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

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-1
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2answers
115 views

“A food is fed (to) someone or something” vs. “Someone or something is fed on (or with) a food” [closed]

Focusing on the passive voice, which of the following grammatical constructions is (or are) more typical of AE? More research is necessary before *soy formula is fed to babies^ source More ...
-1
votes
1answer
109 views

I've been betrayed by the Jedi Order, but I don't wish “for” them to all die [closed]

Does the presumably nonstandard construction "(verb) for someone/something to (verb)" instead of "(verb) (someone/something) to (verb)" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE speech and "not so ...
-1
votes
2answers
354 views

“Sofa bed”, “hideaway couch”, “hide-a-bed”, “couch bed”, “sleeper sofa”, “day bed”, and “studio couch” in AE

Which of these terms is (or are) more typical of AE to designate a convertible consisting of an upholstered couch that can be converted into a double bed?
1
vote
1answer
43 views

“Snag (a chance, an opportunity, etc.) for ”seize/snatch" in AE

Does "snag" have any currency in modern day AE to say "snatch (or seize) (a chance, an occasion, etc.), and can it be used just about interchangeably with the latter? Or, is there a subtle difference ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

The problems with “Showed”

Is it right to say " Fisher (1935) has showed that normality is guaranteed in case 1" Or should it be " Fisher (1935) has shown that normality is guaranteed in case 1" ? Personally, I guess both ...
0
votes
1answer
328 views

Why does the word 'calculative' not exist in the Oxford dictionary?

My friends and I have been using 'calculative' and not 'calculating' to describe a person given to doing or planning things only for their benefits; but it seems like we have been wrong for so long. ...
1
vote
1answer
172 views

“Should I” vs. “Shall I” vs. “Do I” in AE

In colloquial prose, is there some difference to saying "Should I/we", Shall I/we", "Do I/we" to ask someone's advice? E.g. Should I call the police? Sounds like I'm asking someone (or myself) ...
2
votes
3answers
108 views

Borrowed idea synonym

I am preparing a presentation to pitch for an 'idea' that I think should be implemented in my team. The problem is that it is not something new and it is not my brainchild. Several implementations of ...
0
votes
2answers
284 views

“Occupation” and “professional occupation (plus calling and career)” vs. “vocation” and “professional vocation” [closed]

Is "professional vocation" an acceptable alternative to "professional occupation", and to "professional calling or career" also? You might want to consider the following sourced examples for this: ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

'See' and 'Hear' in the progressive?

I'd like you to go into details about the difference between 'see', 'hear' and 'seeing', 'hearing'. I'm not a native speaker, so it's a bit hard to understand this explanation that 'see' and 'hear' ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

“Directory” for the main board in an airport, etc., informing people on arrivals/departures, floors/levels to certain stores, etc

In AE, is it appropriate to designate as a "directory" the main information board found in the concourse or front room of a public place such as a passenger station, an airport, a shopping mall, an ...
2
votes
3answers
507 views

“Coat” vs. “jacket” in AE

In some regions of the U.S., can the term "coat" be used to designate what other native speakers of other U.S. regions -- and from farther out -- would call a jacket? Please consider this Ngram: ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

“Snub out a cigarette” for “stub out a cigarette” in AE

My bilingual dictionary points up “snub out” as an Americanism for “stub out” as in, “He snubbed out his cigarette.” But, does is this expression current enough in modern day spoken AE to be used ...
1
vote
1answer
255 views

“To be headed for” and “To be headed over to”

Can these expressions be used just about interchangeably for all but the most formal prose, or is there a subtle difference to them? E.g. He is headed over to the garage. He is headed for the ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

Proper usage for the word “obverse”

I believe "obverse" has several meanings, with one being "the flip side of something (coin)." I'm trying to cleverly contrast opposite approaches of a person's management duties. "From a wide ...
2
votes
4answers
250 views

Why do we say that we “observe” traditions?

Why do we say that we "observe traditions" rather than "following traditions" or some other term?
4
votes
4answers
911 views

Is “Know how to cook leeks”an idiom? What does “Read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks” mean?

There was the following sentence in New York Times’ article (February 28) titled “What you learn at 40s.”: "Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” - - The conventional wisdom ...
1
vote
1answer
111 views

“Alligator pear” and “sparrow grass” for “avocado” and “asparagus”

Do "sparrow grass" and "alligator pear" have any currency in spoken AE, or are these terms chiefly dialectal?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Sitting room”, “lounge”, “lounge room”, and “front room”

Each of these terms seem to be used to designate a room, in a private house or in the front of a public facility, where one can sit and relax and talk. But, are there any differences to them -- or do ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

“Lobby”, “foyer”, “front (of house)/front room”, “entranceway”, “entry”, and “entryway”

"Lobby", "foyer", "entry(way), "entranceway" and "front (of house)/front room" seem to be used to designate an area or a room near the entrance to a public building such as a hotel, where one can ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Difference between “Upscale”, “high-toned/tony”, “fancy”, “high-end”, “select”, and “exclusive”

Can these terms denoting something expensive, elegant and/or fashionable be used just about interchangeably, or are there any subtle differences to them? E.g. Alone in a tony restaurant...source ...
0
votes
1answer
134 views

Does using the word “idealist” to self-describe carry an air of arrogance?

Forgive me if this question is off-topic as POB. But, I believe there is a language usage/philosophical question here. My wife and I were having a discussion about politics this evening, and she ...
-3
votes
1answer
172 views

“Smart casual” vs. “casual chic”

As far as apparel code goes, is "casual chic" just about the same as "smart casual", or is there a nuance I am missing?
2
votes
4answers
297 views

Can “beefcake” serve as a verb to mean showing off big muscles?

I was confused by the ending line of the following sentence from the article titled, “The last, disposable action hero” in the February 28th edition of Time magazine: “American movie market now ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

usage of infinitive after feel [duplicate]

What is grammatically wrong with the sentence, "I feel to eat."? After the verb feel, can the infinitive of another verb be used?
0
votes
1answer
24 views

“win” vs. “win out” in their transitive forms

Is there a hairbreadth of difference between saying "he won the race (or the battle, the fight, etc.) and "he won out the race (...)" either in a literal or figurative sense, or does it all mean just ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

“He's liable/likely to win” and “He's likely/liable to lose”

"Liable" is often loosely used in colloquial, nonstandard AE for likely:"My favorite horse is liable to win" -- but discriminating use generally applies "liable" only to what is undesirable: "An ...
1
vote
1answer
206 views

“Return” and “come back” as intransitive verbs

Does "return" imply a longer absence than "be back" -- in analogy with "Batman returns (after a ten-year absence) -- in such a way that it would sound sort of awkward or weird to say of someone that ...
1
vote
1answer
205 views

“Opposite of (someone/something)” for “across from/opposite” in nonstandard colloquial prose

Consider the following quotes (emphasis mine). For a split second, I meet eyes with an older man standing in a still gaze just opposite of me amidst the sudden chaos. source Taking a seat ...
-1
votes
3answers
105 views

Using 'the' with abbreviations of nouns [duplicate]

Consider United States of America or United Kindgom. While using these, it is customary to add the before it. Eg. I'm travelling to the United Kingdom However, when I use the abbreviation, it ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do Americans add “The” in front of a team name, but the British do not?

I'm not certain that there is an answer to this one: Americans refer to our teams as The Example: The New York Yankees The British in my experience do not. Example: Manchester United I ...
0
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1answer
44 views

'Is also on the works' or 'is also in the works', which is correct? [closed]

An android version of the app is also on the works. or An android version of the app is also in the works. Which is correct?
4
votes
9answers
1k views

Is it really rude to use the terms “the john” and “the loo” in lieu of “the restroom”?

I usually use the term "restroom" (or "toilet" if I want to make sure that everyone in the Czech Republic understands me at once), and, while I've always understood that the terms "john" and "loo" are ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the grammatical function of “a Catholic” in “She was raised a Catholic”?

I was drawn to the following line in New York Times (Feb.25) article: “De Blasio, who has said his mother was raised a Catholic but did not bring him up in the church.” ...
0
votes
2answers
123 views

Difference between “not as…as” and “not …er than”

In what kind of situation can we use "not as...as" not "not ...er than"? This question is not as easy as that one. This question is not easier than that one. This question is more difficult ...
0
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1answer
56 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
52 views

“Bother and do” for “bother doing/to do” in colloquial speech and writing

As far as your English variety goes, does it sound acceptable to say "bother and do" instead of "bother doing/to do" in colloquial speech and not so formal writing? E.g. Please spend a moment of ...
2
votes
1answer
340 views

Are “of course” and “naturally” pedantic?

I've noticed that in most cases, the sentence "of course", is used when someone is trying to sound superior, in a sardonic way. In constranst they use "naturally" when they are patronising someone, ...
-2
votes
2answers
105 views

“Vagrancy” as a substitute for “vagary” in the phrase “the vagaries of (fashion, market, etc.)”

As far as your English variety goes, is it OK to substitute vagrancy for vagary in such a phrase as the vagaries of (fashion, mind, etc.)? E.g. Its popularity waxed and waned with the vagaries of ...
3
votes
3answers
247 views

Visit us at (the) booth 24, (the) room 56 etc. It's wrong, but why?

I know that "the" is wrong here, but I can't explain why it's wrong to my friend here, and I have trouble formulating a google search to find some descriptive "rule" or something. Help please?
4
votes
2answers
451 views

'Hope' vs. 'wish' in unlikely situations

Although 'hope' and 'wish' have many different uses, I've seen the basic difference often summarized as: 'wish' is for imaginary, unlikely or impossible things, whereas 'hope' is for more likely or ...
0
votes
2answers
87 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Does “shall no longer be” imply “forever not?”

Can "no longer" refer to a finite, forseeable time period, or does it indicate a long-term finality? For example, if someone says, in anticipation of a large meal, "I shall no longer be hungry," does ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

How can I dedicate something to my family and make a special note of my wife?

In a formal media article that describes my achievements, I want to say something like the following: I want to dedicate this achievement/award to my family and especially to my wife for all the ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

“In preparation for” or “In Preparation of”? [closed]

What´s the difference in use between "in preparation of" or "in preparation for"? They seem both correct. Context: The team practiced how they would respond to bad weather in preparation of ...
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Usage of “Which Birthday”

On the day of a Colleague's Birthday, I asked him "Which birthday" meaning to ask "How old have you become today". He was of the opinion that it is not a correct usage. Is the usage "Which Birthday" ...
1
vote
2answers
95 views

Agreement of articles and prepositions

Which of the following sentences would you consider most acceptable, and why? Please assume knowledge of the difference between the definite and indefinite articles here and that they are used ...
2
votes
2answers
300 views

Using “on” before days or dates

I've noticed that on many American TV shows, the speakers generally don't use the word "on" before names of days or before dates. For example: I'll see you Monday. Shouldn't it be: I'll see you on ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

If the prefix “a-” means not, shouldn't “await” or “awaiting” mean, “Not waiting?”

If: Apolitical means "not political" and Amuse means...well, it should mean, "not thinking" then why does await or awaiting not mean "not waiting?" I read this earlier question (Is ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Passive voice in this sentence

I am a bit confused about these sentences below. The word "encumbered" baffles me. "Encumbered" is usually used in passive sentences. I am not able to understand the agent in these following ...