This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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7
votes
4answers
614 views

“Highest building of/in the world”

Which is correct? The Chrysler building was the highest building in the world. Today, it is the seventh highest building in the USA. or: The Chrysler building was the highest building of ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Origin of “good night” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of the word “goodbye”? These are probably the most used two words in our day-to-day conversations. We normally use superlative degrees all ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

“You aren't in” vs. “You're not in” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “They are not”: “they're not” versus “they aren't” I noticed that you aren't in and you're not in are two ways to shorten you ...
2
votes
2answers
25k views

What does “but” mean in “Life is but a dream”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The construction of “Known but to God” What does "but" mean in this case and what other uses is this word used in the same context. I'm trying to explain ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Examples that actually mean the opposite of their original meanings [closed]

I have learned that in English, some words have been used to mean the opposite of their original meanings, for the purpose of often negative intensions such as sarcasm, irony, ... For example I ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do we have two words to describe post-mortem medical examination?

Autopsy is defined as inspection and dissection of a body after death, as for determination of the cause of death; postmortem examination. Necropsy is defined as the examination of a body ...
8
votes
2answers
12k views

Correct usage of “viz.”?

Are these two sentences examples of the correct use of "viz."? This book is dedicated to my family, viz. my parents and two sisters. The purpose of this book is twofold, viz. 1) to show that [...]; ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“Auspicious” vs “auspices” [closed]

The two words auspicious and auspices seem so similar yet have almost opposite meaning. Is auspicious a good time or a lucky connotation while auspices is said to be an omen? If I said the weather ...
4
votes
2answers
234 views

Was “oop” really more common than “oops” till 1990?

Ngrams shows a marked preference for oop over oops up until 1990: Is Ngrams to be trusted here? Is it strange that I've never seen oop in writing? Even Dictionary.com doesn't have anything more ...
2
votes
4answers
772 views

Use of “compensate” to mean “help pay cost”

Is using compensate correct in this context? We are appealing for your help. We've found a great deal for a software solution we want to teach our kids and it costs 1000 dollars and your ...
0
votes
1answer
598 views

Is this usage of “now” correct?

Consider this piece of a poem: Crouched at the elder's feet, the knight Now kissed his hand in exultation. The world before his eyes turned bright, Forgot his spirit's sore ...
6
votes
2answers
278 views

Is “grounds” ever used for things other than coffee? [closed]

I've never seen the word grounds (meaning sediment/dregs; definition 12 only) used to describe anything other than coffee; are there any other usages of grounds of that meaning, or has it become a ...
0
votes
1answer
320 views

Is it possible to use the verb “torture” in a figurative sense?

Is it possible to use the verb "torture" in a tropical sense? I mean not in a physical sense. For example: Linda: "So what? Did you see Jack?" Tom: "Yes" Linda: "So did you talk to him ...
1
vote
4answers
284 views

When do we consider English speakers' familiarity as a proof?

English, like many other languages, has its own usage of words and convention that can only be captured by practicing and speaking with natives. For instance, if non-English speaker come up with a ...
2
votes
1answer
204 views

To or for usage: Places

Which of these is correct? She is leaving for the USA. or She is leaving to the USA.
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Use of “minute or two” to mean “moment” in the early 20th century?

In what seems like at least half her novels, Agatha Christie writes that one character waits for a "minute or two." At first I thought that these characters were actually sitting there and pondering, ...
3
votes
3answers
340 views

Can you use “say” to refer to things on the internet?

When referring to something you read on the internet, can you use "say?" For example, can you say, "he said it on a forum" when speaking about a message someone posted. Or does say only refer to ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

Having trouble understanding this text

The text runs: If your front door is directly opposite your back door the Qi will just charge straight through your house and out the back without stopping for a cup of tea. If you stand in the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Using hyphenated words in technical writing?

I always get confused when using hyphenated words in my research papers. Is there any specific rule for using hyphenated words? For example, which one of the following is the correct usage of co ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

All Right vs Alright when starting to speak [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it "alright" or "allright"? When giving a speech or presentation it's common to hear the speaker (including myself when I present) start out by ...
10
votes
10answers
28k views

“Integrity” vs. “honesty”—what's the difference?

In what situations would you say that someone "has integrity" as opposed to "behaves with honesty"? For instance, if an employee is meticulous about reporting his hours, does he have integrity or is ...
9
votes
6answers
62k views

Madam vs. Ma'am

I suspect that the answer to this depends on region, so insights from multiple areas would be beneficial: It has been my impression that in the US addressing a woman as "Madam" is considered ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Differences among point, grade and mark

I do not know how they are different when they are used as a grading system ? Can I say a pointing system or a marking system?
6
votes
5answers
12k views

“Dear Professor” vs “Dear Mr”: differences between British and American usage

In British English, is it acceptable to address a professor as "Dear Professor X" when writing a formal or informal letter? Does it sound natural? Why I am asking this question: I was looking ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “since I'm” now an acceptable alternative to “since I was”?

In a recent episode of the television show Entourage, Ari Gold (a 40 year old man) says: I've known her since I'm 19. In an episode of Sex and the City, a character, who is 15, tells Carrie: ...
16
votes
9answers
17k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference between “spirit” and “soul”

What is the difference between spirit and soul? Is the word soul used for only human beings? For instance, He [Descartes] thought the brain worked as a center for the spirits of the soul.
11
votes
2answers
2k views

If I can say “videos”, can I also say “audios”?

Audio and video seem to me very similar words by usage. I often hear the plural form for video, but is there a plural form for audio? Can I say audios? I've never heard it being used.
2
votes
3answers
1k views

“Educative” vs “insightful”

Between insightful and educative, which is more appropriate in the following sentence? The article is very well written and very educative/insightful. When I use Google ngrams, it gives a higher ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Word for someone who prepares reports

The situation I am thinking of is where someone within a company runs queries on a database and formats the information (with or without commentary) into a report. Is there a single word that ...
3
votes
2answers
362 views

What does 'cloying smoke' mean?

I understand "cloying" to mean something good that becomes distasteful in excess. Here is a sentence I read today from this article: But the aerial assault on the stubborn blaze, which blanketed ...
2
votes
2answers
252 views

“Longer running time” vs “high performance”

I am always confused about the correct usages of words like longer, less, higher, high etc., for comparing performance of two programs. For example, if a program A completes its work in 10 seconds, ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “turn off” mean here?

Could it be a typo for "and one by one they will be turned off"? CNN: Many of the existing space telescopes, Hubble included, are nearing the end of their lifetimes, and one by one they will turn ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Usage of “just”, “only” and word-order [intended meaning]

I've got these sentences, which meanings are correct (my interpretations are in brackets): Use of only: (1) Only in 1996, Ford sold a rebadged Mazda 626 GV over here as its rebranded Japanese ...
2
votes
1answer
271 views

Usage of “infinities”

What is the usage of the word infinities? Is the term infinite infinities correct, and how is it used?
0
votes
3answers
394 views

Why are some adjectives placed after a noun?

How would you explain these words: Corporate America, Revenue Canada, ServiceOntario, etc.? Edit: To clarify my question, why is corporate America more popular than American corporate or American ...
15
votes
3answers
9k views

Is there a difference between “leading edge” and “bleeding edge”?

It seems to me that "leading edge" is the more established phrase, while "bleeding edge" is basically the same thing but the user has adapted the phrase for extra (rather meaningless) emphasis. Or is ...
3
votes
2answers
406 views

Why do exciting things “rock”?

Rock (v): 6. Slang. to be very good, impressive, exciting, or effective: This show really rocks. So where did this odd usage originate?
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Meaning of “suboptimal” [closed]

I find myself using the word suboptimal quite a lot. In my understanding it is an understatement in itself, as suboptimal is not optimal at all and the subject needs drastic improvements. Is this ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

When should I use “finish” instead of “complete,” and vice versa?

I am confused about when to use finish instead of complete and vice versa. May you help me in understanding when to use those words?
0
votes
2answers
8k views

When should I use “is”, and when “does”? [closed]

I know this is really basic, and I know the answer internally, I just find that I can't articulate it. When would you use "is", and when is "does" more appropriate? E.g. "The sun is green", vs "The ...
2
votes
4answers
14k views

Difference between “unto” and “to”

What are the differences between "unto" and "to"? It seems that in many contexts where the word "unto" is used, "to" could be substituted and would be perfectly correct. It reminds me of ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

'Potential' as an adjective

Here is one of those things that I have simply never thought about until recently. I have a friend who speaks English as a second language and so still has a few overhanging errors in his speech; One ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Blood - Bloods - pluralisation

Why is it that the plural of 'blood' is 'blood' in normal usage but 'bloods' (e.g. 'I'll be taking some bloods') is acceptable in a medical context? Are there any words with similar pluralisation ...
10
votes
7answers
7k views

When is it appropriate or disrespectful to refer to someone as “she”?

My boss has asked me not to refer to her as she because she says it's disrespectful. After I refer to her by her proper name or by her title, isn't it appropriate to refer to her as she?
3
votes
7answers
7k views

What are the different nuances of “passing with distinction” in a CV?

I am in the middle of translating my (German) CV to English. In the German/Austrian school system, there is the notion of passing ... ... "mit gutem Erfolg" (which is better than average, yet not ...
4
votes
3answers
25k views

“Subtotal” vs “total”

I've always thought of subtotal as a calculated value that is not the final amount on an invoice (for example, a sum of individual prices before discounts/taxes are applied, or the total for a ...
14
votes
5answers
7k views

Is it correct to say “He got a fatal injury in the accident” when there is a possibility that the person’s life will be saved?

I would like to know whether “fatal injury” means (1) an injury which causes a death, (2) an injury which almost causes a death but not necessarily does, or (3) both (1) and (2) depending on the ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a word/ short phrase for extension of self / positive reflection of self? [closed]

I'm looking for a word / short phrase for "extension of self" (or at least "positive reflection of self") one could give to something they've created. E.g. A company could be named _______ implying ...
4
votes
1answer
26k views

When can I use “as well” as a synonym for “too” or “also”?

I remember that I can use "as well" as a synonym for "too" (or "also"). Is there any case in which I can't do this? Am I safe using either of them? This is partly related to these questions: ...