This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
1answer
637 views

Usage of 'represent' to mean 'present again'

Can the word 'represent' be used to mean 'present again'? Is the usage in the following sentence correct? "You cannot represent a bounced cheque.'
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Cherry picking” - What is the correct usage?

Cherry picking A quick Google search yields the following definitions: Definition One Cherry picking is the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular ...
-2
votes
2answers
174 views

Can I say “the table was covered by a scatter”? [closed]

Can I say "the table was covered by a scatter"? Is it correct?
5
votes
2answers
5k views

“These sort of things”: is it grammatical? (2,670,000 hits on Google) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What sort of thing? I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in an article titled “Colorless, Tasteless but Not Dangerous" by Dwight Garner in The New ...
3
votes
4answers
10k views

“I am back to city” vs. “I am back in city”

Which is the correct usage when I tell someone that I am back? I am back to [some city] Or I am back in [some city]
4
votes
2answers
40k views

Is “received with thanks” stilted English?

I just got a receipt which said "Received with thanks the sum of ..." Thanks stands for gratitude, so this looks fine to me as far as grammar is concerned. But is this old-fashioned and/or stilted? ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Use of “whatever” vs “whatsoever”

The city posts signs near my house that read: Dump no waste whatever The meaning is clear in context: don't dump any waste here. But the sign sounds incorrect. To me, it seems "whatever" ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Usage of the word “nemesis”

I came across the following GRE question: The adjective "Faustian", derived from the German legend of Faust, the protagonist whose pride and vanity lead to his doom, has come to denote acts ...
3
votes
2answers
327 views

Is “starboard” used for land vehicles?

Is it correct to use "starboard side" to refer to the "right-side" of a land vehicle (e.g. cars / trucks / lorries / motorcycles) ? Wiktionary seems to accept specifically ships, boats, and ...
1
vote
3answers
362 views

Usage of “which”

Is the following sentence correct: "They have the Supreme Court on their side which ruled in their favor." What I want to say is that they (some group of people) have the Supreme Court on their side ...
10
votes
4answers
33k views

Is 'useable' preferred in certain regions, or just an alternate spelling of 'usable'?

I rarely use spell checkers, but today when I did use one, it suggested changing the word 'useable' to 'usable' (i.e. to drop the first 'e'). This seemed immediately intuitive and I thought I'd just ...
7
votes
2answers
16k views

Which is correct: “anytime” or “any time”?

Is it "any time" or "anytime" or are those two things different?
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Difference between “kindness” and “generosity” [closed]

Is there a difference between kindness and generosity? For example, I have benefited a lot from your kindness and generosity. The difference in my mind is subtle but I think it is a significant ...
4
votes
4answers
240 views

Prepositions used with “renovation”

I've been asked to approve a bronze plaque reading "Capital improvements and renovation to this organ were made possible by...." The organ builders objected that "renovation to" is a barbarism. It ...
2
votes
1answer
232 views

What are single views of an online banner ad called?

I am developing a web application for managing banners, advertisements, etc. I am not sure what the correct name for one 'view' of a banner is. I need to name it somehow to be able to report ...
3
votes
10answers
2k views

Better word for blackmail or extortion

A while ago I used the word blackmail in a situation, just to learn that the word didn't fit. I am left wondering whether there is a better choice. I probably have to explain the situation (I'll try ...
3
votes
2answers
925 views

'pick' as an alternative for 'pick up' (transport)

A lady (of West Indian ancestry) said at a Church meeting this weekend: "He picked me at the station." Obviously, she meant what I would mean by saying: "He picked me up at the station," which would ...
2
votes
2answers
860 views

Usage of noxious, nocuous and their opposites

I came across the word nocuous. It seems that this word is rarely used (and even the spell-checking of my browser does mark it as a mistake). Noxious, in comparison, is used way more often. ...
7
votes
4answers
24k views

Duplicate vs. replicate vs. reduplicate

What is the difference in usage between these three apparently-synonymous words: duplicate, replicate, and reduplicate. (Definitions from ODO) duplicate: make or be an exact copy of replicate: ...
1
vote
1answer
507 views

Why do websites have Caucasian as a race? [closed]

It is an archaic, racist in (in the derogatory sense towards non-caucasians) and technically incorrect if sub-sets of "Caucasian" - such as Middle Eastern - exist in the same list. Moreover what is ...
23
votes
4answers
89k views

Why does “puce” mean two different colors depending on where you live?

I always thought puce was green, then saw on Wikipedia that it is purplish-brown. Further research tells me that it's generally regarded as purplish-brown in the United States, whereas Europeans think ...
3
votes
0answers
658 views

English words mockingly derived from French? [closed]

According to Wikipedia, up to 30% of English words come from French, and I'm interested in a special subset of them. Not "loan words", but words that seem potentially derived in jest. For example, ...
1
vote
2answers
161 views

Can a non-human “reason” in the sense of inferring

I have again a word usage problem. I wonder if a non-living sentence subject can reason. According to Wikipedia: Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of ...
1
vote
4answers
203 views

Can a person be described as fugue?

Can a person be described as "fugue" or is it reserved only for a state? Can the word be used as a modifier for something other than a living thing's state? Fugue: (from merriam-webster.com) a ...
3
votes
2answers
320 views

Do qualities or traits “recommend” people?

I searched the stack for similar questions but was unable to find any that addressed this particular usage. We use the word recommend in the sense of advise, in which case the verb may take a direct ...
2
votes
1answer
195 views

Property of “doesn't-pass-the-laugh-test”

What kind of property does doesn’t-pass-the-laugh-test have in the expression which escalates unreliability to the doesn’t-pass-the-laugh-test level taken from this article? Is it an adjective ...
2
votes
2answers
292 views

Usage of “self” as a pronoun

I knew that "self" could be used as a noun (e.g. "she knows his true self"), but I had never heard of its usage as a pronoun. Here's the sentence, taken from a Garfield's comic strip: What a ...
4
votes
2answers
28k views

“as follows” vs “as the following”

As follows sounds more correct to me, as the following sounds super wrong to me,but just wanted to hear your opinion as well on this one, is "as the following" a legit phrase when listing things that ...
1
vote
4answers
18k views

“stress” vs. “distress”

From Cambridge dictionary, stress - great worry caused by a difficult situation. distress - extreme worry, sadness, pain. I'm not sure if the words 'distress' and 'stress' have the same ...
3
votes
1answer
270 views

Is cheque and check interchangeable when referencing a checking account? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Checking” vs. “chequing” vs. “chequeing” with regards to types of bank accounts Do we ask for check or cheque in restaurants? I ...
6
votes
5answers
52k views

Correct use of will & would?

What would be the correct use of will & would in these sentences? 1) What will happen if I say to my boss that I will not come tomorrow? 2) What will happen if I would say to my boss that I will ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How to use “what kind of”

If I look at a book about vehicles, can I say “What kind of vehicle is it?" to get the answer “It’s a bike." (or a truck, a car, a motorcycle, etc)? Is that question correct or not? How should I ask?
3
votes
3answers
311 views

Is introvert a derogatory term, or just neutral?

Is introvert a derogatory term? Does it have the potential to offend someone, or is it okay to call someone who enjoys solitude an introvert?
-2
votes
1answer
206 views

meaning and correct use of “Beholden”? [closed]

What is the meaning of the word beholden,and where can I use it?
0
votes
3answers
628 views

meaning of the word “Reel”? [closed]

I searched the meaning of reel in a couple of dictionaries and got the meaning as to walk, moving from side to side, looking like one is going to fall. but still I am not able to understand ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

The meaning of: “Why don't you just beat it?”

I would like to know what does this phrase means: "Why don't you just beat it?" My dictionary says only that: beat it: get lost Can you beat it? : Do you get it?
7
votes
5answers
9k views

Is it “damping” or “dampening” when referring to sound?

When one refers to the act of modifying a physical object so as to make it better at absorbing sound vibrations, is that "damping" or "dampening" the object? I've seen both, and looking them up in the ...
6
votes
6answers
11k views

Should “glamourous” be considered incorrect?

The Wiktionary entry for glamourous, for what it's worth, claims that it is "a common British spelling", but many native English speakers dismiss it as incorrect. Some, though, draw a distinction ...
10
votes
4answers
986 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
926 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
10k 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
2answers
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
358 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
642 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
543 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
144 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
5k 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?