Questions tagged [usage]

For questions on how and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

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Is "create new" not pleonastic?

I wonder why the verb "create" is often followed by the word "new". Does "create" not imply "new" ? So, when I read in programming languages for example, "...
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1 vote
1 answer
34 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 ...
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0 answers
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What Verbs can Gerunds Follow?

Throughout my life, I have relied on intuition to ensure that my sentences are intelligible and grammatical. I like using gerunds because they can shorten sentences and avoid redundancy. Recently, ...
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0 votes
0 answers
25 views

"as" at the end of a sentence

I ever heard someone said that " it's fully stressful as.", or "all are really skux as." Could I ask when to use "as" at the end of a sentence appropriately. ps: ...
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3 votes
3 answers
66 views

Nuances between 'more' and 'better' (than something) [duplicate]

For this sentence, which one is correct or more suitable, 'more' or 'better'; or are they both equally valid? Are there any nuances between them? I like baseball ______ than soccer. Please give a ...
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0 votes
0 answers
71 views

Conjugation of modal verb "would."

The nuns taught me that shall/will is conjugated this way: I shall you will he will we shall you will they will Similarly, should/would is conjugated this way: I should you would he would we should ...
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2 votes
1 answer
96 views

Cambridge First for Schools: "if you hadn't helped [me] so much

The following question is taken from First for Schools Trainer 2 with Answers published by Cambridge English and Cambridge University Press. The task below is copied verbatim Test 4 Reading and Use ...
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3 votes
1 answer
182 views

Usage of "mobile" and "phone" - which one is more common in the UK?

Similar questions have been asked in the past, but I am curious as to whether this usage has changed as of recent years. Is it more common to describe one's mobile phone as a "mobile" or as ...
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0 votes
1 answer
46 views

Does the double negative have any implications in "very unlikely that there is no difference"

If the sentence was "likely there is no difference" it would mean that the two things are the same. When it is "unlikely there is no difference", does it mean two things are not ...
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0 votes
1 answer
31 views

Difference between promenade and boardwalk [closed]

What is the difference between the two above?
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4 votes
2 answers
55 views

“could see someone returned/return to the White House”

Democrats are bracing themselves for heavy losses in mid-term elections in November, which would doom most of the administration’s remaining ambitions. A gerontocratic rematch in 2024 could well see ...
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0 votes
1 answer
60 views

Usage of a verb "encode": is it possible to use it like "something encodes some information"?

In a scientific context, I want to use the word "encode" in such a way as "The object A encodes the object B.", or "The object A encoding the object B is defined by ..."....
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0 answers
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A total of numerous objects: singular or plural? [duplicate]

Which of the following sentences is correct? a) A total of 12 carrots were kept on the table. b) A total of 12 carrots was kept on the table. Does this change in any case. Here, it seems that it ...
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1 vote
0 answers
21 views

Use of "issued" vs. "was issued"

I've been casually reading a number of legal texts lately, and all of them use "issued" like this: "The order issued the next day." or "The government ceased to apply that ...
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0 votes
1 answer
57 views

Is the use of words "institute" and "college" together in naming an institution right?

Is it right to use the words "institute" and "college" in naming an educational institution namely "Institute of Public Policy & Leadership College"? It is an ...
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1 vote
1 answer
27 views

In opposing vs when opposing [closed]

I'm having trouble with in, when, and where. I'd GREATLY appreciate some assistance with to the two questions below. Q1 Which of the bolded terms should be used in the sentence below? In/When ...
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3 votes
1 answer
40 views

Nonstandard agreement in relative clauses (usage)

Kimball and Aissen (1971) describe a dialect of English in which the matrix verb may agree with the embedded subject when it is relativized. That is, this dialect admits both (1a), with thinks ...
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0 votes
0 answers
18 views

The usage that I wish to clarify [duplicate]

In the quoted speech, Laurel said, "I would be much obliged if you are to send ..." Would it be okay if a person uses "you're to"? and, how do you differentiate the usage of the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
55 views

What is the origin of the phrase "due east"?

Looking at the list of definitions for "due" (e.g. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/due#Adjective), the "due east" sense seems to be the odd one out. "Due" east isn't "...
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If I'm ranting I'm the ranter. So is the subject of said rant the rantee? Or the person hearing it? What's the other called, then?

...and do they have a suffix of their own? Cambridge says "-er" is "added to [...] verbs to form nouns that refer to people or things that [do/are performing] that particular activity&...
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3 votes
1 answer
142 views

comma usage question: a New Yorker example

Spoon had a scheduled appearance the next day on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and another after that at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I came upon this sentence in The New Yorker, and based on ...
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1 vote
1 answer
35 views

Standalone use of "vantage"

We usually say "vantage point" and while the Webster's definition for the word vantage is a place or position affording a good view of something." the example is "from my vantage ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What are the origins of "tech" as an abbreviation for "technology?

I'm trying to trace the origins and rise in popularity of the abbreviation "tech" from "technology." From what I can tell, the term began taking off in popular culture around the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
32 views

What does the phrase "who had no congenial home to make her known in" mean?

'Suppose that a man,' so his thoughts ran, 'who had been of age some twenty years or so; who was a diffident man, from the circumstances of his youth; who was rather a grave man, from the tenor of his ...
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3 votes
2 answers
159 views

Why use "can and may" both in a sentence?

I have seen a lot of questions about the difference between can and may and I am aware of them. In a legal(-ish) document (some policy) I have read a statement to the effect of a consequence can and ...
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0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Why do we use the word "unborn" instead of "nonborn"?

Wouldn't "un-" imply something that occurred and then was reversed? Like undo, untie, unravel? If a child is in utero, shouldn't we call it "nonborn"? When did "unborn" ...
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29 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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
31 views

Is the phrase "in despite of" instead of "in spite of" incorrect? [duplicate]

Is the usage of the phrase "in despite of" instead of "in spite of" in the following passage from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, chapter 15 incorrect or is it a Dickensian ...
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0 votes
0 answers
26 views

The use of the word "along"

Say I want someone to fold a rectangular sheet of paper so that I get a cylinder with the longer side as its height. Roll the sheet of paper along its shorter side. Is this correct? Or should it be ...
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0 votes
1 answer
42 views

Is 'I have n things' the same as 'I have at least n things' or 'I have n things in total' [closed]

Is 'I have n things' the same as 'I have at least n things' or 'I have n things in total'? We often see 'I have three coins' as 'I have exactly three' but often we describe someone with 4 or 5 coins ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Origin of the "angry/excited" meaning of "go nonlinear"

Lexico gives an additional definition of "go non-linear" as: go non-linear informal become very excited or angry, especially about a particular obsession don't mention the drug problem or ...
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0 votes
2 answers
19 views

Me, myself or I [closed]

What is the best word here? Is 'I' correct? Have a read through and if you have any queries then please let Stephen or I know.
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1 vote
0 answers
96 views

What's the difference between class and category? [closed]

George Firican said the ER (entity relationship) is different for classification and categorization. The ERs according to him For classification members : classes 1:n (one to many) A futon can be in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
82 views

Question about Dog and Dog's female

I am a non-native speaker trying to learn English. I have a question about an animal. Why is "dog" considered a good word and while its female equivalent, "bitch", is considered a ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
246 views

What-all does "pun" mean, really? [closed]

To my knowledge, a pun is a specific kind of wordplay hinged on a homophone/double-entendre (e.g., "What's black and white and re(a)d all over? A newspaper") or on multiple meanings of a ...
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0 votes
2 answers
104 views

Does 'there exists' mean 'there is at least one'?

If we say 'there exists a man called John' does this imply there is a particular man in mind? Or do I mean, 'there exists (at least one) man called john', e.g If I know there is numerous people called ...
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0 votes
0 answers
26 views

entailing, entailing "the", entailing "about the" or entailing "that"?

What is the correct way to use "entailing"? "The machines are working, entailing consumption of nonreplenishable resources, such as fuel" "The machines are working, entailing ...
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0 votes
0 answers
11 views

Can I use "customer service" in a Public Sector context?

Dears, I'm translating a cover letter from Portuguese to English. In it, my client states she's worked in government agencies answering phone calls, giving information etc. If it were in a Private ...
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0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Use of the word "local" to mean "domestic" or "national" in certain forms of English

In Maltese English, it is very common to use the word “local” to mean "domestic" or "national" / "Maltese". To give some context – Malta is a tiny independent island-...
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0 votes
0 answers
61 views

Why do police use the word "individual" instead of "person"?

I've noticed that when referring to an unknown perpetrator, police often use the term "individual". For example see this article. What is the purpose of using this word? I've always found ...
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2 votes
1 answer
77 views

How is Dickens using 'as' in ' ... he didn’t know **as** anybody could say how it was ...'?

Well, he couldn’t say how it was; he didn’t know as anybody could say how it was; all he know’d was, that so it was. (Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Chapter 12) Lexico lists three parts of speech ...
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0 votes
0 answers
18 views

What's the word for someone who consistently replies to positive statements in a contrarian manner? [duplicate]

An example of this would be, "I like [x]." And, unprompted, the other party replies, "I don't like [x], I think [y] about it and that's what makes it bad." They persist to find ...
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2 votes
2 answers
49 views

The verb "mark" with events in time

The 19th century was marked by the abolition of slavery. The 19th century marked the abolition of slavery. Which is correct? The meaning is that the abolition of slavery was an important event in the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
106 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,&...
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1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Modern usage of the word 'hearken'

I'm doing some translation work and would like to use the word 'hearken' as the original piece (Chinese) has a religious and traditional feel to it. Question: Would the sentence, "Such an ...
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0 votes
1 answer
31 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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
301 views

Is out building universally used? [closed]

In North America we say out building for a smaller secondary structure, e.g., on a farm, used for non-human habitation, e.g., storage. Is this also used in Britain? If not, what would be a British ...
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  • 171
2 votes
1 answer
63 views

What is the earliest example of "tops/at tops" for "at the most," and is it now more common outside of AmE?

The OED's entry and earliest citation for tops are: plural tops n. (also at tops) at the most, at the latest. Usually finally. colloquial (originally and chiefly U.S.). 1956 ‘B. Holiday’ & W. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
40 views

Peculiar use of "wore" [closed]

What does the word "wore" below mean (in bold)? As one becomes familiar, Ancient and Modern Rome, at first so painfully and discordantly jumbled together, are drawn apart to the mental ...
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7 votes
2 answers
171 views

Was it common to use the noun mem-sahib outside India?

I have recently seen the noun mem-sahib, used to refer a white foreign woman living in India, in two different books. The books are Indian Passion and Nowhere in Africa. I have not found any ...
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