This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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0
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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
10answers
6k 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
14k 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
2k 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
6k 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
18k 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
8k 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 ...
6
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 ...
3
votes
7answers
4k 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
4k 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, ...
8
votes
7answers
98k 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
855 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
7k 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
394 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
813 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
1k 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
156 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
114 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
14k views

Difference between “no” and “nope” [closed]

When is it correct to use no and nope? Is there any difference between them?
8
votes
5answers
56k views

“In recent years” vs “in the recent years”

Do we write in the recent years or in recent years? For example, In the recent years, the influence of blablabla on blablabla has grown rapidly. In recent years, the influence of blablabla ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

What do you call someone who is asking for information? [closed]

A petitioner? I'm not sure... Any suggestions?
0
votes
3answers
946 views

Is this slogan proper English? [closed]

We are a group of web developers, creating our online presence ... We chose this slogan, "Web passionate young powers at your service" Is this proper English? Does this hold any "contempt" ...
9
votes
2answers
492 views

Usage of “cancel” and “cancel out”

It seems that cancel and cancel out can be used in the same way. For example, A cancels B or A cancels out B. In which context is one preferred over the other?
0
votes
0answers
56 views

Do you make a difference between “anybody” and “anyone” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a subtle difference between “somebody” and “someone”, “anybody” and “anyone”? Not being an English native, I’m ...
1
vote
3answers
563 views

Is it correct to say 'two/three parter movie'?

I have been wondering about this for sometime now. I often hear people say two-parter. Is it correct/formal? I want to describe a documentary movies consisting of three parts. Three-parter movie? ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do we “scotch” a rumour?

The etymology of the verb to scotch is unclear. Here is the origin note from Oxford Dictionaries: early 17th century (as a noun): of unknown origin; perhaps related to skate1. The sense 'render ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

What's the linguistics term for “Schubertiaden” and similar words? [closed]

What's the linguistics term for "Schubertiaden" and similar words (that refers to a group of people based on a person's name)?  "Schubertiaden" refers to the group of people of similar interest and ...
8
votes
1answer
34k views

What is the proper plural of “a series”? [closed]

In math, we use the term series a lot, and there are many types of series. How should I craft my sentence when I have three different ones in mind to talk about? Should I settle down for a less ...
7
votes
7answers
10k views

Is there a word for the extreme opposite of “irony”

My understanding of irony comes from the movie "Reality Bites": It's when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning Frequently people use the term incorrectly, ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is Ukraine often called “the Ukraine”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using the definite article before a country/state name Hearing the Ukraine used to make me unsure whether Ukraine was really a country. Now though I have realized ...
0
votes
1answer
18k views

Usage of 'if' and 'if not' to mean 'and perhaps even/also'

Consider the sentence: While this assumption, on its own, is relatively innocuous, if implausible, in practice, it is supplemented by assumptions... The 'if' here really means something more ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

'To present' or 'to present with'?

I have a question on the usage of present as a verb. Should it be always be followed by a with? Which of the following usage is legal/sounding good? I presented my mother diamonds. I presented my ...
4
votes
4answers
31k views

“Naïve” vs “Ignorant”

What is the difference between naïve and ignorant? I want to make sure I understand the proper meaning and connotation of each word. For example, how would you describe a person who makes ...
1
vote
2answers
802 views

Usage of the phrase “in the colloquial”

When asked about the usage of a particularly obscure or academic word, one can respond with a definition, but then state an alternative, more commonly used word. One phrase I've heard used in this ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Usage of the word “natural” as a noun [closed]

In a certain context, I wanted to say that good designs make us feel like born with the abilities to interact with a software. So the idea is the user feels like a talent while using the software. I ...
0
votes
3answers
320 views

“Enervate” and “intimidate” [closed]

What is the difference between the words enervate and intimidate? Both mean to weaken or to make timid.
6
votes
8answers
15k views

Is it proper to use the word “bandwidth” as it relates to time allotment?

I'm a web developer and I've often heard other technical and developer types say: Sorry, I don't have the bandwidth to take on your project at this time. I started using the term myself and ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the origin and earliest recorded usage of 'cock-up'

In informal British English, the expression 'cock-up' (c.f. the US English 'fuck-up') is used to indicate an error or problem in a situation. What is the origin of this expression and its etymology? ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “real-time” a term known to every English speaker?

Real-time is a common term in engineering texts. It means a system that produces output within a very tight deadline. I am writing a proposal to be read by non-engineers. I just wonder if it is clear ...
7
votes
6answers
711 views

Why was “how much” used in the following context instead of “how many”?

Elasticity is a measure of how much buyers and sellers respond to changes in market conditions. The sentence above is from page 95, Principles of Microeconomics Fifth Canadian Edition.
-4
votes
2answers
667 views

Meaning of “Chase a Crooked Shadow”?

What is the meaning of chasing a crooked shadow? I read Chase a crooked shadow in the Times of India newspaper, 10 Feb 2012, but could not understand the meaning of that title. Some context from ...
6
votes
3answers
596 views

Why does “-Cy” become “-Sy”?

What rule of grammar, or etymological history, makes "prophe-cy" (noun) become "prophe-sy" (verb)? What causes the C to become an S when the word usage changes?
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there a verb “refactor” meaning “doing refactoring” in English?

Code refactoring consists of changing the structure of the code without changing its functionality. The term refactoring is currently used by software development industry to refer to this process. ...
5
votes
7answers
626 views

Can we say “on the brink of off-topic”?

I recently learned on the brink in context of to teeter on the brink of disaster. Now, when I want to mention that something is marginal or borderline I remember on the brink. This question is ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

Can you overuse the word “that”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there rules about using “that” to join two clauses? If a sentence makes sense to me without the word "that", I tend not to use it. However, I have ...
2
votes
2answers
417 views

Is “bettern't” an OK word to use?

In the spirit of: You can swim, can't you? You should tell the truth, shouldn't you? You'd be crazy to miss out, wouldn't you? Can I say: You better study, bettern't you? It's listed ...
0
votes
4answers
8k views

Do we ask for check or cheque in restaurants?

I know there is a related question asked here. But its slightly different than it and seeking more information. I live in India, I have been to America couple of times. In my first trip it was ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the word 'confrère' in English also apply to women sharing the same profession?

The word confrère(s) in French is used to refer to males sharing the same profession; the word for females is consoeur(s). How about English? Is this term used for both genders?