19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this usage of “lol” considered a hedge?

In doing some research on another question I bumped into the term "hedge": A hedge is a mitigating device used to lessen the impact of an utterance. Typically, they are adjectives or adverbs, but ...
2
votes
3answers
18k views

“will” vs “would” in this sentence

I am talking about events taking place in the known future: Would it be okay if I'll confirm around 3 pm? or should it be Would it be okay if I'd confirm around 3 pm? What is the ...
30
votes
7answers
4k views

What makes “like” and “so” popular?

So, I was like, why does everyone say like and so in every sentence? Where did this trend come from, like, what started it, and is it actually grammatically correct to like, insert like into our ...
48
votes
6answers
44k views

Use of “I”, “we” and the passive voice in a scientific thesis [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Style Question: Use of “we” vs. “I” vs. passive voice in a dissertation When the first person voice is used in scientific writing it is mostly used ...
-1
votes
1answer
524 views

“Wasn't” vs. “weren't” in a vernacular sentence

I ain't heard no word to let me know you wasn't just eating hay. Should the wasn't be weren't?
5
votes
2answers
17k views

Where does the slang adjective “peng” come from?

I read on Cambridge Dictionaries’ About words blog that peng is a British slang adjective meaning pretty, very attractive. I am told by a coworker that it is of Caribbean origin, but have no more ...
6
votes
5answers
19k views

What is the correct punctuation for an indirect question?

I'm wondering how it is correct to structure sentence and what punctuation should be used. In particular, is the next sentence correct: I was wondering if there's any progress on the issue. Or ...
9
votes
3answers
32k views

Which is the proper spelling: “disfunction” or “dysfunction”?

Is this word spelt dysfunction or disfunction? Are there any correct spellings at all for this word? The reason I asked is because I've always learned to spell it as "disfunction" until recently, ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a different grammatical term for “If I was” than for “If I were”?

Many people would say the correct form is "If I were rich ...". In modern colloquial English though most younger people would say "If I was rich ...". Prescriptivists might say the latter is "the ...
6
votes
2answers
76k views

What does N.B. stand for? [closed]

I have received letters for years, and some of the most common things in letters are post-scripts, however, there are also these funny little "N.B." which obviously do not stand for Post Script. What ...
12
votes
6answers
29k views

When does an aunt’s partner or husband become an uncle?

Being the youngest of five siblings, with relatively old parents, I’ve always referred to my aunts and uncles as such, even though in fact only one of each pair is a blood relative. It never occurred ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

“You took… and you…”

How would the grammar of this construction be analysed? I am trying to identify and define the difference between using this and the regular way of saying the same thing. Examples: You took this ...
6
votes
5answers
11k views

What is the origin of “shh”?

The word "sh" (or "shh") is an exclamation for silence: Shh! They're listening... Etymonline only mentions a date (1847) and the common practice of "putting a finger to the lips." Does anyone ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

“Hypothesis” and “theory”

My basic knowledge of these two words is that they both mean the same thing. So why are they used differently, and what is their difference in meaning?
3
votes
2answers
352 views

What is a term for someone who prohibits the importation of foreign words into their language?

I was thinking about how when the Italian Fascists were in power they often turned loanwords into Italian words. They wanted to conserve the Italian nature of the language: Under Fascism an ...
0
votes
2answers
760 views

Advice on good list of American idioms [closed]

I want to master American idioms and would like to use a complete list as a reference. Would you please suggest one?
1
vote
2answers
9k views

What does “coming apart at the seams” mean?

Meanwhile, Europe’s single currency is coming apart at the seams. In the example above and in general.
4
votes
5answers
9k views

What is the meaning of “uber-”?

What is the meaning of "uber-"?
3
votes
3answers
586 views

Why do we have the word “passageway”?

Wouldn't the word "passage" suffice? (That isn't enough of a reason for "passageway" not to exist, though.)
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of “laughing on one side of the face”

These two children were talking, and one boy was assuring the girl that his big ball would fall faster than her ball, which was smaller. When I heard this, I was naturally amused, and laughed. The ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Word or phrase to describe relation beween yourself and a step-parent's ex-spouse?

Is there a word or simple phrase to describe the relationship between yourself and a step-parent's ex-spouse? Particularly, I'm seeking to address the case when the ex-spouse is a parent to your step-...
19
votes
7answers
185k views

Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth

Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth. What is a gift-horse? Why shouldn't you look in its mouth? What does this idiom actually mean and how is it used?
4
votes
2answers
22k views

Face that launched a thousand ships

Last Wednesday, I went out to tea with several friends, and one of the men said that he had a new girlfriend. I asked him what she looked like, and all he said was,"She has a face that launched a ...
4
votes
3answers
800 views

Word or phrase that describes the biased perception of a group

Is there terminology for how a group is viewed by outsiders, as only radical members are the most visible? I believe such a term would exist within social sciences.
4
votes
5answers
286 views

Looking for the longest “non-variant” word

I'm looking for the longest English word that has no variants, where a variant might be A singular or plural form A conjugated form A form in another part of speech For example, mouse would fail ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the etymology of the word ketchup?

Title says it all. I've tried searching on google without a definitive answer.
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Is there any rule for differentiating between the endings “th” and “ht”?

Some words end in th (length, width), and others end in ht (height, fight, tonight, caught). I sometimes have difficulties in spelling such words because I don't know which ending to choose. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Use of “do” in affirmative statements [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do you use “Did + 1st form” instead of “2nd form” When is do used in affirmative sentences? For example: I do think that this is going to be... Is it only used ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the word “respectively” mean in software development?

C# Textreader and TextWriter are the another way to read and write file respectively... I added a text box and button I called tbUpdate and btUpdate respectively... In the right hand column, ...
0
votes
1answer
664 views

Proper punctuation for parentheses [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there any rule for the placement of space after and before parenthesis? Should you put a space in between the outside of parentheses and punctuation?
0
votes
1answer
10k views

What's the comparative for the word “modern”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “More clear” vs “Clearer”, when to use “more” instead of “-er” What's the comparative for the word modern?
1
vote
3answers
7k views

“Like” or “have liked”? [closed]

Is this sentence correct? From early ages people like travelling. Isn't it better to say: Since early ages people have liked travelling.
9
votes
5answers
15k views

On the use of “both”

I keep running into this debate with my thesis advisor. Are both of these forms correct? It can be seen that both the users are able to... or It can be seen that the both users are able ...
21
votes
7answers
48k views

What's the difference between “big” and “large”?

What's the proper way to say: a large family or a big family? What's the difference between them?
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Venice built on poles, piles, or pilings?

Which term should be used to describe the wooden support system of Venice?
2
votes
3answers
161 views

“As everyone” vs. “like everyone”

Which sentence is more correct? As everyone I dream about travelling to other countries. Like everyone I dream about travelling to other countries.
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is “Godspeed”?

Title says it all. What does it really mean? What is its origin?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Status of verb in “winner-take-all”

In the expression a "winner-take-all society", I'm interested in the status of the verb: is it an infinitive or an imperative? As a related question, would it look odd to an anglophone if I wrote "a-...
2
votes
1answer
108k views

“Subject to Change” Usage

I have the following sentence: (...) these dates are subject to change. Should that, instead, read: (...) these dates may be subject to change. Are only one of these usages correct? I ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Synonyms for “multiple things that reside in the same location”

Synonyms for "multiple things that reside in the same location" - I can think of "colocated," which I've only seen in an engineering context. Do any other words fit the bill?
44
votes
13answers
8k views

Is there another way of saying 'user-unfriendly'?

Is there another way of saying something is 'user-unfriendly'?
3
votes
3answers
723 views

Word referencing time of creation

I've been wondering if there is a word to express that something was current at the time of its creation. It (in bold) should plug-in into a sentence similar to: The results are based on an ...
1
vote
1answer
11k views

What is the correct tense to use for a sentence like this?

This sentence is wrong: This website was first on the list of priorities and your feedback over the past two years is much appreciated. I do not know why. It reads funny. I'm not an ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What does “it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” mean?

I read it here. The New Jersey guy said that the Unix solution was right because the design philosophy of Unix was simplicity and that the right thing was too complex. Besides, programmers could ...
4
votes
2answers
755 views

General Purpose Antonym for “Ago”

I'm refactoring a function I had to show relative dates like StackExchange does, eg.: relative unit of time (second/minute/hour/day/week/month/year)[s] (ago/from now) However, I started ...
9
votes
3answers
877 views

Evolution of irregular verbs over the last century

I learned at school that irregular verbs are slowly disappearing from the language: "spelled" is more used than "spelt", "learned" than "learnt", etc. But recently, someone told me that some new ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Monetary amounts: 'thousands' prefix has opposite capitalisation to SI

One thing I noticed recently when looking through some reports is that thousands are often abbreviated, in a similar way to scientific measurements are abbreviated. E.g. $1,000,000 becomes $1m and £...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we call snail mail “snail mail”?

Why do we call snail mail "snail mail"? So by default mail will refer to email?
5
votes
5answers
5k views

How can I know the exact meaning of “cousin” in a sentence?

How can I know the exact meaning of the word cousin in a sentence? How do English speakers distinguish between different kinds of cousins? (Arabic distinguishes both the sex of the cousin and the ...
-7
votes
1answer
372 views

Is there a difference between “jamb” and “jam”?

Is there a difference between jamb and jam? I recently wrote a letter describing someone who had jambed their hand on a stair bannister and the usage was questioned.

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