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

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1answer
446 views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the ...
7
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3answers
2k views

English usage: Every vs all?

Today I was writing a simple message to be shown to the user whenever at least one field was not supplied. Every/All fields must be supplied. I'm in doubt about the usage of Every vs All, which ...
67
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13answers
38k views

When should “no problem” replace “you're welcome” as a response to “thank you”?

I have observed a growing trend in which people substitute "no problem" for "you're welcome" as a response to "thank you". In particular, it seems to be an increasingly common response from servers ...
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3answers
1k views

When is it appropriate to use “scare quotes”?

For example, is putting scare quotes around "scare quotes" appropriate? Wikipedia says the term means usage of quote marks "to indicate that [a word or phrase] does not signify its literal or ...
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2answers
2k views

In Moderation, In Revision

1 The forum comments are under moderation. 2 The forum comments are in moderation. 3 The book is in revision. 4 The book is under revision. Could 1 & 2 be the same? Could 3 & 4 be the same ...
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4answers
923 views

How do I formally speak dates?

How are dates formally spoken? Are there any differences in the British and American versions?
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1answer
4k 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 ...
4
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2answers
521 views

Why is “Good Night!” dismissive

To start off let us construct a situation were I am walking along and I pass another person. Depending on the time of day and to be polite I say one of the following: "Good Morning!" "Good Evening!" ...
4
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3answers
571 views

Is there a term/word for using an incorrect homophone

What would you call the following: Speak now or forever hold your piece.
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4answers
405 views

Which is more common - 'the most' or 'most'?

A thing I have never had the time to look more closely into. But I find both variants: What I love most is ... or What I love the most is ... I think the more common form is 'the most', ...
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4answers
13k views

Origin of current slang usage of the word 'sick' to mean 'great'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How and why have some words changed to a complete opposite? How did 'sick' come to mean 'awesome' or 'really good / cool' in modern U.S. slang? I'm interested in origins ...
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3answers
5k views

Cause for vs cause of

I read this sentence somewhere today, but I think that the of would fit better here than for, don't you think? The cause for the original problem will be analysed in the normal maintenance hours. ...
2
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1answer
371 views

How do you use “knack” in a sentence?

On this post here, it says: Another word which comes to my mind is "Knack". It can be used to show how someone has a specific talent. Again as an example - Tim is good with musical ...
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6answers
3k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
13
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7answers
417 views

Why doesn't English have a separate word for “head hair”? (head hair vs. body hair)

The answer can be "Because it doesn't!" or "It wasn't needed!" in short but there might be a historical or linguistic explanation behind this. (Of course, every language might be lacking a word that ...
12
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2answers
926 views

What is the exact meaning of “blood-dimmed (tragedy),” and how does it pass current among Anglophones?

I was drawn to the word, “blood-dimmed tragedy” in the following statement of Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Peeping Barry” in June 8 New York Times: You could see the fear in his eyes, the fear ...
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4answers
863 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 ...
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2answers
280 views

“Baby is creeping” vs. “baby is crawling” in AmE

Years and years ago, I remember reading in a book on AmE usage that the phrasal turn a baby creeps before it walks was to some extent more common to AmE than to BrE, which preferred exclusively the ...
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7answers
4k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
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5answers
1k views

“Hello” as a verb

A dictionary says that Hello could be a verb, noun and interjection. I'm not sure I saw it to be a verb though. Q: Could someone provide an example of 'hello' where it's used as verb. In the meaning ...
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1answer
4k views

“I can't help it.” Why help?

Why do we use the verb help in sentences such as the following to mean something like refrain from? I try not to eat junk, but I can't help it. I couldn't help laughing. I can't help but admire her ...
10
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5answers
989 views

In English you have 'above', 'on', 'over' and 'on top of' but in Italian one word, 'sopra', covers all four meanings

In Italian if I were to say, "sopra l'albero" (albero = tree) you might rightly ask: "Yes but where, exactly?" But "sopra" is a great word to learn in Italian, not only is it a very flexible ...
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3answers
413 views

Usage of “stood up” to mean “set up”

I was reading this question on meta.ELU and was struck by what, to me, was a strange use of the phrasal verb to stand up: The site for English Language Learners was stood up in large part so that ...
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4answers
385 views

“Battled-hardened,” Is this one of New Yorker's renowned idiosyncrasies?

There was a really entertaining short story describing customary exchanges of fierce words between a restaurant patron and waitress in New Yorker magazine (June 14.) under the title, “Lunch at ...
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2answers
197 views

Is “nowadays” the same as “today”?

When helping an Italian speaker with her written homework, a cover letter, I told her to change the expression nowadays to that of today. Her original sentence was the following: I would be ...
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1answer
622 views

Frequency of word use vs number of words

Let's consider a partition of the words in the english language according to respective use frequency. Looking at the frequency graph it should be easy to find classes of words with approximately the ...
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4answers
895 views

Difference between “ignorant” and “uninformed”

What is the difference between ignorant and uninformed? In ordinary usage, is one considered a put down and the other considered a statement of fact? If so, why? Am I ignorant or simply uninformed?
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1answer
954 views

Fall Hard For Something

I am trying to find the right definition of "hard" in this piece of writing: newspaper Looking for a tranquil hideaway after years as a paparazzi magnet, Mr. Frazier bought the single-level ...
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2answers
437 views

“Has reported” as present perfect vs. “has” as present + “reported” as a noun

In the following sentence below, I want to use the word reported as a noun, but it looks like I’m using the present perfect form has reported. How can one be clear when constructions like this ...
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5answers
160 views

Do readers think of the word “ejaculate” beyond its common sexual meaning? [closed]

I am an editor, and a poet whom I work with has included the expression "I ejaculated little prayers" in one of his stanzas, which we all know has the dictionary meaning of "intensely calling out." ...
3
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5answers
259 views

Word for inability to think in certain ways

Am looking for a word that loosely means inability to think in certain ways. For example, for lyricists (or writers) lyrics come so naturally, but for non-lyricists it's very difficult to think how ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Function of “too” in the phrase “so too” or “so, too,”

I just ran into this sentence in an online article: But as the App Store’s fortunes rose, so too did the iPhone’s, and later the iPad’s. If I were editing that sentence, I would remove the too ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the difference between “check something” and “check on something”

For example if in answer to the question, "what time does the shop close?" a tourist information officer might say, "I'll check on that for you." Why wouldn't they say, "I'll check that for you."?
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2answers
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“Is equal to” or “equals” [duplicate]

Are both is equal to and equals similar in meaning? Which is the more natural? For example, one plus one equals two or one plus one is equal to two.
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3answers
191 views

Is there any difference between “word-for-word translation” and “word-by-word translation” and is the latter actually valid?

First off, some data: According to COCA "word-for-word" has 60 usages, 3 of them are "word-for-word translation". "Word-by-word" has 26 usages, none of them are "word-by-word" (but some with ...
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2answers
76 views

“At all” in w-questions

I don't know how to say it but "at all" used in yes or no questions has a specific function. I would maybe call it "asking for a basic reality" but I don'T know if that makes sense to anyone. Do ...
2
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1answer
211 views

Should I say “I make a living by teaching” or “I make a living teaching”? Which one is correct? Is the preposition 'by' necessary?

I am confused about the correct usage of the phrasal verb, 'make a living'. I don't know whether I should add the preposition 'by' at the end of it. I looked up several dictionaries, most of which ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Trying to figure out proper form of “that” in sentence

I currently have the sentence "Seahorses are the only fish that practice steadfast monogamy." to tree diagram for class, and cannot freakin' figure out what the word "that" would be used as in this ...
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0answers
109 views

Usage of `é` (e-acute) [closed]

As a French person, I am always amused by the usage of the letter é in English. For instance: fiancé café résumé touché (coulé) Pokémon (yup, that's a good one) This letter, though very common in ...
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1answer
70 views

Phrase: 'cited after'

I don't understand what's the meaning of "cited after" in books, when they cite a source, e.g., (cited after Manin 1997: 3)
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2answers
616 views

How to correctly use double quotation marks at the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Group A: This is so-called "Moon Cake." // The period is inside the double quatation marks This is so-called "Moon Cake". // The period is outside the double quatation marks I know the ...
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2answers
828 views

Does ‘sugarplum’ have the meaning of ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’?

There is the following advice for ‘defusing an argument with one word’ in a website: In an argument in which the fight systems are fully armed you need to provide an abrupt interruption. Have a ...
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1answer
98 views

Which expression is older: “London Royal Parks” or “London's Royal Parks” ? And why is it Hyde Park and not Hyde's Park?

London Royal Parks and London's Royal Parks Both phrases are used, and I understand that "London" in the first example is acting as an adjective. Whereas in the second, "London", is used ...
1
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1answer
1k views

Is “to” inclusive in “I worked at company X from April 2012 to April 2013”? [duplicate]

I have a question about the use of the word to as a time proposition. Is to inclusive in the following sentence? I worked at company X from April 2012 to April 2013.
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2answers
82 views

Geometric or Geometrical?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants "geometric" and ...
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2answers
426 views

There is (there's) vs.There are

What are the roots of the creeping usage of "there's" for both singular and plural predicates? (This seems to be more common in spoken English.) I have 2 theories. Perhaps it is because spoken ...
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2answers
67 views

The occurrence of comparative degree

I've checked in LGWSE by Douglas Biber, Stig Johannson et al (2004) but failed to find the explanation as to what the cases of usage of the comparative degree are. In all Russian grammar texbooks of ...
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1answer
483 views

Are “I will have been going” and “I would have been going” rarely used today?

As far as I know these are tenses that you do not often use. Am I right? Will have been + verb+ing Would have been + verb+ing
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2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “if” and “whether”? [duplicate]

Using whether is far more common. It is certainly more formal. I would like to know whether it is a true story or fabricated. But we can use if as well in the same sentence. I would like ...
0
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1answer
64 views

lying down and then sit up/down? [closed]

If your child is lying down and you want them to get in the sitting position, how do you ask them to in an informal/everyday language? If you could provide more than one way, it would be appreciated.