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

Top new questions this week:

Common phrase for something that changes while you are working on it

What is a common phrase to describe something that changes while you are working on it without your being aware of it. For example: you are adding comments to a document, and when you submit them you ...

asked by user844541 20 votes
answered by Jim Mack 59 votes

Is there a term for ascribing acts of the human mind to non-human objects, and when is it appropriate to do this?

Nota bene: English isn't my native language, so when I say acts of the human mind, I attempt to generalize things such as making assumptions, drawing conclusions and (to some extent) to reject. To me ...

*meaning *word-usage *formality *semantics *abstract-nouns  
asked by Abbe Abyss 18 votes
answered by Channel Islander 29 votes

Negative-connotation word for someone who is straight-edge?

What is a word for someone who doesn't party, doesn't do drugs, doesn't drink, doesn't have sex, etc. Preferrably with more of a negative connotation. Edit: I'm looking to use this in a ...

*single-word-requests *pejorative-language  
asked by vijrox 15 votes
answered by VampDuc 27 votes

Term describes the feeling of weariness or boredom

What do you call the state of tiredness or lack of interest. It is subtly different from ordinary boredom. A feeling like "the world is so boring"but just a little different, implying that the state ...

*single-word-requests *terminology  
asked by Jaeger Jay 13 votes
answered by Little Eva 34 votes

How to pronounce fractions larger than a twentieth, where the last digit of the denominator is a 1 or a 2? i.e. one thirtieth is to 30 as _ is to 31

Disclaimer: I speak British English. I've noticed a lot of differences between the way Americans and Brits pronounce numbers.1 Since the question concerns this, I thought it might be appropriate to ...

*word-usage *pronunciation *mathematics *transatlantic-differences *fractions  
asked by Some_Guy 12 votes
answered by bib 10 votes

One word for playing on the violin with a bow

When one is playing on the guitar, one is strumming. One can strum on the strings of a violin too. But most of the time, one uses a bow to play on the violin. Is there a single word for that?

*single-word-requests *vocabulary  
asked by Dávid Tóth 11 votes
answered by chasly from UK 55 votes

Single word for a self-confessed traveler who constantly talks about his travels regardless of the audience interest, circumstance or relevence?

What would be a good single word for a self-confessed traveler who constantly talks about his travels, rattling off place names ("Oh that one time in Timbaktu....", "Thank you for the coffee! Speaking ...

*single-word-requests *neologisms  
asked by peregrinmonk 10 votes
answered by Anton 22 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Which is correct, "you and I" or "you and me"?

When the phrase is used as an object, why so many native speakers are saying "you and I" instead of "you and me"? I'm not a native speaker but I thought "you and me" is correct. Not sure if this falls ...

*pronouns *grammaticality *object *hypercorrection  
asked by grokus 21 votes
answered by JSBձոգչ 45 votes

How many tenses are there in English?

Do we have 16 tenses in English? With future present past future in the past in these forms simple continuous perfect perfect continuous Can we manipulate these together to create English ...

*verbs *tenses *modal-verbs *mood *aspect  
asked by Mohammad Rafiee 87 votes
answered by JSBձոգչ 110 votes

Can you answer these?

Quoting a paper written in a different style

In a paper I am quoting a block of text that contains the phrase "The author however does not believe ..." The copyeditor of my paper inserted comma before and after "however" as this is the journal's ...

*comma *quotations  
asked by Thomas 2 votes

Comma usage and maintain succinctness

I have started my book with the words "The day I was born, Granny died." On reading all the comma rules this doesn't seem quite right. Should the comma be replaced by a semicolon? I wanted the first ...

*comma *semicolon  
asked by Nish D 1 vote

Is this particular statement a phrase or a clause?

The difference between clauses and phrases has been extensively discussed (here, here, and likely elsewhere). And as Dusty has said, “The short answer [is that] clauses contain a subject and its verb, ...

*phrases *subordinate-clauses  
asked by Jake Regier 2 votes
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