5
votes
3answers
4k views

“Unexplainable” vs “Inexplicable”

What is the difference between unexplainable and inexplicable? Are they exact synonyms or are there situations where one is preferred over the other? Is unexplainable a clumsy modern variant (...
13
votes
2answers
192k views

“Angry with” vs. “angry at” vs. “angry on”

Which is the most appropriate/correct usage? Are you angry on me? Are you angry with me? Are you angry at me?
3
votes
1answer
295 views

What is a formal alternative to verb 'toggle'?

For a long time I've been using a word 'toggle' to express change of states (normally button). Now I found out on Dictionary.com / toggle that toggle has such meaning in an informal language as a verb....
2
votes
3answers
723 views

When did the alternative meanings of 'beard' start being used? [closed]

I read that beard can mean something like "confront someone".. When did a word that means a little facial hair turn into a hostile verb?
8
votes
2answers
9k views

Difference between “alternate” and “alternative” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Alternately” or “alternatively” What is the difference between alternate and alternative? For example, I have two versions of the same software and ...
3
votes
2answers
484 views

Help me parse this sentence, please?

Observable as a tendency of our culture is a withdrawal of belief in psychoanalysis: we no longer feel that it can solve our emotional problems. This is from GRE verbal tests. From what I guess the ...
8
votes
4answers
104k views

Difference between “selfish” and “self-centered”

Is there a difference between the meaning of selfish and self-centered? I have seen some using them identically. If there is a difference who would you like to hang out with: a selfish person or a ...
8
votes
2answers
46k views

Can one “affect” change?

In an article today in the Christian Science Monitor, they give a Fox transcript of Palin's recent speech as follows: “Somebody like me – is a title and is a campaign too shackling?” said Palin. “...
1
vote
10answers
4k views

What word means “taking something to unrealistic extremes”?

This has been bugging me for a while, does anyone know what this word is? Maybe I imagined it. I thought it might have been "superfluous", but I don't think that is it, then I thought it might have ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Can I use an ellipsis before a comma?

On a particular piece of dialogue and I wasn't sure if this was correct or just a matter of style. "[...] your shield, you don’t deserve..., nor how can I put into the line?” My question is the ...
-1
votes
4answers
9k views

Which is correct: “expose” or “exposé”?

What is the preferred way to write words such as exposé in English? My Firefox spellchecker even tells me that exposé is incorrect and suggests expose. If exposé is correct, then how does this sit ...
1
vote
1answer
9k views

Title Capitalization Doubt: “If” or “if?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which words in a title should be capitalized? Suppose I'm going to write an article/essay with the following title: "What To Do If You Believe Space Aliens Shot JFK" Does ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a word for capitalizing in the middle of a word, as in “eBay”?

Usually this sort of word is a trademarked name, such as eBay or BlackBerry. Is there a word that describes capitalization mid-word?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Were there any other synonyms to “sustainability” before the 80s?

The German word for sustainability, Nachhaltigkeit, arose (according to Wiktionary) in the 18th century. Ngrams shows this. I was wondering if the concept of sustainability did not exist before the ...
3
votes
3answers
16k views

What is the correct way to greet a specific person when only their business title is known?

I need to write a letter to a specific person, who I only know by title. I do not know their name or gender. I can think of a couple ways to greet this individual in a letter, however I can not ...
2
votes
2answers
725 views

Does “refrain” only mean to choose to do or not do something?

Here is the place I saw this usage: (Paraphrase) Mr. A's refrain that Law L be invoked against dishonest and incompetent legislators presents an interesting case. My dictionary tells me (...
33
votes
8answers
12k views

What is wrong in “Please don't pluck the flowers” and other phrases used in the Indian subcontinent?

In the Indian subcontinent, especially India, there are many English words or phrases which are not a part of dictionary or not used in other parts of the world. The first one is "Please don't pluck ...
7
votes
2answers
14k views

Is “Monday” a proper noun or a common noun?

I can understand why Monday is an abstract noun (it isn't something we can perceive with any of our 5 senses), But is Monday considered a proper noun or a common noun?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How did homonyms come into existence?

Words like bank, bat, bear, fine, fair, number, row, etc., each have multiple meanings but are pronounced and spelled in the same way. How can one word mean different things?
-1
votes
2answers
12k views

What do you call the position leveled after Junior, but before Senior in a company? [duplicate]

I would like to refer to the intermediate level of a Human Resources Analyst position. Alice got promoted, so she is not a Junior HR Analyst anymore. However, she is not a Senior HR Analyst yet. ...
24
votes
12answers
3k views

Expression that means something like “killing the sheep to keep them from being kidnapped”

I'm looking for an expression that conveys an excessive risk management approach that ends up having a worse effect than what it is trying to protect against.
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How do you format a sentence to avoid or use “to to” correctly? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Rules about prepositions and duplicating 'to' Where did you travel to to get that? Using to, to has always looked/seemed awkward to me. What is the proper way ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What is the formal way of expressing 1990s?

How do you express the last decade of 20th century in formal written English? "1990s"? If the century is known from the context, can you simply say "the nineties"? As in: "The involvement of US in ...
2
votes
2answers
23k views

Distinguish “naming” and “telling” part of simple sentence with compound predicate

Dad caught fish and cooked them for supper. This is a question from a test that my son missed; he is in the second grade. The instructions for the test are as follows: Put one line under the ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “was born in black and white” mean?

I've heard a song with the words "She was born in black and white". Could anyone say what this phrase means?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Number agreement of a noun with several adjectives

If there are several adjectives referring to different instances of the same noun, should the noun be plural? For example, which of the following is correct? The first, second, fifth and ...
6
votes
3answers
579 views

What is a layman's alternative to the IT word “datetime”?

I have a spreadsheet with several columns. And one must contain the date and time. But I don't know what to write as the header. In programming terms, it is a "datetime". But I suspect this would ...
8
votes
2answers
698 views

What percentage of characters in normal English Literature is written in capitals?

I'm talking about percentage of letters, not words, in case it isn't clear. Is there a way to gauge this?
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Word for the person who originally said a quote

Is there a word to describe the person who said a quote?
2
votes
1answer
421 views

Difference between “circumvent” and “avoid” [closed]

What is the difference between circumvent and avoid? Please provide examples.
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Past/Present tense in a conditional statement

I'm not an English speaker. Even though I do understand conditional statements that are written by others but when it comes to my turn I still feel confused and don't really know how to organize it. ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is it correct to say 'Do one thing' when asking somebody to do something?

In Indian English, sometimes we say things like this: 'Do one thing. Take a left turn there'. Basically, I am asking somebody to do something, which comes in following sentence. What's the better way ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

Can “No thanks” be used in place of “No need to say thanks”?

A colleague did some work for me (which was his job anyway) and when I said thanks, he said "no thanks". I was puzzled, and asked why he said that. He told me that an American once told him that ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the names of the pieces of a question mark?

A question mark ? seems to be composed of two distinct pieces, top and bottom. Do these pieces have their own names, and if so, what are they?
2
votes
9answers
17k views

A phrase like “Good effort!”

Does the phrase "good effort" imply failure? Like, even though you failed, it's good that you gave it your best shot? I'm looking for a phrase like "good effort" that does not imply failure. It would ...
5
votes
4answers
26k views

What do you call the “narrator” of lyric poem?

In a narrative poem, the entity telling the story is called the narrator. The narrator is different from the author, in that the author is the real person who wrote the poem, while the narrator is a ...
8
votes
2answers
167 views

Verb agreement with “what”

This came up when reviewing a written English exercise, and I realized that I don't entirely trust my intuition on the answer. Which of the following is correct? Or are both valid? (Or is it ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does there exist a difference in spelling between British English and American English?

I understand that the use of different terms for the same item (e.g., "car park" vs. "parking lot") has already been discussed, but I'm interested to know why we spell the same words differently in ...
4
votes
4answers
45k views

Word for “feeling the same as someone”

What is the word for when you feel the same as someone, you see them in yourself or you are in the same situation? I think it starts with the letter C.
21
votes
6answers
34k views

“Czar” vs “tsar” - origins and pronunciation

How did the word come into English with the two variants czar and tsar? The 'ts' spelling is a transliteration of the Russian 'царь', but the 'cz' spelling is what interests me more. To me it looks ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

(was + was) vs (was + is)

I was wondering what's the difference between these two sentences: The person who was at the head of the demonstration is Ms. Tan. The person who was at the head of the demonstration was Ms. ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Plurality of “genitals”

At 2:35 of this video, Sheldon Cooper says For the record I have genitals. They are ... How can a person have more than one genital? Is it alright to use whatever grammatical number in casual ...
1
vote
4answers
6k views

“Same to” or “same as”

I have asked a question at the programming site, but I am not sure about my grammar, so I am going to ask here. Which is correct? What are other languages same to F#? What are other languages ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Do “You see me?” and “You get me?” mean “Do you understand what I mean?”

Sometimes after finish explaining something, people will say, "You see me?" or "You get me?" I wonder if they are equivalent to "Do you understand what I mean?"
0
votes
1answer
3k views

“No need to hurry yet…”

This question is from a diagnostic test of one ESL school in Bangkok. Ann wonders how much time she has to work on her assigned project. Her teacher says, “No need to hurry yet ________” a) ...
0
votes
4answers
11k views

“Who is” or “Who are”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is a company always plural, or are small companies singular? When asking about the identity of a business/company, which of these is the most correct? "Who is [Company]?" ...
2
votes
4answers
191 views

“Initialising” is to “initialisation” as “enabling” is to what?

Is there a valid word for the act of enabling? I want to say "enablement". It is listed in the dictionary, but is it in common use? I've never heard it before. Is there a more apt word?
39
votes
6answers
7k views

How did “Jew” become pejorative?

For some reason, the word Jew often carries a pejorative or offensive connotation, which the related adjective Jewish does not carry. This is most obvious when either word is used as an attributive: ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

Are “misty-eyed” and “misty” interchangeable?

Today, I came across a pair of sentences using these terms: And while people may get misty-eyed about the "open web", or the "neutral net", this kind of utopianism was always naive in the extreme. ...
7
votes
4answers
507 views

“The ^ character indicates… ” or “The character ^ indicates… ”

Which one is correct? The ^ character indicates the beginning of the string. or The character ^ indicates the beginning of the string. Or both? I ask because in my native language (...

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