This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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5
votes
3answers
7k views

Where/when did the *idea* of bad words come from in English?

Bad Words: f*ck sh*t *ss d*mn b*tch ... Ok, so there's no point in listing them all. The thing I'm interested in is this: Why is it that in English we have a strong sense of a group of words ...
4
votes
8answers
10k views

What is the difference between a marque and a brand?

What is the difference between a marque and a brand? For example, why would one use the expression "car marques" instead of "car brands"?
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “the way” synonym of “how”?

In constructions like the following ones, could the way be replaced with how? Is there any difference between them? I like the way she eats peaches. The way he looked at her... Can anybody ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

What Exactly is the Meaning of “Fatal”?

My understanding is that in its normal usage, it means "deadly." But the root word of "fatal" appears to be "fate," rather than anything that has to do with "death." In this regard, "fatal" resembles ...
15
votes
3answers
8k views

Et cetera vs Et al

Probably one of the most used word around is et cetera. I also come across people substituting et al for etc. Google says me that both of them more or less give away the same meaning 'and the others'. ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Never mind” in AmE and BrE

Reading some forum pages about the meaning of this phrase, I realized that there's a difference in usage of it, between American and British English. What's the difference in meaning of "never mind" ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

“Is key” or “is the key”?

I wrote this: This means that, as with any distributed application, concurrency is key: we have at least one flow of execution per node running concurrently with all others, and [...] I was told ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of “large hug” in definition of “bearhug”?

Context: I have an uncle who is huge and any time he hugs anyone in the family, it's so tight that they are almost choked. We call this the bearhug among the family. Researching ...
4
votes
2answers
981 views

“Figment” other than in “figment of the imagination”?

Are there any recurring uses of the word "figment" other than in the expression "figment of the imagination"?
3
votes
3answers
8k views

What does “default” mean in financial sense?

I've heard word "default" used in a financial sense. My intuition tells me that the defaulting party is asking for protection against its creditors, but I don't see how that is different from say ...
3
votes
4answers
246 views

Should I say I “post a post” on a forum?

If I want to say I wanted to create new post (topic, question) but I forgot to do so. should I say I wanted to post a post but I forgot to do so. or should I say I wanted to post but ...
1
vote
3answers
757 views

Word usage 'when you go'

Is there any thing wrong in the following sentence: Could you please inform me when you go. Can I use 'when you go' like this?
6
votes
4answers
17k views

When did “kid” start to mean “child”?

When I read period authors, i.e., Dickens, or Verne, or Hugo, etc., I always see things like: My dear child/Child, come here/He is but a child! But I don't see kid. In fact, I didn't see kid ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Sleep in” versus “Sleep out”

Over the years, I have often debated whether the phrase is "In the morning, I'm going to sleep in." or "In the morning, I'm going to sleep out." My best guess is that it is a regional difference of ...
6
votes
2answers
12k views

“Melted” vs “molten”

Is there any difference (e.g. regionality) between the two forms of the past participle of melt (melted and molten)?
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Which is more affirmative: “I think” or “I guess”?

In South Asia, we tend to use "I think" when we are almost sure about something; or sometimes use it ironically like in example "I think you should have done this yesterday". "I guess", on the other ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is “fastly” not a word?

As well as being an adjective, fast is an adverb. We use it all the time as such: He ran fast. However, though slow is definitely an adjective, it sounds wrong when used as an adverb, because ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

What usage and meaning of “else” is this

What is the usage and meaning of "else" in this example? The key difference between a program and a project is the finite nature of a project - a project must always have a specific end date, else ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

Correct usage for “bad” v. “poor” adjectives

The way I was taught many years ago was that something like quality can be poor, but not bad. The reasoning was that "bad" is a value/moral whereas poor applies to non-value qualities. In this case, ...
13
votes
2answers
891 views

Can the term “etymology” be applied to a phrase or only individual words?

I have always heard the term used in referring to a single word. When browsing questions on this site, I've seen it used applied to entire phrases, and have suppressed the compulsion to edit them and ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Do we compile the source or the binaries?

When programming, we usually write text files in some programming language. These source files are fed into a compiler that compiles them into binary files. My question is whether to say: we ...
7
votes
5answers
71k views

Usage of 'Dear All' [duplicate]

Is it correct to use "Dear All" at the beginning of the e-mail, when you are writing to more than one person? It seems so informal to me. Is there any better way?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Meaning of “over at”

What does "over at" mean? I saw this being used in "A over at the site/blog/forum B". I understand this means A is somehow related to B, but I want to know the precise meaning. Does it imply that A is ...
5
votes
5answers
180 views

Is this acceptable usage when frustrated with a web page: “It won't click”

My buddy was trying to click something on a webpage and he said "It won't click." As a programmer, I know that what he meant was "The event triggered by the onClick handler is not happening." Given ...
1
vote
3answers
117 views

Is it correct to speak of an object as “cover” ? or to say “behind cover”?

In gunfights, fighters protect themselves from shots by staying behind objects. It's called taking cover and staying behind cover. But cover, just like shadow, is the consequence of the position of ...
17
votes
4answers
20k views

Is it a “driver license” or a “driver's license” or a “drivers license” or…what?

I've often wondered why my Ohio license is called a "driver license". It is awkward to say it like that. Wouldn't something like driver's license be more appropriate? Or driving license (like ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

“Directly” in the meaning of “As soon as”

I've just read my first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. In it, I have found several instances of the word "directly" being used in a way I am not familiar with. It appears to have the meaning "when" ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does 'age out' mean?

The context is as follows. The buffer is now unpinned and is a candidate for immediate aging out, if the current contents (data block) are not referenced again.
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does the common meaning of “impertinent” have nothing to do with “pertinent”?

Every time I want to use an antonym to "pertinent", I think of "impertinent", which I don't like to use because of its more common meaning. How did "impertinent" come to mean "intrusive or ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What's a reception room / parlor / parlour / drawing room?

What's a reception room/parlor/parlour/ drawing room? I'm thinking, is it just another word for the living room of my house?
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Asking a permission to ask a question by saying the word Question, followed by the actual question

My Mom does something that irks me. Either when she calls me, or sends me an e-mail, she says or writes "Question." Then asks whatever question it is. I find this rude. In my opinion starting the ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

How to use it's vs is?

I've seen that people use "how easy is it to […]?" and "how easy is to […]?" Another example could be: I couldn’t ignore the barrage of research showing how easy it is to screw up your kids. ...
3
votes
1answer
219 views

'co-opt' in US usage

'co-opt' in US usage means to take over for a purpose for which it was not really intended, having a slightly inappropriate connotation, while in the British usage it means to choose or elect as a ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

'Conscribed' vs 'conscripted'

I'm wondering about the usage of the words 'conscript' and 'conscribe' in terms of the meaning they share. I went to use the word 'conscripted' as in "conscripted for duty", and the word 'conscribe' ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Usage of [to be] + had

While discussing What does "I was had" mean? I've found there are some not so common usages of had in English like: I have/had been had (meaning "to get fooled") but further Google ...
1
vote
3answers
62k views

Difference between “then” and “than” [closed]

I am having difficulty trying to distingush between then and than. What I find confusing is their pronunciation, and when to use them. For example: He walked, stopped, than/then picked up a ...
2
votes
3answers
210 views

Can the word 'aggregation' be used to mean a collection of people?

I'm wondering if one can use the word "aggregation" to mean a team or a collaboration of sorts, or even a certain collection of individuals in general, not just objects. Any thoughts?
2
votes
3answers
10k views

How does one write “day in and day out”

I work like a dog day in and day out. day-in and day-out? day in, and day out? , day in and day out? Please advise.
2
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the difference between “little” and “a little”?

I would like to know how these two words differ in usage. Which one is singular? Which one is plural? I would greatly appreciate if you could provide me with a sample usage of these phrases.
4
votes
3answers
28k views

Usage of “as per”

Could you show me how to use the word as per in a sentence? Can I make sentences something like the following: I changed the image as per the suggestion of my boss. Or could you give me an ...
1
vote
2answers
704 views

A data compromise

I know that security people use the verb "to compromise" with the meaning of "to break", for example in "the integrity of the account has been compromised". But is it okay to also use the noun ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

what does “provide for” mean?

Interviews that asked past behavior questions demonstrated superior validity for predicting performance because they provide for an assessment of motivation to apply knowledge/skills more ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Can you say “raise an animal”?

It was said as a way to comfort someone who had just broken up with her boyfriend, and someone said something like "go raise a dog". I know it's okay to say raise an animal; I just feel so weird ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it more correct to say “repeat”, or “resay”?

Telling a person to repeat something they have said sounds better to me, but is it more correct to ask them to resay what they said? If I say something then resay it, then I have said it again. I ...
2
votes
2answers
531 views

Is “gets” the correct tense to describe a continuous process in “John gets mentored on a daily basis”?

John gets a mentor to guide him throughout his life. — OR — He gets mentored on a daily basis. I believe this is just as acceptable as the simple past: John got a mentor to guide him ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Where did the phrase “shut up” as an expression of disbelief or amazement originate?

I recently heard shut up used according to this definition in Urban dictionary. shut·up (shuht-up) --interjection 1. An expression of disbelief. 2. Amazement; astonishment. I've only ...
3
votes
4answers
487 views

Is integer a commonly understood term?

Is it common for an English speaking person to understand the word "integer" (i.e. the whole numbers ..., -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, ...)? Or should I not use that word outside the domain of mathematics or ...
14
votes
5answers
31k views

“Know about” vs. “know of”

Recently one of my friends told me that there is distinct difference between 'know of something' and 'know about something' expressions. 'know of' is used when you have personal experience with what ...
2
votes
4answers
43k views

“As of late” or “as of lately”?

The title pretty much summarizes my question. For example, in the following sentence She has developed an accent while living overseas, which as of late(ly) became more pronounced. I usually ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

How to distinguish between “blasphemy” and “sacrilege” in a non-religious context?

On cooking.stackexchange, somebody asked how to make a chili which isn't too hot. I suggested mixing chiles and sweet peppers, and added the tongue-in-cheek remark that some chefs will consider my ...