For questions on how and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

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3answers
19k views

Why does “Please approve it” sound wrong?

Whenever I read an email like this, the English sounds incorrect to me. "I would like to take tomorrow off. Please approve it." I want to say that "Please approve" is more natural, but why is that?
3
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1answer
559 views

Is “balanced literacy” a generic term, or elementary education specific?

“The Room for Debate Section” of New York Times (July 3rd) deals with “the Right Approach to Reading Instruction,” and throws the question; “The student-led approach to reading and writing known ...
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2answers
4k 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) ...
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0answers
32 views

Is Alliteration Orthographic or Sonic?

Is this alliteration: Chocolate-colored Chows chew caffeinated Chow chow, chasing crabby calico cats Cherry cobbler clings close chastely, catapulting Cincinnati Centerfielders crosswise ...
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1answer
95 views

Word for someone who repeats words

What is a word for someone who uses a word excessively in conversation? For example, using the same swear word in every sentence.
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1answer
105 views

Why does the word “nugatory” become nugatory?

This is the follow up question of When to use “nugatory”? So if we look at the Ngram of the word nugatory, it is noticeable that the word has been nugatory throughout the time. The trend starts from ...
2
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1answer
4k views

Which abbreviation for the world wars is more correct; WWI or WW1?

At my daughter's school, there is an exercise in general knowledge; this term's is about " The World Wars". The question posed is which abbreviation is correct, the first with Roman numerals or the ...
4
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3answers
8k views

What's the official rule regarding use of “welcome” versus “welcomed”?

Which is correct, and why?: Growing my business has been a welcomed challenge. OR Growing my business has been a welcome challenge.
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1answer
52 views

Use of the prefix Im- [closed]

I have read the rules for using im- versus un- and agree with the general ideas put forth. A word that I used recently, seems to fall into a category all its own. The word is (im)provable, meaning ...
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2answers
203 views

Is “pride and joy” singular or plural?

Which is correct: Her pride and joy are ... Her pride and joy is ... Or does the use of 'are' or 'is' in this case depend on whether the object of the sentence is singular or plural?
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3answers
3k 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 ...
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10answers
7k views

What does ‘If she’s a feminist, then I’m a T. Rex’ mean? [duplicate]

There was the following passage in New York Times’ (October 6) article commenting on GOP Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina under the headline, ‘If she’s a feminist, then I’m a T. Rex’: “Her ...
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2answers
43k 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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1answer
52 views
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1answer
47 views

How to identify an adverbial clause

I find it difficult to identify an adverbial clause in the following sentence: Saturday is the day when I get my hair done. Is the clause "when I get my hair done" adverbial?.
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1answer
181 views

“The young” means young people, but are they “the modern young”

Please answer my following question. I think that "the+'adjective'" means "adjective people". For example, the young means young people. Then, I have a question. Can I use two or more adjectives in ...
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1answer
43 views

forced break usage

Let's say I need to go on a trip, and thus will be skipping some of my gym sessions. Can I say I'm taking a *forced break* from gym or another phrase should be used here?
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1answer
192 views

Can you express 'thousands' in number?

Is there any plausible way of expressing a sentence like There are thousands of people in this city Could you express that with numbers? Using the figure 1000 would make it look like "a ...
2
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1answer
68 views

About “polyptoton”

I am struggling with these phrase and sentences. Please translate in plain English or can you make it easy to understand. 1) Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds. 2) Tut, tut! Grace me ...
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1answer
67 views

Why we should say North and South City instead of South and North City? [duplicate]

Why we should say North and South City instead of South and North City??
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2answers
237 views

Is ‘scooplet’ a popular word?

I came across the word, ‘scooplet’ in the statement of New York times’ reporter in its “What we are reading section” (October 24). Carolyn Ryan introduces “Time Machine” written by Kitty Kelley by ...
0
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1answer
80 views

“Walk in” or “Walk into”? How to decide whether to use “in” or “into”? [duplicate]

"You can't just walk in/into the class without permission". What is the word to go by in this statement?
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3answers
330 views

In a story written in past tense, is using present tense grammatically correct in the narration?

For example, just something quickly made up: Sam started to run from the house to the nearby forest. The freezing weather caused him to shiver, but the warmth from running very rapidly heated up ...
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3answers
236 views

Is it possible to say “we were better” meaning “we better” in the past tense?

I know that textbooks maintain that this phrase (even not exactly this, since it's the "incorrect" version of "we had better") should be used only in the present and future tenses but I wonder if it's ...
3
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2answers
161 views

Why did the word “alluring” peak in the 1920s?

As per title. This is the Ngram Graph for the word alluring: For comparison, this is the same graph for the word remarkable:
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2answers
50 views

Would you italicize chapatis?

I guess "chapati" is foreign word and should be italicized in a text. But what about plural? The foreign word is actually chapati, and the plural is made using the English "s" (even if, maybe, chapati ...
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3answers
1k 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
142 views

Preposition to use with the phrase “come to an understanding”

So, I'm to translate a sentence to English. It's something like: We've succeeded in coming to an understanding ______ all questions discussed. I suppose that I should use either about or in to ...
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0answers
10 views

ask question about the past [duplicate]

English is my second language. Is it correct to say " How did your college ranked on the previous list? Should I use rank instead? Thanks.
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2answers
93 views

the usage of the phrase 'be axed'

According to Dictionary.com, one of the meanings of the word 'ax' is... '(informal) to dismiss, restrict, or destroy brutally' (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ax?s=t) Labor reforms ...
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2answers
41 views

peripheral equipment - only for computers?

If I say "peripheral equipment", does this always refer to equipment attached to computers (such as printers, mice, keyboards, etc), or can it also be used for other things? For example, can I talk ...
1
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1answer
141 views

Hospital versus *the* hospital [duplicate]

One oddity in the difference between UK and American usage is that Americans say "I went to the hospital" but British people say "I went to hospital". Is there an explanation for this grammatical ...
6
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1answer
204 views

Why in Britain do we stop for a 'coffee', but a 'cup of tea'?

In polite company in Britain one asks ones guest if they have time for a coffee - usually if it is morning. But if it is afternoon one would ask them if they would like a cup of tea. Now this is not ...
3
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3answers
121 views

“Three pieces of email” alternately to “three emails” in AE?

Does American English allow the use of "email" as a mass noun, in such a way that it is not uncommon to hear any such of the following phrases from native speakers? I've still got a huge backload of ...
3
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2answers
74 views

Usage of the word “glitch”

I have been attending few speech sessions lately where I found the word "glitch" as being referred to human mistake or error. I couldn't help but search its usage all over the web. All I found was, it ...
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7answers
1k views

Another way to say “it never hurts”

It wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more serious. Wouldn't/won't/never hurts make perfect sense in this example. I'm wondering if there's any alternative way to preserve the meaning of this phrase in a ...
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5answers
12k views

“Thus” vs. “Thusly”

I read an article that used "thusly" and was wondering if there is any grammatical credence to it. The quote: The issue started when Sokolowski quickly ran out of storage capacity in his 32GB ...
9
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1answer
388 views

Influence of Spanish and usage of Spanish words in US English

A recent report by Instituto Cervantes ["El Español una lengua viva, informe 2015"] lists the US as the 4th country in the world with the highest number of native Spanish speakers (41.343.921), ...
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2answers
48 views

Renown vs. renowned [closed]

Which is correct? 'The event will be held in the renown abbey' OR 'the event will be held in the renowned abbey' ?
3
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2answers
501 views

Can “must not” be used alternately to “can't” in AE to say that sth is logically impossible?

Does American English allow the use of "must not" instead of "can't" to say that something is believed to be logically impossible? Please consider the following examples: It must not be true! How ...
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2answers
302 views

Can a junior “appreciate” a senior's work [closed]

Is it OK for a junior( a student or an official) to say "I really appreciate your work" to his/ her senior?
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0answers
776 views

Is it better to say “research under Prof. Aho” or “research under supervision of Prof. Aho”?

When a professor advises and supervises a PhD or MS student to complete their research, is it advisable say? The student is conducting his study under Prof. X. Or The student is ...
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1answer
3k views

“Yes, Please” vs “Yes, Of course”

I have heard people saying: Que: Can I use your pen? Ans: Yes please. and also Que: Can I use your pen? Ans: Yes Of course. I wanted to know if there is any difference between these two ...
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4answers
28k views

Why is mutton used for both sheep meat and goat meat?

The meat of an adult sheep is called mutton. The meat of an adult goat is called chevon or mutton. In the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, and in some parts of Asia, particularly ...
1
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1answer
194 views

“You all should have” vs. “you should have all” vs. “all of you should have”

Which one of these three constructions is more correct: By now, you all should have received your insurance cards. By now, all of you should have received your insurance cards. By now, ...
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2answers
1k views

“most” vs “the most”, specifically as an adverb at the end of sentence

Which one of the following sentences is the most canonical? I know most vs. the most has been explained a lot, but my doubts pertain specifically which one to use at the end of a sentence. Do you ...
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1answer
1k views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
3
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1answer
86 views

Has the expression “powered by”, as used in website or softwares, a positive connotation?

This question is a spin-off of this one in Portuguese SE. In that question, the OP wanted to know how to translate to Portuguese the expression powered by as used in websites or softwares when another ...
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1answer
20k views

Is “keep updated” proper usage of those words?

I'm far from being an English major, but I have a simple question. If someone were to say keep updated in a sentence, is that correct? I know the usage, tense, and other things matter, but is it ...
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4answers
220 views

Understanding dichotomy [closed]

I am having a hard time understanding the definition of dichotomy. I saw this recent article from a Harvard student: "• Dichotomy means two mutually exclusive alternatives and does not mean ...