Here is my problem sentence: “It’s a difficult thing. You almost feel guilty” that you can’t do more, said member Joey Coco of Baton Rouge, a leader in the Louisiana recovery. [more inside]
A gay 20-something that I know used the phrase "fuck this gay earth" in a tweet. I challenged him (as someone who came out in 1990) for his use of the word "gay" as a pejorative, and he said "it's an established meme, it's okay for me to use it that way". How do I combat this? [more inside]
Hi, I've been trying to find a long-lasting laptop/ultrabook. I'm querying MF for suggestions. The problem is that the actual performance of the laptops, once you get them, is materially different from the manufacturer's supposed battery life. For instance, I bought a Lenovo T450 which is supposed to have a massive battery, only to find out that the life is 6 hrs tops, when new. And the laptop itself is a heavy beast. I have looked at the XPS13, and am considering the Macbook Air 13", upon which I'd run Windows (because I need Windows for work). Any advice?
I’ve never had to buy my own phone or cell plan before -- it’s always been through an employer. I know the phone I want, and I want to get the best value on it and a suitable service plan. I have a strawman. Is it the right idea? [more inside]
Up until two weeks ago I had an iPhone4 and a 1GB data plan, which was just fine for what I do, namely browsing Metafilter and the New York Times. Suddenly upon acquiring a new iPhone 6, I somehow began using large amounts of data. I've already had to upgrade to a 4GB plan in order to avoid extra charges. What happened? [more inside]
There is this odd little building in my neighborhood and I would really like to know what the sign on it says and what it could possibly be used for. I saw it being built over the past year, but I have no clue what it is. Here is the building and this is the sign on front.
How common or uncommon is it for men who look at porn to look at 'teen' porn? I stumbled upon the tabs for my husband’s porn viewing session. All of the videos included "teen" as a keyword in the title. The people did not appear prepubescent. I am having a negative reaction to this. My questions, in order, for the site are: [more inside]
A young baby in our family is very alert, active and friendly and my sister and myself both found ourselves referring to her as 'canny'. But when we were asked what the word means, and why it applies to her, we couldn't quite explain it. Is there any one on here, probably from the North of England, who could have a go at explaining 'canny', meaning and usage (and possibly derivation?)
I was looking for a comprehensive resource that would explain the correct way of using a designer typeface in a project (for a small company or even a multi-national one). How do we buy it, what kind of usage rights can we obtain, how would a typeface designer even know that one of their fonts was illegally used, ... Basically everything in terms of our rights and the designer rights.
I'm curious to hear the experiences of people with good writing skills who were raised in families with poor language usage. [more inside]
Lately I've started noticing the construction "or no" in places where I would have expected "or not". [more inside]
How can I stop Chrome from killing my battery? [more inside]
I'm interested in learning about the details of English grammar and usage, and also maybe in picking up some prescriptions or guidelines for writing well-styled/balanced prose (a la Strunk & White, though my understanding is that there's potentially a great many schools of thought to look at here). The kicker: my academic background is in math and computer science, including the very formal reaches of things like logic, formal languages, etc. Is there any way that this stuff can help me learn that stuff? [more inside]
Anti-feminists seem to often use the word "female" in the noun form, in places where people would ordinarily just use "women." (I don't want to spend a lot of time hunting up evidence of this, but here are some examples. There's also this and this.) I'm curious to know how/why this became a thing -- for example, I've wondered if it has something to do with military or police usage, because those are the only places I've previously noticed women being referred to as females. Does anybody know?
I'm getting conflicting opinions on how often a septic system needs to be pumped, and pumping isn't cheap. My current system is about ten years old, and it's been mostly just me using it. I've heard of other low-use households that have been pumped maybe once in 30 years. Conventional wisdom seems to be thus: pump every 3 years or so or risk anything from a bad smell to a total system wipeout and replacement. Is that for real? [more inside]
I just received a huge cellphone bill due to excessive data usage. I checked my iPhone's cellular data usage, and the IFTTT app has used 7.5GB (yes, gigabytes) of data in the last month. WTF! [more inside]
I just had someone tell me that it is correct to close a letter with “Signed, [Mr. Letter Writer].” It’s the use of the word “Signed” that I find strange and just wrong. I have never in my life seen this and am having a hard time believing it is acceptable. Can anyone enlighten me?
1)I should be going. 2) I shoud get going. 3)I should go. Please tell me the difference of the nuance between the three. Thank you.
I have a Samsung Galaxy for TMobile, with a fixed dataplan. Two months ago, my phone began burning through data. Can you help me figure out why? [more inside]
When someone says head or latrine for bathroom its likely that they were in the military or around the military. A less common example,when someone says "avoid the near occasion" about something its likely that they are from a Roman Catholic background, I'd even say its use indicates a likelihood that they are or were a priest, seminarian, religious, in a kind of serious catholic family or school etc. Reckon is a common word and its being used once doesn't mean anything but when its use is pretty frequent it might be indicative of someone's having lived in the south east United States. When people say pop instead of soda or coke they likely are from somewhere roughly between Chicago and Denver, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Things like this interest me and I'm sure I know only a infinitesimal fraction of a percent of them. Do you have any like observations to share? [more inside]
Stamp collecting is philately. Coin collecting falls under numismatics (perhaps as a subdivision). Rock collecting is not really geology in the same way as the above terms are used. Is there a similar term for rock collecting?
Please explain to me as though I have lived under a rock: What are the modern norms among urban folk in the US regarding mobile telephones? SMS? Internet-capable phones and "apps"? When is it appropriate to take a call? To place a call? What do people do with their telephones that really pisses you off? When, if ever, has someone made your life easier by appropriate use of a telephone? [more inside]
English language friends: Why do we use the word “different” when it doesn’t appear to be necessary? [more inside]
I need a Firefox or Chrome extension that tracks my bandwidth usage. [more inside]
How do I choose an image from a large collection of rare (or rare editions of) illustrated children's books at the public library? The Friends of that Library would like to use one of the images to promote a fundraiser for the collection, and I need some help navigating copyright and practical issues surrounding that choice. [more inside]
Coffee grounds or coffee grinds? [more inside]
Looking for a good book on English grammar. [more inside]
Why does the New York Times write "unemployment rose to 10% from 5%" rather than "unemployment rose from 5% to 10%"? I trip over this formulation and have to go back and reread the clause every time. Is the goal to increase clarity of avoid confusion in some way? How so? This doesn't seem to be standard American English, and it's certainly not usual in the UK. [more inside]
I'm trying to find public domain e-books of English language teaching material that I can adapt into online courses. [more inside]
ELT-filter: I'm arguing that "What's your favorite lunch menu?" is Japanese-English phrasing that shouldn't be included in an English textbook. [more inside]
Is there a web service that shows the geographical usage of a particular word from twitter? [more inside]
When did the word "diss" pass into popular/mainstream usage (either in the US or Australia)? [more inside]
So what does "train-the-trainer" really mean anyway? [more inside]
I'm trying to come up with titles. Where is a site that I can find uses of words that aren't cliches or idioms but common usages? [more inside]
iPhone Filter: Now that my ol' flip phone is dying, I've decided to take the plunge this holiday season…. [more inside]
Looking for anecdotal data: when you switched to a time-of-use electrical meter for your residence, what happened to your bills in the first year, and what changes did you make that seemed to have the largest impact? [more inside]
Disputing a bill with the electric company: how to estimate electric usage of heater/central air. [more inside]
How common is the usage of the expression "To dun" in the context of chasing payment? [more inside]
Saying "it's three times less" seems nonsensical to me. Please enlighten me. [more inside]
Is the phrase "needs replaced" an English language regionalism? Is it an American English regional phrase? Is it of relatively recent vintage? Why does it seem to be gaining prevalence? [more inside]
Which uses more electrical power: All of the hotels and attractions on the Las Vegas strip, or all of the hotels and attractions within Walt Disney World in Florida? [more inside]
Why do we precede acronyms starting with the letter U with 'a' instead of 'an', e.g. "a USB key" or "a UFO"? Acronyms starting with a consonant are frequently preceded by "an" because consonants' names have a different spelling than the letters themselves, e.g. M as em and H as aitch, therefore "an HIV outbreak" or "an MRI". However, U's name is spelled u, and acronyms that start with other vowels are preceded by 'an', e.g. "an ABC license". What's the deal?
Given that Federal bailout monies are being tossed around to banks like sacks of rice from an aid truck, are there any emergent slang terms for one billion dollars? [more inside]
What do people do with seeds besides plant them? Examples: Watermelon seed necklaces, cherry pit spit distance contest...etc [more inside]
How can I surreptitiously monitor someone's World of Warcraft usage? [more inside]
Affect/Effect [more inside]
Quick grammar/usage question. Which is the preferred usage: "I'm buying this property on their behalf," or "I'm buying this property on their behalves." [more inside]
What is a good heuristic for the usage of 'that'? [more inside]
Which products or goods improve with age and use? [more inside]
In the interests of science, please tell me how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) your house or apartment used last month and how much it uses in the middle of winter. If possible include variables like whether you use electric heat, air conditioning, electric or gas hot water heater, etc. [more inside]
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