7
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do so many people use a preposition with which to end a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it okay to end a sentence in a preposition? I see it a lot, even though my elementary teacher told me it is wrong. This is probably a new development, a sign that ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it ‘a thousand and one’ when government employees ask questions on possible government shutdown?

In today’s Washington Post article titled “For federal workers, anxiety over a possible shutdown", I found a strange quote of number—‘a thousand and one questions.’ I understand it’s simply an ...
9
votes
1answer
18k views

“Inner” but not “outter”?

in -> inner out -> outer / (outter?) What is the history or set of rules behind why 'inner' doubles the 'n' but 'outer' doesn't double the 't'?
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Does anybody pronounce the word “pillow” as “pellow”?

My girlfriend giggles whenever I say it, and I never realized that I said it differently then anyone else. But now that I am listening...NOBODY says pellow? They all say pillow. I've listened to my ...
16
votes
5answers
95k views

“Please advise” — why is this a common turn of phrase for foreign speakers of English?

I was just browsing through StackOverflow just now, and randomly hit on this question, where the question-asker signed off his request with a "please advise." Certain I'd heard this turn of phrase ...
9
votes
1answer
970 views

When can a noun be used attributively?

Nouns can modify nouns: cat food, coffee cup, gold ring, laser surgery, flood insurance. It seems to me there are even cases where a noun sounds better than the corresponding adjective: sociology ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Single word to use instead of “can't” or “won't”

I'm looking for a single word to use instead of can't or won't. (Single also meaning no hyphenation or conjunctions/contractions. The differences between the words in regard to being unable to vs. ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Does the word 'God' with a capital G have a plural form?

Does the word 'God' with a capital G have a plural form?
6
votes
1answer
357 views

How do I present a word ending in “‑f ” that may be plural or singular?

When we don’t know if a word refers to one or more, it is common to use a parenthetical s: door/doors: door(s) lamp/lamps: lamp(s) What’s the best or least awkward way to render this for words ...
11
votes
3answers
24k views

How to pronounce “halcyon”?

I grew up thinking this word was pronounced HALK-YON, having learned it from books and never hearing someone speak it. I recently heard somebody mention it for the first time, and they pronounced it ...
2
votes
3answers
320 views

Instruments (tools) used by a thief

What is a good term for instruments (tools) a thief uses? Thief tools Thief stuff Thief gear Something else?
6
votes
4answers
207 views

“No more dirty dishes shall meet the eye.”

My flatmates frequently make a huge mess in our kitchen. I created a motivational poster to hang in our kitchen with a picture of Optimus Prime and the phrase: "Optimus Prime says: No more dirty ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Where did the “odd” in “N odd years” come from?

I was reminded this usage by the recent question asking about the origin of "-ish." Odd is often used in a similar way in the stock phrase "odd years" to mean "around" or "about" a certain length of ...
3
votes
4answers
799 views

Where did the term “garage band” originate from?

Apart from the video game, the term has been in use amongst musicians for years - where did it come from, documented listings?
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Is this a correct sentence?

Either a dryer hook-up kit or power cord and separate vent kit are required. Basically means either a) dryer hook-up kit b) power cord and separate vent kit are required. The sentence sounds ...
14
votes
9answers
6k views

Antonym of 'stigma'

I am looking for a word that has the opposite, positive connotation from 'stigma': For example, There is a stigma of laziness associated with poor people. What would be the replacement for '...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the correct usage of “those”?

I often hear people describe a specific subset of a larger set as "those things that are ________." Is this correct English? I mean, you could just say "the things that are ________." Something ...
1
vote
4answers
486 views

Less formal synonyms for “barred”

Nobody but guards on duty were allowed inside the building itself and outsiders were blank from the compound altogether. The only words I can think of for blank are barred or forbidden to enter ...
8
votes
3answers
13k views

How to reply to question tags

English is not my native-tongue, so I always find it hard to grasp the concept of "question tags" and more importantly the way to answer to them. Let me explain with the help of this situation - I am ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I change the tense of a hyphenated verb?

I'm certain this can't be the only example there is of a hyphenated verb, but it's the only one I can think of right now. How should one appropriately convert "mouse-over" into the past tense? ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Ending sentence with two nouns?

This is from NYTimes: And again and again, and closer and closer, it returns to a speeding commuter train, a recurrence that artfully foreshadows the story’s nifty repetition compulsion. How can ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Etymology of “ripsnorting” / “ripsnorter”?

Etymonline presents us with a rather brief and uninformative "something of exceptional strength," 1840, probably from rip (v.) + snort (q.v.). Does anyone have any more detail on the origins of ...
5
votes
2answers
502 views

Can the terms “jingoism” and “ethnocentrism” be used interchangeably?

Maniacal belief that "your" race, gender, culture, religion, language, country, group, beliefs are better than everyone else's. Which term would be more suitable: "jingoism" or "ethnocentrism"? Can ...
10
votes
5answers
40k views

“Last Name” and “surname”

Between last name and surname, which one is British and which one is American? If I talk with somebody from Great Britain, which one is preferable?
17
votes
7answers
105k views

Can “hence” be used at the beginning of a sentence?

Can the word ‘hence’ be used at the beginning of a sentence? For example: Hence, I am not feeling well, I am unable to work.
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Scientific” versus “scientifical”

Is there any substantive difference in the meanings of these two words? Is the latter considered a proper word at all? If the answer to either of the above questions is yes, what are these words' ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

What is a dry sense of humor?

What does a dry sense of humor mean? This article explains how to develop it, but not what it is. How to Develop a Dry Sense of Humor Developing a dry sense of humor can be challenging ...
0
votes
3answers
464 views

Can this sentence be switched around like this?

I kept studying to the point that I became dizzy. Can that be switched around to become this and still be grammatically correct? To the point that I became dizzy I kept studying. Is there ...
0
votes
1answer
122 views

“It's getting close to goodbye”

Is this grammatically correct? Is there anything wrong with that sentence?
3
votes
3answers
53k views

Meaning of “true north”

Roz, I'm just trying to find my true north
1
vote
5answers
2k views

“because” after “since”

Can "because" come after "since?" Here's an example sentence. I don't like when you do that, because since it makes you look weird, it also makes me look weird when I'm with you. Is there ...
4
votes
5answers
197 views

A term for released software that is still being actively developed

I'm writing an academic paper that deals with classifying software and I'm trying to think of a term to describe software that is still being actively developed, with new versions being released ...
6
votes
6answers
6k views

Is this grammatically correct? “Thinking of you and I”

http://vaadin.com/ makes a tool for User Interfaces (UI). Their tag line is “Thinking of U and I.” A play on words, I suppose, for UI, and “you and I.” It bothers me, though, because I think both ...
0
votes
2answers
584 views

Meaning of 'metaphor' in this sentence

“We’re now into a new metaphor for the web,” Kelly says noting that we started with the desktop on computers, then pages for the web. Now the realtime stream connected to the web is the thing I know ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “booty-trap” mean here?

Can someone explain to me what booty-trap means in this sentence? We moved back in there, setting up booty traps. Each man booty-trapped his own home.
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Does a comma have to be used before a quotation?

If before the quote the word "saying" or "said" is used, does a comma always have to be used before it? When does a comma not have to be used?
0
votes
1answer
299 views

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

So I am trying to determine what kind of subjunctive is being used in "if...then" utterences such as: "If you are hungry, eat something." "If you are tired, go to sleep." etc. These phrases seem to ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Synonyms for “little by little”

What are some other ways I can say something that means the same thing as "little by little"? The only other thing I know is "bit by bit."
1
vote
2answers
23k views

“shall” vs. “will” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'shall' and 'will' Is there any difference at all between these two sentences? What will we talk about? What shall we talk about?
1
vote
5answers
950 views

“Little by little I began to have increasing doubts” [closed]

Is the sentence Little by little I began to have increasing doubts grammatically correct? One reason I think it might not be is that if I google little by little I began to have increasing I don'...
4
votes
1answer
430 views

Is “East or west India is the best” grammatically correct?

In India there is a popular slogan: East or west India is the best. Is this slogan grammatically correct? I know directions have the before them. The east or the west India is the best. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Unfamiliar use of “cricket”

I came across a use of the word cricket today that was new to me. It was in an article written by an American author about his recent trip to Egypt and about the role of the U.S. in the current ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

“It was from that moment where” vs. “it was from that moment when”

Now that I think about it, it was from that moment where I started to have doubts about him. Would it be better to use the word "when" instead of "where," or are they both equally valid word ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Another way to say “the end of our relationship.”

I want to say "it's getting close to the end of our relationship" without using the word "relationship." Are these both equally valid? "It's getting close to the end of us." "It's getting close to ...
11
votes
3answers
29k views

What is difference among “a tad,” “a bit,” “a little?” Why do you use “a tad?”

I came across the word “a tad” which is unfamiliar to me in today’s New York Times’ article, titled “Yankees Bracing for Cold in Opener and in April.” The article starts with the following line: ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Meaning of “it's long past time to …”

Saw a lot of such sentences (examples below). What does the "it's long past time to..." mean? Example: It's long past time to ditch the use of the ubiquitous bulleted-list templates found in both ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

The word ‘dryly’ as an adverb

What is the correct use of the word dryly in the following sentence? You said that very dryly. Is dryly correct in this context?
7
votes
1answer
6k views

How did the “-ish” suffix come to denote the approximate meaning of the word it is attached to?

I only know the suffix is currently informalish. What is its provenience? What was the original meaning?
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Why are 'blueish' and 'bluish' both considered correct spellings?

My nine year old son fought hard on this and is taking a stand on spelling bluish as blueish. I'm certain his teacher will mark it as a spelling error in his writing... Several dictionaries have ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

On the specifics of illegitimate children

Is there a feminine form of the word bastard? It seems like bastard is a word that’s applied to male children only.

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