15
votes
5answers
76k views

What is the difference between “by contrast” and “in contrast?”

Can anyone explain the difference between by contrast and in contrast?
1
vote
2answers
415 views

What is the proper way to mention “current” for future events?

I am writing a software user manual so the topic is about possible situations which its users may come across. Here is an example sentence: The button saves the current URL in the browser. ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Can you contract the main verb in a sentence?

One can contract I have to I've when have is a helping verb, e.g. I've got an octopus in my pants. Is contracting the main verb technically incorrect or merely antiquated? My father loves to ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Complicated sentence in the past: did vs. would do

Consider the following: On my way back home from work I recalled what my boss had asked I did - turned off the lights before I went. Hence unfortunately I had to drive all the way back to the ...
3
votes
2answers
724 views

“Julio and I” vs “I and Julio” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends” Is naming the first person last proper grammar or just proper manners? "Julio and I went to the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

“Do it very quickly” vs “do it ASAP”

What is the difference between these phrases? Please, do it very quickly, since the deadline is approaching. and Please, do it ASAP, because the deadline is approaching.
6
votes
4answers
41k views

Which is the correct preposition for the end of “pride myself” (is it “on”, “at”, or “in”)?

as in "I pride myself on my ability to speak Klingon and Romulan in the appropriate accents." Which is the correct preposition for the end of that expression?
4
votes
0answers
183 views

When can you leave off 'that' in a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “that” in a sentence Some times I find myself leaving out the 'that' that binds two parts of a sentence together, because it reads 'smoother'. Here's ...
2
votes
2answers
217 views

what is the best source to find tenses of verbs

If I don't know/remember the past tense of a verb, I google for it. Often the returned searches are not indicative. I just looked for the past tense of seek, and it took me 2 minutes to figure out ...
6
votes
6answers
953 views

The word 'not' often doesn't mean total negation in mathematical sense?

Consider the following conversations: X1: I paid $10 for that hamburger. Y1: That's not cheap! X2: I pay $1 for broadband Internet access. Y2: That's cheap! X3: I paid $1 for a hot ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

“At the end” or “in the end”

Which is correct? I am planning to buy some property at the end of 2011. I am planning to buy some property in the end of 2011.
4
votes
6answers
1k views

“More perfect” versus “less imperfect”

"More perfect" is presumably bad English (Preamble to the US Constitution notwithstanding), since something is either perfect (and thus can't be improved) or not. "Less imperfect", however, seems ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

English questions and negation with *do* in syntax

A former lecturer of mine once explained why, from a syntactic point of view, the English rule that negation and questions are formed with the auxiliary do follows from other syntactic facts about ...
2
votes
2answers
166 views

Usage of “the” for possible future objects

I am writing a software user manual so the topic is about possible situations which its users may come across. Here is an example sentence below: Enter the window ID which contains an image.
2
votes
3answers
256 views

Is Administratium an actual word?

We commonly use this word in office, and the definitions point to its meaning. But is this an actual word? It's not in the Oxford English Dictionary.
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What do you call “that” or “where”?

For words that sit as placeholders for other words (and introduce subordinate clauses), is there a name? For example, The quick brown fox that jumped over the lazy dog. The man who killed ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the name of the condition when I temporarily cannot speak because of shouting too much?

What is that condition called in English when I can't say anything, "lose my voice", due to shouting a lot? I think it is related to my vocal chords. The usual treatment prescribed is just to stay ...
5
votes
3answers
523 views

Use of the word “theory” in “string theory”, “M-theory”, etc

I came across this question on Yahoo! Answers: Should M-theory read, M-hypothesis? It being limited evidence for further investigation, perhaps not yet a theory. I responded thus: (I realise ...
3
votes
7answers
26k views

“Situated” vs. “located”

I found the following example in my vocabulary: The town is situated on a plateau high up among the mountains of the north. Can I replace situated with located for the example above? What's the ...
0
votes
1answer
207 views

Periodical vs Issue?

I found issues were used on some websites like "$1 an issue". (Some magazines.) But I found another word periodical was used on my vocabulary book as follows: The periodical is published every ...
1
vote
3answers
251 views

does “fey-lit” make sense?

I want to say a strangely-lit grove, eerily-lit in an out-of-this-world manner. Does "fey-lit" convey that meaning?
3
votes
2answers
547 views

Can you *donate* to a non-charitable cause?

I just had someone insist that a donation can only be to a charitable cause or organization; otherwise, the word contribution should be used. When I objected to "contribution" on the grounds that it ...
1
vote
2answers
634 views

Preposition cluster “all up in”

What exactly does the string of words functioning as a preposition "all up in" (many many Google hits) mean in modern American slang usage?
4
votes
4answers
5k views

All up in my grill?

Is the phrase [all] up in $POSSESSIVE_PRONOUN grill which is synonymous with the figure of speech in one's face an automotive metaphor? If so, would it be more correct to spell the last ...
4
votes
1answer
32k views

“Cannabis” vs. “marijuana” vs. “weed”

I know all these words have the same meaning and refer to a kind of drug. Also, as far as I know, weed is slang for marijuana or cannabis. (Correct me if I’m wrong). What I do not understand is the ...
43
votes
2answers
10k views

When should end punctuation go inside quotes?

I have been/am being taught that end punctuation should always go inside quotes. For example, you are supposed to write: Marvin thought it was "awful." The problem is I do not see how does this ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How did “equivocal” come to mean what it means?

The word unanimous is reasonably easy to trace: it comes from Latin unum (one) + anima (mind). If several people are of the same unanimous opinion, they could be said to be speaking “of one mind”. ...
5
votes
4answers
12k views

“temporal” vs. “temporary” [closed]

Is there any difference between the two? In a technical document I have used a phrase "this is a temporal solution" and my coworker told that he'd use "temporary" in the context. Is one of the two ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

Is the plural of the electronic mouse “mouses” or “mice”?

Is the plural of that device that you plug into your computer mouses or mice? Which of these is correct? I bought some wireless optical mouses for my colleagues at work. I bought some ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any online phrase dictionary available?

I use WordWeb which is available online for vocabulary. But, is there any equivalent for getting the meaning and origin of phrases ?
4
votes
5answers
234 views

“The last movie I played” vs “the movie I played last”

On a chat channel today I was reading two people talk about some of the more popular movie formats and movie players available. One of the interlocutors said something that got me thinking. I will cut ...
3
votes
1answer
340 views

How popular is 'brefass' in modern American vocabulary?

This is an abbreviation of 'breakfast' that I have found myself paying extra attention to recently. In fact I have even heard my mother use it on a regular basis. Is this common in modern spoken ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What is a “far cry”?

What is a far cry, and what is its origin?
3
votes
3answers
481 views

Is there a name for the relationship between two unconnected hypothetical arguments?

I was watching the Sound of Music and the song "How do you solve a problem like Maria" was playing and then they say "How do you keep a wave upon the sand" and "How do you catch a moonbeam in your ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Is there a word which means “having a frequency of decades” or “per decade”? What about century and millennium?

I have a document with the headings: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and decadely. Google Chrome, Google Docs, and Dictionary.com insist that "decadely" is not a word. Furthermore, deacadely sounds ...
3
votes
2answers
756 views

What does “it's really stuck” mean here?

I came across the following sentence in Washington Post: Obama hasn't smoked a cigarette in about nine months, Gibbs revealed. "It was a commitment that I think he made to himself at the end of ...
1
vote
2answers
618 views

In a conditional sentence where the condition contains a list, which serial punctuation mark is used in the list?

For example, If Bobby buys a pencil, an eraser, and a pad of paper, then he can write his essay. To remove the ambiguity in the final comma, my instinct is to write: If Bobby buys a pencil, ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

service record translation [closed]

How do you say "El servicio militar" in English?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I give a project quote politely?

Someone sent me an email, asking for a quote for the project. How can I reply to him in a more polite way? I can quote you $100 for this project. I charge you $100 for this project. I ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do we say Undisclosed or Non-Disclosure instead of Closed or Closure

According to Wiktionary, disclosure's etymology comes from Latin dis-+clausus, literally away+enclosed. I wonder why do the term closed is not in common use as the term undisclosed. Not Not True is ...
1
vote
2answers
515 views

Idiom: quoted books

If there is, what idiom is used to refer to a book, which is famous and/or has interesting ideas, so that it's often quoted in speech, books etc. Maybe something like "divided into quotations" ? I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “persona non grata” mean? [closed]

In Gossip Girl, there’s a line like this: Spotted, Lonely Boy going from Teacher’s Pet to persona non grata in the pitter-patter of a heartbeat. What’s persona non grata?
1
vote
6answers
946 views

What are antonyms of “tolerant” or synonyms of “cautious”?

I posted the following on Meta Stack Overflow, and I believe that there was a better word that I could have used rather than "a little too harsh". Considering that my post fails all but possibly ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of 'probe' in the Linux command 'modprobe'?

My understanding of modprobe is that it is a command to load kernel modules. Based on this, I'm wondering what the meaning of word probe is in general English?
12
votes
4answers
45k views

What's the difference between “egotism” and “egoism”?

I am interested in the difference between these two seemingly synonymous terms.
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Definite article — “on television” vs. “on the radio”

Why are these different? We heard the news on the radio. We watched the news on television. In this book, the author says we must use television without the. Why? It makes me crazy. Is ...
6
votes
11answers
124k views

Good movies for learning English [closed]

Sometimes, I find it easier to learn so many English vocabulary and expressions and usage by watching movies. If you're a non-native English speaker, you probably noticed some of them that help you ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, "the Smith family" can be pluralized as ...
3
votes
1answer
8k views

“Your company name” or “Your company's name”?

Which way is correct here? Some explanation would be appreciated.
3
votes
3answers
302 views

“Taiwan visa” or “Taiwanese visa”?

Which way is correct? Is there any rule for such cases?

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