6
votes
4answers
16k views

Origins of the word “mother”

Apologies in advance for this question being only indirectly related to the English language, but I find it fascinating. I note with interest that the English words "mother" and "mama" have similar ...
11
votes
5answers
914 views

Are there English sayings that correspond to the old Japanese saying, ‘There is no wild pig larger than the mountain from where he emerges’?

In connection with my question about the usage of ‘No detail is too small’ I posted today, I’m curious to know whether you have axioms to correspond to my favorite Japanese old saying, ‘There is no ...
3
votes
3answers
21k views

Is it OK when I say “I have a little request from you”? Is it commonly used?

Is it OK when I say "I have a little request from you"? Is it commonly used?
19
votes
5answers
49k views

“Have not” versus “do not have”

As a non-native English speaker, I have a little doubt about using, or not, the auxiliary verb "to do" with the verb "to have". Are there differences in meaning between "I have not" and "I do not ...
9
votes
9answers
33k views

Is “Saffer” an offensive term for a South African?

I've always believed that "Saffer" is a derogatory term for a South African. But a few minutes earlier, I saw this tweet by ESPN: So, isn't "Saffer" a derogatory term?
1
vote
4answers
213 views

“Apply a patch” vs. “Install a patch”

One of my peers insist that one should say "install a patch". I believe on the contrary that "apply a patch" is more natural and one can only "install a program" when it comes to piece of software. A ...
42
votes
19answers
7k views

How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)?

I want to make a question having an answer as follows: 5 is the third prime number. The bold part is the answer. How to phrase the question?
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the history of adding the a- prefix to form words?

I have always found the a- prefix to words (as in anew, ajar, aside, awake, afoot, a-hunting, etc.) fascinating. The NOAD says on this topic: a- 2. prefix •to; toward : aside | ashore. ...
20
votes
4answers
76k views

“How about” vs. “What about”

Is there a difference between starting a question with "How about" and "What about"? Can we use both expressions interchangeably?
5
votes
3answers
468 views

Do native speakers leave out articles in slides for space?

Sometimes a and the take too much space in a slide, and I delete all of them to save me extra lines. Is it a good practice?
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Space After Semicolons?

Should there be spaces after a semicolon in a sentence? For example: "...minimum/standard requirements for a base diploma;there has been..." or "...minimum/standard requirements for a base ...
1
vote
3answers
439 views

“Much feces” vs. “many feces”

I want to know which word I should use in the following sentence: How many/much feces does a human produce in one year? I found that both versions exist on the Internet. Any help would be ...
2
votes
3answers
9k views

What does the word 'dicta' ('dita'?) mean in the song 'Who's That Chick?'?

The song 'Who's That Chick?' by David Guetta featuring Rihanna features the following line in the chorus: She's been a crazy dicta, disco fever and you wonder... Lyrics websites disagree on the ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Capitalizing a lower case screen name at the beginning of a sentence

When starting a sentence with a lower case pseudonym, such as a screen name of a user account on a website, should it be capitalized? Or are there different cases where it would and would not be ...
8
votes
13answers
7k views

Better synonym for “actionable”?

In managementese, "actionable" means "able to be acted upon". Unfortunately, its primary meaning is "giving sufficient reason to take legal action" in legalese. I'm looking for a better alternative ...
1
vote
2answers
471 views

Meaning of “an identity of thought and being”

Hegel asserted that in order for the thinking subject (human reason or consciousness) to be able to know its object (the world) at all, there must be in some sense an identity of thought and being. ...
12
votes
5answers
18k views

Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this ...
4
votes
2answers
11k views

What's the meaning of the expression “Grab a hold”?

What does it mean to "grab a hold"? There is a song by Cyndi Lauper that says If you wanna grab a hold, let it go...
14
votes
1answer
112k views

Yours vs. your's

Which is correct “Is that yours?” or “Is that your’s?”? I ask because it is possessive, so I would think it would be the latter, but I typically use and see the former usage. Are there particular ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Is ‘No detail is too small’ a frequently used phrase, or just a cliche?

I came across a headline of the article of today’s New York Times (Feb.22) giving tips for selling a second-hand apartment, that says To sell an apartment, no detail is too small I think ‘‘No ...
12
votes
3answers
336 views

Term for dedicating a book

Let's say: John Doe writes a book -- Me and My Dog Spot. On the page after the title, he writes: For Nancy. My aunt gives this book to me for my birthday, and on the title page, she adds in her ...
1
vote
5answers
485 views

Usage of “filed away”

He still had the moment filed away in his memory. Is the meaning of the sentence I wrote widely understood? Should that sentence be used in a particular context (e.g., when writing a book)?
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I correctly use the possessive apostrophe with a parenthetical citation?

Is the apostrophe in the right place in the following sentence? Pendleton, et al. (2002)’s research implies that extension of treatment allows for greater weight loss.
4
votes
2answers
10k views

What does “lost sales” mean?

What does "lost sales" mean in the sentence below? The most important quality cost, lost sales, is often omitted from quality cost reports.
0
votes
2answers
142 views

Metonyms in American football: the National Football League [closed]

Wikipedia has a great definition of metonymy here, but I have a more specific question. The biggest user of NFL metonyms appears to be Gregg Easterbrook, writer of the Tuesday Morning Quarterback at ...
1
vote
2answers
571 views

Metonymy in Professional European Football (Soccer)

Wikipedia has a great definition of metonymy here, but I have a more specific question. Can I have a list of metnonyms used in Professional European Football (Soccer), particularly the English ...
42
votes
6answers
270k views

Is it “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely”?

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?
2
votes
3answers
233 views

Is “unexpected repercussion” repetitive?

Is the phrase unexpected repercussion unnecessary redundantly repetitive? When I looked up repercussion I see that unexpected is implicit in its meaning. Should I prefer to say unexpected ...
8
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it correct to say “cold temperature”?

Is it correct to say "cold temperature"?
0
votes
1answer
818 views

Avoiding the possessive form of words ending with “s”

This question deals with the proper possessive for words that end with s. I am wondering how common it is to restructure a sentence as to avoid the awkward possessive form. For example: I ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

What does “What price [noun]?” mean?

I've come across phrases like "What price freedom?" a lot. I speak British English and it doesn't read nicely to me. It seems some words are missing. Does it mean "What is the price of X?"? Where did ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

What did Old English writing (letters and formatting) typically look like?

I am wondering if there is a specific kind of writing that people would typically associate with Old English language. Are there well-known manuscripts that typically represent the kind of writing ...
1
vote
2answers
348 views

Names for automatic machines' programs

A machine can be programmed, and different programs can be chosen for different tasks. One such task may be to initialise the machine, while the main purpose of the machine is to manufacture ...
39
votes
2answers
73k views

“Content” or “Contents”?

Content or contents — when do I use which form? I realize that the one is the plural form of the other, but they seem to be used interchangeably.
1
vote
2answers
427 views

When should I use “can” and when should I use “will”?

This sentence talks about capability. I can never do that. This sentence talks about a choice. A personal preference maybe? I will never do that. Is this correct or can we use it ...
17
votes
5answers
49k views

€10 = “ten euro” or “ten euros”?

Which is the correct form: "ten euro" or "ten euros"?
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Stone in the middle?

When I read a Children's Illustrated Dictionary, I found an example sentence as this, Apricot An apricot is a soft round fruit. It has a big stone in the middle. How to replace the stone with ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What is a “one-note joke”?

What is the definition of a "one-note joke"?
7
votes
4answers
785 views

What do you call this type of elevator?

See picture -- is there a better term than glass elevator?
4
votes
2answers
14k views

When to spell out numbers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do English writers avoid explicit numerals? Based on my previous question regarding spelling out monetary amounts, is there a rule of thumb when a number should be ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Answering your own question

I have been wondering if this particular speaking device had a specific name. My wife uses a speaking technique where, instead of just making a statement, she presents it in the form of a question, ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Where to put the periods when using a parenthetical sentence?

I have two complete sentences; the second is in parentheses, essentially a comment on the first. Where do I place the periods? I would use this: They played opera. (I covered my ears.) Is this ...
1
vote
4answers
16k views

How to write dollar amounts in a narrative

What's the best way to write dollar amounts in a narrative (such as a novel), particularly if the amounts are large and/or fractional? I would use this: "The national debt just hit 14.6 trillion ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Does “Perfect Storm” have a positive meaning?

English is not my mother tongue. I've read an article with these sentences. I have no idea if the phrase "perfect storm" is supposed to be positive or negative. “Social gaming is sitting on ...
0
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “to phrase it another way” mean? [closed]

What does "to phrase it another way" mean?
5
votes
2answers
43k views

Should it be “concerned person” or “person concerned”?

An office colleague wrote the following in an email: Kindly log a ticket for the same and assign it to the concerned team. I wrote back the following: I believe it should be "Kindly log a ...
5
votes
3answers
32k views

“Wasn't” vs “weren't” [duplicate]

Which one would be correct? I wish it weren't raining today. I wish it wasn't raining today. I wish it were raining today. I wish it was raining today.
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What does ‘government shutdown’ mean exactly? [closed]

Today's Washington Post has the article Congress, Obama Brace for Showdown as Government Shutdown Looms, which contains the following sentence: The prospect of a government shutdown appeared ...
6
votes
3answers
512 views

What does “quadrants” mean in an article stating that Obama's birth facts “do not seem to matter in many quadrants of Republican Party”?

I found the word quadrants in the opening of a New York Times Opinion column, titled This Just In… President Obama Is an American Citizen. Its opening paragraph: President Obama is not a ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What to do if a sentence ends with “Yahoo!”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to handle a name that includes an exclamation point (or other punctuation)? Just like the title of this question. I was reading an article about CAPTCHAs on ...

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