3
votes
2answers
524 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 ...
4
votes
8answers
450 views

Not quite “strawman” — a word for stating a non-believed proposition?

[Begin video clip]"The Earth is flat. You can walk from here to there and you never start tilting." [End video clip] "So it might have appeared to people at one time..." [Discard rest of hour-long ...
19
votes
9answers
16k views

Word to describe “everyday things”

Is there any one word which can describe everyday things? By this, I mean things we commonly regard as things most people do every day, like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, ...
5
votes
3answers
29k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Obscure/archaic/unusual English word-of-the-day RSS feed? [closed]

I seek to embiggen my lexicon. Does anyone know of an obscure/archaic/unusual English word-of-the-day (with authoritative (preferably OED) definition) RSS feed? I've found the OED WotD feed, but a ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Answer to “enjoy your meal”

When you're having lunch and you see someone he can say "enjoy your meal", "bon appétit" or "enjoy". I can answer him by saying "thank you", for instance. But for example in Spanish we usually say a ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Pronunciation: “use” versus “use”

Compare pronunciations: "I want to use the bathroom" (yoos) "I made use of the bathroom." (yus) My poor attempt at creating a phonetically descriptive syntax is supposed to convey that, with the ...
1
vote
2answers
6k 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.
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning of 'meant' in this sentence

This is an actor's line from "waiting for forever". The boy climbs up a big object. and the girls says: This was so not meant for heels.
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Usage of 'enable' in a sentence

I have just written a sentence on an e-mail which looks like weird to me: provide the following details in order to enable us to provide you a proper service. Is the structure of the ...
5
votes
1answer
36k views

Article when there is an adjective before a noun [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” When to use a or an before a noun when there are adjectives before that noun? like the following example: An operator ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

Transitive verbs where the object is the object of the effect rather than the verb

Consider the following examples: I ate myself sick. They drank the place dry. Is there a name for this kind of construction. How would it be analysed? Obviously the sense is: I ate (something ...
16
votes
6answers
17k views

Why do non-native English users often spell “standard” as “standart”?

I've seen this incredibly often on StackOverflow, but also on a few other internet sites. "Standart" is an extremely common misspelling of "standard". Is there a reason in how English is taught to ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is a door prize called a “door prize”?

I entirely understand what door prize means, but how did this name come about? Is this some kind of slang?
2
votes
2answers
6k views

“Containing” or “consisting of”

My memory is shocking lately and would like your advice on choosing a word. See, I am building an app for a client, and there's a notification area that says (or will say), something like this: ...
12
votes
3answers
66k views

Correct pronunciation of “herbs”

In the past, I used to say "Herbs", then I was corrected and told that the "H" is muted and one should say "Erbs". Watching some video, the instructor keeps saying "Herbs". What is the right ...
14
votes
5answers
23k views

How broad is the definition of sodomy?

In this article, a top French official is in trouble for sodomizing a maid. Yet, the article says that he forced her to perform oral sex. I always understood sodomy as involving anal as that seemed to ...
7
votes
1answer
168 views

Does one consider “vs.” or “versus” when alphabetizing?

I work at a game store, and my manager insists that "versus" is to be considered when alphabetizing, and is not in the same league as "a, as, the, and, of, or," and the like. Although I do deem it ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

Outside my control or outside “of” my control [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Outside” or “outside of”? Do we need "of" preposition in this expression? The defeat was certainly less glorious and vastly outside my ...
2
votes
2answers
935 views

Verb preposition for “be at odds”

I found "be at odds" in some examples and in each example the proposition -which is used for it- is different: They're at odds over the funding of the project. Her version of events was at ...
2
votes
1answer
364 views

What is “non-guideline sentence” to allow the accused to serve as a diplomat instead of a prison term?

I read New York Times article (May 13) titled "ex-Senator gets 21-month prison term in tax evasion case." It says in abridgment: The former Republican senator, Vincent L. Leibell III had faced 18 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
670 views

Correct version of “Space Bar”

Is it acceptable to spell it "spacebar" or must the word be spelled with a space in it? I'm using it to refer to a keyboard shortcut in my application's documentation. Further, should it be ...
1
vote
3answers
150 views

Referring to the text of a text

Here are a few attributes that a text may have: "name", "length", "quality", etc. What's the name of the text attribute that refers to the text itself? Would that be the text's "content", the text's ...
1
vote
0answers
351 views

Can I use “guy” and “man” with female? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Is “guy” gender-neutral? What is a feminine version of 'guys'? Almost of my fellows are male, so I usually say "See you man" or "Guys, I have some ...
-1
votes
1answer
387 views

Problem with the usage of “but” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Specific usage of the word 'but' Interpreting the meaning of 'but' as an implication for exclusion/inclusion “nothing but” vs. “anything but” vs. “everything but” ...
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
543 views

What is the plural form of “whitespace”?

I ask this because Firefox suggested that whitespaces is not a valid word; rather it gave me whitespace or white spaces.
3
votes
3answers
13k views

Origin of “Butter wouldn't melt in his/her mouth.”

This phrase means that someone is being prim and proper with a cool kind of demeanour. But from what event or phenomenon or occurrence was this idiom derived from, and when?
5
votes
6answers
36k views

What is the origin of the saying, “faint heart never won fair lady”?

Having heard the phrase, "faint heart never won fair lady" for the third time in very short span, I'm determined to find out its origin. Unfortunately, when I Google, I'm getting a bunch of ...
4
votes
2answers
547 views

What's the correct apostrophe usage in this case?

I just wrote a response on a meta Stack Exchange site to a question about tag usage and purpose. In that response, I found myself writing the following: I hesitate to argue for the tag's (and ...
2
votes
1answer
354 views

Term for 'baby-talk'

So many newly-weds have this practice of calling one another ridiculous but affectionate names i.e. honey-bunch, or 'bunny-boo' etc. Is there a single-word term for this practice?
3
votes
5answers
4k views

A word for 'a series of events'

I'm trying to find a word to describe a series of events. For example, the revolution in Lybia consists of a series of chronological events. I want to say 'development', but that seems to refer more ...
5
votes
1answer
646 views

Is “go all coy over stg.” an idiom or simple combination of words?

I found the phrase “go all coy over reports “in the following sentence of Washington Post (May 12) article introducing CBS’s reported deal with Ashton Kutcher in replacing him Charlie Sheen as the ...
2
votes
3answers
306 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" ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the meaning and etymology of the adjective “jammy”, of Yorkshire English?

What is the etymology of the adjective jammy? As in, Thou art a jammy bugger! I confess I've never seen the word before. When I looked it up, I found confusing etymologies: one source says it ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Is “he is a proven commodity” a common phrase?

I find many unfamiliar phrases in readers' comments on the statements of political figures and articles on news sites these days. I can't tell if they are accepted usage. Comment posters could be ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Using “to” twice in a row

In the sentence "Who should I talk to to learn about that?" my grammar checker says I have a repeated word. I admit that it sounds a little awkward, but I'm not sure it's incorrect. I realize I could ...
0
votes
3answers
843 views

John, Valencia, and I (or me)? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Should I Put Myself Last (“me and you” vs “you and me”)? When do I use “I” instead of “me?” Who wants ice-cream? ...
0
votes
2answers
507 views

Using “do” to create a question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: English questions and negation with do in syntax What is the origin of the 'do' construction? I vaguely remember hearing that using "do" to create a question ...
6
votes
3answers
871 views

Making a question with the verb “to go”

I remember reading or hearing that English is a very unusual language, almost unique, in using the verb "to go" to create a question. (Are you going to see the play? Are you going to drink that ...
1
vote
0answers
185 views

Possessive “that's” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? Is the use of "that's" correct in the sentence below? Imagine a frame with two sets of strings stretched across, ...
12
votes
7answers
9k views

Is it appropriate to call a British person a “Brit”?

Specifically, is it appropriate for a non-British person to call a British person a "Brit"? Whenever I see it from an American source it always feels too familiar or too informal, or both. But I can't ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

In what region is “thou”, etc. used in dialect?

My mother often uses words like "thou", "thy", and "thine" in everyday speech. A typical example is: "Thou art a jammy bugger!" She is from the north of England. I'm wondering whether this quirk ...
2
votes
2answers
408 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

“In this year” versus “this year”

"In this year": Can anyone argue that the preposition in is unnecessary here, maybe even a hypercorrection? (Are there any situations where in is necessary?) Edits Some examples: How many days are ...
21
votes
4answers
43k views

What is the proper way to write the plural of a single letter? (another apostrophe question)

When writing (a blog post, script, etc..) what is the proper way to indicate two or more instances of a single letter? For instance, in Monty Python's Bookshop Sketch: C: I wonder if you might ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Comma in a sentence just before the start of a list

If I am asking a complex question, I would write it like this: Do you have, by chance, three pennies on you? Should I write a complex question that turns into a list without the comma? Do ...
18
votes
1answer
506 views

When and why did the number reading order change [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 19th century English texts occasionally use germanic-style number words, such as “four-and-twenty”. When did this fall out of use? In Arabic and even in ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “How do I feel this good sober” mean?

Help settle an argument. There's a song whose chorus "How do I feel this good sober?" One interpretation is, "How is possible that I feel as good as I do, even though I am sober?" The other is, ...

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