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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
1answer
101 views

How can one best clarify the different senses of “compare”?

I have long felt that the taboo on comparing anyone to Hitler and many similar inhibitions were based on a confusion between “compare” in the senses of “liken to” and in the sense of “compare and ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

“I had been done that” Is this correct?

I teach freshmen English in inner-city Baltimore, and I often get the following: Teacher : Did you complete the homework? Student : I had been done that! I have not been able to give a ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

Meaning and usage of “languish”

I have a few questions about the verb 'to languish.' In the OED, it suggests that this word must be used for a living thing. Couldn't it be used metaphorically for something like an idea or a ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Deadlines as instants or periods with various verbs and tenses

I was wondering whether a deadline is more of an instant or more of a period. It seems to have some of both aspects, but with more of an emphasis on the instant. I thought that this should be ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

rephrase vs paraphrase vs restate vs reword: usage nuances

I was wondering how the above terms differed in usage, and hope someone can enlighten me by using them in sentences that highlight their nuances. Here is my current understanding: Rephrase - to ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Should “something, and therefore something” be referred to as singular or plural?

For example, if I have the sentence Due to the improvement of our algorithm, our model, and therefore simulation, becomes more realistic. Should the becomes be instead written as become? Does ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Usage of “imperative to [verb]ing”

From what I learned, we could use imperative to [verb]ing, but when I read my book, I see this sentence: An accurate analysis of surveys is imperative to building a good understanding of customer ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“Handling of Task 1” or “Handling Task 1”

I am working on my thesis and included is a subsection in which I describe how a part of a class of my program handles the task I have been assigned for the thesis. To give you an idea of what the ...
1
vote
0answers
144 views

“Para” and “Paras” vs “Paragraph” and “Paragraphs”

I find people using "para" for "paragraph" and "paras" for "paragraphs", even in formal English. See the example sentence: In para 2 of the plaint, the plaintiff has stated that he is entitled ...
1
vote
0answers
154 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
178 views

Is there a nuance in meaning between 'non-managed' and 'unmanaged'?

Context: I am writing about 'devices not managed by professionals' and debating the subtleties between non-managed devices vs. unmanaged devices
1
vote
0answers
139 views

Reference material for change in English usage over time

How words have changed in meaning and usage over time is frequently a hot topic both on here and the wider community, and I find it fascinating. Are there any good reference works which document this ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Take advantage of this opportunity

I find myself recurrently stopped while writing e-mails for a main purpose (e.g, answering a direct question from a previous mail somebody sent me) and wanting to add a second theme "taking advantage ...
0
votes
0answers
68 views

what does pi mean?

I've ordered some good from supplier. and before shipping the products he sent me the following: how much is the goods do you want to declare,as i need to make the pi what does pi mean ? pi is a ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

“Am I (ever) [adj.] ” vs. “How [adj.] I am”

What's the difference between saying, Boy, am I happy to see you again! Damn, am I ever lucky to have a friend like you! -and- Boy, how happy I am to see you again! Damn, how lucky ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Reported Usage Vs. Actual Usage

I'm currently writing a linguistics research essay and my professor wanted me to explain the differences between "reported usage" and "actual usage" of inter-dental stopping based on the surveys I ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

“varietal” vs. “various” vs. “varied”

Please, consider the following sourced excerpts: An ideal romantic daytime date might be to pack a blanket and take your lady to Old Town Silverdale. Settled in 1854, this beautiful little town ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Is “these ones” correct?

I know many people use it, but it really does sound informal. Should I avoid it anyway? Case is. I have a pair of earings on the table and I want to refer to them, so I say: "Are you talking about ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

“Many a” or “Many a…alike”

For example, which of these phrases would be more accurate? "Many an artist alike thought highly of the philosophy." or "Many an artist thought highly of the philosophy." In essence, I'm just ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Is it correct to say “must you drive me crazy”?

Is it correct to say "must you drive me crazy"? Does it sound stylistically correct for native speakers? Thanks!
0
votes
0answers
45 views

How do you tell the difference between “wrong” and “run” in perception test?

Background Just developing a linguistic test - native English speakers can pass(100% correct), and L2 learners cannnot pass(even though they are very proficient). "Wrong vs run" pair was chosen. ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

“OF” between the subject and the verb “seem”?

When reading "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," I came across the sentences as following: "'They of seem so helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these.'" What is this "of" ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

“Imponderable” definition and usage

If "ponder" means "to consider carefully",did "imponderable" originally mean "not able to be considered"? And how did it seemingly evolve into its usage today meaning "unanswerable" (despite careful ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

Why do we give “respect” to differentiation variables?

I mean, if you've studied any calculus, you probably know this expression: "a derivative of [function] with respect to [variable]". Why is that word used though? I know it's probably an idiom, but I ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

“the hell with” vs “to hell with”

What is the etymology of "the hell with", which on the face of it is a corruption of "to hell with" or possibly a shortening ot "to the hell with". (See below.) In my experience, the former is rather ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

One two three-wheel vehicle examination. Does it make sense?

I want to compare two three-wheel vehicles. Does the title of my essay "One two three-wheel vehicle examination" make any sense? "One" refers to the examination and "two" to the number of vehicles I ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Correct use of culling

I received an email that included the phrase "culling through posts." I feel like the word "through" doesn't work here. Culling is defined as - "select from a large quantity," which makes me think ...
0
votes
0answers
36 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
59 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
32 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
763 views

Is it better to say “research under Prof. Aho” or “research under supervision of Prof. Aho”?

When a professor advises and supervises a PhD or MS student to complete their research, is it advisable say? The student is conducting his study under Prof. X. Or The student is ...
0
votes
0answers
123 views

Does an invitation to do something “together” imply “with a group”?

I need to know the meaning of the following sentence, if being sent to one person. "Would you be interested in trying out a new restaurant together sometime"? Does this mean that this is a group ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Is “Jap” more commonly used in media with space restrictions?

From time to time, I encounter people using the word "Jap" on Twitter. One explanation I've seen for its use is that it's shorter than "Japanese" or "Japan", so it's easier to write tweets that fit ...
0
votes
0answers
74 views

Grammatical rule for using no article with nouns

I can use "Listing Activation Codes" in an article whose description is the following: Use the following API route to list activation codes and their values. ​In this description, I mean that ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

“Hereinafter” usage question

If I use "hereinafter" in a formal document in order to announce I'm abbreviating something can I use the full version afterwards or do I have to stay with the abbreviated version from there on out? ...
0
votes
0answers
17 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"
0
votes
0answers
54 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, ...
0
votes
0answers
59 views

Are there any clear explanations for these trends?

I was curious earlier about the use of various pronouns / possessives in English (primarily first person), so I chose a selection of them and was surprised to discover that, among other oddities, "I" ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

The use of 'contract'

Is it right to say 'He is contracted with a virus which causes his immunity to be weak against diseases'? Can the word 'contract' be used with 'with'? Thanks.
0
votes
0answers
35 views

How far does 'pair' stretch?

I heard a news report saying (from memory), "Icy conditions contributed to a pair of deaths last evening. In one incident a car slid into Lake Mumble..." This struck a false note for me. These are ...
0
votes
0answers
67 views

Can we use “therefore” before “before”?

Can I use "therefore" like this in a sentence? "Many Companies have various software systems which need to exchange data between one another despite their using different protocols. Therefore, ...
0
votes
0answers
556 views

Usage of “regarding” and “about”

I have been corrected by a manager when I used regarding in some of my sentences. Example: Regarding the client visit, we are all set. He said that I should avoid the use of regarding since ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

“In” after “happiest” or “content”

I feel the happiest and most content knowing I can always count on them. OR I feel the happiest and most content in knowing I can always count on them. Is it correct both ways? or does this ...
0
votes
0answers
140 views

Accommodate a problem to solution?

The topic is the following: I present a problem and a potential solution to it. After explaining the solution is it correct to say : "In order to adopt this approach in our evaluation .." Or ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Is it “a spyglass TO the past” or “a spyglass INTO the past”

I'd like to use the phrase XYZ as a spyglass (in)to the past. as title for a publication on a scientific method that allows me to infer knowledge about the past from data available now. E.g., the ...
0
votes
0answers
71 views

Question about about various uses of “to be” and correctness of their usage in my sentence

If I were the man involved, and didn't know my wife was 'pretend', I would be totally crushed when I did find out she was fake. How could I make the above statement correct? If it already is, ...
0
votes
0answers
602 views

Spelling alphabet: Should I spell out each letter in my name using the spelling alphabet, or only the confusing letters?

I have a long name and spelling out every letter as "a as in alpha, b as in bravo" would take a very long time. I've heard people using only the expansion for confusing letters like M, N, etc. and ...
0
votes
0answers
164 views

What is the difference between “matter-containing media” and “matter”?

I'm reading the English Wikipedia entry titled "Radiation". You can find the word in the first paragraph, or by searching. What is the difference between "matter-containing media" and "matter"?
0
votes
0answers
182 views

Sentence diagramming trouble with figuring out subordinators and relative pronouns

http://imgur.com/a/dyALV for the pictures. In the diagrams my main concern was figuring out if the use of "that" was under the context of it being a relative pronoun or a subordinator. I have trouble ...
-1
votes
0answers
26 views

Usage of [sic] in a sentence with odd words

If you are quoting a sentence which includes a word such as staggerin' instead of staggering, would you insert "[sic]" to show that the word comes directly from the text? ex: would it be a) "She was ...