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Questions tagged [present-day-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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3 votes
1 answer
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What are common words in which written ‹i› is pronounced as the phoneme /ai/?

I am a Brazilian teacher of the English language for Brazilian high school students. In this sense, the draft of this table has helped me a lot. So, my question about examples was only because I would ...
vanderesende's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
65 views

"a shirt in (a) (size) small"

To me, these versions sound natural and idiomatic: I'd like this/a shirt in a small. I'd like this/a shirt in a size small. I'd like this/a shirt in a size 7. Do you have this dress in a 9? She wears ...
desmo's user avatar
  • 649
3 votes
1 answer
47 views

What is the usage for constructs like "men at work", "children at play", etc

One sometimes sees road warning signs cautioning of "men [sic] at work" or "children at play". The meaning is clear, it's the same as "men working" or "children ...
Jim Davis's user avatar
  • 261
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

“Out of the mouths of babes”: Is this idiom strictly used to refer to children?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, “out of the mouths of babes” is an idiom used when a child says something that is surprisingly wise. So, it is used to compliment the child for saying something that’...
hb20007's user avatar
  • 1,744
3 votes
2 answers
308 views

why are people revealing secrets spilling the tea instead of the beans lately? [duplicate]

Has "spilling the beans" become stodgy and needs a voguish replacement? I am seeing "spilling the tea" everywhere.
S K's user avatar
  • 1
5 votes
9 answers
2k views

What is a word for battery "longevity"?

I do NOT mean battery "life" which is how long a battery holds charge. Battery life is usually like 12-24 hours. The word I'm seeking refers to the time you can use the battery daily until ...
Austin Capobianco's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
81 views

Use of the word "tongue" to refer to a specific language

One of the meanings of the word "tongue" is "language". The word is still in use in certain expressions ("mother tongue" being one of them), and I know that in the past, ...
Al-cameleer's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
128 views

Is the phrase "as drunk as a marine" still used today?

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXIII, published 1892) Passage 364 “Excuse me one moment, Captain Dobbs. I wish to speak with my mate,” said the captain, whose ...
philphil's user avatar
  • 361
1 vote
0 answers
147 views

Usage of "take your gin and guns to Putney"

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXII, published 1892) Passage 350 “I beg your pardon,” he said once. “I am a gentleman, Mr. Carthew here is a gentleman, and we ...
philphil's user avatar
  • 361
-3 votes
1 answer
56 views

Common usage of "be tried for one's life"

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXII, published 1892); Passage 348: The public house and tea garden called the Currency Lass represented a moderate fortune ...
philphil's user avatar
  • 361
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

Can 'precedent' mean any preceding event? [closed]

I'm familiar with the legal meaning of precedent: an event A which sets an example for future similar events A', A*, etc. However, precede means 'to come before' (e.g. event A preceded event B, a ...
magnesium's user avatar
  • 101
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

From where comes the connotation of descent in "downtown"? [duplicate]

In English, when speaking about going to the center of the town, it's a matter of going to the "downtown" so, my question is about the origins of the connotation of some "descent" (...
jihed gasmi's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
125 views

Question about pronunciation in British accent (Modern RP) [duplicate]

In the British accent (Modern RP), the word "often" is pronounced as "ɒf.tən" with the "t" sound. What about words like "soften", "fasten", and "...
CK Kwok's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
576 views

The verb beware in a subjunctive clause

I know that nowadays in English the verb "beware" can be used only in imperative clauses and in bare infinitival constructions to warn or to guide. I've understood that nowadays "beware&...
noorav's user avatar
  • 137
0 votes
2 answers
248 views

"I wondered if you were free this evening." - Does it sound like a normal polite question? [closed]

Below are sentences taken from the Oxford English Grammar Course (Oxford University Press 2015). The title of the section is "Requests, questions and suggestions". I wonder if you need any ...
EvgenyAndreev's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
158 views

How recent is the usage of “concerning” meaning “worrying”?

I’m used to “concerning” meaning relating to or having to do with; in regard to; about Now I see it more often in the sense of “worrying” as in “this is very concerning.” Is this a particularly new ...
colinh's user avatar
  • 82
2 votes
2 answers
168 views

Can fastly be preferred over using "fast" just after any subject? [closed]

Recently, I have attempted a multiple choice question test that contained the following question regarding synonym of "quickly:" Q. No. 15 (in image) He quickly got up from the bench. [...
Ahmed's user avatar
  • 4,657
1 vote
2 answers
162 views

What is it called when indefinite pronouns are used as determiner?

AFAIK it is correct English grammar to say something along the lines of Familiarize yourself with everything Apple. What is this use of "everything" called? Is it just a short colloquial ...
leonheess's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
1 answer
139 views

Use of the conjunction "so" at the start of a sentence, without relation to anything said before [duplicate]

I have recently noticed that some people nowadays are using the word "so" at the start of a sentence. For example - there is currently a question on the Law site which begins: So I live in ...
WS2's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
647 views

In headlines, how did the comma become a substitute for "and"?

I'm seeing an increasing number of headlines where a comma is used in place of the word 'and'. Mother enraged after suspect walks free after attacking her, one-year-old baby in a parking lot The ...
GlenPeterson's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
227 views

How does "I'll have your job!" translate to getting someone fired?

Maybe it's reading a story on reddit about an entitled Karen, or maybe it's talking to an upset customer that starts to threaten you, or maybe you're expressing frustration at someone else not doing ...
Anthony LoPrimo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
136 views

Better definition of 'Observatory' that includes modern usage

Commonly when we hear 'observatory' we probably think of an astronomical observatory. Merriam-Webster defines 'observatory' as: a building or place given over to or equipped for observation of ...
Roberto Tyley's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
231 views

Nous vs Noos in English [closed]

While searching online I found that nous is a Greek term that means intellect, intelligence, mind...etc. Also, in some sources, I found that noos is an alternative spelling of nous. Is "nous"...
Souhaib's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
353 views

What is a way to say "take pride" without the implication of arrogance?

I want to say "our team takes pride in the quality of our output," but I don't want the audience or my teammates to get the sense that we are arrogant, flawless, or ungracious. How else ...
Billy's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
3 answers
143 views

I know that "What do you here?" is a valid sentence, but I can't quite parse it to explain to others

I've always been bothered by how people say the translation of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is terrible and full of errors, and the number one thing they point to for the error part of the ...
Mitchell Carroll's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
323 views

Is there a name for how some people pronounce their s slightly differently?

I've noticed how some people pronounce the s sound in words using their upper teeth teeth and lower lip (instead of the conventional mostly internal way). This makes it sound almost lispy. I don't ...
Victor's user avatar
  • 1
30 votes
6 answers
5k views

Is it common for native English speakers to confuse "18th century" with "the 1800s"?

As a non-native English speaker, I've only ever referred to "1700-talet", meaning "the 1700s" or "the 18th century". In English, it's by far most common to say "18th ...
B. Cotilla's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why have some younger & (in particular) highly-educated Americans recently begun to pronounce -t- as -d- in words where glottal -t- is idiomatic?

I'm not talking about "bidder" for "bitter" or "sidding" for "sitting," or "ladder" for "latter," etc. I'm talking about "Manhaddan,&...
Josh's user avatar
  • 37
0 votes
1 answer
32 views

What is the part-of-speech of "intimates" in this article? [closed]

Commander Robert Broadhurst told MPs yesterday that there were "several intimates" from the Chinese that the London leg of the Olympic torch relay would have been switched to another capital ...
jerlx's user avatar
  • 41
1 vote
0 answers
49 views

Is the at-sign in Instagram handles pronounced? [closed]

I realize that this question is likely factually unanswerable, but I am curious about opinions and argument for either option. Say I want to write at the end of an article that I want my reader to ...
Moos Hueting's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
258 views

Current Usage of Fanny

We are thinking about giving our daughter the name Fanny. We are Germans, based in Germany but we're really curious about the current usage of this word in Great Britain. We are familiar with the ...
Friederike's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
388 views

Is there a valid form of "aggregate" meaning "that can be aggregated"? Is "Aggregable" a word? [closed]

A thing that can be composted is compostable. I'm trying to describe a thing that can be aggregated. The probably self-invented word I'm using is "aggregable" and I'm struggling to find it ...
jlsecrest's user avatar
  • 117
2 votes
2 answers
238 views

Why does "I'm sure" used in a sentence sometimes reduce apparent certainty?

Take these two sentences as example: This road is closed during football games. I'm sure this road is closed during football games. Why does the first sentence convey more certainty, when the second ...
rhefley's user avatar
  • 41
6 votes
4 answers
566 views

In what regions is "Do you work tonight?" clear and acceptable usage?

In my answer at ELL regarding a question of whether someone is working that evening, I suggested the alternative: Do you work tonight? There was a comment about this being incorrect usage, because &...
randomhead's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
171 views

Is the term "animate object" still used?

Is the term "animate object" still acceptable to use, for example for a grasshopper? I remember objects being broken down into either animate objects or inanimate objects back when I was in ...
Ken Boone's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

When do you use 'nom de plume' vs. 'pen name' vs. 'pseudonym'?

Dictionaries usually treat nom de plume as synonymous with 'pen name' or 'pseudonym'. Example from Merriam Webster's dictionary: Definition of nom de plume: a name that a writer uses instead of his ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
54 views

Is tl;dr used very much outside of the computer programming community?

I read tl;dr a lot in computer articles. It is used to give a condensed version of a long report. (It may mean, "Too Long; Didn't Read.") Is it safe to use that term or jargon in common ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 748
4 votes
1 answer
122 views

"every" + possessive + noun

I naively asked a question about the use of "every" with possessives on the ELL thinking there will be a very simple answer. I was pretty sure that saying either Every your thought is ...
fev's user avatar
  • 34.5k
0 votes
1 answer
383 views

What does "flood had made" mean?

A yawl is in the Thames and then The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down ...
Kashmiri's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
3 answers
196 views

What is the precise meaning of "bottom scroll"?

This is an extract from the book "The Boy From the Woods" by Harlan Coben. Hester quickly craned her neck toward Matthew and tried, through the haze of the studio spotlights, to meet his ...
Marie Mit's user avatar
  • 301
1 vote
1 answer
532 views

Questions about history and usage of the word "paren"

This is related to an earlier question: "parentheses" vs "parenthesis" but is about etymology of the related (and apparently informal, per wikitionary ) word "paren" and ...
Trashman's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
1 answer
190 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 ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
39 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 ...
Cosmopolitan's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
600 views

How did words like rubbish, ribbon and cabbage get "BB"?

Certain words that have double B in Modern English didn't have "BB" in the word they are derived from. Rubbish: "c. 1400, robous, from Anglo-French rubouses" (Etymology Dictionary)...
user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
399 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 ...
spacetyper's user avatar
  • 2,729
6 votes
2 answers
531 views

Why did some English verbs lose nasal endings?

I saw this ending in many words of Old English origin where a word has -an in Old English but then lost in Modern English. Examples: habban, climban, sceþþan, singan, offrian etc. I noticed another ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
57 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 ...
vanillasucceeds's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
167 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 ...
Fattie's user avatar
  • 10.7k
0 votes
0 answers
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 ...
gete's user avatar
  • 139
0 votes
1 answer
542 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, ...
Joe Simpson's user avatar

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