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130 votes
7 answers
52k views

When should com­pound words be writ­ten as one word, with hy­phens, or with spaces?

Some compound words are written without hyphens (nonaggression, nonbeliever), some with hyphens (well-intentioned), and others with spaces (post office). Is there a rule or good guide as to which ...
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  • 58k
12 votes
2 answers
17k views

Can "anyways" be used at the beginning of a sentence?

For example, is it acceptable to say “Anyways, I love Stack Exchange" or should "anyway" always be used?
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  • 223
238 votes
7 answers
396k views

What is the plural form of "status"?

What is the plural form of "status"?
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  • 2,575
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

Tendency of using pronouns 'she/her' when talking about a random person

Reading different specifications and manuals I've noticed that more often and often pronouns she or her are being used when some unknown person's behavior is described. For example: "when user opens ...
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  • 539
3 votes
3 answers
978 views

"Toy for your kid" or "Toy for your kids" as you don't know how many kids they have? [closed]

Say you are a toy shop owner, who wants a slogan.
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  • 1,477
6 votes
4 answers
910 views

Is domain-specific meaning acceptable/advisable when used in a document directed outside the domain?

Here's the problem. Many common terms in the programmer's lexicon--i.e., used in information communication and in published texts--are identical to everyday words; others are slight 'distortions' of ...
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  • 421
49 votes
6 answers
549k views

"Speak to" vs. "Speak with"

What are the differences between these two phrasal verbs and what are the best situations to use each?
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  • 7,148
11 votes
5 answers
1k views

What does Maugham mean by "his spaghetti were"? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Was the usage "Spaghetti were" ever acceptable or common? [Following up from, but not a duplicate of, this question by another user, which was unresolved…] Somerset ...
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  • 27.1k
25 votes
4 answers
222k views

What is the correct pronunciation of "Caribbean"?

Sometimes I hear the emphasis placed on the second syllable, and other times on the second to last syllable. I myself use both pronunciations depending on context, and it makes me wonder if there is ...
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  • 1,932
5 votes
2 answers
539 views

Equivalences between Australian English and American English

Where can I find a good source (book or web page) of equivalences between Australian English and American English? I am looking for ordinary words, clothing-related words, food-related words, etc.
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  • 151
14 votes
1 answer
25k views

Possessive form for words ending in "y"

Which of the following is correct? The fortune 500 companys' assets are vast. The fortune 500 companies' assets are vast.
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31 votes
11 answers
14k views

Can a sentence start with "Because"?

In my grade school days, I recall a teacher proclaiming to the class: You should never start a sentence with the word "Because". Of course, I've since seen lots of examples to the contrary, and ...
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  • 617
36 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why are clothes “hung” but men “hanged”?

It is said that clothes can be hung but men are hanged. Is this correct, and if so, why?
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50 votes
4 answers
362k views

Is "yay or nay" an acceptable alternative to "yea or nay"?

Is "yay or nay" an acceptable alternative to "yea or nay"? I have seen it several times in recent weeks, enough to make me wonder whether it is an emerging usage or just a common typo.
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  • 6,111
5 votes
5 answers
2k views

Are there cases where a possessive pronoun is omitted?

Are there cases where the possessive adjective is omitted in a sentence, or is it always used? For example, in a sentence like "Susan was walking with her hands in her pockets", is it necessary to ...
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  • 58k
21 votes
5 answers
10k views

Term for catchy tune that stays in your head

Is there a term for a catchy tune that stays in your head after you hear it? The Germans call it an earworm.
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  • 1,176
31 votes
3 answers
66k views

Is "prepone" being used outside India?

Prepone is a great word - it's the opposite of postpone. When you prepone a meeting, you change its scheduled time so that it occurs sooner than originally planned. Has his usage spread beyond India? ...
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  • 1,176
3 votes
3 answers
10k views

Is a person "under contract" or "contracted" to do something?

Which is the better choice, and why?
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  • 1,176
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

What do you call the word used in prose to describe the surroundings to make prose richer?

There is a word in English which is used to describe the technique used by authors where they describe the surroundings (like sight, sounds, smells, etc.) to make the scene more rich. Like "there was ...
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  • 999
35 votes
4 answers
118k views

Why are there two pronunciations for "either"?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with an individual who told me that pronouncing the word "either" is wrong when pronounced like \ˈī-thər\ instead of \ˈē-thər\ , but I didn't argue the point ...
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  • 754
18 votes
4 answers
33k views

Difference between "due to" and "thanks to"

When should "due to" be preferred over "thanks to", and vice versa? When can they be used interchangeably?
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  • 95.8k
7 votes
3 answers
27k views

Correct usage of ‘on’, ‘at’ and ‘in’

As a foreign English speaker who never really studied too much English grammar other than the basics at high school, I often struggle to decide what is the correct preposition to use in certain ...
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6 votes
5 answers
25k views

What is a word called that has more than one syllable?

You can say e.g.: The word "on" is a monosyllable. but it seems that the word "multisyllable" has been outdated since 1913. What is the correct term for a word that has two or more syllables, e.g....
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14 votes
10 answers
3k views

Why do words like "expectorate" sound more posh than words like "spit"?

I think English is unique in having a set of "bad words" each which has its "more refined" equivalent, e.g.: spit -> expectorate piss -> urinate shit -> defecate f*ck -> fornicate/...
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12 votes
9 answers
37k views

Is "non-vegetarian" a correct word?

I've heard that the words "non-veg" and "non-vegetarian" are not legal English words (i.e aren't in the dictionary). Is this true? If so, what is the right way to say that something contains ...
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  • 223
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

In what contexts is it important to maintain your accent or dialect?

I'm an American who lives in Germany and hear many kinds of English spoken by many nationalities. Just as "one can either write organization or organisation but the main point is to be consistent" I ...
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2 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is the line blurring between "accent" and "dialect"?

The definition that I have had in my head for most of my life is: dialect: a variation of the original language (usually regional), sometimes even using different vocabulary and grammar accent: a ...
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4 votes
2 answers
2k views

How should a (North American) Native English Speaker prounounce the word 'Afrikaans'?

I've always had trouble with the word 'Afrikaans'. I could say it the way South Africans say it, but then I'm not sure if I'd just be saying the word with a South African accent. After all, I don't ...
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3 votes
4 answers
12k views

What is the meaning of the phrase "a man of the world"?

The name of one of the Ernest Hemingway's short stories is "A man of the world". It seems to me that I understand the meaning of this phrase out from the context of the short story. But all the same ...
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  • 9,993
20 votes
6 answers
11k views

Can "real" be used as an adverb to describe an adjective?

Is this correct? That is a real cool answer. I learned that that was incorrect, since "real" is an adjective which can describe a noun, e.g. "real answer" but it is not an adverb which can ...
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32 votes
5 answers
75k views

Punctuation around abbreviations

I always stumble when using abbreviations in a sentence, as they inherently contain a period in them. How do I use a comma or a semicolon after an abbreviation? How about a period? E.g. (This is an ...
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  • 3,912
46 votes
7 answers
33k views

Are the endings "-zation" and "-sation" interchangeable?

What is with words that have forms that end both in -zation and -sation, such as localization and localisation? Many spell checkers recommend -zation.
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  • 605
94 votes
13 answers
88k views

Which is correct: "could care less" or "couldn't care less"?

What's the deal with the phrase "could care less"? Whilst growing up, I've always known people (parents etc) to use the phrase "couldn't care less", but I've also come across people who use the ...
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  • 1,531
10 votes
3 answers
225k views

Are both "in regards to" and "regarding to" correct?

Do in regards to and regarding to imply different meanings or is it okay to use them interchangeably? Example: This mail is in regards to your inquiry. This mail is regarding to your inquiry.
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  • 7,148
13 votes
3 answers
150k views

Does the phrase "fine with me" have a negative connotation?

I have always thought that you could answer "it's ok with me" or "it's fine with me" when you agree with something that somebody proposed, like a meeting time. But apparently the phrase can have a ...
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  • 21.3k
88 votes
12 answers
115k views

Is "I'd've" proper use of the English language?

While reading a book, I came across the word I'd've, as in: I'd've argued against it. While it was obvious what it meant, it left me puzzled. Is I'd've a proper word?
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  • 1,573
52 votes
10 answers
11k views

Is "rather" shifting to become a verb?

In colloquial English, I constantly run across sentences of the form: I rather my [noun] [verb] A quick Google search returns tons of examples: I rather my opponents don't find out. I ...
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  • 95.8k
2 votes
2 answers
19k views

When should one use the "recent past"? How much time should have passed?

When we can use "recent past"? How much past time qualifies for "recent past"?
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  • 605
80 votes
12 answers
186k views

"Synced" or "synched"

Which is correct: synced or synched? Is one of these American and the other British spelling or are they interchangeable? I have only ever seen sync used in the computing industry.
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14 votes
7 answers
9k views

How can I practice differentiating between the /æ/ and /ɛ/ sounds in English phonology?

For a non-native English speaker like me, it's always been hard to sound /æ/ and /ɛ/ differently. For example, "salary" and "celery" are two words that I tend to pronounce ...
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10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why am I always compelled to begin a response with "Well, "?

Because of a certain 140 character limit I've learned where I can trim characters on responses but even after all this time I still reply with "Well, so and so . . ." and I go back and have to delete ...
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  • 1,115
17 votes
5 answers
34k views

Is it correct to use 'Forgot password' or 'Forgotten password'

Many websites use the phrase 'Forgot password?' when prompting users to renew their login passwords. Is this correct usage or should it be 'Forgotten password?'.
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10 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is it okay to say and write "ain't" yet?

Over 10 years ago saying "ain't" was discouraged but it was gaining momentum. What happened? Seems like it's still discouraged. Maybe in another 10 years?
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  • 1,115
5 votes
1 answer
6k views

What can I use to remember the difference between "well" and "good"? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “good” and “well” Okay, I actually have no idea when it's okay to say well or good but once again I vaguely remember a ...
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  • 1,115
180 votes
12 answers
1.0m views

When to use "If I was" vs. "If I were"?

If I was... If I were... When is it correct to use "If I was" vs. "If I were" in standard English?
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  • 2,031
8 votes
3 answers
10k views

What are the correct ways to express parenthetical comments?

I've seen parenthetical comments that are inserted mid-sentence (like this) and I've also seen parenthetical comments that are inserted after the terminal punctuation symbol of a sentence. (Like this.)...
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  • 1,071
15 votes
11 answers
279k views

Is there a more modern way to say "it's a pity"?

Is it okay nowadays to use the phrase "it's a pity" in the everyday conversation in the contexts like in following example: "Please how do I get to airport?" "It's a pity, I don't know." If not,...
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  • 9,993
32 votes
8 answers
3k views

What is the best way to explain how to choose between "its" and "it's"?

Probably one of the most frequent grammar mistakes in the English language is: The dog sat on it's mat. Since spelling checkers don't catch it, and it is even logical, since you would correctly ...
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10 votes
4 answers
55k views

"Before" vs. "in front of"

Especially in speeches I often hear a sentence like I stand here before you... However during my English classes in school (I'm German) we were told that before should only be used if you're ...
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21 votes
3 answers
6k views

How should I end sentences with a URL as the last word?

For example, The website I was referring to is hosted at http://english.stackexchange.com. How should I place the fullstop at the end?
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  • 2,551

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