English Language & Usage Stack Exchange Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Is "stife" a name for smoking cooking oil?

My parents and grandparents used to describe smoking cooking oil as "stife". Has anyone else heard of this? Perhaps I've spelt it wrong?

meaning word-usage is-it-a-word  
user avatar asked by Dave Gamble Score of 13
user avatar answered by Laurel Score of 19

How to talk about two different counts

In our scientific article, I have a sentence: The numbers of residents and transients are constant over time. I want to say that the number of resients is constant and the number of transients is ...

meaning grammatical-number  
user avatar asked by Tomas Score of 3
user avatar answered by TimR Score of 8

What does “turn down an empty plate” mean?

I was reading Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake (1943) and came across this quote that puzzled me: Tell Webber I was asking for him. Next time he buys a hamburger, tell him to turn down an ...

meaning-in-context colloquialisms  
user avatar asked by Frank Conry Score of 3
user avatar answered by Tevildo Score of 3

"See also" vs. "Also see" as a heading

I was surprised to se that there consistently is an "Also see"-section on this wiki (example). The heading I would expect is "See also", which is used e.g. on Wikipedia (example). ...

user avatar asked by Lorents Score of 2
user avatar answered by Tinfoil Hat Score of 0

Do we use the subjunctive with verbs of sense?

An ESL student told me she was taught never to use the subjunctive with verbs of sense (touch, taste, feel, etc.). So, compare the following sentences: She behaves as though she were the boss. I ...

subjunctive-mood mood  
user avatar asked by Leanne Bellamy Score of 1
user avatar answered by Greybeard Score of 1

Precise word to describe "falling short of greatness" or "eluded by greatness"

I would like to narrow down what options we have in English to the concept of being very close to seizing greatness for oneself but falling short. A ready example that comes to mind is the Alexander ...

user avatar asked by Arash Howaida Score of 1
user avatar answered by Graffito Score of 0

Hyphens are used in words from 0-99 (correction 21-99), but what if a number larger than 99 is a compound adjective before a noun?

For example, which of these are correct? The pizza delivery service had three thousand, seven hundred and eighty-two clients. The pizza delivery service had three-thousand-seven-hundred-and-eighty-...

punctuation writing-style hyphenation numbers style-manuals  
user avatar asked by Jof Score of 1
user avatar answered by Sven Yargs Score of 2

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

"Convenient for you" vs "convenient to you"

Is there a difference between "convenient for you" and "convenient to you"? And if it is, could you explain it?

meaning phrases prepositions  
user avatar asked by Anton Moiseev Score of 34
user avatar answered by Shoe Score of 25

"Thank you all" — wrong or right?

On many occasions after we complete a speech, we often consider thanking our audience. In this scenario, I am not sure if "Thank you all" is the right English. Should it be "Thanking you all" instead ...

grammaticality politeness progressive-aspect  
user avatar asked by samridhi Score of 13
user avatar answered by DavidR Score of 11

"Dieing" vs "dying"

Which is the formally correct spelling, dieing or dying? Is there any history of the alternative spelling? I type dieing naturally, but my spellchecker marks it wrong. This is largely an etymology ...

etymology orthography  
user avatar asked by David Souther Score of 51
user avatar answered by simchona Score of 58

"Angry with" vs. "angry at" vs. "angry on"

Which is the most appropriate/correct usage? Are you angry on me? Are you angry with me? Are you angry at me?

word-choice grammaticality prepositions at-with  
user avatar asked by highbeta Score of 37
user avatar answered by Urbycoz Score of 52

Word to describe "a person who is only wishful to help others and cares little about themself"?

Specifically, I am looking to describe a person whose only purpose is to help others, not caring about what happens to himself or herself (physically or otherwise), though without actively seeking ...

meaning single-word-requests  
user avatar asked by NomadicAssassin Score of 6
user avatar answered by ghoppe Score of 27

What does "thot" mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...

meaning etymology slang offensive-language epithets  
user avatar asked by Hugo Score of 17
user avatar answered by OperaticSkeleton Score of 15

Punctuation for the phrase "including but not limited to"

When using the phrase "including but not limited to", how should it be punctuated? When used in the following (no punctuation): There are many activities including but not limited to ...

punctuation commas orthography writing-style colon  
user avatar asked by Cory Gross Score of 34
user avatar answered by Barrie England Score of 26

Can you answer these questions?

Is "It's like watching Mitt and Mutt work" a reference to Mutt & Stuff?

Hey English community, I was watching Best Fails Of The Year | Try Not To Laugh and the sentence at the timestamp took me off guard, mostly because I've never heard it before and I really like it. I ...

user avatar asked by Richard Score of 1

To make people get used to and accept the bad by showing them the worse

I am searching for an idiomatic expression for making people accept and get used to what they normally wouldn't by showing or making them experience a worse one. Edit; when authority wants to increase ...

phrase-requests idiom-requests  
user avatar asked by Ghazwan Al Ahmed Score of 1
user avatar answered by Barmar Score of 0

Can I pluralize compound proper nouns, like "Aunts Jane" for two aunts with the same name?

If I have an aunt named Jane, then I would write "Aunt Jane," where "Aunt" is capitalized because it is part of a proper noun. If I have two aunts that are named Jane, would I ...

proper-nouns irregular-plurals  
user avatar asked by wintergreen_plaza Score of 1
user avatar answered by Laurel Score of 0
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