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

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3
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
2
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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
158 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, ...
15
votes
7answers
16k 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?
9
votes
4answers
96k 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 ...
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

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
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
4answers
2k 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 ...
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
31k 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
2answers
3k 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 ...
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
17k 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
4answers
18k 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
3answers
779 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

“Comic” vs. “comical”

I am confused between these words. Dictionaries say they are similar, but I vaguely remember my schoolteacher apprising me of a difference between them. I would love if someone could elucidate.
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“End with” vs. “end in”

I'm writing up some documentation, and I'm unsure which phrase to use: Option X: Find all strings ending with foo. or Option X: Find all strings ending in foo. Are both correct? (Google ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Is “tri-quarterly” a real English word meaning 3 times a year?

Is "tri-quarterly" a real English word meaning 3 times a year? Are there any other words that mean 3 times a year?
3
votes
3answers
610 views

Correct usage of “see” vs. “watch”

I have seen them grow up. I have watched them grow up. Though the intended meaning is conveyed in both sentences, I want to know which in this case is a better fit, see or watch.
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “between A to B” considered good grammar?

I looked at "Between A and B vs from A to B", but it didn't mention a third variation I've been hearing more often, recently. Even on the Australian national broadcaster, the ABC, I've heard ...
3
votes
3answers
484 views

Word referencing time of creation

I've been wondering if there is a word to express that something was current at the time of its creation. It (in bold) should plug-in into a sentence similar to: The results are based on an ...
2
votes
2answers
208 views

Headline Language

Is there a particular term for the abbreviated language used in headlines (removed of at least articles and conjunctions)?
2
votes
2answers
279 views

Should I use “in” or “on”?

Which is the correct form in this sentence: "in" or "on"? "I'm sending you the requested permission for using my photographs in/on your project"
2
votes
1answer
6k views

“It was from that moment where” vs. “it was from that moment when”

Now that I think about it, it was from that moment where I started to have doubts about him. Would it be better to use the word "when" instead of "where," or are they both equally valid word ...
1
vote
2answers
826 views

“I know where you work at” vs. “I know where you work”

Which one is correct? I don't need to know where you work at. I don't need to know where you work. Could you also please tell me about this rule is called in grammar so I can learn more ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How to write out dates correctly

I have a document dated 05/05/2012. What should I say? Based on the document from 05 May. Based on the document from 5th May. Based on the document from 05 of May.
1
vote
1answer
29k 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
5answers
5k views

“Put it into the refrigerator” or “Put it in the refrigerator”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa? I am sorry if the question is silly, but I think I heard both options spoken by ...
0
votes
3answers
721 views

“By the bus” or “on the bus”

Is it more correct to form a sentence such as John went to academic conference by the bus using by as the preposition indicating what he took to the conference, or is using on the correct way? ...
-2
votes
3answers
608 views

Fire (at, on, in, to) target

How to correctly choose the preposition in "fire (at, on, in, to) target"?
55
votes
11answers
20k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
30
votes
5answers
13k views

What are the differences between “assume”, “presume” and “suppose”

I believe that "assume", "presume", "suppose" are similar in meaning of to take some facts as a truth without proof. But it seems to me that "presume" is more formal, "assume" is less formal and ...
18
votes
6answers
89k views

“Call me through/at/on this number”

What is the difference between the following when referring to telephone calls? Please call me on this number. You can reach me on this number. Please call me at this number. You can reach ...
23
votes
7answers
54k views

What is the difference between 'make decision' and 'take decision'?

What is the difference between make decision and take decision? When to use the one and when the other?
43
votes
7answers
4k views

Is there a difference between “disc” and “disk” for naming digital storage media?

I thought that a disc was a disc, and it is sometimes spelled disk. I now have got an indication that those two are not the same thing. In this answer on Graphic DesignBeta, I wrote floppy disc in ...
39
votes
8answers
6k views

Can I “wear an umbrella”?

Does it make sense to say the following? Yesterday I wore an umbrella and a coat.
26
votes
11answers
2k views

What word defines a category suited for both header and footer?

So there I was, trying to ask a question (now on SO) on Webmaster.SE partly involving a 'header' and a 'footer'. One part of my code defines shared aspects of both the header and the footer. Anyway ...
21
votes
13answers
9k 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 ...
11
votes
15answers
16k views

How to describe someone who speaks a language “as if it is his mother tongue” in a CV?

Let's say English is not my mother tongue, but I claim in my CV that my English level is "as if" it was my mother tongue? Is natively the word for that? As in: Languages: Hebrew: ...
23
votes
6answers
53k views

How should I ask for a bill in a restaurant politely?

I used to say check please, but my English teacher said that it's wrong, and the proper way is to say something like bill please. What's the truth?
17
votes
3answers
9k views

Is “since” a synonym of “because”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When are “because”, “since”,“for” and “as” interchangeable? A few years ago, I was told that "since" should only be used ...
16
votes
5answers
12k views

Difference between “computation” and “calculation”

If the words computation and calculation are not perfect synonyms what is the difference between them? Which one describes more accurately what is done by a person computing or calculating something ...
13
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
34k 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?
10
votes
4answers
13k 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?
9
votes
6answers
53k views

When should I use “a discussion of” vs. “a discussion on” vs. “a discussion about”?

“A discussion of”, “a discussion on”, and “a discussion about”: When is each phrase used in preference to the other? If context is important, I want to use it as a subheading on a piece of ...
4
votes
4answers
18k views

“I have no …” vs. “I don't have …”

I have no house. I don't have a house. What's the difference between the phrases like the ones above?