14
votes
5answers
24k views

“Satire” versus “sarcasm”

I looked up the two words on wikitionary & got this: satire: A literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject often as an intended means of provoking or ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Diacriticals and non-English letters in anglicized loan words: keep 'em, dump 'em, italicize the words, or what?

Take an expression like déjà vu. This is a French term which is frequently seen in English. In fact, it is included in English dictionaries. But it is often seen in English in a variety of forms: ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

one's way of V-ing / one's way to V / a/the way of V-ing / a/the way to V

There are some options when you use the word way and some verb together: (1) a. There are some way of writing.       b. There are some way to write. Is there any ...
-1
votes
2answers
956 views

How to pronounce FAQ? ˈɛfˈeɪˈkyu or fæk? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ? FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. I checked some dictionaries, they list both of the pronunciations. So I'm ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

If prepend is not part of English, why is there no postpend or subpend? And who introduces them? [closed]

I wanted to ask it already for some time but was in doubt until I've read the comment by Stan Rogers to this answer: In the case of prepend, we have created an artificial term that is ...
2
votes
4answers
12k views

“Where is” versus “where are”

Is it correct to use is rather than are in this question? Where is my mother and father? Grammatically, it should be where are my mother and father? but, for some strange reason, I think I would ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a word for somebody who cares for his/her child too much?

I have just finished watching the 3rd season of Lie to Me. I am wonder whether there is a word for somebody who cares for his/her son/daughter/child too much, like Dr. Cal Lightman?
3
votes
1answer
200 views

Bracket placement

My idea of using of various brackets is unclear; can anybody clarify as to where exactly I use () and []? Furtermore, are {} used in regular grammar?
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it bad behavior to add filler words such as “so”, “um” in business speak?

Sometimes when I speak with my fellows at work, I start my sentences with "so" or "um". I don't know if this a bad behavior in business speak or not? If so, how can I get rid of those filler words?
2
votes
2answers
5k views

How do you native speakers pronounce @ in an email address? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does one pronounce the '@' symbol? Do you just pronounce it as "at"?
3
votes
1answer
213 views

the pronunciation of 'occult'

From google dictionary: /əˈkəlt/ From my textbook: ['ɔkʌlt, ɔ'kʌlt, ə-] The difference of those two is HUGE, Could you give me an explanation ?
3
votes
2answers
810 views

What does ‘May that not be the takeaway of this speech’ mean in Salah Palin’s mocking Michelle Obama’s recommendation of breastfeeding?

There was an article contributed by Jena McGregor titled ‘Palin’s milk joke goes sour' in Feb 18th Washington Post, which dealt with Salah Palin’s speech mocking Michelle Obama’s recommendation of ...
31
votes
3answers
65k views

Which is correct: “one or more is” or “one or more are”?

Should the phrase be "one or more is...", or "one or more are..."?
13
votes
9answers
633 views

A non-straight route

In informal speech, how would you describe a bus that travels from point A to point B by passing through every part of the city instead of using the straight way? When you give someone an advice which ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of “that” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “that” in a sentence English-newbie-here! =D Well, let me present you with a situation where I ended up using both choices actually: She said ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct usage of “which”/“that” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it appropriate to use 'that' as opposed to 'which'? From what I understand the second sentence is correct, and the first is not. What are the ...
3
votes
3answers
216 views

Is it wrong to use “All” when there are only two?

If there are two of something, can you say "all of" instead of "both of"? For example, if an email is addressed to two people, and you start off with: All, This is to inform you, etc., etc. ...
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Are there different tones in which to say “How are you?” that reflect different situations?

I was wondering how many ways/tones to speak "How are you?" Which tone/way to use in different situations: when seeing somebody you don't expect to have a conversation after? when seeing your ...
1
vote
8answers
362 views

What is a term for a system with rules without any exceptions?

What is the term for an organization or social/political system rigidly governed by rules without any exceptions?
17
votes
5answers
6k views

Burn up or burn down?

What's the difference between "burn up" and "burn down"? Or is there a difference at all?
7
votes
1answer
8k views

Why do some consider “cellar door” a beautiful phrase?

Recently I've had a few people mention that the phrase "cellar door" is beautiful. I don't see what makes this so - it's not anything ironic like "driveway" or "parkway" so what makes this so ...
1
vote
6answers
1k views

Colloquial expression for “compliment” that carries negative feeling

What is the colloquial/casual/conversational form of the word "compliment" in this context: A: I hate John. B: Why? He's like a genius. A: Exactly! He's such a teacher's pet. He's always ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Does “be lost in something” have a positive or negative meaning?

I get lost in my job. What does it mean? I get immersed in my work so deeply even the outside world seems to cease to exist (because I'm concentrating so much on what I'm doing). (Which ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “Do you haz teh codez?” mean?

There is a banner in StackOverflow pointing to the careers website (programmers): Do you haz teh codez? My questions about the sentence/question are: What's the question in plain English? Why ...
2
votes
1answer
907 views

“Passive voice” versus “passive construction” versus “passive sentence” versus “passive form”

I've been living in japan so long I don't remember how to speak English. On some websites the authors uses the phrase "passive form" http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/activepassive.html. While here ...
2
votes
2answers
513 views

Correct usage of FAQ

FAQ stands for 'Frequently asked questions', with the plural being implicit in the acronym FAQ. But it is common to see the word 'FAQs' being used, which treat the word FAQ as an object in itself, and ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

A couple of quick questions related to “Messrs”

How is "Messrs" pronounced? The meaning is the plural of "Mister", right? Does that mean that "Misters" is not a word? Is "Messrs" a word that is more commonly used in England than the United ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

How to politely request to be called by first name instead of Mr. Surname?

Let's say that somebody from a partner firm with whom I've never spoken before starts an email to me with "Dear Mr. Rossi,". When a reply to her, I think I will then have to start with "Dear Ms. ...
4
votes
6answers
47k views

What is the longest English word that starts and ends with the same letter?

I've found "enterprise", which is 10 letters long. Does anyone know of any longer words that start and end with the same letter? That letter doesn't have to be 'e', by the way. It just means that the ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Where does “to keep fingers crossed” come from?

When someone says they keep their fingers crossed, it means they wish or hope for a good outcome for someone or something. Where does this idiom originate from? Why do people fold their one finger on ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

The phrase “Check out”

"Check out this article" Where did this term come from and why those choice of words? I understand it perfectly semantically, but when you think about it it doesn't make sense, check out seems to ...
3
votes
8answers
10k views

Origin of “let's take it offline”

When did people start using the corporate jargon "let's take it offline" (let's discuss that after this meeting in private)? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin of online is from ...
1
vote
2answers
368 views

What does “statistically unchanged” mean?

The universe continually expanded but remained statistically unchanged as new matter is constantly created. What is the statistically unchanged? Could you give me an example?
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I distinguish “can” & “can't” from pronunciation?

It's very difficult for me to separate them. I was just listening to some video and it said "Fat cells can’t reproduce themselves." What I thought I've heard is "... CAN reproduce ..." Frankly, ...
10
votes
5answers
86k views

What's the difference between “teacher” and “professor”?

Is one more formal then the other?
10
votes
6answers
79k views

Plural of “roof”?

Roofs is generally used, but is rooves archaic or just wrong?
3
votes
2answers
239 views

Is there a word for practicing in secret to surprise or impress?

Is there a word for practicing in secret to surprise or impress?
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Is the word 'hussler' appropriate?

Is wassup hussla? (also gangsta, killa etc.) appropriate to say to a friend or a colleague? I mean, I know that it's not any sort of an official phrase I'd say to my boss. What I mean to ask is ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“I watched anime 3 days straight” — what does it mean?

When some one says "I watched anime 3 days straight", Does it mean they watched anime for three days sitting in one place without taking bath, brushing teeth etc. for three days, or does it mean that ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Is “delegable” a word?

Wiktionary defines delegetable as capable of being delegated, which seems correct to the French speaking that I am. However, the same Wiktionary also defines delegable as that can be delegated. Does ...
1
vote
4answers
772 views

Expression for “medium difficult”?

In my game, I have three levels of difficulty, each represented by an icon. Of course, each level is also indicated by a word; the icons are there just to spice things up, and as a visual pun. Easy ...
0
votes
5answers
6k views

Do people perceive a difference between “phantasy” and “fantasy”?

When I started to learn English, I was used to write phantasy instead of fantasy, and I was always corrected. I recently noticed that phantasy is an English word too. Do people give to those words a ...
5
votes
4answers
394 views

Does any of English dialects engage non-English foreign letters in their alphabets?

For example, In 1990 Portuguese alphabet was extended by 3 foreign letters which are K (capa, pronounced as "kappa"), Y (pronounced as "ípsilon or "ipsilão" or "i greg"), W (pronounced as "diáblio"). ...
1
vote
2answers
212 views

How to modify “one-third” by an adverb?

Would it be correct to merge with hyphens one-third-contiguously in the following phrase? I propose to elect by 3 quotas, each per one-thirds-contiguously of time-zones.
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is there a distinction between “its” and “it's”?

While I know technically the English language has a distinction because when there's a conflict between the possessive form and a contraction, the contraction wins. That is: Its is the possessive ...
7
votes
6answers
5k views

“Separated” versus “separate”

Keep both of them separate. Keep both of them separated. Between the above two sentences, which one is correct?
11
votes
6answers
53k views

“Good night” or “good evening”?

If it's 7:30pm, which of these phrases is correct, Good night or Good evening?
4
votes
4answers
12k views

Two octopi? What's the proper plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Octopuses, octopi, or octo? What is the "proper" plural of "octopus"? A web search turns up three candidates, but is there a "right" answer?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “suite your self” mean? [duplicate]

I have heard from some of TV series. They are saying "suite your self", what does it mean?
7
votes
1answer
42k views

What does “beggars belief” mean?

What does beggars belief mean, in general and in this sentence? It beggars belief that removing the tag was so urgent that you couldn't wait for a response more than 40 minutes before removing it. ...

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