8
votes
17answers
2k views

Is there a word meaning a problem that has to be solved in order to work on another problem?

I work in the computer trade and frequently find that when I'm assigned a problem to solve, it invariably happens that other problems need solving before I can work on the real issue. Is there a word ...
-2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between “conquered” and “won”?

What is the difference between "conquered" and "won"?
2
votes
1answer
876 views

Is “Create Product” a <Verb> + <Subject> or <Verb> + <Object>?

I am software developer and trying to develop a new language. I need to learn that basic information in English: Create Product. Update Page. Stay Here. Create, Update and Stay are verbs, of ...
0
votes
3answers
126 views

is that + <subject> + <verb> OR is the + <noun>

I am writing a paper and I want to criticize some other related work. I want to say that the problem of their work is that they don't support advanced composition rules. So which one is a better ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of contractions like “it's” and “that's” in textbooks

Is it considered bad style to use abbreviations contractions like "it's" and "that's" (instead of spelling them out as "it is" and "that is") in a textbook or academic publication?
4
votes
4answers
769 views

Mark: outstanding (as in: not yet known)

I’m updating my tabular CV for an application and I’d like to include my master thesis even though it’s not yet finished (soon!) and marked. So I’d like to write that the mark is still outstanding but ...
5
votes
4answers
9k views

“in for a penny, in for a pound”

What does this mean? I'm English and I've never come across the meaning!
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it wrong to space en dashes and em dashes?

How I use en dashes and em dashes En dashes: Sybrand Engelbrecht (1814–2177): Unspaced en dash. January–December: Unspaced en dash. Sybrand loved three things – soccer, jazz, and living forever ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

When to use -, – and —? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? This is about hyphens (-), en-dashes (–) and em-dashes (—). When to use which one? To be honest, I always use ...
0
votes
2answers
123 views

When are facts implied in questions?

I was answering a question the other day "How do I send an e-mail from SQL?". I supplied an answer dealing with the techniques necessary to perform an action in SQL, assuming that the questioner ...
29
votes
3answers
12k views

How do you capitalize a proper noun such as “iPhone”?

I was always taught to capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence, and also the first letter of proper nouns. In the last few years it's been common for certain firms to name their ...
10
votes
2answers
15k views

Should I use the singular or plural verb in mathematical formulae (“Two and two make/makes four”)?

I remember somebody correcting me once when I said, "Two and two makes four", since the conjunction and would imply the use of a plural verb. They would prefer I said: Two and two make four. ...
3
votes
2answers
383 views

Use of 'the' before human voice

Which is correct? The fascinating features of human voice OR The fascinating features of the human voice Is there a rule or is it another difference between American and British ...
9
votes
2answers
544 views

avoid the slash?

Should the slash be avoided? For example every week/day in my head is translated to every week or day. I think I started using slashes because I saw them used in forums and in articles. Is using ...
4
votes
1answer
444 views

Use like something in a sentence

I do know I can just click on that person's profile once every week/day, but I think automated "inbox" like feature would be better I'm talking about Inbox feature provided by the ...
6
votes
8answers
524 views

“flavorx” v.s. “flavors”

I wrote something about the food. And I use flavors for plural flavor, however my foreign English teacher corrected it as flavorx. And he considers that I also should read 'flavors'. I googled the ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Should I use a singular or plural “one” here?

Sometimes I get confused over how and when we should use plurals. For example, should we say: They are the only one who is capable of doing this Or They are the only one who are capable ...
4
votes
5answers
783 views

Opposite of “turnaround”

The dictionary says that a “turnaround” is “an abrupt or unexpected change, esp. one that results in a more favorable situation”. What would be the word for “an abrupt or unexpected change” which is ...
19
votes
6answers
31k views

Is “Eskimo” a universally offensive term?

I know that "Eskimo" is an offensive term in Canada; they use the term "Inuit". But I see the term "Eskimo" popping up regularly in news articles that I read; I hardly see the term "Inuit" being ...
5
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it “If money were not an object” or “If money were not an option”?

The phrase "If money were not an option" is often used to mean "Don't worry about how much it would cost". However, I just noticed that the last word, option, makes it sound like saying "If spending ...
14
votes
2answers
388 views

Is it acceptable to write “(wo)man”?

I just read this: It’s a (wo)man’s world out there. Is this an accepted approach to gender-neutral language, or is it just used when humor is intended?
4
votes
3answers
170 views

What does the nation “Jolted into civility” after an incident mean?

I found the following caption and lead copy in today's New York Times. Does 'jolt into civility' mean 'get calmed down quickly," "resume normality soon after the incident"? Is "jolt into" civility, ...
21
votes
7answers
3k views

Which style of Latin plurals should I use?

Many Latin words in English have both Latin-style plurals and English-style plurals: referendum – referendums, referenda. minimum – minimums, minima. gymnasium – gymnasiums, gymnasia. ...
2
votes
1answer
267 views

Quote about miscellany (?)

I'm trying to remember a certain quote representing the concept of miscellany (or randomness perhaps). I can't give much information except that it is of the form "Of ... and ... and ... etc.", ...
34
votes
6answers
3k views

Does apologizing entail recognizing being at fault?

Consider this example: I'm sorry if you got the impression that I meant to insult you. That was not my intention. Would it be correct to say that the above person apologized? All the ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Differentiating between “written” and “writing”

For some reason it is written and writing. It's confusing to me. How can I remember to write them differently?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

“it would take me 1–2 seconds”

or "it would took me 1–2 seconds"?
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it true that the 100 most common English words are all Germanic in origin?

There is an oft-quoted statement that the 100 most common (frequently used) words in the English language are entirely Germanic/Anglo-Saxon in origin. (Also sometimes said is that ~80% of the 1000 ...
2
votes
4answers
355 views

“when I clicked on video file nothing has happened”

when I clicked on video file nothing has happened. Is that correct?
7
votes
3answers
151 views

Looking for the name of a method of wilderness navigation

What's the name of the method of navigation or orienteering in which you sight a landmark in the distance, work your way toward it, and then repeat with another landmark further off?
10
votes
4answers
25k views

How is the word “qua” used?

I play Scrabble. I'm learning words with the letter 'q'. What is the usage of the word 'qua'?
41
votes
7answers
2k views

Which variant of English should I use when my target audience is the world?

I know that all variants of English (American English, British English, etc.) can be generally understood by everybody who knows any of the English variants. However, there are some regionalisms that ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Question regarding the usage of “Bang”

Can anyone shed some light on the origin of the use of the word "Bang" to imply a positive adjective? For example, here are three colloquial phrases which use the word bang to lend strength to the ...
4
votes
3answers
431 views

“Two people got hurt and five people died in the tragedy”

Can you say so? In other words, are deaths counted among people that got hurt? Does it make a difference if you say: Two people were injured and five people died in the tragedy. Let's imagine ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Meaning of the word 'en'

While reading Paulo Coelho's novel, I came across a word that left me doubting whether it was of English origin. Following is the sentence: She fell in love for the first time when she was eleven, ...
6
votes
13answers
3k views

Are there any English sayings to the effect that little changes may lead to big changes?

Can you think of any sayings about change, especially ones expressing how a big change must begin with a little change? how certain institutions, ideas, or God remain eternally unchanged? Note: ...
10
votes
4answers
98k views

Is an indentation needed for a new paragraph?

Is an indentation (Tab button in Word) needed for a new paragraph when you start one? I was told to do that a long time ago but 3 years after I stopped doing it and have done it since. Are you meant ...
1
vote
2answers
214 views

In what situation (if any) you would say “better play positive”?

In what situation (if any) you would say "better play positive"? Please, don't add any punctuation between words.
1
vote
3answers
659 views

What is “the hottest seat/seed in town”?

What is "the hottest seat/seed in town"? I am not sure if it's a seed or seat or something else. I heard it a few times on "CNN" when a new upcoming "Larry King Live" program was being advertised. ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Can you use a semicolon after an interjection/exclamation?

The usual form for using interjections involves following them with a comma, period, or exclamation point. For example... "Well, I honestly have no idea." "Dude! Where's my car!" "Wow. I have ...
2
votes
7answers
1k views

Is “try taking these ones” correct? (doctor speaking to a patient)

A patient is complaining that the pills that he had given her a week ago don't help, so he opens a drawer, takes another pack of some other pills and says: "Try taking these ones". Is it correct to ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “throw back” mean?

In this sentence: I've throw back a lot of orange juice. What does to “throw back (orange juice)” mean?
1
vote
0answers
127 views

Style of this sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a name for inverting word order to accomplish a different meaning? I came across this sentence recently and I was wondering what is this repetitive style ...
5
votes
5answers
9k views

What does “the D word” mean in the context of discussing the pros and cons of marriage over co-habitation?

I came across a phrase unfamiliar to me, the D word, in an article of Time magazine (November 18, 2010 Issue) titled Who Needs Marriage? How an American institution is changing. The D word appears as ...
3
votes
1answer
568 views

What does ‘the Kardashians’ mean in the context of the Treasury Department’s sending a prepaid card to many Americans?

I saw the following sentence in today’s Washington Post. I understand that ‘the Kardashian’ is picked up from a popular American reality TV series, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians'. But I don't ...
5
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the difference between an expression and a phrase?

I'm trying to decide what tags I should be using and realized I did not know the difference between these terms.
4
votes
9answers
2k views

Continuing to do something just because it was done before, without knowing why

How would you describe someone that continues to perform and action solely because they have observed someone else performing that same action, but do not know the reason. Or, they perform an action ...
12
votes
3answers
16k views

Were contractions less common in olden days?

We just viewed the new movie True Grit. The language of the characters was more formal sounding than we are used to, largely because of the absence of contractions. Is this historically accurate? Do ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Specific usage of the word 'but'

The Aesop's Fables translated by George Fyler Townsend book has a line which reads as follows: ... If you had but touched me, my friend, you ... I've seen the word 'but' used this way a couple ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Syntax analysis of the sentence

I'm trying to analyse the following sentence. To understand the importance of this event you should know all the facts. It seems to me that this sentence is complex, and «To understand ...

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