August 23, 2004  •  vindibul2

“In your debt”

A friend was thankful for a gift I gave him today and said to me, “I am in your debt. No, wait... you are in my debt. Thanks.” I am now thinking about the meaning of these idioms. We’ve all heard variants of this (not using the word “indebted”): 1: “I am in your debt.” 2: “You are in my debt.” 3: “I am in debt to you. 4: “You are in debt to me.” I am now unclear if the users of these phrases are using them correctly. Whom owes whom? Right now, I am seeing it like this: 1: Speaker is stating that listener owes something to speaker. 2: Statement that listener owes something to listener. 3: Speaker owes something to listener. 4: Statement that listener owes something to speaker. Are these correct? Are there more clear variants of showing indebtedness (I now open the subject up to using the word “indebted”)?

August 6, 2004  •  Dyske

Color of People

A friend of mine told me that “colored people” is offensive, but “people of color” isn’t. As far as I can see, they mean exactly the same thing. Why is one offensive but not the other?

August 3, 2004  •  marta


‘Couch potato’ is a phrase, which everybody knows already. I’ve also found ‘mouse potato’, which means a person glued all the time to the computer or tv screen, (treated as one of the English neologisms). Do you know any other types of ‘potatoes’?

July 29, 2004  •  goossun


Does anyone know the origin of the word okay or O.K. or OK? I once heard that that has to do with French and is derived from some Mississippian dialect and so. Does that make any sense at all? The bad thing is that I do not quite remember what I was told, neither I remember the supposedly original French word.

July 29, 2004  •  goossun

Looking for a word

Is there any informal, figurative and rather impolite way of calling someone lazy? Any slang etc.?

July 12, 2004  •  goossun


What does the “K” in “the Y2K problem” stand for?

July 8, 2004  •  goossun

At or in

Which one is correct? “As far back as I remember, the country was at war.” “As far back as I remember, the country was in war.” If both are correct, what’s the difference?

July 2, 2004  •  goossun

Lacking Smell

What is the word for the olive oil or garlic whose smell has been taken away? What’s the verb and what the noun? (And does anyone know how they do it?!)

July 2, 2004  •  goossun


Why is pawshop called pawshop?

June 22, 2004  •  goossun


Why are the music instruments in the definite form when they are “being played” in the sentences? “I play THE guitar”

June 21, 2004  •  goossun


How do you negate the word deliberate? Undelibertae is not correct according to dictionaries. What then?

June 18, 2004  •  goossun

F word

When do you use “mother fucker” and when do you use “mother fucking”? Does the later indicate a kind of dialect?

June 18, 2004  •  goossun

...t you

The T which meets the word YOU is usually pronounced somewhat like CH, right? Such as “got ya!” or “what you...”. Just wonder how one can write the sound. Is there an agreeable way to write it? As we almost agree to write “gotta” for “have got to”?

June 17, 2004  •  sumijapanese

No Woman No Cry

The meaning of “No Woman No Cry” is now controversial in Japan. “No Woman No Cry” is a title of a song written by Bob Marley, a famous Jamaican Reggae artist. I’ve thought that the meaning is “There is no woman who does not cry”. However, someone says the meaning is “Women! Do not cry !”. I’d like to know the explanation by English native speakers. Thank you.

June 15, 2004  •  goossun

P & K

Does anyone know what happened to the poor P of the psychology? Why is it silent? Why is it written? Does anybody also know why the K in know, knife, knee etc. is mute? I guess it has nothing to do with Kafka! Does it?

June 13, 2004  •  goossun


Where do we put question mark, dot, exclamation mark etc. when a sentence ends with a quotation mark? Before or after the closing quotation mark? (”...where?” or “...where”?) or where?!

June 9, 2004  •  goossun

Am I L-deaf?

Folk! Do YOU pronounce the L in the word, FOLK? I know that dictionaries say “NO, we don’t”. But I think that I often hear an L there. Eh?

June 1, 2004  •  goossun


What does EXACTLY the prefix “para” mean? I have difficulty translating “para-theatre”.

May 29, 2004  •  dorik

“me too”

This question is about the correctness of “me, too” as it relates to formal speech or its likelihood of being torn apart by a grammar fanatic. Examples: a: “I want to go to the store.” b: “Me too.” a: “I have ten fingers.” b: “Me too.” Is “me, too” gramatiically correct, or should it be something like, “I, too,” “I, also,” or “I do as well?”

May 15, 2004  •  goossun

ta-ta & ho-ho

You guys have seen Oliver Stone’s JFK? What do “ta-ta” and “ho-ho” mean in this phrase? “You got the right ta-ta, but the wrong ho-ho”. It’s from the court sequence. I do understand what it means it the sense it is used in the film, just wonder what these two words are coming from.

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