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142

The phrase "no problem" is a short version of "It was no problem," implying that it didn't cause the person any trouble or hardship to do the thing for which they are being thanked. It could be construed as an act of humility or deference, because they are suggesting that the action they performed, and any inconvenience it may have caused them, are ...


126

Hydrodynamic is the right word. The notions of hydrodynamics and aerodynamics parallel each other: one is to air or gases as the other is to water or liquids. Here are the Merriam-Webster definitions: Aerodynamics (M-W): : a branch of dynamics that deals with the motion of air and other gaseous fluids and with the forces acting on bodies in motion ...


112

Generally, the word personal is used in these scenarios to indicate (or just emphasize) that the matter is, in fact, personal (from themselves without any other context to affect it). Let's take a look at your example sentences. She is a personal friend of mine. Without the "personal" there, there's no telling exactly how they're friends. A friend from ...


105

"What would you with the king?" is an archaic construct (but of course common in Marlowe's time), meaning "what do you want with the king?", or "what is your reason for wanting to talk to the king?"


92

This may be subtle and comes down to inflection and intention. I suspect that your manager was not being rude but trying to refer succinctly to a particular trade. If you were talking about a construction site you might talk about the "concrete people" or the "drywall people" to refer to the particular trades that were expert in those parts of the project. ...


76

I believe 'can' is more appropriate in a restaurant. Firstly it is quite possible that you cannot have something that is on the menu because it is no longer available. Asking if you 'can' have the swordfish is valid because the answer may be no. Secondly using 'may' implies you are asking for permission which I don't think is appropriate in a restaurant. ...


69

All that that is saying is that she is no feminist whatsoever, being just as much of a feminist as the columnist is a giant extinct dinosaur. That is, not at all.


68

The rhetorical term for the phenomenon you describe is catachresis. Catachresis has been defined by Robert A. Harris as "an extravagant, implied metaphor using words in an alien or unusual way." A noun, for example, could be used as a verb, as in the case of "I'm gonna have to science . . .." Harris gives an example which is similar to Matt Damon's sentence:...


68

In the dilemma "may" vs. "can" and which form is preferable, it depends on how old the speaker is, where they live and which dialect of English they speak. There is an age-old debate that can in requests, is asking if something is "possible", e.g. A: Can I have a glass of water? B: Yes, you can (=it is possible). Whereas may, some argue, is asking ...


68

"Would" is a form of "will". In current English, "will" and "would" are almost always used with another verb to indicate future or potential action. That's why you're expecting another word. But in Marlowe's time it was common to use "will" as a stand-alone verb meaning "to wish or desire", and "would" as its subjunctive. So "what would you?" has a meaning ...


67

What strikes me is that the -er ones look like they are derived from verbs: a drummer drums, a fiddler fiddles, a whistler whistles. A guitarist plays guitar, a pianist plays piano. So if the instrument is also (used) as a verb, we seem to prefer deriving the name for the musician from that verb, rather than from the instrument.


64

Well, here's the Google Ngram for despite. I don't know what it would look like if it was becoming outdated, but I doubt it would look like this:


54

Yes they are similar, but not interchangeable The wording is It is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel: ridiculously easy and They are like sitting ducks: someone or something vulnerable to attack So you would say - Making them look stupid is like shooting fish in a barrel e.g. you are actively hunting them versus The noobs are like sitting ...


51

Collocations modifying photo often don't refer to the photo as a physical object. They instead refer to the subject of the photo, or what's depicted in the image. To demonstrate this, here are the most common collocations for ____ photo according to the Corpus of Contemporary American English. I have bolded the ones that describe the image (source, subject,...


47

It's a common, longstanding American slang idiom intended to convey that no matter what you've seen, what you are about to see will far top it (whether for good or for bad!). It has associations with pop-music and black American culture and expression, but it's a little dated --it has a retro feel to it these days. Deliberately ungrammatical constructions ...


46

I would say that if some [noun] is your go-to, it is your [noun] of choice: to be preferred Jet skis are the watercraft of choice for exhilarating beach entertainment. [Merriam-Webster]


44

"100%" is equivalent to "all". There is no rounding with "all"; either you get all of something or you don't. If a product advertised itself as "kills all bacteria" and then you found that there were 3 bacteria that it didn't kill, it doesn't matter whether that's 3 out of 10 or 3 out of 28 million; it's not all of them. Even in ordinary conversation, if ...


44

There are several things happening here, I think. First of all, a superlative does not always have to literally refer to a singularity. Superlatives are commonly used as amplified comparatives. This can, as @Oddthinking remarks, be seen as hyperbolic use of the superlative: We had the best time last weekend! That doesn't mean we necessarily had a better ...


43

As David M suggests it is due to pluralization. Americans tend to name their teams in reference to the collection of players on the team as a group. "The Yankees" or "The Red Sox" references the collection of players and managers who make up the team. A player is a Yankee, or a Red Sox, and the collection of players are "The Yankees". European football ...


41

It's usually best not to read too much into "If X is a Y then I'm a Z." constructions. It's merely an emphatic and humorous way of saying "X is not a Y." The more ridiculous Z is, the more emphatic the statement is. Z (a T-Rex) isn't being compared to X (Carly Fiorina) but to the writer and then that difference is being compared to the difference between ...


39

The verb hissed has several definitions. Chief among them are: to make a long “s” sound like the sound that a snake makes to say something in a low angry voice if people in an audience hiss, they make a long “s” sound to show that they do not like a speaker or performer All definitions from Macmillan, via OneLook.com. Now, the fact that the ...


38

Christopher Marlowe lived between 1564 and 1593, so it is not to be expected that his English is entirely our English. In his play Edward the Second, the following exchange takes place. Young Mortimer. Cease to lament, and tell us where’s the king? Queen Isabella. What would you with the king? Is’t him you seek? From which it is readily seen that ...


37

While the OP specifies the US, some of the other answers are based on other countries. I'll respond mainly regarding the US, but I'll start with some comments regarding other countries. In many countries, college means secondary school, following on from primary school. It would never mean that to the average American. Technically, a US college is a venue ...


37

There are a few flawed premises and irrelevancies in this question. Twain being a pseudonym is irrelevant. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Twain being a surname is irrelevant. Remember Cher or Oprah? Those are first names. Even Twain being a celebrity is irrelevant. Well almost. What is important is the ability to say a name and have ...


37

Below is taken from Wikipedia and answers your question, especially the first paragraph. On some online forums without threaded discussions, @ is used to denote a reply; for instance: "@Jane" to respond to a comment Jane made earlier. Similarly, in some cases, @ is used for "attention" in email messages originally sent to someone else. For example, if an ...


37

The example you cited is a pun. It makes sense because 'gore' is a verb meaning to pierce or wound with something pointed (as a horn or knife), as well as a name. In the article, Krugman is comparing Clinton's reputation being 'wounded' by a scandal to a similar situation that happened to Al Gore. To answer your question, if you're not making a pun, using a ...


37

I think the point is not that Nasar and Gruber are native speakers of English. Instead the point is that they are not mathematicians, and that mathematicians would usually not call the Poincaré conjecture merely "the Poincaré". Now an art lover might indeed call the Guggenheim museum simply "the Guggenheim". So this question is not about English ...


36

This use of the word "presidential" is using Oxford English Dictionary definition 1.b. U.S. Having a bearing or demeanour befitting a president; dignified; confident. Also: appropriate to a president; stately; impressive. The word was originally used to refer to presidential candidates, as opposed to a sitting president like President Trump, when ...


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