All Questions

240
votes
7answers
63k views

How are “i.e.” and “e.g.” pronounced?

How are i.e. and e.g. pronounced?
23
votes
21answers
44k views

What is a less offensive synonym for “retarded”?

I occasionally use "retarded" when chastising myself or other friends. I know it's not Politically Correct, but am I only allowed to say stupid? How long before we can't say that anymore? Other ...
19
votes
6answers
30k views

Is “inactivate” really a word?

At my business most of the employees use the word inactivate frequently. Is this proper grammar? I've always used deactivate.
7
votes
3answers
7k views

What is a better way to write: only three people signed up: you, me and “thehulk66”

It is better to write this: Only three people signed up: you, Jim, and I. than this: Only three people signed up: you, me, and Jim. Because "I" is a subject and not an object. But what if ...
5
votes
4answers
10k views

In the format of A.B. Name, which is the given name and which is the family name?

For example, Bill Henry Gates, which of following is right? Bill H.Gates B.H. Gates H.G. Bill Gates Bill B. Gates H. Gates BHG HGB GHB
55
votes
6answers
40k views

Where does the phrase “dry run” come from?

I've heard the phrase "dry run" being used with the meaning of rehearsal, experiment or test exercise in various contexts. For example: They did a dry run of the demonstration before showing it to ...
2
votes
5answers
847 views

Is it correct to say “…of guys got fame…”?

When reading a post I've seen this comment: Stupid idea from a bunch of guys got fame for helping people steal stuff – now they want to help you beg for money. I think these guys have high ...
47
votes
10answers
131k views

Is there a standard ordering for the question mark and the exclamation mark used together?

We've all wanted to express certain questions, rhetorical or not, with annoyance, excitement, surprise, frustration and so on. What better way than with both a question mark (?) and an exclamation ...
20
votes
4answers
108k views

How do you use “i.e.” in a sentence?

How does one properly use i.e. in a sentence? I'm not referring to Internet Explorer.
96
votes
8answers
17k views

Which is correct: “__ is different from __” or “__ is different than __”?

As someone who learned English later on in life, I was taught that different from is the correct grammar to use: this is different from that. However, it seems these days everyone uses different than ...
266
votes
10answers
179k views

What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

For example, if I wanted to write the equivalent of There are many automated teller machines in this city. Would it be There are many ATMs in this city. or There are many ATM's in this ...
16
votes
6answers
4k views

Should nouns borrowed from Japanese be pluralized?

As someone who has watched a lot of subtitled Japanese animation, it seems odd to hear a word such as ninja (used in the plural) in the dialogue and see it transliterated as ninjas. It somehow seems ...
44
votes
6answers
27k views

Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”?

I heard this lyric in a song the other day and it just sounded so wrong that I assumed it must be incorrect grammar, but I can't find any specific prohibition that applies. That's what it's. That ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

“Pretty” as an adverb

How correct/common/proper is "pretty" as an adverb? It is hard for me to see, since it's my native dialect, but I say "pretty often" pretty often, and "fairly often" fairly rarely. Does "pretty" mark ...
65
votes
11answers
19k views

“Less” vs. “fewer”

I've just received a memo which says (effectively) As more people leave, there will be less people available. I want that word to be fewer. Are there guidelines for which word ought to be used ...
16
votes
4answers
10k views

Answering “Have you got” questions with “I do”

For the question "Have you got any ice cream?" which is correct: Yes I do Yes I have or inversely No I don't No I haven't got any
6
votes
6answers
31k views

“Important” and “significant”

"Important" and "significant" seems to be very close in meaning when denoting that something matters much. But am I right in thinking that "important" is less formal word than "significant"? And ...
30
votes
13answers
7k views

How can I reliably and accurately identify the passive voice in writing or speech?

How can I reliably and accurately identify the passive voice in writing or speech? I'm not interested in advice about whether or not to use it yet... I just want to know for sure what it is, so that I ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Why “mind” means “pay attention to”

Why the word "mind" can be used as a verb, synonym of "pay attention to"? It has the same etymology of the "mind" (centre of thought, feelings, brain) noun? When it is better to use "mind" in place of ...
34
votes
3answers
10k views

Regulatory bodies and authoritative dictionaries for English

Some languages have a "regulatory body" issuing recommendations and guidelines regarding the use of that language. For example in the case of Spanish it's the Real Academia Española whose status is ...
66
votes
1answer
85k views

Do you capitalize both parts of a hyphenated word in a title?

Do you capitalize both parts of a hyphenated word in a title? "My Ex-Wife Hates Me" or "My Ex-wife Hates Me"
39
votes
13answers
21k 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: ...
8
votes
10answers
4k views

Pronunciation of “especially”

In some podcasts (it seems the speaker was from California) I heard that the word "especially" was pronounced with "ks" sound like "ikspeshally". What was it likely to be, personal way of ...
5
votes
6answers
17k views

What is the difference between “’ll” and “will”?

Is there any difference in the meaning when we use 'll or will? For example, I will go to university tomorrow. I'll go to university tomorrow.
20
votes
7answers
2k views

Where can I find a reasonably well recognized free style guide that is online?

I don't like prefixing all my answers and pontifications about English usage with IMHO. Where can I find a reasonably well recognized style guide that is online that I can refer people to? My first ...
7
votes
5answers
458 views

If the result of creating is creation

then what is the result of getting?
61
votes
3answers
146k views

When I should use “assure” vs. “ensure” vs. “insure”?

When is it appropriate to use assure vs. ensure vs. insure?
16
votes
3answers
80k views

Should you use “who” or “that” when talking about multiple people doing something?

Which of the following is correct? There were 10 people that went to the store. There were 10 people who went to the store. Edit: Which of the following is correct? There were 10 ...
36
votes
5answers
119k views

What is the best format to use when writing out dates?

What format of date is appropriate for different contexts (business, personal) in written English, nowadays? 1st of April, 2010 April the 1st, 2010 April 1, 2010 April 01, 2010 another one
19
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is Q used in some words instead of K or C

For instance in words Iraq and Qashqai? Are there any historical reasons for that?
138
votes
16answers
356k views

Should I put a comma before the last item in a list?

Should I put a comma before the last item in a list? I would like crackers, cheese and some soda. I would like crackers, cheese, and some soda.
37
votes
7answers
16k views

How bad is the f-word, really?

I am confused: on the one hand, many of my native-speaker friends keep telling me that the f-word is very, very bad. Much worse than the s-word for example. On the other hand, I see it being used ...
32
votes
5answers
20k views

“Specially” vs “especially”

When should each of them be used?
11
votes
2answers
14k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the etymology of “replenish”?

Where does the word "replenish" come from, and what does it mean? I know it is used as a form of "refill", but is that how it was originally?
48
votes
7answers
49k 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 "...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Introductory phrases like “to tell the truth”

What is the difference between the following introductory phrases? To tell the truth Frankly speaking To be honest Are any of the phrases more old-fashioned or formal than the others or ...
28
votes
2answers
158k views

In what cases should I use a comma after “please”?

As far as I can see from different texts, there seems to be no strict rule about putting comma after "Please" when it is used as an introduction to a request. Am I right? In what cases using comma ...
46
votes
4answers
185k views

What are the rules for splitting words at the end of a line?

What are the rules in English language to split words at the end of a line? Where exactly must the hyphen split the word?
19
votes
6answers
8k views

How does one know when to use a gerund or an infinitive?

As a native speaker of English, the gerund version of this sentence sounds better: infinitive: When used together in chains, extension methods are an unprecedented tool to produce extremely ...
54
votes
4answers
321k views

When should the word “English” be capitalized?

I am often confused how the word "English" should be written in phrases such as "English language", because I have seen both variants: capitalized and starting with lowercase letter. What is the most ...
9
votes
3answers
18k views

Why are words ending in “-um” and “-us” pluralized to end in “-a” and “-i”, respectively?

Where does the practice of using -a and -i for plural forms of -um and -us, respectively, come from? Bacteria vs. bacterium Fungi vs. fungus
10
votes
9answers
5k views

When is it acceptable to use Internet abbreviations such as “u” or “r”?

In my business communication over Internet text messengers, for example Google Talk or Skype, I see that many people often use shorten words like u instead of you, r instead of are and the like. How ...
13
votes
2answers
15k views

When is it OK to use OK?

I often use "OK" in business and personal emails and phone conversations. But I often feel uncertain if it is appropriate to use it in every type of context. Please tell how universally I can use ...
12
votes
8answers
2k views

“Football” and “Soccer”

I know that the game which is called football in Europe is called soccer in the U.S. But I wonder to what extent this differentiation is strict. What do people from England call their favorite game in ...
4
votes
2answers
33k views

“Each person's car” vs. “each persons' car” [closed]

Which of the following is correct? Each person's car has four wheels. Each persons' car has four wheels.
9
votes
2answers
3k views

All together vs. Altogether

Do all together and altogether mean the same and if not, what are the differences?
5
votes
3answers
475 views

Are there diagnostic tests to distinguish between proper and common nouns?

Are there some fill-in-the-blank type questions that, if one were to fill in the blank and it sounded right to a fluent speaker then it would have to be a proper noun (or it would have to be a common ...
48
votes
2answers
21k views

When is “L” doubled?

Some verbs can have double Ls in the gerund form; for example: modeling; modelling traveling; travelling Which form should we use, or which form is used more in the literature?
4
votes
2answers
7k views

“Certainly” and “Of course”: what is the difference?

Is there any difference in expressing consent and assurance using adverbs "certainly" or "of course"? What would be more appropriate one in everyday conversation?

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