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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
2answers
77 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

What does “bullying beat” mean?

There was the following line in New Yorker’s (January 18) weekend book review titled, “A Startup Fairy Tale and the Dark Side of Yoga.” “Emily Bazelon returns to the bullying beat in this week’s ...
1
vote
2answers
295 views

Do women tend to use the word “lovely” more often than men?

Do women tend to use the word lovely more often than men do? And also, should men rather avoid using this word when describing something they liked? meta: I hope this question doesn't sound too ...
67
votes
13answers
39k views

When should “no problem” replace “you're welcome” as a response to “thank you”?

I have observed a growing trend in which people substitute "no problem" for "you're welcome" as a response to "thank you". In particular, it seems to be an increasingly common response from servers ...
2
votes
0answers
28 views

Origin/Usage of “[word] is a [number] dollar word” [duplicate]

I've often been wondering where the phrase in the title comes from - I always picture it as coming from an early television era game show, but more likely it has to do with pricing of telegrams or ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

“area” vs. “areal” to describe an estimate of space

E.g. an areal/area estimate of corn in Iowa "Areal" is commonly found in remote sensing and land cover literature (this article, for example). Which is most appropriate to describe the estimation of ...
0
votes
1answer
52 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
votes
1answer
56 views

Is the given usage of Outrage is correct? [closed]

Outrage in my mind, Smile on my face. This is Life. Can outrage be used the way I used above?
1
vote
1answer
360 views

What does “sense of community” mean?

Currently, I'm living in HK. But I am Chinese and I know nothing about Cantonese which is the mother tongue of Hongkongers. So, I feel lonely here and I don't think I belong here. So, can I say I ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Usage of 'it' in the sentence [duplicate]

What does it refer to in the sentence: It is dark outside?
4
votes
2answers
545 views

Why is “Good Night!” dismissive

To start off let us construct a situation were I am walking along and I pass another person. Depending on the time of day and to be polite I say one of the following: "Good Morning!" "Good Evening!" ...
4
votes
2answers
117 views

Infinitive Clause For “Curious”

I need some help about the infinitive clause that comes after "curious". Let's say that I am "curious" about a locked room. Then, could I write this: I am curious to open the door. I ...
2
votes
2answers
358 views

Is the usage of “night and day” as “completely different” very common?

There was the following line in December 2nd AP News, “Chief White House trouble shooter for healthcare gov.web site says the web site is night and day from where it was October 1st. Jeff ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

Her love letters--to and from Daddy--were in an old box,

Her love letters--to and from Daddy--were in an old box, tied with ribbons and stiff, rigid-with-age leather thongs:1918 through 1920;... Why (Daddy) in this sentence was written with a capital D?
2
votes
2answers
334 views

Is the phrase “I feel you” too colloquial?

Does the phrase "I feel you" sound too slangy and somewhat horrible to a British person? Is it ok to use it as a synonym of "I understand what you feel/say" in an informal, casual conversation?
2
votes
2answers
86 views

“the like” sequence

I have a question about "the like" I found in a book. The sentence: "you who have never seen the like can scarcely imagine what delicate and wonderful flowers..." I've seen "the more you know the ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

“Hello” as a verb

A dictionary says that Hello could be a verb, noun and interjection. I'm not sure I saw it to be a verb though. Q: Could someone provide an example of 'hello' where it's used as verb. In the meaning ...
-2
votes
2answers
115 views

Is 'damn you' abusive or offensive? [closed]

I would say in jest to someone, "Damn you!, you always get your way." He insisted that I was being abusive. Since my tone or tenor did not convey it, I put it down to his studying in a Catholic ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

“She told I ate an apple” or “She told that i ate an apple” [duplicate]

Should I use That in this case? On my native language (Brazilian Portuguese) the That would be like conjunction Que, I don't know if in english, That are also used like a conjunction. If yes, the ...
5
votes
2answers
201 views

Is “nowadays” the same as “today”?

When helping an Italian speaker with her written homework, a cover letter, I told her to change the expression nowadays to that of today. Her original sentence was the following: I would be ...
3
votes
1answer
7k views

Correspond to vs. Correspond with

Is there any significant difference between Correspond to and Correspond with? I only mean in the sense of "matching", here, rather than "communication". I've looked at a few sources, but I can't ...
2
votes
1answer
833 views

Is there a significant difference between “sorry,” “pardon” and “excuse me”? Are they interchangeable?

I was amused with the line, “Stand-alone 'sorry' may have dressed like a gentleman, but his heart was made of India rubber” in the article titled “A poor apology for a word” in December 13 New York ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What are usages similar to “Need I say more?”?

I recall hearing usages like Need I say more? Need I remind you that ...? instead of Do I need to say more? Do I need to remind you that ...? Indeed, they sound better, at least to ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

How to use WHEN on the following occasion? [duplicate]

When I lived in there, I got to know John When I was living in there, I got to know John. While I was living in there, I got to know John. While I lived in there, I got to know John. I have been ...
0
votes
3answers
256 views

Can altering the syntax of a sentence, without in any way changing the diction used in describing the subject itself, change the subject's number?

There have been debates raging both here and on ELL about this, but the question has, to this point, been focused solely on expletive constructions with compound subjects. This is not intended to ask ...
7
votes
3answers
355 views

Gendered terms — particularly female — becoming neutral?

I have been hearing that many gendered terms are simply being absorbed into the masculine equivalent, while many other words are retaining their usage. A few examples are the terms "actress" becoming ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Is “subject to a theft” a thing?

Is it acceptable to say something has been "subject to a theft"? The only use case I can find is in this policy document from Lloyds Bank. Has it been adopted elsewhere?
2
votes
6answers
399 views

Is there a way to intensify “blooming” in “The flowers are blooming”?

In some languages, for example, in Korean, it is possible to intensify the act of blooming. For example, using the phrase 핍니다 would imply blooming, for example, simply "The flowers are blooming". ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

Nobody must [+ verb]

"Must not" vs. "don't have to" is a famous false friends for many languages. That said, what about a phrase like, say, "nobody must know": Does that mean that a) nobody is allowed to know, or b) that ...
3
votes
3answers
93 views

Is it possible to 'give prosperity'?

Here's the sentence: Who knows how the prosperity you give becomes the prosperity you get Is it possible to 'give prosperity'?
2
votes
2answers
92 views

Use the word “higher” or “more” when referring to costs?

Is it proper to say that "the cost of X is more than the cost of Y" or "the cost of X is higher than the cost of Y"? Or are they interchangeable?
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Equivalence at word level [closed]

Is there a one-to-one relationship between word and meaning?
0
votes
1answer
268 views

The usage of “but” in non-shift sentence

I have found a sentence: He returned several times to India briefly, but only returned permanently early in 1915. I believe this sentence does not contain any shift. We can say that He returned ...
0
votes
2answers
59 views

Parentheses surrounding footnote body [closed]

It's unbelievably hard to find relevant information online, as almost every Google search just gives pages of advice and questions regarding citations and referencing styles. If I use a footnote in ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

Professor Bob's lab

I know "Bob's house" and "Bob's" mean the same thing. Question 1: Is there a name for this grammatical phenomenon? Can one call it an abbreviation? Question 2: In the context of within a ...
0
votes
1answer
172 views

Meaning of “Smiles Slip”

I don't quite understand something: source Brazil will, in one form or another, be ready for the World Cup. But when it comes to hosting the tournament, those famous Brazilian smiles may ...
3
votes
5answers
263 views

Word for inability to think in certain ways

Am looking for a word that loosely means inability to think in certain ways. For example, for lyricists (or writers) lyrics come so naturally, but for non-lyricists it's very difficult to think how ...
0
votes
1answer
169 views

Question about subject-verb agreement

Is this a run-on? By 1990, it was even easier to make bottles and paper products quickly; as a result, competition among companies grew and stores featured products with increasingly interesting ...
0
votes
4answers
252 views

The proper term for a person who uses words incorrectly [duplicate]

What is the proper term for a person who uses words incorrectly, hoping to impress others?
3
votes
1answer
115 views

“Advice I wish I'd had ears to hear” — is this phrase in common use? Origins?

Productivity writer Merlin Mann often uses the phrase "ears to hear" on his podcast. An example from his writing: "a discursive mishmash of advice I wish I'd had the ears to hear in the year or ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Do 'learn by heart' & 'learn by rote' mean the same?

Here in India, both the phrases learning by heart and learning by rote are taken to have the same meaning, i.e., blind memorisation without true understanding. However, some sources say that to ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Is “curate the market” common usage of “curate”?

I found New York Times (November 25) article titled “Helpful definition of modern author” intriguing. It provides humorous definitions of book-related terminologies such as authors, publishers, ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Lose Attendence Numbers

When some sport is "losing attendance numbers", what does "numbers" refer to? I can't find a good definition in dictionaries that would fit this usage.
4
votes
3answers
235 views

Meaning of “Discretion”

I saw this dictionary entry, and it says "discretion" could mean approximately either 1) the right to choose what to do or 2) the quality of being careful what you do. The dictionary has these two ...
0
votes
2answers
322 views

Holding off on it or Holding it off or Holding off of it?

I would like to say that I'm pausing / postponing work on something. I wasn't sure which of the following is the right way to say it: I'm holding off on it for the time being I'm holding off of ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Is the moment come? [duplicate]

"You comfort me so much! I am so ignorant. Am I to kiss you now? Is the moment come?" I came across the sentence above on page 480 of the novel A Tale of Two Cities. I've never seen the usage ...
-2
votes
2answers
190 views

The type of expression that makes transitive verb to look like an intransitive verb: How common is it? Should I use it in formal writing? [closed]

The sentence structure Subject has got noun to verb. basically places a noun behind a verb with the help of the infinitive marker to, and it makes the transitive verb looks as if it is an ...
-1
votes
1answer
210 views

Ending a sentence with “and thanks”

I have a colleague who ends many emails with "and thanks". To me it sounds awkward and random, but I wonder if anyone has seen this usage before? Examples (note particularly the third one!): "That ...
0
votes
1answer
365 views

What is the difference between “excuse me” and “forgive me”?

I am hesitated when I use the sentence "forgive my fault, please." instead of "excuse me, please." because the word "forgive" has a religious theme and probably carries some additional meanings. Also ...
0
votes
1answer
188 views

Difference Between “View” and “Viewpoint”?

Suppose the context is people giving their opinions in a discussion. How are "view" and "viewpoint" different? Some dictionaries seem to say they are the same. What do native speakers think?