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

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29
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
16k views

Difference between “the very first” and “first”

I have the sentence: Who wrote the very first dictionary ever? Is it any different from Who wrote the first dictionary ever? I don't get how something could be more first.
21
votes
3answers
112k views

“Inputted” or “input”

I have used the word inputted in an assignment and am being forced to change it to input. However, both the Oxford English Dictionary (I am in New Zealand so this is most relevant) and MS Word list ...
19
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a good word for a square-rectangle relationship?

Any given square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't necessarily a square, so squares and rectangles have a _ relationship. I've been noticing this sort of thing everywhere ever since I ...
17
votes
11answers
82k views

“The point is moot”

I was recently called out for using the phrase "the point is moot" incorrectly. My intent was to indicate that I felt that the point wasn't really worth debating or discussing. I was then shown that ...
13
votes
6answers
11k views

“peak” vs “summit”

According to the dictionary: peak — the pointed top of a mountain; a mountain with a pointed top summit — the highest point of something, especially the top of a mountain In the picture of the ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

What is the plural form of “iPad 2”?

With the introduction of the iPad 2, I find myself hesitating when trying to refer to several of them. Is it iPads 2 or iPad 2's?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the adjectival form of “nemesis”?

If I have a non-person object or idea that I consider to be my nemesis1, how could I refer to the object as a noun but use an embellishing adjective to emphasize that the object is my nemesis? For ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

“Irregardless” vs. “irrespective”

Why is irrespective considered a proper word but irregardless is not?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“Not empty” set in one word? [closed]

Is there a single word which means "not empty"? That is, a word which one might use to describe a field with one or more cows in it, as opposed to an "empty" field with none? Full or even ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Word for “reading carefully”

Sometimes we read books rather quickly and don't give them much (or any) thought, so the action 'reading' does not necessarily imply that we have given enough thoughts to any book we read. Is there ...
4
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the difference between seems like /seems that/seems?

Is there any difference between these expressions? It seems like they have not completed the task yet. It seems that they have not completed the task yet. It seems they haven't ...
4
votes
2answers
12k views

Correct usage of was/were on the object of a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Wasn't” vs “weren't” On a Tuesday morning, which of these sentences is the better way to express that I already want it to be Friday? ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

“Communicate over” vs. “communicate through”

Also schemas can communicate over database links to schemas in other remote databases. Could one replace the preposition over with through? Will it change the meaning, and if so, when should we ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

“Put it at the backseat” or “Put it onto the backseat”?

What preposition should I use in the expression "put ___ the backseat"? The sentence goes like this: I have a few items on my plans, item A is the least important one, so I will put it ___ the ...
29
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there anything wrong with the word “denigrate”?

A few years ago there was a controversy over the word niggardly — a perfectly innocent word that unfortunately sounds like a racial slur. Given that controversy, is it safe to use denigrate, which ...
16
votes
4answers
80k views

“At” or “in” the office?

When do you use at the office? And when do you use in the office? What's the difference between the phrases?
11
votes
4answers
119k views

To gain insight into or on?

Should I write: To gain insight on this obstacle, she will begin to analyse . . . or To gain insight into this obstacle, she will begin to analyse . . . Google shows (much) more results ...
11
votes
5answers
47k views

Which is correct — “a year” or “an year”? [duplicate]

The word year when pronounced starts with a phonetic sound of e which is a vowel sound making it eligible for being preceded by an. Yet, we tend to write a year. Why?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “get” (in the sense of “become/make”) appropriate for formal writing?

Is the use of "get + adjective/participle" appropriate for formal writing (for example, scientific papers)? I am thinking of usages analogous to get fat get inflated get sick where the meaning ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

“home to” or “home for”?

Which of the following is correct? Himalaya is home to diverse flora. Himalaya is home for diverse flora. Or is there a better third possibility?
8
votes
3answers
3k views

“So long as” vs. “as long as”

Which phrase is more formal — "so long as" or "as long as"? Example: So long as Google Voice allows free long distance in North America, I will use it. As long as Google Voice allows free ...
7
votes
7answers
60k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
15k views

“Ground floor” vs. “first floor”

Is the bottom-most floor (on ground level not the basement) "ground floor" or "first floor" in America?
6
votes
4answers
21k views

When should we use “and” and/or “and/or”?

What's the difference between "and" and "and/or"? How do we decide whether to use one or the other? Note: Also it would be great if someone could explain how do we actually pronounce "and/or" ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How acceptable is “fully fledged” as opposed to “full-fledged”?

As a native speaker of English, I had never heard the "fully" version until recently. Now I seem to hear it a lot, but only from non-native speakers. Are the two equally acceptable in semi-formal ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Why aren't there any common words for 'defecating' and 'urinating'?

Besides 'poo(p)ing' and 'peeing/weeing' used by and to children, besides 'shitting/crapping' and 'pissing' which are spoken, not polite, says the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, besides ...
4
votes
4answers
462 views

Usage of “to” in “I've got some slides to talk to”

In Lucy Kellaway’s 2012 Golden flannel Award, the Preposition Award is given to a usage of to. But the winner is the innocuous word “to” as increasingly heard in presentations: “I’ve got some ...
4
votes
4answers
43k views

“I have received” vs. “I received”

The option of using simple past vs. present perfect in situations like the following has been bothering me for quite some time. I sent you a letter a few days ago; I was wondering if you have ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

The correct usage of “too” and “also”

I always have problems in deciding whether to use "too" or "also". For example, if the previous sentence is: Peter ate the cake. Which of the following should I say?: He ate the pie too. He ...
4
votes
4answers
690 views

What do you call the exploitation of ambiguous statements to form a logical argument?

If I were construct an argument containing the postulation Men commit more crimes than women. I would be guilty of a logical fallacy because this statement implies All men commit crimes. The ...
3
votes
1answer
595 views

What's the most preferred spelling of auto fill, auto-fill, and autofill?

When you are trying to say that something is automatically filled in, you use the word autofill, or if you were using past tense, autofilled. I see 3 main ways that people use it: auto fill / ...
2
votes
2answers
16k views

Expect +to VS expect + ing

I know that expect is used this way: I expect you to do that. But I have also seen examples like with verb in its "ing" form: > What to expect working at... > I will expect you doing ...
2
votes
1answer
34k views

“To have a dinner” vs “to have dinner”: which one is correct?

Does one need to use the article in this case?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Usage of “will” and “would”

Which one is correct? What would I do without you. What will I do without you. You would always be my favorite travel buddy. You will always be my favorite travel buddy.
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Should I use 'that' 'which' or 'who' in this sentence?

Boys don't play with dolls that they know for a long time, unless they see another boys playing with them. Well it means that boys sometimes boys are not interested in a ...
-1
votes
3answers
164 views

Where my employers/professionals at?

I want to use something like this in a cartoon, animated banner advertisement: Where my employers at? or Where my entrepreneurs at? Are there connotations of the phrase I should consider, ...
18
votes
7answers
22k views

What's the difference between “big” and “large”?

What's the proper way to say: a large family or a big family? What's the difference between them?
13
votes
16answers
11k views

What is a word that means “someone who pretends to be your friend but is actually your enemy?”

What do you call someone who pretends to be your friend but is actually your enemy? A friend suggested spy for me, but that does not nearly describe the word I need for an English project. The ...
10
votes
7answers
38k views

Does one “drive” a motorcycle or “ride” it?

When you are the one steering the motorbike/motorcycle, are you driving the motorcycle, or riding the motorcycle? I am asking because someone tried to correct my status update. Here's my status and ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Referring to adult-age sons and daughters as children

Is it normal to refer to adult-age sons and daughters of someone as children? A native speaker of Arabic learning English has said that in Arabic, the word for sons and daughters is "أولاد" (awlaad) ...
8
votes
6answers
34k views

'Expired' or 'Passed away'?

When someone dies, do we say they expired or passed away? Does the word expired give any more respect when used? Or less respect than passed away?
7
votes
6answers
2k views

“all that” vs. “all what”

I’ve heard somebody say: All what is needed is … I thought the correct way to phrase it was: All that is needed is … However, thinking about it more, the former doesn’t sound too ...
7
votes
7answers
40k views

“based in” vs “based out of ”

I have seen people use both forms below. Which is correct? If both are, in which situation is each better used? I am a software engineer based in New York. I am a software engineer based out ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “autodidact” too obscure to use in a résumé?

I'm updating my résumé and I'm trying to describe myself as "someone who learns on his own", though more briefly. I think the word "autodidact" fits but an informal survey around the workplace showed ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

What would you call a person who is not a student, but takes interest in exploring academic topics?

A person who is not formally enrolled as a student, researcher or faculty in some university or college but who takes interest in exploring academic topics/stuff. For e.g. Such a person could be ...
6
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

“How much is/are the two fares?”

Which is correct? How much is the two fares? How much are the two fares?
6
votes
3answers
843 views

Determining which good sentiment to wish at each holiday

Is there any rhyme or reason to how we wish people sentiments for various holidays. For example: "Merry Christmas", "Happy New Year", "Happy Birthday" are all acceptable sentiments but if we ...