Skip to main content
35 votes

'Rescuers had to wade waist-deep in floodwater.' Why not 'Rescuers had to wade in waist-deep floodwater.'?

To wade waist-deep ("Somebody waded waist-deep in water ...") refers to the wader wading in water up to their waist, whereas waist-deep water refers to the depth of the water using the ...
TimR on some device's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

Why is New York often said with the word "City" in English?

Your assumption is correct—it's to distinguish between the city and the state. Idiomatically, it's simply the case that the phrase New York city (or the proper noun New York City) was picked as the ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

'Rescuers had to wade waist-deep in floodwater.' Why not 'Rescuers had to wade in waist-deep floodwater.'?

The dictionary is explaining an idiomatic phrase of the word "wade". That is you can adverbially modify "wade" with an expression "knee-deep". You can do this without ...
James K's user avatar
  • 224k
19 votes
Accepted

What does smooth mean here?

If that was said by a non-native speaker, it sounds like they are hoping you plan goes smoothly, meaning you don't experience any bumps (problems) executing the plan. For clarity, this is not how a ...
DTRT's user avatar
  • 5,034
19 votes

Why is New York often said with the word "City" in English?

While watching some videos/movies or reading books in English, I tend to see that people always adding the word "city" to New York (New York City). What's behind this stuff in English? Adding ...
J.R.'s user avatar
  • 110k
18 votes

Why can't we say "win a world record"?

I agree with Nat Geo Learning that you can't say "win a world record" but you can say "win with a world record" The Cambridge dictionary defines the verb to win as coming first ...
Leachoid's user avatar
  • 782
16 votes
Accepted

Why 'pale' yellow instead of 'light' yellow and what are the other colors used with 'pale'?

Technically "pale" refers to the saturation of the color, and "light/dark" refers to luminance, or the perceived brightness. In AmE usage however, light can also mean a color that is not intense. I ...
ColleenV's user avatar
  • 12k
15 votes

'Rescuers had to wade waist-deep in floodwater.' Why not 'Rescuers had to wade in waist-deep floodwater.'?

Rescuers had to wade in waist-deep floodwater is perfectly acceptable English. It tells us that there was water about three feet deep where the rescuers had to go. There is a very slight difference in ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 55.7k
14 votes

'Rescuers had to wade waist-deep in floodwater.' Why not 'Rescuers had to wade in waist-deep floodwater.'?

The meanings of those two sentences are largely the same, but there's a slight difference: these two sentences say different things about how deep the water could be. waist-deep in floodwater The ...
Michael W.'s user avatar
12 votes

Can we say "do an action"?

I would go for perform an action, and Google Ngram seems to confirm that it's more often used than do an action or any other alternatives I could think of, both for the indefinite (an action) and the ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
  • 14.8k
12 votes

Make or Do sushi?

Make and do mean different things in the context of That place makes / does great sushi. Specifically... If they make sushi, that definitely means they prepare sushi. They probably also sell the ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
10 votes

I have a doubt v. I'm in doubt

In American English, I have a doubt is fairly uncommon. It is more common to say the following: I doubt that very much. I have my doubts. I have doubts about the solution. Using "doubt"...
Ringo's user avatar
  • 7,728
10 votes

Why "previously learned knowledge" is a natural phrase in English, although "learn knowledge" is not?

The phrase "learned knowledge" is a red herring here: the focus should be on the whole phrase "previously learned knowledge and skills". The sentence could use the word "...
minnmass's user avatar
  • 605
9 votes
Accepted

Is "With which" correct?

It is correct. Pay little attention to automated grammar corrections. With which book should I start? Which book should I start with? Both are correct, the former being the more formal of the ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 127k
9 votes
Accepted

Why are tantrums "thrown" and not "burst"?

Tantrum is an odd word. First recorded in 1715, with no obvious source. It was probably unrecorded slang before that. Throw also has a twisted history. As þrawan it first meant "turn, curl or twist" (...
James K's user avatar
  • 224k
9 votes

Can we say "do an action"?

Normally we do not say we are doing an action. Each of those words, do and act, implies the other. If you do something you have acted. If you have acted you have done something. In some situations, ...
EllieK's user avatar
  • 9,212
8 votes

I have a doubt v. I'm in doubt

I have a doubt does not mean I have a question. If you are in doubt about something, it means you are not sure of the answer or solution. Or you doubt the validity of some issue. But in English you ...
Alan Carmack's user avatar
8 votes

Can we grow a habit?

Usually a habit is developed over time, or an action becomes a habit. If one is not careful, social smoking can become a real smoking habit. However, the first thing that came to mind with grow ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 66.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Can a person hit home?

It would be more idiomatic to use the expression rings true, which means "seems to be believable or authentic," and is often used in the context of fictional characters or plots: Unlike the other ...
Canadian Yankee's user avatar
8 votes

Can "another" be preceded by "what" as in "What another factor will affect the rollout of the product?"

I think this has to do with "another" as a determiner referring to something more specific and "other" as a determiner referring to something more general, similar to the usage of &...
ColleenV's user avatar
  • 12k
8 votes
Accepted

Can you actually "make" a girlfriend or boyfriend?

Not in American or British English A collocate search in both COCA and BNC did not give any relevant results for "make a girlfriend/boyfriend" (even accounting for different verb forms). You ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 15.6k
8 votes
Accepted

Why "previously learned knowledge" is a natural phrase in English, although "learn knowledge" is not?

As you say, it's redundant to use the noun "knowledge" as the object of the verb "learn", so English speakers tend to avoid that collocation. I'd therefore argue that the example ...
MarcInManhattan's user avatar
7 votes

Why is New York often said with the word "City" in English?

If I tell people that my wife and her family are from New York, they frequently assume I'm talking about New York City (NYC). Only I'm not, I'm talking about a place that's 5 and half to six hours ...
Adam R. Turner's user avatar
7 votes

Why can't we say "win a world record"?

The short answer is the words "win" and "world record" do not correlate, and that's just the way it is. We just don't think of a world record as something you can "win". ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
6 votes

Is "firsthand smoker/ first-hand smoker" standard English?

"Firsthand smoker" would be redundant. We would just say "smoker". I gather you are confused by the use of the phrase "secondhand smoke", to talk about the health problems of people who are not ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
6 votes

When should I use: me or to me?

"Answer me" means "give me an answer" (or "say something".) "Answer to me" is quite different, and means "Report [answer] to me and no one else": Remember: you answer to me and no one else. "Love ...
Mick's user avatar
  • 6,526
6 votes
Accepted

When should I use: me or to me?

Some verbs take "to" as preposition. It depends on the position of direct and indirect object in the sentence: For example: Give me the book. "the book" is the direct object of "give", and "me" ...
Ahmad's user avatar
  • 8,929
6 votes

Can we grow a habit?

"Grow a habit" is not idiomatic - as you mention, the usual verbs are create, form, and develop; or "get into the habit of...". Any usage of "grow a habit" that you may have found on the Internet is ...
John Feltz's user avatar
  • 5,136
6 votes

go to university or go to the university

Yes, you can use the, if you go there not as a student. There is great explanation in Raymond Murphy's "English grammar in use" (unit 74 A, B): Compare school and the school: Ellie is ten ...
Lana's user avatar
  • 261
6 votes

Can a person hit home?

Hits home means that it had personal significance -- that it somehow reminded you of a similar situation/event in your personal life, and evoked both the memory and emotions involved. Typically this ...
jmoreno's user avatar
  • 1,220

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible