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

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1answer
79 views

What's the meaning of “I can't imagine why.”? [on hold]

Does it mean "The answer is obvious to me." in a sarcastic way, or does it mean "I really don't know the reason."? I am inclined to go with the former. Surprisingly googling doesn't help. Secondly, ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Are prior, previous, and preceding interchangeable?

If I have four moments in time (A, B, C, D), where moment D is the present, would previous, preceding, and prior be interchangeable as adjectives to refer to moments A-C? Is one of them more likely to ...
0
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0answers
23 views

Origin of the phrase “There's a fine line between pleasure and pain” [duplicate]

What is the origin (or original) of the phrase "There's a fine line between pleasure and pain"?
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0answers
94 views

Is “cause” instead of “because” becoming Standard English?

Nowadays, I'm seeing a drastic increase in usage of cause in place of because, especially in written English. People are in such a hurry, that a statement like below passes off like Standard English: ...
2
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3answers
13k views

“parentheses” vs “parenthesis” [closed]

What is the difference between "parentheses" and "parenthesis"?
2
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3answers
112 views

Is “coin” still used to mean “money”?

To clarify, I'm NOT talking about money solely in form of metal coins. (As in: I then proceeded carefully to count out the entire 14 pounds 78 pence in coin - Oxford). I'm talking about using 'coin' ...
0
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2answers
50 views

Usage of touch the wood?

I've started using English language about 4 years ago after I moved to England. I came across this practice a few times: when people speak about their health or similar things they say this and touch ...
1
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2answers
77 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 ...
0
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1answer
105 views

The ultimate 'Heart' and 'Brain' question [on hold]

Heart and Brain - although of significant importance in Anatomy, equally significant, but in a completely different sense in the realm of Literature. I'd like to know how the earliest literati ...
2
votes
4answers
67 views

“), or ,”) in the middle of a sentence? [duplicate]

I think commas are typically placed after closed parentheses and within quotation marks. This creates a dilemma when all three are used together. Example one: You may like snelms (or "snail helms,") ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Use/non-use of articles before Adjective + Abstract noun

I have confusion regarding use/non-use of articles before adjective + abstract noun. Eg. competent handling, prolonged tread life, enhanced durability Providing COMPETENT HANDLING and PROLONGED TREAD ...
-2
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0answers
25 views

“Sacrifice something for something” or “lose something in return for something”? [on hold]

Which of the following is more natural? Sacrifice something for something. Lose something in return for something.
0
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0answers
51 views

What does Antichronic mean? [on hold]

I recently came across a word "Anachronous" meaning something which is "out of (from ana) time (from chronos)". Usage eg: A person is wearing an 18th century dress to a 21st century formal ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?

I frequently see bumper stickers with quotations attributed to Mother Teresa that begin with the words "It is a poverty," for example: It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that ...
20
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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 ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “despite” outdated?

A friend of mine, a respected linguist, mentioned recently that "despite" (prep) is outdated. Whilst it is true that I hardly ever hear someone using the word in ordinary conversation, I still hear ...
2
votes
2answers
352 views

How does an animal sit on their haunches?

This should be a relatively simple question—one that I cannot seem to find anywhere. Does, for example, a dog sit down on its haunches, or sit up on its haunches? "Charlie sat up on his haunches ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

Dedicated to producing vs dedicated to the production - use of gerund in place of noun

- A factory famous for the production of. . . - A factory famous for producing . . . - A farm dedicated to the cultivation of . . . - A farm dedicated to cultivating . . . - The firm focused on the ...
1
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2answers
43 views

“It had a lot of interest for me”

I was watching "12 angry men", and there's a line "What did you think of the case? I mean, it had a lot of interest for me." By referring to the context, it sure means that the case ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Dropping “then” in “If” statements [duplicate]

As an Example, I want to refer to this Wikipedia article where there are many conditional sentences. Some of them drop the "then", some of them use it. When I change that (drop it where it was used or ...
-1
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1answer
32 views

Does this make sense with the use of 'breakthrough'?

Curiosity and imagination are the breakthrough to having any form of discovery. Does "breakthrough", as it is used here, make sense?
2
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2answers
53 views

Is “over-babble” a common word usable in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in New York Times (May 14) article under the title, “Wow, Jeb Bush is awful.”: "The bottom line is that so far he seems to be a terrible candidate. He couldn’t ...
2
votes
3answers
87 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 ...
0
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1answer
57 views

As to grammar and idiom, is the following extract correct: “… if you know the man or are him, call …”?

Obviously, my questions refers to the pronoun him. Am I wrong to suppose that the use of the subject case pronoun he instead of him would not improve the previous statement? What about this one: “… if ...
1
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1answer
243 views

Right usage of veranda

Can you please anybody give an example for right usage of veranda. I go through Google and Wikipedia, its not mentioned as proper in Usage
0
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1answer
33 views

lecture for Quality Inspectors - how to write on CV

I need to write a CV in English, however, I have a problem how to express an idea that I was giving lectures for quality inspectors and that I was giving lectures about a specific subject. Right now ...
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0answers
15 views

Known or be known

Is the usage correct? "Let the desire be known to them" —of course, the best would be: "let them know the desire"
1
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2answers
69 views

Why is “Grab” so common in advertisments (and other places where it might not make much sense)?

We area bombarded by advertisements which say "grab these offers NOW !" or "grab 2 @ 20% Discount or grab 3 @ 30% Discount !". Dictionary meanings of Grab : Take hold of so as to seize, ...
1
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1answer
39 views

Swapping first letters of different words [duplicate]

What is it called when you swap the first letters of two words?, for example - red truck is what is intended...instead ted ruck is what comes out.
0
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4answers
94 views

The Difference Between “I just love you” and “I love you” [closed]

What is the difference between "I 'just' love you" and "I love you"?
0
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1answer
36 views

'Accessory' vs 'included' as adjective (BE)

I'm wondering about the use of the word 'accessory' as an adjective. Would it be preferable in BE to say something like 'This DJ controller comes with accessory headphones'? I feel that 'This DJ ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Would an “affector” be appropriate for an event driver?

I'm trying to come up with a better word to describe a "driver" or "conditional"; basically, the name of an object or event which is a trigger for something else. Would it be appropriate to say that ...
0
votes
4answers
84 views

Is this statement incorrect? “I'm a former English major” [closed]

Is this statement incorrect? "I'm a former English major" Is "I'm an English major" a better way to say it? Isn't the fact that a person majored in English make the usage of the word "former" is ...
2
votes
3answers
75 views

What is the difference between “large” and “massive”? [closed]

What is the difference between large and massive? They both seem the same but when I read this article I stumbled across this: Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that ...
0
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0answers
15 views

“Didn't”, “did not”, “don't” and “do not” problem [duplicate]

Though English is for us all, I think it's not for me. I get confused every time I read books or hear people speak the words didn't, did not, don't and do not. I cannot figure out the right word to ...
1
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5answers
2k views

Losing bottles and bottling out

ODO's definition for bottle includes the following: 2 [mass noun] British informal the courage or confidence needed to do something difficult or dangerous: I lost my bottle completely and ran ...
2
votes
1answer
248 views

Is the expression, “I was the admissions mistake” grammatically right?

I was drawn to the phrase “I was the admission mistake” in the following passage in the article of the Washington Post (May 2) titled, “As Ben Carson bashes Obama, many blacks see a hero’s legacy ...
0
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1answer
44 views

How to refer to something “demanding” which doesn't happen all of a sudden?

Looking for a verb to express something that requires some time and effort to evolve, like collecting. I want to express that collecting requires some time and the collection doesn't just come out ...
2
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
55 views

Usage of word “withheld” [closed]

I'm reading this one website insurance of employees and got confused. The employee's portion of the insurance contribution is withheld from the employee's pay So does it mean, the employee's ...
0
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0answers
3 views

How to use present perfect precisely [migrated]

My exercise has a question like this: My father learned to drive when he was 16. -> My father... Of course, i know this is easy, just a little transformation. But then i thought: " I can not use 'my ...
-1
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2answers
45 views

What is better: I can tell or I tell..? [closed]

I tell a bad car from a good one by.. is this correct or should I use.. I can tell a good car from a bad one by.. I am confused because I always hear the second option but someone told me the first ...
1
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0answers
15 views

Difference between while and whilst [duplicate]

What is the difference between 'while' and 'whilst'? When to use them?
-3
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1answer
39 views

Usage of 'that' in place of 'than' [closed]

Is it right to use 'that' in place of 'than'? Eg.football is more popular that cricket. 2.he is better that him.
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Watch and see usage

When should be used see and when watch? For example: if you look at a mirror you see you or you watch you? The same as if a camera is recording you an it appears in a tv in real-time, are you seeing ...
0
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0answers
40 views

Why are we using 'the' less?

I saw this ngram, and found that the word 'the' is less frequently observed these days, as compared to the past. I know this is a silly question. But why is this happening? Also, surprisingly, ...
7
votes
4answers
8k views

Is “on one hand, on the other hand” a cliche? [closed]

We should find a Way of long peace instead of living just for today. On one hand, we have to prevent the community from coming apart and suffering the disasters caused by it, on the other hand, to ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

“Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” usage

Why is it customary for a heterosexual woman to refer to her heterosexual female friend as a "girlfriend",but not the case for a heterosexual man and his male buddy to call one another "boyfriends"? ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

If A subtends B, can B also subtend A?

I wrote: Things farther away subtend smaller angles at the eye. Wiktionary has this example of the usage of "subtend:" A 43° angle subtends an arc about ¾ meter long on a circle with a ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “love me do” mean?

As many of you know, there is a famous song by the Beatles entitled Love Me Do. Nevertheless, I have some doubts about the correctness of such a title. Does "love me do" mean the same as "love me" or ...