This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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0
votes
2answers
909 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
934 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
51k 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
457 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
434 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
543 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
574 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
283 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
414 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
223 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
462 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
838 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
551 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
104k 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 ...
14
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, ...
0
votes
3answers
4k views

How to use “offset” when talking to a vendor?

I am having a problem with the word offset. This is what I'm going to type to my vendor: If we do not receive your Statement of Account by 30 Mar '12, all payments will be "offsetted". Is it ...
7
votes
9answers
5k views

“Problematic” versus “problem”

A reviewer of my thesis told me that I am wrongly using the word problematic. He suggested that I use problem instead. I have since read the definition of both words and neither correspond to the ...
7
votes
1answer
12k views

What's the difference between 'fowl' and 'poultry'?

As the title says, I'm interested in the semantic difference between these two words. OALD gives the definition of fowl as "a bird that is kept for its meat and eggs, for example a chicken." Poultry ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Use of “suspicion” as verb [closed]

My coworker says things like I suspicion that it happened the other day when nobody was here. I would say I suspect it happened or I have a suspicion that it happened. What my ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Dropping L in compound adjectives. Is it “skillful” or “skilful”?

We have been taught at school that when a word ending in "LL" helps form a compound word, "LL" becomes "L" (e.g. skill -> skilful). I have also come across the usage of this adjective as skillful ...
5
votes
2answers
16k views

“Popular with” vs “Popular among”

Prof. Sat is not popular with/among his students. Which usage is correct here and why?
1
vote
1answer
7k views

Use of the singular or plural “is” or “are” in ambiguous situations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: [Singular] Is/Are [Plural]? In this sentence: The only exception are questions that are narrow enough that they can be reasonably answered definitively with one or ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Nonplussed defines its own antonym?

I recently encountered this word while reading an article and found that its two basic definitions are "Bewildered" and "Unfazed." How can the word mean both these things as they seem to be direct ...
2
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it correct to say “I'm not urgent to do something”?

I know it is correct to say "Something is not urgent for me". But it is correct to say I'm not urgent to do something. If not, how do I state that I really want some problem to be resolved – ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What do you call the thing you get at the hospital when you break your leg, etc.?

When you break your leg or any of your appendages you get a binding, you know, the white thing to fix your arm or leg. What is that called? I find the words gypsum, cast and plastery in the ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

“knowing you as well as I do”

The situation is that one of my friend's roommates took part in a test of narcissism and got a score of 14. My friend wanted to get in a dig at that guy, so he said"Well, knowing you as well as I do, ...
7
votes
7answers
83k views

What is the proper usage of the phrase “due diligence”?

I have encountered the phrase "due diligence" in the business world. The usage examples I have seen (mostly emails) cannot exactly be considered grammatical canon. An internet search produces ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

“Offer an opinion” or “give an opinion”

Our company is about to relocate. Employees have been asked for input on the new campus. My thought was to preface my email with I would like to offer my opinion ... but should it be I ...
3
votes
2answers
697 views

Is “learning yourself” the same as “learning by yourself”?

(Other than the first also meaning to learn about oneself...) Is learning yourself the same as learning by yourself? How much do these two phrases differ? In India's spoken English, the former is ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

What is correct: “bind to” or “bind with”?

What is a correct phrase: “bind to” or “bind with”? If both are correct, when should I use the first form, and when the second?
3
votes
3answers
377 views

Can an object be clumsy? [closed]

I was writing something in English when the word clumsy came to my mind to describe a French concept "inélégant". However, I use clumsy to describe an object and I am not sure it is appropriate. Here ...
2
votes
1answer
750 views

Using “on” vs. “in”? [closed]

Consider the following sentence: I am developing an application to be installed on Android. And this: This has been a major flaw in Android... To be clear I am unsure of the usage of "in" ...
5
votes
1answer
945 views

Where does the phrase “It's a good job that …” come from?

In a recent link the phrase "It's a good job that..." is used. I take it to mean the same as It's a good thing that ... but I've never in my almost 50 years of English heard job used like that ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Is this a correct use of 'whom'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What's the rule for using “who” or “whom”? "The negative may be insecurity, in lieu of an absolute authority whom can to confirm your ...
2
votes
3answers
113 views

Something similar to “plepentry envoy”

Long time ago I heard a word that to the best of my recollection is "plepentry envoy" I have googled a few variants, but "pleopentry envoy", "pelepentry envoy" etc. but nothing similar is coming up. ...