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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.

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Isn’t it redundant to say That is the REASON WHY I am here.

Isn’t the ‘reason’ the ‘why’ as well? But how come many people use it?

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I’m helping to rewrite my organisation’s style guide. I prefer (and we have always used) Collins but some other colleagues prefer the OED.

Does anyone have any strong views on their respective merits?

thanks, James

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There wasn’t a clause left in the sole agency contract that wasn’t a source of conflict.

The author of a book I am editing refuses to change the above sentence to: Every clause left in the sole agency contract was a source of conflict.

His reason is this is “a literary device to accentuate [my point]” . I think it is bad English to use the same word twice in one sentence. Am I being pedantic?

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I read this sentence and I felt kind of weird about it:

The suppliers imposed us to absorb price increase.

I won’t say that it’s wrong to use IMPOSE in that sentence, neither that ABSORB cannot be used like that, but wouldn’t it sound better, and maybe even clearer to use one of the following alternatives? 1. The suppliers forced us to accept price increase. 2. The suppliers made us accept price increase. 3. The suppliers left us no choice but to accept price increase. 4. The suppliers left us no choice but to deal with price increase. 5. The suppliers imposed price increase on us and we were forced to accept it. 6. The suppliers imposed price increase on us and we were forced to deal with it. 7. The suppliers imposed price increase on us and we could do nothing about it.

Any opinion appreciated...

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When CC: a person(s) in a business letter, is it necessary to fully type their business name after their name or is an abbreviation acceptable.

For example: CC; So-and-so FCCC or Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation

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I’ve read a number of books, and when an author uses a colon in a sentence to define something he wrote in simpler terms or to define in a more detailed manner, he capitalizes the next word. Such as, “The blue sky was beautiful: The sky resembled a cascading fall into the bountiful white clouds.” Should I also capitalize the T in “The”?

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Hi, I’m editing a brochure and know Internet is in caps, but is Web for Web site? and is Website one or two words? I’ve seen it both ways.

The brochure is speaking about a specific government website, but says “the county web site”.

Thanks, Freezing on the Hill

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1)”They were all trying to figure out which theoretical trend would be fashionable by the time they would attend postgraduate school, and scheming career plans.”

Is the tenses coordination ok? and the words appropriate?

2) “Most sold out in time and made a career of denouncing what they had worshipped.”

Does “sold out” sound very weird? Is there a better idiom to describe with contempt the way leftists-turned-capitalist-champions betrayed the ideals of their youth?

And, am I intruding here?

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When fine artists say their work is “multi-disciplinary”, what would a discipline mean in this context?

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Latest Comments

First annual vs. second annual

So when I am 1 on my first birthday I have lived 1 whole year and I am beginning my 2nd birthday on my 1st birthday......On my 80th birthday I have lived 80 years and I am beginning my 81st birthday on my 80th birthday. IS THIS CORRECT? ? ? ? ?

your completely wrong

On Tomorrow

I live in the South and have heard this quite frequently. Funnily enough, the speakers who engage in this linguistic homicide are from the NORTH!

First annual vs. second annual

The eleventh year after the inaugural year..
is there a special adjective?

Word in question: Conversate

Once again, we have lowered our standard of grammar to accommodate those too lazy to learn usage!

agree the terms

Certainly does seem to appear only in British publications. American equivalent would be "agree on the terms" I think.

We have yet to agree the terms of your surrender.

Persian/Farsi

The reason we don't like the word "Farsi" I believe is: the actual word is Parsi and in Arabic language "p" doesn't exist so when Islamic Arabs attacked Iran and stayed for along time cuz they couldn't pronounce "P" they were saying Farsi instead of Parsi so after few hundred years of occupying Iran b4 they got kicked out, the word of Farsi stayed I hope the F word goes back to them to have fun with it

“Zen” as an Adjective

  • Dustin
  • April 23, 2017, 9:14pm

I also agree with Eliza. Pick a better adjective. Continuing to use "Zen" that way only commodifies and promotes misunderstanding about that religious tradition.

I live in a rural area, and do not get U.S. Postal delivery at my physical address. I have a P.O. Box at the local post office but when address verification is requested, like from UPS, the post office has no record of my physical address. This can be a huge problem. The solution is to install a mailbox on the main road a mile away. My husband has been reluctant to do this for safety reasons, even though I him that our mail will continue to go to the local post office. I actually purchased a mail box which my husband has been avoiding. I am over 70 so it's rather difficult for me, maybe I can get my neighbor to help.