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

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2
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2answers
86 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [on hold]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
1
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3answers
201 views

“Pass me by” or “pass by me”?

Should I say he passed me by, or he passed by me? I think it's passed me by, but I'm not sure. Thanks.
0
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2answers
44 views

What is his name again? vs. What was his name again?

Which sentence from the title sounds more natural when asking for clarification about something which has already been discussed? Is one tense preferable overall? Take the following examples: ...
6
votes
5answers
598 views

Yards, courtyards, and gardens in American English

As long as reportedly Americans commonly designate an area of land, usually planted with plants, trees, flowerbeds, etc., adjoining a house as a yard (front yard/backyard); and a plot of land used for ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Did the CIA really introduce 'conspiracy theory' into popular usage after JFK?

I heard that after the JFK assassination the CIA, through assets in mass media, introduced the term 'conspiracy theory', with it connotations of something clearly ridiculous, and only believed by ...
0
votes
3answers
42 views

“Shortcut to” or “shortcut for”

Which of these sentences would be correct, or are they both correct? "A shortcut to finding the inverse of a 2x2 matrix is..." "A shortcut for finding the inverse of a 2x2 matrix is..."
0
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0answers
29 views

Asking for more time in AmE [on hold]

I've been speaking english for like 2-3 years.. And I want to know what is the polite way to ask a potential client to give me 2-3 minutes to provide information about a new offer (on the phone) I've ...
1
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0answers
27 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, ...
0
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0answers
16 views

Driving across versus driving through

Does the term "driving across the state" imply that I am driving from east to west (or west to east)? If yes, what do I say if I am driving north to south (or south to north)? Am I driving through the ...
0
votes
1answer
87 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
150 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"?
1
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0answers
106 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
votes
3answers
13k views

“parentheses” vs “parenthesis” [closed]

What is the difference between "parentheses" and "parenthesis"?
2
votes
3answers
116 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
votes
2answers
50 views

Usage of touch the wood? [duplicate]

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
vote
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
votes
1answer
107 views

The ultimate 'Heart' and 'Brain' question [closed]

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
51 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
30 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? [closed]

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
82 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
votes
4answers
2k 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
2k 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
353 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
123 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 ...
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2answers
46 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
votes
1answer
33 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
votes
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
votes
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
vote
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
34 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 ...
0
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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
vote
2answers
70 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
40 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
98 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
votes
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
54 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
77 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
votes
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
vote
5answers
1k 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
249 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
votes
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
2k 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 ...