This tag is for questions about choosing the best word for a particular context or meaning.

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5
votes
1answer
722 views

Why (and for whom) does “unbeknown” become “unbeknownst”

I know there's been an earlier question What is the meaning and usage of the word “beknownst”?. But nothing there satisfies my curiosity about that extra -st at the end. I might have supposed the ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

“Problematic” versus “problem”

A reviewer of my thesis told me that I am wrongly using the word problematic. He suggested that I use problem instead. I have since read the definition of both words and neither correspond to the ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the real difference between dilation and dilatation?

In the medical profession we use the terms dilatation and dilation with great frequency. Dilatation is defined as a region of dilation, an area of abnormal enlargement, or the surgical enlargement of ...
47
votes
7answers
6k views

“Indexes” or “indices”?

A table can have one index, or it has two or more ind...? Is it indexes or indices? I'm just asking since I've noticed that they're both used quite often. Even Wikipedia seems to support both ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

More Than One “from” in a Single Phrase

I apologize if this has already been raised elsewhere. I was unable to find an answer to the question of when, if ever, it is acceptable form to include multiple uses of the word "from" in a single ...
14
votes
3answers
16k views

Is it 'what it looks like' or 'how it looks like'?

I live in a country where English is not the native language. Oftentimes I hear my coworkers say they want to know or determine "how it looks like". This is grammatically closer to our native ...
1
vote
3answers
44 views

Word to describe “planned disrepair”

This comes from a software world. There is a hidden feature in our product that is no longer needed but may be needed someday. Typically, if we remove a feature we would "deprecate" or "obsolete" ...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

What do you call money earned through unethical sources?

Money/Assets/Property that is earned through unethical sources is called ? Money that is earned through bad sources like corrupted politics, corrupted business, ransom money, stolen or theft ...
132
votes
17answers
14k views

Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?

Is there a pronoun I can use as a gender-neutral pronoun? Each student should save his questions until the end. Each student should save her questions until the end.
4
votes
3answers
739 views

What is the sponsored party called?

Google results for sponsee have scattered definitions in unreliable sources, so it does not appear that is a real word. I'm looking for something similar, a single word. The specific context is a ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Is thanks a countable noun? Many thanks or much thanks?

A colleague of mine recently wrote in an email "much thanks for your efforts." Does this usage make sense? How does "much thanks" differ from "many thanks"? This is similar to "Is “Many thanks” a ...
9
votes
3answers
39k views

“Congratulate for” vs. “congratulate on”

Which is correct? I congratulated him for coming first in the race. I congratulated him on coming first in the race.
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Is the “by” correct in “makes no claims by writing them”?

Is it correct to use the preposition "by" in such a context: If within this period Mr X makes no claims on the work quality by writing them in the certificate, then ... I meant that Mr X can ...
3
votes
5answers
724 views

Can something become “increasingly smaller”?

I was reading a news story recently, and saw this sentence: "Police used tear gas and what appeared to be plastic bullets against increasingly smaller groups of protesters." I wasn't sure if it ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Importance of _ to” or “Importance of _ for”?

Which is correct: "the importance of money for someone" or "the importance of money to someone"?
0
votes
2answers
364 views

cool vs cold (which can be used to express the temperature)

which word can we use to say that temperature ? example 1 - its too cool over here, example 2 - its too cold over here, i have heard that cold means too much cool but would like to know whether is ...
2
votes
5answers
5k views

“Adaptable” vs. “flexible”

Are the words adaptable and flexible generally interchangeable? For example, do the following sentences have the same meaning? Older workers are less adaptable [...]. Older workers are less ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Adjective for this kind of personality [closed]

What's a word for someone who likes the finer things in life - classy taste, but makes do and replicates that expensive taste with cheap things?
0
votes
2answers
227 views

what is the most appropriate structure of this sentence?

I want to say that I banged my head against wall because some one said something stupid, how to put it in a sentence? Is I banged my head against wall 'on' this stupidity? or I banged my head ...
0
votes
1answer
91 views

Is “Discrete” the correct/best term?

I have a page - similar to a wiki page - that contains descriptive information in paragraph form as well as a side bar with labels bits of information. This is a good example, the right size ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Correct usage of “evangelize”

I attended a meeting by a very senior person at my work place. The meeting concerned the theme of Data analytics and Big Data. The presentation mentioned the goal as "evangelize raw data". Is this ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

When to use the abverbial form of maximal: maximally?

Could the following sentence considered to be a correct use case of the adverbial form of the word maximal in English? Use underflow to set the maximally possible value of used datatype. When ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

Which would you use: full-size, full-sized, full size or full sized?

I want to use full-sized, as in: Click here to download a full-sized version of this image. But Google NGrams disagrees: So, given: full-size full-sized full size full sized which would ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

“Deliver using/with/by the certificate”

In the fragment "to complete and deliver construction works to the customer using the Certificate of Work Completion", how can I change the word using (in the sense of "by what means")? Should I ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

Is “further” now used for both physical and metaphorical distances?

Is it true that 'further' and 'farther' are becoming interchangeable? He drove further north. His furthest destination to travel is 167 miles. This link says that further is now widely ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

“Witness to” vs. “witness of”

What is the difference in meaning between "a witness to" and "a witness for"? E.g., Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God... ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Why do some people refer to jars as “glass jars”? Aren't all jars made of glass?

A jar is defined as "a glass container with a lid" (MacMillan). At one time, people differentiated between glass and earthenware jars but to my mind, there are only glass jars these days. Is there a ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

When did “while” and “whilst” become interchangeable?

I think most folk happily use either "while" or "whilst". I've a vague recollection that at one time "while" indicated the passing of time and "whilst" was essentially the same as "whereas" or ...
-1
votes
1answer
68 views

Use of “exist” in “Can there exist an uncountable planar graph?”

Can there exist an uncountable planar graph? This usage of exist bothers me. In this context, my understanding is that it is used as a replacement for be. That looks very strange to me. However, ...
-1
votes
3answers
30 views

Which answer is correct? [closed]

(Which/What/That/Things) we saw surprised us. Which is the correct answer?
6
votes
6answers
13k views

“Told” vs. “said to” somebody

I told him that you hate him I said to him that you hate him I was choosing between these two options, and I can't help thinking about the subtle differences. For example, "I told him ...
3
votes
4answers
923 views

“Which” or “what”

Much of (what/which) scientists know about dinosaurs has been recently discovered. The phenomenon of (what/which) are known as corporate networks has also attracted attention. And yes, the ...
0
votes
8answers
111 views

Word to describe difficult to keep request

I am looking for a word which can used in the following blank space: I understand the ____ nature of the request; hence a negative answer will not change anything between us. The word needs to ...
4
votes
1answer
52 views

quotes and brackets

I'm programming a parser for a new language, and need a word which references all kinds of quotes and brackets: "" '' <> () [] {} Up to now I always used "quotes and brackets", but is there ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Antonym of heartbreaker? [closed]

In one of my short stories, I have to compare a guy who is a heartbreaker to someone who is exactly the opposite of him. Instead of describing the opposite character of the guy, I am looking for a ...
13
votes
12answers
2k views

What word or phrase means “a loss of what was on your mind”?

Sometimes, in the middle of a conversation, a "loss of mind" can affect the speaker. What is the word for that situation and that person ? Are there more specific terms or phrases than: the loss ...
2
votes
7answers
391 views

Is there a single word to mean “rate of procrastination”?

Take the following contrived sentence: Our staff's productivity has doubled since we upgraded their computers. And now this one: Our staff's [rate of procrastination] has doubled since we ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there a subtle difference between “inherent” and “intrinsic”?

I've always used "inherent" and "intrinsic" interchangeably. Dictionary.com doesn't offer much help in distinguishing them.
1
vote
3answers
168 views

What do you call a person who dies an honourable death?

What do you call someone who dies for a good cause or an honourable reason? An example would be a soldier who dies while saving his country.
0
votes
3answers
450 views

another way of saying “being of”

I am looking for a way to replace the word "being" in the phrase "being of poor character". My instructor is very adamant that we not use being unless it is used as a noun. In this particular case, ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

elevation vs altitude

There is a question already dealing with the difference between elevation and altitude: Which to use: "altitude" or "elevation" in regards to height above sea level? The ...
3
votes
7answers
147 views

Is there a term for discrimination without negative connotation?

The word "discrimination" carries in itself a negative connotation, implying that it would be unfair or unethical. There are however, cases where "discrimination" would be justified and no one in ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

“On the principle” versus “Under the principle”

Is there a significant difference between the two? As far as I can tell, they seem to be used interchangeably.
3
votes
3answers
99 views

I panicked or I was panicked?

I want to refer to a situation that happened months ago. So what should I use? I panicked or I was panicked?
9
votes
8answers
16k views

Do “in future” and “in the future” imply different meanings?

Do in future and in the future imply different meanings? If so, using which one is grammatically correct?
4
votes
3answers
364 views

What do you call someone who's fascinated by machines?

See people who are fascinated by machines like computers, cars, bikes, robots. They adore engines, hardware the visual looks for them the smell of it, everything about it. Such people are hardware ...
-2
votes
2answers
65 views

“Bearer of good news” & “bearer of bad news” are called?

The person who brings a good(good news messenger) news is called ? similarly the person who brings the bad news(bad news messenger) is called ? In this generation that may be same person. But ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

Do I take a small nap or a light nap?

I heard a friends say that he's going to take a small nap. Is this correct usage? I thought we only take light naps.
1
vote
3answers
82 views

“A mutual friend”, “A common friend” or “A friend in common”?

When I was a student of EFL, I was taught the word "mutual" implies a reciprocal relationship where X does to Y what Y does to X. If John admires Peter as much as Peter admires John, we can say their ...
0
votes
2answers
163 views

A word for “mercy killing”

"Mercy killing" is an act of killing someone who is already dying and in terrible pain, in order to reduce his or her suffering. Is there any single word for "mercy killing"?