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

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37 views

What are the differences between “come on down” and “come down”?

"I answered the phone in my apartment and heard the sloping drawl of one of my students , Travis." Miss Diana, " he said, "Could you come on down the stairs a minute?" It was early May on the ...
5
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1answer
96 views

Thoughts on today's article on “farther” vs “further”?

See the article for context. Seems like a plausible suggestion to me, but I'm curious what others think. Consider the house, tree, and sunflower in the illustration at the top of this post. The ...
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5answers
1k views

To laugh over vs. about

Most of the time when I need to reference something using the word "laugh", my go-to preposition is "about". However, at times, "over" sounds much more adequate in day-to-day use. The big question, ...
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2answers
170 views

When, if ever, can I use “balded” in modern English?

"balded", as in the past tense of the verb to bald, is apparently a word. But when, if ever, would I use this? If a person is losing their hair, they are balding. If they have already lost it, they ...
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1answer
27 views

How to use a comma correctly [closed]

Where do I put commas in a sentence like this....? Mom told me to buy butter milk a dozen eggs and six apples at the store.
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1answer
59 views

“We have sour 3 proctors.” What exactly does “sour” mean here? [closed]

Someone sent out an e-mail to me and many others asking for help proctoring some exams. This person got all the proctors she needed, and sent out a follow-up e-mail with the title "We have sour 3 ...
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0answers
163 views

How to specify we don't know the gender

I was talking about the short story "The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen" by Graham Greene. The narrator is part of the story and also talks about himself/herself. They ask me what we know about the ...
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1answer
131 views

How to properly borrow words from other languages? [closed]

For example, if I took the Russian word "Toska" and transposed into an English word "tosk (pronounced as "təʊsk") and created such words and phrases as "toskful", "tosk-stricken", "toskfulness", "to ...
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1answer
38 views

Cry on chest / in cuddle

I want to describe this picture: The man is crying on the woman's chest. The man is crying in the woman's cuddle. Which one is correct? Thank you.
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2answers
347 views

Isn't it redundant to use “then” after “if”?

Since "if P, Q" is grammatical, is it not the case that the "then" in "if P, then Q" is redundant? Where P and Q are clauses. For example, "if it rains today, the road shall be wet tomorrow" is ...
2
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1answer
54 views

“Inverse” and “Converse” in academic writing [closed]

Do the words "inverse" and the words "converse" have the same meaning in academic writing as they do as logic terms? Or would it cause confusion? If I write, "conversely...", will it mean that ...
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3answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with the preposition 'except' rather than 'except for'?

The sentence Except the buildings built towards the end of his life, the buildings erected in Istanbul can be assumed to be his. was recently used in a question here. I edited to replace ...
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1answer
45 views

“I'm cooperating!”

One day, I was chatting with my friend in English. We were talking about something and we both knew that we were joking. The conversation is as follows: My Friend: I am going to watch all episodes of ...
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2answers
285 views

“Need be” vs. “Needs to be”

I've written the following in a sentence, but now that I look at it, I'm doubting my grammatical instincts and wanted to get a second opinion. ...the balance need be swayed only slightly... Is ...
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4answers
10k views

Trustable or trustworthy?

For a long time I have been using trustworthy as the adjective for of trust. However, I recently heard someone say trustable, and it piqued my interest. Apparently it is a word on Merriam-Webster as ...
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1answer
56 views

Connecting “with” or “to”

I read the answers to similar questions, but I need to be sure. I chose the sentence: "Connecting solutions with people" on my business card and want to be sure it's not suppose to be "Connecting ...
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4answers
114 views

Is it possible to use “demotivate” with something not related to studying or job?

The question is in the title. Actually, I need something of a synonym to "disencourage" and "demotivate" was the first word that came to my mind. Also, if it's possible to use "demotivate" with ...
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3answers
477 views

How bad is the use of “n***er” today?

If I call a Black person "nigger", how bad is this today? If a Black calls another Black with this word, is it wrong?
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1answer
49 views

Is “claimer” primarily a term for a customer notorious for their frivolous complaints?

In Japanese this English loanword is being used in this way, and I am curious as to whether the usage is technically correct. While I realize that in English the definition of "claimer" extends ...
2
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2answers
29k views

When to use “in the last year”, “last year” and “in the past year”?

I'm curious about the differences between "in the last year", "in the past year" and "last year". I went to NY in the past year Last year I went to NY. In the last year I went to NY (This sounds ...
2
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1answer
91 views

Is it possible to “revenge” a situation?

From the usage I am familiar with, it sounds strange to use "revenge" as a verb by itself. I am used to hearing it together with another word, such as "get revenge" or "take revenge". My dictionary ...
2
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1answer
324 views

Can a person be “overly literal”

It's common to say someone is being overly literal if their interpretation of a phrase is too strictly literal either intentionally (nitpickers) or unintentionally (people learning another language). ...
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0answers
60 views

Mark Twain and the tenses

Maybe I'm being too pedantic for my own good, but here's the thing. There is in Mark Twain's short story titled Journalism in Tennessee a passage in which, if you take a good close look, the simple ...
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1answer
103 views

run out on someone (meaning be used up)

The intransitive multi-word verb run out meaning be used up is well known. The transitive multi-word verb run out on meaning {OALD}: run out on somebody (informal) to leave somebody that ...
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2answers
206 views

In the sentence below, is the verb 'render' used correctly?

Consider the sentence: What matters is to render the idea from the field of theory into practice. Could the verb render be replaced by the verb translate without changing the meaning? Which is ...
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3answers
160 views

Dragons are “fantastic” creatures or “fantastical” creatures?

If I'm discussing fantasy as a genre, and I want to describe a noun as fitting that genre, should I call it fantastic or fantastical? It seems both words exist in (say) Merriam-Webster, but the -al ...
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4answers
127 views

Usage of the word “submittal”

It it appropriate to use the word submittal as follows? The report is ready for submittal. Or, is it better to just say: The report is ready to be submitted.
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2answers
107 views

Further explanation of “among others”

I know that "among others" is used when we mention one or more than one person. But still, I am a little confused. For example: "Among others, Adam and Smith supported me at the meeting." (I am ...
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2answers
102 views

Can the word, “OK’er,” be used in other area than copy editing?

I recently heard the word,’OK’er” in the New Yorker’s Live video, in which Mary Norris, New Yorker’s copy editor and author of "How I proofread my way to Philip Roth’s heart,” “Between You & Me on ...
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1answer
64 views

Can “the day after tomorrow” be used as an adverb?

I've come across this expression while having a conversation over the phone with a native English speaking friend. However, I am not sure if he said "at the day after tomorrow" or "the day after ...
0
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0answers
32 views

How wide is singular “they” being used? [duplicate]

One might want to use a generic pronoun, that doesn't specify the gender of the person. Although "he" can be used in such case, they decide that "he" still reflect the history time when male was ...
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3answers
20k 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?
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1answer
562 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
34 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
97 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
115 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
5k 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 ...
5
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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.
0
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1answer
53 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 ...
0
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2answers
221 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 ...
25
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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
44k 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
59 views
-1
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1answer
48 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
196 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?