Submitted by vindibul3  •  September 10, 2004

Adjective in place of Adverb

Today I found myself in the position of wanting to use “volatile” in the sentence “The bombs rested volatile on the edge of the shelf.” I immediately realized the sentence seemed choppy. I also realized, however, that “volatilely” is not a word. I was thinking of “precariously” but wanted to express a more explosive mood instead of the somewhat timid-sounding “precariously.”

Are there situations where an adjective can be used in place of an adverb? For instance, tonight I heard a teleivision show use the phrase “You’ve done nothing but wax idiotic.”

Any examples, rules, or guidelines relating to the use of this kind of adjective/adverb structure would be a boon to my understanding. Thank you.

Submitted by jeudi2  •  August 30, 2004

As If vs. As Though

“As if” and “as though”, does it mean the same thing? Is one more colloquial and the other more formal? How do you use them?

Submitted by clivebellmore  •  August 26, 2004

“Can I get” vs. “May I have”

I am told by my business partner that using “Can I get a...” from a waiter is verging on the rude and that you should use “please may I have...”.

Would you agree?

Submitted by goossun  •  July 23, 2004


Can anyone give an example of verbal “charade” plesae?

Submitted by daischi  •  May 30, 2004


I want to say there is a conflict/difference between things, in this case, materials reported to be in a bottle. Would I say there is a discrepancy IN materials, a discrepancy OF materials, or a discrepancy BETWEEN materials?

Submitted by goossun  •  March 25, 2004


What’s the defference between hyphens and dash?

Submitted by goossun  •  March 3, 2004


I just wonder how can we name the decades of the 2nd millennium. i.e. we say “during 80′s”. How we say “during (20)10′s”? or “2020′s” etc.?

Submitted by goossun  •  February 18, 2004


Was reading an interview with Peter Greenaway last night and he was asked: “What’s the excitment of essentially halving the amount of information on the screen by mirroring it?” I just thought to myself I would certainly hear or understand the word, HALVING as if it was HAVING! How could one really differ these two when talking? They are pronounced just the same. And in this case both correct.

Submitted by goossun  •  February 17, 2004

Any reference?

Does anybody know any reference to look up for the exact “English” pronunciation of the Greek names such as Aeschylus, Euripides etc? These are of course common names and traceable in some talking dictionaries. I mean the weirder names.

Submitted by goossun  •  February 16, 2004

Pronounciation of TH+S

I’ve been always wondering how I must pronounce: months, mouths etc. How the S after TH sounds? Z or S or what?

Submitted by guriko  •  February 12, 2004

Writer or Author

I’ve always wondered about the difference between “writer or author” - I heard someone (not a native speaker either) say “I want to be an author.” Wouldn’t it be more natural to say she wants to be a writer, since she’s (attempting to) write a novel? What if she was compiling a cook book? would that be an author or a writer?

Submitted by chuck  •  January 28, 2004

Is it A or An?

I’m a graphic designer and a customer wants the sentence: “I’m a M&M peanut.” I say it should be an because even though vowels preceed consanants, the sound dictates. It’s not mother or mouth, but “EM” the sound of the letter. That makes it a vowel to me.

Submitted by slo  •  January 20, 2004

“Proper” Diction?

Hi all; first time here. I could probably ask questions till everyone is blue in the face, but I’d just as soon be able to research them myself. At this point, my English is much more intuitive than intellectual; what “seems” right to me usually flies, but I’d like to know the “proper” way, so that when I “break” a rule, I am doing so consciously. The gist of the above is that terms like grammar, diction, and usage are blurry. I just know this is not a spelling/punctuation query; those types of answers I can find in my dictionary. Is there a recognized “bible” for word usage? Here is a typical question I would look for in said source: Which is more correct, “I have a watch that runs slow,” or “I have a watch which runs slow,” or I have a watch that runs slowly,” or “I have a watch which runs slowly”? I noticed some time ago that substituting “which” for “that” often yields results which I don’t find disagreeable, and it drives me nuts. I would appreciate any responses directed to: Thanks for your time!

Submitted by Dyske  •  January 19, 2004

The Flu and a Cold

Why does “flu” get “the”, while “cold” gets “a”? It appears that you never say “a flu”.

Here is a good example.

Submitted by Dyske  •  December 5, 2003

The Americans

When you say “Americans” to mean the American people, do you need “the”? What is the difference between with and without “the” for any nationality? E.g. “The Germans” vs. “Germans”, “The French” vs. “French”.

Submitted by mitch  •  November 24, 2003

Love, In Love with, etc..

Ok, I hope I phrase this correctly to be understood well enough to elicit an answer. What is the difference between, being “in love” with someone, and telling someone “I love you.” Because to my understanding, you can be In Love With someone while not directly being involved with them (stalker, adoring fans etc...). But to tell some one that you love them or “I love you” would require a prior relationship. Are there two different connotations attached, or am I just an idiot?

Submitted by fangrl  •  November 20, 2003

Advanced vs. Advance

When I hear things like “advance care” or “Game Boy Advance” it always makes me cringe. Is this really correct? Shouldn’t it be “Advanced care”, because it connotates a superior level of, well, care?

Submitted by jude  •  October 27, 2003

age vs. aged

Is there a preference of any sort? As in “John Smith, aged 45, was awarded the city’s highest honor at a luncheon . . . ” or “John Smith, age 45, was awarded the city’s highest honor at a luncheon . . .”

Submitted by joachim  •  October 22, 2003


Does anyone know anything about the etymology of the word “broad”, used to denote a woman?

Submitted by Dyske  •  July 29, 2003


“I’d like to be friends with you.”

Why “friends”? It seems to make more sense to say, “I’d like to be a friend with you.” The “I” is singular, not plural.

“We are friends,” makes sense.

“I’d like to be your friend,” too makes sense.

  2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10