This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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2
votes
3answers
456 views

Can I use TL;DR in a formal email? [closed]

I've seen the internet slang TL;DR many times in the internet, and as I can see people used it pretty much in the present day. Can I use it in a formal email to a client?
2
votes
3answers
3k views

“Good night” vs “goodnight” (vs “good-night”)

I am trying to find out which is correct in "Good night" vs "goodnight" (vs "good-night"), and there seem to be conflicting views around the internet. I am hoping you guys can shed some light into why ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Is “past master” a gender neutral phrase?

PAST MASTER - noun: a person who has done something many times before and has become very skilled at doing it "He's a past master at finding ways to get out of trouble." ...
-1
votes
1answer
37 views

Can the word nervous be used like this? [closed]

My middle school was nervous. Like the above sentence, can the the word nervous be used for a thing?
4
votes
5answers
238 views

Capitalization of the word universe

Playing around with Google's Ngram viewer, where you can see how many times a word is used in books, I stumbled on this: It shows how often universe and Universe have been used in books. I think ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “homophobic” a noun?

I've thought homophobe refers to the people and homophobic is just an adjective. However I recently heard that homophobic is also used as a noun describing the people who have homophobia, meaning ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

Is it common to use “output” as a verb? [closed]

At work (in some code) I encountered the word "output" being used as a verb and was a bit confused at first, because I misread it as a noun. I have never seen this usage before and for some reason it ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Can the heart 'approach what it yearns', or must it 'approach what it yearns for'?

Paul Simon's lyrics ... how the heart approaches what it yearns... has always seemed to me an incorrect usage, although it's difficult to state why. It seems to me that the verb yearn ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Which is more appropriate, a reservation or an appointment at a beauty salon?

Do you make a reservationt at a beauty salon? Or do you make an appointment at a beauty salon?
-1
votes
2answers
97 views

Is it OK to say “most likely want to buy”, “secondly likely…” and “thirdly likely…”? [closed]

Suppose there are 3 paintings for sale in a gallery, all at the same price, and you have examined them thoroughly. You say: I most likely want to buy the first one, and secondly likely want to ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

The use of “la”?

I have read many a novel set in the Regency period where la is used in conversations. La, Susan, don't be so bothersome What is its purpose and correct use? Thank you for your insights.
0
votes
2answers
36 views

Is this sentence clear? “The fields highlighted in blue are the ones that were verified with supporting documents”

In my company there is a security man who stands at the front door and checks the visitors. Visitors have their names, birthdates and clothes as fields to be filled in an application form. The ...
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

Should I use “a” or “an” prior to an abbreviation? [duplicate]

For example, non-conformance is abbreviated as NC. If I am referring to a non-conformance, I may pronounce the whole word or I may literally say the letters "NC"; in my industry, they are used ...
2
votes
3answers
78 views

“Can I help you, love?” Love as a form of address: is it used regionally to talk to strangers?

I've been reading a chapter about the vocabulary of the Yorkshire dialect in the UK. Among other interesting curiosities ("child" plural "childer", "lad and lass" for "son an daughter") I've come ...
-3
votes
1answer
71 views

please tell me the correct use of the word boredom in a sentence [closed]

How do I use boredom in a sentence? For example: He danced to kill his boredom. I want to know the correct sentence in that same pattern.
3
votes
1answer
383 views

What's wrong with “her first devotion was to dancing”?

In Susan Sontag's review of The Last of the Nuba, Fascinating Fascism, by Leni Riefenstahl, one can read among other things: Could the publishers have let LR write the jacket copy herself? One ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Can you vs. Do you think you can

Is there a right or wrong way to ask someone to do something? The other day I said to my husband, "Do you think you can fax this paper for me?" He said that was insulting and I should say "Can you fax ...
-3
votes
1answer
49 views

Ambiguity in usage of the word “Distend” [closed]

In OALD "Distend" is defined as : (formal or medical) to swell or make sth swell because of pressure from inside And it provides an example for it: starving children with huge ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

What is the difference among “at the outset”, “from the beginning”, and “at the beginning”?

Let me tell you at the outset that <-- sounds right Let me tell you from the beginning that <-- doesn't sound right Let me tell you at the beginning that <-- doesn't sound as right as #1 ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Using only a direct object with the verb “give”

Is it possible to use the verb give with only a direct object? For example, Could you give the definition? Or need I to add an indirect object, so the sentence becomes Could you give me the ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Is it correct to use multiple adjectives that mean the same thing as one adjective?

I came across this quote from some popular guy who likes to use big words and I was wondering if it's correct. Their vacuous posturing, pharissaical sanctimonies and sadducceical homilies now ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

-er for two, -est for three or more?

I believe that if, for instance, you have two kids, you have an older and a younger - if you have three or more, you have an oldest, you have a youngest (and whatever is in between). I hear people ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

How is that correct: “speed is faster” or “prices are cheaper”

Read in a somewhat reliable source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearing_(finance): speed of trades is much faster... Also heard once or twice: prices in this store are cheaper Does it sound ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

How far out does “in-law” go? [closed]

The sister to a husband becomes the wife's sister-in-law. If the sister in-law was to marry a woman, would she also become the wife's sister-in-law? If so can you keep calling the family of your ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Pardon my ignorance, but how would the word 'ignore' convert to a noun in this context? [duplicate]

I was talking to a co-worker about the fact that he ignored certain guidelines when writing his code. He is fairly aware of the established guidelines and a well-defined copy of the same is present ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Correct use(s) of “Name, Founder” [closed]

When listing a name and title on for example a business card, does "Name, Founder" mean: "the founder" "a founder" Both
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Is there a difference between “note-taking” & “notation”?

Is there a difference between "note-taking" & "notation" when referring to the process of writing notes? I've read the dictionary definitions and I'm still not clear on it.
2
votes
1answer
292 views

How is 'Tacenda' used in a sentence?

I am confused about the usage of this word. I know the meaning it conveys. Help?
1
vote
3answers
100 views

Is there a word for “not cremated”?

I am trying to come up with a term to represent human remains that have not been cremated; they will be buried in a casket. I tried casketed, but that's not actually word although it sounds good. ...
0
votes
1answer
348 views

What is the difference between interaction, communication, conversation, and discussion? [closed]

I think all of these are kinds of communication. But can't think the difference between the other terms
1
vote
2answers
113 views

Formal/informal word for “something which is hard to deal with”?

Is there any formal/informal word which possibly reflects the meaning of "something which is hard to deal with"?
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Adding an 's' to day [duplicate]

Should it be 30 day free trial or 30 days free trial? I believe it should be 30 day free trial but I can't find the grammar rule to back this up. I am trying to explain it to someone who is not a ...
12
votes
13answers
4k views

Word for “sitting down heavily?”

Example: Mom came over and [...] on the bed, making my head bounce on the pillow.
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Me, myself, or I?

a) I am surprised that someone other than I had a cat named Hamlet. or b) I am surprised that someone other than myself had a cat named Hamlet. or c) I am surprised that someone ...
0
votes
3answers
74 views

Can I say “pretty readable”? [closed]

I'd like to use the word "readable" with another one, can it be "pretty"? If not, what other adjectives can be used with "readable"? Thanks guys!
-1
votes
2answers
51 views

“She allowed her life to be a circumstance of her illness”

I never witnessed where she allowed her life to be a circumstance of her illness Is circumstance used in the correct manner? I want to say she didn't use her illness as an excuse to be sick... ...
1
vote
1answer
912 views

“Poorer” vs. “more poor”

As a non-native speaker I am curious about the everyday usage of more poor in contrast to poorer. The dictionary dictates poorer as the correct form, with some allowing both forms. According to ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Is a “Tale” less factual than a “Story”?

I am preparing a press release, and so far the headline of the press release is: A SOVIET LABOR CAMP SURVIVOR’S TALE A colleague called the word "tale" into question, since this is a book about a ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

A cell phone company talking about the dangers of texting — irony or not? [duplicate]

There was a presentation at our school about texting and driving. It was held by AT&T, a cell phone company. Would it be considered ironic that a cell phone company is talking about the dangers of ...
3
votes
4answers
55 views

Is this correct use of 'respectively'?

I am accustomed to using the word 'respectively' as follows: Jack and Jill went to the hill and the pharmacy, respectively. and this is the way I've always seen it being used. Is it correct to ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

So, why is “so” being used like this? [duplicate]

I first noticed it during an interview a journalist was doing with a presidential candidate. The journalist asked questions. Each time the candidate started his answer with the word "so". Now I am ...
0
votes
3answers
75 views

Mental lapse preferred to Synapse lapse? [closed]

My friend used the term 'synapse lapse' the other day to describe what would be usually called a 'mental lapse'. Is this an acceptable term? I found no results in the Ngram viewer. It doesn't seem to ...
3
votes
2answers
112 views

What is the etymological justification for taking the grammatical term “pluperfect” and turning it into an adjective meaning 'more than perfect"? [duplicate]

I'm interested in the usage of the word pluperfect in the following passage from Thomas Harris’s crime thriller, The Silence of the Lambs. Jerry Burroughs of the National Crime Information Center ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Which is right: “3-peak” or “3-peaks”? [duplicate]

If I want to express something has 3 peaks, I should say "3-peak something" or "3-peaks something"?
-1
votes
1answer
60 views

Is it correct to say “an auspicious situation”?

Auspicious, as defined by Merriam-Webster means - showing or suggesting that future success is likely. I was learning about the correct usage of the word and found the following usages to be correct : ...
0
votes
2answers
111 views

Usage of the word “introspect”

I am trying to write a sentence to mean that something made me think deeply about myself and I would really like to use the word introspect. I came up with: During several instances of reading ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What is “lay governance” in the context of higher education?

I am looking for a basic definition to understand it. I see it used in texts mainly about US higher education systems and governance.
0
votes
1answer
50 views

What's the difference between patent and obvious?

Patent is used a lot more in "serious" matters, like legal breaches, such as a "patent breach of law," but does that really mean anything? Does "patent" just sound more refined?
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Difference between audience and audiences? [closed]

I've heard some people say the word audiences in conversation. How does audiences differ from audience and when do you use it?
0
votes
1answer
98 views

Whom did you meet? [duplicate]

I am confused to use the word "whom" in a sentence.Is the above sentence correct? Give me a bit of your mind at what contexts we generally use whom with proper examples.