This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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10
votes
4answers
897 views

Does “eponymous” require that the compared things have the same name, or will a descriptor do?

Clearly, Hamlet and Aladdin have eponymous characters (namely, Hamlet and Aladdin). What about The Merchant of Venice and The Little Mermaid? Are Antonio and Ariel eponymous? A dictionary-check ...
0
votes
2answers
846 views

Subtle distinction between “at once” and “all at once”?

According to OALD both "all at once" and "at once" can mean at the same time. I can't do everything all at once I can't do two things at once. Don't all speak at once! These examples ...
2
votes
4answers
9k views

Is it correct to use the word 'etiquettes' for plural?

One of my friends argues with me that the plural for etiquette is etiquettes and for fish it is fishes. I was taught since ever that etiquette is plural as fish does. To support his statement he ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to say “Go ahead, I will follow you later” in other ways?

My friends are going out for lunch and ask me to go with them. I haven't finished my work. I will follow them 10 minutes later. Normally, what will you say? beside "I will follow you later."
0
votes
3answers
342 views

Improper use of “premier” [closed]

I often see text like "... has been a premier service provider for many years" in advertisements. Sometimes I'll see "Your premier SUCH AND SUCH" These strike me as nonsense phrases unless they were ...
1
vote
3answers
591 views

Can I also use 'outsource' to refer to goods, not just work or service?

I know to outsource is to subcontract work to another company. But for example if company A, a TV maker, wants to buy panels from a panel making company B instead of producing panels themselves, can ...
3
votes
4answers
507 views

Does one “douse” or “dowse” a spotlight or projector?

A recent SMS conversation has prompted me to question my use of "dowse", "dowsing", and so on in relation to lighting instruments and projection equipment. I do not remember from where I got this ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Use of “petri dish” as metaphor in non-scientific context

Can the word petri dish be used as a metaphor in a non-scientific context?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“Infective” or “Infectious”

I checked the dictionary only to find these two words clubbed into a single entry. Have these words evolved into one, having started differently? His enthusiasm was infectious. Does "infective" ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “forwent” used much?

I see "forgo" used quite a bit, and "forgone" is quite common too. I can't say I've ever seen or heard of "forwent" and in fact, I had to look it up to make sure it even was a word at all. Is it ...
3
votes
3answers
139 views

Is it correct to say “aging X years or more”?

Hundred participants (aging 18 years or more) were selected from each of the cities. Is the phrase within the parentheses correct? Any suggestion to better express the idea will also be ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Opposite of subpar… superpar?

If something can be "on par", and "subpar", can something be described as "superpar"? Is there an accepted way to describe something as extraordinary with this term?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is 'GRAND TOTAL AMOUNT' verbose? [closed]

After the subtotals and net totals, finally it comes to the grand total. Should I say "the grand total amount is $100", or only "the total amount is $100", or "* grand total amount* is $100"?
0
votes
1answer
487 views

I can't help it [closed]

Mom: John, stop playing video-games! John: I can't help it! Could someone explain what John said?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the word “egrarious” exist?

For some reason I thought "egrarious" was a word, but I cannot find any authoritative reference to the word. I thought it meant "ostentatiously bad". I am aware there is a word "egregious".
2
votes
3answers
168 views

Fact in Fiction [closed]

Is a fact implied within fictional literature still a fact actually? Imagine this real-life conversation: Person 1: "Does Deadpool have better healing abilities than Wolverine?" Person 2: "I ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

Usage of 'appeal'

I recently came across the use of the noun appeal in a book chapter by Gopnick and Wellman on Theory Theory. The sentence is: Theoretical constructs need not be definitely observable, but they ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

When to use 'no good'; when to use 'not good'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “no” and “not”? there is a question always confusing me. Is it 'no good' or 'not good'? How do I use them? I guess ...
1
vote
2answers
173 views

Is 'Brave' the symmetrical of 'Yankee'? [closed]

Note: This question is only apparently a dupe of preceding: "Is Yankee derogatory?". I have heard of the term "Brave" often referring to people in the Southern U.S. by Northeners. Is it true? If ...
1
vote
2answers
24k views

Difference between “already know” and “have already known”

I've been thinking that the phrase "already know" is different from the phrase "have already known". Already know: I know something clearly at this point of saying (present) Have already known: I've ...
0
votes
2answers
898 views

How is the usage of 'during' as opposed to 'while' explained?

"While" is a conjunction and "during" is a preposition, but how is the different usage explained? For example, why can the following not be said: "While the project I learnt a lot." Obviously, ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

When can “as” be used instead of “when”?

I am having problems explaining the use of "as" and "when" to my foreign language pupils... To me, this sentence is wrong "Even as he had the chance to help, he did not." I would say "Even when he ...
4
votes
8answers
924 views

Correct usage of “awhile”

I've seen "awhile" defined as "for a time," and I've seen examples like "Go play awhile" and "stay awhile." But what about the phrases, "Do you want your salad awhile?" or "Would you like your coffee ...
7
votes
4answers
49k views

“In school” vs “at school”

I sometimes get confused whether to use in or at. For example, Children were not at school yesterday, because yesterday was a holiday. Children were not in school yesterday, because yesterday ...
-1
votes
0answers
62 views

What is meant be, “I've have taken a stab at editing”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Meaning of “take a stab at doing something” Recently, a guy edited a question asked by me on SE network and commented: "I've taken a stab at editing it to ...
1
vote
0answers
1k views

“To a T” or “To a Tee”, and where does it come from? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin of “Fits [x] to a T”? I frequently hear the phrase "To a T[ee]", but I'm not sure that I've ever seen it written. What is the correct way to write ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

“At all” vs “Not at all” in negated sentences

If I say That makes sense to me. I would say definitively at all. That makes sense to me at all. But in the negated sentence I'm not sure. I've the feeling, that it is still at all. But if I say ...
1
vote
2answers
446 views

Can “sufficient” be used in a negative sense?

Can the word "sufficient" be used in a negative sense, i.e. relating to something that has a negative effect when augmented? Example: These problems influence the results for sufficiently high ...
3
votes
4answers
428 views

“Pomp” without “circumstance”

Is the word pomp ever used without being followed by circumstance? It seems as though the word is only ever used to denote pomp and circumstance. Are there other uses?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Use of “relax” as noun [closed]

I looked up relax in various English dictionaries and it is always listed as a verb only, the noun being relaxation. However in my mother tongue (Italian) relax is normally used as a noun. Is this ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

“Wallpaper” vs “background”

In terms of electronic screens (computers, cell phones, PDAs, tablets) what would be more accurate to say: wallpaper or background?
3
votes
3answers
540 views

Is “prepper” a word that an average English speaking person understands?

Is prepper a word that an average English speaking person understands (and also uses)?
4
votes
3answers
571 views

Can “status quo” be used in regards to micro topics?

I was having a discussion with my fiancee about whether or not she was going to take my name when we get married. As of right now, the plan is that she will keep her current last name. When asked if ...
1
vote
3answers
278 views

Usage of “Do you know x?”

I'd like to say something like "You do know grappa, don't you?", intending to mean "You have indeed heard something about (or tasted) grappa (an alcoholic beverage), haven't you?" Does this (the first ...
4
votes
3answers
410 views

Does the word “catching” apply to people?

If we can say "I am running to catch the train", is it also appropriate to say that "I am going to the office early to catch the boss"?
1
vote
1answer
221 views

Is “do(es)” used to mean either single or plural subject? [closed]

I wonder if the following usage of "do(es)" properly or commonly used: If money doesn't concern you, what else do(es)?
3
votes
2answers
457 views

Can the word “luxury” be used as a concrete noun?

I was wondering if we can use the word "luxury" to refer to a "luxurious item", For example, are the sentences below considered grammatical? : I have a luxury. I have one luxury. I have three ...
4
votes
4answers
830 views

Definite article before scientific terms

I'm writing up my dissertation and I'm really confused where to use "the". Examples: In this experiment, (the?) heat transfer coefficient was calculated, allowing to estimate (the?)frost ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Is “Give (get) space” a common usage for “give (get) flexibility / freedom”?

NSNBC (March 26) reported that President Obama was overheard telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to “give him space" until after November during his meetings in South Korea on missile defense, ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “quite unique” correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are the rules regarding absolute modifiers too absolute? Reading the sentence below, written on The Telegraph, it can notice the phrase quite unique. I never ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Use of “discriminate” as verb

Is the following sentence correct? They are discriminated because of their skin colour. My gut feeling tells me discriminate (in this sense) has to be followed by against. Dictionary examples ...
2
votes
3answers
339 views

Using “to” before the second item in a list

Which one is correct? The test is established in order to promote the development of Business English major and to strengthen the competitiveness of Business English graduates in the job market. The ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

It's ideal for “you” or “yourselves” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it correct to use “yourself” and “myself” (versus “you” and “me”)? Are both It's ideal for you and It's ideal for ...
3
votes
2answers
536 views

Use of “groin” as a verb [closed]

I came across this line when reading Owen's Strange Meeting: It seemed that out of the battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through granites which Titanic ...
16
votes
3answers
100k views

“Consist in” vs. “consist of”

I would like to have this clear once and for all: What is the correct use of consist in / consist of? "Meditation consists in/of attentive watchfulness." "The body consists in/of cells." ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“England-born” or “English-born”

Which of the two statements is correct? He was an English-born businessman. He was an England-born businessman. The same confusion arises in India-born and Indian-born as well. Moreover, ...
6
votes
5answers
9k views

On the use of “it is shown”

I am refereeing an academic paper where the authors constantly use the construct "it is shown that (blah)" immediately followed by a demonstration of (blah). I don't recall seeing this construct used ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Words with multiple uses

I was posed a question the other day: "Can you think of a word that can be used as a Noun, Verb or an Adjective?" One such word would be "light". Is there a rule for identifying such words? (See ...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Are “nil” and “null” interchangeable?

Are nil and null interchangeable? For example, My bank a/c has a nil balance. My bank a/c has a null balance.
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to call a hot dog a sausage?

This sounds like a silly question, but I've heard some very strong opinions about this, so I find this intriguing. A hot dog is a type of sausage (at least according to Merriam-Webster, Wikipedia, ...