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

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2
votes
5answers
3k views

Can one be uninnovative?

Can one be uninnovative, or un-innovative? I'm looking for a direct antonym of the adjective innovative. I see an entry at Dictionary.com, but nothing at Merriam Webster (innovative, *uninnovative).
13
votes
11answers
16k views

What would you call a person from India?

My guess would be Indian, but that sounds like a guy with a feather on his head who hunts buffalo. Is there a better name?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Choosing between “100%” and “cent percent”

I am a non-native English speaker. I am applying for the USA university for management studies. While writing the essay I came across the sentence, "I was 100% confident." My query: Is it ...
1
vote
1answer
316 views

Is this usage of “whose” correct?

Is the following phrase (grammatically) correct? Bill Gates, whose company is very rich, is famous. (I couldn't come up with a better context-free sample)
2
votes
1answer
9k views

“If it was” or “if it were”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Should I say "If I were [something]" or "If I was [something]?" This came ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Correct use of 'with' or 'at' when talking about percentages?

I'm writing the following sentence: Women lead uptake at XX%. But a friend is saying that it should be written: Women lead uptake with XX%. Which one is correct?
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it “bear the shame” or “bare the shame”?

Google returns results for both variations of this common phrase. bear the shame bare the shame What is the meaning of this phrase, and which one is correct? Is the speaker carrying their shame ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

When are “if” and “whether” equivalent?

Are if and whether equivalent in sentences like the ones below? How to determine if my saddle is too high? How to determine whether my saddle is too high? We should check if everything ...
11
votes
3answers
9k views

“Amount” vs. “number” vs. “quantity”

For what values of x does one write the number of x, the amount of x, or the quantity of x?
16
votes
10answers
1k views

Alternative to “typo”

I often write and see written something like "Fix typo" in commit messages, when the fix was not in fact for a "typographical error". It might have been a duplicate word, a small grammatical problem ...
1
vote
4answers
910 views

“There is no rule” vs. “there isn't rule”

What are the differences between the two sentences below: There is no rule. There isn't rule.
3
votes
3answers
131 views

How to say: “After cartoons are over” or “After she's done watching cartoons” or how?

Imagine this situation: a wife asks her husband to read some stories to their daughter. The husband replies: "She is watching cartoons now. I’ll read stories to her after the cartoons are over" or ...
4
votes
3answers
29k views

“Interested on” or “interested in”

Which is correct: interested on or interested in?
4
votes
4answers
641 views

Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?”

I simply can't bring myself to use unreasonableness, but can think of no synonym or alternate form with comparable meaning. I'll restructure if necessary, but wonder if I'm missing a suitable ...
2
votes
6answers
25k views

Is “would” the past future tense of “will” or just a modal verb?

What's the difference: Would you give me some advice? Will you give me some advices?
1
vote
1answer
988 views

“It's important that he should know” vs. “… shall know”

Which sentence is right? It's important that he should know this. It's important that he shall know this. Is the shall/should auxiliary or modal verb?
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Why do signs read “wet floor”, not “slippery floor”?

Every other time I see a "wet floor" sign the following idea comes to my mind. That sign forces me through unnecessary mental effort to deduce that wet floors can be slippery. I think it's like ...
5
votes
2answers
9k views

“Can” vs. “could” in asking a question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I am a little bit confused about asking a question: Can you please tell me my next work? or Could you please tell me my next ...
5
votes
2answers
25k views

How to ask about one's availability? “free/available/not busy”?

Are the following equally appropriate to be used at work with a colleague or client? I don't want to be informal, but I don't have to be too formal either. Let me know when you are free so that ...
1
vote
3answers
496 views

“to build meaningful relationships in important areas of my life”

Should I have said "of my life" or "in my life" in this sentence: to build meaningful relationships in important areas of my life
2
votes
2answers
414 views

“error” or “wrong”?

For example: What's error in this sentence? What's wrong in this sentence?
0
votes
2answers
3k views

“suggestions on” or “suggestions at”?

Example usage: I've changed the post a lot by following suggestions on the original question. Is it correct?
1
vote
3answers
736 views

“Train approaching”

Is it correct? It's the message I see right before the metro/subway train shows up. Shouldn't it be "train is approaching" or "train approaches"?
4
votes
3answers
856 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Does “develop” mean “upgrade”?

In my native language, the English word "develop" is translated to "the process to make something/somebody large/strong/big, and etc.; for example: economic development." Does develop mean upgrade?
-2
votes
3answers
637 views

What is the difference between “conquered” and “won”?

What is the difference between "conquered" and "won"?
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Differentiating between “written” and “writing”

For some reason it is written and writing. It's confusing to me. How can I remember to write them differently?
4
votes
3answers
410 views

“Two people got hurt and five people died in the tragedy”

Can you say so? In other words, are deaths counted among people that got hurt? Does it make a difference if you say: Two people were injured and five people died in the tragedy. Let's imagine ...
1
vote
2answers
200 views

In what situation (if any) you would say “better play positive”?

In what situation (if any) you would say "better play positive"? Please, don't add any punctuation between words.
2
votes
7answers
1k views

Is “try taking these ones” correct? (doctor speaking to a patient)

A patient is complaining that the pills that he had given her a week ago don't help, so he opens a drawer, takes another pack of some other pills and says: "Try taking these ones". Is it correct to ...
4
votes
9answers
956 views

Continuing to do something just because it was done before, without knowing why

How would you describe someone that continues to perform and action solely because they have observed someone else performing that same action, but do not know the reason. Or, they perform an action ...
1
vote
2answers
441 views

Is it redundant to say, “…based on any arbitrary criteria?”

Should "arbitrary" suffice on its own, or does it make sense to include "any?"
5
votes
4answers
183 views

What would you write in this case? (a sign in a fitting room)

Once in a fitting room of one clothes store in Taiwan I saw a sign saying something like Watch your lipstick carefully no to touch the clothes you are trying on. While the main concern was ...
10
votes
8answers
17k views

“Forgot” vs “Forget”

Is the following correct, or is there more to it? "I forgot his name" — I knew his name, but I forgot it. "I forget his name" — I keep forgetting his name. Where using "forget" basically means that ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Under what circumstances should I use 'requisite' and 'required'?

The context of this is in the writing a technical document. The statement I am writing is something of the ilk: The package then updates the [requisite/required] number of tables. I was ...
6
votes
3answers
339 views

Professors and Students

When I was learning English back in school (in the nineties), there were pupils and teachers. Now there seem to be students and professors, where a "professor" can be anyone who happens to teach ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

“Place” or “Site”?

I'm looking for the most appropriate term to refer to places/sites where you can do something specific. In my case it's going out for taking photos. Which of these two words would best suit that use? ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

Is it okay to say “What was the number of…” meaning “How many…”?

Is it okay to say "What was the number of" meaning "How many"? For example, "What was the number of students that came here yesterday?"
1
vote
6answers
4k views

“least” vs. “lowest”

What is the difference between least and lowest? Websites announce as "Lowest prices", but not "least". Least is the superlative degree. low > lower > least ?
20
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the difference between “venom” and “poison”?

What is the difference between “venom” and “poison”? Both in usage and in meaning.
5
votes
5answers
3k views

Which one is more correct: “works at a university” or “works in a university”?

My relative is a fairly big academic and works at a university. Is this correct? or should I have used in instead?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to avoid sexist language?

I have observed that I use a lot of sexist terms; it comes naturally to me! I have resolved to be "perfectly" non-sexist from now onwards. I would like to know how to avoid sexist language. Yes, ...
3
votes
6answers
4k views

Why is “resolved” used ahead of a question in a debate title, instead of saying “the Subject, topic” or alike?

I’m now reading a book titled “Competitive Debate – The Official Guide” by Richard E. Edward. In it, there is the following sentence: The topic for public forum debate are selected by a comitee of ...
4
votes
4answers
372 views

Can snow be dry?

Disclaimer: There are a lot of questions packed in but their answers are interdependent. Different textures of snow can be described as "wet" and "dry". Considering that water is the quintessence of ...
2
votes
4answers
283 views

More colloquial term for “confidant”

Is there a more colloquial term for a "confidant", or someone who has been entrusted with sensitive information to be disclosed only under certain conditions? This is related to my previous question ...
3
votes
4answers
656 views

Word to describe “when sensitive information is given to a trusted proxy in case of untimely death”

What's a good word to describe the situation when sensitive information is given to a trusted proxy (such as a lawyer), to be released only when a certain event occurs, such as a person's untimely ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Gut-wrenching or -retching?

It was the most gut-retching thing I have ever heard. Wrenching sounds like it would make sense, but so does retching.
40
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
339 views

How commonly is “but” used in sentences?

Usually, whenever I post a question on Stack Overflow, I have a habit of using the word but excessively. Is there an alternative word can I use?
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Educational course nomenclature

I am looking for a noun to describe an individual meeting of a course, as in a course of study at a university. Class is not an option in this case. Thoughts?