Questions tagged [contemporary-english]

This tag is for questions about English as it is used in our own day and times. This differs from the more general Modern English by being more restricted.

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1answer
39 views

can you say “he is in a lively chat with her”

My question is about style. Does it sound natural if you say that someone "is in a lively chat/conversation with someone" or is it better to say "he is ENGAGED in a lively chat with her&...
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1answer
157 views

On a certain pejorative in contemporary British English

According to the OED https://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/67623) "faggot" and "fag", used to refer to gay men in a derogatory way are "originally and chiefly North ...
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0answers
33 views

Usage of “she” instead of “he” for inclusiveness [duplicate]

Ten to five years ago I was reading MSDN Magazine, and in a few articles I stumbled upon sentences like "The user should... She needs to...", with "she" referring to the user. ...
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2answers
55 views

Is it ever correct to say “if I be…” in present-day English?

We are taught that in "type 0" and "type 1" conditional sentences, the tense of the condition clause (aka the "if" clause) should always be the normal present tense, as ...
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1answer
41 views

What does 'after midnight on Wednesday' mean?

West Midlands Police said the devices were found outside an address in Coronation Road, Tipton, just after midnight on Wednesday. MSN news : Bomb Squad Called It is now Wednesday. To me, 'midnight ...
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1answer
68 views

Formal salutation of a servant to a child?

Let's say I have someone like Alfred Pennyworth. Such a person would obviously address the man and woman of the house as "Sir" and "Madam". (For example, "Would sir care for a beverage?") How could ...
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1answer
44 views

Switching from have been to current tense in a sentence

While working on a project with a friend, we stumbled upon a grammatical problem. These use cases have been modeled and help convey the game’s primary gameplay. I'm uncertain whether or not it's ...
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0answers
40 views

How can I research the first recorded usage of a particular sense of a word, especially not the most commonly used sense or most 'basic' sense?

I'm interested in finding the first use of the word "creative" when used in the sense of an advertisement's text, graphics, etc. How can I research the first use of a word like this when it's so ...
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3answers
91 views

Since English is the most spoken language on Earth, should it be regarded as Earth's Most Popular Language? [closed]

According to the World Atlas website, English is the most spoken language on Earth, with 1.39 billion speakers, followed by Mandarin Chinese 1.15 Billion speakers, and Spanish 661 Million speakers. ...
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0answers
37 views

What is the convention for use of “volume” or “amount” in reference to quantity of data?

"Volume" is commonly used to refer to indefinite and definite (usually large) quantities of data or rates of data throughput (e.g., "The volume of data we delivered on each date is provided in the ...
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12answers
5k views

Does English use the word ‘thou’ in any situations nowadays? [closed]

Does English use the word thou in situations nowadays? For example, to humiliate an opponent by being overly familiar?
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1answer
34 views

What is meant by “carbon space class”?

I'm taking an online class from someone who has lots of typos in his course materials. I found these sentences in the course materials: Finally, there is a "Current Events" discussion area to ...
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2answers
77 views

When did ‘above’ and ‘below’ start referring to things preceding and succeeding in a written work?

TL;DR contemporary writers use ‘above’ and ‘below’ for intratextual referencing—how long has this been the case, and did this usage coincide with the introduction of PC publishing software? I have ...
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1answer
450 views

Whence comes increasing usage of “I'll do an X” instead of “I'll have” in ordering food?

I have lately noticed, at both ends of a recent thousand-mile relocation within the USA, that people are increasingly using the verb “do” in ordering food, in place of that “have&...
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2answers
57 views

How is melagra described in contemporary English? [closed]

The noun MELAGRA stands for rheumatic or myalgic pains in the arms or legs. This is the word I found which is closest to describing the kind of pain that one feels all over the body during fever or ...
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6answers
889 views

An adjective to replace “so random” (to describe one who is apt to say random things)

Among friends, we describe a person as "so random" (he/she is so random) if that person says random things (often in group discussions). That is, we do not use it as defined below (i.e., he/she is "so ...
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1answer
2k views

Is “pre-prepared” redundant?

I've noticed recently the "word" pre-prepared popping up in my daily life, and if my completely selection-biased anecdotes are any evidence, it seems to be catching on. Is there any reason why the '...
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0answers
143 views

Is “barrel of eels” a common expression? What are alternatives

"To me, literature is something much more alive. More like a barrel of eels. When a writer creates a new eel, it wriggles its way into the barrel, muscles a path into the great teeming mass from which ...
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1answer
439 views

Phrase meaning of equal parts

IN THE CUT-THROAT realm of reality TV, “Wanted Down Under” is a survivor. A daytime fixture that has just finished its 13th season, the BBC documentary follows Britons contemplating relocating to ...
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0answers
46 views

Why do people say 'sat'? [duplicate]

A while ago, I think, I started hearing and reading people use the verb 'to sit' incorrectly, but it seems to becoming increasingly common. Such as "I am sat", "We are sat", "They were sat". Sit is a ...
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0answers
155 views

Why is the US referred to as “the Union” in “State of the Union”?

I wonder about the use of the word "Union" in the name "State of the Union", which is the US President's annual address to Congress. The phrase appears in the Constitution: He [the President] shall ...
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1answer
3k views

I am fine, or I am well, or I am good? [closed]

In grade school, eons ago, I was taught to say "I am fine." Today, most people say, "I am good." Recently, I received scorn for an old man saying, "I am fine," as it was argued that "fine" would ...
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1answer
5k views

Historically, did “Oh my Gosh” originate as an anti-God expression? [closed]

There is a tendency in traditionally Christian societies (grossly speaking, the West) to leave behind words or expression which allude to such heritage or faith. A familiar example is CE and BCE ...
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2answers
314 views

Am I using the word 'leverage' correctly ?

The sentence is, "I want to leverage my understanding of topic A with the knowledge of topic B to prepare myself well for a particular career". I want to convey that I already know topic A and ...
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2answers
48 views

In grammar, what do we call this specific usage of “this”?

In spoken American English, often times people who are telling a story use the determiner "this" not as a demonstrative, but rather as a word that serves to emphasize the impact of something....
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1answer
3k views

Is “In the both cases” correct?

I have personally never heard (or seen): in both cases being referred to by: in the both cases before; therefore, my first instinct was that it is an obvious mistake. However, looking up "in ...
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1answer
106 views

Is it OK to use two consecutive 'that' in a sentence? [duplicate]

Is the usage of 2 consecutive 'that' in the following sentence correct, because it looks a bit odd? Should these be separated by comma perhaps? "While I agree that strength and size definitely gives ...
3
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1answer
478 views

What is the history of the cursive p?

A friend of mine (relevant detail, he grew up and learned cursive in India) recently remarked to me that he missed the way that cursive "p"s used to be written. An example of this can be seen in the ...
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3answers
344 views

The use of “male”/“female” (instead of e.g. “man”/“woman”) in everyday speech

In contemporary English, the terms "male" and "female" seem to be almost as commonly applied to people as "man" and "woman". For example, I see people posting questions on certain StackExchange sites ...
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1answer
184 views

What's a good way to describe the professional occupation of someone who is a street hustler, without using derogatory terms?

I am filling in a form for someone who basically does a variety of odd jobs to make a living, including reselling items, but "Sales" is not really an accurate way to describe their occupation. I am ...
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2answers
72 views

When did 'a relationship' become ‘a romantic relationship'?

There are a lot of relationships one can be in. You're in a mutually amicable relationship with your friends, in a familial or parent–child one with your parents, in a professional or business one ...
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1answer
925 views

Is “mediaeval” an outdated spelling of “medieval”?

I saw "mediaeval" on a Wikipedia page, and figuring it was a typo, edited it to "medieval", it was reverted as apparently mediaeval is the UK spelling. However, in all the dictionaries I've found from ...
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1answer
142 views

Why is the English word “teasel” also spelled teasle/teazel/teazle? [closed]

Why is the English word "teasel" also spelled teasle/teazel/teazle? Reference: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/teasel
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0answers
62 views

Verve as a verb meaning “to enter into” or “venture”

I've recently come across examples of the word "verve" used as a verb meaning "to enter into or venture into. I thought the writers meant to use "veer" or "verge" but clearly this was meant in a ...
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1answer
171 views

The Forbidden Fruit : Figure of speech

Simply put, I'd like to know what figure of speech we can classify the phrase "forbidden fruit" under. I've searched online and couldn't find anything concise.
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1answer
1k views

If “Literally” now means “Figuratively,” Which Word Can Be Used for the Previous Meaning?

I have been irked by the trend to use the word "literally" to mean "figuratively." The most recent offense to attack my brain and ears was someone introducing a series of videos filmed around the ...
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0answers
27 views

Does it “rile” you?

I live in India and am a Doctorate (in Maths, not English). A few years back, my social circle consisted purely of Mathematicians/Physicists. Just about time, cause I happened to join a trekking club ...
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0answers
367 views

exhibition v.s. inhibition

In my experience... Inhibition is commonly used in different ways, say to render difficult, or to hide, to restrict or hinder, etc. Exhibition can be something like making and art show, presentations,...
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0answers
36 views

Implication of “Somewhere”

I have a quick question. If I'm writing: "Do you want to go somewhere with me?", does it sound like who is speaking has a specific place in mind or that they just want to go somewhere random? I'm not ...
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1answer
729 views

What is the name of the construction , “I'm liking” and when is it appropriate?

I hear phrases such as, "I'm wanting a new car," and, "He was wanting to go home," and, "I'm liking this new CD," more and more frequently. It seems ubiquitous and it is jarring to my ear. Why not ...
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1answer
54 views

Heavy use of present continuous

"I am thinking ... ." "I am guessing ... ." "I am wanting ... ." It might be a septuagenarian's illusion or it might actually be that this tense of verbs is now is (overly) heavy use. Is there ...
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0answers
616 views

Contemporary definition of Sexual Predator

I keep hearing this word, but I have a hard time pinning it down. Sometimes it seem to only be used when rape or sexual assault is involved, but not always. Wikipedia says: A sexual predator is a ...
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2answers
208 views

Is there a term for the “ever longer, implicitly hyphenated-like groupings” in contemporary English?

There was just a question here about a phrase which had adjective and then a long complex phrase as the noun This is a real feature of "contemporary" English usage - I guess the best way to ...
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2answers
100 views

Word for someone who quits something and becomes excessively against it

Apologies for the vague nature of this. I'm looking for a word that could describe a person who quits something due to its supposedly being harmful or unethical (cigarettes, meat, alcohol, ...
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10answers
19k views

Should I say “ATM” or “cashpoint” in the UK?

ATM is an initialism of automated teller machine, coined sometime in the 1970s. I have always considered it an Americanism while its British equivalent has always been cashpoint, Oxford Living ...
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2answers
1k views

Do people actually address their male child “Son” rather than a name, in real life English, or is this mainly a written English usage?

I regularly see films, books, stories and other English usages in which a person uses the term "son" where one might normally use a name. Usually, it's a father and they're portrayed in a reasonably ...
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2answers
749 views

Is the verb 'to orn' truly obsolete? [closed]

During a game of scrabble the word orn caused controversy. It was my understanding that the word can still be used. In Websters Dictionary from 1913, it is listed as a verb meaning to adorn, ...
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1answer
114 views

What does it take for a colloquial meaning to become canon?

I've been listening to Alanis Morissette, so I started thinking about why there is such a fuss about how she used the word "ironic" incorrectly. In my experience, literary irony is generally just as ...
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1answer
153 views

Preventative or Preventive? [duplicate]

I continue to hear people use the word, "preventative." I've always considered "preventive" to be correct. I consider the extra syllable in preventative to be superfluous. For example: With regard to ...
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2answers
1k views

A lady or a woman?

In India we routinely refer to all women as ladies, not only in Indian English but also using the English loanword 'lady/ladies' in Indian languages. These seats are reserved for ladies. The old lady ...