Questions tagged [word-usage]

This tag is for questions about correctly using a word. The word has to be provided within the question. The question should be limited to the usage of one word. For the usage of complete phrases there is the tag phrase-usage.

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Is "consume" correct in "Heating water consumes a large amount of energy"? [closed]

Can I say? Heating water consumes a large amount of energy. (Where heating water is an activity.)
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Can 'classical' be used only for sophisticated cultures?

I have read some arcicles about the difference between 'classic' and 'classical'. I understand that 'classical' things are much older than 'classic' things, and relate to qualified cultures. To make ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why is "of" present for "out of stock" but not "in stock"?

English is my native language, so I know that these combinations sound correct to me and other native speakers, at least in the U.S., but why? Why don't we consistently use or not use "of" ...
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What would be the proper adjective to describe an 'open' padlock?

I'm trying to describe an 'open' padlock hanging from a latch. ['open', so a character can lock someone else in the following paragraph] Is 'open' the right term? I've also seen 'unsecured', 'unlocked'...
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Being drawn to something?

I know that I can say "I was drawn to someone," but can I also say "I was drawn to something by X"? I want to imply how I came across a topic that later became a serious project ...
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Is litany only used in negative connotations?

I've been encountering the word litany in articles and some videos and they're sort of used to mean like "a list of", but upon looking in different dictionaries it seems like it is used to ...
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Will or going to [closed]

"Stop trying the engine over and over again! It's clear that the car ...." Won't start or isn't going to start?
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1 answer
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Shelter of or Shelter from?

“Since her brother had left, she’d felt a bit unguarded out there. The library was a little shelter of civilisation.” The Midnight Library Matt Haig What is “shelter of civilization” meaning in this ...
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What is the difference between a phone book, a directory, and the yellow pages?

So, upon looking in a dictionary, this is what I found: phone book noun [ C ] informal US /ˈfoʊn ˌbʊk/ UK /ˈfəʊn ˌbʊk/ a telephone directory : Is he in the phone book? (also telephone book, ...
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What is the difference (in usage) between “wrong,” “incorrect,” and “inaccurate.” [closed]

I searched on the web, but it is unfortunate that I was not able to find a clear and concise difference in the usage of “wrong,” “incorrect,” and “inaccurate.” I know there is a difference in their ...
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Usage of "illiteracy" in certain sentences

How to use the "illiteracy" word in sentences when you want to mention your illiteracy related to some topics or areas? I'm a native Russian speaker, and when I write English text, I can ...
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Difference between "forementioned" and "aforementioned"? [closed]

I am writing a scientific article, and the reviewer has pointed out that I should check the typo "forementioned", which I use several times in the paper. I would like to know, is there any ...
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2 answers
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Is the term "morbid curiosity" generally negative or positive? [closed]

In my experience, someone who asks things out of "morbid curiosity" generally seems to do so for the "sake of fulfilling their curiosity" with no other motivation beyond boredom, a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
451 views

What does "Oh snap" mean?

May I ask, what does "oh snap" mean please? I heard it from the DIY Art competition, when the competitors were waiting for the judges to announce who's the winner. Competitor A said: I'm ...
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1 answer
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Should you avoid capitalization of capitonyms to avoid ambiguity? [closed]

Per this question, Polish is a capitonym. To avoid ambiguity, should one avoid using the verb/noun form of polish at the start of the sentence or in other contexts when capitalization is required? For ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can I use verb "pass" to tell someone to ignore a question?

If I leave a message to someone such like as "Can you please bala bala bala?" After a while, I want to let him skip my question. So I said "Please pass it" but is this correct? Or ...
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2 answers
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Genuinely curious [closed]

In the past two years every time I've seen curious it has been preceded by genuinely. What is going on here? (Actual question.) Is there some alternate connotation now being seen with the bare curious ...
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1 answer
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Can "fellow writers" live in different times?

I may be mistaken but I usually use "fellow workers", "fellow players" or "fellow actors" when they share a profession at the same time. According to lexico.com, "...
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1 answer
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Would you use 'bender' to describe a person? [closed]

We know 'bender' as a period of time which one spends excessively drunk (or maybe high), and "a person or thing which bends," and Bender, the robot on "Futurama," but would -- or ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Is "during any correspondence" acceptable?

I recently had to email someone to ask them to use "reply all" instead of "reply" and I worded it as below: Please use "Reply all" during any correspondence I am ...
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3 answers
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Keep looping while + semantics and programming language

This question could be viewed as an ELL question. However, I am posting it here as I am looking for a two-fold confirmation: semantic/grammatical and programming language usage for purposes of ...
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1 answer
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Can "resemblance" be used interchangeably with "semblance" in the idiomatic context of a comparison to a former self?

For example, After the war, Dresden retained little [re]semblance of its former self. Although he'd quit drinking, his lifestyle continued in some [re]semblance of its former self. I came across &...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why do the British use the phrase, "different to," rather than "different from?" It simply sounds wrong

The word "different" implies opposition, separation, "otherness," etc. Therefore, juxtaposing it with the word "to" makes no sense. And, in itself, standing alone, it ...
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1 answer
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"..... come 2025." What's the usage of "come" here? [duplicate]

There is a conversation from a parent to the baby about its passport photograph,"We'll get you a new one come 2025". I can sense that he means they will update their baby's passport photo at ...
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Forecast Entry - Can this mean the process of entering data into a computer form?

Our company's customers are forecasters. Some of them (non-native English speakers) use the term Forecast Entry to describe the process of sitting in front of the computer and entering a weather ...
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"Downloaded content" or "downloaded contents" when downloading files, folders, and other elements at once

I'm writing a message for an app. The user can select multiple files and folders to download. We're letting them navigate to the download location right after the download completes. I'm trying to ...
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1 answer
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Doing something just because you have to do it. Doing something half-heartedly [duplicate]

I am looking for verbs, adverbs, and/or adjectives that express actions done just for the sake of having to do them. Wanting to do something the easiest way possible just to get over with it, and ...
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4 votes
1 answer
357 views

What's a word for a person who buys random things just because they're on sale?

Recently, my dad bought headphones just because they were on sale. But, the thing is, none of us needed new headphones, he just got them for no other reason other than they were on sale. This isn't ...
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Is saying something you do not mean always irony?

The other day someone told me that it is irony every time you say something you don’t really mean. At first, I thought that wasn’t correct, but when I thought about it, I wasn’t quite sure. Is that ...
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2 votes
4 answers
260 views

What is the common answer to the question: What's your eyesight?

I am from Mainland China and I find that the way we describe the eye prescription is totally different from English because we use a different metric system. If someone asks me "What's your ...
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1 vote
1 answer
87 views

Is it common in American English to use "overran" in the following context?

I'm late for the party, and when I turn up after half an hour my friend says, "Where have you been?" Now, can I reply, "I overran my class by half an hour"? I'm not sure if it is ...
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misconstrue as mispresent/mislead

Can misconstrue be used to mean misrepresent/mislead? Looking at the definition https://www.thefreedictionary.com/misconstrue it only offers the side of the observer, ie as something being ...
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Is there a difference between a roof and a ceiling when we talk about the inner surface?

It seems that we use the words “ceiling” and “roof” for an upper surface of a building. However, we say “a roof” when we look from the outside, and “a ceiling” if we look from the inside. However, H. ...
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1 answer
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Does the word "concurrent" imply only two conditions?

If I wanted to imply that at any given time I'm managing many projects of different durations that overlap, is it redundant to say "I manage multiple concurrent projects"? Does "...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is there any difference between "wobble", "shake" and "tremble" when it comes to the voice?

Can I use "shook", "wobbled" and "trembled" interchangeably in the following context? I remember a native speaker once said that "wobbled" didn't work here. But ...
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The British writer or British writer

I know this sounds dumb but I have just come across this sentence: The book was Jude the Obscure, a novel by the British writer Thomas Hardy. So the phrase "British writer" is preceded by ...
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if someone refers to the wife in the conversation, is that rude? [closed]

I'm not native speaker and my husband is native speaker one day after we argued I heard he was talking to his sister. I could hear her voice too, she said, stop fighting you and the wife? That ...
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stop/reduce/mitigate global warming [closed]

If we work together, we can (stop/reduce/mitigate) global warming. Which word is better?
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2 answers
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Informal English sentence correction [duplicate]

What you gotta hose for? Is is correct, can I use this sentence in informal english? How can I say this sentence formally?
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2 answers
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Definite article with noun referring to something not satisfying definition

Consider the following phrase: The airplane is missing its wings Given that wings are part of the definition of an airplane, why is it correct to use “the airplane” to refer to an airplane without ...
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Why do people answer 'yes' to questions that aren't yes/no questions?

I have realised that (at least in the UK) when I ask "How are you?" many people usually answer things like "Yes, I'm great, thank you.". Given that it is not a yes/no question, ...
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What is a 'Jack' (as in Jack, Queen, King') ? When was it so designated?

In Charles Dicken's Great Expectations, published in 1861, when Pip, the hero, plays cards with his friend Estella, the narrative states : “He calls the knaves Jacks, this boy!” said Estella with ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
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Causes becoming "numb"?

In the following sentence I want to use the word "numb" in a metaphorical way: "All causes became numb" Meaning, causes couldn't help the person who ended up in a certain situation....
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1 answer
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How to say the share of count/amount? "Number share"?

I am writing an academic paper in economics. I wonder what words I should use in following situation. If for example we have many firms in the market. We can say the share of employment of, say ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Can "avert to" be used to mean allude? [closed]

In particular, many of the early...were in part inspired by learnability considerations.[...]And later research has often averted to learnability considerations as well [references omitted]. (from ...
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Corpus vs. corpse

I found this definition on Wikidiff: "The difference between corpus and corpse is that corpus is the body while corpse is a dead body" While in Collins and Merriam Webster I found this ...
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1 answer
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The machine is (worked-made ) by wind power? [closed]

I am not sure but i think that correct is to say that the machine is worked by wind power, what is your opinion ?
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1 answer
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What is the meaning of this word “function”? [closed]

I saw this text in a picture on social media, but I don’t know what the meaning of “function” is here, I’ve tried some dictionaries but couldn’t find what I was looking for. You get to invite 1 ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is higher-numbered tier always better than lower one?

I live in South Korea, and as a rather-enthusiastic learner of English, there is a question that has bothered me for a long time. People here use the word "tier" in different way than other ...
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What is the meaning of "qualities" in this sentence?

I am having a bit of trouble understanding the bolded portion of this quote from The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: I had got no further by the time I came to have my first business meeting ...
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