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34
votes
4answers
177k views

Does “staff” take a plural verb?

Which one of these two statements is correct? Our staff do ... Our staff does ... And is staffs ever correct?
13
votes
3answers
91k views

Is “earnt” a real word?

Is the past tense for the word "earn" "earned" or "earnt", and does the word "earnt" even exist?
57
votes
3answers
121k views

Should there be a space before a percent sign?

Should there be a space before a percent sign or not? Should you write 20% or 20 %? I'm not sure if there is any consensus about this or not. Is one way more common than the other?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Modal words and enumeration

(I'm not sure if the title is absolutely correct, so feel free to fix it) Is it suitable to enumerate verbs without modal verb? Example: File already should be created and contain some data in ...
11
votes
4answers
14k views

Origin of the word “yummy”

What is the origin of the word yummy, as in This food is yummy? All I can find are dates of known first uses.
10
votes
5answers
31k views

How would you abbreviate surnames starting with Mc/O/D?

On my sport team, when we communicate we would like to use first name plus initial last name initial, e.g. John S. for John Smith, however I always wonder how I should abbreviate some of the Gaelic / ...
8
votes
4answers
252 views

“Tourists” for visiting sports team

In news about English and "Commonwealth" team sports (e.g., rugby, cricket), I occasionally hear the visiting team being referred to as "tourists" (e.g., "the tourists won the match ..."). This usage ...
10
votes
6answers
28k views

Is it correct to say “What was your name?”?

Is it correct to say "What was your name?"? The reason I am asking this is, generally the name of the person will not change. One should say "What is your name?" http://variationsonnormal.com/2010/...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

How should this sentence be punctuated?

I'm not sure how to punctuate the following sentence: Besides the managers, Pete, John and Eric, also the secretary, Mary, came along to the meeting. I think I messed up completely with comma ...
9
votes
4answers
1.9m views

What is the *best* way to express that an email contains an attachment? [closed]

I'm wondering what is the best way to express that an email contains an attachment. I'd like to have a formal example, and an informal example. For example: Is this informal? Attached you can ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning and usage of the word “very” in the following sentence?

XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language: Transformations) is a language that, according to the very first sentence in the specification (found at http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt20/), is primarily designed for ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

Connotations of trite, passé, and cliché

What are the differences between trite, cliché, and passé? They seem to all have a similar denotation, but what are the subtleties of their connotations? The only difference I really see is that ...
14
votes
7answers
11k views

How do you decide which phrase to use when asking people to repeat what they said?

There are many different ways to ask people to repeat what they have just said. For example: Huh? What? Sorry? Pardon? What's that? Say that again, please I beg your pardon? I've ordered them ...
16
votes
2answers
58k views

Do contractions (e.g. “don't”) and full phrases (e.g. “do not”) have the same meaning?

What is the difference between "don't" and "do not" in the English literature as well as spoken English? Are they same? The same question goes for "wouldn't" and "would not", "couldn't" and "could ...
15
votes
8answers
8k views

Is the term “hack” more positive or more negative?

What emotional association does the word hack have nowadays in the first place: negative or positive? Is it more for doing something illegally or without permission? Or for doing something in a ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How would one use the word preposition?

I've always been interested in the word preposition and at times, had used it correctly. How would one use it?
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Why “present simple” and not “simple present”?

When reading grammar, I find the names of the tenses kind of weird to me; Present simple and not simple present past simple and not simple past present continuous and not continuous present etc Does ...
9
votes
2answers
578 views

Is “tweet” a proper verb now?

So I know that in modern English, the word "google" is considered a proper verb now. Can the same be said for the word "tweet" (i.e. to post a 140-char message to Twitter)?
21
votes
5answers
28k views

Is there a subtle difference between “inherent” and “intrinsic”?

I've always used "inherent" and "intrinsic" interchangeably. Dictionary.com doesn't offer much help in distinguishing them.
3
votes
0answers
176 views

“I'm sure I can do it” or “I'm sure THAT I can do it”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “that” in a sentence It's all in the title. Should I use "that" as a connector, or should I refrain from using it ?
29
votes
5answers
61k views

Is “might could” a correct construct?

I have a friend from the southern U.S. who uses the phrase “might could” quite often. He’ll say, for example: I might could do that this weekend. When I first heard him say this, it made me do a ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “to look like a square”?

I read this on The Oatmeal: Hey, he is clapping along to the music! How quaint! I should too. I would not want to look like a square! Another one: You Won't Look Like a Square With ...
17
votes
5answers
51k views

Referring to objects as “she” [duplicate]

Sometimes people are referring to mechanical objects as "she": I love my car. She always gets the best service. Are there any rules when it is appropriate to use "she" instead of it, and is "he" ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

How can I practice pronouncing “Coke” so it is not mistaken for another word?

I always fear my conversation sounds like this: — What would you like to drink, sir? — I will take some cock, thanks. — ROFL. Any tips on how to pronounce Coke so it is not mistaken for ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Word for when people store scarce resources to increase demand and sell at higher price

Like storing gasoline to create an artificial demand and sell it a higher price later.
18
votes
9answers
17k views

Is there a real difference between “null” and “zero”?

Are zero and null perfect synonyms?
5
votes
3answers
26k views

When did “y’all” become improper?

It is my understanding that the contraction y’all was considered correct American English in times past. At what point was this word removed from valid American English?
13
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the correct pronunciation of the word “Islam”?

Some people pronounce the S in Islam as Z, and others pronounce it as S. Which is correct?
23
votes
2answers
98k views

What is the difference between 'Muslim" and 'Islamic'?

I have seen 'Muslim' and 'Islamic' both used as adjectives to describe things relating to Islam. Is there a nuanced difference between the two words? I know that 'Muslim' can also be used as a noun, ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the word to describe a single object to represent the many?

If I am writing a poem, I might use the word peaches to symbolize all fruit. Is there a specific word for this type of symbolism?
8
votes
5answers
36k views

What's the difference between a fable and a parable?

Does either imply a lesson, or a fantastical setting?
25
votes
5answers
43k views

When should the word “God” be capitalized?

Aside from proper noun usage, like "We're on a mission from God", when should "God" be capitalized? A few examples: That's a god awful question. Oh my god! No god-damn way. He played the part of the ...
6
votes
2answers
450 views

They might keep knowledge of its potential to effect social change from being widely disseminated

The title is an excerpt from a GRE question. The test-taker is asked to fill in the blank: Those who fear the influence of television deliberately ____ its persuasive power, hoping that they ...
12
votes
4answers
17k views

Origin of the “-y” or “-ie” diminutive suffix to denote intimacy/tenderness? (E.g. Bob→Bobby, dad→daddy, Doug→Dougie)

Many names seem to get a "-y" or "-ie" at the end when the speaker wishes to denote a hint of familiarity, intimacy, or tenderness. Examples can be seen not just in names, but in terms like puppy, ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

“Bring” vs. “take” in American English

English (other than American English) has a clear differentiation between the two words. Both are about translocating something. In "bring" the something of somebody is moved to where the speaker is ...
57
votes
4answers
189k views

When to use & instead of “and”

Are there rules of usage when using the ampersand "&" instead of "and"? Are they completely interchangeable? The ampersand seems more casual, but I'm not sure.
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Which is right, “bananas and apples” or “apples and bananas” or both?

My English teacher just asked us to write a random sentence in English. Off the top of my head I wrote "I like to eat apples and bananas". She highlighted "apples" and said: "man, this is blatantly ...
16
votes
0answers
5k views

What is the plural of the word “index”?

What is the plural of the word "index"? It seems that there are two that are acceptable: "indexes" and "indices". I happen to prefer "indices" but I was wondering if one was generally preferred over ...
5
votes
3answers
35k views

What is the origin of the phrase “another string to your bow”

Specifically - what kind of bow? I assume it refers to an archer's bow, but I guess it could relate to a bow used to play a stringed instrument (like a violin). Also, I've heard it used in the sense ...
15
votes
3answers
468k views

Is “agreeance” a proper word?

Many people in my area use the word "agreeance" and I find it irksome. Dictionary.com seems to be in agreement with me (har har): http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agreeance Main Entry: ...
19
votes
5answers
72k views

“In order to…”, “To…” or “For…”

What preposition should we use to start a sentence where we first explain a purpose and then a method to achieve it? Example 1 Purpose = pass the exams Method = study a lot In order to pass the ...
9
votes
4answers
20k views

What is the origin of “Couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo”?

This picturesque expression, meaning 'not a very good shot with a rifle' or (of a footballer) unable to score any goals, has cropped up a few times recently in my reading. Does anyone know where it ...
35
votes
4answers
187k views

Expressing an opinion: to me or for me?

Which one should be used? To me, it makes no difference, but I'm not really sure why. vs For me, it makes no difference, but I'm not really sure why.
39
votes
3answers
21k views

Weekly, Daily, Hourly — Minutely…?

What is the correct word for "happening every minute"? How do you pronounce it?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How to express a list within a sentence?

I always forget how to express a list within a sentence. Let's say I have the following sentence: I attached two files, files and database. Can I use a "-" or a ";" instead of the comma? Please ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is “to get” sometimes used where “to be” could be used?

Why is "to get" sometimes used where "to be" could be used? Examples: "The video got uploaded to the web site." vs. "The video was uploaded to the web site." "He got thrown in the pool." vs. "He ...
43
votes
6answers
258k views

Which is correct: “troubleshooted” or “troubleshot”?

Troubleshooted is not a word, but troubleshot is. Is this really the correct word to use? I always feel like saying: I troubleshooted it. vs I troubleshot it For some reason, it just doesn't ...
54
votes
9answers
136k views

Is “errored” correct usage?

If "errored" is not a valid word, then how should I say: The program errored at line 44 I guess I could say: The program threw an error at line 44 But why is "errored" wrong? Is there a better ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Do “normal people” know the terms URL and GUI?

Would an English-speaking but non-technical audience be familiar with the terms URL (in the sense of link, web address) and GUI (Graphical User Interface), for example in a manual aimed at end users? ...
6
votes
1answer
7k views

Do I need a comma after “when” in this example?

I do not know if anything is getting created when the contract gets uploaded. Does this sentence warrant a comma after "when"?

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