This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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6
votes
3answers
645 views

Should “round” only be used to describe 2-d objects?

My high school teacher used to say, "No, the world is not round it is globular". Strictly speaking, is round more appropriately used to describe 2-dimensional objects (circle, oval, tire, plate or ...
0
votes
2answers
260 views

Another “ would” usage to maintain the same tense in the sentence

Touché on modify the joke to serve your best interest, although it'd probably lose its luster as you'd be disregarding traditionally Jewish stereotypes. Is this sentence grammatically correct? ...
9
votes
2answers
29k views

Which phrase is correct: “dependent on” or “dependent upon”

Which sentence is correct?  my project is dependent upon your project completing my project is dependent on your project completing.
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it correct to say that something is “claustrophobic” if it makes someone feel claustrophobic?

For example, people often refer to an elevator as claustrophobic, but I'm curious whether it is more accurate to say that an elevator causes its occupants to feel claustrophobic.
6
votes
2answers
18k views

Which preposition should I use here: “thinking of” or “thinking about”?

Thinking of getting an external keyboard Thinking about getting an external keyboard Which one is grammatically correct and why?
10
votes
3answers
5k views

Usage of “many” vs “many a”?

Can someone please elucidate the difference between "many" and "many a"? In what context of usage should we add an extra "a" beside the word "many"? For example: Many times, I had seen ...
8
votes
3answers
983 views

How widely is “catch-22” used?

I have known for a long time that there is noun called “catch-22” in English. In some cases, I really would like to use it but I'm not sure if it is a well known term. AFAIK, it is used when you are ...
3
votes
2answers
499 views

Is the formation “[s]he” overly distracting?

Does the use of "[s]he" as a gender-neutral pronoun prompt eye-rolling in the reader or is it generally accepted? I know it cannot be pronounced, but it seems to me a helpful contraction in written ...
5
votes
3answers
21k views

What general rules govern the usage of “by” versus “through”?

What general rules govern the usage of by versus through? For example, which is correct in each of these cases: My house is heated by/through gas. I'll send it to you by/through mail. I'll ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Is “that of” used in an appropriate way?

Could you please tell me whether I use that of in an appropriate way or not? Here are the results of the calculations. That of calculation number four is pretty difficult to get.
12
votes
2answers
989 views

Guidelines for the use of the slang term “cise”

I heard an unfamiliar regional slang word used thusly: I'm gonna go cise (rhymes with ice) me a sandwich and then I'll be back. When I questioned the user, the speaker insisted it has been ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Why isn't the ball used in football called “a football ball”?

We know that you need a ball to play cricket, golf, or tennis, and we refer to the balls used in those sports as "cricket ball", "golf ball" and "tennis ball" respectively: you take the name of the ...
2
votes
3answers
278 views

Short name for rearranging verb and adjective places in a sentence

The usual "Working Hard?" greeting can be rearranged to "Hardly Working!" reply. Is there a name for this process? In the above statement instead of using "rearranging" can one use "permuting" ...
2
votes
2answers
358 views

“Passed” versus “past” instance in a published novel

A certain book by a famous author has been released in a new second edition. Unfortunately, it appears some changes have been made for the worse. For instance, in the first edition you read the ...
9
votes
1answer
27k views

Starting a sentence with “rather”

I've sometimes heard people use rather for connecting two sentences where the second one sets counterexample to something negated in the first. This is not a meaningful sentence. Rather, it's an ...
1
vote
1answer
146 views

“Loviest-doviest” or “lovey-doviest”?

I know that this term in its comparative form would 'lovier-dovier', but somehow I can't decide whether it is "loviest-doviest" or "lovey-doviest" Which is the correct form?
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Does using the word “crony” necessitate a negative connotation?

I have always heard the word "crony" in the context of acquaintanceships between people exploiting their closeness for less than noble means. Despite its definitions in the usual places as simply ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

Does using the word “prefer” contain an implication of “necessity”?

I would prefer you come in and not your friend to get the signature. Above is the sentence in the email I received from my supervisor. I was in another city so I had no choice but to ask my ...
4
votes
2answers
536 views

What is the relationship between fame and infamy?

In layman's terms, what is the relationship between fame and infamy? Is fame required to be infamous? Are they (definitively) mutual exclusive?
19
votes
10answers
9k views

How should “deceptively” actually be used?

I'm not sure if this is a duplicate question, but I couldn't find anything on here on the topic. I can't seem to figure out what is actually meant when using the word "deceptive," or rather, what is ...
6
votes
10answers
8k views

A Word that means “to adapt or improve, to conform to a higher standard”?

I need to find or invent a word that suggests a system might be "adapted or improved to conform to a higher standard". A verb, noun, adjective or even adverb would be acceptable, but so far I haven't ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

What makes “like” and “so” popular?

So, I was like, why does everyone say like and so in every sentence? Where did this trend come from, like, what started it, and is it actually grammatically correct to like, insert like into our ...
4
votes
2answers
64k views

What does N.B. stand for? [closed]

I have received letters for years, and some of the most common things in letters are post-scripts, however, there are also these funny little "N.B." which obviously do not stand for Post Script. What ...
5
votes
5answers
10k views

On the use of “both”

I keep running into this debate with my thesis advisor. Are both of these forms correct? It can be seen that both the users are able to... or It can be seen that the both users are able ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between 'speculative', 'hypothetical' and 'conjectural'?

What is the difference between 'speculative', 'hypothetical' and 'conjectural'?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What does 'hip' exactly mean?

A friend of mine said he would like to bring the word 'hip' back in to fashion. I thought of 'hip' as a body part, so I didn't understand him until he said," Riding horses is seriously great; I mean ...
1
vote
2answers
585 views

What is the common root between “contumacious” and “contumelious”?

I'm interested in understanding the meanings of the 2 words : contumacious - Wilfully obstinate; stubbornly disobedient and contumelious - Arrogantly insolent in the context of their word ...
17
votes
2answers
28k views

People's names as names for genitalia?

How did Peter, the surname, Johnson, and the nicknames for William(Willy) and Richard(Dick), come to mean penis? Was the first instance of these usages, related to a specific person? Are there more ...
5
votes
2answers
28k views

When would I use “might as well” instead of “may as well”?

If I understood the NY Times correctly, the words might and may are interchangeable except might is used to convey a greater level of uncertainty. Examples: I'll probably need gas for tomorrow's ...
2
votes
4answers
629 views

Word for “makes progress towards?”

If one has a goal, then one can say that certain activities make progress towards that goal, lead to completion of the goal. Is there a concise word for "is relevant to, makes progress towards [a ...
3
votes
0answers
232 views

Why do we say “odd” when describing numbers? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where did the “odd” in “N odd years” come from? When we speak about numbers, we usually associate "odd" with it. For example, "We have 70-odd ...
36
votes
4answers
43k 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
21k views

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

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
3k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
867 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
18k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
10k 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
2k 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
592 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
7k 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
851 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
22k views

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

Those two words seems referring to one thing.
8
votes
3answers
987 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
246 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
4k 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
4k 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
5k 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
334 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.