English Language & Usage Weekly Newsletter
English Language & Usage Weekly Newsletter

Top new questions this week:

Adjective describing a person who has lots of children, not "fertile"

Is there a single adjective that means "this person has lots of children"? Context: I'm not actually talking about a person. I'm talking about a data structure in a computer program, where objects ...

*single-word-requests *adjectives  
asked by japreiss 24 votes
answered by Matt Gutting 64 votes

Why is Lord Alfred Tennyson often written as Alfred Lord Tennyson?

Why is Lord Alfred Tennyson often written as Alfred Lord Tennyson? This occurs with and without a comma after Alfred: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Should Lord precede the entire ...

*nouns *names *proper-nouns  
asked by Mike 20 votes
answered by Andrew Leach 33 votes

Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders?

In many of the languages that I've studied there are separate distinctions in the words to use when talking to elders and when talking to someone of your age or younger. For e.g. in Hindi, if I ...

*politeness *indian-english *kinship-terms *honorifics  
asked by user96551 17 votes
answered by congusbongus 54 votes

What is the origin of "analogue" as a term meaning "non-digital?"

This question came up when having a pun-ridden discussion with some of my colleagues: When and why did we start using the word "analogue" to mean "not using numerical digits?" Etymonline only has an ...

asked by user867 15 votes
answered by javaNoobs 20 votes

What is the action called when a grumpy old man shows that he is annoyed, by making a 'throat-clearing' sound?

Sometimes when a grumpy old man gets annoyed, he makes noises like clearing his throat. Does grumbling or grunting define that action? Is there a more appropriate word or an idiom for that?

*meaning *word-choice *single-word-requests *phrases *idioms  
asked by irishmist 14 votes
answered by bobro 42 votes

What is a "moorland farmer"?

I came across the phrase "moorland farmer" yesterday while reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Google shows that the phrase has some currency. [link] We don't have moors in the U.S. — or ...

*meaning *expressions *oxymoron  
asked by ruakh 14 votes
answered by ScotM 20 votes

Better term than "hardcoded" for end-user documentation

The term "hardcoded" refers to configuration that's imbedded in a program's code. To a programmer, it may have a negative connotation (if it is a bad design decision) and to a non-technical user, the ...

asked by Scribblemacher 13 votes
answered by Lucky 17 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

The British pronunciation of the word "schedule"

Is pronouncing the word "schedule" as "shed-ule" only an upper class thing in the UK? Which pronunciation, "sked-ule" "or "shed-ule" is more faithful to the original etymology of the word, i.e. which ...

*pronunciation *british-english *pronunciation-vs-spelling  
asked by Uticensis 18 votes
answered by MrHen 12 votes

Difference between nevertheless and nonetheless

I am never quite sure whether to use nevertheless or nonetheless; they seem almost synonymous to me, but I think I might be missing a subtle distinction. Is there a difference, and if so, how do I ...

*differences *discourse-markers  
asked by Fraser Orr 27 votes
answered by Cameron 10 votes

Can you answer these?

Is there a nuance in meaning between 'non-managed' and 'unmanaged'?

Context: I am writing about 'devices not managed by professionals' and debating the subtleties between non-managed devices vs. unmanaged devices

*usage *prefixes *nuance  
asked by Relango 1 vote

I'd been sent to kill him / I was sent to kill him. etc..?

When do I use had and when can I leave out had? or use was instead of had This is the context it was used in: With the Reds and the Germans knocking seven shades of shit each other back at Museum ...

*grammar *sentence *past-tense *past-perfect  
asked by Milo 1 vote

How did 'countenance' evolve to mean 'support or approval'?

[OED:] The extension of sense from ‘mien, aspect’ to ‘face’ appears to be English: compare French use of mine. [ Etymonline for 'countenance (v.)' ] late 15c., "to behave or act," from ...

*etymology *french  
asked by Law Area 51 Proposal - Commit 2 votes
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