Questions tagged [word-choice]

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the several possibilities available for a particular meaning, and which one of them would be the most appropriate.

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94 votes
11 answers
269k views

Should I say "She is in the park" or "She is at the park"?

I am really confused. Which preposition is correct? She is in/at the park. They are in/at the park. I am in/at the park. Should I use in or at in these sentences?
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20 votes
2 answers
2k views

Articles: When do I use "a", "the", or "__"?

How do I know whether to use the definite (the) or indefinite (a, an) article, and when to omit it altogether?
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  • 735
45 votes
3 answers
325k views

"An hour" or "a hour"

Which indefinite article should precede hour — a or an? an hour a hour Does the usage of an vs a depend on the pronunciation — a history, a hobby, but an hour, an honor?
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55 votes
7 answers
24k views

"In" and "on": How can I decide which one to use for vehicles?

Examples: In a car, van, etc. On a bus, boat, motorcycle, etc. How can one decide which preposition to use? Is memorization the only way or is there a better way? Note: People generally explain ...
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38 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why is wine made 'from' grapes, but tables are made 'of' wood?

(1) Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. (Wikipedia) (2) Tables were made of marble or wood and metal (typically bronze or silver alloys), sometimes with richly ...
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36 votes
4 answers
18k views

What is the difference between can and could in 'Can/could you please explain this to me?'

Can you please explain this to me? Could you please explain this to me? I am unable to figure out which to use which situation. I did google, and some posts say they are both the same, even if ...
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15 votes
5 answers
40k views

"Think of" versus "think about"

Could someone help me to understand when I should use think of and when think about in sentences? What is the difference between using one or the other?
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6 votes
6 answers
79k views

"India has" or "India have"

English is not my first language. Sometimes I read some mistakes in newspapers and get confused. Please check below sentences and let me know your valuable feedback. As per newspapers: India ...
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  • 3,927
12 votes
7 answers
1k views

"waterway ... flowed sombre" - Should Joseph Conrad have used an adverb, not an adjective?

SPOILER ALERT: This question asks about the last line of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. If you are reading the novel, you may want to skip this question. Should an adverb (i.e. sombrely) have ...
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4 votes
2 answers
5k views

"I have sent it to X too" vs. "I have sent it to X also"

I have sent this e-mail to Aman also. I have sent this e-mail to Aman too. Which one is correct? What is the exact difference between the two? Please explain.
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  • 1,138
17 votes
7 answers
75k views

Difference between “little”, “few”, “a little” and “a few”

What are the differences among “little”, “few”, “a little” and “a few”? Are “little” and “few” synonyms?
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  • 4,217
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Fish vs Fishes for plural use

Now, I encountered a sentence in a text book, saying Many fish are specially adapted to live only in certain places. I know that plural of the word fish can be fish as Merriam says But wouldn't ...
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6 votes
1 answer
5k views

Correct usage of will and would

Consider the following sentence It will/would rain tomorrow. I understand "would" usually means something that is really improbable. So "it would happen" means it might happen but it is very ...
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  • 301
108 votes
8 answers
150k views

Is there any difference between being ill and sick?

I can say I'm ill or I'm sick. But what is the difference between the usage of these terms? I've heard that one can use sick for longer-term and ill for shorter-term, but is that really correct? How ...
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13 votes
3 answers
406 views

What are the grammatical rules determining whether to use "which" or "what"?

What are the grammatical rules determining whether to use which or what? I usually go by intuition. It's "What car are you looking at?" and "What bicycle do you like most?" but "Which song did you ...
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  • 4,657
11 votes
6 answers
16k views

"high" vs. "tall"

The chimney in the picture above is more than 20m high. The chimney in the picture above is more than 20m tall. Are both high and tall proper in these sentences? If not, why not? And when should ...
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9 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is it acceptable to use "whose" when referring to an object?

Whose is used for people (e.g. "Whose that girl?"), but is it acceptable to use whose for objects too? Is there another word I should use for objects? To make the question clearer, when I ask "Whose ...
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  • 20.3k
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are the differences between "lay" and "lie"?

I'm confused about lay and lie. Please look at these examples: "Don't lie in the sun for too long." "The dog was lying dead on the floor." "She lay back against the pillows." "I told her a ...
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18 votes
5 answers
163k views

anyone vs someone. Which one?

Has someone seen my bag? Has anyone seen my bag? Which one is grammatically correct and Why? Which one should I use at this place? Can you give some more examples?
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  • 1,138
7 votes
2 answers
33k views

Difference between might and could

Let's not wait any longer. He might not turn up. I would like to know in this sentence, could we use could instead of might? Can these two words be used alternatively? What's the difference between ...
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  • 525
13 votes
1 answer
74k views

Could you vs would you

Could you write your name? Would you write your name? When you are asked to do this, are there any situation in which you hear weird if either is used (but the other sounds pretty natural .)
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27 votes
4 answers
1k views

Toward vs. Towards

Are the words "toward" and "towards" synonymous? If not, when should I use one over the other? "Towards" usually sounds silly to my ear, but is that just me?
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  • 3,080
6 votes
1 answer
10k views

"Neither", "none", "no one" + [of them] + verb-s

In a comment on English Language & Usage I read the following answer responding to a(n) asker's question: "Neither sound natural." I have always had more than one doubt on the "...
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7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Using a verb as subject of a sentence

In Italian, when I write a sentence about an action (e.g. eating fish, playing), I would use the infinitive, such as mangiare pesce fa bene alla salute (which literally is "to eat fish is healthy"), ...
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  • 20.3k
3 votes
3 answers
10k views

"Assume you are given ..." or "Assume that you are given ..."?

I have often read people using sentences like... Assume you are given a ball. in place of Assume that you are given a ball. While both sound correct while speaking, the first sentence does ...
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26 votes
3 answers
4k views

What are the differences between "to talk" and "to speak"?

Both verbs "to talk" and "to speak" refer to the same action. Is their meaning exactly the same? When is more appropriate to use one, or the other verb?
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6 votes
3 answers
14k views

a two hour leave VS. two hours leave

I couldn't get the difference between these? give me a two hour leave give me two hours leave What is more, when it comes to using the latter, which one would you rather use? two hours' leave two ...
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  • 5,767
3 votes
2 answers
10k views

Usage of 'from' and 'since'

I am often confused with the usage of since and from. I know him from 15 years I know him since 15 years. Which one is correct? How would I decide which is the right preposition to use?
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  • 1,444
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

As, when or while?

What is the right way to say this: The birds were singing as/when/while Jill stopped on the old wooden bridge to look down at the ducks. It'd be good if you gave a little explanation as well.
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Usage of: 'since', 'for' and 'in'

Which of these is grammatically correct? 1. a) He has been working under my direct supervision since the last two years 1. b) He has been working under my direct supervision for the ...
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  • 483
1 vote
1 answer
452 views

"made of "and "made from"

The Source These people—who may well include you and me—are eating bread made of air, and so, in a sense, are made of air as well. Isn't this supposed to be "made from air" because the air is not ...
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7 votes
3 answers
242k views

"So am I" or "So do I"?

What would be the correct way to reply to a statement such as: "I belong to this group" Would it be "So do I" or "So am I"?
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  • 87
16 votes
4 answers
16k views

"Is there a" vs "is there any"?

Which one of these is right? Is there a way [...]? Is there any way [...]? May I use either? If yes, what's the difference?
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

When to use "of", "in" and "at"?

I never know how to use prepositions like of, in or at. What's the rules for each one of then? My last doubt was about this sentence: Order of importance Order in importance Order at importance ...
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  • 373
7 votes
8 answers
658 views

The nuance of 'in' and 'inside'

See these sentences: See there, it seems that someone is inside the house. OVER See there, it seems that someone is in the house. Another example: The doctors found two bullets in his body. ...
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  • 64.8k
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Right use of prepositions in, on, under in relation to water

The dictionaries do not provide good enough answers for the right use of these prepositions in the following context: The man is IN the water. The man is under the water. The man is below the water. ...
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12 votes
2 answers
7k views

"It's time you ..........to bed."

Could you possibly help me on this question please? "All right, Johhny, it's time you ..........to bed." went would go will be going going to go I would have gone for the word "go" but it is not ...
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  • 10.6k
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

“It” vs. “that”

Is this sentence correct? I did it yesterday, but I’m not going to do it again. I’m not sure about it. Should I replace “it” with “that”? I did it yesterday, but I’m not going to do it ...
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7 votes
5 answers
4k views

How can we refer to women we don't know

How can we name female people whose name we dont know when we refer to them? I was in a situation in which I talked to a female person who works at information desk in a company and after I talked to ...
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  • 10.6k
6 votes
6 answers
11k views

Alternative ways of saying "...., right?"

What are some alternative ways of confirming a point, situation, etc. apart from saying “…, right?” at the end of a sentence to make it a question? (e.g. You are going tomorrow on the 11:30 flight, ...
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4 votes
4 answers
676 views

Choosing the word: learn or study

There is a picture of a boy who is in class. In the picture the teacher is dictating a text, and the boy is writing it down. The children are asked to describe this picture in one sentence: (What's ...
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  • 2,800
6 votes
6 answers
54k views

Is calling someone 'ma'am' offensive? Does it make any difference to calling someone 'madam'?

I had read it somewhere but forgot the source. But do some women consider being called 'ma'am' offensive? I mean it's just 'madam' to 'ma'am' then why this fuss? Also, is it 'ma'm' or 'ma'am'? I see ...
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  • 64.8k
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there a standard way to read aloud fractions?

Common fractions have standard English equivalents, e.g.: "One half" for 1/2 "Three quarters" for 3/4 But is there a preferred way to read aloud non-standard fractions? The closest way I know of is ...
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4 votes
3 answers
56k views

Is "money" a countable noun? [duplicate]

Is money a countable noun? We had a little/few money left, so we decided to have a meal in a cheap restaurant so that it costs us a few rupees. Here rupees is the currency of India. I wonder few ...
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  • 1,995
12 votes
2 answers
28k views

"To your left" versus "on your left"

There is a security camera on the building to your left There is a security camera on the building on your left Is there any real difference in meaning here? Which sounds more natural to native ...
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  • 1,893
22 votes
7 answers
66k views

“I have little money” vs. “I have a little money”

What is the difference between “I have little money” and “I have a little money”? Are they the same?
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

A professor takes/gives/sets exams

As a student you take exams and a professors sets the question. So he is the one who is the authority on the exam. I am looking for a word which can be used in the following sentence- Professor ...
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  • 173
12 votes
2 answers
27k views

Differences between "in order to", "so that" and "so as to"?

Are there any differences (general or regional differences) between "in order to", "so that" and "so as to"? I've seen that they may be interchangeable, but I'm not so sure.
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  • 923
7 votes
1 answer
3k views

Using the adjectives 'very' and 'own' for our (own!) body organs

The adjectives 'very' and 'own' mean precisely as stated or being exactly the same and not any other. I understand a subtle difference between my bike and my own bike in below mentioned instance - ...
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  • 64.8k
6 votes
1 answer
22k views

Over the Internet or On the Internet?

I have come across both the phrases - 'on the internet' and 'over the internet.' I'm pretty sure that both are correct but then which to use when? Please note, I'm well aware of all over the ...
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  • 64.8k

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