Submitted by katden  •  September 30, 2005

subconscious vs unconscious

I have always been taught that subconscious was used when talking about the parts of your psyche that you are not aware of - “the subconscious mind” and that unconscious was a physical condition - “knocked unconscious”

Lately I have been hearing people interchange the two; most of the time it is someone using “unconscious” in place of “subconscious”.

Am I confused here? Are they interchangable?

Submitted by sam  •  September 28, 2005

“Big of a”

This has always irked me, as prior to communicating with Americans on the internet, I’d never heard expressions such as “it’s not that big of a deal” - what is wrong with “it’s not that big a deal”?

What is the extra “of” there for? It just sounds so awkward and out of place... is there a good reason for it? Is it even correct English?

Submitted by joe2  •  September 28, 2005

Idea Vs. Ideal

Why do people say they have an Ideal instead of an Idea, which is correct?

Submitted by dan  •  September 28, 2005

website or web site

Websters says it’s two words.

Submitted by steve  •  September 28, 2005

Do not induce vomiting

Often poisons, and certain drugs give directions to NOT induce vomitting. Indeed, I don’t ever remember reading directions that did advise you to induce vomiting. So, this begs the question, are they saying go ahead and vomit but don’t do so by sticking your fingers down your throat, or are they saying avoid vomiting altogether... take some gravol or something?

Submitted by steve  •  September 28, 2005

The Toronto Maple Leafs

Shouldn’t that be “The Toronto Maple Leaves”? They’re a hockey team in case you never heard of them.

Submitted by kitty  •  September 26, 2005


My boss always says “irregardless” when I believe he should be saying “regardless.” Is irregardless even a word? Since I know what he means and more importantly, since he IS the boss, I refrain from correcting him, but this misusage always makes me cringe. Any insight? I’ll hang up and listen!

Submitted by martin2  •  September 26, 2005

How many “ands” in a row

How can you put the word “and” 5 times in a row in the same sentence? I need to tell a story. The landlord of a pub called The Pig And Whistle asked a signwriter to make a new sign. When he saw it he thought that the words were too close together so he said to the signwriter “I want more space between Pig and And and And and Whistle”.

Submitted by seankelly  •  September 7, 2005

Past tense of “text”

Now that text messaging has become a normal method of communication, “text” appears to have become a verb, as in “Text your vote in now”. Once that vote has been sent, what is the past tense? I don’t think that I can bring myself to use “texted”, but always saying “sent a text message” seems to be a contrived way to avoid “texted”.

Submitted by ivaylotivanov  •  July 20, 2005

Mileage for kilometers

Can you help me find the best word that covers the same concept as ‘mileage’ but for kilometers:

mileage (mileages) 1. Mileage refers to the distance that you have traveled, measured in miles. Most of their mileage is in and around town. N-UNCOUNT: also N in pl

Are such neologisms as ‘kilometerage’ or ‘kilometrage’ used in English?

Submitted by jiri  •  July 12, 2005

Assimilation /d/ + /j/


I’m a non-native English teacher. We did recently some work on assimilation of /d/ + /j/ as in ‘Could you...’ or ‘Did you...’

I was trying to elicit some other examples from my students and I got back this sentence:

There is a dead yak.

Clearly, the two sounds meet here but I wonder if native speakers would really use any assimilation at all. To me, ‘dead Jack’ sounds odd..

Submitted by scott  •  June 30, 2005


Can I replace smaller with littler always, sometimes, or never. Is the use of littler ever proper?

Submitted by erik  •  June 10, 2005

I versus Me

I could have sworn that someone told me once that the proper use of one self when combining with one other was “me” and not “I”.

For example, if I want to state that:

“Jim and I discussed the proposal that was sent.”

really should be:

“Jim and me discussed the proposal that was sent.”

Can you clarify?

Submitted by ivaylotivanov  •  May 26, 2005

North or northern

Hi all!

It’s a wonderful blog. Congratulations!

I’m in this predicament:

What is the rule for using north/south/east/west and northern/southern/eastern/western with geographical names?

For example, why is it called “Eastern Europe” instead of “East Europe” and “North America” instead of “Northern America”. In this regard, which collocation is more acceptible - “Southern France” or “South France”. Why? What’s the rule?


Submitted by fishslapper  •  May 4, 2005

Everybody doesn’t say it like that...

It might seem a bit nit-picky but I was wondering about how people say... oh this is hard to word for me. Take for instance, a whiny kid who wants to go the park. His mom takes him to the side and says, “Timmy(or something like that), everyone doesn’t want to go to the park.”

That’s a really bad example... But I’m wondering if that’s wrong, or if it’s any better at all to say, “Not everyone wants to go to the park.”

It’s just that when someone uses Everyone + Negative verb it seems like “Nobody” instead of “Only a certain few”--I think they mean. Of course if no one wanted to go they would just say, “Nobody wants to go”, not “Everyone does not want to go”... it’s weird the second way.

It grates my nerves to hear someone say “everyone can’t do it...” instead of “Not everyone can do it”. Maybe they don’t want to have a negative outlook. gyahhh.

Am I making sense? (no).

Submitted by eggbert  •  April 26, 2005


Can one really work “under a time-constraint”? This seems odd to me. Since the person cannot literally be under this constraint. Would it make more sense to state, “ the context of a time-constraint”? Or is is better to state in some other way?

Submitted by pjwade  •  April 18, 2005

Bloody Mary

I work for a liquor distributor and have a recurring problem with vodka & tomato juice. My coworkers and I cannot agree on the correct plural form of Bloody Mary. Help!

Submitted by jimmcculloch  •  April 4, 2005

you all

New to this blog, I read back a few days and discovered the entry on you all, in which some commentators maintained that you by itself does satisfactory service as a plural. But consider the following: Person walks into a bar, says “hi, y’all” to everyone there. This utterance would be recognized as perfectly grammatical and ordinary by any native speaker of red-state English. Is there any variety of English where “hi, you” could be taken as a greeting to everyone?

Submitted by jennifer  •  March 9, 2005

Login into or log in to

I’m damn confused about this... Can anybody tell me which is the right way to say?

“I am sorry to hear that you have trouble with login into our website.”


” I am sorry that you have trouble with log in to our website.”

I feel both are wrong. If so, what is the right way to say this?

Submitted by eduardo  •  March 9, 2005

The Nanny

I recently came across the following sentence in an American online newspaper:

“He has left a message for his children’s baby sitter, a high school freshman who lives next door, to relieve the nanny, who leaves at 6.”

Which left me wondering as to the disctinction between a baby sitter and a nanny.

Any comment is greatly appreciated.

Tks y’all!

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