Questions tagged [vocabulary]

This tag is for questions about a body of words. It should not be used to inquire about the definition of a specific word.

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2
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2answers
394 views

Does using harder English help gain more respect during conversation or in writing?

It is always taught to use simple English in day-to-day life and I follow it carefully. As a student in IT sector, I use simple English myself as this particular industry does not revolve around ...
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3answers
3k views

we'll coming back

"There she is!" said Corley. At the corner of Hume Street a young woman was standing. She wore a blue dress and a white sailor hat. She stood on the curbstone, swinging a sunshade in one hand. ...
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1answer
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What does this 'fancy' mean?

If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn’t be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside ...
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2answers
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Tools for knowing if a word is commonly known [closed]

I came across someone using the word "animadvert". I didn't think it was a real English word, but a web search indicates that it is. I suspect that it's a word likely to be unknown to most English ...
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0answers
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What's the term to designate the absence of bureaucracy? [duplicate]

I am searching a term which means: absence of forms, bureaucracy and long procedures. I don't know if formless could be correct as long as it is a neologism.
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1answer
10k views

What is the meaning of "idiot's tale"?

This is from the book Nazi war on cancer by R.Proctor: I tend to agree with Omer Bartov that the Holocaust is a kind of idiot's tale we can understand only in parts, never altogether I searched ...
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1answer
2k views

What does "I'm calling" mean?

“Yeh could’ve died!” sobbed Hagrid. “An’ don’ say the name!” “VOLDEMORT!” Harry bellowed, and Hagrid was so shocked, he stopped crying. “I’ve met him and I’m calling him by his name. Please ...
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1answer
102 views

How can I tell whether an "it" is a dummy "it" in this sentence?

How can I tell whether an "it" is a dummy "it", or what it might be referring to? For example, in the following paragraph: Lately, for the last three years, it feels like it’s not about me ...
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1answer
139 views

What does "be" mean here?

Every time one of their men was lost, the white pieces showed no mercy. Soon there was a huddle of limp black players slumped along the wall. Twice, Ron only just noticed in time that Harry and ...
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3answers
193 views

How do I refer to a scholarship competition or a admission course competition? Competition doesn't seem the right word

In Portuguese I would say "concurso" and not "competição" which has the same meaning as competition in English. In English it seems off to say competition because a competition is more direct, like a ...
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1answer
333 views

Where is outside of a corridor?

A few seconds later, they were there, outside the third-floor corridor – and the door [into the room that is protected by the three-headed dog] was already ajar. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's ...
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1answer
3k views

What does this 'catch himself' mean?

[While three children sneaking up a set of staircases to the third floor under the Invisibility Cloak] They didn't meet anyone else until they reached the staircase up to the third floor. Peeves [=...
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3answers
12k views

A person who can see the past of others (or himself) [closed]

What do we call a person who can see the past of the others (or himself), i.e. he is some divine person and does not make false claims of knowing the past.
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1answer
131 views

Is this that a conjunction or a pronoun?

Harry did the best he could, trying to ignore the stabbing pains in his forehead, which had been bothering him ever since his trip into the forest. Neville thought Harry had a bad case of exam ...
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1answer
17k views

The correct way to say easier

Is "more easy" a correct grammatical way of saying "easier"? What other ways can you express the word "easier"?
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1answer
348 views

What does this "their" mean?

"But who'd be that desperate?" he wondered aloud. "If you're going to be cursed forever, death's better, isn't it?" "It is," Firenze agreed, "unless all you need is to stay alive long enough ...
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0answers
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This doesn't seem to be a double negation, does it? [duplicate]

They walked past a mossy tree stump. Harry could hear running water; there must be a stream somewhere close by. There were still spots of unicorn blood here and there along the winding path. "...
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1answer
55 views

Do these two have's the same meaning?

At first, Gryffindors passing the giant hourglasses that recorded the house points the next day thought there'd been a mistake. How could they suddenly have a hundred and fifty points fewer than ...
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1answer
88 views

What does this 'it' indicate?

"Harry!" Neville burst out, the moment he saw the other two. "I was trying to find you to warn you, I heard Malfoy saying he was going to catch you, he said you had a drag ––" Harry shook ...
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1answer
1k views

'student at the university' and article 'a'

I think it's okay to say "I study [subject] at the University of [City] ". However, should I say I'm a physics student at ... or without 'a', I'm physics student at ... I'm suddenly terribly ...
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2answers
183 views

What does this 'by' mean?

"Hagrid," said Harry loudly, "give it two weeks and Norbert's going to be as long as your house. . .” The following week dragged by. Wednesday night found Hermione and Harry sitting alone in ...
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1answer
218 views

The verb "to overlook" embraces the opposite meanings?

One of the meanings of the verb to overlook is "to provide a view of" (the chateau overlooks fields of olive trees), when it gives you the possibility of seeing. The other meaning is "to fail to ...
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1answer
149 views

efficacy vs. efficiency

I've got troubles perceiving the difference in meaning between these terms. They have different Latin roots which means they have to be different (efficacy—efficacia, efficiency—efficientia). These ...
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6answers
42k views

What do you call a person who easily communicates with others?

I mean the type of person who likes to communicate with others and does so easily, and joins group activities easily. Could one call him a "social person"? For example: "I'm a social person" Someone ...
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2answers
97 views

What do these "how"s mean?

He sang it in a melodious, quiet voice, with a river accent, and it was simple, just «I got a purty little girl, she’s sweet six-teen, she’s the purti-est thing you ever seen,» repeating it with ...
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3answers
656 views

What do these 'ball's mean?

The guy [truck driver] just yelled above the roar, and all I [had hitchhiked the car]had to do was yell back, and we relaxed. And he balled that thing clear to Iowa City and yelled me the funniest ...
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3answers
35k views

What does "sure" mean?

How is sure different from yes? How is it different from other responses? When should I use it?
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1answer
2k views

to learn to write without spelling mistakes [duplicate]

When I write a paragraph I make 5 to 7 spelling mistakes. Sometimes i even swap some of the letters in the word while writing or typing. (I know, I don't have the habit of reading English articles, ...
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1answer
1k views

How to say in the future?

I came up with these two: in the late time in the latter time I write this in the comment to respond people. If necessary I'll improve it in the latter time. any problem? I think in the (near)...
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2answers
180 views

What do these 'off's mean?

(1) Harry’s broom had given a wild jerk and Harry swung off it. He was dangling from it, holding on with only one hand. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) (2) The stupid man swung off ...
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2answers
4k views

What noun describes one's manner of walking ("gait"?)

Can I apply the word "gait" when I describe someone's manner of walking? What is the appropriate term? For example: He walked with a slow stiff gait. Larry David walks with a teenagerish ...
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1answer
40 views

meaning of address

The justices must _18_ doubts about the court’s legitimacy by making themselves accountable to the code of conduct. 18. [A]suppress [B]exploit [C]address [D]ignore The answer is C, but I do ...
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1answer
71 views

concept and conception

Constitutional law is political because it results from choices rooted in fundamental social concepts like liberty and property. This is from one multiple choice, and I made it wrongly by choosing ...
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1answer
103 views

The meaning of Scan

Some words seem to have opposite meanings in different contexts. For example, scan, have both the meanings of look carefully and look carelessly? How to identify that?
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2answers
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"Toned" and "Endless" Pins

In Dictionary.com listed at number 14 is this definition of pin: Informal a human leg. "Legs that go on forever: Kylie showed off her enviable pins in the dress, which she teamed with black heels" ...
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1answer
244 views

What does cast followed by prepositional phrase mean?

"Truly, friend; and methinks it must gladden your heart, after your troubles and sojourn in the wilderness," said the townsman, "to find yourself at length in a land where iniquity is searched out ...
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2answers
2k views

How to read this symbol, a', in English?

While reading a English Syntax book, I wondered how I have to read a', a'', a''' in English. Would you tell me how to?
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1answer
3k views

What does drop a stitch mean?

“But they’re such fierce competition for university places they can’t afford to drop a stitch, can they?” (BBC Radio Drama, The Archers) (1) What does the highlighted part mean? (2) Is university ...
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2answers
761 views

What do these duel terms mean?

[Harry said] "You're a lot braver now that you're back on the ground and you've got your little friends with you," said Harry coolly. There was of course nothing at all little about Crabbe and ...
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2answers
85 views

Can holes be the object of burning?

Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus's cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in people's shoes. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's ...
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1answer
322 views

Can I call this a footrest?

This question was originally two questions, and has now been split. The other part of the question can be found here It is a thing that is attached to a desk and onto which we can place our feet. Can ...
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2answers
76 views

Meaning of "bolting down"

It’s a matter of preparation — bolting down your water heater before an earthquake or actually reading the in-flight safety card before takeoff — but also of mental conditioning. In the above ...
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1answer
71 views

Using "lay-by" as verb for buying goods

lay by, 1 : to lay aside : discard, 2 : to store for future use : save, 3 : to cultivate (as corn) for the last time (Merriam Webster) Considering that Merriam Webster's definition of "lay-by" as a ...
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2answers
4k views

Should I call it a pedestrian overpass or pedestrian footbridge?

It's a bridge that allows people to cross a road. How can I call it? Can it be a pedestrian overpass or pedestrian footbridge?
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3answers
562 views

Why are they catcalling for their lovely new member?

"Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Ravenclaw too, but "Brown, Lavender" became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers; Harry could see Ron's twin brothers ...
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1answer
1k views

Is there a standard dictionary to use for vocabulary?

I have come across many kinds of English dictionaries like Oxford, Cambridge, Collins and other similar ones which are commonly used. Suppose I wanted to look for a word, apparently each of them gives ...
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1answer
104 views

Is this 'there' a deictic or does it mean 'at that point'?

He turned back to Harry. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." He ...
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1answer
439 views

Stress in insight vs. incite

Wikipedia says: the English words insight and incite are distinguished in pronunciation only by the fact that the stress falls on the first syllable in the former and on the second syllable in the ...
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2answers
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What is the meaning of the word "geek"? [closed]

I know some meanings of this word but I want to know what it means in detail. Can anyone tell me?
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1answer
2k views

What does "dear" mean in this sentence?

"Oh, Mom, can I go on the train and see him [Harry Potter], Mom, eh please...." "You've already seen him, Ginny, and the poor boy isn't something you goggle at in a zoo. Is he really, Fred? How do ...