supercat
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What is the difference between robbing and stealing?
6 votes

The intransitive verb "to rob" generally means essentially "to commit robbery". What makes robbery a serious crime is not the value of the item stolen, but the use or threat of violence against the ...

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Why does this documentation use "or" instead of "="?
5 votes

It may be helpful to think of the "or" in this case as having a meaning similar to "i.e." [Latin for id est, or literally "that is"], whose meaning is often encapsulated in the English phrases "that ...

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Why "was" not "were" in "Nearly £20 was taken from my bank account"
5 votes

If a box had contained twenty one-dollar bills, then one might say "twenty dollars were taken from the box" [note that the above might possibly written as "20 dollars", but not as "$20"]. If the box ...

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"Didn't use to get" or "Didn't used to get"?
4 votes

The phrase "used to" may seem as though it employs the verb "use" with an infinitive, but it doesn't really. Consider the following answers to the italicized questions preceeding: Where's the key ...

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waiting ON a miracle?
3 votes

I would interpret the phrase "to wait on a miracle" as having a different meaning from "to wait for a miracle". Which preposition is more appropriate would depend upon which meaning was intended. At ...

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How does one use a rostrum?
3 votes

The term "podium" is used correctly to refer to the horizontal surface upon which a speaker, conductor, or other such person stands; while such surfaces are often higher than the immediately-...

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Indefinite article "a/an" with plural count nouns?
3 votes

The construct "[indefinite article] [adjective] [number] [plural nouns]" is used to refer to apply an adjective to a single group containing a specified number of things. For example "a marvelous 100 ...

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Can "zero" be used to describe uncountable nouns?
2 votes

Some nouns like "courage" are quantifiable but not really measurable; one could describe Fred as having "more" courage than Joe, but there's no standard unit of courage that would make it possible to ...

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Possible responses to "thank you"
2 votes

Responding to "thank you" with "no problem" implies two connotations--one potentially negative and one positive: I thought sufficiently little of your request that I might likely have never noticed ...

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What's the meaning of "finish dead last"?
2 votes

If a competitor scores or finishes "dead last", that generally implies that the competitor's performance was much worse than anyone else's. For example, if competitors finish with times of 3:13.2, 3:...

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What does "She ran up the stairs two at a time." mean?
1 votes

The second sentence strikes me as atypical English usage. A more typical way of writing it would be "She ran up the steps two at a time", meaning that she ascended two steps with each stride. ...

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Can "Et cetera" make a separate sentence?
1 votes

The phrase "Et cetera." written and punctuated as a sentence by itself is not standard grammar, but that doesn't mean that it's "wrong". I would not regard your prose as confusing, nor as suggesting ...

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What does “such as” refer to in "Public transportation such as train or bus"?
1 votes

In the absence of commas, the use "such of" would refer to both of the following items. Adding commas, could change the meaning, e.g. "He usually arrives via some form of public transportation such ...

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I break (verb) the glass; the glass is break-able, but then I sell (not sale-noun) the house; how is it 'sale-able'?
1 votes

In order for an item to be sold, two requirements must be met: The seller must own the item, and both must be free of any encumbrances or restrictions that would forbid the sale. The condition and ...

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Is it correct to use a hyphen in 'arbitrary-typed data'?
1 votes

I would favor use of the hyphen, on the basis that "arbitrarily-typed data" is not "data that is typed arbitrarily", but is instead a shorthand for "data which is not required to be of any particular ...

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Is there difference between the pronunciation of "tried to" and that of "try to"?
1 votes

In many languages, pronunciation of song lyrics is often influenced more by the rhythmic requirements of the music than by grammatical considerations. Unless the note for a syllable ending in a ...

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Why do people, incorrectly, begin a sentence with the word "But"?
1 votes

I would suggest that notion that sentences "shouldn't" end with conjunctions would, like the notion that sentences shouldn't end with prepositions or split infinitives, be reformulated as "Most cases ...

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Stuck writing a sentence because tea is a 'beverage' and water is not!
1 votes

The question of whether a liquid is a beverage would depend, to my ear, on whether the liquid is intended for oral consumption. Most potable liquids are produced primarily for the purpose of oral ...

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where do people say ON the weekend (geographically speaking)?
1 votes

Applying the preposition "at" to a time suggests that the time in question should be regarded as a single moment, while "in" or "on" implies that it is an interval. Most nouns referring to times are ...

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The indefinite article with a repeated noun
1 votes

If the example used the indefinite article in both places, I would interpret that as saying that when the writer has nothing else to do he arbitrarily selects some book and reads it. If it used the ...

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superlative without "the"
1 votes

Saying "We buy X at where it is cheapest" means "The cost of X at the places where we buy it is as cheap as X would be anyplace else". Saying "We buy X where it is the cheapest. would mean "We buy X ...

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I have and will
1 votes

I don't think the phrase "I have and will" works well in conjunction with a verb. The contexts where I would consider it useful are those where the verbs are relate to verbs specified elsewhere. In ...

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"sometimes" is adjective or adverb
1 votes

As other answers have noted, "sometimes" is used as an adverb in the cited text. It may be worth noting, however, that many because many nouns are sometimes used as adjectives and not all uses are ...

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Why "be dealt cards" rather than "be dealing cards"?
0 votes

In English, the notion of "X [verb]s Y" can be expressed using the passive voice as "Z is [verb]ed by X". Unlike the active-voice construct where X must be specified, in the passive voice X may be (...

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"Too expensive for me to afford it" why ungrammatical?
0 votes

The construct "The noun is too adjective for me to verb" can be used transitively, but the object is very strongly implied as being noun. In most cases where the object isn't noun, some other ...

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Arrive at/in the garden
0 votes

The most common situation where one would arrive "at" a location would be with something like a stadium or theater; one arrives "at" the stadium when one reaches the ticket window, or possibly marked ...

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"You must wear a suit TO an interview" vs "You must wear a suit FOR an interview"
0 votes

I would regard the preposition to as indicating time/place, while the preposition for would indicate purpose. Consider the following sentence: "Because you will be proceeding straight from the ...

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Is "Maybe he …, maybe he …" considered a comma splice?
0 votes

The term "maybe" can and often does serve as an adverb, but in the structure "Maybe X, maybe Y" the uses of "maybe" behave as conjunctions similar to "either" and "or" in the construct "either X or Y"....

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Does 'Was' necessitate a situation which no longer holds?
0 votes

The past tense only has meaning within a defined chronological context. There are some situations where the chronological context may be implied, e.g. if an object goes whizzing past two people, ...

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What is the correct way to write 1.5 hours?
0 votes

Other answers discuss writing the quantity as words. When writing things as numerals, however, I would suggest that the decimal fraction .5 as being a perfectly good way of indicating "half". For ...

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