Questions tagged [word-usage]

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the meaning or correctness of a word in a sentence. Give as much context as possible.

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26 views

Generic “the” used in other places in a sentence, maybe not as a subject?

I know "the" can be used to refer to a thing in general, which works like a noun in its plural form. For examples, (1) The lion is big and hunts other animals for food. (2) The organization ...
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23 views

What is the difference between “to assuage somebody” and “to soothe somebody”

What is the difference between "to assuage somebody" and "to soothe somebody" Both words have pretty similar meanings.
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26 views

Can I use 'mind' in this sentence?

I came across the following sentence in a textbook: She'a laid-back girl. She never minds others. It sounded odd to me. I looked up the meaning of the word "mind" in Longman Dictionary and ...
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2answers
28 views

Is it clear and natural to connect two sentences using the conjunction “while”?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, "while" as a "conjunction" means compared with the fact that; but as in this example Tom is very extroverted and confident while Katy's shy ...
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1answer
28 views

an [“imaginary” or “virtual”] person who only exists in her mind

Here is a scene (at 03:06) from Friends Season 4 Episode 13 "The One with Rachel's Crush". There is no anyone else in the room where Rachel is just practicing asking Joshua out. To describe ...
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Do we say “to shake / beat dust out of / off the blanket / pillow / carpet etc”?

I am not sure what prepositions I should use when referring to dust of blanket / pillow / carpet / sofa / cloth / clothes / jeans etc. Which of the followings are correct: -to shake or beat dust out ...
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1answer
28 views

“Hi Joe” vs. “Hi Mr Parker” when writing an email

Joseph Parker is an English tutor and he likes his students call him Joe. By tutor, I mean he doesn't teach at college or school. He teaches English with an online classroom. Which probably means it's ...
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2answers
31 views

Is it a little bit redundant to say “These include games such as”?

According to Cambridge Dictionary Symptoms of the illness include a high temperature and a persistent dry cough. Which uses the pattern A include A_1 and A_2. Similarly, a wiki page uses the same ...
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24 views

Is it natural to say “xxx sports contain a, b, …”

According to Cambridge Dictionary, "include" means to contain something as a part of something else, or to make something part of something else while "contain" means to have ...
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458 views

Is it clear and natural to say “xxx is obstructing my understanding”?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, "obstruct" means to block a road, passage, entrance, etc. so that nothing can go along it, or to prevent something from happening correctly by putting ...
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3answers
19 views

“did a bit of googling” vs. “googled a few times”

According to Cambridge Dictionary, the verb "google" means to search for something on the internet using the Google search engine (= computer program that finds information) From a post I ...
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24 views

Is “upstairs” correct here?

On the 10th floor, the two men pulled out their guns and started shooting at each other. On the third floor, the office workers could hear the gunfire upstairs. Can upstairs be used about a floor ...
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17 views

“get to” = “do” in context

From a tutorial this is no good. Because this works for two, but eventually I'm going to want to have a hundred. And I'm going to get to that in a future video. I guess it means that the speaker ...
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1answer
61 views

meaning of “I have everything for my xxx”

From a tutorial And I have everything for my class. Which uses the pattern I have everything for my xxx. Another use could be I have everything for my party. I guess it's a more colloquial than &...
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2answers
33 views

How to express to remove peanuts' skin with your fingers in English?

I am not sure if people say "peanut shell" and "peanut skin" in everyday English? People in some countries get raw peanut seeds and fry them until they are crunchy as shown in the ...
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27 views

slight vs marginal vs little vs incremental vs insignificant vs moderate

I have come across the following words and to me they all mean the same. Can someone elaborate on their use cases and which one to use when? slight marginal little incremental insignificant moderate ...
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3answers
38 views

Does “leaving school at young” imply “uneducated”?

From Cambridge Dictionary Even though he left school at 16, he still managed to become prime minister. Usually, "even though" indicates two opposite parts in meaning, "left school at ...
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24 views

Difference between the two words: “satisfactory” and “satisfiable”

Is there any difference between the two words - satisfactory and satisfiable? From Merriam-Webster, satisfactory: giving satisfaction satisfiable: capable of being satisfied There is no example ...
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18 views

the pattern to give background information when posting a question

When posting a question, some askers give some background information, such as what they've already knew, what they checked out, etc. In the post Is it clear and natural to use "has to do with&...
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1answer
18 views

Is it clear and natural to use “has to do with” to mean “related”?

I'm aware of the meaning of "be/have something to do with sth", which is to be related to something or a cause of something but not in a way that you know about or understand exactly A ...
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19 views

'results in' vs 'creates'

I am trying to make the wikipedia definitions of the basic arithmetic operations consistent with each other, and was wondering on which verb is more concise. From Wikipedia:Addition The addition of ...
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1answer
37 views

What is A rule when talking about grammar?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, a rule is an accepted principle or instruction that states the way things are or should be done, and tells you what you are allowed or are not allowed to do from ...
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1answer
33 views

the usage of “it can be said”

From the post the meaning of "A tv series follows a main character" In the course of telling a story, it can be said that one is "observing" the subject of the story. The writer ...
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1answer
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Is it clear and natural to say “Both sentence_A and sentence_B change the meaning”?

Note: This post is focused on the use of "change the meaning". From an ELL post The trick is that a location/event is often a purpose; your purpose is to go to that location/event. With ...
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Is it clear and natural to say “a box of 3 balls”?

I guess it's natural to say "a box of balls" to describe the image below. To be more precise, is it clear and natural to say "a box of 3 balls"?
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Is it correct to say, “this chair is made to sit on, not to lay on” and “this chair is for sitting on, not lying on”?

Which of the followings are correct: -This chair is made to sit on, not lie on. -This chair is made to be sat on, not lain on. -This chair is for sitting on, not lying on. -This chair is for being ...
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19 views

Is it wrong to say “very recommended” for something

I know that the word recommended collocates with the words highly, heartily or thoroughly. However, maybe most of the non-native speakers tend to use the word very before recommended because of the ...
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18 views

Uses of the verb “get”. Pandora's box [closed]

Hi! I'm learning the language and I can't understand all the different meanings of the verb get in order to use all the meanings of the word... Is it there a trick, rule/s to identify when to use it? ...
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16 views

“future time” vs. “the future”; “past time” vs. “the past”

From Cambridge Dictionary The modal verb "would" is used to refer to future time from the point of view of the past Does the following sentence mean the same thing? ... refer to the ...
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1answer
33 views

Difference between “until” and “up till”

I'm stuck on a very simple phrase. A friend said "I won't be there until september". Wouldn't be better to say "I won't be there up till September"? The same question about present:...
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1answer
41 views

Is there any difference in meaning and usage between “granted”, “admittedly” and “to be sure”? [closed]

Could you tell me if there is there any difference in meaning and usage between "granted", "admittedly" and "to be sure"? For example: I've passed the exam, granted, it ...
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21 views

Equivalent word combination for 'greater flexibility'

I am writing the opening line for a technical presentation and not sure of the correctness of the following statement. Under Display Cameras promise greater flexibility to phone manufacturers. Are ...
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2answers
576 views

okey dokey, okey-dokey, okey-doke

https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/okey-doke If "okey dokey", "okey-dokey", or "okey-doke" just mean okay, then I wonder where the "doke(y)" comes from and ...
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2answers
35 views

What's the purpose of word “next”?

In Schindler's List (1993), Amon disagrees with Oskar, who wants to put Helen's name in the last line left on the final page: Oskar: Amon, you can't take her to Vienna with you. Amon: No, of course I ...
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31 views

What is the difference among “spend doing something”, “spend on doing something” and “spend in doing something”?

What is the difference among "spend something doing something", "spend something on doing something" and "spend something in doing something"? Can I use "spend ...
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1answer
22 views

What is another verb to use in this sentence “I stop at this step and unable to continue”?

I have been using "get stuck" in a sentence like "I get stuck at this step and can't move on" . But by googling I don't see it is used as much. Is there a more common way to say ...
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1answer
80 views

“I love me” vs. “I love myself”

In Two and a Half Men pilot, Jake and Charlie had a conversation after Alan decided to move to their mother's. Jake: "How come you don't have any kids?" Charlie: "I don't know. Maybe ...
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22 views

There are four cabinets in total, right?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, "cabinet" is a countable noun, so I can say "a cabinet", "one cabinet", "two cabinets" etc. In the image above, I guess each ...
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19 views

verb “influence” + on + object

Can I put "on" after a verb "influence" in a sentence? I've come across a sentence below. Many researchers have completed a range of studies to evaluate the relationship of ...
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17 views

What does “upstanding field” mean?

It's from the 4th episode of the 3rd season of Breaking Bad. The context is that Walt's house was bugged unbeknownst to him and he is mad about it. So he is having the guy take it out. Walt: Just ...
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3answers
42 views

how to say that I can't see from the fog

I am trying to express that when someone is smoking I can't see the things that are behind the fog because the fog is full. I am trying to say that the fog is not like a window but it is more like a ...
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2answers
36 views

Can “hinder” be used when we describe something good?

I wonder if “hinder” can be used to describe a situation where “we prevent something bad from happening”. For example, Put on this jacket, and it will hinder you from catching a cold”. Does this ...
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25 views

Can I use 'oversight' in this context?

This is an excerpt from a journal entry I am writing for my first-year university transition course: The annual pep rally is mandatory for all students, despite taking place in a crowded, hot ...
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1answer
46 views

how to say that the food is done but not fired

my context is: i am cooking eggs and they are about to be done. by done i mean they are eatable and not fired. by fired i mean they are not eatable. i know it is hard to understand because i am ...
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1answer
26 views

Meaning of the noun “spread” in context

It's from the 12th episode of the 2nd season of Breaking Bad. Here is the context: So, what did you have? Girl or boy? -Little girl. -That's nice. -Thanks. -Congratulations. Thank you. -l have a ...
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1answer
25 views

Is “on here” as common as “in here”?

We can say "the toy is in here" when we see the toy in the box. Can we say "the toy is on here" when we see the toy on the box? Is "on here" as common as "in here&...
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How to express “you position your arms and hands in front of your chest to let some objects fall into it”?

The picture shows a man positions his arms and hands in front of his chest to let some objects (such as rice, grains, balls, toys or even water) fall into them. It sounds wrong to say "he is ...
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1answer
408 views

Which adjective does 'pills', 'powder' and 'liquid' belong to?

My native language is Spanish and today I was wondering how do you say 'presentación' referring to the type of presentation the medicine come from. For example, if you go to the drug store to buy a ...
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1answer
16 views

Which of these sentences with “coerced into playing” are correct? [closed]

I am coerced into playing along with him If he comes, I will have to be coerced into playing I am to be coerced into playing Can I use those sentences above? Are those grammatically correct? Found ...
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3answers
41 views

Can we call Mathematics a kind of Art?

The dictionary says Art can refer to 'skill in conducting any human activity', and it also has an archaic usage 'science, learning, or scholarship'. So can we call Mathematics a kind of art or is it ...

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