This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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1
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2answers
260 views

Something about the name of “Designer Baby” not quite right to me

I don't know about you, but to me, the term "Designer Baby" sounds wrong. Designer Babies are: The colloquial term "designer baby" refers to a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially ...
11
votes
3answers
23k views

Difference between “in progress” and “in process”

When reporting on a project that is still being worked on, do you call it in progress or do you call it in process? I have heard both, and both make sense in their own way. I want to know what both ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

'Have both' -not sure I'm using this correctly

Is this correct? Have both of today’s meetings been cancelled?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to express that you can understand the English that someone spoke?

"I can read English", "I can speak English", or "I can write English" are all correct uses of the word "English". But is "I can listen to English" correct English? Or should I say "I can hear ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “very approximate” mean?

An approximate answer is one which is close to the correct answer. Likewise, we can talk of an approximate model, or approximate methods in mathematics. The etymology is from the Latin ad, "to" and ...
6
votes
4answers
636 views

In a software meant to be used internationally, should I use “post code”, “postal code” or “zip code”?

In a software meant to be used internationally, should I use "post code", "postal code" or "zip code"? As most of countries have some sort of implementation of this code, I'm after the term that ...
5
votes
5answers
11k views

Difference between “to fear” and “to be afraid of”

I fear/am afraid I changed my gender. The very thing I fear/am afraid of is the thing that I can't realize that I actually changed not the thing that I consciously know that I changed. That ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

What does “This being…” mean here?

This being Silverlight, you’d expect there to be some way to get the XAML representation of the selected text—and you’d be right. What does the clause 'This being Silverlight', and especially ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “upon” here?

In the New York Times: "And it worked — boy, did it work. Visitors flooded Hulu upon its public opening in March 2008." Dictionary.com: 4. immediately or very soon after 5. on the ...
0
votes
1answer
354 views

Is the word “Einstein” a verb? [closed]

I know that a lot of people use the word "Einstein" to convey someone as a genius, but I was wondering if Einstein, as a verb, is an official term.
5
votes
3answers
448 views

What might “three several” mean?

The context is from a story I read recently in an omnibus (I found that link on the spur of the moment): ...were afterwards burnt to death in three several fires. I suppose three was meant, but ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Etymology of seemingly weird collective nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Terms for collections of animals In the collective names unkindness of ravens, shrewdness of apes, murder of crows, I cannot find any remote relation to a group. What is ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Voice mail text: “Please leave a message after the…”

I am wondering: Is "Please leave a message after the signal" American English? You will most often hear "...after the tone" in the UK, I guess.
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do some people say “the reason is is that,” with “is” twice in a row?

Does anybody have any conjectures as to why this quirk is so common? For an example, see this TED talk by Kevin Slavin.
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do “catsup” and “ketchup” coexist?

I do not often come across the word catsup, but I do see it every once in a while, and I know it means ketchup. What I don't know is why they both came to be words for the same thing (though ketchup ...
2
votes
3answers
17k views

“At this time” vs “At that time”

Is it acceptable to use "at this time" when referring to a specific point in time in the past? While in the process of telling a story, for example, that happens completely in the past? To me it just ...
15
votes
4answers
14k views

Is “how come” slang?

Sample Conversation: A: How are you? B: I am mad. A: How come? I thought that how come was a logical word choice but upon speaking with somebody for whom English is a second language, ...
3
votes
3answers
12k views

“I'm starving” vs. “I'm starved”

I've heard on some American TV shows "I'm starving" instead of "I'm starved". What is the correct usage of both sentences?.
3
votes
3answers
440 views

Is “senility” pejorative?

Could you please give your opinion on whether or not "senility" is a pejorative term? My sentence is: Although there wasn't any real upper age limit, elders who seemed to be affected by senility ...
3
votes
5answers
4k views

Word for breaking the fast on Ramadan days

What is the English word used for describing the 'breaking the fast' in the month of Ramadan ?
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “I think”

What is the usage and meaning of 'I think' in colloquial language? Does it mean 'suppose' or 'cogitate'? For example, 'He is a nice guy, I think.' My opinion is that, in the above sentence 'I think' ...
0
votes
1answer
515 views

Using “you know” when the listener can't be expected to know. [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Garbage/stuff words Can you end a sentence with "you know," when telling the listener some new information that they couldn't possibly be expected to know? For example, ...
1
vote
1answer
513 views

Is ‘eclectic bunch’ trendy instead of simply saying ‘a group of different types of constituents'?

I found the words ‘eclectic bunch’ in the following sentence of a New York Times (July 29, 2011) article reporting increase in foraging in city parks, which is titled ‘Enjoy Park Greenery, City Says, ...
3
votes
1answer
740 views

Good example of “hubris”

If a person needs help but will not ask for it because they don't want to need to depend on other people (based on their pride), is the word hubris fitting to describe this? How would you use it in ...
3
votes
4answers
838 views

Is it normal in English to talk about oneself in the third person in these cases?

A Japanese person said that it is often normal to talk about oneself in the third person in English. This is what he wrote: For example, when you write a CV or an introduction of yourself, the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Use of the term Hans in an American name in the 1700's

I'm doing some research on family history. I am trying to track some people that came to the U.S from Germany in 1737 on the ship "Charming Nancy". Here's the link: ...
3
votes
3answers
618 views

Is this correct usage of the word “spoil”?

Is the following statement appropriate? A concerned expression starts to slowly spoil his looks. I am trying to say that a person's expression saddens within a minute or two while pondering over ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Encompass a wrist or is there an alternative?

Can encompass be used to describe someone "holding" someone's wrist gently, and not actually putting any force/ pressure but just holding or gripping it in a very gentle way?
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What is “generation X” and “generation Y”?

Why are we called Generation Y? What's Generation X anyway? What about Baby Boomers?
0
votes
1answer
215 views

Is this proper English? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When are “if” and “whether” equivalent? As a non-native English speaker, I would use the following sentence: I am wondering if you have seen ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Can the word “special” have a negative connotation?

I am involved with a group that works with children aged about 7, who've been through some difficult things. One of the sessions focuses on how "every one of you is special". Recently, somebody's ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Is 'verbiage' still considered to be insulting?

All the references I'm finding says that 'verbiage' is used when trying to insult a work or person for being too wordy. My experience with the word (by my own usage and the usage of others around me) ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What is the connotation of the word 'O'? [closed]

What is the author trying to convey with the word 'O' in the following: He has told you, O man, what is good;
1
vote
1answer
271 views

“Illiberal” is not “not liberal”

In a text I was reading about philosophy, there was the word illiberal. I guessed its meaning to be something like not liberal or against liberalism. But after checking the dictionary, I found out ...
6
votes
2answers
913 views

“Scampi” in American English?

Is scampi the common name used for the kind of shrimp in the picture in American English? Or is there an alternative common name for it? I ask because some Americans don't really know the word when I ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Why and when did “crack” come to mean “tell”?

Cracking jokes is to me the most familiar contextual usage of this term. Why would anyone say they were cracking jokes, not just telling jokes?
4
votes
3answers
866 views

Is 'set phrase' a set phrase?

Some words or phrases have 'special' meaning beyond the combination of constituent parts. For example: 'White House' is the white house where the US president lives. 'black board' is where you ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Badger someone” [closed]

I've heard the expression "to badger someone" in British English usage, and not being able to find out about its origins, I wonder if it is also commonly used elsewhere, for example, in American ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Use of “respectively”

He has two sisters who live in southern and northern California, respectively. I saw this on IMDB and I was wondering if the respectively was grammatically correct. Since nothing is being listed ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Can 'repeat' be an adjective?

I was sure the word 'repeat' could be an adjective; for example, the phrase "repeat performance" describes a performance that is repeated. To my surprise, however, the Random House dictionary and ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

“Styles” for Mr/Dr/Hon

Apparently the word "styles" can be used for the list of honors someone has during one's life. For example: Styles: Mr. John Smith (1950-1960) Dr. John Smith (1961-1970) Dr. John Smith MP ...
1
vote
1answer
442 views

Are the expressions “career day“ and ”career-high five runs" particular to sports?

I found the word ‘a career day’ and ‘a career-high five runs’ in the New York Times article (July 16) reporting Scott Hairston’s dramatic play against Philadelphia Phillies under the headline, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct use of “mooted”

Is the use of mooted correct here? I keep thinking the author wanted bruited. Yesterday I heard an economist in the UK use it in the same way. Coffee mooted as a breast cancer preventer.
2
votes
1answer
274 views

Usage of 'content'

Can I answer the question 'How are you?' with 'I am content and happy. Thanks'. What is the use of the word 'content'. On the book 'You Can Win', Shiv Khera tells a story about a person like "He was ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

Does the term “Asian” have different meanings among various English-speaking countries?

I have always had the view that the term "Asian", when pertaining to cultures, primarily refers to the cultures of the Far East. Recently I have been told that it also includes Indian and other ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

'Depend upon' or 'depend on' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which phrase is correct: “dependent on” or “dependent upon” Is there a difference between the usage of 'depend upon' and 'depend on' or is one ...
6
votes
3answers
865 views

Is “girls” a suitable complementary term to go along with “guys”?

Trying to keep the discussion about language and meaning, and hopefully not getting socio-political, is "girls" a valid counterpart for "guys", as in "guys and girls"? The intention is to describe a ...
3
votes
2answers
74 views

Expression “counterprogramming” also for social events?

Would it be adequate to use the term "counterprogramming" also for non-TV events like counterprogramming a party at the same time of another one? For example: I am sorry I didn't check the date ...
3
votes
5answers
424 views

What's the origin of the term “call” in card games?

What is the origin of the term "to call" in card games like poker? I can understand that one can "raise" the bet, but why does one want to say "call" to match a bet or match a raise? How would that ...
13
votes
4answers
9k views

What determines whether a sporting event is a game, match, contest, or something else?

There are many sports and other events that are contested, but why are some contests called matches, like tennis match, golf match, and soccer match, and some contests called a game, like baseball ...