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Questions tagged [usage]

For questions on how and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

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15 views

“It varies” or “it is varied”?

For example, would it be better to use it varies in time, or it is varied in time?
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54 views

Is “fanning over” merely a corruption of “fawning over”?

I just heard someone today say that some person was "fanning over" some celebrity. I've always heard it as "fawning over." I see plenty of examples around the web of people using "fanning over," but ...
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1answer
23 views

Where to place 'are' in not only… but also

I'd like to ask which of the following sentences is correct? These methods not only are efficient, but also raise the performance of our system. These methods are not only efficient, but also raise ...
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0answers
33 views

“under these stars is” vs “under these stars are”

I know they say “is” refers to singular and “are” refers to a plural. This doesn’t make sense to me though.. Under these stars is where we shared our first kiss. Under these stars is when I knew ...
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0answers
40 views

whats the meaning of “on par with the closest allies” [on hold]

Can someone explain meaning and usage of "on a par with the closest allies" ? India was designated as the major defence partner of USA in December, 2016. It puts India on a par with the closest ...
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4answers
394 views

Can anyone give me examples of the relative-determinative 'which'?

I recently posted a question on a Spanish language forum asking what the equivalent in Spanish would be for the use of which in a phrase such as he refused, which decision proved disastrous (which ...
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1answer
24 views

Is it “x- and y-directions” or “x- and y-direction”?

Consider the following sentence: We perform the filtering process in the x- and y-directions sequentially. Is 'directions' correct in this case? I believe it is, but 'direction' is very commonly ...
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0answers
15 views

What is the best online reference for national variants in English usage?

Australian English are well served by the Macquarie Dictionary, and also Collins and Oxford dictionaries of local usage. South Africa also has academic centres on English language but these focus on ...
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1answer
24 views

Using ‘used to’ in subordinate clauses

Is it correct to use the modal verb ‘used to’ in subordinate clauses? For example, could I say, ‘When we used to go to New Delhi, my father and I would shop for music CDs’? Or must I reserve it only ...
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0answers
23 views

What should I say in this case? [on hold]

I made an useful video, and I'd like to share this video with people who need it. It doesn't really matter to me that they don't leave the source(like a video link) after getting my video. But I'd ...
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0answers
30 views

“Something” as a semantic prime

Somebody has recently brought to my attention the concept of semantic primes, or words that are so basic in any language that they cannot be properly defined. Usually, they are learned through ...
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0answers
20 views

If 'yet as' meant the same thing as 'as', then why was 'yet' used?

Am I correct that 'yet as' signified merely 'as'? E.g., the sentence beneath with yet as would nowadays be written: But it is not less clear that, even supposing it were not wilful, yet as as/...
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14 views

Firstly? Lastly? [closed]

Why do people say and write firstly and lastly? I don't think so.Secondly sounds right, but primarily and finally are correct for the other two stages of discourse.
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1answer
31 views

aid/aid in (Transitive or Intransitive)

When do I use "aid" as a transitive verb and when do I use "aid in" (aid as an intransitive verb)? According to Macmillan English Dictionary [INTRANSITIVE/TRANSITIVE] to help something to happen ...
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0answers
27 views

“A better student” or “Better a student”?

I want to know if it's grammatically correct to make a comparative sentence with the word "Better" like this: "I'm better a student than you" instead of this: "I'm the better student than you are"
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4answers
1k views

When quoting someone, is it proper to change “gotta” to “got to” without modifying the rest of the quote?

Lately, when I read quotes in the media, I've seen the following styles: Spoken: "I gotta try harder." Written: "I got to try harder." Is is just my stupid ear/eye/brain that does a record scratch ...
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0answers
24 views

Can I say “Play with it”? [closed]

I was in a meeting at my company; I was answering questions about some software that involves data graphs, and the data changes based on filters within the software. One girl in the meeting asked me ...
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0answers
33 views

English: What does “As I Can” mean?

I'm curious what "As I can" means. Some context: "I'll catch up with you as i can".
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0answers
22 views

Differences in antonyms of “balance” with negative prefixes

Most words only have one correct negative prefix out of "in-", "im-", and "un-". Why are both "imbalance" and "unbalance" both grammatically correct (but "inbalance" is not")? What are differences in ...
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1answer
47 views

“If I had been a kid” vs “If I were a kid”

I watched a film yesterday. For me, it was a stupid and childish film. I think it would be great for kids, not for adults. So, I want to say 1. "If I had been a kid, I would've enjoyed the movie a ...
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2answers
55 views

“couldn't help” vs. “couldn't help but”: do they have same meaning here? [closed]

She could not help laughing. She could not help but laugh. I read somewhere that can't help means "cannot stop" and can't help but means "do only the activity, nothing else".
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1answer
27 views

Having too much expectations or having too high expectations [closed]

What is the difference, can both be used and which one is proper ?
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1answer
32 views

What exactly is the difference between anniversary and commemoration? [closed]

This question is arguing about "the anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square". In my native language there very similar words for both concepts (anniversary and commemoration), but ...
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2answers
3k views

Is “snitty” a popular American English term? What is its origin?

I came to know the word, “snitty” for the first time from the remark of Mr. William Barr during his testimony on his way of handling of Mueller Report in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Washington ...
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1answer
34 views

I'll check we have this medicine in stock

Why is there no "if" or "whether" in that construction? Is that sentence correct? How common is it?
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0answers
31 views

Punctuation: Which sentence is correct? [migrated]

Edit: (I apologize if my question does not make sense. English is not my first language) Hello, I have just started learning English from online resources and I cannot figure out which sentence is ...
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0answers
15 views

Correct format for writing dates [duplicate]

is writing date in format 22 April 2019 correct? it was written in meeting minutes. for example: the event will take place on 22 June 2019 etc
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1answer
38 views

Is “pushing at an open door” a common expression in English? [closed]

I'm not sure if the expression "pushing at an open door" is used and understood by a native English speaker.
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2answers
61 views

“On Average” vs “The Average” [closed]

I'm not sure if this might be a math question, but are the following phrases equivalent, or do they differ in nuance: "Students are tall, on average" "The/An average student is tall" I found these ...
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2answers
54 views

Can “contemporary” be used for objects

I don't want to use the word competitors in a business context, can I use the word "contemporaries". For example, Our business stands out from its contemporaries.
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0answers
40 views

Is there a difference between the phrases “iron cross” and “cross of iron”?

Is there a difference, however small, between iron cross and cross of iron? Or are they the exact same phrase but just worded differently? To me, iron cross sounds like a Germanic construction while ...
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1answer
45 views

Past Perfect usage question

„Boxer Joe Foster had fought over 100 opponents when he retired in 1994.” Why someone used Past Perfect in this senence?
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1answer
16 views

“being” usage as relative clause

I'm dwelled on usage(s) of being in the following sentence. Even with the model of memory being just physical memory, several options are possible. Can it be written alternatively as the ...
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0answers
31 views

“We oath to creation:…? ”

An associate is writing this as the Mission of our creative studio. Spanish is my main language but we need a version in English. This just sounds wrong to me, but he doesn't accept me criticizing ...
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1answer
48 views

What does “is its own” mean here?

In general I do not understand the usage of "is its own" in a sentence. A sentence containing "is its own" immediately becomes unclear to me. For example what does "is its own" mean in the following ...
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5answers
3k views

Why is “Consequences inflicted.” not a sentence?

I was helping a friend write a paper and came across a sentence which confused me. The sentence was something along the lines of: Horrifying consequences inflicted upon innocent people. As soon as ...
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1answer
179 views

What time or which time?

Strictly speaking, when referring to one or more of a definite set of values, the word 'which' should be employed. When referring to one or more of an unknown or infinate set of values, the word 'what'...
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1answer
25 views

What does 'Day trading' means? [closed]

Does it means buying cheap/sales stuff? ... From quora forums: What things are just not worth the effort? I have repeatedly tried all three of these: Day trading. It’s like sitting in a burning ...
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1answer
45 views

Which preposition to use after “careless?”

Is there a difference in meaning or usage between careless with/about/of? I found dictionary examples of all three, but I failed to grasp the difference (if there is any): He was careless of ...
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2answers
110 views

Why do we use “in” in the phrase “in front of”?

I just realized I can't quite make out why we use the word "in." The meaning of front is generally a surface, a side - not a space you can be "in," so how did that happen? Is it an artifact of an ...
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2answers
57 views

Is the phrase “it is people like you” correct?

My friend and I had an argument whether the usage of the phrase, "It is people like you that..." was correct. I insisted that since the subject was people, a plural, the corresponding verb could not ...
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1answer
23 views

Commas Surrounding “And”

While writing a paper for English, I stumbled across a weird sentence: Scout’s father, Atticus, is hired to defend Tom in the trial, and, although it is a lost cause because of the racism of the ...
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0answers
16 views

-ic vs. -ical adjective forms when talking about categories/fields [duplicate]

I will bring forward examples coming from my field of studies. For long time I have been wondering whether there are rationales or regional variances applied to the usage of dichotomies like: ...
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1answer
20 views

use of “personal” when referring to a collective body

in a document can it be stated that "The Board of Directors Board of Directors wishes to honor -------- and to express its sincere personal appreciation and gratitude for his excellent service, ...
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0answers
49 views

What is a foreign language? [closed]

In a political context, foreign mean "relating to different country" where the country from which the difference is measured is determined by context. For example, if, on History SE, you were ...
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1answer
79 views

Correct usage of “was passed”

Recently I came across a phrase that sounds wrong to me as a native speaker (New Zealand English), but I can't find a rule that explains whether this is correct or not. "The submitted build was ...
3
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1answer
75 views

Voting “wrongly.”

The title of this video is "Interview Douglas Murray (EN)" (beginning about 1:40). In it, the interviewer says: "European citizens too often vote wrongly." At first glance, the word "wrongly" ...
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2answers
364 views

Is “three point ish” an acceptable use of ish?

I recently overheard someone estimating a number as three point ish million when discussing the maximum damages in a law suit. Do native speakers use "ish" in this way? (My gut tells me no.)
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2answers
63 views

Why does “I wake up in the morning.” sound better than “I wake up in morning”? [closed]

I'm confused because some of my friend said the latter while I use the former.
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3answers
242 views

“What can have happened?” - valid or unnatural?

In a language forum frequented by Russians and me as the only native American English speaker, the question was raised whether "What can have happened to change him so much?" was a misprint. One of ...