1
vote
1answer
3k views

So much is at stake

In this sentence: So much is at stake that courses in foreign languages are often inadequate training grounds, in and of themselves, for the successful learning of a second language. I have ...
3
votes
3answers
11k views

tailored to someone needs VS tailor-made

I wrote a text about our company's services and added that we also can offer products tailored to the needs of our clients. One of my colleagues insisted that the expression was wrong and I should say ...
14
votes
5answers
242k views

Is “Many thanks” a proper usage?

I saw emails from English people with Many Thanks as a signing off phrase. Is that proper usage? Or is it a phrase created by continental English speakers due to the influence of their native ...
1
vote
1answer
700 views

What does “drive-in teller” mean?

What does drive-in teller mean in the following sentence? It's as those pneumatic canisters you see when you go to a drive-in teller at a bank.
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Suit up with a …?

For a party, the dress code is formal dress with an element in pink. On the flyers, I want to write "Suit up with a pink touch" but somebody told me it is not correct and advised "suit up with a ...
4
votes
4answers
657 views

Alternative Descriptive Statement - Calling something like it really is; both intentionally/unintentionally funny

I'm curious to know if there is a type of speech or name for what I am about to describe... For example, instead of saying "let's go on a night hike," one would say, "let's go stumble around in the ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

Established as a rule through experimentation or statistics

There's a word that's slipped my mind. It's used for example to qualify findings through tests or statistics as opposed to formulae or hard science. Any ideas?
1
vote
5answers
624 views

What is the term or phrase to describe some process is sequential independent? [closed]

By "sequential independent", I mean the process remains the same no matter how you change the order of its subroutines. Better to be some term frequently used in math or engineering.
5
votes
5answers
336 views

Looking for words or phrases to fit the idea of this form of hierarchy

I'm using text as follows to categorize some information. It goes from the general to the specific much as is done in libraries with books. languages/english/spelling science/biology/genetics What ...
2
votes
3answers
489 views

How to use “capitulate”

A guy at work said in an email I won't capitulate with your demands! Is capitulate with used correctly? Should it not be capitulate to?
10
votes
9answers
1k views

What is the word that describes ethical smartness?

Intelligence can be used as a means to deceive and exploit vulnerable people. I believe, however, that proper thinking should always lead to righteous deeds. What is the word that describes the ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

What reasoning is behind the names of the trigonometric functions “sine”, “secant” and “tangent”?

The meanings of these words are very similar: the sine of an angle in a right triangle is the ratio of the opposite side to the hypotenuse; the secant is the ratio of the hypotenuse to the adjacent ...
0
votes
1answer
692 views

What is the correct pronunciation of “pizza”? [closed]

I have a friend who is constantly suggesting we eat "Pixa" for dinner. It grinds me every time she says "Pixa", so I am trying to make sure it is truly incorrect to pronounce the 'x' sound in this ...
-3
votes
1answer
13k views

How to spell laundre? [closed]

That is the best spelling I could find, or come up with. I don't think it is correct, since I don't see it in the dictionary, and searching without the "victoria secret" prefix doesn't show the ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

The Guardian: “It does indeed […] misleading them […]”

Reading an article by The Guardian, I stumbled upon a sentence which I cannot make sense of: Yes, the worst things you may have heard about the National Defense Authorization Act, which has ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

“Least expensive” vs “most inexpensive” [closed]

My doctor wanted me to inquire which generic medication would be the smallest burden on my wallet before issuing a prescription. When I asked the pharmacist which of the generic options was "least ...
10
votes
3answers
98k views

“Touch base” vs “Touch bases”?

My friend is adamant that "touch base" is the one and only correct usage, although he admits to hearing "touch bases" in regular use. Which was the original phrase, where did it come from, and do you ...
0
votes
2answers
159 views

Meaning of “paddling hell-for-leather away from a harmless seal”? [closed]

I'm reading The Inflatable Volunteer by Steve Aylett, and I'm stuck with this sentence: Last week I was flooding the banks with saliva, slivers of gill and drifting snot, paddling hell-for-leather ...
0
votes
1answer
5k views

It will take a while until/before the change takes an effect

Which is correct or sounds better to you? It will take a while until the change takes an effect. It will take a while before the change takes an effect. Thank you
9
votes
3answers
11k views

History of the phrase “for Mother Russia”

When I played the Battle Zone II video game in the late 1990s, which was plotted around a war between a New Soviet Union and a future analog of the USA, I noticed that Russian tanks and pilots ...
1
vote
3answers
495 views

Shorter, sarcastic way to express “The cook must have made a mistake” [closed]

I'm writing a scene in which a character says, "The cook must have made a mistake," as a sarcastic remark about the quality of the food that was served. Is there another, shorter, way to get across ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

“If something were” or “If something was” in the 2nd conditional? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct: “what if there was” or “what if there were”? Correct usage of was/were on the object of a sentence “Was” or ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Using “on” vs. “in”? [closed]

Consider the following sentence: I am developing an application to be installed on Android. And this: This has been a major flaw in Android... To be clear I am unsure of the usage of "in" ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the 18th century contraction “on't” survive phonologically in English today?

The February 18th-24th edition of The Economist has an article titled "Neurons v free will" in which the author, Anthony Gottlieb begins by quoting Dr. Johnson's statement about free will: "Sir ...
8
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the difference, if any, between 'porn' and 'porno'?

I had never thought of a potential difference between 'porn' and 'porno' until I encountered the following dialogue from Family Guy Season 9 Episode 9(thanks to FumbleFingers for reminding me the ...
7
votes
4answers
786 views

What is the sense of the word “kettle” here?

I've just come across the word "kettle" in a news article used in a sense I've not heard it before. "Police have formed 'a kettle' at Millenium Bridge, according to some of the protesters. They ...
2
votes
3answers
225k views

Etymology and meaning of “When does the narwhal bacon?”

There's a meme on reddit where the users tend to ask, When does the narwhal bacon? The only correct answer to that question is At midnight. What is the etymology and the meaning of this ...
4
votes
1answer
719 views

What is the origin of the use of “hate” with the preposition “on”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin of “hating on” Recently I've noticed an increasing use of the phrase to hate on [someone]. From what I can tell, the addition of on implies a ...
0
votes
1answer
13k views

“Where he is” vs “Where is he” [closed]

What is the difference between the following. "You know where he is" and "You know where is he"
4
votes
1answer
8k views

What might “knock me over with a feather” mean?

I recently received a text message which read: "well, knock me over with a feather!" It was in response to a statement which may or may not have been surprising (I honestly have no idea). Has anyone ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why some questions are written in this funny way?

There, I did it myself. Instead of asking "Why are some questions written in this funny way?", I produced what strikes me as bad English ever so often: Questions that are formed by starting out with ...
1
vote
5answers
921 views

“Little by little I began to have increasing doubts” [closed]

Is the sentence Little by little I began to have increasing doubts grammatically correct? One reason I think it might not be is that if I google little by little I began to have increasing I ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the difference between 'roof' and 'canopy'?

What is the difference between 'roof' and 'canopy'? And would you describe the sky as the roof of the earth or the canopy of the earth? (Sky meaning everything up to the ozone layer.)
1
vote
1answer
158 views

Is this a correct use of 'whom'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What's the rule for using “who” or “whom”? "The negative may be insecurity, in lieu of an absolute authority whom can to confirm your ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Can adjectives always be used as nouns when they denote a plural and are preceded by the definite article?

An adjective appears to be used as a noun when denoting an animate plural and preceded by the definite article: 'The successful are those who strive.' 'The foolish are those who ...
13
votes
5answers
104k views

“I and someone”, “me and someone” or “I and someone we” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “I” instead of “me?” A friend of mine asked me for advice about an e-mail he was writing. There was a sentence like this: I and ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the difference between 'group' and 'grouping'?

I'm not a native English speaker and I was wondering the difference between those two terms. From what I understood so far 'group' is a generic word used to denote a number of persons/things ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

Pluralization of names

If I were to use the sentence "There are lots of John Smiths" in the world, would that be the correct use for saying that there are a lot of people named John Smith in the world? I don't think there ...
23
votes
6answers
43k views

Why is the “ph” pronounced like a “v” in “Stephen”? Is this the only word like that?

While I know how my name is pronounced, I've run into many non-native english speakers who have stumbled over this unique exception to English. Even in the female name, "Stephanie", the ph is ...
4
votes
2answers
309 views

When do we need to add 's' to a numeric year?

I have found some statements using the format years instead of year. When do we use years like 1950s and 2010s, rather than year like 1950 and 2010? Fish stocks here began to decline in the 1950s, ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Figurative meaning for “open a parenthesis”?

In this article one can find the following construct: ... To answer this question, it is ... necessary to open a parenthesis. ( And then the author goes into some details. But he does not ...
2
votes
0answers
38 views

No and double inversion within question tags [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to reply to question tags I'm a Dutch native speaker so forgive my English mistakes (that's why I am here). In Dutch it is normal to have a following example ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“We've got you covered” on an umbrella

Is the above a pun? In one sense, the word covered is used to different ways (sort of) in that the phrase is usually used to mean a covered responsibility, not literally covered. At the same time, ...
2
votes
2answers
277 views

“I have nothing” vs “I give nothing” [closed]

Today I was told that "I give nothing to..." cannot be used as "nothing" does not exist and so I cannot give it. But don't you often say "I have nothing to do"? How come that in this case it works, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “the thesis of this dissertation” mean?

The thesis of this dissertation is that managing and accessing the Structured Web poses unique difficulties which neither traditional database systems nor search engines address. This is from ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

“Background of” or “background for”

I'm writing a paper about the interpretation of a treaty and I want to include a chapter on the historical background to explain why a certain article must be interpreted a certain way. In this ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do we write “Tsk” for the sound of disapproval?

Wikipedia says alveolar clicks are found only in Africa/Australia, which isn't true at all. For instance, there's the one usually done twice in rapid succession with the tongue against the upper side ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

How to write decimal values in words

I have 1210.802 units in a mutual fund. How do I write it in words? "One thousand two hundred and ten..." How do I write the decimal units here?
4
votes
3answers
256 views

Is “remains” in “Xenophobia remains in our society” a linking or intransitive verb?

Yet another grammar question. I know that 'remains' can be a linking verb in many contexts, but I'm undecided on whether it is linking in the sentence "Xenophobia remains in our society". I feel ...
9
votes
2answers
16k views

Difference between “no” and “nope” [closed]

When is it correct to use no and nope? Is there any difference between them?

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