multiple uses of the word "from" in a single ...
0
votes
2answers
562 views

When did replacing “yes” with “absolutely” come into common usage?

Replacing simple, concise words with longer, more obscure ones has long been a hallmark of bureaucratic reports and student papers. Consider the response "yes" (and its other less formal variants) ...
0
votes
2answers
284 views

Should we avoid a “double passive”?

Does it sound strange to say "An emergency meeting is expected to be held soon." or "The new highway is proposed to be built across the swamp." Should we avoid this type of construction ?
0
votes
4answers
266 views

Are “to flee from” and “to run away from” interchangeable?

The verb "to flee" means "to run away" but are they interchangeable in every aspect? I'm kind of confused which one to use. It seems to me that the use of the verb flee could be more elaborate when ...
1
vote
1answer
363 views

Antonym of heartbreaker? [closed]

In one of my short stories, I have to compare a guy who is a heartbreaker to someone who is exactly the opposite of him. Instead of describing the opposite character of the guy, I am looking for a ...
-3
votes
1answer
235 views

Is this a example of parody of Shakespears play [duplicate]

Is this an example of parody "A-Midsummers-Nights-Dream " http://www.scribd.com/doc/233474857/A-Midsummers-Nights-Dream-erotic-poetry These are the reasons I think it is parody I am interested ...
0
votes
1answer
117 views

How to use the word “restriction”

I am not sure about the usage of the word “restriction”. I would like to use it in a sentence like: “This video has some distribution and/or age restrictions”. Can I use “has some” or is there a ...
1
vote
4answers
99 views

What does “a bookstore-counting mood in Paris prompts soul-searching over Amazon’s 41 % share of new book sales in America” mean?

In the article titled “The French do buy books. Real books” appearing in New York Times (July 9), the author, Pamela Druckerman writes: “Recently when I was strolling through my museum-like ...
0
votes
0answers
148 views

Sentence diagramming trouble with figuring out subordinators and relative pronouns

http://imgur.com/a/dyALV for the pictures. In the diagrams my main concern was figuring out if the use of "that" was under the context of it being a relative pronoun or a subordinator. I have trouble ...