mmyers
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How many spaces should come after a period/full stop?
76 votes

Both are still acceptable, though the two-space style has been falling out of favor with the advent of variable-width fonts. From Common Errors: However, when justified variable-width type is set ...

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What is the purpose of using the word "why" in "why, thank you"?
42 votes

Why is used here as an interjection. According to Merriam-Webster: —used to express mild surprise, hesitation, approval, disapproval, or impatience <why, here's what I was looking for> In my ...

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Where does the phrase "dry run" come from?
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42 votes

According to World Wide Words, it originates from firemen doing speed competitions without carrying water. The term run, more fully fire run, has for at least the past century been used by local fire ...

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"Let's" vs. "lets": which is correct?
33 votes

The second one is correct. Let's is a contraction of let us. "Let's go to the ballgame today!" Lets is the third-person singular simple present indicative form of let -- but of course we all knew ...

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Which is correct, "dataset" or "data set"?
32 votes

Wiktionary says they are equivalent, but neither Merriam-Webster nor Dictionary.com has an entry. Given that information, I guess I would classify dataset as technical jargon, but it's really not ...

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In which cases is a comma/period placed inside or outside of parentheses?
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24 votes

The Penguin Handbook says it more clearly than I could:1 Examine the material enclosed by parentheses. Is it an entire sentence? If so, place the period inside the closing parenthesis. If the ...

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How are "i.e." and "e.g." pronounced?
24 votes

Just pronounce the letters: "Eye eee" and "eee gee". I have never met anyone who actually said "id est" and "exempli gratia", which is what they really stand for.

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How should I use quotation marks in sections of multiline dialogue?
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21 votes

When you are quoting multiple paragraphs, closing quotations go only at the end of the entire quotation. Beginning quotes should be placed at the beginning of each paragraph, though; otherwise it ...

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Through a Glass, Clearly / A Scanner Darkly / In a Mirror, Darkly / etc
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19 votes

It originates from 1 Corinthians 13:12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

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How do I pluralize "horsepower?"
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19 votes

I've always understood it to be 552 (units of) horsepower, where units of is understood and rarely spoken. But Merriam-Webster and Wiktionary both list horsepower as the actual plural form. Either ...

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When to use 'an' and when to use 'a' with words begining with 'h'?
19 votes

If the "h" is pronounced, use "a". If it is silent, use "an". This is in keeping with the general rule, which is to use "an" for words beginning with a vowel sound.

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"Intents and purposes" versus "intensive purposes"
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16 votes

It's most likely a slurring of the original phrase, but "for all intensive purposes" does make it clear that only the most serious purposes are being considered. I would probably classify it as an ...

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"Aaron is a genius boy"
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16 votes

Both are technically correct, but the idiomatic usage is "boy genius".

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"All of a sudden" vs. "all of the sudden"
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15 votes

"All of a sudden" is the idiom. I rationalize that there is no particular sudden, so it has to be a sudden. Brians Common Errors backs me up here, although idioms don't necessarily follow the rules ...

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"Par for the course"
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11 votes

Golf is played worldwide, so I would expect that the phrase -- even if not idiomatic in the local dialect -- would be readily understood by most. However, I can only speak with certainty for the U.S.,...

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Is "denormalized" a word?
11 votes

It's not a normal word, but it's perfectly legitimate technical jargon. (If you were in the medical profession, half of the words you used would be flagged by a spellchecker.)

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How can I practice pronouncing "Coke" so it is not mistaken for another word?
10 votes

It rhymes with "poke" and "joke", not "pock" and "jock". It's a long o sound. Or you could just switch to Pepsi.

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Synonym for "to calm"?
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8 votes

You're awfully close. The word is quell. to thoroughly overwhelm and reduce to submission or passivity <quell a riot> quiet, pacify <quell fears>

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Referring to oneself and another person at the start of a sentence
6 votes

Actually, both the third and fourth are technically correct (because "I" is in the subjective case, which is correct for the sentence's subject), but it is generally considered polite to list one's ...

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Did eBay take the name from a Pig Latin word?
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6 votes

No. This is from an online excerpt of The Perfect Store, which was apparently written with the full cooperation of the company: That spring, [Pierre] Omidyar had formed a sole proprietorship for ...

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Expansion and pronunciation of "Mrs"
6 votes

It is pronounced "misses", though there is no standard expansion that I am aware of. Its meaning now derives from tradition rather than from any word it might stand for.

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When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense?
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5 votes

I have walked downtown every day for a year. The "perfect" part of "present perfect" means that the action has been completed. You are saying that your action of walking downtown every day for a year ...

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Our bodies' or our body's
5 votes

It could be either "our bodies' immune systems" (the plural possessive) or "your body's immune system" (the singular possessive). Note that if the plural form is used, then it would have to be "...

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What does "bore down" mean?
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5 votes

TheFreeDictionary defines it as: To advance in a threatening manner: The ship bore down on our canoe. There are many other meanings of the phrase, such as those given by Hellion, but this is the ...

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"The Midwest of the U.S."
5 votes

Midwest is a proper noun in that context, so it must be capitalized. Unlike northeast, it is not a standard direction; it is referring to a specific region of the U.S. Northeast is both a direction ...

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"Will discuss the matter" vs. "will discuss on this matter"
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4 votes

Will be discussing this would work. There is some time in the meetings next week when we will, in fact, be discussing this. Either will discuss the matter or will have a discussion on the matter is ...

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In the format of A.B. Name, which is the given name and which is the family name?
4 votes

In English, the family name is always given last (except in the case of transliterated names which confuse many people). In your example, "Bill" and "Henry" are his two given names; if you used only ...

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What does "unimpressed" mean in this sentence?
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3 votes

From the context, I'd judge it to mean undeveloped or untapped (as in an untapped market). No dictionary that I've found so far lists this sort of meaning, though.

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Why is "ain't" not listed in dictionaries?
3 votes

Basically, yes. It's almost the definitive colloquial word: every native speaker knows perfectly well what it means, but no one admits it in formal or even semi-formal usage. It's not (as far as I ...

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

I believe you would say it is a multisyllabic word. According to WordNet, "polysyllable" means a word having more than three syllables, so it is not correct for the general case.

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