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.

1,047 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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3
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1answer
48 views

Can 'ready' play a role of a 'predicate continuation'?

https://www.lexico.com/definition/unmade (of a bed) not having the bedclothes arranged tidily ready for sleeping in. I'm a little confused about the usage of the word 'ready' here. Does it just mean ...
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0answers
44 views

Is it correct to say "don't go Err like that before talking"?

One problem of my daughter is that she often says "Err Err Err" for a while (3 or 4 seconds) before saying a full sentence. Probably, she makes that sounds because she can't remember the ...
2
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1answer
37 views

"might as well be" vs "could very well be"

Compare these sentences: This woman standing right next to him in this picture could very well be his mother This woman standing right next to him in this picture might as well be his mother Are ...
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2answers
153 views

is regretting and regrets

I know this is the basic grammar knowledge, but I can't figure out the differences between these sentences: 1)We sure hope Brad is regretting those hateful tweets now. and 2)We sure hope Brad regrets ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Is "Her hair is in a pigtail" (singular) used in British English?

The British say "Her hair is in a plait" (picture 1) but "Her hair is in pigtails" (picture 2). Americans say "Her hair is in a braid" (No.1) and "Her hair is in ...
2
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1answer
268 views

What word best describes "to move your hand over a surface while pressing firmly"?

rub [intransitive, transitive] to move your hand, or something such as a cloth, backwards and forwards over a surface while pressing firmly → stroke rub your nose/chin/eyes/forehead etc ...
2
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1answer
80 views

Run it under water, hold it under water, run water over it

The following sentences are about rinsing something under running water, be it a whisk (or any utensil for that matter) or a scald, wound/cut. Just run it under water. Just hold it under water. ...
2
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1answer
46 views

Is the other car there?

We have two cars. My brother had taken one and wasn't back yet. My dad wanted to go out. So he asked (because my mom wasn't home too): Is the other car there? Does this sound fine? P.S. And does "...
2
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2answers
457 views

Initial talking or initial talk?

I just saw "initial talking" as the title to the introduction on an academic text. I had only seen "talk" not "talking". Is initial talking also used as an introduction of sorts?
2
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2answers
156 views

Which is a better alternative for "limitations" in this context: "lacked resources" or "lacked the capability"?

This is from a book review by Michell (1920): "[...] provinces tried to meet the need [of tackling unemployment] by [...], but the limitations of purely provincial and unrelated bureaus became ...
2
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2answers
4k views

usage of ‘hope’: uncountable or countable plural?

Here are some examples from dictionaries where hope is used in the plural people have hopes of increasing trade between the two regions (Collins Cobuild) she has hopes of studying to be a ...
2
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1answer
192 views

Understanding inwards and outwards in context

The following quotation is from Anthony Trollope's The Small House at Allington: That she was a lady, inwards and outwards, from the crown of her head to the sole of her feet, in head, in heart, ...
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2answers
2k views

contexts for "to learn" vs. "for learning"

Consider the following sentences We came here to learn English. We came here for learning English. I suppose most of us here would agree that both of them are grammatically correct. And I ...
2
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1answer
93 views

Can I use the verb 'forgo' in this context?

Cambridge says: forgo (v.) to not have or do something enjoyable: I shall have to forgo the pleasure of seeing you this week. So, can I use the verb forgo in this context? For example, if one ...
2
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1answer
646 views

using "a/an" with "enjoyment"

Can enjoyment be used with an article "a/an" or should it always be a non-countable noun? For example, Listening to her was always an enjoyment. Among numerous examples of using "enjoyment" in ...
2
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1answer
11k views

What is the difference between "I am sorry to miss your concert" & "I am sorry for missing your concert"?

Here is from the dictionary Sorry (adj): [not before noun] feeling sad and sympathetic sorry (that)… I'm sorry that your husband lost his job. sorry (to see, hear, etc.) We're sorry to ...
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1answer
4k views

Is it right to use the structure "do as well as doing"?

These properties are particularly useful in travel items which can face varying climates and weather conditions, as well as withstanding the rigors of various transport methods and rough handling. In ...
2
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4answers
5k views

How to use "seems to be"

What is the correct way to say this.. I just checked my bank account and that seems to be have been activated. I just checked my bank account and that seems activated. I just checked my bank account ...
2
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3answers
405 views

Can we use the word "image" for all digital pictures?

I was reading this question : Photo Vs. Picture Vs. Image : What is the difference between them? As a technical person, we use the word image for all digital pictures. I wanted to know is that ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Verb for someone who refuses to repay money

What's the verb to say the behavior of someone who refuse to repay the money he owed? (Even if he knows it and is able to pay it back.) As far as I know, there is a commonly used noun which called ...
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0answers
22 views

Why is "for" used in "for me" in standup meetings?

In standup meetings where each attendee tells about what they did yesterday in turn, people always start with "For me", for example, "For me, yesterday I finished my task" or "...
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0answers
36 views

Human brain or brains

Should I use the singular or the plural form of brain? Would a native speaker say "human's brain" in my sentence? "She studies parasites and how some of them affect human brain."
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0answers
32 views

What word to describe the feeling of someone when they get offended?

When I get offended, usually there is some kind of odd feeling on my chest as if something is growing inside it, ossified, makes me shudder (not because of fear, but because of anger) and limp at the ...
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0answers
21 views

<Live by one's age> VS <Live based on one's age> VS <Live according to one's age>

Can we use the phrases "Live by one's age", "Live based on one's age" and "Live according to one's age" interchangeably to mean living in a way that represents your age? ...
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0answers
43 views

Can "notwithstanding" be used without a complement?

I have checked Cambridge Dictionary, Longman, and Merriam-Webster, but I fail to find a conclusive answer to whether notwithstanding can be used without a complement. According to Merriam-Webster, it ...
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0answers
43 views

Spun it on me (AmE)

A group of friends is talking, and one of them says she is leaving the town for good. The rest show how sad they are and, after their affectionate words, the girl saying good-bye replies: Well, you ...
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1answer
39 views

What is the function of the word 'possible' in this clause?

This is where most people are impeded from being an iconoclast. For example, when confronted with information streaming from the eyes, the brain will interpret this information in the quickest way ...
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0answers
41 views

What word can I use as the opposite of "artistic" in university contexts?

Work at the university is generally divided into on the one hand artistic work, and, on the other hand, work based on scholarly research, right? Now I need an adjective for the non-artistic kind of ...
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0answers
31 views

"History and chemistry exams" or "exams for history and chemistry"

A group of students are going to take two exams tomorrow. When you are talking about the exams, which is the normal way of saying this? The students are to have history and chemistry exams tomorrow. ...
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1answer
30 views

What is the grammatical purpose of the phrase "So…" in the following sentence?

What is the grammatical purpose of the phrase "So…" in the following sentence? Why don't you wear socks? I don't wear socks because I believe it's more natural and I believe my feet smell ...
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1answer
21 views

I saw him take and I thought he arrive

Can someone explain to me the grammatical rule for: I thought he knew it I saw him arrive Why use past tense (knew) for one,and present for another (arrive)
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1answer
35 views

Is it correct and natural to say "activate a cell phone plan" meaning to get the minutes and internet that come with it?

Could you tell me if it іs it correct and natural to say activate a cell phone plan meaning to get the minutes and internet that come with it? For example: Sir, if you wish to activate your cell ...
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1answer
15 views

Usage of “constitute”

Can constitute be used in the following sentence? “Every drop constitutes a part of the ocean.” If not, what word can I replace it with?
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34 views

Can "point-down" be used as an adverb even we don't see it in dictionaries?

I heard a native speaker say "put the knife point-down into the basket" when teaching people to put knives into a basket of a dish washer the right way. And he said "point-down" is ...
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0answers
29 views

What do we do with a benchmark?

Considering the concept of a benchmark, in the sense of a single point of reference. What does one say, when, for example, a person has achieved a score that is higher than some benchmark score? I ...
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0answers
28 views

Do we say "some tiny bits of yogurt or ice cream" "drops"?

Some food such as ice cream, yogurt, smoothies etc is in form "a semi-liquid". It is not water but not frozen. It is in the middle. When eating yogurt, sometimes some tiny bits of yogurt, ...
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0answers
26 views

Figurative use of "buy" in a phrase such as "just to buy myself peace of mind"

I came across the phrase "just to buy myself peace of mind". I am wondering, are there other examples where "buy" is used similarly to communicate paying a figurative price in ...
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1answer
37 views

Would "ordinary" sound self degrading in this context?

A: So you work for that company. Are you some kind of hotshot business man or something? B: Me? No, I'm just an ordinary office worker. Hi. Does "ordinary" sound self degrading or does it ...
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0answers
25 views

Is "bolt" only used if running away from someone/something?

BOLT Verb (of a horse or other animal) run away suddenly, typically from fear. "the horses shied and bolted" (of a person) move or run away suddenly in an attempt to escape. "they ...
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0answers
36 views

A shorter way to indicate “living in luxury”

I hate......... I exercise moderation…It will be easy to forget your vision and purpose one you have fine clothes, fast horses and beautiful women. [In which case], you will be no better than a slave, ...
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0answers
31 views

graduate from high school / graduate high school / finish high school

Look at these sentences. (a) I graduated from high school last year. (b) I graduated high school last year. (C) I finished high school last year. Which one would you use? Most native speakers I know ...
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0answers
29 views

Can you use "abase oneself" positively?

Longman dictionary defines "abase yourself" as: to behave in a way that shows you accept that someone has complete power over you I gave an extensive lookup on the internet on the phrase. It ...
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0answers
44 views

Do we say "Bob is my second big brother"?

A couple has these sons and daughters: Tom (a male - born 1st) Mary (a female - born 2nd) Lana (a female - born 3rd) Bob (a male - born 4th) Lulu (a female - born 5th) Mike (a male - born 6th) ...
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2answers
771 views

"Can I use either of them" or "Can I use both of them"?

Let's say, in a question on this site, I am giving you two sentences which I think probably carry the same meaning and I want to ask you if I can use either of them interchangeably. I feel like if I ...
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0answers
27 views

How to use "by" in the meaning of "according to", "extra info" and "as a result"?

I've found the following definition for "by", but I am not sure HOW and WHEN I can use "by" in such meaning. Definition of "by" in Oxford dictionary from what something ...
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0answers
15 views

Difference between "is like nothing else" and "is not like anything else"

"Anyone who has visited Paris knows that this city is not like anything else" "Anyone who has visited Paris knows that this city is like nothing else" Is there any difference ...
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32 views

Do you use "abet" positively?

Longman dictionary defines “abet” as: to help someone do something wrong or illegal. Oxford dictionary: abet somebody: to help or encourage somebody to do something wrong That's what I learned until I ...
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1answer
28 views

dashed to/for the door

She dashed to/for the door. Is 'dashed' natural here? Is there any difference between 'dashed to' and 'dashed for'? Is 'dashed' typically used when a destination is included or would it be just as ...
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0answers
40 views

usage of "so" in this sentence

The entire motivation for networking was so people could sit at their dumb terminals and, instead of accessing only their local mainframes, access totally different mainframes. My understanding: The ...
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22 views

Is "any" used with a plural countable noun in a prepositional phrase of a negative sentence?

Textbooks tell us that "any" is often used with a plural countable noun in a negative sentence. For example, (1) I don't have any apples. (2) I can't come up with any ideas. Does that ...

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