16
votes
8answers
7k views

What is “the exception that proves the rule”?

I've heard the phrase, "the exception that proves the rule," but it's not clear to me what it means. It sounds self contradictory. What is a good example of "an exception that proves the rule?" Can ...
3
votes
3answers
14k views

“Represented by” vs. “represented with”

What should I write? A certain property is represented with a special color. A certain property is represented by a special color. Or maybe even "indicated with/by"? But the main point ...
2
votes
4answers
487 views

What does “What the monarchies have going for them are royal families that allow them to stand above the fray” mean?

I saw the sentence in the following quote of Kenneth M. Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, about Middle East upheaval in New York Times’ ...
6
votes
2answers
474 views

Subject vs. Object marking for whoever?

I know similar questions have been asked before, but I'm having trouble reconciling the following sentence, received in an email: Can we ask whomever is your contact there to email us a job so we ...
5
votes
3answers
354 views

A generic word to define the superset of companies, NGOs and faculties

I need a word to define a set which includes companies, NGOs and faculties that sounds equally distant to those 3. I am not a native English speaker so I might be wrong but "Corporation" sounds like ...
9
votes
12answers
3k views

What's a word for an instance in which one has an opinion about something without having tried it?

What do you call it when someone has a strong opinion about something without having any experience with that thing? For example, if someone writes an entire newspaper article about how disgusting pie ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Word that means “First Among Equals”

I am trying to come up with a word that would describe someone who is the first among equals. I did a quick search on the term on Google, and didn't come up with anything really satisfactory.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the significance of the name John Doe in the 1940's?

What is the significance of the name John Doe in the 1940's?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Word Meaning “A single thing that's an indicator of greater overall trends”?

What's a word that means "a single thing or a subset of things that could be used to represent greater overall trends"? I work for a bookseller. The other day I was discussing a subset of several ...
41
votes
4answers
2k views

Trolling: billy goats gruff or fishing reference?

Where does the internet jargon "Troll" come from? The way I see it. If it's a fishing reference, then you can't accuse someone of "Being a troll" and if it's a mythology reference then someone isn't ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of the phrase “take cares of”?

What is the usage, and why use plural? The context is here: The automatic support for long - running workfl ows that the WF infrastructure provides is the most evident benefi t. The ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Classical language [closed]

What are classical languages? How they are different from other languages? Is English is an example of classical language?
3
votes
3answers
187 views

What section heading for a CV, regrouping things you do for the community?

In a university researcher's curriculum vitæ, it is typical to split items between categories such as Education, Research activity, Publications, Teaching, etc. I want to include as a separate ...
9
votes
1answer
621 views

Australian regional shibboleths

I have been living in Australia for 7 years now, and still haven't been able to pin down the local regional accents. I can tell a "Town" from a "Country" accent, but I can't reliably tell which state ...
4
votes
6answers
16k views

What terms and expressions can be used in English to show one's love to his/her girlfriend/boyfriend? [closed]

I know in every language there are a lot of ways and cute names to address your girlfriend or your boyfriend to show you love her/him. The names can be creative for any couple. As Andy mentions these ...
0
votes
4answers
12k views

Word for “Ray of Hope”

Which word or phrase to use instead of "Ray of Hope" ? EDIT : In a general context. Suppose there is one line - There is a Ray Of Hope in darkness always.
1
vote
2answers
632 views

What's the difference between 'collision' and 'conflict'?

What's the difference between 'collision' and 'conflict'? In SQL language, should I say 'PK collision' or 'PK conflict'?
1
vote
3answers
48k views

How do you show possession with the word “year” (“year's” vs.“years”)?

So, I develop for a company that does workplace-surveys. And one of our report-formats has just been translated into English. And with it a description on how to read the reports. This description ...
3
votes
0answers
179 views

Is it correct to say “lesson count” or “lessons count”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “user accounts” or “users account”? If I mean "number of lessons", which grammatical construction should I go for? I can imagine three of them: ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Origin of the usage of “Man” as a word of exclamation

What is the origin of the usage of the word "Man" as a word of exclamation? Man this curry is delicious! Man my feet hurt!
4
votes
6answers
1k views

“Place the pot somewhere where it is 20–22 degrees warm.”

Place the pot somewhere where it is 20–22 degrees warm. The double where sounds a bit silly. Is there a better way to word this sentence? "Someplace 20-22 degrees warm" sounds too informal.
6
votes
5answers
5k views

What does the phrase “little big” mean?

What does the phrase "little big" mean? Samples (game titles): Little big planet Little big adventures Little big magazine
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Interpreting the meaning of 'but' as an implication for exclusion/inclusion

I often find it difficult to interpret the meaning of but in some of the sentences where it is used to imply exclusion/inclusion. For example: Drink everything you want but alcohol. Also, sometimes ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

What is an alternative expression to “this”?

What is an alternative expression to "this"? As in: Medicine is very important. This can be ascertained from the fact that... I'm looking for a "synonym".
6
votes
3answers
956 views

Did “et cetera” gain its popularity from “The King and I”?

Is it possible that et cetera gained its popularity thanks to the 1956 movie The King and I? Since I wasn't around before 1956, I'm not sure how common "et cetera" was in day to day speech. Or was it ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Pinpointing British accents

After having watched British TV and movies for a while, I came across several accents I liked. But I'm not completely sure what they are, so I need your help :) David Tennant as The 10th Doctor ...
11
votes
3answers
22k views

Is there a grammatical rule for using “read” between parentheses? [closed]

As an example: I am bored (read: lazy). I wish to know if English Grammar has a formal construct for this usage.
22
votes
1answer
3k views

Explain this pickup line: “If Bangkok invaded Djibouti, would Greece help?”

I was at an Model UN conference and often notes like the following get passed. As I'm not a native speaker, I assume that this has to do with some pronunciational issue. Can you please explain what's ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

With the phrase “good night” do you have to use an apostrophe before the word “night” if you are to omit the use of “good?”

Am I actually contracting the phrase by omitting "good" from it, hence the need for the use of an apostrophe?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Progressive form required for “as”, “while”, etc.?

Are both forms grammatically correct? As I was entering the shop, I saw her. As I entered the shop, I saw her.
9
votes
6answers
833 views

Word for “rush of air”

What do you call the rush of air you experience when riding on a motorcycle or in a speed boat? I want to say breeze, but that is caused by the wind, not the movement of the vehicle. Update: I am ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a term for something that is tainted with another's saliva?

From The Encyclopedia Britannica: "Food left on plates after eating is defined as garbage (jutha) because it has been polluted by the eater’s saliva. It may be handled in the family. Is ...
1
vote
2answers
175 views

Which is more correct: well or good? within the context given: [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “good” and “well” "I work equally well as part of a team or as an independent researcher." or "I work equally ...
9
votes
2answers
17k views

“In toto” versus “in total”

Are the phrases "in total" and "in toto" interchangeable, or is "in total" a corruption of "in toto"?
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Pronunciation of en- prefix as ahn-

Recently, I pronounced the word enqueue as ahn-queue. The person I was talking to said he would have pronounced it with a more normal en sound (like in Ben or den). I'm not sure why I thought that ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

What is a word for a person who has been initiated into secret knowledge (apprentice, ___, master)?

I'm looking for a noun that can fit well in a 3-level scale: apprentice, ____, master. The scale describes the progress of a person from a layman/uninitiated (apprentice), through being accomplished ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Any authoritative source on British rules on space before question mark?

A space before a question or an exclamation mark. Can it be correct? is affirming what I always use, but now some translators at my office said that I always need a space before. I am sure they are ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Spelling and plural of abbreviation “hi vis”

We regularly use these "hi visibility jackets/vests": We use them often enough to informally abbreviate it to simply "hi vis". I am struggling as to how to pluralise such a term. In speech it ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the meaning of the word “nerd-crush”?

This is the context: I’m just going to come right out and say it, I have a huge nerd-crush on jQuery. I have for several years. Actually, it may be more of a love affair.
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Word for “left alone and to die”?

Is there a word that means "left alone and to die"? Edit: I believe there is such a word. I think I'm looking for abandoned and alone. Others expectations are that you'll die.
4
votes
4answers
5k views

“Peel”, “pare”, and “skin”

I lately learnt these three words of similar meanings: peel, pare, and skin. In what case do you use each of them? Could you give me example sentences along with a concise description for each?
4
votes
5answers
6k views

Pronunciation of “r”

How would you describe the pronunciation of r to somebody who speaks English as second language?
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it correct to say that English has the dative case?

Is it correct to say that, nowadays, English has the dative case, or was it only present in Old English?
13
votes
5answers
13k views

Why is “t” sometimes pronounced like “d” in American English?

Why, in American English, is the word Italy is pronounced /ˈɪdəli/ and not /ˈɪtəli/? What is the rule that is followed in the pronunciation of Italy to make the letter t pronounced like a d? Why is ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Does “peculiar” imply “unusual”/“hard to expect”?

When something is called peculiar or having a peculiarity what does that mean? Does it just mean it has some specific features or does it mean that those specific features are unusual, not normally ...
3
votes
1answer
425 views

What does ‘Gut the Roster’ mean?

I find the phrase ‘gut the (one’s) roster’ very often in the sport section of news papers as used in the following examples. What does it mean? Is it used only in sport related context? 1.He ‘gutted ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

What does “sunset” mean in this text?

In the definition of USA PATRIOT, I read the following text: Many of the act's provisions were to sunset beginning December 31, 2005, approximately 4 years after its passage. In the months ...
5
votes
2answers
472 views

Is CAPTCHA a contrived acronym?

While I understand why USA PATRIOT is a contrived acronym, I don't understand if CAPTCHA should be considered a contrived acronym. Is CAPTCHA a contrived acronym? Why?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Person present at the right time and at the right place

Is there a word to describe "a person present in the right place at the right time"?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

To have behavior?

Is the following use of have and behavior correct? All programs have the expected behavior.

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