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.

1,014 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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29 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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1answer
19 views

“didn't” vs. “didn't make it”

One of my friends asked me about another friend Jim yesterday, I said Jim thought he could get a promotion this year but he didn't. Should I have said this? Jim thought he could get a promotion ...
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19 views

“a chore” vs. “a type of chore”

Consider the following two sentences. Doing laundry is a household chore. Doing laundry is a type of household chore. I guess the first is more natural, but why? One of the possible explanations ...
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2answers
36 views

Can we say “I rub clothes with washing powder to wash them”?

rub [transitive, intransitive] to press two surfaces against each other and move them backwards and forwards; to be pressed together and move in this way rub something She rubbed her hands in delight. ...
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1answer
58 views

attach importance to somebody

I came across this sentence in a text-book written by non-native speakers: "He attaches great importance to his friends." I thought it did not sound very natural. Longman dictionary says &...
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221 views

Damning problem

As a task at my university, I am proofreading and commenting on an academic paper of my groupmate. I came across the word combination "damning problem" in the following context: The most ...
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33 views

I googled it but what?

In meaning of "doom somebody"? I said I googled it but can't get any definition or explanation. "can't" somehow indicates those things are caused by me, therefor "don't"...
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22 views

MLB 2020 ?? postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

From wikipedia The 2020 Major League Baseball season was originally scheduled to begin on March 26. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in North America caused Major League Baseball (MLB) to announce on ...
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1answer
37 views

How do we use “Back in” properly?

I'd like to know if the phrase "My dogs back in Brazil still remember me.", or would it be better in another way, like just "in Brazil"? I've been living in another country for an ...
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2answers
77 views

When do we say “move it” and When do we say “move out of the way”?

This was the context I saw. A kid has been attending in an English speaking school in Vietnam (a non-English country) since the 1st grade. I am pretty sure that he can speak Vietnamese very well. His ...
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16 views

circumstances/situations/contexts for the usage of an expression

In a post, Timberfall, an English learner asks the usage of "Have someone DO something VS. Have someone DOING something", an answer says Both structures are idiomatic, Timberfall, but they ...
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1answer
24 views

Is it clear to say “at multiple positions in a video”?

Is it common to pronounce two /tjuː/? says The word "two" in a tutorial sounds like /tjuː/ at multiple positions. By "at multiple positions" I mean that, the speaker pronounces that way at 1:09, ...
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1answer
7 views

Find the right words to describe the composition of a discount

I need to describe discounts, splitting their components in 3 parameters and I would like to understand which are the best words I can use. Examples: New client discount, 10 euro Personal discount, ...
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17 views

To “affect change”

I am curious whether the following use of the word "affect" is legitimate: I feel this is the best way I can affect positive change in this country. I am trying to avoid using "enact change" ...
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1answer
78 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 ...
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1answer
18 views

“a role of” vs “roles of”

I am working on a scientific paper and would like to ask a question regarding the use of "a role of" vs "roles of". "Dendritic cells play critical roles in expansion and antitumor efficacy of infused ...
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2answers
95 views

Is it idiomatic to say “don't bite me in the arm”?

We can say "to poke me in the arm" as stated in dictionaries. the verb "bite" is somehow similar to "poke" in its meaning because both mean to push into or through something. But I don't see the ...
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32 views

Is this a correct sentence: “I had a lot of troubles when I was young”?

When I talk about the difficulties I experienced when I was young, can I say "I had a lot of troubles when I was young"? Or should I use the singular version after the word "have"? I think I am not ...
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1answer
26 views

see or know some one for first time?

I have a problem with finding correct verb. for example when you read about a writer for first time, or when you watch a movie and see an actor for first time, which verb we should to use in this ...
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108 views

aid + to infinitive vs. aid + to gerund

Is there any subtle difference in meaning between them? For example in the two following sentences: The computer is an aid to keeping costs down. The computer is an aid to keep costs down. I think ...
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11 views

“for easing restrictions” or “for easing of restrictions”

Today, we often see news headlines like the below examples, and I wonder if there is any difference in nuance between "for easing restrictions" and "for easing of restrictions". Can anyone help me ...
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1answer
23 views

did + present-continuous form

A conversation between me and my friend: Friend: I was sleeping when you called. And I do that everyday till 13:00. Me: ok ~3 days later he replies to me at 10:00 already~ Now my question: Is it ...
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20 views

Is this sentence okay to wish Mother's Day?

I'm going to make a design and I'm writing a copy on it which will be: On this Mother's day, let's thank her for (her?) selfless care (for us?). (Not very sure if care and care for has different ...
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24 views

What is the general everyday term to express the interface between the door and the door frame?

Look at the picture Children often accidentally put their hands or fingers in the interface between the door and the door frame, which is dangerous because they might get crushed by chance. What is ...
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18 views

aid organizations will struggle to rally

Does "aid organizations will struggle to rally" mean "aid organizations will struggle to "convene and recruit aid workers"? Although there are some reports of refugees testing positive for the virus, ...
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1answer
116 views

Is “thenfore” a real word?

In this lecture (15. Petri nets, Basis of The Flow of Tokens), around 5:25, the lecturer uses the word thenfore, I am guessing he is meaning to say therefore but misspeaks. However, he is a native ...
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26 views

What does “is accounted for” in this mean?

I partially get the idea of the sentence but I'd really want to know the actually meaning of this phrase here. Plus, for that last clause I don't really get its sentence structure as well. Lastly, ...
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36 views

Meaning of a wry eyebrow

"He knows about Nick's interview tonight, so he leaves and returns with all my favorite foods: Manchego cheese and chocolate truffles and a bottle of cold Sancerre and, with a wry eyebrow, he even ...
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38 views

the difference **between** A, B and C

Cambridge Dictionary grammar tutorial says We use between to refer to two things which are clearly separated. We use among to talk about things which are not clearly separated because they are part ...
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difference between “specific ” and “particular”

I have been confusing "specific" and "particular" for a long time. After some effort I was stuck. I was learning a Cambridge Dictionary post when I found an example of the use of "specific" We ...
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1answer
32 views

Is “gradually” used correctly?

The shooting goes on for a while, then gradually stops. Howie peeks his head up/out from behind the couch and sees bodies all over the place. Questions. Is "gradually" used correctly? Is "up" and "...
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32 views

When mom is going to work, the kid says “Mom, come home to / with me soon, ok”. Is that a correct expression?

When mom is going to work, the kid says: -"Mom, come home to / with me soon, ok". I am not sure "to or with" or -"Mom, come home soon and be with me, ok" But I remember I read this sentence ...
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29 views

How to express “you are holding your bike and then walk, which makes the bike go with you”, do you say “I am carrying / taking / walking my bike”?

Say, you are not riding on your bike. Instead, you are holding it with your hands. You, then, walk, which makes the bike go with you. do you say "I am carrying / taking / walking my bike"? If we ...
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1answer
26 views

construct a conditional with “where”

I guess I am aware of the concept of conditionals. Conditional sentences consider imagined or uncertain situations and the possible results of these situations. If is the most commonly used word ...
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99 views

are they valid and roughly similar: “The dog bit into his leg”, “The dog bit him into his leg”, “The dog bit his leg”?

bite [intransitive, transitive] to use your teeth to cut into or through something Does your dog bite? Come here! I won't bite! (= you don't need to be afraid) bite into/through ...
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48 views

third person singular: it is grammatical to say “someone gets beaten, so they get angry”?

I found a teacher mix used third person singular and pronoun. A simpler way to understand this is basically to receive an action. Okay? So when somebody gets punished, it means that someone else ...
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1answer
72 views

Why we say “the book is missing” when using the word “miss” and “the book is lost” when using the word “lose”?

What difference between "miss" and "lose" leads to the different form of word in the sentence? Why we can't say "the book is missed" or "the book is losing"?
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311 views

In “has only examples of …”, is it reasonable to view “only” as an adjective?

This post is not a duplicate of "her dog doesn't even want" vs. "even her dog doesn't want", since that post does not explain why "only" could not be used as an adjective ...
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33 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 ...
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40 views

Are “on the other hand” and “nevertheless” interchangeable in some situations?

In my another post ("contents" or "content", which to use when talking about a book?) I said ... she uses "contents" to refer to the things that are written in a book, I ...
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48 views

“that I continue to learn and grow”, does this expression sound natural?

One of my friends was asked the next-5-year-play in a job interview. He answered this way I don’t know exactly, but the most important thing is that I continue to learn and grow in my career. ...
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27 views

Is “there could be” a idiomatic expression? If yes, when to use?

In my another question ("contents" or "content", which to use when talking about a book?), I said There could be lots of topics on a book, such as the form/style, the author. In ...
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20 views

What do you call a speculative law?

The Moore's law is an empirical law based on empirical observations. What do you call a law that's purely speculative? Is there such a thing? What kind of terms would scientists use to refer to such a ...
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1answer
17 views

Down, Away or Ahead

I bet there's a rest stop a couple of miles down. I bet there's a rest stop a couple of miles away. I bet there's a rest stop a couple of miles ahead. What sounds natural "down", "away" or "...
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34 views

How to idiomatically express “to make the ballpoint tip of a pen stick in” in simple terms to a child?

Have a look at the picture My child sometimes plays with pens, which could be dangerous because the ballpoint tip of the pen may poke him in the eyes. How to idiomatically express "to press the end ...
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18 views

Is it idiomatic to use “set off” as “separate”?

It seems that this post (Would this phrase be set off by commas?) use "set off" as "separate". I got the meaning from the answer to that post. I guess this one is before being "set off" My ...
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1answer
91 views

Is “add background” an idiomatic expression?

I asked a question (In some cases, "come" and "go" are interchangeable, right?) just now, and added some explanation at the beginning. This post is discussing verbs, the ...
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Is it clear and idiomatic to refer to one of different meanings of a word as “one piece of meaning”?

Oxford Dictionary (https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/just) gives a bunch of definitions about “just” there are 3 sub-items in 4th item, one of them is pointed out by blue rectangle in the ...
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47 views

What's the difference between “disparage” and “denigrate”?

I met the two words in this article: Long-term memory is sometimes disparaged. It's common for people to denigrate “rote memory”, especially in the classroom. Two explanations I got on the web: I ...
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When refer to where to put adverb, which one is more idiomatic, location or position?

This post (The usage of "also": could someone please give an example to illustrate where is the location "after the verb to be when it is a full verb"?) is talking about some ...

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