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
It happened to me that I touched by accident the exhaust pipe of my motorbike when it was damn hot and got burnt.
Now, what would you say to questions like ‘What happened’? I always seem to carry over the pattern from Czech and look for a preposition such as ‘on’ or ‘by’ but it all sounds awful:
I got burnt ON/BY the exhaust pipe.
So I always end up resorting to either a long narrative or ‘It was the bike’...
Is it true for others that you lose all logic and sense after editing too much in one sitting? Hope I’m not alone!
I want to switch “from” to “by,” but then when I asked myself if you could really gain “by” something, I wasn’t too certain of my answer. Some reassurance or recommendations would be terrific! Thanks to all of you as always! ~s
“I gained expertise in effective communication as a project director in Ecuador and in Mexico, from negotiating in professional settings, meeting with my staff, and presenting to volunteers.”
What does this joke mean? “Utility knickers - one Yank, and they’re off.” I’ve heard it in the movie, Enigma by Michael Apted and have no idea what that refers to. There was nothing in the context that could help either. By the way, the story takes place during the World War II (if you haven’t seen the movie.)
Anyone got an idea about the way this expression originated?
eg, “I am so not going there.”
Others googled: I am so NOT looking forward to that! I am so not a man. I am SO not surprised. I am so not prepare[d] for this Exams. I am so totally dead. [sic]
There’s a discussion here
Is “I am so not prepared for this meeting” functionally equivalent to “I am unprepared for this meeting.”
Perhaps it’s a matter of informal (or slang) vs formal expression.
Why does it sound correct to say or hear “the only one I ever wanted”, but sound incorrect when saying “the one I ever wanted”? What is the secret of this little four letter word, “only”? There was a pop song out a few years back that used the latter phrase, and although it sounded so awful to my ears, I couldn’t really think of any reason that it was technically incorrect.
I am university student, and take a seminar in a third grade. In the class, we were given assignments, which is we check on how native speakers feel or think about the following questions. So I would like to ask your opinions. Could you answer the following questions?
1. “The plane must land in a few minute.” When you read this sentence, what kind of situation do you imagine? I’d like to know the meaning of “must” in this sentence. So what kind of meaning does the “must” include?
2. In the same way, how about “He can seem so sane.”?
3. What is the difference among Look, See and Watch?
4. “He could hear the phone ringing on the other end but no one answered.” In this sentence, do you think the phone rang straight? Does “can/could + feeling verb” mean an instant or a moment situation.
Thank you very much for your time, and I’m looking forward to your opinions.
There’s a slang expression in English which I don’t know how to spell correctly. The phrase would be used (phoentically) like this:
“I’m gonna sic the cops on you for doing that!”
meaning “I am going to report to the police what you did, and you will presumably be punished for doing it.”
Now I’ve seen internet kids using this phrase left and right, and I have seen it consistently spelled
“SICK” --> “I’m gonna sick the cops on you!”
It’s slang, so I’ve looked, but I can’t find the answer in a dictionary anywhere. But it’s driving me nutty, because I always thought it was spelled “sic” and not “sick.”
Is there a proper answer to this question, and if so, does anyone have it?