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53 votes
Accepted

Is it correct to say you are talking “to Skype”?

I would say talking on Skype. "Talking to Skype" means that you are talking to Skype the company.
Colin Fine's user avatar
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39 votes
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'Back in 2000' vs 'In 2000'

You would say "back in XXXX" to emphasize that it happened some time in the past. Otherwise there is no difference in meaning. I graduated high school in 1984 I graduated high school back in ...
Andrew's user avatar
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36 votes
Accepted

“Let for each 𝑗” vs. “For each 𝑗 let”

Mathematician here. Your proofreader is right. The revised version is how this is normally written. I would understand your original text, but it would make me stumble. You should avoid wording that ...
Ethan Bolker's user avatar
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29 votes
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There is to such thing

The original quote has been so badly mangled by someone who simply failed to copy it out correctly in the first place. It has then been handed round the internet by others who simply never bothered ...
DoneWithThis.'s user avatar
23 votes
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Why does a grammar checker want to replace "the key to have" with "the key to having"?

The idiom is "The key to something", with "to" being a preposition, used idiomatically instead of "for". So we say "the key to the door" or "the key to my ...
James K's user avatar
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20 votes

'Back in 2000' vs 'In 2000'

Good answers all around. I'll add another permutation. "Back in 2003" can give a very slight impression that you're trying to set the scene, so to speak, and help the listener remember what else was ...
hairboat's user avatar
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16 votes
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“On my own way vs. “in my own way”?

In my own way is the idiomatically correct expression. I can't think of a situation where I would use on my own way. Now, in my way and on my way are both valid expressions. You could say in my way ...
BobRodes's user avatar
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15 votes
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Plane took off [from] the runway

First, the phrasal verb is indeed take off, which means: take off (phrasal verb) To leave the ground and begin flight; to ascend into the air Second, you can use a preposition after a phrasal ...
J.R.'s user avatar
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15 votes
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The key to my room. Vs The key of my room

I have studied four Indo-European languages in addition to my native English. If there are any rules on which prepositions are proper in which situations, they are not easily discerned or explicated ...
Jeff Morrow's user avatar
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14 votes

Choosing between "{ Once / By the time } Norma Jean had reached the age of twenty-six…"

We use 'once' to discuss a situation where something could not happen, or was not possible, before the event specified. It means 'as soon as, or from the moment when'. Once I was aged eighteen, I was ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
13 votes

Are "on leaving school" and "after leaving school" the same?

It's true that on leaving has a connotation that something happened immediately afterward, while after leaving implies only that something happened at some later point (possibly much later), but since ...
Hellion's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why is the plural verb 'are' used in 'among the most eye-catching pieces in the whole collection are'?

"Among the most eye-catching pieces [...]" is a prepositional phrase. It doesn't behave as a noun; instead, it modifies the plural subject, "the marble animal sculptures [...]", as ...
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
12 votes
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Zero articles after "of"?

Although in general we precede a singular, uncountable noun with a determiner such as the indefinite article a(n) or the definite article the, there are many instances in which we use the zero article ...
P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica's user avatar
12 votes

Plane took off [from] the runway

You are confused between 'verb' and 'phrasal verb.' You are absolutely right that 'off' here means 'away'. I was walking off the road - away from the road. But the main verb there is 'walking.' ...
Maulik V's user avatar
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11 votes

What is the difference between 'at Christmas' and 'on Christmas'?

For me (British), I would never say "on Christmas", because 'on' is used with a day, not a period. I would say "on Christmas Day", or "on New Year's Day", or "On Easter Sunday" but "at Christmas" or "...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Flee from vs flee

flee implicitly means to move away from something, moving "away" is implied. fled the city fled from the city have the same meaning, from is not necessary and some might consider it redundant, ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 66.2k
11 votes

I sleep in middle. You sleep in outside. Mummy sleeps in inside

If one side of the bed is bordered by a wall, then "inside" and "outside" are natural and appropriate expressions in English - I don't think there are better ones. There are other ways to refer to ...
Kirt's user avatar
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10 votes
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Is it "in a contest" or "at a contest"?

This is a case where how many "entries" you find has little to do with correctness. Which preposition you use depends on context and what you are trying to say. Generally speaking, in regards to at a ...
J.R.'s user avatar
  • 110k
10 votes
Accepted

A cookie in the shape of a foot

In your examples A cookie in the shape of a foot. is grammatically correct A cookie in the shape of foot. is grammatically incorrect, however A cookie in the shape of feet. is ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 66.2k
10 votes

'Back in 2000' vs 'In 2000'

As well as emphasizing that it happened some time in the past, "back in 2003" has a more informal feeling to it than "in 2003". You wouldn't be so likely to see "back in 2003" in a formal business ...
Нет войне's user avatar
10 votes

“On my own way vs. “in my own way”?

"In my way" refers to the definition of way as "preference", or "style", so it would be more appropriate here: Frank Sinatra sang that he always did things in his own way. "On my way" refers to ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
10 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between "in itself", "by itself" and "in and of itself"?

by itself means "alone, unaccompanied". in itself means "not needing other things". in and of itself means "when considered in isolation". The pony, standing by itself in the paddock, looked ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 127k
10 votes

Is it correct to say you are talking “to Skype”?

"Sorry, I am Skyping at the moment" If you search it you will see that such usage is quite common, eg https://www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/why-are-we-all-zooming-and-not-skyping/
eps's user avatar
  • 880
10 votes

"I didn’t see her again (until) a few days afterwards." — How does "until" affect the meaning of the sentence?

QUESTION: (1) I didn’t see her again until a few days afterwards. my variant: (2) I didn’t see her again a few days afterwards. They mean different things. means a few days went by and then you saw ...
Lambie's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

"I didn’t see her again (until) a few days afterwards." — How does "until" affect the meaning of the sentence?

"A few days" is a length of time. In the right context, the "for" is understood, as in your example with "waited". "A few days afterwards", however, is a point ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
9 votes

“Let for each 𝑗” vs. “For each 𝑗 let”

Your proofreader is correct. Another alternative I might accept would be: Let a permutation ℎ_𝑗 : 𝐿 ↪ 𝐿 be given for each 𝑗 < 𝑛. I’m less likely to Write a sentence with mathematical ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 8,474
9 votes

"Of" to explain possession

The structure [ "a" + person + "of" + X ] in this context means that X is part of the identity of the person. So it means more than the person merely possesses X or has X right now....
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
8 votes

What does it mean to 'play on, in'?

"In the field" is where it is. To "play on" means to continue to play, especially despite circumstances in which it might be better for play to end. A dense fog has rolled in, but Manchester City ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 127k
8 votes
Accepted

Difference between “most of the people” and “most people”

Using the definite article the only works if you're talking about a specific group of young people. Most of the young students at this school learn English. If you're talking about young people in ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
8 votes

what is the difference between on, in or at a meeting?

You've rightly called out the differences between the first two statements: He is in a meeting The above statement refers to the person attending a meeting in the same premises (i.e. on site). ...
Phylyp's user avatar
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