This tag is for questions about choosing the best word FROM A GIVEN SELECTION for a particular context or meaning. The selection to choose from will appear in the question.

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11
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the origin of the phrase “you've got another thing/think coming”?

What is the origin of the phrase "you've got another thing coming"? And — perhaps more importantly — is it more correct than the alternative "you've got another think coming"?
11
votes
3answers
8k views

When to use 'an' and when to use 'a' with words begining with 'h'?

Some h-words need 'an' for the indefinite article (I will be there in an hour). Other h-words need 'a' for the indefinite article (It is a history of sadness). Is there a general rule?
8
votes
6answers
16k views

Is there a single word that expresses “music end-users / enthusiasts”?

To help a soon-to-be sister site out here, I was thinking English.SE perhaps could lend a helping hand as this is the best place for "word choice and usage". I'm not looking for "naming", but rather ...
8
votes
5answers
8k views

How should I use “eponym”, “eponymous” and “namesake”?

I was in London and visited the Tower Bridge. Afterwards, I went to a pub called The Tower Bridge. Just to be clear, the pub is named after the bridge. Which of the following are correct? The ...
7
votes
7answers
101k views

Word for “willing to try new and unfamiliar things”

Example: A: Hey, do you like to do bungee jumping? B: Um, OK. Haven't done it before, but let's try it. I'm not looking for adventurous or something similar. That word should also fit in ...
7
votes
5answers
75k views

Usage of 'Dear All' [duplicate]

Is it correct to use "Dear All" at the beginning of the e-mail, when you are writing to more than one person? It seems so informal to me. Is there any better way?
7
votes
2answers
682 views

Where can I find a list of ways to get rid of the preposition “of”?

I'm learning English. Unfortunately I have some obstacles in writing and speaking. In particular I often note that there are too many "of"-s in my sentences. For instance I want to get rid of them in ...
6
votes
1answer
57k views

Difference between “picture” and “photo”

When should I use one or the other?
4
votes
3answers
9k views

“… things like this.” vs. “… things like that.”

Yesterday on talk radio an interviewee speaking about Sudanese Northerner's being forced into the mountains and away from their farmlands by the Sudanese Army said the result was: The men would ...
3
votes
6answers
6k views

“I have no money on my cell phone account” or “my cellphone is out of money” or how?

Situation: Soon you will not be able to use your cell phone because you almost have no money left on your cell phone account. How would a native English speaker quickly and naturally describe this ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Could not have been” vs. “must not have been”

What's the difference between "could not have been" and "must not have been"? For example, That could not have been an easy task. That must not have been an easy task. I've seen both ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What are some synonyms for 'euphemism'?

A euphemism is a word used to replace another worse sounding word. For example, 'pass away' for 'die', 'battle fatigue' for 'shell shock', 'PTSD' for 'battle fatigue', often a word created to replace ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Differences among words describing someone who is expert in many things

I wonder how the following words for describing someone who knows many different things compare, and when to use which word. Some are adjectives, others are nouns: renaissance polymath versatile ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

“He acted strange(ly?)”

It would make sense if both of these sentences were grammatically correct; but is anything different between them meaning-wise? He acted very strange when I told him about the missing amulet. ...
7
votes
6answers
7k views

Translation for Dutch “tot en met”: until and including?

In Dutch language we use the expression "tot en met" to signify a quantity between two measures including the last measure. So, for instance, the following: woensdag 22 juni tot en met vrijdag 24 ...
7
votes
8answers
3k views

“Bring” versus “take” [duplicate]

My mother used to correct me all the time when I was younger when I would talk about bringing a toy to a friend’s house instead of taking it there. Which is correct, and why?
6
votes
3answers
229 views

Hypernym for “audiobook”, “podcast”, “speech”, etc.?

I am looking for a short and concise term (preferably one word) that can be used as a hypernym for essentially everything that contains (audio) speech (e.g. audiobooks, podcasts, recorded news ...
5
votes
1answer
192 views

“Got it at” or “Got it in?”

If someone asked you where you bought something, you could say, I got it at Walmart. but what if instead of referring to a store you were referring to a city? Would you say, I got it at ...
5
votes
6answers
12k views

When to use “Elven”, “Elvish” and “Elfic”?

Well, these are three adjectives for "something from the elves". But I'm spanish and in my language there's only one adjective for these (élfico), and I can't understand what's the difference.
3
votes
3answers
307 views

“become a President” or “become President”

If he had not been a film star, he would not have become President. In my opinion, "a President" is correct. Examples: "My dream is to be a teacher" "My dream is to be a President" ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“All I need (is/are) cigarettes and alcohol”: which one is correct? [duplicate]

In one of Oasis's songs — Cigarettes and Alcohol — there are two sentences that make me confused: All I found was cigarettes and alcohol ...and... All I need is cigarettes and alcohol Why ...
3
votes
6answers
17k views

Does a pedestrian walk 'in' the road, or 'on' the road (both are correct, but which is right?)

Having a bit of a debate about this with some foreign colleagues of mine. I've always used the phrase 'I'm walking in the road', they think that you should say 'I'm walking on the road'.. I'm not ...
3
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Does not make changes” or “makes no changes”

I was thinking of using this sentence on my computer program: This action does not make changes on user's machine. Just to be sure, I checked Google Translate which suggested: This action ...
2
votes
5answers
4k views

“Available jobs to/for them”

First of all, English is not my first language. I have a question, maybe a basic one, about this phrase: The situation highlights the mismatch between some areas of training and available jobs ...
2
votes
2answers
11k views

'Did see' and 'Saw'

The blog post here uses the title “Isn’t this just the cutest thing you ever did see?” I am sure this is correct, but my question is, but what difference it would have made had he used the ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

“Checked into the database” versus “checked in to the database” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa? I was recently submitting ("checking in") some data to a database and composed an ...
1
vote
2answers
852 views

What's a word to describe someone who thinks quick?

A word to describe someone's personality trait that think quick. For example he gets lost in the woods then comes up with a solution on the fly to find his way back home.
0
votes
3answers
26k views

A word or phrase for “someone who learns from their mistakes” [closed]

What would be a word or short phrase for "someone who learns from their mistakes"? I thought of insightful, but am not satisfied with it.
0
votes
2answers
521 views

“Lives” vs. “life” in “the life of those living on the farm”

James is giving a tour of his farm to some of his friends. Which sentence is correct: James introduces some of the animals on the farm: "This is Elmer, the pig... That's Mini, the mouse, and that ...
0
votes
3answers
23k views

“I understand you” vs “I do understand you” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference in meaning between “I play” and “I do play”? What is the difference between "I understand you" and "I do understand you", ...
0
votes
0answers
183 views

A becomes an before a word beginning with a vowel, does this apply to u? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” Is it “a uniform” or “an uniform” In spoken English we do say: He is an unhappy person But I ...
-1
votes
1answer
5k views

“I”, “me” and “myself” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends” Can “myself” stand for both “me” and “I” in “my mother and I/me”? ...
236
votes
38answers
92k views

Is there a non-sexual phrase for sleeping with someone?

The phrase "sleeping with someone" often means "having sex." What is the origin of this sexual connotation? Is there a non-sexual equivalent of this phrase to express sleeping with someone without ...
30
votes
1answer
76k views

Which is correct: “feedback is welcome” or “feedback is welcomed”?

I am used to write feedback is welcome. Is that correct, or should I write feedback is welcomed? Why?
20
votes
4answers
75k views

“How about” vs. “What about”

Is there a difference between starting a question with "How about" and "What about"? Can we use both expressions interchangeably?
23
votes
13answers
24k views

What is a word for a person who throws a “fake smile”?

Most people, especially receptionists and air hostesses have the ability to smile in a fake way. Being professional, their smile isn't real. Inside they cry and die a thousand dead of tensions but ...
15
votes
5answers
35k views

“Know about” vs. “know of”

Recently one of my friends told me that there is distinct difference between 'know of something' and 'know about something' expressions. 'know of' is used when you have personal experience with what ...
51
votes
10answers
41k views

You quench your thirst. What do you do with your hunger?

What is the equivalent of "quench" when speaking of hunger? Is it appropriate to say you quenched your hunger?
30
votes
12answers
4k views

Is there a word that describes a statement whose negative is senseless or would otherwise never be used?

Consider the statement "I like to have fun" or "I like to spend time with my friends". These border on tautologies though I don't think they would be considered as such by most. Although these ...
19
votes
9answers
31k views

Do native English speakers use the word “touristic”?

A word usage that always annoys me and feels like Euroenglish to me is "touristic". I don't believe I've ever seen it printed or heard it used by a native English speaker and I've travelled in most ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

“whether” vs. “if ” [duplicate]

How can I know when should I use whether or if in a sentence? I can not see any difference between whether and if. When should I use each? For me, they are the same and I am not sure if there is a ...
23
votes
9answers
10k views

How do you politely ask for someone's gender? [closed]

If you, for example, have to add a person to an application whilst that person is on the phone, how do you politely ask for that person's gender if the voice and/or name has not proven decisive? To ...
19
votes
3answers
119k 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.
18
votes
4answers
19k views

Difference between “spicy” and “hot”

I make a distinction between "hot" and "spicy" food ("hot" not referring to temperature). I consider "hot" food the kind that "burns" and "spicy" food that has lots of flavor, but that may or may not ...
12
votes
4answers
32k views

“He has yet to” vs. “he is yet to”

He has yet to receive an appointment. He is yet to receive an appointment. Is there any difference in meaning? Is one more correct than the other?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

“Can I help who's next?”

This seems to happen every time I go to my local bagel shop. Everyone is waiting in a line, and when the cashier is ready to help the next person, he/she asks, "Can I help who's next?" or "May I help ...
10
votes
3answers
22k views

“Good bye”, “Bye”, “Bye bye”

I'm a non-native English speaker and sometimes it's hard for me to pick up the right word in some situations. Could you, please, explain when it's better to use "goodbye" for ending a conversation, ...
32
votes
11answers
8k 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 ...
30
votes
6answers
5k views

A word that says a person is both female and your friend

It's often confusing for me to talk about my friends, especially my female friends. This is because in Dutch there are words for both male ("vriend") and female ("vriendin") friends. In English ...