Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

This tag is for questions about the meaning of a word or a phrase in a specific context, which a dictionary cannot answer. Please give as much context as possible.

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31
votes
7answers
3k views

How is double negation interpreted in English?

In my native language, double negations "cancel out". I have been trying to learn English using movies and such things, but double negation confuses me. I see instances when double negation cancels ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Differences in meaning when the verb tense changes (headlines)

What is the difference between the examples below? Generally, in a newspaper, news is based on past tense (things which have already happened). Then why are headlines written in ways that says: He ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What's the difference between "has been living" and "has lived"?

Here I know I have one present perfect and present perfect continuous sentence. I have lived in Europe for 2 years. I have been living in Europe for 2 years. Can you use both of them interchangeably?...
57
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12answers
10k views

Difference between "illegal" and "very illegal"

From my understanding of English, "very" means "more than the usual" or "to a higher extent". I've seen on several places the expression "very illegal", such as here as an example: https://youtu.be/...
4
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3answers
1k views

Between vs. Among - "Difference [between | among] one thing and other things."

Consider the following two versions of a question:1 Version 1: What is the difference in meaning between "[to be] not invited" and similar negation forms? Version 2: What is the difference in ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Stative verbs in the progressive

I posted a question today about "Have to / having to?"and I used the verb "find" in the progressive.: I'm finding more and more that "having to" is also used instead of "have to". Someone comments ...
13
votes
1answer
72k views

Could you vs would you

Could you write your name? Would you write your name? When you are asked to do this, are there any situation in which you hear weird if either is used (but the other sounds pretty natural .)
10
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5answers
840 views

'I have decided to purchase a jet for getting to NYC and back more quickly.'

Are the following sentences grammatical or not? If not, does substituting a to-infinite make them grammatical? (Optional: designate if the sentence expresses purpose, reason, aim, or function) 1 I ...
4
votes
2answers
727 views

What's the meaning of this present perfect sentence?

The sentences are: Mary has worked as a teacher for over 25 years. It has rained heavily for 2 hours. Does it mean "Mary" is still working as a teacher or she is no longer working now? Does it mean ...
14
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2answers
48k views

"It's an interesting topic for me" versus "It's interesting to me": Does it really matter?

I've just caught myself out twice by writing something down as being interesting for me! This is a typical Italian mother-tongue error, but Italian is not my first language. It used to be English, but ...
14
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7answers
60k views

What does "if not" mean in the given sentence

Let there be given this sentence (which came from an English-Chinese dictionary): The contest has become personalised, if not bitter. Then what does the phrase if not mean? Seeking after is a ...
3
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1answer
36k views

Use of "were to" in English grammar

The Prime Minister said: "I have indicated in opening remarks that I do not intend to be Prime Ministerial candidate if the UPA were to come to power after the general elections. BJP leader ...
6
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2answers
32k views

It's time I go to bed vs It's time I went to bed?

What does It's time I went to bed mean? and can we say It's time I go to bed ? and what's the difference between the two sentences?
24
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4answers
5k views

"The bass drop is so sick!..." - What does it mean?

Being a fan of a dubstep music, I often see comments like this: "Looooove this tune! The bass drop is so sick!..." To my understanding, sick has negative connotation. Merriam-Webster defines this ...
4
votes
3answers
796 views

Is 'a' implying one of the family?

Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. (Harry Potter) Why is ‘a’ put, ...
18
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3answers
21k views

How is “any more than” used to compare two different situations?

In the following quote by Billy Sunday Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile. Can anyone please explain/elaborate the usage and ...
6
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5answers
885 views

The meaning of 'where' in "Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things rationally and logically"

This is a paragraph generally describing the characteristics of an ISTJ person: As an ISTJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in via your five senses in a ...
4
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2answers
1k views

How to read such figures with % as "up (by) 120%" and "increased (by) 120%". Do they mean the same?

There are now 5.7 billion euros, in notes and coins, in circulation, up 120% from December 31 2001,...... Following significant media coverage of the statistics, calls and contacts logged on the ...
3
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2answers
237 views

Usage of past tenses with "wish"

I am confused a little bit about the meaning difference between these two phrases: I wish I was there. I wish I had been there. Could you explain about it?
8
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5answers
22k views

What does "off of" mean?

I have read a sentence from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4”: The teachers have really been cracking down on kids copying off of each other this year. How to understand "off of"? Please parse it.
6
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5answers
59k views

Difference between "kindly" and "please"

Manager to player Kindly practice every day Please practice every day Teacher to student Kindly wipe the blackboard Please wipe the blackboard Student to teacher Kindly give me a ...
3
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2answers
8k views

Difference between wouldn't and didn't [duplicate]

What is the difference between would not and did not? For example: I called my girlfriend but she wouldn't stop. I called my girlfriend but she didn't stop.
7
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1answer
8k views

headed or heading, started or starting?

Consider: Two units are headed your way. Two units are heading your way. Don't get me started! Don't get me starting! Is there any difference in meaning? And I don't see why passive voice is used ...
10
votes
6answers
26k views

What's the meaning of "wired"?

I often hear some people say that "I'm wired differently from other people" or "My brain is differently wired" but I don't understand what "wired" really means. Here are several definitions of the ...
15
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5answers
40k views

What does "period" mean in this conversation?

What does the word period mean in the following context? It does not seem to be a part of the sentence. — Could you please {do something}? — I don't want to do that, period.
10
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4answers
11k views

Meaning: "waiting for 6 hours" vs. "6 hours since I was waiting"

Do the following sentences denote the same thing? I have been waiting for you for 6 hours. It's been 6 hours since I was waiting for you.
4
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2answers
2k views

Using "please" when assigning tasks

As a manager I frequently have to assign tasks to my subordinates. I often waver between: "Can you please do X" and "Can you do X" I don't have a good feeling for what the ...
2
votes
1answer
677 views

Difference between the use of "a" and "any" in these examples?

I didn't have an idea. I did not have any idea. I am much more familiar with the second one. The first one sounds a bit odd to me, but sounds fine if I say: I did not have even an idea. But, ...
2
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3answers
719 views

Does 'pepper' include bell peppers

Sometimes peppers, bell peppers, capsicum and chilies confuse me, perhaps, because I am a South Asian, but this article is written in American English. Avoiding nightshade vegetables (including ...
-1
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3answers
5k views

I bought something two days ago - quick question

I have this question that my brain cannot understand because for me it seems to be very illogical. Please, try to explain this to me. It is both english problem but also my native language problem. ...
207
votes
5answers
101k views

How does the "Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop..." joke work?

On YouTube, there's that famous joke the Dalai Lama didn't understand — and neither did I. It even made headlines in my part of the world, and on some of the sites I frequent, yet nobody ever ...
36
votes
8answers
48k views

What does "resp." mean in these sentences?

The abbreviation resp. has been used a number of times in the following paragraph: For each of these problems (resp., tools), we start by presenting the natural concern underlying it (resp., its ...
8
votes
2answers
12k views

"can have done" structure?

When talking about possibilities in the past, You often use "could have done". "She could have gone to the theatre with him." "He couldn't have done such a thing!" "I could have saved them." "...
10
votes
3answers
21k views

Have to / having to?

As fas as I know, "have to" is the commoner version of the two, but I'm finding more and more that "having to" is also used instead of "have to". She has to / is having to look after herself now. ...
8
votes
4answers
128k views

What does "I'm pretty sure" mean?

Does that expression mean "I'm totally sure" or "I'm almost sure"? I always thought the first option was correct, but once I saw in a series episode a character who said that, and his interlocutor ...
5
votes
1answer
9k views

Do "twice as high xxxxx as" , "twice as high" and "twice higher" mean the same thing?

What do the following sentences actually mean? Are they the same in meaning? The cost of living is twice as high in New York as it is in Tokyo. The cost of living in New York is twice as high ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between "Wasn't it supposed to have started 30 minutes ago?" and "Wasn't it supposed to start 30 minutes ago?" in this case?

If I want to ask my teacher if the lesson should have started earlier, Could I use the sentences below? 1 Wasn´t it supposed to have started 30 minutes ago? 2 Wasn´t it supposed to start 30 ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

What does "graphic" mean in "a graphic video"? Is it an official term?

Googling "graphic video" revelas that it is something like "video with violence", yet I can't find "graphic video" in a dictionary. Description of "graphic" sometimes give a hint: depicted in a ...
4
votes
3answers
12k views

Usage of 'should' versus 'would'

I was wondering if someone could explain the subtle difference between these sentences: 1) Monday should be fine. 2) Monday would be fine. This is in the context of someone asking if they could ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

How would you like your coffee?

How would you like your coffee? ‘How do you like your coffee?’ can have a couple of meanings as said in here. When a modal verb would is used instead of do, can the sentence be meaning variously?
3
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the meaning of "Well, what do you know" here in "The Dark Knight Rises"?

In The Dark Knight Rises, when Batman shows up on the day of heist in the StockExchange, the anchor in a news channel is speaking the story with a alot of excitement and informs that what appears to ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Call on vs Call at vs Call up (at)

I have seen both "call on" and "call at" used in English. Sometimes people just shorten it to "call" She called me on my cell phone. You should call him at '789-263-552'. I've also stumbled upon ...
12
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1answer
65k views

use of everything and anything

As a non-native speaker, when I read the books about grammar,I observe that... We usually use everything for a positive sentence and anything for a negative or interrogative sentence. But I often ...
12
votes
6answers
105k views

If somebody calls you "Hello Trouble", what does it mean?

What does it exactly mean if somebody says "Hello, Trouble" to you? One of my colleagues said "Hello, Trouble" to me this morning. I just replied "Hi", as I was not sure what to say. So just ...
6
votes
6answers
15k views

What does "back east" mean?

How do I go back east if I've never been to the east? It does not make sense to return to a place you've never been.
4
votes
1answer
16k views

What does down the hall mean?

“Good night,” said Adam. She did not answer him. At the top of the first flight he looked back. Her head was raised, and now her chin made a shadow on her throat and her eyes had no pupils. His ...
4
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5answers
4k views

Right or left? When the teacher says: "If you look at the diagram on the left hand side, you will solve this question!"(In a position like this?)

● Right or left? When the teacher says: "If you look at the diagram on the left hand side, you will solve this question!" Is it the teacher's left hand side or students' left hand side? Imagine,...
4
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1answer
8k views

What are "class rolls"?

I found this expression while preparing for the IELTS test: "Teachers will take the class rolls." What are these "class rolls"?
4
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4answers
8k views

Meaning of "ain't" in: "...we ain't know what it meant"

What is the meaning of the following line: We ain't know what it meant Putting ain't = aren't doesn't make sense. I'm left with putting ain't = haven't, but have requires the third form of know, ...
3
votes
1answer
327 views

What does 'would' mean following 'certainly'?

We certainly wouldn't advise you to approach the site yourself. (Source: BBC, The Archers, 2013-04-19 Friday, 5’40”.) What's the meaning of would when it follows certainly? Would might produce ...

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