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Questions tagged [usage]

For questions about how certain words, phrases or grammatical aspects are typically used.

1
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2answers
172 views

Why is there “of”?

Don Apolinar Moscote ventured to remind him that an unburied drowned man was a danger to public health. "None of that, because he's alive," was the answer of Jose Arcadio Buendia, who finished the ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it correct not to use the article in the following sentence?

I have rewritten a sentence as follows, and my cousin asked me why I didn't use any article before administrator/owner/creator/manager. On the user profile page, I need to add a block showing the ...
1
vote
1answer
359 views

What should the more appropriate tense to use in this case be?

There is an website that allows users to send 1024-character messages to each other. When the message is longer, trying to send it causes an error message similar to the following to appear: Max ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Why is there a hyphen before this word?

A movement in the trees behind Ronan made Hagrid raise his bow again, but it was only a second centaur, black-haired and -bodied and wilder-looking than Ronan. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)...
9
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5answers
24k views

What are the differences between response and answer?

I have to mail-back someone and I wonder if I should rather say "Thanks for your quick answer" or "Thanks for your quick response". Can you tell me what are the differences between answer and ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

“Amazonia” vs “Amazon”

Which form is preferred when we speak about the region in South America and not the Amazon river? Do we need to use the definite article before Amazon and no article at all before Amazonia? "There ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Is “gas” ever used to mean a specific substance that at room temperature is in gaseous form?

In Italian, if I were in a house and said Sento odor di gas. (approximately, "I smell gas."), the person to whom I am speaking would probably go check the stove or the water heater, which is normally ...
11
votes
4answers
104k views

Should I always use a comma before a quote?

When quoting something said by someone else, should I use a comma before the quote? Suppose I quote the definition given in a dictionary. Am I correctly using the the punctuation marks in the ...
2
votes
2answers
368 views

Is it necessary to use the possessive determiner in this sentence?

English uses the possessive determiner where in Italian would not use it. For example, "Take your hands out of your pockets!" is translated in Italian as Togli le mani dalle tasche! Even if I am using ...
4
votes
1answer
246 views

Can I use quotation marks to mean a word is used euphemistically?

In Italian I could write Ho visto "l'albergo" dove lavori. (I saw the "hotel" where you work.) In that sentence, I am not quoting what somebody said, but I am using albergo in an euphemistic way, ...
2
votes
3answers
721 views

Can I always use the present tense for something happening in the future?

In Italian, I could use the Simple Present for something happening in the future. For example, I could say l'anno prossimo parto per gli Stati Uniti ("the next year I leave for the USA".) This would ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

Using earlier and later as adjectives

Can you use earlier and later as adjectives? Here is a conversation I overheard this morning: A: I was able to do two paintings yesterday. B: Me, too. But the earlier one I had to re-do, ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Shadow vs Shade

Which of these two sentences is more used by people in the USA when talking about staying outside in the shadow/shade? "I am in the shadow and not in the sun." OR "I am in the shade and not in ...
-1
votes
3answers
2k views

Where use 'to' and 'for' [closed]

I have a sentence about a function description (in a program's code) : Redirect to action to return the file to user. How do I properly use to and for? Here's my description of the situation: I ...
0
votes
1answer
120 views

“We walked around with Joe” or “I walked around with Joe”

I was out with a friend today (only me and him), and I told my girlfriend that "we walked around with Joe", and she asked me who else was there besides Joe. When I told her that it was only me and Joe,...
3
votes
2answers
368 views

Pronoun first, then name?

When you use propositional phrases or conjunctive phrases, do you use a pronoun that matches your subject prior to mentioning the actual subject? I don't think you'll need her number, but Jennifer'...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Can the definite article be used with special days or holidays?

Is it possible to use the definite article with holidays and special days like Flag Day and Valentine's Day? For instance, are "the Flag Day", "the Valentine's Day", or "the Christmas" correct? I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What's the difference between “dressing” and “seasoning” when it comes to the ingredients of cooking?

I'm often confused with the two words when expressing the ingredients that adjust flavor of dishes, such as garlic, vinegar, basil, curry... Which are dressings and which are seasonings? And how to ...
1
vote
2answers
713 views

Does omitting the definite article before a plural noun make the sentence more generic?

Does omitting the article in "The phones ring every six minutes." make the sentence more abstract? For example, if I were to speak about the phones in my workplace, I could say "The phones ring every ...
2
votes
4answers
15k views

Can I say “I take my son to school by car every day”?

I drive my son to school. How to say it in correct English? Can I say "I drop my son"? I am not on my way to work and return home after dropping him.
2
votes
1answer
220 views

How to use 'i.e.' in a sentence?

Which of the following ways of using i.e. in a sentence is correct? 1) The elephant is a pachyderm, i.e., an animal with thick skin and nails resembling hooves. 2) The elephant is a pachyderm (i....
9
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the meaning of “in” and “on” when they are used together?

I have never seen the prepositions in and on used together in any sentence. I cannot imagine what in out would mean in a sentence. However, I recently have seen this kind of usage, and I had ...
5
votes
2answers
809 views

Why can't we use “to” after tell?

I said to him. I told him. Why can't we use to after tell, when we are using to after say?
4
votes
1answer
60 views

“ways to .. and to .. ” vs “ways to .. and .. ”

When should I write the word "to" twice? "ways to .. and to .. " When should I omit the second "to"? "ways to .. and .. " I want to ask a person "What are the best ways to climb over a wall?"...
5
votes
1answer
119 views

How many students are involved in the question “How do students actually learn from each other?”, two or more than two?

In Bill Bryson's book titled "Mother Tongue. The Story of the English Language", on page 132 it says that "we must use each other for two things and one another for more than two." So, when I read ...
6
votes
2answers
496 views

Comma before “because”

Looking for One should keep his words both soft and tender on Google, I noticed that in some cases because is preceded from a comma. Can the comma always be added before because, or can it be added ...
5
votes
2answers
157 views

At the time of speaking, should I use “do”, “will”, or “would”?

Just before I ask a question to someone, what should I have to say? Do you mind if I ask you a question? Will you mind if I ask you a question? Would you mind if I ask you a question? ...
5
votes
1answer
953 views

Using “have had ” and “had” to answer the question

My friend asked me, "Why don't you drive your car?" Should I answer with "I have had a car accident." or "I had a car accident."?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Using the future tense in a sentence containing a dependent clause starting with “when”

Which of the following sentences is correct? When we know what she decides, we will see what to do. When we will know what she decides, we see what to do. When we will know what she decides, ...
5
votes
3answers
322 views

At the time of speaking, no relation to present

My friend asked me, "Have you ever paid the money as a penalty?" I paid some money as a penalty, but that was long ago; it won't effect the present. What should I say? I have paid. I had paid. ...
2
votes
1answer
822 views

past tense or present perfect at the time of speaking

My friend asked me about a person I never met in my life. Should I say "I have never met him in my life." or "I never met him in my life."?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Differences and similarities between “catastrophe” and “disaster”

In my field study Environment Eng. disaster is used for natural happenings which cause irreparable results in the nature and human beings' lives, but I have seen and read people use them for different ...