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

Top new questions this week:

A word to make something bad sound good

Lets say we are talking about a book about teens that drink. In the book, the teens have fun and nothing bad ever happens. It's disguising it as a good thing, it's supporting it and it's making it ...

*single-word-requests  
asked by Ashleah 27 votes
answered by bib 36 votes

Secular phrase for "Heaven only knows" or "God only knows"?

As the title states, I am seeking a secular phrase synonymous to "Heaven only knows" or "God only knows." Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

*phrases *synonyms  
asked by Emily 25 votes
answered by Nsw 67 votes

What is the hearing equivalent of behold?

According to the Oxford definition of behold it only applies to seeing and not to hearing. be·hold /bəˈhōld/ verb archaic literary verb: behold; 3rd person present: beholds; past ...

*verbs  
asked by aaronman 21 votes
answered by tylerharms 46 votes

Expression for losing something that you never really had

My "friend" keeps whining about "losing n reputation points" on Stack Exchange. My instinctive interpretation is that some of the votes he had earned were reversed due to vote fraud. What he really ...

*word-choice *phrase-requests  
asked by 200_success 21 votes
answered by Kris 20 votes

Is IOU an abbreviation, an acronym, or an initialism?

IOU stands for I owe you and we pronounce each letter separately. But how do we classify that construction"? abbreviation: a shortened form of a word or phrase acronym: an abbreviation formed from ...

*orthography *abbreviations *acronyms *initialisms  
asked by Mari-Lou A 19 votes
answered by bib 11 votes

Why is "did" italicized for emphasis in "Where did you come from?"

Where did you come from? What is the nuance of this emphasis? I could understand it if the emphasis were on where.

*emphasis  
asked by username901345 18 votes
answered by 200_success 37 votes

Is there a name for starting a chapter with a quote?

I am writing an article for school, and am trying to find the term used to describe a chapter which starts with a quote; my supervisor has said that there is a term for it, but he cannot remember what ...

*vocabulary  
asked by Adam Roberts 18 votes
answered by Mac Cooper 21 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

How to use "to + V-ing"?

I saw some scenarios that used the structure "to + V-ing", such as the following: Looking forward to hearing. Disposed to using few words. I would like to apply what I learned in school to helping ...

*grammar *verbs *infinitive *gerund  
asked by Thuan 11 votes
answered by simchona 13 votes

“Thank you very much” vs. “Thank you so much”

Some people used to say: Thank you very much. Where others say: Thank you so much. Could anybody please explain what differences there may be between those, whether of correctness or ...

*idioms *politeness *historical-change *contemporary-english *intensifying-adverbs  
asked by Raiyan 11 votes
answered by TrevorD 14 votes

Can you answer these?

Not until [sentence] do [sentence]

Example: “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau Can someone explain the structure of the aforementioned sentence?

*grammar  
asked by Entropid 1 vote

Syllable — Phonetic Online List/Dictionary with word examples

Is there a homepage or online tool which gives you a list of let's say 2000 most common syllables sorted by it's international phonetic alphabet? (e.g. /sɜː(r)/ = the first syllable from the word ...

*pronunciation *dictionaries *resources *ipa  
asked by laminin 3 votes

"One half" vs "a half"

I'm working on a copy editing project and in the copy they use ...only nine and one-half kilometres long... I have decided the hyphen is wrong. However one half sounds awkward to me. Is that ...

*word-choice *grammar *slang  
asked by Holly 2 votes
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