This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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30
votes
6answers
4k views

What is the American word for 'tea-towel'?

On a tour from Australia to the states my wife asked me to stop at the gift store and buy memorable fridge-magnets and tea-towels. Everywhere I went, none of the store attendants seemed to know what ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Proper Use of “Disponibility”

I recently ran into a word that I hadn't encountered before in my life in this context: "Well, thanks a lot [BlackVegetable] both for your quick reply and disponibility." (It's in a comment on ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

What is the spatial difference between in and on [migrated]

.....that I received in my email or .....that I received on my email What is the correct preposition in the example above? What is the "spatial" difference between these two prepositions when apply ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

How do you express having a mutual acquaintance when you introduce yourself?

Let's imagine that Jack told me about his friend who is a lawyer, called Mark. And that Jack also told me that I have to mention to Mark that I know him (Jack). How can I introduce myself to Mark ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

“Don't fall in anger”, I heard you say

If the phrase rang a bell, it's because the actual Oasis song lyric is "Don't look back in anger", I heard you say. But did my question title sound very strange or only slightly off? I might argue ...
-1
votes
0answers
46 views

Correct term for niece's daughter

Would my niece's daughter be my "great" niece or my "grand" niece?
13
votes
17answers
5k views

What do you call someone who can't keep secrets?

Some one who is not good at keeping secrets. In my native language it is called "chugalkhor" but it's a slang. So I can't translate it. What do you call such a person who can't keep secrets because ...
5
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
51 views

“She allowed her life to be a circumstance of her illness”

I never witnessed where she allowed her life to be a circumstance of her illness Is circumstance used in the correct manner? I want to say she didn't use her illness as an excuse to be sick... ...
4
votes
5answers
237 views

Capitalization of the word universe

Playing around with Google's Ngram viewer, where you can see how many times a word is used in books, I stumbled on this: It shows how often universe and Universe have been used in books. I think ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

“Good night” vs “goodnight” (vs “good-night”)

I am trying to find out which is correct in "Good night" vs "goodnight" (vs "good-night"), and there seem to be conflicting views around the internet. I am hoping you guys can shed some light into why ...
-1
votes
1answer
34 views

Is it clear what “it” is referring to in the following sentence?

It'd been so long since I last saw his smile it came like a sun. I'm not sure whether it's clear what the bolded it is referring to. If so, can I write it like that? Is it grammatical?
1
vote
2answers
131 views

“I was used”, is it correct?

I want to use the term used, like I was used. I mean when someone used my name or some of my property for his own advantage. Is it OK to say in this context: I was used ?
7
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
37 views

How to use “come true” in a such sentence

I am wondering to use a sentence like: I am about to make one of my childhood dream come true. Is it a best practice?
2
votes
3answers
274 views

“There were lots of other things on the menu he could’ve deterred me to.”

I asked a food truck operator if a certain menu item was spicy. He told me that no, it was not. It turns out it was. When speaking with my friends, I said that "there were lots of other things on the ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

President vs. The President

For several years now, I have noticed that commentators on the radio and TV are dropping the word "the" in certain circumstances. For example, "President prefers foreign aid at this time." or "United ...
0
votes
2answers
35 views

“ahead of” is NOT used with a particular time reference?

Am I right that the phrase "ahead of" is NOT used with a particular time reference such as "ahead of 2 o'clock"?
1
vote
3answers
82 views

“Is that good?” vs “Is that any good?”

Is there any difference between the meaning implied by: Is that good? and Is that any good? I would appreciate if you give examples to show the differences, if there is any. ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

When is it appropriate to use “to receive someone”?

In what cases we can use the verb receive to refer to a person and not to an object?
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Can “one” be omitted if another one immediately follows? [duplicate]

Example: Not all experiences have to be earth-shaking. Sometimes the simplest (ones) are the most valuable ones." In the above example, the first one has been omitted. Is the sentence still ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Usage of 'indeed', specifically in terms of position in a sentence

I'm wondering if there's any rule or consensus on how one should use the word 'indeed' when trying to convey actuality. The context is that I'm writing an email to someone about a job, but I'm not ...
2
votes
4answers
470 views

“Most important” vs “most importantly”

I was always under impression that "most important" is correct usage when going through the list of things. We need to pack socks, toothbrushes for the trip, but most important is to pack ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Word or phrase describing on/off state

English is not my primary language so I have hard time with this problem. I am currently writing comments to computer code. There is setting that enable/disable some functionality. What would be ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Do you sit “against” a tree or “by” a tree? [closed]

I sometimes place myself against a tree and read a book. However, is the word "against" correct in this context? Or do I sit by a tree?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “Not to be a dick, but—” mean? Is “Dickishness” an accepted, stand-alone English word?

There was a recommendation of a new book, How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide in www.Goodreads.com followed by this next sentence: “On the one hand, nobody wants to be a dick. On the ...
-2
votes
1answer
51 views

how to use “click” for the “lines” of a text box [closed]

In the following sentence I have some problem using prepositions related to click, empty. Please click an empty line in the textbox From the sentence above I want to say the user to ...
2
votes
3answers
75 views

Catholic with a small c

When Conservative is spelled with a capital C it usually refers to the Conservative and Unionist Party of Great Britain. Spelled with a small c, it becomes the adjective conservative meaning *averse ...
1
vote
3answers
394 views

New (slang?) meaning of bass?

I have come across the song "About that bass" by Meghan Trainor, and was wondering what "bass" and "treble" mean in the chorus, which goes: Because you know I'm all about that bass, 'Bout that ...
7
votes
2answers
865 views

Are we using the term 'apocalypse' in wrong way? [closed]

What I read about the term apocalypse on Wikipedia was In the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, the revelation which John receives is that of the ultimate victory of good ...
0
votes
3answers
4k views

What does it mean when someone say “you have attitude”?

I've heard many people say He/she has attitude What they really mean is that the person has ego or something like that. I googled and find this Yahoo answer, which also suggest the same. Are ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Where is the term clockwork used?

I was watching some cartoon show with a bunch of rugrats over the weekend and the term clockwork toy was used. It seemed to be referencing a wind-up toy. Is there any part of the English speaking ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

How to ask “why would I have regretted it”?

If someone asked me if I regretted something, how can I express if even his/her assumption that I regretted something surprises me? In my mother tongue I would answer with a question like "why would I ...
-4
votes
0answers
21 views

Can someone give examples of this? [closed]

Can someone please give a couple of good examples of accountable?
0
votes
1answer
49 views

“You could do it better” Past/Future?

While showing my work to my adviser, he uttered a sentence, "You could do it better!". Is it analogous to: You could have done better OR You can do it better (so improve it)? It seems to me this ...
13
votes
4answers
8k views

What determines whether a sporting event is a game, match, contest, or something else?

There are many sports and other events that are contested, but why are some contests called matches, like tennis match, golf match, and soccer match, and some contests called a game, like baseball ...
0
votes
2answers
110 views

Usage of the word “introspect”

I am trying to write a sentence to mean that something made me think deeply about myself and I would really like to use the word introspect. I came up with: During several instances of reading ...
21
votes
4answers
68k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Can I omit “one” in the following case?

Rich people's lives are the most complicated (ones)—and also the most meaningless (ones). Can I omit both? If not, which one should I keep?
2
votes
1answer
75 views

What does the word, “rascally charm” mean? Can “Rascally” be used as a complimentary modifier?

There was the following comversation in the Vanity Fair’s (November 14 issue) article that came under the title, “Imagined Celebrity Connections: How Beyoncé Responded to Kim Kardashian’s Paper ...
2
votes
3answers
180 views

A word for breathable in the spirit of potable and edible

What would be the appropriate choice to use instead of breathable in line of edible and potable?
1
vote
2answers
69 views

Is there a difference between “scaffold” and “scaffolding”?

Apparently scaffolding is always a substantive while scaffold can be used both as substantive and as verb (to scaffold). I'm interested in the substantive meaning of both words. Google image ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

“List of Xs” vs “X list”

Is there a difference in meaning between "List of Xs" and "X list"? For example, does "task list" means the same thing as "list of tasks"? What about grammar? Can they be used interchangeably in a ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

Use of 'which' to combine clauses

Is there anything wrong, in terms of either grammar and/or usage, with the following sentence: "The information age has ushered children into a global society, which is the cause of educators ...
10
votes
4answers
13k views

Using “skies” instead of “sky”

Why do people use "skies" instead of "sky" (when, indeed, we only have one sky)? Reach for the sky/skies! and I'm glad to finally see some blue skies. I'm glad to finally see a blue ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

“simply”, “merely” and “only” - Are they interchageable in formal writing?

In the following sentence: "They are ....... wasting their time." Would "simply", "merely" and "only" be interchangeable? When I was a student of English I was taught the use of "simply" in formal ...
-2
votes
2answers
74 views

Which is the most formal way to address a man, “Dear Sir” or “Dear Michael”?

I'd like to know which form is more formal and respectful. Can I mention the person's first name instead of writing "Sir" e.g., Dear Michael, or do I only write Dear Sir? I am writing a formal ...
-2
votes
2answers
36 views

“Research” vs “research paper.”

Tommy was sitting on his desk, flipping through Mrs. Johnson's last research (paper). Can I omit paper in cases like this? Is it more common to say research paper than just research? (The ...
0
votes
1answer
134 views

looking for appositive that-which phrases

I asked sentences having an appositive that-which phrase like the following sentence in English Language Learners. The insect propagates best near "disturbed land," that which is being cultivated ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

speech balloon vs speech bubble usage and meaning

I am from the UK, and am not familiar with the term "speech balloon". I have always used and heard "speech bubble" instead. Are the 2 meanings the same? Is there some kind of difference in ...