All Questions

132
votes
4answers
740k views

“More clear” vs “Clearer”: when to use “more” instead of “-er”?

Which one of these adjectives is correct? I can see that both of them are being used, I'm just not sure which one is grammatically correct. Are there any general rules to follow as to the use of one ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What is the most eloquent way to transition into pointing out a major flaw in someone's thinking?

There is phrase that I really liked and was quite articulate, but I can't think of it. This is in response to a debate when analyzing one's position or paradigm. Other ways: crucial fallacy ...
29
votes
5answers
21k views

What is the distinction between “among” and “amongst”?

It seems amongst is quite often used as a synonym for among but it is supposed to sound more distinguished. Is there any difference in the meaning?
18
votes
4answers
749 views

Should Kyle be corrected, and if he doesn't, why?

In a recent blog entry, Jeff Atwood quotes his sysadmin Kyle: "Should the developers have access to the production environment, and if they do, to what extent?" My understanding is that this ...
22
votes
5answers
18k views

Why are numbers usually written twice in contracts?

In contracts numbers are usually written twice: in numerical and literal form. I understand the vast majority of text in a typical contract can be safely deleted without impacting the core message ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Linguistic name for verbs like 'want', 'expect', 'beg',

In linguistics, there is this certain group or class of verbs that can be used as We <VERB> you to come. Verbs like to expect and to want are in this class: We expect you to come. We want you ...
4
votes
1answer
9k views

Interested topics or Interesting topics?

In a website profile, I would like to mention the topics I am interested in. Which one should I use? Interested topics: Technology, Reading, etc. (Is it about the past?) Interesting topics: ...
32
votes
7answers
45k views

Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?

I have seen people say both 0.25 mile and 0.25 miles. Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?
18
votes
5answers
82k views

Why is the past tense used in “I was wondering if you would like to come for dinner?”

Why isn't the present tense used? I am wondering if you would like to come for dinner.
31
votes
6answers
73k views

Should I write “module/theme” or “module / theme”?

I usually put a space before and after /, when indicating alternatives. We review a module / theme per user. Is it correct, or should I rewrite the sentence to remove those spaces? We review a ...
6
votes
3answers
51k views

What is the difference between “I forgot” and “I had forgot”?

I forgot versus I had forgot. What is the difference between the two phrases?
52
votes
1answer
228k views

Which is correct: “feedback is welcome” or “feedback is welcomed”?

I am used to writing feedback is welcome. Is that correct, or should I write feedback is welcomed? Why?
53
votes
2answers
84k views

Which is correct, “dataset” or “data set”?

I keep writing dataset. Is that correct, or should I write data set?
15
votes
4answers
150k views

In which cases is a comma/period placed inside or outside of parentheses?

Are there cases where a period is placed inside parentheses? In which cases the period (or a comma) should be placed inside the parentheses?
23
votes
4answers
8k views

Are split infinitives grammatically incorrect, or are they valid constructs?

Mark's generosity in this crisis seems to more than make up for his earlier stinginess. Should those sentences always be avoided, or are there cases where they are valid?
279
votes
1answer
357k views

When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?

I generally know how to use a hyphen, but when should I use an en-dash instead of an em-dash, or when should I use a hyphen instead of an em-dash?
6
votes
1answer
612 views

When did modern punctuation emerge?

Medieval punctuation was different from the one we use now; for example, Medieval punctuation included punctus, punctus versus, and punctus flexus. When did their equivalent in modern English ...
68
votes
2answers
1.3m views

“Dear Sir or Madam” versus “To whom it may concern”

When is it appropriate to use the terms Dear Sir or Madam and To whom it may concern? The rules I was taught state that Dear Sir or Madam should be used when you're writing a letter to a person about ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is “definitely” so frequently typoed?

Definitely seems to be one of the most frequently typoed words in written English on the Internet, enough to bring somebody to create d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y.com. Simon Google says, in a completely ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

Why do you write “occurred” but “listened”?

The past tense of to occur is occurred (not occured), but the past tense of to listen is listened (not listenned). Why? What is the general rule that is applied to make the past tense of a verb?
4
votes
3answers
513 views

Should we use past tense in “Lugo admitted he is the father”?

In this sentence, should the is be a was? On April 13, 2009, Lugo admitted he is the father of a child conceived with Viviana Carrillo.
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Whatever happened to “what ever” and whenever did it happen?

I am curious to know when whatever, whenever, wherever and whoever first started being used as interrogative words. Merriam-Webster, etymonline and dictionary.com offer no hints. Wikipedia doesn't ...
5
votes
11answers
8k views

What's a word similar in usage to “diatribe,” but not as harsh?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a diatribe is defined as a forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something. I had previously understood it to mean something more along the ...
26
votes
5answers
9k views

Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?

I'm trying to find out how come we say lucky me and stupid us rather than lucky I and stupid we. My understanding is that this is not a recent invention, but a relic from the distant past where it was ...
18
votes
13answers
36k views

Why are movies so hard to understand (and what can you do about it)?

I have been learning English for many, many years now and think I have acquired quite some mastery. Yesterday I saw just another English (American) flick and thought it was a different language, but ...
5
votes
2answers
15k views

When should I use “is” and when should I use “are”?

I always mixed them up, and use the wrong one on other sites on StackExchange. And the questions is edited by another person. When should I use "is" and when should I use "are"? Sometimes I write "...
10
votes
7answers
505 views

Is the word “yearling” appropriate for a recurring event?

The Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange sites all have a "yearling" badge. Active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation. This badge can be awarded multiple times. So each year, if the ...
2
votes
2answers
99k views

“Will discuss the matter” vs. “will discuss on this matter”

I received an email with the following sentence: The meetings will be discussing on this early next week. I have two questions: Should we use will discuss rather than will be discussing? I don't ...
11
votes
5answers
12k views

When do I have to use 'will' instead of 'going to'?

Does going to only express an intention and will some kind of prediction that doesn't necessarily happen? EDIT: Thanks for all your answers. I asked this question because I always fail to complete ...
60
votes
7answers
30k views

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: “...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

“So long as” vs. “as long as”

Which phrase is more formal — "so long as" or "as long as"? Example: So long as Google Voice allows free long distance in North America, I will use it. As long as Google Voice allows free ...
12
votes
5answers
13k views

“high rate of speed” or “high speed” to mean going fast

Why do reporters (and sometimes police officers) say that somebody was going at a high rate of speed when they actually mean high speed? In physics, speed is already the rate of distance over time, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the phrase “on to” mean?

The following sentence is the context. Accordingly, in the next few chapters, which deal specifically with the tags, we’ll spend a lot more time on the OGNL expression language. On to chapter 6! ...
21
votes
8answers
83k views

Do “in future” and “in the future” imply different meanings?

Do in future and in the future imply different meanings? If so, using which one is grammatically correct?
20
votes
1answer
20k views

Logging in or on?

There are a plethora of words for user accounts, like logon, login, signon, and also the action of logging in (or logging on) or signing in. Are there any usage guidelines here?
35
votes
16answers
12k views

Words with opposite meanings in different regions

I can't recall it, but there is a word in American English which now means the opposite of itself in British English. What words are there that have opposite (not just different) meanings in different ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the story behind the word “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia”?

Was someone just trying to be funny by being ironic?
16
votes
2answers
1k views

If I invent a word, what language is it?

I invented a word using medical terminology, Latin and maybe a bit of Greek. (I'm not honestly sure of the etymology of all the morphemes.) Considering that this word is primarily not of English ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

What does the phrase “Go Tiger!” mean?

I am learning the Java struts 2 by reading a book titled "struts 2 in action" and I encountered the phrase "Go Tiger!". I can't figure out what it means; can anybody give me the answer? If you have ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “facebook” as a verb different from “google” or “photoshop”?

I understand that any term, grammatical or not, becomes valid if there is common usage. I'm not concerned about that. Google and Photoshop are both commonly used as verbs. Given that the terms map ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

In a project, what is the relationship between dependent tasks called?

If I have two tasks, called "Design" and "Development", what are the relationships between the two called? Clearly, this is a type of dependency, but I need to be more specific. That is, I need to ...
12
votes
8answers
5k views

Identifying British accents

Are there rules of thumb for pinpointing British accents regionally? What other accents do Americans tend to mistake for British? Are there good online resources that can help with this? Audio samples ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Rhyming conventions of Early Modern English

I was reading the poem "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell when something struck me as odd. Let me quote two passages: Thou by the Indian Ganges' side Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide Of ...
7
votes
5answers
10k views

Word meaning the reverse of 'Xenophobia'

Xenophobia refers to the irrational fear or hatred of foreigners. But recently I've seen people displaying (in newspaper articles and other places) an irrational fear or hatred of their own countrymen....
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Pardon me French”

Even though the phrase pardon my French is used much more often, I do constantly run across pardon me French as well. What's the deal with that? Wikipedia does have an entry on Pardon my French, but ...
5
votes
5answers
14k views

What's the difference between “regime” and “regimen”

The title says it all, really.
26
votes
7answers
70k views

When is it appropriate to use “Yeah” and “Yep” as variants of the word “Yes”?

As a learner of English I know that yes is a standard variant and other two are informal, spoken words. I know nothing more about it, and try always use the yes variant, just not to sound ...
1
vote
1answer
341 views

Question about proper use of “pedantic”

Would the following sentences be correct? You were more concerned with being pedantic. I felt you were being pedantic. You wanted to have a pedantic conversation.
4
votes
3answers
12k views

What is wrong with “I don’t like these kind of things”?

The New Oxford American Dictionary has the following note for kind. (Notice the sentence I highlighted.) The plural of kind often causes difficulty. With this or that, speaking of one kind, use a ...
2
votes
3answers
19k views

“The Midwest of the U.S.”

The New Oxford American Dictionary reports the following definition for Middle America: Middle America |ˈˌmɪdl əˈmɛrəkə| noun 1 the middle class in the U.S., esp. when regarded as a ...

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