Questions tagged [word-formation]

For questions about how new words are created.

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Why do some words sound/feel more fake than others? Is there logic/psychology behind this phenomenon? [closed]

I was recently reading Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem and had the thought that some of the made-up words sounded more real than some real words. And looking at a list of words that are real but are ...
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0 answers
20 views

What kind of construction is "much-feared" or "oft-quoted"? [duplicate]

When I'm checking a dictionary this kind of usage is not documented. It seems that "much" and "oft" are used adverbially here to amplify the meaning of an adjective and the whole ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
71 views

Is there a valid form of "aggregate" meaning "that can be aggregated"? Is "Aggregable" a word? [closed]

A thing that can be composted is compostable. I'm trying to describe a thing that can be aggregated. The probably self-invented word I'm using is "aggregable" and I'm struggling to find it ...
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4 votes
1 answer
77 views

What is the name for the transformation of "good on you" to "onya"?

In Australian slang, there is a word "Onya" which is used in the exact same way as "Good on you". What transformations have taken place in the formation of this slang? I'm finding ...
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0 votes
1 answer
59 views

Which of the two sounds more natural: corestrict or correstrict?

In mathematics, one uses the prefix co- to denote something that's dual to an already known object, for instance: limit -> colimit, basis -> cobasis, cycle -> cocycle, tangent -> cotagent, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
428 views

Is combustant a word?

I am trying to pin down the definition of the word combustant, but I can't seem to find anything. Almost all dictionaries are giving me the definition for combustion. If I search with a strict filter, ...
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1 answer
75 views

Why does “lineage” retain the "e" when the suffix "-age" is added?

"Lineage" (/ˈlɪn·i·ɪdʒ/) is equivalent to "line" + "-age". Other such nouns lose the "e" when this suffix is added: Stem + Suffix = Noun Anecdote + Age = ...
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Sentence structure and form

Is this sentence grammatically correct? "The great sea creature came alongside Lotty and nudged him, so he climbed on board its strong back. I don't get what sentence structure the second part ...
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1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Word for an all seeing society/government type

I'm looking for a word to mean a society or government type where everything is visible or known to everyone, similar to omniscient. For example, if everyone (including government) can see everything ...
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  • 257
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

Is it "five hundred thousand" or "five hundred thousands"? [closed]

I googled "500,000 in English" then I got five hundred thousand. I wonder, if we say...five dogs then why five hundred thousand? Actually, in my view, it should've been called as: five ...
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  • 117
2 votes
1 answer
148 views

Which is the correct use of 'people' vs 'peoples'? [closed]

Which grammar is correct to ask? Which people was Utah named for? Or is it this... Which peoples was Utah named for? The answer being "Utes", is it correct to use "people" or &...
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0 answers
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"move unassisted"

As far as I know, "move" is a Verb, "unassisted" is an adjective, and a verb is modified by an adverb. So could you please help me to explain this following sentence, which is from the Oxford ...
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0 answers
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Never in my life have I been more curious to learn something than this course. Is this sentence correct?

I was wondering if the following sentence was grammatically correct or not. Never in my life have I been more curious to learn something than this course.
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1 vote
1 answer
428 views

Why word "weighten" aren't actually a valid word?

There's bunch of words with -en form of word like height-heighten, bright-brighten and others, but weight-weighten aren't valid pair. Is there any reasons, why is it like that? Is there any rule for ...
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0 votes
2 answers
168 views

To request "signed photographs" vs "signing photographs"

I was doing a Cambridge English Advanced, Use of English, Part 3 task today, when I came across the following sentence: Though fans continued to hound her with requests for SIGN photographs seven ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is navigable correct?

I corrected someone using "navigatable" when they meant "navigable". They wanted to know why it is the latter. Does anyone know? Is there a reason?
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0 votes
1 answer
46 views

What does the formation of putting words an idea or feeling given here mean?

Here's the conversation I was having with a guy: So, in this context, f I drill down, from my perspective, they may not mean anything together. Can you please help me figure out what his expression ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
103 views

In the sentence who is saying "that's your business,isn't it ,cousin"

Laila remembered another fight, and, that time, Mammy had stood over Babi and said in a mincing way,That's your business, isn't it, cousin? To make nothing your business. Even your own sons going to ...
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1 vote
0 answers
37 views

Why is it Orthodontics but Pedodontia?

Similarly we also have words like Periodontia and Exodontia and Endodontia (and Endodontics too apparently) and for many of them, I just can not find which one is correct?
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1 vote
2 answers
152 views

Why is it Endodontic (-ic suffix) but Dental (-al suffix)?

Especially when they both derive from Endodontist and Dentist respectively, so context doesn't vary much. I found many answers on the web explaining that -ic and -ical suffixes don't follow any rule ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
235 views

dogfight vs. dog fighting

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a dogfight means: 1 : a fight between dogs broadly : a fiercely disputed contest 2 : a fight between two or more fighter planes usually at close quarters ...
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3 votes
0 answers
159 views

What's the correct word to refer to a believer of scientism? [duplicate]

Scientism is, roughly speaking, the belief that the only legitimate knowledge is scientific knowledge and all other sources of knowledge - like religion - should be rejected. If it is still unlcear, ...
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2 votes
0 answers
52 views

What is the function of 'a-' in the phrase 'cocks a-crow' [duplicate]

This is a beginning of W.B.Yeats's poem Under Ben Bulben: Swear by what the Sages spoke Round the Mareotic Lake That the Witch of Atlas knew, Spoke and set the cocks a-crow. What is the ...
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1 vote
3 answers
546 views

What are the higher variations of 'couple'? [closed]

If a couple is a pair or a group of two, what does one call a group of three, four, etc.?
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1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Word Formation: Noun Suffixes and their Spelling and Stress Shift Rules

I've been having a real hard time trying to gather information about word formation in English, more specifically about the rules involving suffixes that turn verbs and adjectives into nouns. But not ...
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0 votes
1 answer
122 views

Open-ended concepts in Chinese usually be alluded by listing specific examples. Would native English speakers find it hard to grasp the connotation?

In Chinese and Vietnamese sometimes a word is made up by listing its examples. For example, "table-chair" means furniture, "month-year" means time, "land-water" means country, "spring-summer-fall-...
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1 vote
1 answer
110 views

Words that can be decomposed entirely into parts which are anagrams of each other [closed]

I recently noticed that teammate is composed of two anagrams, and was wondering if anyone had any other examples of this, or even better, a name for this phenomenon?
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4 votes
1 answer
196 views

How is "burial" incorrectly formed?

OED says that: Middle English buryel, biriel, incorrectly formed as a singular of byriels, buriels n., q.v.; in later times associated with nouns in -al from French, such as espousal-s. Etymonline....
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2 votes
1 answer
93k views

Email - We will discuss about this during/in our meeting scheduled on Monday? [closed]

I am responding to an email where i want inform the person who asked some question saying we will discuss about this during Mondays meeting. I am not sure which is the correct way of framing this ...
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Word form of "lie" in this sentence? [closed]

I have this sentence The _____ strength of this novel is the author's life experience And it needs a word form of lie to fill in the gap. At first, I think it's lying but it sounds weird to me.
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1 vote
3 answers
36k views

Which word is correct in this sentence? (signing/signature)

Consider the following: The financial industry got its (22) ________ (office) start on Wall Street on May 17, 1792. On that day, New York's first stock exchange was established by the (23) ________ ...
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7 votes
1 answer
248 views

Do you usually divide words into elements?

English sounds sound complex for me as a non-native speaker, because of vowel reduction. English vowels in words can take a wide range of form in natural speech due to vowel reduction and whether you ...
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-10 votes
1 answer
514 views

Why does English have so few "obscene" roots, compared to Russian? [closed]

Russian has 4 obscene roots ('-еб-', '-хуй-', '-пизд-', '-бляд-') and a huge variety of options in order to create new words: 'ебать', 'ёбаный', 'уебать', 'заебать', 'подъебать', 'ебантяй', 'уёбок'...
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3 votes
4 answers
784 views

One word for an ability that is self-destructive

I am looking for one word to describe an ability that does more harm than good to the one having the ability. For example, an artist who has so much to express that it drives him mad. Or a scientist ...
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-4 votes
2 answers
117 views

Why 'nervOUS', but 'mentAL'? [closed]

Why not to use one suffix for both stems? Like 'nervAL'/'mentAL' or 'nervOUS'/'mentOUS'. Thanks for your answer
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Are there rules for forming adjectives from names? [duplicate]

I may not be using the right terms for what I'm asking, but for example, "Cartesian" is an adjective derived from Descartes' name, and "Dickensian" is an adjective derived from Charles Dickens' name, ...
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0 votes
1 answer
8k views

Is "Five dollars is all I have" correct?

I want to emphasize that I only have 5 dollars, so can I use the sentence: Five dollars is all I have. Or must it be: Five dollars are all I have. Please give the explanation as well.
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0 votes
1 answer
123 views

Can I split the word "being" with a "-" (hyphen)?

In the following sentence I want to use the word "being". I was told that my use of the word "being" is confusing or unclear. Can I write "being" as "be-ing"? Is that even an acceptable way to write ...
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3 votes
1 answer
253 views

What English words have unique prevocalic forms?

The indefinite article a becomes an when it precedes a word beginning with a vowel sound. Similar conventions can be found in thy → thine and the now-archaic my → mine. Aside from these three ...
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4 votes
1 answer
4k views

"Lip-sync" or "Lip-synch"?

What is the correct spelling of the expression "lip sync[h]," which refers to miming singing over a recording--usually in a public performance and with the intention to mislead? Google has ...
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3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Question that is a no-brainer

I need a phrase which has a meaning of a question that is very easy to answer and requires very little thought. I think it might have something to do with word no-brainer. I don't know if a no-...
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41 votes
1 answer
9k views

Etymology of Butterfly

Does the word butterfly derive from transposition of word order, i.e., "flutter by"? Several dictionaries that I looked this up in so long ago that I've forgotten which ones, said either "origin ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
1k views

What do you call people who live 6 months in city(urban area ), then travel to the village(rural area) and live 6 months. And they do this constantly

I have found the words 'commuter' and 'Itinerant' but they don't really describe what I mean. I made up the word 'biland','bilanded' means people who have two land to live on. What do you say? Is it ...
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1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Word for something being a misnomer - "misnomerous"? "misnomatic"? [closed]

What is the word used to describe something as being a misnomer?
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0 votes
0 answers
348 views

Words ending in -cial/tial [duplicate]

Can anyone please highlight the process behind the formation of words ending in -cial/-tial? For instance, finance is the root for financial but, different is the root for differential substance is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
583 views

Usage of the phrase "in itself" in this specific context?

"The watching in itself of this video put my brain in a bit of a knot." If I want to use the term "in itself", is this the correct way to format a sentence, if I want to put emphasis on the "...
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  • 148
6 votes
2 answers
976 views

Squeegee with a squeegee

Squeegee is: a scraping implement, usually consisting of a straight-edged blade of india-rubber, gutta-percha, or the like, attached to the end of a long handle, for removing water, mud, etc. [OED] ...
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15 votes
3 answers
8k views

Diminutive forms in English.

In many languages, formation of diminutives by adding suffixes is a productive part of the language. Many languages apply a grammatical diminutive to nouns, a few—including Dutch, Italian and Russian ...
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2 votes
2 answers
642 views

Word-formation process - which one?

I would like to ask if anyone knows what word-formation process takes place when we join two separate words (for instance 360 + flip) and create a word '360 flip' written separately, but used as a ...
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1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Usage of the "non" word when describing something which does not belong to a project (or any organizational group)

The dictionary contains many words which start with "non", e.g. non-acceptance or nonacceptance (with a hyphen and without it). I tried to find out if I can build a new word by using the word "non" ...
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