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89 votes
21 answers

English equivalent of the Persian proverb "When there's fire, wet and dry burn together"

There's a well-known proverb in Persian, which, translated literally, goes like this: Where there's fire, wet and dry burn together. The original being ".وقتی آتش موجود باشد) تر و خشک با هم می ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
  • 1,007
89 votes
10 answers

What is the difference between 20$ and $20? [closed]

I am seeing both 20$ and $20 usages. (20 is nonessential to this question.) What is the difference between them?
Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин's user avatar
89 votes
2 answers

Two crows being an attempted murder

What is the point of this joke? — "What do you call two crows on a branch?" — "Attempted murder." I've googled it to check if it was a word play but the closest one I've hit was "marauder". ...
Konrad Viltersten's user avatar
88 votes
12 answers

How do you greet multiple recipients in an e-mail?

How do you greet multiple recipients in an e-mail? Assuming they're both male, I just use "Sirs", but it seems a bit informal.
Jonn's user avatar
  • 2,344
88 votes
4 answers

What's wrong with "I'll open you the door"?

When I call the buzzer outside my girlfriend's flat, she sometimes says *"I'll open you the door". I correct this to "I'll open the door for you". I've never heard a native speaker say it the first ...
Iain Samuel McLean Elder's user avatar
88 votes
7 answers

Are there rules about using "that" to join two clauses?

He will understand that I was not joking. He will understand I was not joking. Which of the sentences is correct? Are there any specific rules about the use of "that" in the sentences I ...
apaderno's user avatar
  • 58.6k
88 votes
6 answers

"It worths it", "it worth it" or "it is worth it"?

Which one is correct and why? I think "worth it" is an adjective phrase. So what is "worth" then? Example: You should try spending money on her. It worths it. You should try ...
user4951's user avatar
  • 2,057
88 votes
3 answers

"Any" followed by singular or plural countable nouns?

This question has troubled me for ages despite my several attempts of looking it up in dictionaries or usage books. Do we say, "Do you have any ideas" or "Do you have any idea"? I do see an example ...
Andy Cheng's user avatar
  • 1,301
86 votes
24 answers

What is a word for making something seem not as bad as it actually is?

Some examples: Instead of admitting that I'm an alcoholic, I just say I had one too many drinks. Instead of the bank admitting that it has lots of loans that are in arrears and are likely to default, ...
John Petrak's user avatar
86 votes
19 answers

Words with "bi-" prefix that no longer mean "two"

Are there words in English that include the prefix bi- whose current usage includes meanings other than 'two'? To clarify, I am specifically looking for the prefix of Latin origin meaning "two". If ...
Nathan Hinchey's user avatar
86 votes
28 answers

Idiom or word for a very crowded place

There is a popular idiom in Russian for describing a really crowded place: "(there's) no room for an apple to fall" ("яблоку негде упасть"). I struggle to think of anything similar in English, and ...
RegDwigнt's user avatar
  • 96.5k
86 votes
7 answers

What does the phrase "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish" mean?

It was Steve Jobs's ending comment in the Stanford Commencement in 2005, and Jobs mentioned: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. What does this phrase mean? I understand this may also seem philosophical, ...
nonopolarity's user avatar
  • 2,943
86 votes
5 answers

Substitute X for Y

An awful lot of people seem to use the phrase "substitute X for Y" to mean "replace X with Y", while I've always used and understood it as "replace Y with X". This makes sense to me, given that a ...
Cascabel's user avatar
  • 1,103
86 votes
6 answers

Why is "zero" followed by a plural noun?

I could have: Two books One book Zero books Why is zero followed by a plural form? I don't expect English to always make sense, but everything has a reason, even if the reason is stupid. The ...
Gary's user avatar
  • 1,021
86 votes
4 answers

What's the difference between 'resolve' and 'solve'?

What's the difference between 'resolve' and 'solve'?
Yousui's user avatar
  • 5,655
86 votes
3 answers

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?
Johan's user avatar
  • 1,345
85 votes
10 answers

Captain America said "if you get killed, walk it off!" How to understand "walk it off"?

The Avengers 2 just hit China yesterday. The official translation of the line "If you get killed, walk it off!" is "Someone is trying to kill you, run, run for your life" (This is the English version ...
Zoe Lee's user avatar
  • 953
85 votes
10 answers

Is it wrong to use the word "codes" in a programming context?

Is it wrong to use the word "codes" in programming context? I shall use these codes.
Shrinath's user avatar
  • 1,039
85 votes
2 answers

"Have a look" vs. "Take a look"

What is the difference between Have a look and Take a look (meaning/connotations)? For example: Have a look at the question. Take a look at the question. For some reason I only found first version, ...
Loom's user avatar
  • 1,275
85 votes
4 answers

"Updatable" vs. "Updateable": which is correct?

Which spelling is correct, "updatable" or "updateable"? For example, "The file is not updat(e)able." By the way, I did go to Google and for this first, and they both seem to indicate ...
Nick Rolando's user avatar
  • 1,015
85 votes
3 answers

Is it "falsy" or "falsey"?

I have seen both spellings of this word, falsy and falsey. It can mean "something that is equivalent to false" in computer science, such as "The only two falsy values in the Ruby Language are false ...
nonopolarity's user avatar
  • 2,943
84 votes
10 answers

Word meaning both create and update? [closed]

I'd like to know if someone has a better word than authored or produced, for both creating and updating something. Context: I'm a software developer and I'm trying to think of a clever way to name ...
undefined's user avatar
  • 985
84 votes
6 answers

Is it "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?
Julius A's user avatar
  • 2,021
84 votes
5 answers

If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?

I understand that the letter "J" is relatively new — perhaps 400–500 years old. But since there has long been important names that begin with J, such as Jesus, Joshua, Justinian, etc., and which ...
Bruce James's user avatar
  • 3,166
84 votes
9 answers

"There is/are more than one". What's the difference?

While adding to an Answer to this question, I needed to use the above phrase, and I suddenly realised I was unsure whether to write "is" or "are". There is more than one way to skin a cat. If there ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
84 votes
4 answers

Why do eleven and twelve get unique words and not end in "-teen"?

In short, why is it not oneteen and twoteen, and we start at thirteen in English? In another thread, I supposed that despite that fact that people have ten fingers, amounts of items leading up to and ...
Joost Schuur's user avatar
  • 2,492
84 votes
8 answers

Is there any online tool to read (pronounce) IPA and APA written words?

I am looking for a tool to read a word written as phonetic transcription (IPA or APA). I need it to provide users with a tool to verify if they've chosen the correct IPA transcription (users will need ...
LA_'s user avatar
  • 941
83 votes
9 answers

Difference between nevertheless and nonetheless

I am never quite sure whether to use nevertheless or nonetheless; they seem almost synonymous to me, but I think I might be missing a subtle distinction. Is there a difference, and if so, how do I ...
Fraser Orr's user avatar
  • 16.3k
83 votes
12 answers

"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.
MrHinsh - Martin Hinshelwood's user avatar
83 votes
2 answers

Why is Sean pronounced Shawn?

I've always had this question about the pronunciation of Sean. Is Sean a word from another language? Is it actually not pronounced Shawn and instead it's some sound between Shawn and Seen? Also, why ...
cuSK's user avatar
  • 1,299
82 votes
25 answers

What is deliberately using complex sentences to confuse people called?

I'm wondering if there's a word, phrase, or idiom to describe the action of deliberately confusing people by using complex sentences. For example, some politicians will throw out some big words and ...
RexYuan's user avatar
  • 1,622
81 votes
6 answers

Should I write "PhD" or "Ph.D."?

Question pretty self-explanatory. Should the abbreviation of the Latin term philosophiae doctor be written as PhD (no periods) or Ph.D. (with periods)?
benregn's user avatar
  • 2,025
80 votes
23 answers

How to degender "separate the men from the boys"?

How can one degender the phrase "separate the men from the boys"? Examples of how this phrase has traditionally been used: Math teacher: "The ability to do proofs of this type is what separates ...
aparente001's user avatar
  • 21.4k
80 votes
14 answers

Is "You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" still considered a compliment in English?

I grew up hearing the phrase, "You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" used as a compliment, a genuine expression of admiration, fairly self-effacing at the same time. I have to admit that, while ...
anongoodnurse's user avatar
80 votes
8 answers

Is there a reason the British omit the article when they "go to hospital"?

Why do British speakers omit the article in constructions like "go to hospital" or "go on holiday"? Pretty much all American speakers would rephrase those as "go to the hospital" and "go on a holiday",...
Uticensis's user avatar
  • 21.6k
80 votes
6 answers

"Extensible" vs. "extendible"

Where does the adjective form extensible come from and does it connote anything different than extendible? What's the difference, if any, between the two?
AspWri88's user avatar
  • 843
80 votes
2 answers

Which is correct: "rack my brain" or "wrack my brain"?

Which is the correct usage: "rack my brain" or "wrack my brain"? Google turned up pages with conflicting recommendations. One argument is that to "rack a brain" comes ...
Adam Wuerl's user avatar
  • 1,283
80 votes
1 answer

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?
apaderno's user avatar
  • 58.6k
79 votes
24 answers

A fun, catchy way to say the opposite of a 'no-brainer'?

A no-brainer is "something that requires a minimum of thought" (Merriam-Webster). I could use some help with a catchy way of saying the opposite. Sample sentence: "I have to make a decision and it ...
thomj1332's user avatar
  • 4,356
79 votes
3 answers

Donald Trump's run-on sentences

In every Trump speech, almost every sentence is a run-on sentence. Here is a quote from one of his speeches last year Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, ...
wizloc's user avatar
  • 885
79 votes
7 answers

Where does the period go when using parentheses?

Where should the period go when using parentheses? For example: In sentence one, I use this example (which has a parenthesis at the end.) Should the period be inside, or outside of the parentheses?...
Chris Smith's user avatar
79 votes
13 answers

Do you really answer "How do you do?" with "How do you do?"

We're told in our English classes (learning English as a foreign language) that the only possible answer to How do you do? is to repeat the question: How do you do? (While it's ...
valya's user avatar
  • 1,309
79 votes
3 answers

Usage of "p." versus "pp." versus "pg." to denote page numbers and page ranges

At the risk of saying something foolish, I won't attempt to answer the question myself. I understand that all three synchronically more or less equivalent and substitutable, but it would be quite nice ...
Steven's user avatar
  • 971
78 votes
18 answers

A formal way to say "I don't want to sound too cocky..."

Allow me to clear the situation. I was talking with my professor about a piece of software that I had developed. While we were discussing, I wanted to say something like I don't want to sound too ...
Pouya's user avatar
  • 860
78 votes
14 answers

Word for fake religious people

Is there any word for calling people who pretend to be religious in the religious group they’re in? I mean, the people who lost their belief but can’t say they’re not religious anymore because people ...
user avatar
78 votes
11 answers

Why is "distro", rather than "distri", short for "distribution" in Linux world?

Why is distro, rather than distri, short for distribution in Linux world?
xmllmx's user avatar
  • 2,678
78 votes
4 answers

Which is correct: "one or more is" or "one or more are"?

Should the phrase be "one or more is...", or "one or more are..."?
Daniel's user avatar
  • 1,029
78 votes
8 answers

What is the difference between 'make decision' and 'take decision'?

What is the difference between make decision and take decision? When to use the one and when the other?
darius's user avatar
  • 1,251
77 votes
17 answers

Is there a word for "air can pass through it"?

If light can pass through an object, or if you can see through it, it is transparent. Is there a similar word for "air can pass through", or you can breathe through an object? This adjective would be ...
IQAndreas's user avatar
  • 3,580
77 votes
14 answers

Is it conceivable that President Obama might use the word "queue"?

President Obama in a press conference, in London today, has said that if Britain votes to leave the European Union and makes separate application to the United States for a trade deal, she will be at ...
WS2's user avatar
  • 64.2k

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