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Top new questions this week:

Why are two-digit numbers in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" (1726) written in "German style"?

I have been reading "Gulliver's Travels" (Otherwise known more verbosely as "Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of ...

numbers historical-change  
asked by wfgeo 27 votes
answered by TaliesinMerlin 34 votes

A term for a woman complaining about things/begging in a cute/childish way

I'm trying to find a fitting translation for a Chinese term, which means that a woman is trying to be cute in front of her man in order to get what she wants. While she does this, her voice will ...

word-choice phrase-meaning translation gender  
asked by Rob F 21 votes
answered by BoldBen 50 votes

"Whatever a Russian does, they end up making the Kalashnikov gun"? Are there any similar proverbs in English?

I'm translating a Russian blog post into English and got stuck with the proverb, "Whatever a Russian does, they end up making the Kalashnikov gun." (Humorously meaning it's hard or even impossible to ...

phrases expressions idioms proverbs  
asked by Tatiana Zhukova 20 votes
answered by Peter Shor 38 votes

What is "gratricide"?

I've been reading Michael Innes books again (in this case "From London Far"), and I came across the word gratricidal, in the a passage about a Scottish castle... Castle Moila was famous alike in ...

asked by Brian Hooper 16 votes
answered by Nigel J 15 votes

What is an "asse" in Elizabethan English?

In the "New Yer's Guiftes giuen to The Quene's Maiestie" we find two handkerchives of Hollande, wroughte with blacke worke, and edged with a smale bone lace of golde and siluer; and an asse of ...

asked by n.m. 12 votes
answered by Mark Beadles 17 votes

Discrepancy in using adjective or adverb with “taste”

One asks “how does x taste,” implying that they’d like an adverb describing the way it tastes. But one answers with an adjective, “it tastes good” instead of “it tastes well,” which would imply that x ...

word-usage sense-verbs  
asked by alec_a 7 votes
answered by Laurel 2 votes

In search of the origins of term censor, I hit a dead end stuck with the greek term, to censor, λογοκρίνω

I have been looking in OED for a history that makes sense, yet, I just find crumbs, and I can not piece the history of this term. I am hitting a dead end researching the greek term to censor, named ...

etymology latin origin-unknown greek  
asked by Julien Tremblay McLellan 6 votes
answered by TaliesinMerlin 12 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

"Which" vs. "what" — what's the difference and when should you use one or the other?

Most of the time one or the other feels better, but every so often, "which" vs. "what" trips me up. So, what's the exact difference and when should you use one or the other?

differences questions determiners which-what  
asked by Korneel Bouman 109 votes
answered by Chris Dwyer 94 votes

When "etc." is at the end of a phrase, do you place a period after it?

Example: It's all about apples, oranges, bananas, etc. VS. It's all about apples, oranges, bananas, etc.. Update What happens if the abbreviation is inside parentheses, do you place a dot ...

phrases abbreviations period  
asked by Shimmy 164 votes
answered by Jimi Oke 69 votes

"All The Best" vs "Best of Luck"

I heard somewhere that if we wish someone younger than us then say "best of luck" and if we wish someone older than us then say "all the best". I don't know how much of this is true. Will you please ...

phrases politeness conversation  
asked by diEcho 25 votes
answered by gbutters 27 votes

"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  
asked by David Souther 47 votes
answered by simchona 55 votes

When to use "lives" as a plural of life?

I am confused when talking about a general idea using "our life" when sometimes I feel like using "our lives". Please tell me the correct answer with appropriate explanation.

grammar grammatical-number  
asked by Sudhir 18 votes
answered by Daniel Harbour 22 votes

What is the difference between "sardonic" and "sarcastic"?

Basically, sardonic and sarcastic both stand for mocking gestures, but what is the difference in their contextual use? Are there any other words that represent a similar gesture?

differences adjectives collocation  
asked by ikartik90 26 votes
answered by Robusto 7 votes

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 running ...

grammaticality grammar punctuation commas colon  
asked by Cory Gross 23 votes
answered by Barrie England 18 votes

Can you answer these questions?

A question about "seems like (as If, as though)"

He seems to be happy. It seems that he is happy. (formal style) It seems like (as if, as though) he is happy. (informal style) 1) Sentence #1 ; I assume that 'to infinitive' functions as subjective ...

asked by deepcosmos 1 vote

Speak to (topic) or speak on (topic)?

Here's an example: BizComm is miles ahead of industry when it comes to artificial intelligence - a subject James will speak to later in the presentation. I find this phrase jarring. The ...

asked by Peter H 1 vote
answered by Prerna Krishna 0 votes

What is the correct term for a fear of breasts?

I have known this is a phobia for quite a while and remember reading the word long ago, but when I googled it today I got 2 different spellings: mastophobia and mastrophobia. Which one is right? Is ...

single-word-requests is-it-a-word  
asked by Saifur Rahman Mohsin 2 votes
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