Questions tagged [word-choice]

This tag is for questions about choosing the best word FROM A GIVEN SELECTION for a particular context or meaning. The selection to choose from must appear in the question. If you do not know the word already, use single-word-requests.

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46 votes
13 answers
37k views

Difference between "try to do" and "try and do"

What is the difference between try to do and try and do? To me (non-native speaker), asking someone try and do this seems a bit rude. It's like saying you can try all you want but this must be done: ...
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  • 5,033
49 votes
7 answers
65k views

What are the differences between "assume", "presume" and "suppose"

I believe that "assume", "presume", "suppose" are similar in meaning of to take some facts as a truth without proof. But it seems to me that "presume" is more formal, "assume" is less formal and "...
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  • 9,963
71 votes
4 answers
779k views

"Effect" vs. "Affect"

I've noticed that some people use effect and affect interchangeably. What are the differences between these two and when are the proper situations to use each of them?
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  • 7,108
43 votes
9 answers
86k views

Is it correct to say "on accident" instead of "by accident"?

There is a great chasm on these phrases in the US. The great divide seems to be currently centered at the age of 40. The younger generation has began shifting to "on accident" for unknown reasons. ...
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  • 1,705
140 votes
17 answers
187k views

When should I use "a" vs "an"?

In the following example, is it appropriate to use a or an as the indefinite article, and why? He ate __ green apple. I know that in the case of just "apple", it would be "an apple," but I've ...
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  • 4,900
51 votes
3 answers
201k views

When should "into" be used rather than "in to," and vice versa?

"Into" (one word) and "in to" (two words) are frequently confused. In what situations should the former be used? The latter?
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  • 5,867
366 votes
22 answers
125k views

Is there a correct gender-neutral singular pronoun ("his" vs. "her" vs. "their")?

Is there a pronoun I can use as a gender-neutral pronoun when referring back to a singular noun phrase? Each student should save his questions until the end. Each student should save her questions ...
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  • 3,827
10 votes
3 answers
13k views

"What's wrong in/with this question?"

Is it better to say: What's wrong with something? or What's wrong in something?
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  • 348
33 votes
13 answers
59k views

"May" & "Might": What's the right context?

I may not be coming in tomorrow... I might not be coming in tomorrow... When should I use "may" and when should I use "might"?
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27 votes
9 answers
6k views

When did "while" and "whilst" become interchangeable?

I think most folk happily use either "while" or "whilst". I've a vague recollection that at one time "while" indicated the passing of time and "whilst" was essentially the same as "whereas" or "...
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57 votes
6 answers
184k views

When do I use "can" or "could"?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context?
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135 votes
9 answers
69k views

The plural of "index"–"indexes" or "indices"?

A table may have one index, or it could have more [...]? Is it indexes or indices? I'm just asking this because I've noticed they're both used quite often. Even Wikipedia seems to support both ...
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