2
votes
2answers
196 views

Incorrectly taking something facetious seriously

Is there a word for taking something that's meant tongue in cheek seriously? For example trying to prove someone wrong after they taunt you by saying “You couldn't fight your way out of a paper bag”.
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between female and male usage [closed]

What explains the difference of a de facto larger frequency of vowels of one writer compared to another? In the statistics data I examined, a vowel had higher probability in the text from the female ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Good and bad - suppletive adjectives

In English, there are three suppletive adjectives: good, bad and far. Their comparative and superlative forms derive from different stems, i.e., we have best instead of *goodest, worse instead of *...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

How commonly does “done” replace “did”?

How common is it for native English speakers to actively replace the past tense 'did' with the past participle 'done'? I used to think it was only really done in rather vulgar dialects, but I have ...
5
votes
3answers
164 views

Imaginary line from your finger when pointing

Is there a term for the imaginary line extrapolated from the tip of your finger when pointing at something?
9
votes
2answers
882 views

Meaning of “dust” when referring to a person

I stumbled upon the following passage while reading Lord Dunsany (The Sphinx at Gizeh). Delilah was younger than she, and Delilah is dust. Time hath loved nothing but this worthless painted face....
8
votes
1answer
8k views

Difference between “subsequently” and “consequently”?

When studying and reading course material in "softer" sciences that are descriptive the word "subsequently" appears in a way like "and subsequently" ...what does it mean, disctinct from "consequently" ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Wh-questions: auxiliary verbs or not?

What's the difference between these two questions: Why they chose football? and Why did they choose football?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “jackpot” mean in this passage?

When you say 'jackpot,' would you normally refer to it as something that you should be happy about, or something that you can very highly unlikely obtain? I find this use of 'jackpot' hard to ...
2
votes
1answer
45k views

'Seen as' or 'seeing as'

Look at these examples: You should clean the milk seen as you spilt it. You should clean the milk seeing as you spilt it. Which one is correct, and how is it grammatically defined/termed?
0
votes
1answer
207 views

“Game money” vs “Play money”

In this blog post Tobold uses the term "play money" to indicate money that is used in games such as MMORPGs. Is this a correct term to name such money? If not, what is the correct one?
5
votes
3answers
5k views

“Decision” vs. “resolution”

I read the following sentence: We can defer a resolution, but not a decision. ...and I would like to know what the differences are between "decision" and "resolution" in that context.
6
votes
2answers
1k views

“Purge” vs. “expunge”

Whats the difference between purge and expunge, if any? For example: All the duplicate pages were expunged from the book. All the duplicate pages were purged from the book. Do these ...
16
votes
3answers
125k views

Do you need a comma before a subordinating conjunction (like if)?

Are both of the following sentences correct? a: You can call me, if you need me. OR b: You can call if you need me. Note that in a:, the comma is placed before the "if" and is not present in case ...
4
votes
2answers
638 views

How long has “looney” been in use?

How long has looney been used as an abbreviation of lunatic? Is it a recent addition or something substantially older?
3
votes
2answers
151 views

Use of “measles” as an interjection

I have a friend from Illinois USA who uses measles as an exclamation of frustration or disappointment. For example, Measles! My flight was just canceled. I find this odd. Is it commonly used ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the meaning of “delivering up” here?

Context (Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address), There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution ...
4
votes
2answers
137 views

Letter shared by many words

I'm looking for a word describing the sharing of an object (for example a letter) by other objects (for example words) such as: The B in Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid as shared on the ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of “press upon”

In Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address, I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that ...
2
votes
4answers
10k views

Words that can be repeated and still make sense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there other repeated single word sentences like the Buffalo sentence? Are there words in English like had that can be repeated while still making sense? For example, ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Where can I find a list of common padding words?

Like a lot of people, I actually have the habit of actually adding a lot of actual padding words when I actually write. A common one I use is actually. These are actually rarely worth keeping, ...
6
votes
3answers
12k views

Difference between “function” and “operation”

Which one of the following is correct? Instructions given by the Vice Principal on behalf of the Principal for smooth function of the school must be followed by all staff members. or ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning of “reductio ad Hitlerum”

Can anyone explain what reductio ad Hitlerum means in simple English with examples? I tried reading the Wikipedia article but it didn't help.
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Abbreviating names that start with a vowel

What are the rules about abbreviating names that start with a vowel? Would abbreviating "Alanis Morissette" to "A. Morissette" be correct or should it be "Al. Morissette"?
3
votes
2answers
244 views

What does “famously absent” mean?

What does the term "famously absent" mean? I was reading the wiki article about Ward Lamon and saw it in there: Ward Hill Lamon (January 6, 1828 - May 7, 1893) was a personal friend and self-...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

“What it did was” versus “what it did is” versus “what it does is”

I feel a bit uncertain about the use of tense in the above sentence structure. Which one is grammatically correct and sounds most natural between "what it did was," "what it did is," and "what it ...
2
votes
2answers
561 views

Is “of course” just a warning that something is NOT obvious?

I've come to feel that the phrase "of course" is just a warning that--perk up!--something is NOT "of course." Consider these examples: NY Times: "There is of course a difference between speculative ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Who are ‘the proverbial monkeys’ in ‘the proverbial monkeys willing to throw a wrench into it’?

I thought the article written by Charles M. Blow under the title ‘Genuflecting to the Tea party’ appearing in August 12 New York Times intriguing. He criticizes a sequence of moves of Republican ...
7
votes
1answer
636 views

Use of “sleek” as a noun

I encountered a polishing cloth that has a line which says (This cloth) generates sleeks and scratches on the glass surface. What is the definition of sleek in this context? I looked up in a ...
4
votes
7answers
809 views

Appropriate use of the term “transversely”

In the following paragraph, is it appropriate to use the term "transversely" to describe something that has the opposite effect? Tests have shown that the lower the range, the more likely that a ...
7
votes
6answers
15k views

Difference between “warrior” and “soldier”

Is there any difference in meaning between warrior and soldier? Are they totally synonymous?
8
votes
3answers
27k views

“stay home” vs. “stay at home”

Consider the following: I'll probably stay at home. I'll probably stay home. Is the second sentence still grammatically correct? Is there any difference at all?
4
votes
2answers
152 views

What category includes “document” and “video”?

I want a common word that could categorise both document (like presentation/portfolio etc.) and video. Any good ideas? I need something simple enough that everyone can understand & not just the ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

Pronunciation of “have” in “I don't have to” [do something]

Normally when I say "I don't have to do that" (meaning I'm not obliged to), I find that as well as putting heavy stress on the word "have", I pronounce if haff. Is this common? If so, why does the ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the term for the inner perimeter of something?

Say I have a building with a sidewalk on its outside. To walk it I might say something like: "I'm going to walk the perimeter of the building." Now say I want to walk around the perimeter of the ...
8
votes
2answers
23k views

“During summer” vs. “during the summer”

What is the difference between saying "during summer" and "during the summer"? As in: I work during the summer. I work during summer. Are both common? Is my feeling correct that the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“Painful” vs. “hurtful”

Can painful be used in place of hurtful as in the following sentence ? It is a painful story of a small baby fish I would not like to share with anyone.
2
votes
6answers
55k views

Shorter alternatives to “staying up-to-date”

Is this kind of bad foreign English or it would be correct to say "to keep yourself up-to-date"/"informed" when subscribing, e.g., a twitter or a RSS feed? Is there a single verb/adjective/shorter ...
7
votes
8answers
1k views

Express an ability not to do something

How would I express my ability not to do something? "I cannot dig" means that I definitely cannot dig. But how do I express my ability not to dig? The first thing that comes to my mind is "I am able ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

“Invoke” and “invocation”

We invoke something using an invocation. Is the use of a k and a c in words of the same root like this unusual? Might I reasonably expect invocation to be spelled invokation?
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Use of “compute” and “calculate” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between "computation" and "calculation"? Speed is calculated/computed as distance per time. Speed is a quotient ratio of distance and ...
5
votes
1answer
20k views

Distinctly vs Distinctively

I use the latter most of the time, but I am unsure where the former is more appropriate. What are the different uses of "distinctly" vs "distinctively"?
0
votes
1answer
387 views

Equivalent for “at the heart of our society” [closed]

I want to say "XXX is at the heart of our society," but I feel it's such a cliche! Any suggestions for a somewhat equivalent sentence?
2
votes
2answers
459 views

“While” as a non-temporal adverb

Is it correct in formal writing to use while as a non-temporal adverb? For instance Phenomenon A is generated by XXX, while phenomenon B is generated by YYY Should I rather use : Phenomenon ...
3
votes
10answers
8k views

Is there an expression for creating something from start to finish (e.g. grain to bread)

Maybe this is not really the right place to ask this, I hope I will not be penalized for asking this. I am a webdeveloper, and I do most of the stuff myself, from the basic idea, till the final ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What does 'wear-wite' mean?

I've got a spoon (probably a boulion spoon) with the following text in capitals: wear-wite rustless nickel silver Sheffield Made in England What does 'wear-wite' mean?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to correctly say you liked some food?

Yesterday a colleague gave me a piece of cake. We are both not native English speakers, but communicate in English. She wanted to ask me if I liked it and wrote: 'Did the cake taste you?' (1) ...
6
votes
2answers
544 views

What does “We don’t do anything that’s not completely up and up” mean?

I found an amusing story titled “Lobster salad, but a key ingredient was missing” in today’s (August 11)New York Times NY/Region section. The article reports that Zabar’s, the famous grocery in ...
3
votes
2answers
138 views

Will the comma suffice to indicate whether the subject or the object is being modified?

There are two separate meanings I'm trying to convey with the following two sentences: 1) "I painted my brother sitting against the wall." 2) "I painted my brother, sitting against the wall."...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What to call the collective parts of a day?

Millennia are made of centuries and decades, centuries of decades and years. Years are months, months of weeks, but not precisely. Days are made of hours, but what do we call the several imprecise ...

15 30 50 per page