3
votes
3answers
1k views

How to call attention to “I” without “I myself” or the pretentious “even I”?

I find that in persuasive conversation, whether written or oral, it is sometimes useful to draw attention to the "I" in the sentence, giving the connotation that you are confessing or conceding to ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

What is an adjectival complement in English?

How can one determine what an adjectival complement is in an English sentence? Are there are any subcategories to this classification? I'd love concrete examples, to help me better understand this ...
3
votes
3answers
679 views

“Walk”, “talk”: forms not in any other language

I've heard that the words "walk" and "talk" do not have cognates in any other known language. That is, neither of these very common words in English have similar forms in other languages, Germanic, ...
4
votes
1answer
691 views

Does “verdure” also suggest “a condition of health and vigour”?

I've known the meaning of verdure as "lush greenery" all my life. But now, it seems (according to Merriam-Webster), it also signifies a condition of health and vigour. Can anyone point me to a ...
2
votes
3answers
525 views

A phrase that means something like “special dispensation”

I'm looking for a phrase that is like 'special dispensation', but I know that's not the phrase I'm looking for. I'm trying to say that work had to be done on object X that was different, and unique, ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

“Play it as it lays” or “play it as it lies”

The title of Joan Didion's book Play It as It Lays has thrown me off since I first heard it. Shouldn't it be Play It as It Lies? I have read through a related post on the subject of lay vs. lie and ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it appropriate to treat “FYI” as a noun?

Since FYI stands for "for your information", I would tend to use it like this: FYI, I think the fish has gone bad. In other words, the acronym simply replaces the phrase. However, I've heard FYI ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Is it better to use “a” or “the” here in my book?

I have a peculiar situation, I am not sure whether to use "a" or "the" in my book. This takes place in a footnote of the title of the work that I mention. Mario wrote the work "Principia de ...
1
vote
3answers
298 views

What's a good word for a “line of ink spread sideways”?

I want to know correct word for a "line of ink spread sideways."
6
votes
3answers
38k views

“Seem”, “appear”, “look” — how to differentiate?

Are there any significant structural or semantic differences between seem, appear and look in the sense of "to give the impression of being or doing something"? She looks unhappy. He seems ...
-2
votes
2answers
2k views

Do we say and write 21 / 31 / 41 item or itemS?

I've been wondering, since these example numbers end with 1, isn't it natural to use the following noun in its singular form? From what I've been seeing around on the web this does not seem to be the ...
0
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the correct usage of “meanwhile”?

I see meanwhile a lot; I use it a lot; yet I'm not sure about the formal rules when it's applicable. Can anyone help me?
2
votes
2answers
557 views

What's the grammatical function of “not” and “to” in this sentence?

What's the grammatical function of not and to in this sentence? It is legitimate for Slovenia not to allow the merger. How do I analyse the verb phrase? Allow is the headword, but what are not ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “just above chance” mean?

Each classifier in the group is a “weak” classifier (only just above chance performance). What does "only just above chance performance" mean?
1
vote
2answers
284 views

“Easy-to-make-typos” alternative?

Is there a good, compact word or phrase that would explain one's ability to make typos? I mean, I'm trying to write something like this: Now you can use this feature without either non-predictable ...
2
votes
1answer
29k views

'Today afternoon' vs 'Today in the afternoon'?

Which adverbial phrase of time is more grammatically correct: 'Today afternoon' or 'Today in the afternoon'?
2
votes
1answer
883 views

What does “being in hell” mean in this title?

I read an article titled "Working with Bill Gates Was Like 'Being in Hell,' Allen Says" and I don't understand what "being in hell" means. There are two meanings in my opinion. When he worked with ...
2
votes
2answers
954 views

Meaning of a sentence using the perfect continuous tense

a. They have been throwing papers. b. They have been throwing papers since the teacher left. Does the sentence (a) have the same meaning as sentence (b), even though the period of time is not ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

What to capitalize in table headings?

I'm writting a table for a scientific paper and I'm not sure what to capitalize in the column-headings. Which rule should be used? Normal English capitalization (then the next question is: write the ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the word for “fear of heights”?

I know it must be some kind of of phobia, but can anyone tell me what it is?
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is writing “alot” such a common mistake?

Why is it such a common mistake (particularly among school-children) to connect certain pairs of separate words? The most obvious example probably being: e.g. "a lot"->"alot" Is it because- in ...
7
votes
5answers
19k views

A term or phrase meaning “to explain in simple words”?

How do you ask someone to explain something in very simple words, understandable by everyone from general public? In Russia we say something, that can be translated like "explain on fingers". What's ...
25
votes
7answers
199k views

What is the meaning and origin of the common phrase “the world is your oyster”?

What does the world is your oyster mean, and where does it come from?
3
votes
3answers
953 views

Ununderstood English-language joke [closed]

In a song video made by an American acquaintance, there is a joke that I don't understand. Here is the context: "Alfresco" and "Pentaho" are two non-competing software applications that can be used ...
5
votes
6answers
15k views

Which would you use: full-size, full-sized, full size or full sized?

I want to use full-sized, as in: Click here to download a full-sized version of this image. But Google NGrams disagrees: So, given: full-size full-sized full size full sized which would ...
27
votes
4answers
29k views

Why do we say “was supposed to” for “should have”?

I was supposed to do my homework, but I went out clubbing instead. On a literal interpretation, supposed to suggests that other people (or indeed, myself) might have supposed (thought, imagined, ...
2
votes
1answer
71k views

What do the idioms “hang up”, “hang on”, and “hang out” mean?

What do hang up, hang on, and hang out mean?
3
votes
2answers
4k views

In a business proposal, which personal pronoun should be used?

Which personal pronoun would you use in a business proposal? Most people either go with first or third person, e.g., We propose this marketing plan. or Company x proposes this marketing ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I say I regret something in the past tense?

How to say you should do something in the past but you did not. Is this a correct usage? I had to finish my homework. Are there any soft versions?
4
votes
1answer
988 views

Adjective form of “adjective”

What is the adjective form of the word adjective? I wanted to say something like adjectivial but that's not a word.
10
votes
5answers
75k views

“Movies” vs. “Cinema” vs. “Theater” — what's the difference?

What are the differences between going to "the movies", "the cinema", and "the theater/theatre" (ignoring the fact that theaters are also for plays and not just movies)? Personally, "movies" sounds ...
8
votes
2answers
439 views

Help me parse this sentence so I can understand what joke my ancestors played on the King

I'm reading an old history book about my ancestors entitled "Rulewater And Its People: An Account Of The Valley Of The Rule And Its Inhabitants" published in 1907 by George Tancred. In it, I'm having ...
4
votes
1answer
219 views

Why is the state of being resident “residence”, but the state of being president “presiden-cy”?

Resident : Residence seems like the normal pairing to me. Residency isn't exactly unknown (see here), but it's far less common. But with President the derivatives are reversed and then some. ...
5
votes
1answer
34k views

Is “is” an auxiliary verb? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is "is" an auxiliary verb? My Mum's bag is blue. Is is an auxillary verb in that sentence? If not, what part of speech is it?
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you proceed from pronouncing “t” in the regular way to t-glottalization, as found in various English accents?

It's just strange to me because "t" is pronounced with the front teeth, while the glottalized "t" is produced with the back of the throat; that seems like quite a noticeable journey that couldn't have ...
2
votes
2answers
310 views

“Droll” is to “amusing” as “sardonic” is to what?

Could someone solve this analogy? droll : amusing :: sardonic : ________ P.S. the answer does not have to be a specific length.
3
votes
2answers
477 views

Is the word “bespoke” associated with Southern American English, kind of how “bonafied” is in my mind? [closed]

Is bespoke associated with the American South, as "bonafied" (bona fide, properly) is to me? When I hear the latter, it brings to mind aristocratic Southern gentlemen sipping mint juleps; when I hear ...
22
votes
5answers
14k views

Is there any other way you can “wax” as you do when you “wax philosophical”?

The wax in the phrase "wax philosophical" is a pretty strange bird. Its wax is obviously not the ordinary definition of wax, which my dictionary summarizes as an "oily, water-resistant substance", a ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are pounds sterling called “knicker”?

I asked the price of an article the other day, and was told that it cost 120 knicker. This is a slang term for pounds sterling that always appears in the singular. I have failed find any reason why ...
1
vote
1answer
944 views

Prepositional phrases on the internet

Is there any online dictionary or database of prepositional phrases? What I would like is to enter e. g. "justification" and it would give me: "justification to somebody", "justification of something",...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is “door” pronounced with an “o” sound and not a “u”?

Why is door pronounced as in 'o' not as in 'u' ?
9
votes
8answers
823 views

Is there a word for “one who salvages”?

I am looking specifically in the context of used, discarded or lost material (perhaps ships, trucks, weaponry and the like). I have considered forager, scavenger and pirate; however the first seems ...
1
vote
3answers
10k views

“I'm not understand” — help regarding sentence structure

I am trying to learn/improve my English by remembering grammar rules. Every day, I read a lot of technical documentation and have many conversations with my colleagues from US. I already have many ...
0
votes
2answers
719 views

Subjunctive mood, progressive and perfect progressive tense

Are the following usages of subjunctive mood, progressive tense correct? If I be being your wife a shrew, you have the option of divorcing me. If I were being crowned May queen, I would ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

“Distinction” or “difference”?

I don't really know whether I should use "distinction" or "difference" or something else! My sentence goes like this: For a better distinction among them, people were given nicknames, which ...
1
vote
8answers
672 views

“Almost until 1900” or “until almost 1900”: which one is correct?

Although various eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American poets had professed an interest in Native American poetry and had pretended to imitate Native American forms in their own works, it was not ...
11
votes
4answers
9k views

How are “yes” and “no” formatted in sentences?

If I am expecting an answer from a question and wish to state my prediction, do I need to use quotes around a simple "yes" or "no"? I think the answer is no. / I think the answer is "no." ...
1
vote
0answers
135 views

Using superlatives for comparing two things [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of the superlative when only two items are present Is it strictly incorrect to use the superlative when comparing only two things? i.e. I have two sisters. Mary is ...
30
votes
4answers
78k views

“Best Before” says “11 MA 23”; is it May or March?

I bought a bottle of juice today, and the "Best Before" date it's "11 MA 23". I always see "MA" as for March, but the store staff said that was May. What is your opinion?
6
votes
2answers
381 views

Can you have a singular “dreg”?

Is it linguistically incorrect to singularise the word "dregs", as in the following example: He finished off every last dreg of his coffee. If so, are there any other English words which can ...

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