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Questions tagged [semantics]

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Is "reign upright" poetic license?

By a route obscure and lonely, Haunted by ill angels only, Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT, On a black throne reigns upright, I have reached these lands but newly From an ultimate dim Thule— From a wild ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
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Confusion on temporal COULD

In the sentence, "Diplomats said a Russian chemical weapons attack in Ukraine, or a heavy bombardment of the capital Kyiv, could be a trigger for an energy embargo," I am confused whether ...
Ken's user avatar
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1 answer
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Are they going to put/hold off the wedding till May?

I am trying to translate a dialogue into English. Which is idiomatic: 1. — Are they going to put off the wedding till May? — Yes, they couldn't get it organized any earlier. 2. — Are they going to ...
sanya6's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
58 views

A strange usage of 'of'

The word “language-game” is used here to emphasize the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life. The right understanding of the construction 'the speaking of ...
Егор Галыкин's user avatar
-3 votes
3 answers
70 views

Illogical paragraph in a textbook: is North Ireland considered a country despite not having a national animal? [closed]

This is from 'Cultural Crossroads 2 for Ukraine' by Virginia Evans (image). Each country in the UK has its own national animal. England has the lion, Scotland has the unicorn and Wales has the red ...
sanya6's user avatar
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1 answer
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a lot of books ('a lot of' books or a lot 'of books')

a lot of books In short, 'a lot of'(premodifier) books or a lot 'of books'(postmodifier)? If premodifier is correct, 'a lot of' is an adjectival phrase that modifies 'books'; if not, 'a lot' is a ...
gomadeng's user avatar
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1 answer
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The concept of the articles [closed]

It may be obvious from the title of the question (or it may be not, I can't say) that I don't understand the concept of articles. I don't have them in my native language. We take the needed info from ...
Егор Галыкин's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

Is it possible to use "look down on" in a phrase without meaning disdain?

Is it possible to use "look down on" in a phrase, without meaning disdain? Example: (if I'm standing on the moon) Can I use "look down on Earth", to describe a physical act of ...
Viviane's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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He almost drowned(,) when he swam across the river(,) because of the bees

What is the difference in meaning between He almost drowned when he swam across the river because of the bees. He almost drowned, when he swam across the river because of the bees. He almost drowned ...
Mamamia's user avatar
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1 answer
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Bored or a bored person

a. He is bored. b. He is a bored person. Is it correct to use a noun with past participle when used an adjective? For example, The tired singer is not singing a new song. How to use past participle ...
Abid's user avatar
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1 answer
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I didn't have enough time, however, I read the book till the end

This sentence is from an exercise ('use "However' to join the sentences : 'I didn't have enough time. I read the book till the end.'): ' I didn't have enough time, however, I read the book till ...
Didyougo's user avatar
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1 answer
40 views

You can be famous but not be a celebrity

This is from a school task: You can be famous but not be a celebrity. What they mean is: You can be famous without being a celebrity. Can some people (depending on prosody?) interpret (1) to mean (...
Didyougo's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
46 views

Bill has got athletics club on Monday(s)

If I understand it correctly, one cannot use "have got" to describe repeated actions/events, can one? So it is wrong to say 'Bill has got athletics club on Monday' to mean 'Bill has got ...
Didyougo's user avatar
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Is there a situation where and and or means the same thing?

I am sure you didn't read the documentation and understand the document. I am sure you didn't read the documentation or understand the document. The first one means you didn't do either. The second ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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Adverb "honestly" —At the beginning & At the mid position

I can't honestly say what time I'll be home. Vs Honestly, I can't say what time I'll be home. I think there is subtle difference in meaning, but I am not sure, Explain me the usage of the ...
Sam's user avatar
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0 answers
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Why are "to feel" and "to be" only sometimes interchangeable?

I am angry and I feel angry seem to have the same meaning, as do many other I am [adjective] phrases, like I am sad, I am happy, I am ecstatic. But am and feel cannot always be swapped out: I am weird ...
minseong's user avatar
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3 answers
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Can I describe this picture "a circle is cut in half" [closed]

There's no circle, but there are two semi-circles. It was a circle, but I cut it in half. Can I describe this picture "a circle is cut in half"?
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1 answer
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At weekends they prefer to stay home and visit some friends

I am wondering how this sentence is to be paraphrased: At weekends they prefer to stay home and visit some friends. I am not sure which ones are close to the original: They like to remain in their ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
26 views

Does the phrase count on carries connotation?

I want to ask whether the phrase count on contains connotations? I'm not a native speaker and determining connotations makes me confused. In the dictionary, the phrase count on means rely on someone/...
Shua's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
932 views

Why does work out mean physical work or physical training?

How does the physical training meaning relates to the "finding a solution meaning" using the particle out? What's the perspective?
Quique's user avatar
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the syntax and the semantics of the word 'flat' in the sentence

If they get a chance to lay their eggs, we are going to have everything eaten flat with hoppers later on. Context: People are trying to stop locusts to land on their farms. So they suppose that they ...
Abid's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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Group Noun with singular verb vs Group Noun with plural verb— What's the difference?

The government has made up its mind. Vs The government have made up their minds. Semantically,What is the difference in meaning ?
Sam's user avatar
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11 votes
5 answers
3k views

"There, but for the grace of God, go I" - Breaking this down grammatically

There is a phrase in a book I am translating. "There but for the grace of God goes God". I googled this phrase and find the original version of this. Which is "there but for the grace ...
Abw's user avatar
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1 answer
100 views

'she must NOT have made it' vs. 'she mustn't have made it' vs. 'she must have not made it'

In this passage there is a slight pause after 'must' and a stress on 'not': 'I saw Isabella she had a blank expression on her face. I'm not sure what happened with the knife she was carrying it looked ...
tes389's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
162 views

What is the difference between "I think ........." VS "I just think .........."?

This is from an interview with a celebrity where she is asked many questions in a short period of time. At some point, in between two questions, the reporter says to her: "You were valedictorian ...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 answer
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Meaning: She hoped she would never wake up from the awful nightmare that was about to unfold

(Jo's sister said yes to a marriage proposal.) Hearing those words, Jo fainted. She hoped she would never wake up from the awful nightmare that was about to unfold. -- from a graded reader I think I ...
joy2020's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
104 views

Semantically vague sentence (I think?)

I spotted it in a junk shop in Bridport, a roll-top desk. The man said it was early nineteenth century, and oak. I think the author can use "be+of" here, but why only "be"???
Sam's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
23 views

Semantically vague sentence

That man is not to be trusted. Is this sentence semantically ok?i don't think the sentence is so straightforward. (I found this word on Cambridge dictionary website)
Sam's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is it correct to place "smiling" after the verb instead of at the end? "She reread smiling the typed note"

She reread the typed note, smiling. The phrase "the typed note" is serving as a direct object to the verb "reread" as it raises the question of what. While the participle "...
Abid's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
160 views

(Semantics) Using the definite vs indefinite article before singular generic nouns

Let me start with a few examples (I wrote all of them myself so they might have a few mistakes in them): Before you begin the questioning part of the procedure, make sure that the interviewee feels ...
August99's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
294 views

Is "couldn't help doing something" used when you did have some control over doing it?

I know the phrase can't help sth/doing sth is normally used to say that you cannot stop yourself from doing something, as in: I couldn't help eating more. It was too delicious. My question is, is ...
Englishfreak's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
59 views

Is “should” sometimes ambiguous between “if” and “ought to”?

I know that nowadays in American informal English “should” almost always means “ought to”, as in “I should treat my family well”, but that it can also mean “if” or “in the event that”, as in “Should ...
user354948's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
260 views

Take oneself by the collar

Others can see the difficulty, but the boy must take himself by the collar and make himself cultivate a poise and calm that smothers the fidgets. What does "take oneself by the collar" mean?...
Abid's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
72 views

"For no money would she leave" vs "For no money she would leave"

I read a linguistic paper saying that the two sentences have opposite meanings. For no money would she leave. For no money she would leave. The paper says... (1) means she wouldn't leave even if ...
Englishy's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
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A collective idea - noun pharse

" The concerns that the teachers have risen is an indicator for having training the soonest . My question here is , can I use the singular verb "is" with the main plural subject "...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
48 views

for less OR for the lesser

Some people were punished for less. Less sounds like a noun here. Now I wonder, can it be substituted with "the lesser", as "the lesser" is also a noun. "The lesser of two ...
user1425's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
91 views

When I go to the cinema/to the sea/to my grandma's

I feel happy when I go to the cinema/to the sea/to my grandma's etc. What does exactly "go" mean? Does it mean a) the moment when I am leaving for b) the process of going to c) the time ...
user1425's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
353 views

Admitted to have been / to having been

Look at these sentences: He admitted to have been arrested last year. The applicant has not admitted to having been convicted of this misdemeanor. Police say both subjects appeared to be under the ...
August99's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
18 views

(The) people he might hurt. The definite article or no article at all? [duplicate]

From my quick Google search, it seems like such constructions can be used both with the article and without it. So, how does the article change meaning in the following sentences: He showed little ...
August99's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
38 views

Is there a difference in semantics between these verbs?

1 I'm always drinking like crazy when I see her. The meaning: I start drinking and after a while I see her. 2 I always drink like crazy when I see her. The meaning: At first I see her, then I start ...
user1425's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
24 views

Rheme and theme in connection with a tense

This is an explanation by a native speaker. It includes the notions of RHEME and THEME The explanation "I live in France but I usually travel abroad", sounds odd because there's no context, ...
user1425's user avatar
  • 4,440
-2 votes
2 answers
169 views

I forget/I am forgetting

I am forgetting German. (I am gradually forgetting my knowledge of German) I forget German. (What does it mean? Does it mean that I don't remember it?)
user1425's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
31 views

What does the bold sentence mean in the following excerpt? [closed]

In pennsylvania, a celebrity cardiologist who rages against the inflated price of crudités faces a tattooed lieutenant governor with heart trouble. In Georgia, the choice is between a pastor on one ...
李师傅's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
41 views

Denotation and connotation of the phrase

As doctors often do, I took a trial shot at it as a point of departure. "Has she had a sore throat?" In English, we can understand this very easily but very difficult to explain "trial ...
Abid's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
506 views

Is there a difference in meaning between "many" and "many of"?

Is there a difference in meaning between "many" and "many of"? and if so what is it? For example, if one says "many of them are confined" ("them" representing ...
Eren8hisfather's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
58 views

What does "the world was treated to the spectacle of Joe Biden insulting his Russian counterpart" mean?

What does this mean: the world was treated to the spectacle of Joe Biden insulting his Russian counterpart I can't think of something desirable or enjoyable as to make sense of this phrase, is the ...
Quique's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
26 views

Why is it right to use the word "from" to say "there was no place free from them" [closed]

I would use the word "of" as the word "from" indicates origin so it sounds a bit weird. I read this in a periodical from JSTOR talking about immigration to the old border states.
Quique's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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What's the difference between “ terror attack” and " terrorist attack"

Both of the expressions are commonly seen on the media. What is the difference in meaning?
user421993's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
52 views

address problems VS address solutions

We have government recycling programs for materials like plastic, glass, and metal, yet widespread solutions for organic waste materials haven’t really been addressed in the United States. --from ...
joy2020's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
66 views

ESL Teacher to Spanish Speakers

I think I might have once read in a sample resume someone wrote as a bullet point under their work experience that for a period of time they were an "ESL teacher to Spanish speakers" --...
Rod21's user avatar
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