This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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5
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1answer
1k views

How do words become derogatory or politically incorrect?

I know how words can become racist but I'm not sure how a word becomes derogatory or politically incorrect. If seems as though once one does, a new term is created to replace it that is not derogatory ...
0
votes
1answer
164 views

How one refers to a third person without specifying the sex or number? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Is there a generalized way to do this. Who is it used in modern media ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the origin and scope of usage of the phrase “So long…” used to bid goodbye? [closed]

We often colloquially use the phrase so long to say goodbye. For eg. So long, we'll see you next week or He said so long and left. What is the origin of this phase? Rather, how did it come into ...
-1
votes
2answers
261 views

Is it common to say “something was coming from front?” [closed]

I usually say it when I am supposed to describe something coming from front on roads. But somehow it does not feel natural even though it syntactically it is correct. so what is the natural expression ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Which meaning is more common for expressions like “over the bridge”? [closed]

While asking for the location of my airport’s window in the United States, I was told that it was over the bridge. My first impression was that it must be above the bridge, but since there was ...
7
votes
9answers
5k views

Is saying 'who cares' rude or maybe even disrespectful?

Two people are talking about what tasks should be finished on time, and what tasks should be put off until later. The conversation was like below: A: I don't think those tasks are important. We ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What are “up” and “down” in “up there” and “down there”?

"Up there" and "down there" are two of the most frequent expressions that I, myself, use often. I really don't know whether they are just expressions used to refer to a place to go ("I went down ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

What is it called when you “refill” a debit card?

How it is called (in the US) when you go to the bank or an ATM to add cash to your VISA/MasterCard debit card? That is, when you add cash to the bank account which is tied to that card. Is it ...
0
votes
0answers
64 views

What to say when someone says, “What's up?”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is an appropriate response to “what’s up” greeting? Response to “What's up?” in various conversations I recently came back from US, Over there I noticed people ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Is “my place” correct and common in British English?

I was recently told that "my place", such as in "let's go to my place" is not commonly used in British English? Is that the case and what would you say instead?
3
votes
4answers
4k views

“Planning for next year” vs. “planning for the next year”

I would like to start planning for next year. In the above sentence, there is no definite article before the words next year. Should it be present, as in the following sentence which sounds far ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

“Times of their choosing” or “times of their choice”

Should we use choosing or choice in the sentence below? You may find that engaging the required range of participants requires traveling to participants' home or workplace, at times of their ...
1
vote
2answers
209 views

What's the reason behind using “innings” more frequently than “inning”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where did the singular “innings” come from? Is there any difference between inning and innings? I think both can be used interchangeably. But I haven't seen inning ...
1
vote
4answers
8k views

Is it appropriate to use “sport”, “champ”, or “kiddo” to call a child (e.g. your son)?

I'm Spanish, just in case some of you think this question is kind of silly. I watch TV series in English very frequently to practise my listening skills. The words I've heard in relation to children ...
12
votes
5answers
527 views

The use of “real” in the following cases [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Real quick question If you listen real close... Can you swing by real quick... Sentences like the above two are what I often hear in daily life. If I didn't ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Can “zealot” have a positive connotation?

A zealot is a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals. I have never seen this word used with positive connotation, but could it (without ...
7
votes
4answers
9k views

Reason vs. purpose

Just now I wanted to explain why I was doing something, then I wrote "the purpose of doing something is blablabla". Immediately I wondered why I didn't write "the reason of doing something is ...
5
votes
1answer
666 views

How do I use the word “obtain” together with mathematical formulas?

Until now, I thought that one can use the word "obtain" together with "that", as in By ... we obtain that a²+b²=c². (Many mathematicians who like me are not native speakers are doing this!) Now ...
0
votes
1answer
211 views

the use of both to show emphasis and experimentalist and theoretician communities [closed]

In your opinion is both superfluous in the following sentence? Efforts from both experimentalist and theoretician communities, started to increase over the last decades in order to turn the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “sound approach” an accepted phrase?

English is not my first language, and in my language (Bosnian) we write just as we speak ; so from time to time, I encounter phrases which I know I have heard before, but am not sure if I am writing ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

What is a relish tray versus a veggie tray?

I have heard both of the terms "relish tray" and "veggie tray" used somewhat interchangeably. It seems as though there is some overlap between the two based on some simple Google Images searches ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

How does the parenthetical “that is” function?

It's the last sentence of an article in The Economist. Some of the powerful elders might have faded from the scene. Mr Xi and Li Keqiang might then have a freer hand to promote their own people, ...
6
votes
5answers
11k views

“Thus” vs. “Thusly”

I read an article that used "thusly" and was wondering if there is any grammatical credence to it. The quote: The issue started when Sokolowski quickly ran out of storage capacity in his 32GB ...
3
votes
3answers
591 views

Odd usage of “penchant”

Penchant is synonymous with words such as "inclination" and "leaning." Does the sentence below correctly use the word "penchant"? Joe has a penchant against the UCLA Bruins.
14
votes
2answers
642 views

How (and when) was it that the verb 'go' began to mean 'say' in common usage?

i.e. "So then she goes, 'Hey!' and I go, 'What?' because I was on my way out..." I was musing about this the other day, so I decided to try to find out. Unfortunately, my skills lie in different ...
6
votes
2answers
834 views

Are there “X -scolds” formula words that go current other than “deficit scolds”?

I was interested to find the word, “deficit scolds” in Paul Krugman’s article titled “Hawks and Hypocrites” in New York Times (November 11). It appears in the following sentence: Back in 2010, ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Is there any word for 'do not' or 'do not have'?

I was trying to test my algorithm to create sentences that express the lack of something. I found saying for instance: I lack 5 apples weird as compared to I do not have 5 apples While ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Can “You are an officer and a gentleman” be used to praise a good deed done by a person completely unrelated to armed forces?

Can "You are an officer and a gentleman" be used to praise a good deed done by a person completely unrelated to armed forces? I would like to praise a friend of mine for an act of kindness. Is it ...
2
votes
1answer
234 views

Is this usage of “luxury of knowing” correct?

I would like to use "luxury of knowing" phrase. I searched for its meaning in internet. It seems that it is used in a song Lori McKenna – The Luxury of Knowing and a movie A Few Good Men Lori McKenna ...
0
votes
3answers
18k views

“My hand is paining” or “my hand is hurting” [closed]

After a series of pull-ups, Mr P tells me my hands are paining my hands are hurting What is the rationale behind using paining and hurting? What is the difference? Is one of them more appropriate ...
1
vote
5answers
899 views

“Expect to” vs. “Expect will”

Which of the following is correct? How many sales do you expect to make more than $470? vs. How many sales do you expect will make more than $470? If both are correct, which is ...
1
vote
1answer
169 views

Can a gunfight happen when only one person has a gun?

Dictionaries (M-W) commonly define a gunfight as an exchange of gunfire. However, the OED defines a gunfight as "a shooting affray". {paywall link} Several stories & film describe or depict a ...
0
votes
3answers
428 views

What is an easier word than “serendipity” with the same connotations [closed]

A word that a majority of high schoolers would know. Unless, of course, there is significant evidence that most high-schoolers know the word “serendipity”. It shows up somewhere between 35,000 and ...
-1
votes
2answers
87 views

Correct? “We make no prescriptions …”

Can I use "We make no prescriptions about ..."? This dictionary doesn't give any definition of the word "prescription" apart from Medical or Legal jargon.
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Are legs a choice? [closed]

Legs are a choice in that we could choose not to have them by cutting them off. Is it correct here to use the word choice meaning "an option"? Is it correct to say that legs are a choice I could ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

'Sorry, have you got the time, please?'

In this programme from BBC sorry is used in addition to excuse me to get one's attention: Sorry, have you got the time (please)? So I am wondering: 1) Is sorry common for a native speaker to ...
1
vote
4answers
5k views

What is the difference between “stiff” and “rigid”?

Could an object be stiff but not rigid or vice versa? When is each one used? And what is the opposite of each of them?
2
votes
2answers
722 views

Plastic or rubber stretched too much is (hardly/strongly) stretched?

If you want to describe a stretched plastic cable, would you say that it was hardly stretched or strongly stretched?
4
votes
6answers
653 views

Honorary gifts?

Is it correct to use the phrase honorary gifts to describe gifts that are given to honor someone? The normal usage of honorary is “given as an honor without the normal duties” (as in an honorary ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Usage of begrudge

While looking up this word, I found a weird usage, for example: She begrudged Martin his affluence She begrudged her friend the award. Applying common sense, it's clear that she envied her ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the role of “virtually” in this sentence?

It is virtually impossible to escape this place! I don't really understand what is virtually doing there. First, I can hardly tell what it means to be virtual, and second, I still don't see any ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I use “US-American” to disambiguate “American”? If not, what can I use?

Based on this question, I wonder: as an alternative to USAian (which is very nonstandard) is it OK to use US-American to more clearly indicate "inhabitant of the USA"? According to Google Ngram, this ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Is this noun used as an adjective?

I read this recently in The Economist: At the end of the summit, the French and European officials had claimed a points victory over the Germans by getting them to agree more firmly to a ...
-2
votes
1answer
330 views

At what usage level does a grammatical error become acceptable? [closed]

Is there any rule for the usage level of a grammatical error above which it is no longer treated as an error?
4
votes
2answers
517 views

Can “installation” be used to mean software installed in a computer?

Can "installation" be used to mean software installed in a computer? (e.g. portable or stand-alone USB installation) Example sentence: This feature works in my standard installation of the software, ...
2
votes
4answers
11k views

“Parishioner” vs. “congregant”

I've always thought that the words parishioner and congregant meant the same thing and could be used interchangeably within the context of someone who attends a place of worship. Are there any ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between 'framework curriculum' and 'curricular framework'?

I know that curricular is an adjective and curriculum a noun, but are they both used in exactly the same meaning? Or are there some differences concerning what they imply or apply to? Being a ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

“Renewal meeting”?

What do you call a meeting which has the goal to renew the delegates/members of an association/organization/board? Renewal meeting/re-election meeting? Or is assembly the word I'm looking for? I just ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Exact definition of “vehemently” [closed]

My work mates and I are arguing about this term since none of us can comprehend its exact definition. Can I use the expression "I have been struggling vehemently to get this email sent since last ...
8
votes
2answers
52k views

“Fall”, “fell”, “felled”

How is the causative form of fall used in English? In the present tense, often enough, A tree falls in the woods, but a logger falls trees as well. but in the past tense, A tree fell in the ...