Questions tagged [nouns]

This tag is for questions about nouns. Nouns are words that refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept. Add this tag to single-word-requests if you are looking for a noun. Add the tag word-usage if you are asking about the usage of the noun.

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29
votes
9answers
257k views

What's the difference between a jumper, a pullover, and a sweater?

Following on from a recent question, in Australia we have the word jumper for a knitted long-sleeved garment, typically woollen and long-sleeved. When cosuming foreign media I always assumed the ...
17
votes
3answers
93k views

Isle vs. Island

Some islands are called isle like "Isle of Man", "Isle of Tortuga" and the "British Isles". Other islands are called island, like "Island of Malta" or "Island of Cyprus". What is the difference ...
12
votes
2answers
867 views

Can predicative complements not be bare noun phrases in English? That is, are clauses such as “I am student” incorrect?

In Chapter 4 of the book A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar, written by Rodney Huddleston of the University of Queensland and Geoffrey K. Pullum of the University of Edinburgh and published ...
11
votes
5answers
677 views

When referring to a noun, when does the gender matter? [duplicate]

In most languages, gender plays a much more important role than in English. Nevertheless, it is possible to refer to a noun using its gender. The ship was launched on 4 October 1853. Tayleur left ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

what is the difference between a “deverbal noun” and a “verbal noun” please [closed]

I am currently working on -ing nominalizations and I've noticed that some grammar books refer to verbal nouns as deverbal nouns. Do you (English native speakers) make the difference or do you consider ...
3
votes
2answers
384 views

One noun but two determiners?

In this earlier thread titled 'Can I precede a noun with more than one determiner?', the most-voted answer by Barrie England says: Yes, more than one determiner can precede a noun, but they do so ...
14
votes
3answers
68k views

What's the difference between 'cutlery', 'silverware' and 'crockery'?

What's the difference between 'cutlery', 'silverware' and 'crockery'? Are there any differences between them?
11
votes
3answers
91k views

Is “homework” countable?

I was wondering if "homework" is countable? I remember it is an uncountable noun when I learned English in middle school. Suppose now I would like to ask my teacher to hand back my graded "homeworks"...
8
votes
1answer
112k views

Difference between “picture” and “photo”

When should I use one or the other?
6
votes
4answers
54k views

Noun for “receive”?

Receipt? Receiving? I'm trying to come up with a name for "the acceptance of a delivery." I'd like to be able to say Ten deliveries were made but there are only five [fill_in_the_blank_here] on ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

“Change their positions” vs. “change their position” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Those who qualify will be awarded a certificate” or “those who qualify will be awarded certificates”? “On their back” or “on their ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“of the” vs noun adjunct [duplicate]

Please note: This may be a complex question, references would be great, search engines do not help with "of the". Looks like we can remove the use of "of the" with a noun adjunct switching the order ...
17
votes
5answers
115k views

Is a thumb also a finger?

The thumb has a different name compared to the other fingers (index, middle, ring, little) and it does not end with "finger". Also, when referring to the hand, I have seen literature where it is ...
16
votes
10answers
51k views

Word for “person that I supervise”

What is the best word to refer to the person that I (directly) supervise, in the context of a corporate workplace? The closest I can think of is employee, but that doesn't directly convey a direct ...
15
votes
9answers
16k views

Why did jazz musicians start referring to an engagement as a “gig”?

Why did jazz musicians start referring to an engagement as a "gig"? If any, could anyone provide a couple of quotations from eminent authors to show where a word was first used in this sense? gig ...
7
votes
1answer
819 views

Are these parts of speech correct? [closed]

Considering the following sentences: Don't listen to those other people. You should always use prefixes with your table names. I have even started using them in normal writing. See how ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Can “zealot” have a positive connotation?

A zealot is a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals. I have never seen this word used with positive connotation, but could it (without ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Usage of the gerund preceded by the possessive adjective/determiner?

I read this thread on the usage of the gerund preceded by the possessive adjective/determiner with much interest. I have another question about the usage of the gerund preceded by the possessive ...
6
votes
7answers
106k views

What's the difference between “debate” and “argument”?

These words seem to have similar meanings, possibly with different connotations.
6
votes
6answers
2k views

“We went swimming later in the afternoon, Jack and I.”

Why does the following phrase sound old fashioned? We went swimming later in the afternoon, Jack and I. I am trying to describe what is happening here by breaking the sentence down into its basic ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

A word for two very different things juxtaposed?

Is there a word for when, say, in an artwork, there are various items that are completely different to each other, or anachronistic? Like, for example, a watch from the 1800s and a Snoopy figurine?
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Word or phrase for “one needing to see it to believe it”

What's a word or phrase that could be used to describe a person who needs to see the evidence for a claim in-person before believing it?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

“Employee” is to “employer” as “dependent” is to what? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A depends on B, is A dependant, or is B dependant? I'm trying to find a word that is the counterpart to "dependent", i.e. refers to the one who the dependent relies upon. A ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the collective noun for a collection of collective nouns? [closed]

murder : crows :: _ : collective nouns Sorry, no multiple choice this time.
2
votes
2answers
284 views

standardisation of style; attributive nouns and Saxon genitives

In a recent thread, it was recommended that Academies' Trust be written as I just have done: Academies' Trust. Normal possessive apostrophe rules apply. If I accept this traditional style, I ...
2
votes
3answers
961 views

“Hidden layer sizes” vs “Hidden layers sizes” [duplicate]

I am writing a neural network application. In this application, a neural network can have one or more hidden layers, which can have different sizes (neuron counts). Which label would be correct: "...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

Word for “distance in time”

I need the correct English word for the German expression (zeitlicher) Abstand. Abstand means "distance", and zeitlich means "in time". The "distance" between building maintenance dates is about ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

A generic noun for something being compared?

I'm looking for a noun to use in place of "comparable object," which would make sense in the following context: Four "comparable objects" were ranked based on their performance in a recent ...
11
votes
7answers
89k views

Word for people who buy things because they are more expensive/ for the brand

Is there a word for people who buys things because they are more expensive or because they are specific brand or label? These people don't buy the items because they are higher quality. They buy them ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do we use plural when we say “blow someone's brains out”?

My simplistic thinking is that each person has one brain, so why do we say "blow someone's brains out"?
8
votes
9answers
1k views

Is there a single word which means “a person, and all of his ancestors”, or “a person, and all of his descendants”?

There are a lot of words describing ancestral relationships between people, such as: parent grandparent great-grandparent any of the above can be described as an "ancestor". child grandchild great-...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

Quintology or Pentalogy?

Recently I was looking at the X-Men box set and saw that currently five have been released. I had it in my head that these would be called a quintology but I have seen them being called a pentalogy. ...
4
votes
5answers
86k views

Word for “someone who talks too much” [duplicate]

What is another word for a person who likes to talk too much. I was thinking bigmouth, but bigmouth could mean "somebody who likes carrying messages voluntarily".
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Term for buzzing or hissing sound often created by vibration

Specifically, I am referring to the hissing, buzzing, S-like, or fuzzy sound that is created when electronic speakers play sounds or music near their volume or frequency limits. I recall having ...
1
vote
6answers
4k views

Non-pejorative synonym of “notoriety”

I'm trying to say: He probably gained some __________ [good notoriety] from this picture. I was thinking publicity, but that connotes some kind of negative to me as well (like the stuff you see ...
1
vote
1answer
404 views

Nouns vs. nouns used as adjectives [duplicate]

Given the following sentence: You should always use prefixes with your table names Is the word table properly labeled as a noun or an adjective, as it is functioning as an adjective but the base ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

What is the logic behind uncountable nouns?

I'd like to understand the logic behind uncountable nouns, such as "water", "meat" and others, specially "bread", for example. I don't understand why can't we count them, since there are different ...
0
votes
2answers
140 views

Why can we add “a number of” before nouns?

In the following sentence: The city is populated by many people. "many" can be replaced by something like "a great number of" (let us leave the perceived differences between the meanings of these ...
132
votes
3answers
169k views

What is the plural form of “zero”?

I tried looking on Google, but there are some fairly contradictory results. I thought I'd ask you guys so we could get an authoritative answer on the subject!
29
votes
10answers
201k views

What is the difference between taking courses, classes or lessons?

Currently, I am preparing a letter of my study objectives for an university application. I ask myself what is the exact difference between the following terms? Or can I use them synonymously? taking ...
27
votes
3answers
462k views

people are/is: which one is correct?

I have been confused for so long about the plural and singular forms of "people". I want to put an end to this confusion. What is the difference between these following expressions, and is it correct ...
41
votes
1answer
54k views

“Dependence” vs. “dependency”

These are two words that have baffled me for long. Dependency is given as 'excessive dependence' in Chambers, but I would love to know how the spoken usage is. My guess is dependency has a political ...
33
votes
7answers
45k views

Difference between “computation” and “calculation”

If the words computation and calculation are not perfect synonyms what is the difference between them? Which one describes more accurately what is done by a person computing or calculating something ...
31
votes
8answers
66k views

“Baggage” versus “luggage”

I have the feeling that luggage is more closely associated with vacation travel, whereas baggage is for general transportation. Or... are they just exact synonyms?
28
votes
5answers
4k views

Are 'accuracy' and 'precision' interchangeable nouns?

The dictionary for accuracy says: The quality or state of being correct or precise. The ability to perform a task with precision. And for precision: The quality, condition, or fact ...
20
votes
4answers
172k views

“flat” vs. “apartment”

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition Flat: noun. [ countable ] ( BrE ) a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building. Apartment: noun. ( ...
51
votes
5answers
16k views

Why can we say 'an American' but not 'a British'?

I am confused with the use of an indefinite article in front of British or Chinese. To my understanding, we can place an indefinite article in front of any “countable noun”. So, we can say a cup and ...
13
votes
5answers
15k views

Difference between “garbage” and “trash”?

What's the difference between garbage and trash? Is the difference significant?
29
votes
8answers
25k views

Can or should “ask” ever be used as a noun?

"The ask is that you provide me with..." I started hearing "ask" being used as a noun a few years ago. Is this a recent trend? Is it an East Coast thing, unique to North America, or just unique to ...
20
votes
5answers
115k views

Why is a woman a “widow” and a man a “widower”?

There are lots of words that have male and female forms, and usually there are alternate suffixes to the words which indicate the gender; for example, "waiter" vs. "waitress", "mister" vs. "mistress", ...