Questions tagged [usage]

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

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Meaning of "don't let her get to you"? [closed]

Could I ask if "don't let her get to you" means "don't let her get you down/unhappy"? In Australian context. Thank you.
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What is the meaning of " grappling with disparate answers"? [closed]

How frequent is long COVID? And how much protection do vaccines give against it? Why the public and policymakers are grappling with disparate answers to these basic questions? What is the meaning of &...
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1 vote
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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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-3 votes
0 answers
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When singing that's just what we do ooh ooh [closed]

Singing "that's just what we do -ooh ooh ooh -ooh (3) syllables? It's not like do ew ew (rain)¿
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1 answer
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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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Is This Sentence Grammaticaly acceptble? [migrated]

Can I say [I insisted on that the event was a turkey]? I know that we say: sb insists on sth. But I didn't know before yesterday that we can say: sb insists that So is it common or correct to say: ...
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1 vote
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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
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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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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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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1 answer
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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
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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
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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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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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1 answer
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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
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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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2 answers
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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
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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
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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
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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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2 answers
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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 answers
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
46 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
101 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
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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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1 answer
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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
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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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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5 votes
2 answers
134 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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1 answer
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Using prepositions for "finance" and "fund" [closed]

I am writing a short content matter on behalf of my client. He runs an NGO and is planning for a crowdfunding campaign so that the NGO can provide free education to children from poor families. Is it ...
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0 answers
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Meaning difference between "to be an expatriate was fashionable" and "it was fashionable to be an expatriate"?

In the following sentences, do the two have same meaning or is there a difference? If so, it would helpful to have certain examples through which I can understand those nuances that make these ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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Is the word "chum" to mean friend a common word?

Does the average American know its meaning? Is it used commonly in the spoken language? What connotations does it have? Is it gender specific?
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0 votes
1 answer
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Is 'round about' a valid formal synonym for 'approximately'? [closed]

I'm not a native English speaker and currently proofreading a friend's thesis. She uses the words 'round about' as a synonym for 'approximately', for example: The average share of X is round about 45 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why is there no relative pronoun in Bronte's sentence?

I have a question for which I hope to get an answer from a professional. My question is: why is there no pronoun in the following sentence in Charolotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Chapter XXIV? Here is a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
67 views

Aversion to already? [closed]

A non-native translator into English, I use a native editor to check my translations. My current editor has an absolute aversion to the word "already", deleting it every time. Here are the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"probably be only" vs "probably only be"

Which is more acceptable: "probably be only" vs "probably only be" Feel free to exchange "may" for "probably". Actual usage context In reality, there will ...
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5 votes
1 answer
105 views

When was the first documented use of "do you copy" by the military?

I have found a documented use from 1960. But WWII movies use the expression. So are the movie people making it up, or do they know something I don't?
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1 vote
0 answers
46 views

Jury: oath-takers or judges? [closed]

Familiar as we may be with the modern jury, the right to judgment by peers is set forth in the Magna Carta: NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or ...
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