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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Is it right to use "throughout" with yesterday or today?

Are these expressions correct? 1: Throughout yesterday afternoon, the place was noisy because of the event. 2: It was very cold and freezing throughout yesterday.
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5 votes
2 answers
124 views

Usage of 'split'

In a book, I encountered this sentence: Kosovo was a province of Yugoslavia before its split. This sentence portrays split as a noun/action. Now, I usually encounter split as: Kosovo was a ...
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4 votes
2 answers
20k views

What does "do" mean in "What do I do"?

What does "do" mean in "What do I do?" I think it means "What do I usually do?", but I don't know why anyone would ask what they usually do. Does it mean something else?
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7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Understanding "still" and "yet" usage

A1. I still can't speak English. A2. I can't speak English yet. B1. *I yet can't speak English. B2. *I can't speak English still. As far as I know, A1 and A2 are acceptable English. But, I wonder, ...
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8 votes
6 answers
2k views

Which to choose between “that”, “if”, or “whether”?

Which is correct?: Your question is very broad, and I doubt that it is answerable. Your question is very broad, and I doubt if it is answerable. Your question is very broad, and I doubt whether it is ...
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7 votes
4 answers
32k views

Difference between "female" and "woman"

I haven't been able to find any good articles describing rules (or patterns) specifying use of the words female and woman. Let's take the following sentences as an example: (assuming we have a man ...
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  • 3,051
12 votes
2 answers
18k views

Difference between "per" and "according to"

I have two examples: I am assembling this piece of furniture as per the attached instructions I am assembling this piece of furniture according to the attached instructions Is there ...
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  • 3,051
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Appropriate usage of "can't" and "cannot"

Are there any rules for using can't and cannot since they mean the same thing, and they are used interchangeably, but they sound weird in certain contexts?
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  • 299
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

When should I use "there" and "their"?

For example, in the following sentences, in which ones should I use there, and not their? ____ house is beautiful. ____ are lots of skyscrapers in Dubai.
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  • 263
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

May "garden" be used as a verb?

When my hobby is gardening, what I'm doing in the free time? Can I say: "I will garden tomorrow." or perhaps: "I'm going to garden some roses." Or can I ask someone how to garden tomatoes?
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11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do I "access" or "get access to"?

These days we can access more and more online systems. However, should we say access or get access to as in the following example: You can access your account by clicking this link. You can ...
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  • 3,051
12 votes
3 answers
358 views

How sophisticated does the word 'occidental' sound for the average native speaker?

The word oriental is quite widely used. But its counterpart, occidental is not so popular, at least I don't hear it so often. What's more, my contact with English is mostly by technical documentation,...
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19 votes
3 answers
39k views

Difference between "Trip", "Travel", and "Journey"

Are there any significant differences between words trip, travel, and journey (nouns)? Are those interchangeable words or are there any specific expressions which uses one of them but not another?
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  • 3,051
21 votes
6 answers
9k views

Is "snows" ever used as noun?

In Italian, nevi (the plural of neve, "snow") is used in some expressions, such as l'uomo delle nevi (a.k.a. Yeti), and le nevi dei Pirenei. (The last expression is referring to the Pyrenees, but I ...
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14 votes
5 answers
7k views

using "next" to days of the week

This question reminded me of a debate I have with non-native English speakers. If today is Thursday and I say that something is to happen "next Saturday", does that mean the "Saturday in two days" ...
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  • 249
8 votes
1 answer
785 views

Appropriate usage of "Take" and "Give"

What is the correct verb to be used in the following places? 1) Teacher Mary A s tuition. Therefore she would take the fees. 2) A student B s tuition. 3) An Exam is "taken" by a student, ...
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  • 6,271
4 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is "Agree to NOUN" instead of "Agree to VERB" acceptable?

I'm aware about two usages of the verb agree: To agree with somebody or something: I agreed with him. I agree with this idea. To agree to do something: We agreed to stop and eat. However, I ...
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  • 7,885
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Villages and hamlets in US native parlance

How common or uncommon are the words village and hamlet in US native parlance? In the small discussion following this comment, one user said that the word village is not a word we use here, but ...
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  • 4,657
6 votes
1 answer
34k views

"It is raining" or "it is rainy"?

I'm trying to say: I don't like the weather today because it is ____. (rainy / raining) I have to carry an umbrella for ____ (rainy / raining) weather. Should I use rainy or raining? Also, what ...
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  • 7,885
15 votes
2 answers
5k views

When to say 'dog', and when to say 'hound'?

When refrerring to Canis lupus familiaris, what word is better to use, dog or hound? Wikipedia translates it as dog, but I've heard also the word hound in many contexts, and that version is a lot ...
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  • 2,164
9 votes
2 answers
5k views

Use "woman" or "person" for female version of "how to be a good man"?

A friend of mine is reading a English textbook in which a girl thanks her mother. In the letter, one of the things she said was "thank you for teaching me how to be a good man". The English textbook ...
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  • 5,697
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

When should "like" be used rather than "as" in a comparison?

In Italian, "spies like us" becomes spie come noi, and "do as you like" becomes fai come preferisci. In both the sentences, the translation of like, and as is come. This causes some problems to the ...
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  • 20.3k
7 votes
4 answers
14k views

To live in village or on country?

Speaking about someone from a rural area, should we rather say "he's living in village" or "he's living on country"? Country as a word has other meanings, such as the entity including the whole ...
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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?
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  • 999
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

When to use words "country" and "state" while describing a sovereign political entity?

While describing a sovereign political entity, when is it appropriate to use the words country and state? To me, state sounds more official and academic, and country more informal, but this might ...
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6 votes
4 answers
27k views

What's the difference between "either" and "neither"? [closed]

What's the difference between either and neither? Can you provide me some examples?
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3 votes
3 answers
555 views

Is "down" not meaning "below" (e.g. "down the line") formally acceptable?

One of my biggest issues when learning the language was when I heard people saying "down there" or "down the line" when referring to a counter or a line in a bank, respectively, for example. That ...
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6 votes
7 answers
980 views

If I can skype someone, can I chat someone?

I can say I've skyped someone. But when referring to chat, such as ICQ, is it correct to say that I've chat someone, with the meaning that I've sent someone a message on chat?
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  • 2,164
21 votes
3 answers
587 views

Can I be mobbed by only one person?

Is it correct word usage to say that I'm mobbed by a single person? The word mobbing comes from mob, which refers to a large number of people, so only one person mobbing sounds a bit strange.
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  • 2,164
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Can I say to mail me referring to e-mail?

Can I say someone to mail me when I'm referring to sending me to an e-mail? I'm aware of other meaning of the word mail, but is it nowadays used in older meaning? In many languages mail and e-mail ...
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  • 2,164
15 votes
3 answers
1k views

When to use "some" instead of "a"

You were just having some dream. and You were just having a dream. Are both correct? What is the difference, if any?
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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
25 votes
4 answers
26k views

"very unique" - Is it wrong? Why?

Is the following statement correct: I have found a very unique book. meaning that the book I found is very rare. I was told that statements very unique and extremely unique do not make much sense....
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  • 3,051
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are the connotations of the word 'disorder' for a native speaker?

What connotations does the word disorder have for a native speaker? Does it sound very negative or rather neutral? It's still better to describe phenomena such as ADHD as mental illness, but it still ...
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  • 2,164
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?
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  • 3,051
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 ...
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