This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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33
votes
3answers
30k views

Why use the word “copy” in “do you copy that”?

I notice "do you copy that?" is used in movies to ask for confirmation in telephone/interphone conversation. I only know copy means make things duplicated, so why use it in "do you copy that"? Is ...
9
votes
7answers
14k views

What's an easy way to remember when to use “affect” or “effect”?

Is there an easy way to remember when to use the word affect or effect in a sentence? It is very confusing, and I still get them mixed up.
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Can sound be “blurry?”

Can sound be considered "blurry?" I have heard of visual things being "blurry." Examples of this include blurry photographs or blurred vision. Is the word "blurry" restricted only to vision? I ...
4
votes
2answers
706 views

What is the difference between Philanthropy and Philanthropism?

In a the context of a paper, there's a paragraph-title: "Philanthropism in American culture", I'm in general only familiar with the word philanthropy, hence I'm not sure what an appropriate title ...
1
vote
3answers
12k views

Difference in meaning between create/make/have impact

Came across "create a great impact" today, and I have never seen "impact" used with "create" (as far as I can remember). Is there a difference in meaning and usage between: create an impact have ...
10
votes
5answers
8k views

What preposition should one use with “redundant”?

I realize it's usually better to just say "A and B are redundant". But, I've also seen A is redundant with B ... to B ... of B all with basically the same intended meaning. Are any of these more ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I acronymize “Health, Safety, and Environment” as “HSE” or “SHE”?

Which abbreviation is most used for "Health, Safety and Environment"? I keep seeing different abbreviations, and a quick search on Google shows that they are all used widely. But does anyone actually ...
4
votes
2answers
456 views

Am I using “namesake” correctly?

I am writing an essay about (among other things) Gutenberg's printing press and Project Gutenberg. I want to say something along the lines of "Gutenberg's press was so popular that current things are ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Difference between “inflammable” and “flammable” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are not infamous and inflammable the opposite of famous and flammable like incomplete, inactivity, inappropriate and so on? I'm very confused by the existence of ...
3
votes
3answers
732 views

Thieves' words for their victims

What words might a thief (of any variety) use to describe the victims of his theft? Con artists in film often use "mark", for example. Is there other jargon specific to the con branch* of crime? How ...
9
votes
2answers
16k views

What's the difference between “apparel” and “clothing”?

Those two words seems referring to one thing.
8
votes
2answers
858 views

Obama's use of “bemused”

I generally see the definition of "bemused" to be synonymous with "confused" or "puzzled", and that it is wrong to use it as a synonym of "amused". However I tend to see it used — as Obama did ...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

Can 'egalitarian' be used for gender bias also?

Egalitarian is typically used when discussing equality in political, social, economic and civil issues. Can it also be used to portray equality in gender issues? E.g. an egalitarian does not ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

The usage of “a little bit”

I was wondering how this phrase sounds in English: She is a little bit shy. In my country the people say "a little bit" a lot, and sometimes they use it wrong. I have the impression that in US ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it correct to use the word “birthday” for the deceased, or is there a better alternative?

How does one refer to the birthdate of someone who is no more, we usually say Today is my uncle's 80th birth anniversary (Common in Indian English, not sure if it's correct) or Today would have ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage and example of the word “litotes”

I've come across the word litotes, which means a rhetorical understatement. However, I’m having trouble understanding how to use it in colloquial English. Could someone please give an example?
14
votes
3answers
4k views

What is a “Hobbesian trap”?

A recent Economist article (see The drug war hits Central America) uses something called a Hobbesian trap like this: Central America has fallen into a Hobbesian trap: the better-off make ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

What does it mean to call something Leviathan in comparison to others?

Wordweb describes Leviathan as: The largest or most massive thing of its kind Monstrous sea creature symbolizing evil in the Old Testament A recent Economist article (see The drug war ...
3
votes
2answers
303 views

“Dabble” in a positive sense

Can the word "dabble" be used in a positive sense? As in, A true "master of all trades", he has dabbled in several fields & contributed to numerous scientific advances.
17
votes
4answers
26k views

Using “seldomly”

I'm not a native English speaker. If at all possible I try to use spell checkers while writing anything on the web hence using one in Firefox as well. Whenever I try to write "seldomly" it highlights ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it incorrect to use “hard” when I mean “difficult”?

My late grandfather had several word-choice peeves for which he would gently interrupt a speaker, especially a grandchild, in order to correct. The one I remember most was his dislike for the use of ...
5
votes
5answers
16k views

Usage of 'much more'

Is saying much more grammatically correct? For instance, some purists argue that this is wrong: I'm much more comfortable with A than B and that it should be: I'm more comfortable with A ...
5
votes
4answers
544 views

Proper use of “replete”

Is replete used appropriately in the following sentence? His office was like a Hollywood museum, replete with an autographed photo of Marilyn Monroe. Or should replete only be used with ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

How long does it take to mull something over?

I used the phrase "we'll mull it over" in an e-mail. My intent was to let the readers know that we (the team) needed to give it due consideration and come up with a considered response to their ...
12
votes
1answer
862 views

Whose usage determines correctness?

I will illustrate this question with an example, since I think it's much easier to see what I'm asking there, rather than from an abstract question. I am a native English speaker. I was, for a while, ...
84
votes
7answers
9k views

Can “doubt” sometimes mean “question”?

I often see questions on Stack Exchange sites which I presume are written by non-native English speakers who use the word "doubt" in place of the word "question". Is this a case of misunderstanding ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

In which context does “anticipated” mean “came or took place before”?

In the New Oxford American Dictionary I read that one of the meaning of anticipate is come or take place before (an event or process expected or scheduled for a later). In which context is anticipate ...
11
votes
3answers
6k views

“Before” vs. “in front of”

Especially in speeches I often hear a sentence like I stand here before you... However during my English classes in school (I'm German) we were told that before should only be used if you're ...