2
votes
3answers
28k views

Why is “hyperbole” pronounced so differently from its spelling?

I've often heard people say "hyperbole" exactly as it is written, "hi-per-bole", instead of how it is actually pronounced: "hi-pear-bow-lee". How did it get such an unusually different pronunciation ...
7
votes
8answers
548 views

What would be a single word to mean: repeatedly re-choose one of two options alternately?

Words like 'dither' or 'vacillate' both suggest being unable to choose between A or B and never choosing either. Is there a word that means 'chooses A, then goes back on their decision and chooses B, ...
13
votes
3answers
26k views

What is the proper way of using triple dots and spaces before/after them?

...␣part of a sentence␣... ...part of a sentence␣... ...␣part of a sentence... Notice the spaces before/after the dots. Which usage is the correct one ?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When do you use what word to express that something consists of something else?

There are various ways of saying that something consists of something else: composed of comprised of contained in consist of Maybe there are more. Are there hard and fast rules when to use which ...
4
votes
2answers
21k views

The adjective “dashing”: can it be used to describe a woman?

Can you say of a woman that she is "dashing", meaning that she looks stupendous, graceful etc.?
23
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the “-th” suffix? What is the linguistic term for the meaning it adds to words?

I was teaching my young nephew some math the other day, and from discussing the typical sort of word problems he's encountering in class, I noticed that the "-th" suffix adds a distinct meaning to ...
1
vote
0answers
130 views

What words are not capitalized in titles? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which words in a title should be capitalized? For instance: The Story of a Boy who Likes Pancakes and is Hungry <- (completely random made-up title) In this example ...
2
votes
1answer
298 views

What is the correct term for diagnosis in automobiles?

I have to provide an English translation of my bachelor thesis' title and I couldn't find a term in the dictionary. At the moment I call it "Development of a car diagnosis application", but I am ...
15
votes
4answers
44k views

What does the suffix “-saurus” mean?

Is it the same meaning in tyrannosaurus as in thesaurus? I really can’t imagine what those two words could possibly have in common!
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Ideas on” vs. “ideas for”

I'd like to know when to use "ideas on" and "ideas for". I think these are correct: I'd like some ideas on how to improve my team. I'd like some ideas for improving my team. I have some ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

“From time to time”

Aside from the usual meanings in common parlance, what writers want to to say by the expression "from time to time", mainly in financial contract wording? It doesn't seem to me that they want to ...
7
votes
5answers
15k views

Is incorrect capitalization considered a spelling error?

Is incorrect capitalization, such as the lowercase "i" in can [this is not the sic you're after] i [this sic] have an if statement within a dialog box code? considered a spelling mistake, or ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

If the English language is always evolving, why do we need to learn and follow grammatical rules?

Since language evolves over time — the best example I can think of is slang where it mostly doesn't follow grammar rules — why is there a need to preserve grammar or stress that proper ...
1
vote
2answers
710 views

The history of the use of “man” [closed]

The pronoun 'he' used generically, as well as a lot of words including "man-kind" or generic "man" are sex-biased and are not acceptable. However, not so long ago, they were the proper used terms for ...
8
votes
8answers
38k views

Usage of the word “technically”

I use this word in my daily language even without knowing what it actually means. Technically speaking, there is no big difference between […] and […]. So what does this word imply, not in the ...
2
votes
3answers
132 views

How to tell if anything has some technical problem and therefore not working

How to say that something has some technical problem and is therefore not working "Bus is not working" but that suggests the reason why the bus is not working.
5
votes
9answers
43k views

Is the word “epic” being used correctly these days?

You know what I mean. The word "epic" has been overused for quite some time now. I was recently referred to Wiktionary as a trusted source, and I see this example in use: (colloquial) Extending ...
6
votes
5answers
294 views

Word for whether a product is genuine or sham

What word should be used to fill in the blank? We don't know whether a product is genuine or sham means The product's __ is unverified.
8
votes
5answers
9k views

Does “good” weigh a little bit more than “nice”?

I came across the descriptions of badges in this Q&A site, and was curious about which word weighs more, "good" or "nice"? Here are the two descriptions that interested me: "Good Answer": ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Origin of the term “by the way”

There are many other terms and expressions and relating to "way" for example, sidetrack, out of the way, roundabout way of speaking, etc. Where did the term by the way come from? I've googled it, to ...
5
votes
4answers
7k views

Is there a difference in pronunciation between “wood” and “would”?

My friends and I were debating whether would and wood are pronounced differently. Are they?
1
vote
2answers
168 views

Origin of the term 'under influence'

How did 'under influence', as in in driving under influence, get equated to 'intoxicated'?
2
votes
0answers
141 views

Once and for all: What's the plural form of “Octopus”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Octopuses”, “octopi”, or “octo”? I've heard octopi, octopuses, octopodes, octopoids, and every time someone uses any of those, all ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Wishing someone that something goes easily for them

I'm trying to phrase a sentence in which I'm wishing that something goes easily for someone, but can't get the wording to sound right, and not awkward. For example, someone may be studying for a test ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the correct spelling: “wrapable” or “wrappable”?

As it sounds: is "wrapable" correct, or is "wrappable" correct? Or are neither correct? Microsoft Word complains about both, but Google doesn't correct either one.
9
votes
4answers
632 views

How to ask for a name of some thing? [duplicate]

My question was titled: What is this function called? Originally (my) title was: How is this function called? I still think that my version was correct; I always state such questions this ...
5
votes
5answers
13k views

Use of “Might” and “Might not”

I know "Might" and "Might not" means the lack of certainty, but is there an implied probability in the use of these terms? In other words, does "I might be coming" imply that "It is extremely likely ...
1
vote
2answers
455 views

ZOMG — I get the OMG part, but Z? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of ZOMG? What ever does ZOMG mean? And where did it come from?
5
votes
2answers
734 views

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray: “I wonder will you understand me?”

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, I came across the following passage, spoken by Basil Hallward: There is nothing that art cannot express, and I know that the work I have done since I met Dorian Gray ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Etymology, ubiquity and synonyms of the phrase “Tribal Knowledge”

I am an engineer by trade, and this phrase is often used in a somewhat derogatory way to indicate knowledge which is passed around in an organization, but never documented or standardized. A ...
6
votes
5answers
40k views

“Complement” or “supplement”?

On a site similar to this one I answered a question and the OP made a comment which prompted me to complete my answer in an edit. I called it "an example" but I originally wanted to call it ...
1
vote
0answers
388 views

Do you use “A” or “An” before an acronym that starts with L? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? We are making a banner for our LGBT running club. Is it An LGBT Running Club or A LGBT Running Club?
11
votes
4answers
842 views

Origin of the word “spraunce”

I was recently talking to someone who said a restaurant was spraunce, meaning it was well-presented and high-quality (that being the sense I was familiar with). We briefly discussed the fact that he ...
2
votes
2answers
309 views

Opposites, when dealing with adjectives and objects together

If we have the sentence, "Bob had blinding love for Susan." would the opposite be: "Bob had blinding hatred for Susan" or: "Bob had clear hatred for Susan"?
7
votes
4answers
47k views

What's the difference in usage between “annoyed at”, “annoyed with”, and “annoyed by”?

When is it appropriate to use annoyed at? Can I say I'm annoyed at you or should it be annoyed with you? What about annoyed by? I've read somewhere that annoyed with is for people and annoyed at is ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “am” in “I am right” an auxiliary verb?

Consider these sentences: The ice was thick enough to walk on. They were in a hurry. There is enough salt in it. It is freezing. I am right. Are the italicized verbs ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

When is correct to capitalise these words?

At the beginning of sentence is a given. Here are some examples for each word. Should any be capitalised? If not, is there any situations where they should? The word "government" The government ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the opposite of “to stink” (v)? Is there one at all?

Specifically I'm looking for an antonym of the infinitive rather than the noun. For example, "fragrance" is an antonym of "stink" (the noun), but you can't say "Wow, that fragrants" or "Wow that ...
1
vote
1answer
670 views

What's a “consumer-tech weblog/website”, and why is it called that way?

When people say consumer-tech, what exactly do they mean? What's a "consumer-tech weblog" / "consumer-tech website" (and why is it called that way)?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “soundness of judgment” mean?

Could anyone explain what exactly does "soundness of judgment" mean? I understand this as when you can judge something and take in count all possible exceptions that are involved in the evaluation of ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the word “savvy” in this context?

I'm not a native speaker of English. I wish to know what the word savvy means in this context: network-savvy
120
votes
2answers
12k views

Why is “bicycle” pronounced differently from other obviously related words?

The word bicycle is pronounced /'baɪsɪkəl/ (bahy-si-kuhl), like sickle. However, the words unicycle and motorcycle both have the -cycle pronounced as /-'saɪkəl/ (sahy-kuhl). Is there some sort of ...
9
votes
3answers
578 views

Capitalization of “Internet” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should the words “internet” and “web” be capitalized? For the most part Internet is capitalized, less frequently it occurs uncapitalized. Is ...
5
votes
3answers
538 views

Which of these two should be preferred: “sinification” or “sinicization”?

Which of these two options would be considered most elegant / correct? Personally I think Sinicization (or Sinicisation) has a more natural ring to it, but I have seen Sinification used also. Also, ...
7
votes
3answers
18k views

Is there a difference in meaning between “from the beginning” and “since the beginning”?

He’s been with us from the beginning. Is there a difference between from and since in the context of the quoted sentence?
7
votes
3answers
5k views

To refer back to “one or more”, should I use “it” or “them”?

In one computer program, there is an option to specify one or more arguments (software packages in this case). I am writing the help documentation, so I'm wondering what phrase to use to explain that ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the meaning of the vernacular “beasted”?

Is anyone familiar with the vernacular term "beasted", used as a verb? e.g. I beasted my exam. My colleague's teenaged son used this exact phrase in a text-message. And she had no idea whether ...
3
votes
1answer
411 views

meaning of “grapes in my mouth” [closed]

Lyrics from The National's Ada: Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth waiting for Ada I've not come across the phrase before, nor can I find an attributed meaning. One of the ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

To use “test” as an adjectival noun, is the proper form “test” or “testing”?

When I write a document, I am confused when to use test or testing in my document. For example, which one makes a better statement below? A test engineer vs A testing engineer software test tool vs ...
6
votes
3answers
535 views

Structure of “As I passed by there looked out from it the face I showed you this afternoon”

While reading Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx without a secret, I came across the following passage: 'One evening,' he said, 'I was walking down Bond Street about five o'clock. There was a terrific crush ...

15 30 50 per page