All Questions

12
votes
4answers
6k views

“Would prefer” versus “would like”

What is the difference between the following sentences? I would prefer to discuss the matter in private. I would like to discuss the matter in private. I am used to prefer used in sentences ...
11
votes
2answers
692 views

Is the “the … the …” construction governed by some grammatical rule?

a) The more I study, the less I learn. b) More I study, less I learn. Could we rewrite the sentence shown under the letter a) in the form shown under the letter b) without breaking any ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

How should I use “deem”?

In relation to question about using "Infer" I'd like to ask what is wrong with deem in this example? How to use it correctly? 'A Japanese' infers the Japanese person is a thing, and not a person. ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

How should I use “infer”?

A recent question on Meta discussed advantages and disadvantages of using more advanced words in ELL. As example, this answer was used: 'A Japanese' infers the Japanese person is a thing, and not a ...
9
votes
3answers
616 views

What is a not-cut-in/printed index called?

There are thumb indexes, also called a cut-in indexes (see also the images at Daumenregister). In contrast to this, there are also not-cut-in-indexes (that is, they are only printed, and leave a mark ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Is the phrase “suit yourself” offensive?

I was using the phrase "suit yourself" quite often since the equivalent in my native language it is a legitimate way to express "do whatever you consider the best." However, when I used this phrase ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “what the hell” considered offensive?

Is "what the hell" used as just an expression, or is it considered offensive? In what situations is it "okay" to use it? If it is offensive, is there a more "polite" alternative which expresses the ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Phrase for states having a common border

In Italian, the word for two states which share part of their border is confinante (its plural is confinanti). For example, I could use that word for Italy and France, Spain and Portugal, or France ...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

How is double negation interpreted in English?

In my native language, double negations "cancel out". I have been trying to learn English using movies and such things, but double negation confuses me. I see instances when double negation cancels ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

Should I use diacritical marks?

Being a speaker of several European languages, I'm always getting upset when I see people are using certain loanwords ignoring accent marks: Sending my resume for your review; We went to cafe; ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

“Gotten” versus “got”

When in a sentence I want to use the present perfect of get, I say have/has gotten. A friend of mine (who is American) corrects me, saying I should use have/has got. From my English classes, I ...
13
votes
3answers
46k views

Is it “less than” or “lesser than”?

I often hear people say "less than", but shouldn't it be "lesser than"? Which one is correct?
4
votes
3answers
280 views

“it be” instead of “it could/would be”

Need we add that it be usable in the woods? This paper1, albeit an old one, contains an example of this odd way of writing. Where I would expect "..that it would/could/may/should/... be", there is ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Some exercises for the “th” sounds for a foreign learner

What is the right technique for acquiring the "th" sounds? Are there any really proved useful exercises or tongue twisters which can help to get them? I think after some training I've managed to ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“read and accepted” or “read and accept”?

Is this phrase correct? By purchasing this product, you certify that you have read and accepted the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions... Is it just me or it feels like "read and accepted" ...
19
votes
3answers
23k views

Same word used multiple times in a sentence

Sentences like the following sound strange to me, and I somehow "feel" they are incorrect. I will be in the room in 10 minutes. I will go to New York to meet my friend. Is it correct to use the ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

When is “the” pronounced “dhee” / “dh” / “dhaa”?

Is it "dhee", "dh" or "dhaa"? I have heard people pronounce it in these three ways. Are all of them correct or does it depend on context?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of “bush” versus “rush”

I have learned that "bush" and "rush" are pronounced differently. Is there any rule to decide between these two pronunciations for similar words?
15
votes
1answer
351 views

Noun for people not yet confirmed as alive, or dead

In Italian, disperso (whose plural is dispersi) is a noun used for every person that is not yet confirmed as alive, or dead. The closer English word I can think is missing which is an adjective, and ...
24
votes
4answers
859 views

Toward vs. Towards

Are the words "toward" and "towards" synonymous? If not, when should I use one over the other? "Towards" usually sounds silly to my ear, but is that just me?
9
votes
2answers
248 views

Pronunciation of thinner and dinner

Thinner and Dinner. I have problems pronouncing these two words. To me they sound exactly the same; I do not know if the first should be pronounced like an f ("finner") or not. Google Translate ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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?
6
votes
3answers
6k views

Grammatical Implications in “Opportunity” and “Possibility” Usage

a.1) You have the opportunity to go to Norfolk next month. a.2) *There is the opportunity of your going to Norfolk next month. b.1) *You have the possibility to go to Norfolk next month. b.2) ...
5
votes
2answers
579 views

What is the proper use of the present progressive form, especially of “to have”?

When I read @ctype.h's question 'Is "I am having a code" grammatically correct?', I thought that @Mark Beadles brought up a good point: This is two questions, though you may not realize it. The ...
11
votes
1answer
186 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
750 views

Spelling of noun for “absorbing” or “absorption”

Can anyone tell me which noun should I use for absorbing; is it absorbtion or absorption? I read some articles in which (in my opinion) both words were used interchangeably. Or maybe it was a typo.
31
votes
4answers
2k views

When is it acceptable to omit the subject “I”?

Have noticed that English speakers omit "I" when they are emailing or chatting: How are you doing? Am fine. Also, this occurs often in daily/weekly reports. Have seen quite a few of them, ...
4
votes
2answers
826 views

Hoping something for the future

When you want to say that you hope or expect that something happens to someone, but in some moment in the future, what sentence is the right one: I hope your holidays will be great. I hope that ...
12
votes
1answer
111k views

“If anyone knows” or “Does anyone know”?

I am a native English speaker who is living abroad and as such I get many questions about English that I find hard to answer having never studied English grammar. One of them is the following: Does ...
12
votes
1answer
884 views

Is “I >am having< a code which … ” acceptable?

On StackOverflow I often see this: I’m having a code which (does such and such, followed by a fragment of code) Is I am having a code grammatically correct? I think it is incorrect, and that it ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do some words end with -or and others with -er or -ar?

Some words end with -or: Resistor Capacitor Transistor Others end with -er: Compiler Driver Speaker Or with -ar: Beggar Liar Why is this the case? Is there a ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is “He said me he was …” ungrammatical, but “He told me he was …” is not?

a.1) He said he was moving to New York. a.2) *He said me he was moving to New York. b.1) *He told he was moving to New York. b.2) He told me he was moving to New York. Why is a.2) ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

“The bass drop is so sick!…” - What does it mean?

Being a fan of a dubstep music, I often see comments like this: "Looooove this tune! The bass drop is so sick!..." To my understanding, sick has negative connotation. Merriam-Webster defines this ...
36
votes
2answers
102k views

Is “Negro” an offensive word, or do some people just take offense to it, and why?

I was not born in the US, so let me clarify why I'm asking such question: In Portuguese, the word "Negro" is the correct term when referring to the race, where calling somebody "Black", the color, ...
11
votes
3answers
262 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,...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I say “gas”?

A friend of mine is working in a gas-mining industry. In a colloquial conversations with English speakers about his work, he uses the word "gas". In English, there are several distinct meanings for "...
16
votes
3answers
23k 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?
32
votes
3answers
8k views

“When did you born?”

When did you born? What does the above question mean? Does it mean "When did you give birth" or "When were you given birth to"? The situation is that I'm trying to ask my friend his birthdate. ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

Is “Can I help you” a suitable expression for offering help to a stranger?

A friend of mine, who is local to Japan, noticed someone from abroad with a folding map who looked lost, and would like to know whether or not she could say "Can I help you?". She had overheard the ...
5
votes
1answer
25k views

How should I use the “in-”, “im-”, “il-”, and “ir-” prefixes?

Consider the following words: impossible; incorrect; impatient; illegal; irregular; The meaning of the prefixes is the same (negation the adverb), but they are still different prefixes. ...
14
votes
2answers
831 views

Saying for distracting someone with other activity?

There's a Polish saying jak pies je to nie szczeka, which (literally translated) means "when dog is eating, it is not barking." What is the English saying with the same meaning, used to mean that if ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the saying that those who scream loud aren't the most dangerous ones?

There is a Polish saying Im pies mniej szczeka, tym bardziej gryzie. Literally translated: The less dogs barks, the more it bites which means that not those people are the most dangerous, ...
27
votes
2answers
238k views

“Thank you in advance” - how to replace?

When writing emails, I often ended it with "thank you in advance". Even more, I used to have it in my signature for a certain time (mea culpa). However, recently I've been told that it is not ...
13
votes
2answers
9k views

“The group of fifty people {is / are} going to arrive Thursday” - which is preferred?

Isn't the following sentence grammatically correct? The group of fifty people are going to arrive Thursday. What's wrong with it? Someone said it should be The group of fifty people is going ...
21
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Problem (with) doing something

When you want to say that you had or are having problems with something, what is the best way to express this: I'm having a problem with saying this correctly. I'm having a problem saying this ...
4
votes
1answer
955 views

Is 'also' necessary in “not only… but also…” structures?

The car not only is economical but also feels good to drive. I identified with Rowan Atkinson not only as an actor but also as a person. Yes, both sentences, as they stand, are perfectly ...
8
votes
2answers
751 views

Using quotation marks in direct speech

My native language allows omitting quotation marks in sentences containing direct speech when the borderline between the "wrapper" sentence and the quoted speech is obvious and does not produce ...
15
votes
5answers
6k 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" ...
25
votes
2answers
768 views

Does “It snowed hard Monday” require an “on”?

I came across an English learner writing It snowed hard Monday. After saying that it didn't snow on Friday and Saturday. It didn't quite feel right to me. I'd be okay with It snowed hard. or ...

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