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5
votes
7answers
15k views

What is it called when something is described by what it isn't?

I'm not looking for a particular part of speech. A corollary to this idea, and in some ways the opposite, is when something is defined by/as itself. A lot of times you will find this in bad ...
4
votes
3answers
17k views

What is the meaning of “every other time”?

I was wondering what every other time means. For example: I know it's being fixed, but rebooting every other time you do something gets old.
5
votes
7answers
6k views

Why do we use the definite article in the expression “quite the [noun]”?

Like: "quite the singer", "quite the writer", etc. while he/she is just a singer/writer and is not the only singer/writer, etc in that context.
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Conjunctions and modal verbs

What is the correct version? They have contacted me and discussed or They have contacted me and have discussed
1
vote
3answers
11k views

“Until next week”

Today is Tuesday of week 1. I have just been told to do X until next week. When is the last day I can do X? Sunday of week 1? Sunday of week 2?
1
vote
2answers
6k views

How do I use “verily”?

Since verily means truly or certainly. Can I use it where I would normally use certainly? Like: I certainly think that is appropriate. I verily think that is appropriate. If yes, are there ...
0
votes
2answers
4k views

Meaning of 'has much to do with' and 'turn out' [closed]

whether a father's interest in his sons has much to do with how well his sons turn out
13
votes
4answers
8k views

How to write a parenthetical plural when the noun pluralizes irregularly?

What happens if you have a written phrase like We were looking at the same poster(s). but with a noun that has an irregular plural? E.g. with baby/babies, would this be the correct form? We ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Military personnel normally put their badges on their shoulders - what is that area called?

I want a word that can sum up one's experiences in a battlefield but I am unable to find the proper terminology for this purpose. Military badges are normally placed on the left shoulder as well as ...
3
votes
5answers
50k views

Is it appropriate to use “and/or” in a sentence, and how else might I achieve this? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Alternatives to “and/or”? Is it okay to say "and/or"? How else might I phrase a sentence like the following? The amount of happiness displayed by the bunny ...
3
votes
2answers
11k views

Meaning of “things are swept under the rug”

I was wondering what it means as analogy that quite a few things are swept under the rug.
19
votes
3answers
53k views

Meaning of “take a stab at doing something” [closed]

I was wondering what "take a stab at doing something" means? For example I'll take a stab at answering these.
19
votes
5answers
68k views

Origin of “on the QT”?

I was watching the movie L.A. Confidential last night, and was reminded of the phrase "on the QT", which Danny DeVito's character says several times. Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush......
6
votes
4answers
4k views

How, or where, did “Ye God” become “egad”?

Looking up the etymology of 'egad' I saw that it is an archaic, euphemistic form of 'O God' or 'Ye God.' I assume this was a one off evolution, and the 'how' was some idiosyncratic shift in the ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Proper usage of “known entity”?

Is the sentence below correct? I'd like to become a known entity with decision makers in our organization.
4
votes
4answers
12k views

“Today” in the past

Let's say I'm talking about some day in the past. In formal writing, I would use: Earlier that day, I had lunch with my boss. But is the following also correct? Earlier today, I had lunch with ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Pronunciation: ‘lousy’ vs. ‘mousy’. Why?

Inspired by comments on Proper use of the word “lousy”?: The word lousy is traditionally pronounced with a /z/ sound, as though it were louzy.* Contrastingly, the word mousy is always pronounced ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What gender is generally associated with “toad” characters in English fiction and folklore?

The common noun for a toad ("жаба") is of female gender in Russian. Out of all the English literature that I have read, I can remember only one toad-like character: Mr. Toad from The Wind in The ...
34
votes
5answers
47k views

Is it a good practice to refer to countries, ships etc using the feminine form?

While talking about ships and countries, is it a good practice to use the feminine form? For example: "Her economy" - while referring to a country's economy "Her flag (or deck etc)" - while ...
6
votes
2answers
14k views

Singular or plural noun in a sentence after using both in a related conjunction?

Occasionally when I am writing a sentence, I end up in a situation where I do not know whether to use the singular or plural form of a noun because I used both just prior to it in a conjunction. For ...
5
votes
3answers
923 views

Castle Caladan - why a “pile of stone”?

Frank Herbert's Dune book begins with a sentence that describes Castle Caladan as a pile of stone that has been home to 26 generations of Atreides Dukes. Not being a native English speaker, I am left ...
6
votes
3answers
14k views

When to use “just”

The word just is one of those overused words that carries little meaning and appears to just clutter up a sentence (oops, did it again). When is the use of just justified? What are better, clearer ...
8
votes
3answers
11k views

“My another account” vs. “my other account”

A little debate going on here so I just want to know which one it is; I'm saying it's my other account since my another would be my one other account. The other person insists they both can be used; ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Compact rephrasing of “In contrast to previous work, our method …”

I am writing an abstract for a paper, where I say the following: "In contrast to previous work, our method does not rely on ...." Then, about three sentences later, I would like to use a similar ...
0
votes
1answer
375 views

“It's black's turn” or “it's blacks turn”? [closed]

Is it black's turn to move in chess, or is it blacks turn?
1
vote
2answers
219 views

Common word for discount and supplement

I need a common word that in its meaning include either discount or supplement.
9
votes
2answers
12k views

Is there a word that means “the wife of one's brother”?

In some of the non-Latin-based languages that I know there is a special word for your brother's wife. Is there such a word in English? Usage would be something like: She is my __ (My brother's ...
1
vote
3answers
12k views

What does “make it cross” mean?

I believe it's a British phrase. I found it in that website, as: Fiat's Panda can offer an affordable route into 4x4 ownership. You just have to make it Cross. If you happen to know more meanings ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Creating a new word [duplicate]

If you invent a new word, how do you go about getting this recognised as a real word in dictionaries?
1
vote
1answer
415 views

Why does spelling matter? [closed]

If I write mispelling as supposed to misspelling why does it matter? The meaning still exists. Everyone knows what I meant to write. There is no ambiguity. Why do some people consider the proper ...
5
votes
2answers
80 views

Owner vs. operator of a machine

The owner of a machine may be a company, while the person operating a machine (push buttons, feed material, etc) may be an employee of said company. But is the company also the operator of the ...
10
votes
9answers
5k views

How to name a 15-minute period?

In Dutch, we have the word "kwartier" to denote a 15-minute period. It is derived from the word "kwart", which means quarter. It is very common to use this word in both spoken and written language. ...
15
votes
5answers
137k views

Which is correct — “a year” or “an year”? [duplicate]

The word year when pronounced starts with a phonetic sound of e which is a vowel sound making it eligible for being preceded by an. Yet, we tend to write a year. Why?
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Anyone for pudding?

I saw a reference to blancmange in an answer to another question and it got me thinking about pudding. It is very common in British English for the word pudding to be used as the general term for ...
26
votes
5answers
277k views

What is the difference between “sardonic” and “sarcastic”?

Basically, sardonic and sarcastic both stand for mocking gestures, but what is the difference in their contextual use? Are there any other words that represent a similar gesture?
17
votes
12answers
10k views

Adjective used to mean “smellable”

An object that can be seen is visible. Something that can be heard is audible. What's a similar word to indicate that something is smellable?
7
votes
3answers
7k views

A depends on B, is A dependant, or is B dependant?

If A is dependant, what does one call B?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Proper use of the word “lousy”?

Is the sentence below correct? The place is lousy with hippies I looked it up on merriam-webster.com but they said that lousy was: infested with lice Close, but not quite there...
5
votes
3answers
21k views

“Many lost their life” or “Many lost their lives”

Many individuals lost their individual life. or Many individuals list their individual lives. Each person has one life right?
5
votes
1answer
12k views

Why does “tanking” at something mean failing at it?

Why does tanking at something mean failing at it? As an example: Mate, I tanked that maths exam.
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How to understand the word cascade in CSS?

Why it is called cascade, instead of inheritable, or derivable, or chained, or something else? Maybe I have misunderstood the word? And, when should I use the word cascade in my own software ...
24
votes
3answers
16k views

Why is there a slash within “n/a”

not available is not not/available, and not applicable is not not/applicable. Why is it n/a?
3
votes
3answers
246 views

Who is ‘Sarah Palin impersonator’?

Further to my question about the meaning of "If you must know" in Washington Post’s article on CPAC conference which I posted this morning in the forum, I stumbled on a phrase: the Sarah Palin ...
6
votes
0answers
304 views

What is the name for a word that is both singular and plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a term for words that have identical singular and plural forms? Oddly enough for a computing tutor, I encounter the need for this term fairly often. I'm of course ...
8
votes
5answers
17k views

A word for “rate of change”

Physics problems are usually written like: The rate of change of the soup's temperature ... Is there a common English word that captures "rate of change" or "speed of change" in a single word, other ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

St. John's greatest dinner: how to indicate a possessive of a noun which already ends apostrophe - s [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Here's a tricky one that I can't quite figure out the correct ...
3
votes
4answers
15k views

How does “if you must know” differ from “you may (might) know”?

In the following Washington Post's article (Feb. 13) reporting the outcome of CPAC 2011, I found the phrase if you must know. I think this phrase means though it may not be essential knowledge that ...
2
votes
4answers
990 views

Which is larger a “chasm” or a “gulf?”

For the meaning: figurative: a profound difference between people, viewpoints, feelings, etc. Is a chasm or a gulf generally interpreted as being a larger difference? A: The gulf between ...
1
vote
2answers
13k views

When is it appropriate to use a hyphen? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: To hyphenate or not? What is the proper way to spell "side dish"? Is it: "side dish" or "side-dish"? Also, Is it "ham-fried" or "ham fried"? Basically, when do you use ...
21
votes
13answers
124k views

What do you call someone who betrays his/her spouse sexually?

What do you call someone who betrays his/her spouse sexually? Is the word different for men and women? Is it different for people who are in a relationship and not still married?

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