4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “hard sums” mean?

I have heard British people speak about "hard sums," but I can't find a definition anywhere. Is it just a generic way of referring to any arithmetic that the speaker believes is difficult? Or does it ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

When and why is “flied” used as the past tense of “fly”?

Why is the form "flied" used in baseball instead of "flew"?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Origins of English Double-C Pronunciations

Looking into Pronunciation of double consonants, turned up an apparent rule for pronouncing a double-C in English that seems to parallel the Italian rule for pronouncing a single C. If the "cc" is ...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Should there be a period after an equation?

This isn't a pure English question, but it is about writing style: Sometimes entities that aren't words end up being in sentences. I know that when mathematical expressions are inline as follows: ...
-1
votes
3answers
12k views

What are some slang terms for “newspaper”? [closed]

I'm looking for some slang terms for a newspaper, whether they are archaic terms that nobody has used in the past 70 years or modern, obscure terms.
1
vote
3answers
6k views

What are the differences between “crack”, “slit”, “crevice”, “split”, and “cleft”?

I was wondering what differences are between crack, slit, crevice, split, cleft and possibly other similar words, and when to use which? For example, I just bought a bowl and there is a small such ...
0
votes
2answers
101 views

Is “taking him going away” a common fishing phrase?

Has anyone ever heard the phrase "taking him going away" used to describe the experience of hooking a fish ("him") while it is moving away from/in the opposite direction of the person fishing?
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Pluralization of savings and costs (plural expressions of plural quantities)

I have a list of savings, expressed in terms of the items that necessitate the original costs. For example, say that I have to purchase sewing material. My first question is: in expressing the amount ...
7
votes
2answers
883 views

Confusing meanings of “inexorable” and “unstoppable”

I saw these two words, which I had always assumed meant the same thing, in the same sentence (below). It begs a question as to the difference between them: Sentence: This restless and perpetual ...
0
votes
4answers
199 views

“In its original formulation” versus “On its original formulation”

I want to write: "On its original formulation, the method uses ..." However, I am not sure if it is "On its original formulation" or "In its original formulation". Searching in Google for ...
17
votes
14answers
59k views

Is there a term to describe speech that has a hidden meaning but is not sarcastic?

I want to describe how someone is saying something but hidden behind their words they are blaming the person they are talking to. It's kind of like sarcasm but not quite as strong. With sarcasm the ...
2
votes
3answers
12k 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.
6
votes
6answers
9k views

Is “who all is” grammatically correct?

I often tend to say something like Who all is coming to the movies? And my friends correct me that I should be saying Who all are coming to the movies? So which one is correct?
0
votes
4answers
10k views

“Were gone” vs. “had gone” [closed]

Whats the difference between: She were gone to party. She had gone to party. Are they both ok?
2
votes
4answers
830 views

An “unhappy smile”

Is an unhappy smile the same as a frown? I tried to google images of an unhappy smile and that's mostly what I found. I don't think an unhappy smile is the same thing as a frown, but I could be wrong. ...
18
votes
4answers
16k views

Is it proper to use a colon followed immediately by a hyphen?

I have seen some writing where people have a list or a figure in writing and they will write something like this: The information is provided in Image 3:- Is that correct? Is this a British ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

Do you say 'white blackboard'?

English is not my first language, so I'm not sure what you commonly call one of these: I'm trying to choose between blackboard, white blackboard, or maybe just 'slate'.
9
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “not biting” mean?

In a recent exchange with a highly eloquent friend (we were discussing a particularly peculiar episode he has pointed to me in a book) he replied to my comments on the episode with an idiom I've never ...
5
votes
10answers
1k views

Does “exact” determine the precision or the accuracy of something?

When I say "the speed of light is exactly 300000000m/s", is that an incorrect or a correct statement? That is, does "exactly" refer to the precision of an estimate (then my statement would be ...
15
votes
6answers
24k views

Is there a gender-neutral word for [aunts and uncles], parents' siblings?

Brothers and sisters are siblings. Husbands and wives are spouses. Mothers and fathers are parents. Sons and daughters are children. Grandparents, grandchildren... but what about uncles and aunts, ...
2
votes
3answers
352 views

Phrase about movie stars

Is there a phrase about those movie stars who are just good-looking but mediocre acting and those maybe not so good-looking (compare with those good-looking ones) but amazing skilled acting movie ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

origin of expression 'at the double'

me maw used to say to me 'at the double', meaning for me to come as quick as possible. just wondering today, what was the origin of this saying? it seems to me that the words don't apply to anything ...
4
votes
4answers
12k views

Pronunciation of foreign words in American vs. British English?

One of the differences between modern US English (hereafter referred to as "American English") and British English is the way in which we pronounce foreign words, particularly those of French origin ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Why does the name 'John' have an 'h' in it?

I have always wondered this since I was little, and nobody seems to have asked or answered this before anywhere on the internet. What is the origin of the 'h', and why is it still with us?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Can adjectives be placed without a noun after them?

Adjectives are placed before nouns. But sometimes I've seen (though I'm not sure if they are correct), things like: The item placed there I know that it may be a short way of saying "The item ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“Forecasted” or “forecast”

With authors writing in English as a second language increasingly predominating, especially in technical fields, irregular verbs get regularized. As an editor, should I give up the Canute-like** ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the difference between metaphysical and spiritual?

I'm trying to explain the difference to a group, but cannot describe it myself. Any analogy or anecdote will also help, in addition to the defining differences.
4
votes
6answers
948 views

Short and well-known term for “jump from one branch to another”

In this sentence: Bird jumps from one branch to another in a strange wood. I am interested in the part: "jumps from one branch to another". Could you tell me some well-known term of such action? ...
0
votes
7answers
2k views

What's the opposite of “server”/“server operating system”?

I'm looking for a word to describe a computer that's not a server. I know that in some contexts the opposite may be "client", but that implies the ability to form a network connection to a server, ...
10
votes
6answers
13k views

Difference between 'decline' and 'decrease'

I have an advanced English student who is stuck on the word 'decline'. I told him 'decline' and 'decrease' are very similar, but are not always interchangeable. It is a business English course and we ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Is this sentence structure correct?

I'm trying to state in one sentence several things that are lacking. There's no A, or B, or C. What about There's no A, no B, and no C. Are these both grammatically correct? What's the ...
2
votes
6answers
339 views

Antonym for piling up?

I am looking for a verb that would be something like an antonym for piling up, describing the action of raising a pile from the bottom, specially making the base of the pile wider. For example, like ...
5
votes
1answer
856 views

Origin of phrase “I slept at”

I have recently heard a lot of people (most of whom have learned English as a second language) use the phrase "I slept at 9 o'clock" instead of "I went to bed at 9 o'clock" or "I fell asleep at 9". I ...
4
votes
6answers
19k views

What does “everything's gone pear-shaped” mean?

I've recently heard this phrase spoken twice on a British television show, and I assume it means something along the lines of, "everything's fallen apart," generally meaning, things are bad right now. ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

Etymology of close |kləʊz| (klōz) & close |kləʊs| (klōs)

In doing research for the question Is it “close-minded” or “closed-minded”?, which was in turn prompted by the discussion under this answer to another question, I realized that some of the confusion ...
0
votes
5answers
737 views

What's a short phrase meaning “visited and ascended” (e.g. a tower)?

Is there a short and clear word or phrase, that is not pretentious-sounding, meaning "visited and ascended", as in buildings, e.g. Bert visited the lobby of Empire State Building, but Ernie went up to ...
28
votes
7answers
22k views

Is “used in anger” a Britishism for something?

On a different board, someone referred to a computer language that had achieved popularity beyond the academic world as "used in anger", the way a shot fired in combat instead of on the practice range ...
3
votes
1answer
231 views

Is it correct to say “This train not taking passengers”?

I hear this announcement often at the train-station. Is this grammatically correct, without an 'is' after the word 'train'?
7
votes
6answers
7k views

Translation for Dutch “tot en met”: until and including?

In Dutch language we use the expression "tot en met" to signify a quantity between two measures including the last measure. So, for instance, the following: woensdag 22 juni tot en met vrijdag 24 ...
5
votes
3answers
18k views

“Exchanged with” vs. “exchanged for”

Is "exchanged with" grammatically correct and does it mean the same thing as "exchanged for?" "For" and "with" don't normally seem interchangeable, so these two phrases should be different, yet they ...
17
votes
2answers
14k views

Does “filling out” equal to “filling in”?

I quoted the following from a pamphlet: Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the application form. The application will be returned to you and the registration may be ...
3
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the pronunciation of “Aussie”? [closed]

I know that Australians pronounce Aussie like Oz-ee. However, how should Americans pronounce it? I have, in the past, politely corrected Americans when I hear the typical "aw-see" (\ä-sē\). It ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”

Does the phrase "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" make any sense from a grammatical standpoint?
3
votes
6answers
12k views

Alternative terms for meaning “wake up”

What other terms or expressions can be used to say "wake up", either slang or not? I have read about "quake up", but as English is not my natural language I am not sure of how used is this ...
1
vote
4answers
188 views

“Arrival of Nightfall”

Does it make sense to say that something waited until the "arrival of nightfall"? It sounds a little awkward (maybe because nightfall occurs rather than arrives?). Perhaps there is a better way to say ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I greet a group of teachers?

Suppose I'm walking in my school corridor and there are 4–5 teachers standing in the hallway. How can I greet them all at once? Anything better than "Greetings, teachers"?
2
votes
4answers
16k views

Is it “as God is my witness,“ or ”as God as my witness"? [closed]

I have seen both "as God is my witness", which makes sense but sort of puts God in a supportive role, and "as God as my witness", which sounds wrong to me but I don't know, might be an olde tyme ...
2
votes
3answers
12k 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.
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Whence the phrase, “in short order”?

In British English, at least, it's quite common to hear that something will be done 'in short order'. For example, He's going to finish that paperwork in short order. or: He'll be leaving the ...
0
votes
1answer
754 views

How do I ask a question about someone's order of birth? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Framing a question whose answer is an ordinal number How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number? How to ask a question to get a cardinal ...

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