oerkelens
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The origin of 'feed' in 'line feed'
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61 votes

Back in the old days, when the world was black and white (at least on TV), telephones had wires attached to them and "mail" involved a lenghty process of applying ink to paper as well as a delivery ...

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Is 'mating' only used with males? What if I use it with females? Is it incorrect?
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59 votes

The main idea is that lions does not mean male lions. It means lions. Chickens also mate, and indeed cats. I rarely, if ever, have seen mention of roosters or tomcats mating. Or bulls, stallions or ...

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Are some schools teaching "They" as genderless singular?
50 votes

To start, the sentences you gave are not how singular they is normally used. The verb simply takes the normal form for they. The sentences would be: They can write what they want. When they need help ...

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Is Let us = Let's?
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46 votes

Yes, let's is indeed simply a contraction of let us, and that means that whenever you can use let's, you can use let us. But that is not the whole story! The expression let's (or let us when used in ...

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Why 11 am + 1 hour == 12:00 pm?
43 votes

I agree that for the precise moment of 12:00, adding PM or AM is a bit arbitrary. However, imagine we add another minute: 12:01. If this is the time that is 1 hour, one minute after 11:00 AM, then ...

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a most talented writer - why not "the most talented writer"?
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36 votes

It does not mean the same thing. Most can be used as a superlative, but it can also be used to indicate that something or someone possesses a property very much instead of the most. By calling him ...

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How serious is the comma rule between coordinate adjectives?
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34 votes

I agree, both versions seem fine. I parse them slightly differently, though. It’s a bulky, heavy box. This means the box is bulky, and the box is heavy. It’s a bulky heavy box. This means the ...

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Use of 'without' in 'the howling of wolves without grew louder...'
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32 votes

It means outside. Dictionary.com has this: adverb 6. in or into an exterior or outer place; outside. 7. outside a house, building, etc.: The carriage awaits without. Note that several ...

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Should I hyphenate "Thank You"
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32 votes

Ah, I presume you mean you looked up thank-you, which is an existing noun but not the same thing at all as the common idiom thank you. Merriam-Webster tells us: Full Definition of THANK-YOU : a ...

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What do StackExchange "beta" and "meta" mean?
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30 votes

Beta (β) is indeed the second letter in the Greek alphabet[1]. In software development, a first testable version of a product is sometimes called the alpha (α) version, or first version. It is tested ...

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Water as a verb
29 votes

Water can indeed be used as a verb. It means "giving water to something" as in: Watering the plants (pouring water on them so they don't dry out) or Watering the horses (making the horses ...

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What to call light food served at cocktail parties, that can be eaten on the thumb?
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29 votes

Finger food comes to mind. You were close with your thumb! They are also conventionally called appetizers or hors d'oeuvres, even though according to the strict definitions appetizers or hors d'...

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Why do native speakers use "vent your anger" rather than "erase your anger"?
28 votes

I'm afraid the meaning you were given is not what most people understand by it. Merriam-Webster gives me this definition for vent: to express (an emotion) usually in a loud or angry manner When ...

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On the market or In the market?
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25 votes

When you use "in" the market, I tend to feel that you are talking about a product or company compared to others in that market. We need to position our product well in the market. CompanyX is our ...

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"co-worker" vs. "colleague"
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23 votes

I'd say that every co-worker is a colleague, but not every colleague is a co-worker. The usage depends on context. Within a company, my co-workers would be the people on my team (and likely, people ...

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Difference between "I'm in the school" and "I'm in school"
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22 votes

I'm in the school. Means I am in the building (but I may not be a student). I'm in school. Means I am attending school (I'm a student).

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Russia 'Fired Rockets INTO Ukraine' - BBC
21 votes

Firing a missile at something would mean that I am firing at a target. Unless Russia is firing very powerful nuclear weapons, it would be strange to think that it is aiming at "Ukraine" as its target....

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What does “A man passed him, and a man and a woman, talking” mean?
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20 votes

I read this as the following happening: A man passed him. A man and a woman that were talking (with each other), also passed him.

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Which one is correct word? People or People's
19 votes

Actually, I think you are looking for the difference between people and peoples. People means indeed a group of humans, as in: The people of Germany speak German. It can also be used as a ...

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The order of letters in the English alphabet
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16 votes

The short version is: the English alphabet is based on the Latinised version of the Greek alphabet, which in turn was inspired by the Phoenician alphabet. The long version has little to do with ...

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use of everything and anything
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16 votes

There simply is a difference in meaning between the two words, and that difference in meaning explains also why they are more often used in specific situations. Everything means "all things", whereas ...

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Why is there no plural 's' after "hundred" or "thousand" in cardinal numbers?
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15 votes

Because in English "twelve thousand" is not interpreted as 12 occurrences of 1000, as in 12 cars, but rather as one occurrence of 12000. Why it's like this, is a matter of speculation. Languages are ...

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How to use 'get lost' to mean 'get lost'?
15 votes

The meaning of get lost as bugger off only applies when you use it as an imperative. In the sentence You get lost into the world of serenity and divineness. There is no imperative to be found, ...

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"Dracula when I saw was the last movie." Why is this sentence wrong?
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14 votes

The two sentence are not at all written in a similar way! The first time when I drove was at driving school. That is built up a bit like: (some instance) when (I did something) was (at a specific ...

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Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
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14 votes

Yes, that sentence is correct! The future in English is not only formed with will or other auxiliary verbs. There are people that argue that English does actually not have a future tense at all! ...

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Should we say "what are your name?" not "what is your name?"?
14 votes

since your/her takes are!!!! I think this is an example of students having learned some "rules" by heart which aren't rules. Your is the possessive of you, and you can be singular or plural. The ...

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What's the difference between "vanilla" and "plain" when talking about yogurts?
13 votes

In my experience, vanilla in that sense is not used for food stuff. As you correctly notice, that would lead to confusion. In other areas, where no confusion with the actual taste of vanilla is ...

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About the phrase "You suck"
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13 votes

"You suck" or specifically "you suck at XXX" means indeed that somebody is very bad at something. "You got no game" means "you do not have the skills to give me any competition in this game". These ...

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Convert 'is based' to active voice
13 votes

First and foremost, Strunk&White's "rule" that passive constructions should be avoided is not a rule. It is a general style advice, and actually its validity is very debatable to say the least. ...

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Why has "strangely" been used instead of "strange" in the sentence "Harry felt strangely"?
12 votes

I think this is a very interesting question! If you would use strange, the sentence would become Harry felt strange, as though he had entered a very strict library. Which would mean that as ...

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