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Discussion Forum

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. If you have a question of your own,

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Latest Posts : Usage

In some recent fiction books written by American authors, I have seen the word “acclimated” as in “...she took a day to become acclimated to her new area.”

Shouldn’t this word be “acclimatised” or is this a case of American’s using one word and New Zealanders using another, both for the same purpose?

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I’m reviewing a New Zealand scientific report which uses the word ‘equivalency’. This sounds to me like an Americanisation of the word ‘equivalence’, both being nouns but with the redundancy of an additional syllable in ‘equivalency’.

As we use British English (despite word processing software trying to force American English upon us) I’m inclined to use ‘equivalence’.  What do you think?

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It grates every time I hear a local radio traffic reporter say “there is an accident just prior to the Erindale Rd turn-off.” 

I believe I’m right in thinking the word ‘prior’ is more correctly used in a time context, meaning earlier than or sooner than. 


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In American Grammar specifically, there is a somewhat new trend of referring to a singular collective as a plural noun. For example, “The band are playing at the Hall tonight.” To which I want to reply “It are?” While the British and Canadians have never understood the concept of singular collectives such as large companies or the aforementioned musical groups known by a name such as Aerosmith or Saint Motel, but why is this becoming popular in America where singular collectives have been referred to, until recently, as a singular entity? It’s on the radio, it’s on TV commercials and even in print. Are singular collectives now plural?

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Hi everyone, I’ve got an interesting question from my student:

Trump’s “ask the gays” statement:

- what exactly is wrong with it grammatically?


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I would like to know if it is correct to use the adjective “key” predicatively. I was taught that this word is like the adjective “main,” which can only be used in the attributive position. I’ve seen sentences like “This is key to the success of the plan,” but I remember typing something similar and the word processor marked it immediately as wrong. I think both “key” and “main” are special, (irregular, if you want) adjectives (in fact, they have no comparative forms) and feel they should be treated accordingly. I’ve never seen something like “This book is main in our course.” We will normally say “This is the main book in our course.” Thank you for your help!

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Could somebody please explain the problem with “as such”? I understand the frustration with its incorrect usage as a synonym for “therefore” or “thus”, but the response thereagainst wants to banish its usage entirely. I am confident that I am using it correctly, but I am constantly being directed to remove it from my papers nevertheless. Could you explain its proper usage?

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I noticed in reports of the recent GOP debate a number of instances where the phrase “Person A debated Person B.” was used rather than “Person A debated with Person B.” Is this common in USA?

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Is it escaped prison or escaped from prison?

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From my local medical centre’s web page:-

“The carpark at xxxxxx Health & Wellness Centre is now limited to 180 minutes. Cars parked longer than this and not displaying an exemption permit will be infringed with a $65 parking fine. This is intended to keep the carpark free for patients and customers of the building only. Unauthorised parkers leaving their vehicles in our carpark all day will be infringed.”

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Latest Comments

On Tomorrow

CONVERSATE IS SLANG. Recently I was corrected that the word is, in fact, in the dictionary, though it is not correct English, and it is considered slang. The correct English word is "converse" which is less to pronounce. Many feel those who use "conversate" are less than literate and not well educated.

On Tomorrow

This has nothing to do with being Southern. Only black people say it, and it is an insult to correct English, just like "axe" for "ask." Nomesayin?

People have lost sight of the fact that there is an "ellipsis" here. In other words, something has been left out, and the result is idiomatic in English.
In these discussions, "but" means "except", and the fact is that "except what?" has been left out. The ellipsis is "a negligible amount" or "a negligible number".
The expression, "The Colonials were all but eliminated by the Cylons," means "Except for a negligible number of them, the Colonials were eliminated by the Cylons."
Likewise, "The fighting strength of the boxer was all but extinguished," means "Except for a negligible amount, the fighting strength of the boxer was gone."
People get all but completely confused when they do not recognize the idiomatic nature of some expressions.
Please do not try to interpret them literally. You will all but lose your mind!

"...acclimate, acclimatise, and acclimatize all mean the same thing."
I completely agree. There are plenty of such similar words in English, and we should be prepared to understand all of them. Some of the differences are very slight, such as in the case of "judgement" and "judgment".
Furthermore, I have read that for reasonably comprehensive dictionaries, you need 100,000 words in French, but you need 200,000 words in German, and you need 300,000 words in English!
Just give your acknowledgment/ acknowledgement to these facts. English is a very rich language.

Yes, people like she is grammatically correct. Like in this case means "such as". People like her would mean people are fond of her.

I think we're as stuck with "all but" as we are with "each and every."

I hate the way people misuse the word "concerning" these days, i.e. " Her headaches are very concerning." Concerning what? Where did it start? Why does it go on? Thank you for listening. I'm blowing off steam. It's not politically correct to be grammatically correct these days. is most assuredly “THIS IS SHE”! mother was an English teacher.....”is” implies a “state of being”, and that requires a “subjective pronoun”, even though it is in an “objective position” in the sentence!


  • Dgirl
  • May 14, 2018, 5:55pm

Text should be the same as hurt for the present and past tense. Period.

Screw The Pooch

Screwed the pooch, hell, that woman screwed the entire dog pound.