September 27, 2005  •  steve

most unique

Is it correct to describe something as “most unique”? It seems to me that “most” is redunant though it does add emphasis akin to expressions such as “very pregnant” and “very dead”.

September 27, 2005  •  steve

hanged vs. hung

In primary school we learned that prisoners were hanged by the neck until dead, and not hung by the neck until dead. Paintings, coats, and Christmas stockings are “hung”, not people. They are “hanged”. Is this correct? I hear news reporters say “hung” all the time. Never “hanged”.

September 21, 2005  •  tweyland

all _____ sudden

Is it regional to use “all of a sudden” versus “all the sudden?” The former sounds more correct to me.

September 7, 2005  •  marta

words, words, words...

Could anybody tell me what these words above might mean or refer to? I’d be very, very grateful... teletubbified, beefcakeosity, blubsome, hamburger junction, horseburger (do we really produce that kind of stuff??), jelly-bagging, rocktabulous, froogle, trammel-netter, woo-woo book, telangiectasia, truncus arteriosus. :-)))

August 21, 2005  •  m56

Prepositional verb or phrasal verb?

IYO, is “sailed through” a prepositional verb or a phrasal verb in the sentence below? She sailed through her exams.

July 26, 2005  •  jiri


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’...

July 15, 2005  •  sarah

“gain by”

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.”

June 19, 2005  •  goossun


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.)

June 16, 2005  •  naokimurahashi2


“Suddenly he heard something that was not imagination.” If I add “could hear” to this sentence instead of “heard”, how do you feel? Is it strange? I would like to ask your opinions and reasons.

June 15, 2005  •  degustibus

“I am so not XYZ”

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.

June 5, 2005  •  matthammond

The Only One I Ever Wanted

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.

May 16, 2005  •  naokimurahashi

Questions for native speakers

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.

May 13, 2005  •  ccourt

You Joking Me?

I have a friend insistent on saying the phrase “You gotta be joking me” when I think he should be saying “You have to be kidding me”. Does anyone know anyone else who says this and can you tell me how wrong it is?

May 4, 2005  •  enkida

“Sic” or “Sick” something on someone?

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? Thanks!

April 27, 2005  •  ely

me or I

A group of us were discussing the use of “me” and “I”. Which of these sentences is correct? “My mother bought some sweets for me and my sister.” or “My mother bought some sweets for my sister and I.” thanks for your help in advance.

March 18, 2005  •  marta

politics in the kitchen...

Could any cooking expert explain to me what the phrase: “goulash communism” might mean?

March 15, 2005  •  marta

tv + video + dvd = ?

Is there any nice and succinct word for the audio-video set that comprises of a tv, video and/or dvd and which people often have at their homes?

March 9, 2005  •  Dyske

We, I, or my wife had a baby?

As a father of a newborn, do I say: 1. We had a baby. 2. I had a baby. 3. My wife had a baby. Which one is it?

February 19, 2005  •  slemmet

my being vs me being

I have never understood why people say stuff like “Can my car be repossessed _without my being warned_?”. In my ears it should be “without me being warned”. Heck I would even prefer “without I being warned”. The only explanation I can come up, given that “my” is possessive, is that “being” is a noun which refers to you as a mortal being. But that doesn’t make much sense in the sentence since “being” is used as the verb. For it to work it would have to be “without my being getting warned”, or “without my being being warned”. Am I right that this is just badly evolved english (although seemingly legitimate today) or am I missing something here ?

February 9, 2005  •  eduardo2

Sunday best

Is the expression “Sunday best” (=one’s best clothes) still used currently?

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