Benjamin Harman
  • Member for 6 years, 10 months
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What do you call a glade or path created artificially in order to to prevent wildfires?
118 votes

Such swaths are called "firebreaks": firebreak (n.) - a strip of plowed or cleared land made to check the spread of a prairie or forest fire. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/firebreak?s=t

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Do I need to write [sic] when including a quotation with a number less than 10 that isn't written out?
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65 votes

No, because whether to write numerals or to spell them out is a point of style, not grammar.

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Is puppy a synonym of dog?
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39 votes

Synonyms aren't only words that mean the exact same thing. They may be words that mean approximately the same thing. Moreover, many do call their adult dogs their "puppy," just like many call other ...

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Word for something that used to be popular but not anymore
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35 votes

passé [pa-sey; pah-sey] adjective no longer fashionable, in wide use, etc.; out-of-date; outmoded : There were many photographs of passé fashions. I thought hand-cranked pencil sharpeners were ...

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What is a word for a person who constantly speaks negatively?
14 votes

My favorite of all time comes from a Saturday Night Live character: Debbie Downer. Ever since, when someone's hellbent on constantly reporting about the sucky side of everything, you will often hear ...

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"Hold your piece" or "Hold your peace"
13 votes

No, you may be confusing two idioms that are antonyms: Say your piece. Hold your tongue. That said, just before sealing marriage vows, a priest will often admonish, "Should anyone here present know ...

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Does the term "mass hero" exist in Western Countries?
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13 votes

Superstar (similarly structured but more on point -- mass=>super and hero=>star) Megastar Icon Triple Threat (refers to one who is an exceptional singer, dancer, and actor) The term "mass hero" in ...

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Is there a difference between "Who necessarily do not exist" or "who do not exist necessarily"?
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13 votes

Yes, there is a difference. "Who necessarily do not exist" means that those people do not exist due to some need or requirement. This is saying the "who" do not exist. "Who do not exist necessarily"...

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It was he ... / It was him
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12 votes

Strictly speaking, proper grammar requires subject pronouns be used when they rename the subject. So the subject pronoun "he" follows the verb "to be" as follows: It is he. This is she speaking. It ...

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Strange use of "whether ... than ..." in official text
11 votes

It's not strange. It's correct. Let's make it easier to digest by putting the subordinate clause first: "Whether (or not) you have a closer connection to a foreign country than the United States ...

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"The earthquake, along with its subsequent aftershocks, HAS/HAVE ..." - plural or singular subject?
11 votes

The subject is "earthquake." That is the entire subject. As such, the sentence would be written: The earthquake, along with its subsequent aftershocks, has created an atmosphere of panic among ...

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Gapping comma in a list
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10 votes

Yes, you can write it that way, sort of. There's nothing wrong with the concept of using gapping commas in that sentence, only the execution. In that sentence, since the items you list contain ...

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Thank God it's Friday, tomorrow is THE weekend. Why the definite article?
9 votes

We also say, "Today is the 23rd of August," and then we turn around and say, "Today is August 23rd," sans "the," but I digress. For whatever reason, indicating time has its own set of grammatical ...

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When to use obsolete or redundant when referring to something that is no longer required?
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9 votes

In this scenario... Obsolete would tend to refer to something that is no longer needed because the need no longer exists. Redundant would tend to refer to something that is no longer needed because ...

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Do you *ever* need to use "of" with possessive "s"?
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9 votes

"An agent of King Ronald's" is completely correct, as any grammar book will tell you. It is called a "double genitive" and just like "A friend of mine," "A friend of his," etc. are grammatically ...

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Are there words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently depending on whether the initial letter is capital or lowercase?
9 votes

Yes, such a word is called a "homograph." Aside from "Polish" and "polish," another exemplar homograph is "wind" (blowing air) and "wind" (what you do to watch). If you are looking for another word ...

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Is it proper to say "Turn right right here"?
9 votes

Yes, it's completely accurate. In fact, it involves a literary technique that many authors use in writing. I'm trying to remember the name of the rhetorical device but it involves using different ...

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Should there be a space in e.g./i.e. between a dot?
Accepted answer
8 votes

No, there would be no space. When writing abbreviations that represent multiple words and that have periods appear within them, we don't put spaces after the internal periods. Examples: a.k.a. - ...

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"cologne" and "aftershave" for "fragrance for men"
8 votes

No, aftershave and cologne are most definitely not the same thing. You will find at any beauty counter or perfume section of any department store that a men's fragrance, like Code by Armani or Polo ...

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What is the non-funny equivalent of a spoof? Such as a dark, gritty, alternative re-telling of a story
7 votes

I don't know that there's a word for that, a word that means what "spoof" means but replaces the part that makes it definitively satirical with definitively "dark" or "gritty.&...

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You have the watches, but we have the time
7 votes

"You have the watches, but we have the time." The above is a double-entendre, meaning it has two meanings, a superficial meaning and a deeper meaning. At first blush, or superficially, it ...

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"Burning the candle at both ends" to mean being unfaithful in a relationship
7 votes

I've always taken that alternate meaning of burning the candle at both ends to mean the person doing so is two-timing, which means cheating or usually means cheating, but is nonetheless an important ...

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What would you name this marketing tactics (scam) where an Business institution themselves post question and then self promote?
7 votes

sockpuppeting "Sockpuppeting" is when false identities are created online in order to deceptively not appear as oneself online but as another or others to propagandize by asking questions ...

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Is there any difference between "anyone" and "any one"?
7 votes

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) states regarding any one: "The two-word form any one is not the same as the one-word form anyone and the two forms cannot be used interchangeably. Any one ...

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Why "the powers that be"?
7 votes

The phrase "the powers that be" doesn't employ the subjunctive mood. The phrase comes from the New Testament (Romans 13:1) and uses be instead of are as an archaic alternative to the ...

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Why does "one of a kind" mean "unique?"
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7 votes

"One of a kind" does mean one of a category, as you say. However, it is one of a category of one, meaning the category only has one thing in it: that thing being referred to. You also have to ...

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“In the news” or “on the news”
7 votes

In the news... This refers to when someone or some event is widely discussed in that subset of media we call "the news." "Barrack Obama was in the news." This means that Barrack Obama was discussed ...

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Are “where” subclauses acceptable?
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7 votes

Yes. Subordinate clauses that start with "where" are more than acceptable; they're completely proper, both grammatically and semantically. By placing the "where" and its clause between commas, one ...

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What's the word to describe when movies try hard to evoke emotion?
7 votes

More technical terms would include "emotionally manipulative" and "sentimental." More informal terms, however, would stretch from "cheesy" to "sappy." There are so many specialized words for this ...

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Collective Noun "jury" with plural phrase, singular or plural?
6 votes

"...the jury, including its two alternative members, is/are in deliberations..." There are two issues with the above that have bearing on whether to use "is" or "are": 1. Is the phrase "...

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