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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

51
votes
10answers
42k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
900 views

“e.g.” versus “i.e.”

What are the differences between these two abbreviations? What are the appropriate situations to use each?
19
votes
9answers
32k 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 ...
14
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
34k 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?
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
124k 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
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
8k views

When to use “to” and when “for”?

Examples: It is important to me. It will be good for you. This sounds stupid to me. I'll make it comfortable for you. I'll make it available to you. Any rules here, dear native ...
6
votes
3answers
37k views

“Seem”, “appear”, “look” — how to differentiate?

Are there any significant structural or semantic differences between seem, appear and look in the sense of "to give the impression of being or doing something"? She looks unhappy. He seems ...
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 money....
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 ...
24
votes
2answers
36k views

Which is correct, “dataset” or “data set”?

I keep writing dataset. Is that correct, or should I write data set?
22
votes
6answers
61k views

“Hooker”, “whore”, “prostitute”, when to use which?

"Hooker", "whore", and "prostitute" all mean whore; what are the differences between them?
15
votes
2answers
11k views

How popular is ‘Contrafibularities’ as a day-to-day English word?

I found the phrase “My sincerest contrafibularities, Tim” given to one of the comments to my question about the word, 'Cromulent' in EL&U site. As I was totally unfamiliar with the word, ‘...
14
votes
4answers
21k views

Which is correct: “home in” or “hone in”?

I've heard people say "Home in on something", but I've also heard others say "Hone in on something". Which is the correct expression, and what is the etymology of these?
12
votes
6answers
2k views

“Toward” or “towards” – what would a native speaker use?

In this question we learn that toward and towards are interchangeable, but that the former is somewhat more typical of U.S. English and the latter of British English, although there is some indication ...
11
votes
3answers
15k views

“Before” vs. “in front of”

Especially in speeches I often hear a sentence like I stand here before you... However during my English classes in school (I'm German) we were told that before should only be used if you're ...
11
votes
6answers
69k views

Do you “watch” a movie or “see” a movie?

Which of the following verbs is most commonly used with movie? Or are they both used, but the connotations are different? I watched a good movie yesterday. I saw a good movie yesterday.
8
votes
4answers
52k views

“Based on” vs. “based upon”

Should I use on or upon in the following sentence? I remembered the story years later when I investigated the incident it was based on.
5
votes
3answers
62k views

What is the difference between “information on”, “information of”, “information about”

"Information on something", "information of something", "information about something" — these three usages all sound having the same meaning for me. Are there any differences?
22
votes
7answers
26k 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
9answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
3k views

Is “penultimate” commonly used? [closed]

Is penultimate commonly used in English, or are its variations (such as second to last) more common? I need to use it in conjunction with the expressions First Payment Date and Last Payment Date to ...
14
votes
4answers
192k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
17k 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
2k 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
2k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What colloquial word is used when you don't remember a word but you want to use something for it?

I checked some dictionaries and found out the following words to be used for objects whose names are forgotten: whatsis, whatchamacallit, thingummy, dohickey, dojigger, doodad, doohickey, ...
10
votes
5answers
61k 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
2answers
114k views

“Congratulation” vs. “congratulations”

Congratulation vs. congratulations — which one to use? How/when?
9
votes
3answers
29k views

What's the difference between 'cutlery', 'silverware' and 'crockery'?

What's the difference between 'cutlery', 'silverware' and 'crockery'? Are there any differences between them?
8
votes
7answers
17k views

Is there a word for one who enjoys to eat for the sake of eating (a food hedonist)?

Does such a word exist? I don't mean to excess (IE, a glutton), but rather one who eats because he enjoys eating. Essentially, I'm looking for a word that's synonymous with "a food hedonist", or "a ...
7
votes
4answers
30k views

“In cases when” vs. “in cases where”

This is one I struggle with from time to time. Which is better? Methodology X is more suitable in cases where users' needs are well understood up front. Methodology X is more suitable in ...
7
votes
3answers
30k views

What's the difference between “cabinet” and “cupboard”?

What's the difference between "cabinet" and "cupboard"?
6
votes
4answers
78k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
127k views

“At hand” vs “on hand” vs “in hand”

What's the difference between at hand, on hand and in hand? At hand seems to me as if you have something in reach. On hand is if you have something in stock. And in hand can be used as if you have ...
4
votes
2answers
17k 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? I ...
3
votes
3answers
14k views

Difference between 'just' and 'only'

'Just' and 'only' carry a similar meaning, and while my feel for language usually helps me decide which one to use, there are times when I'm at a loss. From my understanding, 'just' is used as a ...
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
4k 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
2answers
3k views

Preventative vs. preventive

In this answer about the non-word disabilitated, the word preventative is compared (unfavourably, if my reading of the implication is correct) to preventive. However, I have always used preventative, ...
14
votes
12answers
24k views

What is a feminine version of “dude”?

OK . . . another one similar to "What is a feminine version of 'guys'?" "Dude" is masculine; what is the feminine version? The usage I'm thinking of is that "dude" nowadays is used primarily as a ...
13
votes
6answers
8k views

“Bob and us” or “Bob and we” or “Bob and ourselves”?

In the singular, it is quite clear that one uses "I" when referring to a third party and oneself, as in: Bob and I are going to build an aircraft. However, in the plural, it is a lot less clear. ...
10
votes
4answers
32k 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" ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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
5answers
3k views

Is it absolutely necessary to use “than” over “then” in a comparison? [closed]

Do you think you are smarter then me? While this question should be using than...I have to wonder if this is a debatable topic within English or is this cut and dry? If this specific instance is ...
8
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...