Questions tagged [usage]

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

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1answer
67 views

“Unlike” vs. “compared to”

I've been reading a novel when I came across this sentence: Her being so helpless unlike her normal self made me a bit sad. I want to ask about that "unlike" in the sentence. Is it correct ...
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1answer
66 views

Making requests with “are you able” [closed]

Is it ok or common to use "are you able" to make a request instead of using "can you" or "could you" when you know that the person is able to do the task and you are just ...
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1answer
21 views

Longing context? [closed]

Longing = a yearning desire. But is that for something you never had or for thing you had but now are missing.
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1answer
65 views

If+Past Perfect + would + base form or … + base form of 'be' (+ verb + ing)? Mixed conditional!

I know the structure of the mixed conditional, when past event has a result in a present situation - If+Past Perfect + would + base form. But all the example sentences I find are using the base form ...
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1answer
44 views

What's the difference between chip away and chip away AT something? [closed]

I've been trying to identify the difference in usage between saying chip away and chip away at something but I can't see any. The sentences in dictionaries all seem like they could accept both. So my ...
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1answer
33 views

On the hunt for him VS On his hunt

I know the idiom On the hunt But I have a question about the usage. I believe these are correct: He was on the hunt for clues. She was on the hunt for the escaped criminal. However, (1) can I use it ...
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1answer
17 views

Is this sentence ambiguous or not?

To my way of thinking, the last sentence " The upsetting event could even be something as simple as sitting here right now, reading this book, feeling depressed, anxious, or discouraged." ...
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1answer
47 views

Whet's the difference between way to tell and way to say? [closed]

What's the difference in meaning and intention between: A) There's no way to say if she was poisoned. and B) There's no way to tell if she was poisoned.
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2answers
1k views

Is “Black” correct, incorrect, or could it be used as either “Black” or “black”? [duplicate]

I was reading an article that I was assigned by my professor, and I came across the following: “We’re the ones getting killed,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is Black, said in an ...
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0answers
42 views

Round the body or around the body?

I am teaching an English book and there is this sentence makes me confused: the heart pumps blood round the body.... Should it be around the body? If not, what is the reason and what's the ...
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0answers
30 views

Ending a sentence with a pronoun and verb

Is it okay to end a sentence with a pronoun band verb? For example, "What a fine young lass you are" Or "A progressive thinker you are".
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0answers
35 views

Collective term for the nationality of a person and country of incorporation of a company

I'm trying to find a term that would be equally suitable to describe the nationality of a person, as well as to describe the country of incorporation of a company, I'm ready to give up and use the ...
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1answer
382 views

Does “swap A for B” imply a direction?

I am not an English native, so maybe the question is trivial. In case you're confused why I even ask: the German "tauschen" has no direction included. You shouldn't have both CDs and DVDs, ...
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1answer
29 views

it was to be a time when meaning

I was watching a history movie that I saw a new sentence, So I can't meaning that. "It was to be a time when Florence set the standards for European art and culture." I know be to used for ...
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3answers
822 views

“We three” vs “us three”

In the sentence, "We three will go to the Express mall. You can find we/us three there, having a good time." I'm unsure whether to use we/us for the second reference. I have read about we ...
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1answer
55 views

“Insistently believing that this is a photo of Neil Armstrong in the face of everyone else's…” Can one really insistently believe something?

The sub-context is that there's an iconic photo of Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon taken by a large format Hasselblad camera and in Aldrin's gold reflective visor one can see the photographer ...
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2answers
38 views

Use of the word ‘different’

Here are some examples of 'different' from the Internet: […] visited several schools in three different communities […] […] the verses of Kabir have four different senses; illusion, spirit, intellect,...
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1answer
81 views

“Since” being used in conditional sentences

I've come across this line in a movie: Ever since she got her test results back, she'd get mad whenever someone asked her about it. I've known about how "since" can only be used in present/...
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1answer
62 views

Meaning and usage of “rife with uncertainty” [closed]

What is the meaning of "rife with uncertainty" and where it can be used? I search the meaning but I cannot find desirable answers. Moreover, is it possible to use the "rife with" + ...
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1answer
56 views

What is the meaning of “let in” in : “but they were let in in early in the spring through the Venezuelan loan, as no doubt you remember”

I am quoting from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, the Stockbroker's clerk, by Arthur Conan Doyle. It says: "I used to have a billet at Coxon and Woodhouse's, of Drapers' Gardens, but they were ...
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2answers
52 views

“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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0answers
32 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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1answer
50 views

Using shy or short to indicate shortage

I am hoping to gain a better understanding of how the words "shy" and "short" are used to indicate a shortage. The order will be shy/short of 10 cases. The order will be 10 cases ...
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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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0answers
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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3answers
68 views

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
71 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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0answers
31 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
40 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
85 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
146 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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0answers
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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0answers
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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0answers
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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0answers
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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2answers
9k views

“on the link,” “in the link,” or “at the link”?

Which is the correct usage: Follow the instructions on the link mentioned above. Follow the instructions in the link mentioned above. Follow the instructions at the link mentioned above.
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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
842 views

Is the term “sexual preference” generally considered offensive now, and has it always been?

In American politics, Judge Amy Barrett used the term "sexual preference" during her confirmation hearing. This was criticized as offensive by writers at publications such as CNN, USAToday, ...
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1answer
157 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
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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0answers
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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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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0answers
35 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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0answers
52 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
319 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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5answers
163 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
54 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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