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

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“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
596 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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3answers
386 views

How, when and where did the phrase 'state of the art' originate? [duplicate]

Volume 4 of Charles Burney, A General History of Music, From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (1776) contains this sentence: And while it [Rousseau's Lettre sur la Musique Françoise] was ...
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5answers
82 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
48 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
86 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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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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1answer
452 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
115 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
88 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
207 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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3answers
424 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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2answers
94 views

Using property name in plural instead of its units

Consider describing an object and referring to some of its properties, that has a unit (eg. weight in kilograms). Is it correct to describe the property not by saying what unit is it in, but using ...
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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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4answers
84 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
84 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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3answers
160 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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0answers
88 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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1answer
694 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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1answer
158 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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4answers
3k views

Is “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet” a common or respectable English expression?

Today’s edition of the New York Times (December 16, 2014) carries an article written by Mark Bittman under the headline “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It begins with the following passage: “What’s ...
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2answers
105 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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5answers
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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
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Does one “take” a photocopy or “make” a photocopy? [closed]

If the verb for "photograph" is take, I presume that the verb for a "photographic copy" should also be take. The word photocopy is often abbreviated to copy. I have noticed the verb make is used for ...
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2answers
257 views

Above and beyond

What does "above and beyond" mean and how is it used in a sentence? Some sources say it means exceeding expectations, some sources say it means 'in addition to'. Which is it? Is it both?
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1answer
23 views

Ever responsive to [closed]

I came across this sentence: "Ever responsive to the hobbyist market, Texas Instruments is releasing a [product name and description]" Is the first part of the sentence implying that the company ...
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2answers
519 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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0answers
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About 'is' and 'are' using numbers [duplicate]

What is the correct English; "one and one is two" or "one and one are two"? Likewise for "two and three is five" or "two and three are five"?
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2answers
232 views

What does “for our sins” mean in this sentence?

I am struggling to get my head around the following: Hi Andrew, For all our articles we use information from national news organisations (for our sins). Have a look here at the Guardian ...
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1answer
88 views

What does “ in the event, doomed” mean in this sentence? [closed]

I am struggling to get my head around the following: This is probably the best and certainly the most extraordinary graphic novel I have ever come across. Its subject matter, believe it or not, ...
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3answers
142 views

Does “caffeinated” make any sense?

A while back, when we learnt how to remove the caffeine from coffee beans, we coined the word decaffeinated to denote coffee that's had the caffeine taken out. I've noticed more and more recently, as ...
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3answers
399 views

Origin of “Innocent” to mean “Sexually Inexperienced”

I was thinking about the way "innocent" is often used (in both casual and moderately formal contexts) to mean "sexually inexperienced/oblivious", and came to the conclusion that using the phrase in ...
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7answers
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Kids addressing older people

I'm translating a text I wrote in Portuguese (I'm Brazilian) and I'd like some help. In my story, a boy around 13 years old is at the school and encounters a janitress, a woman in her late forties. ...
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1answer
68 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
124 views

Titus Andronicus: “-She is delivered, lords, she is delivered. -To whom?”

This is about trying to understand the etymology, meaning and current usage(if any) of a specific form for the word deliver. Is deli'ver, to deliver, delivered There was an old form1 which was ...
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2answers
65 views

“Mr. John s/o Mr. Wagner” vs “Mr. John s/o Mr. & Mrs. Wagner”

Which one below is correct? Mr. John s/o Mr. Wagner OR Mr. John s/o Mr. & Mrs. Wagner Is it necessary to affix Mr. & Mrs. in this case? It seems superfluous to add Mrs. because a ...
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5answers
175 views

Why does 'up' have a positive connotation and 'down' have a negative connotation?

The word up usually has a positive connotation - thumbs up, look up, go up in life - whereas down usually has a negative connotation - look down, go down etc. Why is this so and when did such an ...
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2answers
114 views

In At vs In From vs Into

For a user interface project, my group is trying to determine the correct phrasing for when an account is being used at multiple computers. There were a few different options being given, but which ...
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1answer
2k views

“In the immortal words of…”

In standard usage of the phrase "in the immortal words of...", are there any restrictions on the mortality of the speaker? I typically only hear it used for deceased speakers who once walked the ...
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3answers
2k views

Sentences start with Of

What is the meaning of of when it starts a sentence? For example, and what is the grammatically correct way to write a sentence starting with of?
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1answer
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Where and how do I use the word “apparently”?

Does this word "apparently" mean that something is obvious or does it refer to something that seems true but actually isn't. Apparent means illusion, right? People use this word quite often and I ...
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1answer
325 views

What's the correct usage of the word “Opinion”?

I have been posting on a forum recently, and every time I express my opinion, someone says I'm using the word incorrectly, and I want to confirm this. I said something along the lines of: "In my ...
2
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1answer
105 views

“Caldoniafied” In General Use in the 1980s?

I am curious about the word "Caldoniafied" meaning, roughly, hard headed, and presumably coming from the song entitled "Caldonia" ("Caldonia, Caldonia, what makes your big head so hard?". )Louis ...
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0answers
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The etymology of do/does for questions [duplicate]

What is the etymology of the use of do/ does/ did for questions forms as opposed to inverting the subject and verb?
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2answers
56 views

Is this proper usage of the world 'proverbial'

"Daniel spots the contradiction almost immediately, recalling the moment when Sam had befriended Bobby with his story of the proverbial girlfriend he once called Janice—not Maggie." I'm almost ...
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3answers
319 views

Can One Jump To Good Conclusions?

Jump To Conclusions is noted in the free dictionary's entry for jump a few different ways: To form an opinion or judgment hastily: jump to conclusions. to proceed abruptly, ...
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2answers
285 views

Usage of “I'm incredulous!” as an exclamation of shock or disbelief

Would the exclamation "I'm incredulous!" be an appropriate response to finding out some unexpected news, if the intention is to convey shock or disbelief?
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3answers
188 views

Is “Click bait” an Internet buzzword? How can I rephrase it?

I found a video showing a fireman who rescued a suffocating kitten from a fire smoke and resuscitated her by oxygen inhalation introduced in the article titled “Why that video went viral” in New York ...
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1answer
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Origin of the disapproval associated with “derivative” used as an adjective?

This is the first meaning of the word derivative used as an adjective(Oxford): 1 (Typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for ...
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3answers
191 views

past perfect tense and comma usage in Churchill's book

I'm reading a book called "My early life" by Winston Churchill. "I was working in the saloon of the Indiaman, and had reached an exciting point in my story." 1) why did he put comma before "and had ...