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Questions tagged [nuance]

Nuance: a subtle difference or distinction in color, expression, meaning, etc.

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10answers
9k views

A hypernym for 'insects', 'worms' and the like

From Oxford: insect: any small creature with six legs and a body divided into three parts. Insects usually also have wings. Ants, bees and flies are all insects Insect is often used to refer ...
19
votes
6answers
17k views

Time and tide wait for no man

In the old proverb: Time and tide wait for no man. Our first record of the proverb is from St Marher in 1225: And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet. When it was ...
17
votes
5answers
63k views

Self-Learner vs Self-Taught vs Autodidact

Which of these three terms is the most relevant in a resume? Should any be avoided? For clarity, I do understand the irony of pretending to be a self learner posting questions on StackExchange, ...
11
votes
3answers
14k views

Categorization vs classification [closed]

What are the different nuances of both terms? I'm repeatedly hesitating as to which one I should use. Thanks!
9
votes
5answers
542 views

Can three people sit in a circle?

Is it appropriate to say: The three characters sat down in a circle. When it means that three people sat down facing each other? Technically this formation would be a triangle, but is it ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there any difference between “straighten out” and “sort out”? [closed]

Is there any difference between straighten out and sort out? I already know what they mean, so I'm interested in nuances. I'm going to give a couple of examples, let me know if any sounds unnatural, ...
8
votes
5answers
50k views

“visceral” vs “emotional”

What's is the difference in nuance between visceral (relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect) and emotional? How do we decide when to use one over the other?
8
votes
4answers
8k views

Letter opening with name only--what does it convey?

I sometimes get emails (e.g. from professional contacts or people I don't know well) which simply start with FirstName, [ ... letter body ... ] They don't use "Dear FirstName," or "Hello ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Is size inherent in the meanings of “plant” and “factory”?

I always had the impression that a plant was bigger than a factory and that a plant might contain several factories, but we wouldn't say that a factory contains several plants. According to ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a difference between “Would you like some more” and “Would you like any more”?

Consider the following sentences: Would you like any more soup? Would you like some more soup? To my ears, they seem slightly different. If I'm a waiter and want to know whether to collect ...
7
votes
2answers
321 views

Must cookies contain chocolate in BrE?

In British English, my friend informed me that my use of the word cookie was incorrect in referring to a baked item having no chocolate bits in it. Instead the appropriate term would have to be ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
6
votes
1answer
16k views

Any difference between “Are you done?” and “Are you done yet?”

I see people in movies saying Are you done? and Are you done yet? And I wonder what that the addition of yet might mean or suggest in the second version which is absent in the first one. ...
5
votes
3answers
119 views

Allegedly vs. apparently - Differences in connotation?

I am a non-native speaker trying to find the right expression for my sentence. There is a study that reports a 55% decline in the number of trades, however, I cannot examine the data or the study ...
5
votes
2answers
847 views

What is the meaning of “What a box to sweat in!”?

I have started to read "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway. I stumbled a lot shortly after the beginning, as I'm a middle-aged Japanese dude who is struggling to learn English. I need someone's ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

Does a laser “etch” things, or does it “engrave” them?

Which (if any) of these adjectives would you use for describing a surface that has been cut using a laser beam: a laser-etched surface a laser-engraved surface a laser-(something else) surface a ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is ‘anything in a skirt” a popular idiom? Does it have special overtones?

I came across the words, ‘anything in a skirt” in the following sentence of Jeffery Archer’s “The Fourth Estate”:- Page 202. “(Captain Armstrong is entitled to a car and driver) if the brigadier ...
4
votes
1answer
6k views

What is the difference between “intermediate” and “intermediary” when both mean the same thing? [closed]

I have a tendency to say This case is intermediary This case is an intermediate one This is an intermediate case I probably would stumble over This is an intermediary case ...
4
votes
3answers
75k views

“Given that” vs. “Granted that”

Understanding that "given that" and "granted that" are both used to mark the premise of an argument (or conditions that are assumed to be true), and the actual meaning is almost identical, I have to ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

“in order to” vs. “for the sake of”

These two phrases seem to be interchangeable in most cases. But I found one case where it seems that "in order to" works, and "for the sake of" sounds like it's not as good a choice of words. ...
4
votes
2answers
639 views

Connotation of term autodidact

I would like to know if autodidact has a positive, negative, or neutral connotation behind it. These questions asking about usage imply: A neutral connotation: Autodidactic as a Verb What would ...
4
votes
1answer
274 views

What is the subtle difference between ‘just about’ and ‘only just’? [closed]

I'm curious about the difference between sentences 1 and 2: The company is just about ticking over. The company is only just ticking over. I guess the first describes a better situation ...
4
votes
1answer
679 views

What do you think when these words come up: “populace”, “population”, “people”, the “mass”, the “public” [closed]

When would be the best usage of those words? When do we do/don't use it? What is the message conveyed when we use Populace/Population; People/Mass; Mass/Public? 1.Populace vs Population 2.People vs ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Difference of “I am just an ABC” vs “I am but a XYZ”

As far as I (non-native speaker) can tell, these two sentences have the same meaning: I'm just a humble merchant I'm but a humble merchant However I wonder if there is some subtle difference ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Difference between “Sate” and “Satiate”? [closed]

I'm studying GRE vocabulary, and there are these two words "sate" and "satiate". I couldn't determine whether they are interchangeable or have nuance. As a foreigner I really couldn't tell. Can ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the difference between “You are looking well” and “You look well”?

What is the difference between: You're looking well! and You look well! Assuming that both refer to a specific occasion, what is it that the continuous aspect indicates here? The difference ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a neutral word for an olfactory impression?

While creating this proposal I was struggling to find the right words for olfactory impressions. Is there a neutral word for an olfactory impression? smell seems to have a negative connotation ...
3
votes
2answers
964 views

What are the connotations of “clueless”?

As a result of a discussion with @Hot Licks on another post, it is apparent that his (American) understanding of the nuances associated with clueless is slightly different to my (British) ...
3
votes
5answers
255 views

John's quite a hero versus John's quite the hero

I am a native British English speaker. I know how and when to use the following expressions. However I am finding it difficult to explain the difference. John's quite a hero. John's quite the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Attention vs attentiveness

I have recently read an article about school and the word "attentiveness" was used multiple times in it. I had never heard it and in particular I always used "paying attention" before. I have ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

difference between suffixes '-ish' and '-y'

Recently Prince Charles used the word 'Hitlery,' in the sense of "possessing some properties of Hitler." Is there any difference between the suffixes -ish and -y ?
3
votes
2answers
619 views

Difference between “irascible”, “fractious”, “irritable” and “atrabilious”?

It seems that they can all mean "easily provoked to anger" irascible:Easily provoked to outbursts of anger; irritable. fractious:Irritable; argumentative; quarrelsome. irritable:1.Capable of being ...
2
votes
2answers
15k views

Difference between “forget about it” and “forget it”

It seems they both mean never mind in the following examples: Sorry for what happened yesterday Forget it. or Can I buy you a drink? Forget about it. What are the differences between ...
2
votes
2answers
133 views

What is the nuance behind 'hope to'?

Does 'hope to' mean you hope you can do something or that you hope that you can do something you're probably currently working on? Or does it differ depending on the context? Eg. I hope to see you ...
2
votes
1answer
494 views

What’s the difference between “kerfuffle”, “commotion”, and “fuss”?

What’s the difference between kerfuffle, commotion, and fuss? For example: What’s all this kerfuffle about? What’s all this commotion about? What’s all this fuss about?
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Distinguish twins vs distinguish between twins

I'm confused about the use of the word "Distinguish". The link shows an example sentence where the verb is used as an intransitive verb: Can the child distinguish between right and wrong? But I ...
2
votes
2answers
881 views

‘Imbibe’ — What does it look like?

I’m trying to determine the visual expression of ‘imbibing,’ with the presumption it describes a particular attitude or energy in the act of drinking. (I make this presumption because it gives reason ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

intention vs. purpose

Oxford Dictionaries define the nouns as intention A thing intended; an aim or plan purpose The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists So which sentence sounds ...
2
votes
1answer
204 views

How to translate the German term “Selbstverständnis” with respect to organisations?

The German term "Selbstverständnis" can be used in the context of (typically) not-for-profit / non-profit organisations to denote the aims they have and the (typically social) changes they try to ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Crisis”, “drama” and similar words in the news

Today I read the economist headline: On to the next crisis. Automatic spending cuts took effect on March 1st; more drama is to come I startled at the word ‘drama’. It would be regarded as ...
2
votes
1answer
281 views

Nuance of “Intellectual Bad Ass” [closed]

To me as a non-native to the English language, it reminds funny, geeky, nerdy hero, like Tony Stark (Iron Man) excluding his riches and Iron Man suit. But what are the nuances of "intellectual bad ...
2
votes
0answers
57 views

Use of an indefinite article associated with a particular person's name [duplicate]

Indefinite (and definite) articles are sometimes associated with a person's name. This answer by Jon Hanna is the best summary of the uses I have found. Also, another question addresses the issue ...
2
votes
2answers
206 views

Meaning of “dismay”

What is the exact meaning of dismay? Is it close to shock and surprise? Or is it closer to disappointment and unhappiness? Or does it mean embarrassment? When I looked the word up in the ...
1
vote
4answers
715 views

Sincerity and generosity in sentences

(1)   If you want anything to eat, there are plenty of eggs. (2)   If you are at all hungry, there are plenty of eggs. (3)   If you're the ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How to avoid using redundant words like “not so”, “quite” or “sort of”?

Today I find an interesting table in Writers Write: I wonder do we have the same table, but for the words "not so", "quite", "sort of", etc?
1
vote
2answers
171 views

Is “Perl Monger” derogatory when used by non Perl programmers? [closed]

The two most common uses of the word "monger" I've heard of are rather derogatory: whore-monger and warmonger. Wiktionary reflects this in its second definition: A person promoting something ...
1
vote
4answers
12k views

“lending support” vs “extending support”

I am in a little debate with myself, arguing the difference between "lending support" and "extending support" while trying to write a diplomatic email. So some people got promoted into highly ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“Protagonist in” or “protagonist of”? [closed]

If I were to write an intro for a protagonist in say, a game, would I say he/she is the "protagonist of [title]" or the "protagonist in [title]"? Or does it matter?
1
vote
1answer
82 views

What is the difference between 'To study English is not easy' and 'Studying English is not easy'?

What is the difference (nuance) between these two sentences? 'To study English is not easy.' 'Studying English is not easy.'
1
vote
1answer
12k views

“Put on a show” vs. “put on an act”. What's the difference?

What's the difference between "put on a show" and "put on an act"? Are they interchangeable? They look similar in meaning to me. Is there any nuanced difference? Examples sentences from dictionaries:...