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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
95 votes
11 answers
272k 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?
user avatar
129 votes
14 answers
115k views

Is there any difference between “which” and “that”?

What is the difference between the words which and that? For example: I have a car which is blue. I have a car that is blue. Are there any rules specifying usage of which and that?
user avatar
  • 3,051
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?
user avatar
  • 735
13 votes
7 answers
60k views

Shouldn't "five minute walk" be "five minutes walk" in this sentence?

Recently, while skimming through an article I came across a sentence which is as follows. The five minute walk will connect you with life. My rationale says it should have been "five minutes&...
user avatar
  • 277
85 votes
3 answers
319k views

Does "a couple" always mean two?

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple ...
user avatar
  • 4,657
40 votes
3 answers
348k views

"Important to me" or "Important for me"

I cannot easily figure out which one is more appropriate to use: It's important to me. It's important for me. Are they the same? If not, what's the difference?
user avatar
  • 1,188
29 votes
7 answers
193k views

Difference between "in time" and "on time"

I have an appointment at 8 and I arrive there at 7:55, is it "on time" or "in time"? What about "the nick of time"?
user avatar
  • 681
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 ...
user avatar
  • 301
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

is a dove a "she"? how to use "he" and "she" for animals?

In the song "Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan, there's a verse that reads: Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail Before she sleeps in the sand? My question is, why he used "...
user avatar
109 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 ...
user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
54k views

Why is 'enjoy to [verb]' incorrect?

I can say: I love to read. I hate to read. But it must be: I enjoy to read. I enjoy reading. What is enjoy so different?
user avatar
  • 7,146
11 votes
4 answers
36k views

Usage of into vs in vs inside

When should 'into', 'in' and 'inside' be used? What are the differences between the three? For example, what are the differences between the following statements? Are any of them incorrect? ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
user avatar
37 votes
4 answers
231k views

Allow (to) + infinitive, substantive, verb+ -ing

In which way can the verb 'allow' be used? There is always some confusion and apparently it's often intuitively used wrongly. Which form corresponds to correct English, eventually depending on context ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Proper usage of the word since

Sometimes I hear people say something like the example below. Is it correct to use the word since in this manner? Mosquitoes are surviving on earth since millions of years.
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
5k views

'Would' vs 'should', expressing expectation on the part of the speaker

Page 111 (77, Should expressing probability), Oxford Learner's Grammar - Grammar Finder: We can also use should to say that something is probable, either in the present or the future. ...
user avatar
  • 6,995
3 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
17k views

"Many a year" vs. "many years"

so soon they were all seated at Beorn's table, and half had not seen such a gathering for many a year. Why is many a year used? Should not many years be used? What is the difference between many a ...
user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
130k views

Could you clarify when to use "Though" at the end of a sentence?

Ok, English textbooks mostly teach the structure "Although / though", for example, Although my wife and I are so busy,we spend time together every weekend. Anne was fond of Tim, though he ...
user avatar
  • 15.9k
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the difference between “say” and “tell”?

I really get confused when to use say and when to use tell. Which is appropriate in the following: What did he tell? / What did he say? What are you saying? / What are you telling?
user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
8k views

Why "would" instead of "will" in this sentence?

The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. (Source) what does would imply ...
user avatar
  • 2,546
19 votes
6 answers
9k views

How many items are actually "a few items"?

When we use a few, how many items are usually indicated? My intuition tells me it's something between 3 and 9, but what is the most common range for a few?
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
892 views

“that” and “which” as relative pronoun

Since both “that” and “which” can be used to modify things in a sentence with an adjective clauses, which one is preferred in which situations? I found the following rules on the Internet. I am ...
user avatar
  • 2,943
2 votes
3 answers
4k views

"All of the ...." or " All the ... "?

I am a bit confused about these two forms For example : John reads books all of the time/all the time All the students/All of the students have participated in march against smoking in the campus ...
user avatar
  • 535
1 vote
1 answer
95k views

Can "Monday", "Tuesday" be plural like "Mondays" or "Tuesdays"?

Which of the following sentences are correct? From now on, the biochemistry lecture classes on Mondays at 10.30 a.m. will be held on Sundays at 11.30 a.m instead. From now on, the biochemistry ...
user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
245k 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"?
user avatar
  • 87
12 votes
6 answers
5k views

Difference between will and shall

What is the difference between will and shall in modern spoken English? For example I have the following sentences: He will arrive on Tuesday. He shall arrive on Tuesday. Are there any ...
user avatar
  • 369
6 votes
6 answers
898 views

The meaning of 'where' in "Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things rationally and logically"

This is a paragraph generally describing the characteristics of an ISTJ person: As an ISTJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in via your five senses in a ...
user avatar
  • 1,265
8 votes
3 answers
750 views

Is "further" really used as synonym of "farther"?

The OALD, for the meaning of further says: (comparative of far) (especially BrE) at or to a greater distance SYN farther Is further really used as synonym of farther? As far as I recall, there is ...
user avatar
  • 20.3k
7 votes
2 answers
7k views

Exist vs exists in mathematics

Are there any rules about when to say exist and when to say exists in mathematics? For example, both these sentences appear in a book of mine: There exist αi in I such that xn = Σ αi xi. There exists ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

The correct usage of bring vs. take

My husband continuously uses bring versus take incorrectly. For example: I will bring him to church on Sunday. The correct form is to say: I will take him to church on Sunday. I cannot ...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
677 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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,800
3 votes
5 answers
13k views

What do we call someone who's in between -a friend and an enemy!

He's a friend of mine The message is clear. He's my friend. He wishes all good for me and helps me whenever I need one. He's an enemy of mine The message is clear again. He's my enemy. He wishes ...
user avatar
  • 64.9k
1 vote
3 answers
4k views

A comparison between Grade, Mark, Score and Point

Let's suppose a teacher wants to punish a student and wants to decrease his / her achieved points on a test paper; he would say something to the student; I would like to know which one of the ...
user avatar
  • 13.8k
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can/could vs. may/might (expressing typical occurrences)

The following parts are taken from PEU:1 122.2 common or typical We often use can to say what is common or typical. Scotland can be very warm in September. Ann can really ...
user avatar
  • 6,995
6 votes
7 answers
118k views

Difference between and usage of "Them" and "These/those"

What is the difference between them and these/those? What is the usage of them and these/those? Example sentence - Some of these are insured by govt... But I think "Some of them" is more ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Present/past perfect when the object is a dead person

I remember (vaguely) reading somewhere that it is wrong to use the present perfect when the subject of a sentence is someone who is long dead: *Einstein has visited the Philippines. My question is,...
user avatar
  • 669
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

X feet long/high versus (a/an) x-foot [noun]

Why in this picture are the length and height of a plane given as x feet long and y feet high but the wingspan is described as a z-foot wingspan? Are they the same units? How can I choose which one ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
121 views

Comparative vs. Superlative While Comparing Two Items

In his book section 176, 3rd ed., Swan says: Elder brother/sister are used when a person has only one brother/sister who is older; eldest is used when there are more. An elder son/daughter is ...
user avatar
  • 5,838
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

How often is the expression "get on well" used? Is there any difference with "get along"?

I have been talking with a person from US and when I said something like this: They do not get on well with others She didn´t understand me at first, but later she said that was a funny sentence ...
user avatar
  • 725
20 votes
1 answer
553k views

"Can you please" vs. "Could you please" [duplicate]

I heard using 'could' is for politeness. When I request something, should I say "Can you please" or "Could you please"? Does the latter sound over-polite and pretentious?
user avatar
  • 213
15 votes
6 answers
213k views

What is the difference between a company, organisation, industry, firm, corporation and business?

A company is any form of business whether it is small or large. Generally the term "company" indicates a particular kind of business dealing in a specific product. An organisation is the ...
user avatar
  • 443
41 votes
5 answers
18k views

How can you recognize if an "uncle" is father's brother or mother's brother? (Is there any "default option"? )

Sometimes the speaker (or author) specifies their meaning for the word "uncle", for example: The gelding was mine, a gift from a great-uncle on my mother’s side. (Educated by Tara Westover) ...
user avatar
  • 5,118
15 votes
5 answers
35k views

What is the difference between "general" and "generic"?

I am finding an example to clearly differentiate and demonstrate the use of these two words. At the moment, I am relying more on my feelings to decide which word to use. Say I am writing an article ...
user avatar
  • 563
11 votes
3 answers
133k views

Family do or does?

What should I use My family do not give me permission to be outside after 10pm. or My family does not give me permission to be outside after 10pm. Now as I typed in MS-word it says does is ...
user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
3k views

"(Noun) the sh*t out of this" — What nouns work?

In the recent feature film The Martian, Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, has to figure out a way to grow food on Mars when it's never been done before in order to survive until he can possibly be ...
user avatar
  • 65.4k
25 votes
11 answers
4k views

"must" vs "shall" - are they the same, or is one a softened version of the other?

In Information Technology, the "RFC2119 standard" (not exactly standard, but it does not matter here) provides guidance for the use of some words: "must", "must not", &...
user avatar
  • 675
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Meaning and usage of ain't

Sometimes I encounter ain't, but I really don't know how to translate it properly. What does ain't stand for? If I really wanted to use it, in which contexts would you say it's acceptable using it?
user avatar
  • 999
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 - ...
user avatar
  • 64.9k
5 votes
2 answers
63k views

Early vs Earlier

Imagine you are organizing a lunch and want to ask someone (your friend or sister, etc.) to come over and help you prepare the meal. Which one of the following words works properly in the self-made ...
user avatar
  • 13.8k

1
2 3 4 5
12