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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18 views

“around” = “on the subject of”

In recent months I have on a number of occasions heard people use the word "around" when they mean "on the subject of." E.g. "I can answer your questions around your ...
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30 views

Under what circumstances may the noun 'ambush' not be preceded by any article?

In particular, I wish to know if they were attacked from ambush and they were attacked from an ambush are equally in fashion. The articled form is is definitely more familiar, but look at the first ...
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29 views

Agreeing just because everyone else agrees as well

What is the word used to describe the act of agreeing with something only because everyone else agrees as well?
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4answers
53 views

Modern synonym for turnstile?

Are there any widely used modern synonyms for turnstile? You know, the gate you need a ticket, badge, or barcode in order to pass through. Nowadays, I don't see any with an actual metal-pole turning ...
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1answer
44 views

Is it grammatical to use ellipses to indicate a character reminiscing?

Is the usage of ellipses correct here? He sat on his wooden desk, fixing the reel on his cassette. When he played the cassette, his mind played the memories of the past ... [a paragraph outlining the ...
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1answer
43 views

“In the first instance” … active in contemporary populations?

On a site I happened to use the phrase "In the first instance" ... (Not that this is relevant, but notice the many upvotes suggesting that presumably it reaches baseline understandability ...
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29 views

Which is the correct sentence using the word 'Let'? [duplicate]

In the following two sentences, I think that the first one is more precisely correct: (1) Let G be a graph with n vertices, and S be the set of all subgraphs of G. (2) Let G be a graph with n ...
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1answer
24 views

What's the difference between “another” and “someone else”?

1: If Henry is busy, get another person to help you. 2: If Henry is busy, get someone else to help you. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines another this way: not the same thing, ...
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1answer
71 views

Can “If” mean “since”?

Here's my example: "If we all agree on the basic terms, can we do a proper agreement next week." Can this be construed (in the proper context) as: "Since we all agree, can we etc."?...
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1answer
54 views

Recent derogatory usage of the term ‘inkblot’?

I have observed the use of the term ‘inkblot’ in online forums for criticizing writing which is deficient in coherent logic and/or elucidation, e.g. “your incoherent inkblots notwithstanding.” In this ...
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1answer
52 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
186 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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38 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
111 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
409 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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2answers
92 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
64 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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1answer
69 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
82 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
596 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
59 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
2k 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
4k 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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222 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
731 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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56 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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251 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
4k 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
6k 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
465 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
53 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
4k 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
183 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
622 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
400 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
199 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
77 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
1k 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
161 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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70 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
242 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
28 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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468 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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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
889 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
56 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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635 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 ...