15
votes
16answers
3k views

Word for obscuring bad or immoral acts with verbiage

I have been in many scenarios where people try to obscure/reduce the intensity of a seemingly bad or immoral act using grammar. E.g. Assuming Thomas killed a dog, you could hear something like: ...
5
votes
4answers
397 views

Beginning a sentence with a gerund?

My teacher recently marked on my paper not to use a gerund to start a sentence. I have been told by teachers in the past to use that format to vary sentence structure. It seems to make the paper flow ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Abbreviation for fixed price of product sold in shops

What is the abbreviation for the fixed price of the product being sold (resale) in consumer shops?
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Best way to abbreviate income ranges

I'm looking for recommendations on how best to abbreviate the following demographic income range: 1 below 3,000,000 Japanese yen (JPY) 2 between 3,000,000 and 4,999,999 JPY 3 between 5,000,000 ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

A word to make something bad sound good

Lets say we are talking about a book about teens that drink. In the book the teens have fun and nothing bad ever happens. What word would you use to describe what the book is doing to teen drinking. ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

isolate vs. isolated

I'm doing research paper and I want to write a sentence like We wanted to compare two groups isolated. A colleague told me to write isolate, without d. I just checked, this is an actual ...
1
vote
0answers
16 views

Semicolon or period in the following?

Here are two instances in a formal paper I submitted where my professor told me my semicolon usage is incorrect. (For the record, he told me this as he was reading it for the first time. He said ...
2
votes
4answers
50 views

Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”

Where did you come from? What is the nuance of this emphasis? I could understand it if the emphasis were on where.
1
vote
1answer
40 views

How to use “sous vide” in a sentence

First, I'm not sure if sous vide is a trademark or just a cooking method like boil or fry. How should I use sous vide in a sentence when writing a recipe?
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Can plural subject precede a single complement? [on hold]

I wonder if the the following sentence is correct grammatically, where a singular complement (is I am calling it the correct way) i.e. "a factor" is used with plural subject: these five roles ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning of “all-new” in advertising-speak

Sometimes hyphenated, sometimes not. Most commonly heard in car commercials, eg "Introducing the all-new 2010 Cadillac SRX Crossover". I've only heard it since moving to the US so perhaps it is a ...
1
vote
4answers
35 views

To what extent do 'earn income' and 'generate income' differ?

I've had a short search on this but may have overlooked an easily-accessible source that differentiates the two. They don't seem synonymous, but I can't yet point to a definition of the two. To me, ...
2
votes
1answer
24 views

Where have you been OR where had you been?

Which usage is correct? Is it, Where have you been? OR Where had you been? Can we ask Where had you been as a past tense? Or can I answer I had been which happened in the past? In the rhyme, Pussy ...
20
votes
12answers
6k views

Secular phrase for “Heaven only knows” or “God only knows”?

As the title states, I am seeking a secular phrase synonymous to "Heaven only knows" or "God only knows." Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
1
vote
1answer
23 views

Window shopping - shop with the eyes only -Is the term applicable to online browsing (shopping) too

"Window shopping" is used for a consumer who has no intent to purchase and I believe the term originated well before shopping became accessible online. Is there a different term for ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

fused relatives versus interrogatives [closed]

Would you differentiate which are relatives and which are interrogatives? (And I want to know the sub-category (sub-name) of each below, if they are.) “You can keep it,” said Harry, laughing at ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

“… and then Judah decides to eliminate his mistress.” Is it correct to use “eliminate” for “kill”? [on hold]

In a review for the 1989 film "Crimes and Misdemeanors" a critic says: "...and after his mistress has been eliminated, Judah decides..." meaning "has been killed". I always thought of "eliminate" as ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Is “worser” correct grammatically?

Is worser correct grammatically? I know it seems incorrect, but I stumbled upon the word when reading Hamlet: Oh, throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

Expression for losing something that you never really had

My "friend" keeps whining about "losing n reputation points" on Stack Exchange. My instinctive interpretation is that some of the votes he had earned were reversed due to vote fraud. What he really ...
1
vote
4answers
114 views
+50

Which form should be used for an “adjective noun”: singular, plural, possessive?

When should a noun acting as an adjective be plural, and when should it be singular? And when should it be possessive, like baker's dozen and when should it be plural possessive, like farmers' market? ...
-2
votes
0answers
46 views

A creative and catchy term for an app meant for farmers? [closed]

Just need a creative name that stays in your head. Something short and nature like "Google". It should also be related to farmers (or anything related to it as such).
2
votes
2answers
84 views

The meaning of “yet” in “Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes”

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: I'm wondering about the ...
0
votes
1answer
18 views

A word to describe if some is in my team or is a contribution

I work on a webapp where the users make forecast of people. They have to inform for each person with forecast if it's a "TEAM MEMBER" (i. e. the user is the manager of the resource) or a ...
7
votes
12answers
995 views

What would you call a person who shares every thought they have? [on hold]

What would you call a person who thinks they know everything and decides to share every little fact they can think of? For example, if a teacher or professor says something and a student decides to ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Can't remember the word for literal setting of the variables

It is programming related. Well, I have a phrase, something like: If the parameter wasn't set ..., the default value should be used. I can't remember the word people usually use here. Something ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

What is the source of the phrase “phony baloney”?

The term baloney means Foolish or deceptive talk; nonsense: typical salesman’s baloney [corruption of bologna] [Oxford Dictionaries Online] Etymonline provides the following derivation ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Does “absent friends” have definite association with deceased family/friends?

Having gotten married this year and acting as best man for my brother, one of the responsibilities for speeches was a toast "to absent friends". With some of our family no longer being alive, for us ...
0
votes
2answers
30 views

what does “I think it was par for the course” mean [on hold]

In an interview ElonMusk says the following about steve jobs(http://www.freshdialogues.com/2013/02/25/elon-musk-on-steve-jobs-innovation-critics-transcript/). I think it was par for the course ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

What is the origin of the word “copped”?

In the language used by footy (Australian football) commentators the word "copped" is frequent. For instance, if a player gets knocked on the head, say, then the sentence might be "player X copped ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

The Largest is White Bears [on hold]

My question is twofold. I came across this text: "The Largest is White Bears" in a presentation. Intuitively this seems incorrect. Is there any grammatical justification for the singular form of the ...
18
votes
3answers
8k views

When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive?

Some verbs are followed by ing, e.g. I enjoy swimming. We can't say I enjoy to swim. Likewise, some verbs are followed by to, e.g. I decided to make a plan. Which particular verbs are followed by ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the difference between “wriggle room” and “wiggle room”?

The phrase "wriggle room" gives 2 million results on Google. "Wiggle room" gives 140 thousand suggesting that both phrases are valid English. Google N-grams seems to back this theory up too. And ...
2
votes
2answers
25 views

How did 'adumbrate' evolve to mean 'represent in outline'?

What's an intuitive derivation behind ODO's definition 1 that helps to remember its meaning? 1. adumbrate = [with object] Represent in outline: Etymonline for adumbration: 1530s, from Latin ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Usage of the word entropy in the context of this question [closed]

Could someone define the word entropy for me in the context below. "I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness ...
3
votes
3answers
616 views

Etymology of “Mother Nature” and “Father Time”

Why are "Mother Nature" and "Mother Earth" (and perhaps other similar connotations I am unaware of) feminine personifications? The same question stands for "Father Time" - why masculine? Any ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

“we and someone” vs “someone and we”

Both: I and my neighbour went to the races and: My neighbour and I went to the races are commonly used. However in the plural I've only ever seen the form: We and the neighbours went ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

“Most important” vs “most importantly”

I was always under impression that "most important" is correct usage when going through the list of things. We need to pack socks, toothbrushes for the trip, but most important is to pack ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Questions on modals,tenses

I'm not sure whether I used the right tenses? They say that he might not have done all he could to keep her safe There are many things he could have done over the years to keep her safe,but he ...
2
votes
1answer
532 views

Should the word after “e.g.” be capital

If you are using a word that normally wouldn't start with a capital letter, should it be lower case after an e.g.? Also should e.g. have a capital E at the start of a sentence? Example phrases: ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

“As if it weren't bad enough”: meaning and subjunctive mood?

This is a sentence from a preface of book: As if it weren’t bad enough that I wrote my first book during our first year of marriage, I wrote this book during our first year of parenthood. Although ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

what does it mean: “Lowess smooth”

what does it mean: "Lowess smooth" in following picture
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Etymology of reduplicative compound “nitty-gritty”

I've always been curious about that one and I've come across many contending theories for the etymology of nitty-gritty. English is quite fond of these reduplicative compounds. I'd like to know ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does the phrase “even a fool gets to be young once” mean?

In the movie American Gangster, Frank Lucas said Even a fool gets to be young once. What does this phrase mean?
2
votes
4answers
90 views

What would be a modern equivalent for “A curtain lecture”?

I chanced on this expression while reading a book by David Crystal. In a chapter dedicated to words that have disappeared from the English language, he mentions this gem in Samuel Johnson's ...
1
vote
6answers
68 views

Word for describing the situation of caring about nothing but one thing

I want to describe a situation in which someone gets interested in something/someone to such extent that he forgets other activities and normal life, and just cares and thinks about the beloved ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “Needless to say” ever worth saying?

I get a weird twinge in my stomach when ever I have the urge to write "Needless to say." If it's needless to say, it would seem stupid to say it. Am I right? Am I wrong?
0
votes
2answers
39 views

“being wined and dined” — singular?

I want to say, "He loves being wined and dined, and he's not above demanding it." I don't know whether being can be treated as the referent of it, or I must take the whole verb phrase as a plural. I ...
0
votes
3answers
66 views

Similar to “burning a hole in my pocket” but for www shopping cart?

I like this: "Got three dollars burning a hole in my pocket". Are there other expressions or phrases with similar meaning? Actually, I want to know what the creative English speakers will write ...
2
votes
3answers
15k views

“To which extent?” vs. “To what extent?”

Is there a difference in meaning between "to which extent" and "to what extent"? Are they used in different geographical areas?
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Have been or Had been? [on hold]

Which one is right? It couldn't had been my fault! OR It couldn't have been my fault!

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