This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books. You can browse through the latest questions and comments below. If you have a question of your own, please submit it here.
Search Pain in the English
I am currently teaching English in Spain and one of my students asked me a question that has left me dumbfounded. How would someone explain the differences between:
I know what sounds good, but I haven’t been able to find a hard and fast rule.
Is it really proper to say “I graduated high school,” or should it not be, “I graduated from high school?” Previously, I thought only rednecks were able to “graduate high school.”
Am I the only person in the world who finds the ubiquitous misuse of the verb “reference” to be incredibly annoying? Where did the use of “reference” rather than “refer to” start? I realise that the definition can skirt close to this usage, but I maintain that it is a misuse.
The word signage seems to keep popping up more and more and it would seem that in the majority of cases it is being used as the plural of sign and increasingly is perceived as a “clever” alternative to that plural. The OED states:
Chiefly N. Amer. Signs collectively, esp. public signs on facia boards, signposts, etc.; the design and arrangement of these.
Is there a gustative equivalent to the olfactory word “malodour”?
Is there a lexical, not imaginary, word that means anything that tastes bad just like “malodour” means anything that smells bad?