1
vote
2answers
481 views

Is ‘marquee chefs’ casual word?

I found the word ‘marquee chefs’ in an article in today’s New York times in the following context. ‘From new offerings by marquee chefs to more modest openings in out-of-the-way spots, here are 10 ...
1
vote
2answers
650 views

Sports: opposite of an upset

What's the opposite of an upset in sports. Maybe "expected outcome"... Terser would be better, but I'd hear anything that came to mind.
0
votes
2answers
741 views

Why did ‘off-the-shelf' come to mean ‘in stock, ready-made, and easily available’?

I came across the word “off-the-shelf” in the following sentence of Time magazine’s article “The 50 Best Inventions of the Years (Nov.11 issue). He (inventor of the first synthetic cell) started with ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

What's this tense called: “I been done ate”?

Growing up in a Black family in the US, I frequently heard people have conversations like this: Mom: Have you eaten yet? Kid: Yeah, Mom, I been done ate. Wife: Have you fixed the sink yet? ...
3
votes
5answers
9k views

“with whom” or “whom with”

I've been looking, but I have not come across this 'whom' related question anywhere. Specifically in this circumstance, I feel 'with whom' flows more naturally but I remember someone suggested that ...
2
votes
6answers
14k views

“Injured” vs. “wounded”

I just saw a news report in which the reporter said: "They used the term injured and not wounded". I am wondering what the difference between the two is. Is wounded used only when there is an open ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

The etymology of the phrase “I'm afraid not”

When confirming bad news, or replying to a request in the negative it is common to hear one of these two phrases: I'm afraid so. or I'm afraid not. The general meaning inferred by "I'm ...
6
votes
1answer
580 views

Who inflects “innit”?

I'm quite surprised there doesn't seem to be a question about this yet. Depending on where you hail from, you've probably heard the word innit, an abbreviation of isn't it or ain't it. You may also ...
12
votes
3answers
19k views

Largest open-source dictionary w/ brief definitions (not wiktionary)

What's the largest open-source dictionary that includes brief definitions of each word? Wiktionary is a great resource but: There are over 200K words in the scowl list that aren't in wiktionary. ...
14
votes
4answers
40k views

“On website” or “at website”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: This question has been asked at/on SO? Which sentence is grammatically correct? The papers are freely available at the journal website. The papers are freely available ...
6
votes
6answers
9k views

Is there a semantic difference between relevance and pertinence?

The dictionary defines relevant as being Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand whilst pertinent is defined as Relevant or applicable to a particular matter. Both of these ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

Pronunciation differences between “finite” and “infinite”

In my experience, "finite" is pronounced (IPA) ˈfaɪnaɪt while "infinite" is ˈɪnfɪnɪt. In general, the prefix "in" negates an adjective, but does not change the pronunciation. Based on this, I would ...
11
votes
7answers
12k views

When did the word “so” begin to be used to start a sentence?

In the last few years, I've noticed a growing usage of the word "so" to begin a sentence, especially in the context of higher education. For example: Interviewer: "What is the nature of your ...
20
votes
9answers
113k views

Using “dear”, “darling”, or “honey” to address a friend

As far as I know dear, darling, and honey are commonly used between lovers, but I suppose there are more words like that. What else is commonly used? Which of these can be used to address a ...
0
votes
0answers
2k views

“A heroic” or “An heroic”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “A historic…” or “An historic…”? I have heard and read this combination both ways: It was a heroic act. It was an heroic act. ...
9
votes
2answers
49k views

Can I use “therefore”, “so”, “hence” and “thus” interchangeably?

I was taught that, at least, 'therefore' and 'so' and can be used interchangeably, one being informal, the other formal. But, even when written, replacing 'so' with 'therefore' doesn't seem correct. ...
2
votes
3answers
774 views

Alternatives to “this last point”

What alternatives are there to the expression "this last point"? I'll give an example of a sentence that I wrote recently, referring to the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice: The dialog and ...
10
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there a hypernym for debit/credit?

I’m looking for a generic word that means “debit or credit”. Say I have a transaction, and I don’t know whether it’s a debit on the account or a credit on the account, and I want to ask about it, is ...
6
votes
6answers
8k views

Is there a canonic term for “the one whose birthday party is being celebrated”?

Something along the lines of 'hero of the occasion', but specifically for birthday? If there isn't, how would you otherwise say that? ('the subject of birthday party', 'the hero of this birthday ...
23
votes
6answers
42k views

Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word X-Ray?

I was asking this question on Area 51: "How do I tell if an airport scanner is a X-ray scanner?", but I keep wanting to put an 'an' in front of X-ray because it starts with the 'eh' sound. So is it ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Did the English language ever have noun genders?

And if so, how did they differentiate between male, female or neuter nouns? Did English ever have gender-specific (in)definite articles? (like der/die/das in German)
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Usage of YMMV: Can I use it in day-to-day conversation?

I found the word YMMV in an answer to my question "How important to write down mission statement in learning English? Do I have to?", which I posted on January 6. As YMMV is a quite strange word to ...
2
votes
3answers
12k views

Is “as” used correctly in this sentence?

Young, naive and trusting as I was, I believed every lying word he said. From what I learned, "as" used the way here should mean "though". But if it means "though", the meaning of this sentence ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

Literal echelons?

Merriam-Webster and the OED list only figurative senses of the word echelon (i.e. military formations and organizational ranks). Would it be incorrect to use it in the literal sense of the French word ...
2
votes
1answer
866 views

Quote meaning: A wife is essential to great longevity

Can anyone please explain to me the meaning of this quote? A wife is essential to great longevity; she is the receptacle of half a man's cares, and two-thirds of his ill-humor. -Charles ...
10
votes
4answers
13k views

“Are either of you free?”

In the process of writing to two people I typed: "Are either of you free?" and was immediately called out by my grammar checker which suggested I should write: "Is either of you free?" The second of ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Would sir like something for the weekend?

"Something for the weekend" is a euphemism heard in barber shops, when the above phrase is used to enquire of a customer whether he would like a packet of condoms. Does anyone know how this phrase ...
4
votes
1answer
905 views

Omissions of “that” in a relative clause [duplicate]

I am not clear on when the word "that" can be omitted in a relative clause. I only know that when the modified noun is the object in the clause, the antecedent "that" can be omitted. Are there any ...
6
votes
2answers
14k views

Difference between “society” and “the society”

I am not very clear on the difference between "society" and "the society". As far as I know, "society" (without "the") refers to a society that is more general. But I don't have a clear distinction ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “completely good” proper English? If not, why?

I was recently asked by a Japanese person why completely good was improper English, as in “This is completely good.” As a native speaker of English (raised in northeastern America), I do feel ...
1
vote
2answers
157 views

usage of “only” and “have”

If I say this: You don't have only what it takes to master English but all the languages. For you, is it a compliment or an insult? The usage of "only" and "have" is a little bit confusing.
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Strong Wind(s) or High Wind(s)?

Which one is more popular? I always used strong wind, but I found high winds also used some times.
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Why “integrity” means “honesty”

The word integrity meaning wholeness seems to come from the word integer which, roughly speaking, refers to whole numbers. Why does integrity also mean honesty?
6
votes
2answers
7k views

“supposed to” or “suppose to”?

What is the actual spelling/pronunciation? What is the origination of this phrase?
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the game, “go,” a proper noun? What about “checkers” or “chess”?

The game of Go is... or The game of go is... Apparently the International Go Federation capitalizes it. Its dictionary entry doesn't appear to be (from what I have seen). It seems to fit ...
2
votes
2answers
642 views

Omitted words in a comparison

The moon was smaller than yesterday. Is this correct, and the "how large it was" was just omitted and implied, as in The moon was smaller than (how large it was) yesterday. or is this a ...
19
votes
3answers
90k views

What does “I stand corrected” mean? [closed]

When someone says I stand corrected. What does that mean?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Are prepositions fixed for words?

Is it fixed that words will always take a specific preposition after them? I am reading a book "High school English grammar". It says for example The following nouns take preposition for after ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Two adjectives for two nouns

I saw this on a billboard recently We have new and pre-owned cars and trucks Clearly the intention is to modify "cars and trucks" with the two adjectives "used and preowned" and although the ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

Comma or no comma before “too”?

Consider the following examples: "And it is a bottle, too." "And it is a bottle too." Is there a semantic difference between these two sentences? Or do they mean the same thing, with or without ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Are Anglo-Saxon words better at expressing emotion? [closed]

Twice recently I've seen someone on this site state that Anglo-Saxon words, or words of Germanic origin, are better for expressing emotion than words derived from Latin. Does anyone have any ...
0
votes
2answers
271 views

Now and forever

I want you to be with me only two times in my life.. now & forever I came across this sentence the other day, and thought that the usage of "two times" for "now and forever" is incorrect, ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the proper usage of “Y'all” in southern American dialects

The construction of the word to me implies that "you" is singular, whereas "y'all" is plural. To a football team: "Y'all are going to play a great game." To a tennis player: "You are going to play a ...
13
votes
5answers
77k views

What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”?

It seems more politically correct to say that someone is speaking rather than talking. What is the definitive difference between these terms?
1
vote
1answer
686 views

On being golden

Saying that [someone] is golden means that person is in a desirable situation that will likely lead to some sort of success. I am trying to find out the origin of this phrase. So far, I have found ...
5
votes
3answers
55k views

Response when your boss thanks you [closed]

What should be your response when your boss thanks you for using his own resource allotted to you and you respect your boss and cannot respond him like It's ok or you're welcome.
3
votes
1answer
7k views

“Any ideas are appreciated” or “Any ideas would be appreciated”?

Lets say I'm asking a question on a popular question and answer website, and I want to close by saying that I will appreciate any submitted ideas. The first seems awkward because at the moment of ...
-1
votes
4answers
11k views

“I'm free at around 7PM” [closed]

I'm free at around 7PM. Is it correct?
2
votes
5answers
760 views

What does 'cool toy' mean?

I found a word 'cool toy' in the following sentence in today's New York Times article: 'Spending money on tablet computers may seem an extravagance, but some educators say they are more than just a ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“Adapt himself to being/be free”

A sentence from my reference book is He can't adapt himself to being free again. Why is being used instead of be? Isn't verb form and not verb + ing form used after to?

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