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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3
votes
1answer
171 views

What does 'both' mean in this case?

Probably, if I had lately left a good home and kind parents, this would have been the hour when I should most keenly have regretted the separation; that wind would then have saddened my heart; this ...
2
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2answers
156 views

What does 'still every little difficulty was solved' mean?

A chapter having been read through twice, the books were closed and the girls examined. The lesson had comprised part of the reign of Charles I, and there were sundry questions about tonnage and ...
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1answer
130 views

What’s the semantic difference between can and could? [duplicate]

Macmillan says can and could show 'you are annoyed.' Then in the next two cases: what are the difference in their meaning, when we assume that both imply the narrator's annoyance? What can you be ...
4
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1answer
764 views

"carry out the rubbish"

While I was searching on Google I came across some instances of carry out and I was particularly attracted by the following: The thief comes for the precious things, not to carry out the rubbish. ...
8
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5answers
5k views

How should I ask a barber the fee of a haircut?

I'm struggling as to which one of these two sentences is right. If neither, then what is the right sentence? How much is the fee for a haircut? How much do you charge for a haircut?
4
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2answers
768 views

Implied connotations of "I hope you will show a tiny amount of good behavior"

Consider the following situation: Bob is planning to visit Smiths. Alice says to Bob: I hope you will show at least a tiny amount of good behavior there. (1) In my language (Ukrainian), when Alice ...
2
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2answers
570 views

How can a person pick out a "most boring" thing?

When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all ...
4
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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, ...
9
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3answers
2k views

"Watch the step" without stairs

When travelling on trains in the USA, I have noticed a sign saying "watch the step" close to the exit. I thought it was referring to stairs, but nowhere close to the exit I have seen stairs. I also ...
1
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3answers
293 views

What is the meaning of "gate" in this context?

I have found it in an article. Since it may be related to politics, instead of providing with an actual quote of context, let me re-phrase it with my own words: John Smith, a famous politician, has ...
2
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2answers
228 views

What’s the meaning or function of ‘ever’ in the example?

It was the best evening of Harry's life, better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls... he would never, ever forget tonight. (Harry Potter) What’s the meaning ...
6
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2answers
548 views

hereinafter/henceforward * refers to?

Can I say these? Which is to be preferred? or have you got any other suggestion? Hereinafter client refers to a smartphone using Android. Henceforward client refers to a smartphone using Android. My ...
4
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1answer
11k views

Is it grammatical to say, "If it isn't X, then what is?"

I can't wrap my head about the difference between the two phrases below. A friend of mine, an U.K. national, told me that both are grammatical, but being not a linguist, she can't explain why. A ...
7
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2answers
3k views

With what does ‘far fewer’ compare in this example?

We've already found more than a million species, but unearthing the rest was thought to be an impossible task. But now it seems an army of amateur scientists have taken up the cause. A new study ...
48
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3answers
283k views

What does "viewer discretion is advised" mean?

Viewer discretion is advised. I've stumbled upon this phrase a few times (mainly at the beginning of video clips or movie trailers), but I'm still not quite sure what it really expresses. What is ...
0
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1answer
208 views

What’s the meaning of ‘proudly’ in the context? [closed]

"I reckon he had a pretty good idea we were going to try, and instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help. I don't think it was an accident he let me find out how the mirror worked. It's ...
9
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1answer
913 views

"Bought" versus "acquired"

A friend of mine used the following sentence: I recently acquired a pizza stone to use for baking bread. In Italian, comprare (buy) and acquistare (acquire, in a sentence like the previous one) ...
2
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4answers
240 views

Grading 'it seems' on the certainty scale

I want to know the meaning of 'it seems' from the perspective of 'certainty'. If someone says that: It seems that the file has been deleted. Could it be possible that he is making this claim ...
2
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2answers
223 views

What’s the meaning of might in the sentence?

“Mr. Brocklehurst, I believe I intimated in the letter which I wrote to you three weeks ago, that this little girl has not quite the character and disposition I could wish: should you admit her ...
2
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3answers
290 views

What are the differences between should, were, and if conditional clauses?

Mr. Brocklehurst, I believe I intimated in the letter which I wrote to you three weeks ago, that this little girl has not quite the character and disposition I could wish: should you admit her into ...
2
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1answer
697 views

Meaning of empathically in context of an advice or a warning [closed]

According to wiktionary, empathically means In an empathic manner, empathic means Showing or expressing empathy, and empathy means capacity to understand another person's point of view or the result ...
97
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11answers
8k views

Free as in "free speech", not as in "free beer"

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer. — Richard Stallman Translating free to my language (...
5
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1answer
537 views

Is it necessary to use a relative pronoun before the verb 'given' in this sentence?

"The form and consequences of conformity influence should undergo significant changes given the interposition of a medium that reduces the social presence of participants." The core message of the ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What's the meaning of 'can't spell it'?

He sat down, stared into the fire for a few seconds, and then said, "It begins, I suppose, with -- with a person called -- but it's incredible yeh don't know his name, everyone in our world knows --" "...
5
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2answers
51k views

Comparing "got used to", "have gotten used to", "get used to", "will get used to" and "have used to"

I was going to somewhere by taxi in Delhi. Most of the drivers were blowing their horns, non-stop! I asked my driver, "would you please stop it? I am not in a rush." He said, "No ma'am! Because I ...
5
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7answers
15k views

Has the word mate always at least some sexual context?

Mating is the term used for sexual activity, mostly for animals. Is there anything wrong with mate? My mate could mean my sexual partner, but I've heard that in less obvious contexts, such as someone ...
6
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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.
8
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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 ...
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.
4
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2answers
20k views

What does "do" mean in "What do I do"?

What does "do" mean in "What do I do?" I think it means "What do I usually do?", but I don't know why anyone would ask what they usually do. Does it mean something else?
31
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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 ...
5
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2answers
623 views

What is the proper use of the present progressive form, especially of "to have"?

When I read @ctype.h's question 'Is "I am having a code" grammatically correct?', I thought that @Mark Beadles brought up a good point: This is two questions, though you may not realize it. ...
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 ...
0
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1answer
2k views

What’s the meaning of ‘cross one’s fingers in one’s mouth’? [closed]

I learned an idiom ‘cross one’s finger’ generally means hoping someone’s success by a crossing-fingers gesture. By the way, I came across a little unconvinced part in the Japanese translation of ...
2
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1answer
237 views

Meanings of "to find out"

In Germany, a shop made commercials with the slogan "Come in and found out." There were many jokes about the meaning of the slogan in Germany. Often it was interpreted as Komm rein und finde wieder ...
6
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2answers
9k views

What does "that would be that" mean?

A friend of mine watches BBC Top Gear. He sometimes hears the guys say "That would be that". What does that mean?
7
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4answers
407 views

What does this mean: "The more you fence in Iran, the harder it will be for the rest of the world"

I'm trying to understand the English in this article (bolding mine): “I think it was a genius action from Lula da Silva” said Mujica in an interview with the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, when ...
207
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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 ...

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