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Questions tagged [usage]

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

33
votes
4answers
47k views

What is the difference between “do you like” and “would you like”?

Do you like candy? Would you like some candy? Do you like walking? Would you like to go for a walk? What is the difference? And are they the same or not? Do they any use in different situations?
30
votes
6answers
23k views

“One of THOSE days” vs “one of THESE days”

I don't know exactly when we'll go but we really must visit them one of these / one of those days. When should we use "one of these days" and "one of those days"?
28
votes
6answers
6k views

Is “plugging out” electronic devices an American expression?

Are these valid in American English as opposed to "unplug". Plug out the charger from the wall. I plugged out my TV. I found my radio plugged out. I started hanging out with some guys ...
25
votes
10answers
10k views

Does “I have a daughter” mean “I have one daughter”?

Let's say I have two daughters and someone asks me: Do you have a daughter? Should I respond "yes" or "no"? In other words, does "I have a daughter" mean "I have one daughter"?
23
votes
5answers
84k views

Difference between “nice to see you” and “nice to meet you”

What is the difference between "nice to see you" and "nice to meet you"? Are they the same or not?
22
votes
5answers
54k views

Difference between “fast food” and “junk food”

What is the difference between "fast food" and "junk food"? Are they the same or not? "Are they used in the same way?"
22
votes
7answers
5k views

“I bought this shirt offline.” Is this correct usage of the word 'offline'?

"I bought this shirt offline." Is 'offline' okay to use to refer to something that was bought at a brick-and-mortar store? If not, what's the preferred way to say it in everyday conversations?
17
votes
10answers
13k views

Ways to say 'get smaller', 'decrease in size' in one word

What are the proper ways to say that something gets smaller (decreases in size) in one word? I am not asking about cases when what we discribe represents a measure of something (price, volume, ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

“to be jealous” Vs. “to envy” - what is the difference?

What is the difference between "to be jealous" and "to envy"? I always used both interchangeably but I was told that actually there is a difference between these two. I opened the dictionary ("...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

difference between “came along” and “along came”

What is the difference between the two? For example John came along. Along came John. I don't understand the difference in usage and yet I come across too many sentences starting with '...
17
votes
3answers
63k views

“I am hurting” in the meaning of “I am hurt”? Why?

Once in a while I hear someone use the phrase I am hurting. It appears to mean I am hurt, not I am hurting you. For example, consider the text on this drawing: When and why is it correct to say I'm ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

How to say 'give your seat/place to somebody' on transport?

How would you call that if I'm on public transport, sitting comfortably on a chair, and then a senior or a lady in red walks in and so I want to stand up and give my place to that person ? like, I ......
15
votes
7answers
8k views

What is the correct word for “turn off lamp” for a non-electric lamp?

We often say turn off the lights. Is it correct to say turn off the lamp when referring to a non-electric lamp (lit by fire)? That doesn't sound proper. Which is the better phrase to use there?
15
votes
3answers
114k views

Difference between “two years old and two-year-old”

What is the difference between 'two years old' and 'two-year-old'? Are they the same or not? What is the function of using dash in this phrase: 'two-year-old'? When we use dash we cannot say 'years'...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Started in 1987 vs. Starting in 1987

I think both started and starting make sense. Which is preferred? Is there any subtle difference in meaning? Started in 1987, the festival exhibits more than 550 varieties of mangoes and provides a ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

How can a picture be naked?

I have some questions about the following phrases: a picture of a naked woman a naked picture of a woman On first reading, the second phrase seems wrong. The second phrase seems to be more ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is it “Here you are!” but “Here comes the teacher.”?

Why is it "Here you are!" but "Here comes the teacher." ? I'm quite confused. When should I use inversion?
13
votes
5answers
14k views

Difference between “I'm in the school” and “I'm in school”

What is the difference between these two sentences?? I'm in the school. I'm in school. Do they have the same meaning or not?
12
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Difference between “I know where I stand” and “I know my place” and their interchangeability

I shouldn't have talked back to him. I know where I stand. I shouldn't have talked back to him. I know my place. What's difference between the two sentences and the difference between I know where I ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Usage of “just” in the phrase “just want”

What is the meaning of just in the prayer sentence: Lord, we just want to ask for your grace Does the word in some way minimize the request? Put another way, what is the effect of using just in ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Secretly vs Secretively

Can these two words (secretly and secretively) be used interchangeably? E.g.: He fed the dog secretly. He fed the dog secretively. Which of the two sentences above sounds more appropriate?
11
votes
4answers
109k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

He is fixing his car

My friend is visiting a mechanic now, the mechanic is fixing his car. Someone asked me, where is your friend. What should I answer? A: Where is your friend? B: He is fixing his car. He is ...
10
votes
2answers
30k views

“Hello, This is” vs “My Name is” or “I am” in self introduction

I am from India and not a native English speaker. I do often hear people introducing themselves like "Hello everyone; This is James" Is it an acceptable form in native English? Usually, I know ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Can traffic lights “turn red” for ten minutes?

I've been learning Indonesian with Indonesian pod 101 and I'm afraid in learning bad English meanwhile. Is this sentence correct? "Lisa, so sorry. The traffic jam was awful, and all the traffic ...
10
votes
3answers
298k views

Is it disappointed with, in, or by?

Are all of those words used? How does the meaning of the sentence change when either one is used instead of the others? 1.I was disappointed with/by my result. 2.I am disappointed with/by/in you/him/...
10
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What does 'in first for' mean?

What does 'in first for' mean in the following sentence?: (It's a news article title.) In first for UK, government clears Cuadrilla to frack shale gas site (Source: Reuters) Now I presume that it ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Is “How much underwear?” okay?

Is this correct? I often see "how many pairs of underwear", but this doesn't make sense. How is underwear a pair? There is only 1. I've googled and I've seen both "how much underwear" and "how many ...
9
votes
5answers
5k views

Is “I never saw him yesterday” grammatical?

Is "I never saw him yesterday" grammatical, used to mean that "at no point in time in yesterday did I see him"? Does the sentence sound weird to a native speaker of AmE?
9
votes
2answers
17k views

Difference between why and what for?

What is the difference between them? Can they be used inter-changeably?
9
votes
5answers
25k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
841 views

When the contraction can't be used

Accidentally I've come up with a sentence where the contraction cannot be used, here it is: *I can't tell you how excited I'm. Obviously, any other sentence with similar structure (i.e. having a ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between ''distinct'' and '' distinctive''

The male bird has distinctive white markets on its head. According to Oxford Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary 7th Edition, page 580, the word distinct has the meaning of ''easily or ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

“Doesn't talk please VS Don't talk please”

Why can't we use "doesn't talk" instead of "don't talk"? when referring to he/she why is "doesn't talk" wrong? e.g. When you are talking in class and your teacher said: "don't talk please." Why didn'...
8
votes
2answers
606 views

In 1913 they tried to make planes that take off (or took off) from water?

What is the right choice here, take off or took off? The float-planes were in fashion that time. Like many others, the Wright factory was really trying to make and sell machines that take off/took ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between “hang out” and “play”?

I just saw the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The wide boy said, "Do you want to come to my home and play?" But the main character wanted him to say "hang out," and people around them jeered at the wide ...
8
votes
3answers
55k views

“Here you are & Here you go”

When somebody asks you for something and you give it to them, which expression is correct or more common? eg., My little sister plays with toys and she wants to give one of her toys to me. So what ...
8
votes
2answers
38k views

Differences between “long”, “tall”, and “high” [closed]

What are the differences between "long", "tall", and "high"? Do they have the same meaning and the same usage or not?? e.g "The bridge is the longest in the world." Can I use "tallest" instead of "...
8
votes
3answers
31k views

“Would have + past participle” construction can be used to express speculation about the past?

The following example is taken from source A:We saw a police helicopter overhead yesterday morning. B:Really? They would have been looking for those bank robbers. The website says that it ...
8
votes
2answers
29k views

Difference between “if only” and “only if”

What is the differences between "if only" and "only if" ? What is the use of each in the sentences? Are there any specific rules for their uses? "I could get more work done if only there weren't ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

More than 9 hundred as hundreds?

In German, we often use "Elfhundert" (literally, "eleven hundred") for 1100 or "neunzehnhundert" ("nineteen hundred") for 1900; but is this correct in English?
8
votes
4answers
32k views

“couple” versus “couple of”

Are there any specific rules that restrict the use of "couple" and "couple of"? I have a couple of months left. versus I have a couple months left. Are the both sentence above correct and ...
8
votes
3answers
44k views

What is difference between “accomplishment” and “achievement”

It seems that in my native language is used only one word for translating both words "accomplishment" and "achievement". Are they synonyms? Are there some difference in usage of these words?
7
votes
4answers
4k views

What “remain friends” mean?

I'm trying to get this paragraph Remembering what it was like not to be who we are now is vital to our growth and integrity. The best professors remain friends with their past. They remember ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How do people count weeks or months?

I have been wondering, how do most English speakers count weeks and months? Do they count them as "week=7 days" or "week=1 calendar week", "month=30 days" or "month=1 calendar month"? For example, ...
7
votes
5answers
107k views

Difference between “much, many, a lot of and lots of”

Difference between "much, many, a lot of and lots of" What is the difference between them? Are they synonyms or not?
7
votes
2answers
130k views

Bit or Bitten - which is correct usage?

"Spiderman was bit by a radioactive spider" versus "Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider" - which one is correct usage ? Not sure if "bitten" is formally recognized as English or just a ...
7
votes
1answer
537 views

What should I call a person sharing knowledge in school that is not a teacher?

Some time ago I was asked by a school institution to conduct a lesson for children about filmmaking. I'm not a teacher, I never attended any pedagogical university and I don't have qualifications to ...