Questions tagged [usage]

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

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“It is ___ that/who + verb.” pleonasm vs. “___ + verb.”

Is there a place for using these pleonasms: "It is John who runs." (instead of: "John runs.") "It was congress that legislated." (instead of: "Congress legislated.&...
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1k views

Is it possible for an adjective to modify another adjective?

While I doubt an adjective can modify another one, I'm wondering if it may be possible. Here is the example: "An immaculate black three-piece suit." Most likely, I'd have to use the adverb ...
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33 views

Omitting the relative pronoun “that”

I came across this sentence while surfing on the Internet: Now I'm calculating how many pages I should do per day (that) would be reasonable. When read out loud, the sentence sounds sort of natural, ...
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2answers
3k views

Is the word 'master' always gendered?

The word 'master' is obviously gendered sometimes, but is it always so? There is the perhaps traditional sense associated with servitude. Master Frodo Master of the realm In these cases the word ...
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5answers
164 views

Can a Secondary Definition Violate/Negate the First Definition

I have a specific word in mind, but I'd rather not use it to avoid potential bias. I'll edit and post the word if I need to. Hypothetically, I have a word, "CanHoldWater", defined by Merriam-...
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1answer
23 views

Is “if it has come to this” a common phrase?

I remembered seeing a lot of people using the phrase "if it has come to this", but when I wanted to use it myself, I didn't see many results of it being used on Google. Is it because people ...
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25 views

Hyphen use: convention for made-up words with a compound noun or phrase?

Apologies for the verbosity of the title. Example: "morse code speak". What should be hyphenated and what not? Facing this, I had informally adopted the practice of enclosing the compound ...
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2answers
4k views

How to use “We require to know” or “ We need to know” in an official correspondence?

How to use "We require to know" or " We need to know" in an official correspondence? How it is used when correspondence being done a. Within the organization and b. Outside the organization.
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Use of Phrase “Drama Queen”

In my writing, I am talking about a character who is a, for lack of a better word, drama queen. But because this character identifies as a male, should another character call him a "drama queen,&...
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1answer
11k views

Is “unironically” a valid word?

Every spell checker I have, both ones that automatically spell check and those run after finishing a document or draft, seems to consider the word unironically to be incorrect. I have heard the word ...
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1answer
189 views

History of the term “Legal Mind”

Is there a specific history behind the term "Legal Mind"? Meaning, the following phrase would be quite typical in describing a lawyer or closely related occupations: That lawyer possesses a ...
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1answer
81 views

Can the verb “defenestrate” be applied to someone jumping out of the window?

I have only ever seen the word defenestrate`used in relation to the act of throwing someone else out of the window. But would this verb be appropriate when referring to someone doing it themselves? I ...
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2answers
4k views

Is it “crowd” or “croud?”

In my mind, I want to spell it "croud" when I'm talking about a verb and "crowd" as a noun, but I think the only correct form is "crowd." A quick Google search of "croud" showed a Wiktionary page ...
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34 views

Is “prune down” correct usage?

Prune meaning to cut down something or chop down. I am writing to a user that I am removing additional permissions from her profile which are irrelevant to her daily work. So would it be correct if I ...
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1answer
42 views

Define “Islamist” [closed]

If you google "Islamist definition" the result you'll get is: an advocate or supporter of Islamic militancy or fundamentalism Google says they receive their definitions from Oxford ...
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0answers
110 views

Population Percentage Singular/Plural Verb

Sixty-seven percent of the United States' population plays video games. Sixty-seven percent of the United States' population play video games. Which of these is correct? I understand that I can write &...
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2answers
184 views

This allows to . . .

I'm writing a PhD dissertation in Physics in the United States. I would say I'm fluent in English, but it's not my first language. Recently, I sent a draft of my dissertation to my adviser, and there ...
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0answers
38 views

Does “such as” require an adjective?

Someone changed a sentence in a Wikipedia article from These cassettes became associated with genres like Gipsy rhumba, light music and joke tapes. to These cassettes became associated with genres ...
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38 views

Usage as the prime language directive

I once studied Old English in college and remember a reference to a Scottish minister who said that the language was essentially strictly driven by usage. Now in my very senior years I cannot recall ...
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20 views

You can ask me any question vs. any questions [duplicate]

I know the answer is any question. But Do you have any questions is right, other than any question. What's the difference here?
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0answers
25 views

Is it correct/preferred to use “present” as adjective instead of “this” when writing legal stuff?

Sometimes there are legal documents that, literally translated into English, contain the phrase "the present document/contract" whenever a reference to the document itself is made within the ...
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2answers
110 views

What does the word “matted” mean? [closed]

I've just moved to London with my parents and I'm not very confident with my English language knowledge. I need to write an essay for my English classes on the topic "home decorations". We have a list ...
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42 views

Why does “…at once” sound fine but “…right now” doesn't?

A non English native colleague asked a questioned today that I couldn't answer clearly. The only thing I could come up with was that it sounded strange. The sentences: "They liked him almost at ...
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of “on the wax” from an article in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

I do not follow the meaning of "on the wax" below, and do not find its usage in any online dictionary. Yet the original text appears in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, thus peer-reviewed. So I ...
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1answer
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Adjectival form of “degrade”?

For example, I want to say: This book degrades Western culture. In this form: This book has been described as ??? to Western culture. What would the adjectival form be? Is "degradeful" a ...
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1answer
216 views

Is “a-blink” an adjectival form of “blink” in old days?

Under his breath, with a furtive exultation, he began once again the paean of victory and devastation. And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, yellow-and-...
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1answer
8k views

Which is correct: 'leaving at…' or 'leaving by…', '..end of this week'?

My understanding of correct usage is 'leaving by end of this week', and that is what I have been using all along. However looking at an example of 'informal letter', at an IELTS preparation site, I ...
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23 views

usage of it vs itself

One scary example is a 2016 Google thought experiment, euphemistically called ‘Project X’, that openly hypothesised behavioural data being “given a volition or purpose rather than simply acting as a ...
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1answer
29 views

Use of “would have” unclear

Consider the following two sentences: For now, we cannot be sure how the machine worked back then. But once it existed, people would immediately have used it. Sentences like these, where the first ...
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0answers
11 views

eLearning writing: Beginning with “while”

I am aware that using While to begin a sentence brings in a dimension of time to it. Could you please tell me if this sentence is grammatically correct? Thank you.
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4answers
15k views

When is it appropriate to use the idiom “various and sundry”

To my ears the term "various and sundry" sounds redundant. What is the proper use of this idiom?
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0answers
41 views

have you ever heard 'Flitter lip'? [closed]

my dad used to say "flitter lip" a lot. Like, 'oh darn', or maybe a way to cuss in front of us kids. I can't find any reference to it's use outside of him. He did serve WWII in Germany and ...
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9answers
28k views

Is there a single word that refers to a vagina secreting lubricant in response to sexual arousal?

I'm seeking a single word. An analogue is "salivate" which is what someone sometimes does when they experience hunger and refers to the mouth secreting liquid. "Elsa was hungry and began salivating" "...
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1answer
24 views

Is it correct this construction with the expression “have something in mind”?

I have a doubt related to the expression "to have something in mind". Is it correct to add information between the beginning and the end of it? For example, like this: "I have so many ...
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2answers
142k views

Is “keep updated” proper usage of those words?

I'm far from being an English major, but I have a simple question. If someone were to say keep updated in a sentence, is that correct? I know the usage, tense, and other things matter, but is it ...
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33 views

How do we use “which” with a preposition in front of it to create a relative clause that you want to further describe the quality you have mentioned

Tom has a good mixture of characters, among which I am the most amazed by his patience and focus to solve puzzles. Is it correction to use "among which" in the sentence above?
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36 views

Correct usage of the word “lack”

I was writing an email yesterday which was about a rough draft of doc to be reviewed by a peer. There was just one part of the document which I thought needed improvisation. What I wrote is → "...
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3answers
99k views

First floor vs ground floor, usage origin

Ground floor – First floor: In British English, the floor of a building which is level with the ground is called the ground floor. The floor above it is called the first floor, the floor above ...
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53 views

Go gerund vs go to inf

How can I use gerund form and to infinitive with go? I found out in the Cambridge dictionary that go is used with -ing when we speak about general activities that involve movement. If the activities ...
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2answers
4k views

Appearances and usage of “believe on” instead of “believe in.”

I am curious as to how much "believe on" has been preferred in over "believe in," and how much it has appeared in writing and manuscripts. I know the King James Bible uses it in only two books of its ...
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1answer
5k views

industrial-grade - meaning

The future of PHP looks very bright. Leading platform vendors such as IBM, Oracle, MySQL, Intel, and, most recently, Red Hat have all endorsed it. The new Collaboration Project initiated by Zend ...
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2answers
2k views

What does “cheffed-up” in “Traditional ramen that hasn’t been cheffed-up” mean?

In connection with my previous question about the meaning of the line, “This is a lot of cargo for noodle soup” in NYT’s (March 4, 2014) article, “Ramen’s Big Splash,” in its Dining & Wine section,...
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1answer
196 views

“It is connected” vs “It connected”

I want to know the difference and when to use which construction. For instance: It is connected with the current situation. It connected with the current situation. Thanks
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5answers
60k views

Correct usage of 'but for'?

Does 'but for' mean: 'If we had X (but we didn't), Y would have been the consequence'? Or can it also mean; because we had X, as a result Y happened? Some different examples of but for: (Case 1) ...
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2answers
406 views

Is respect awarded, accorded or afforded?

I was revising a colleague's work, and saw the phrase "awarded the respect it deserves". This struck me as incorrect, but I was struck harder still by an uncertainty as to whether it ...
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3answers
224 views

What is the definition of definition?

Does a definition need to provide a unique or near-unique description or can non-unique descriptions also be categorized as definitions? For example: Is the statement "An apple is a fruit" a ...
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1answer
55 views

“[Plural] are one of them”

I don't think I found this question on the site. I read in a game tip "Most of the animals are not dangerous. Bears are not one of them." Is it grammatically correct? It feels off, I would ...
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2answers
37 views

place constraints on sth

The planet was discovered by TESS, NASA's planet-hunting space telescope designed to find exoplanets that pass between us and their home star, by detecting the telltale dimming as the planet blocks a ...
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2answers
43 views

Usage of “Rather”

I'm a bit of crossroads which one is to use. Here's an example: -You're behaving rather strange; or -You're behaving rather strangely; I'm not sure which one is correct or maybe these two are both ...
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Is there any alternative for “You're welcome” in actual talks? [duplicate]

I've heard that it's quite awkward to say "You're welcome" in actual talks. Is there any alternative for this sentence?

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