word usage - Barking Hot-Dogs

In the 1939 Walt Disney cartoon Donald's Cousin Gus Donald Duck is visited by a relative who proceeds to eat him out of house and home.There is a scene where Donald attempts to get rid of his unwanted guest by serving him "Bow-wow Hot-Dogs" (see a snapshot of Donald's fridge below).The label attached to the sausage, which is clearly visible in a subsequent video frame, reads: Barking Hot-Dogs: A sure way to get rid of hungry relatives.Does the adjective "barking" indicate spoiled food? If not, then what is the joke here? What was Donald's plan...Read more

word usage - Is this the right way to use "wouldn't"?

I apologize if this is a duplicate or anything for that matter but I didn't locate any questions on it.I have this phrase I wrote and it is confusing me a little bit. An OAHU Agent can help at no extra cost to you! Wouldn't you want an extra layer of protection during this very confusing time?Wouldn't breaks down to would not if I am correct and which can also be written as in: Would not you want an extra layer of protection during this very confusing time?That just doesn't make sense to me. I know I am not an expert in English language, but ...Read more

What's the term for using the wrong word because it sounds the same?

I was reading about various terms for incorrect words, but they didn't seem to fit. I saw a post where someone said "what do you like to do when you're board?". That kind of thing. Also, would that be considered a mistake in grammar? I didn't think so, but my friend insists it is.I'm not sure if there even is a word for that kind of mistake, but was just curious about it. Thanks!...Read more

word usage - Is the use of 'that if' discouraged?

Is the use of that if discouraged or even wrong? This may be a weird question, but in Dutch the use of dat als, literally that if, is considered an error. So, for example, is the following sentence wrong? She told me that if a fire breaks out, I should immediately call the fire department. Would the following sentence be better? She told me that I should immediately call the fire department if a fire breaks out....Read more

word usage - Connotation of "dime novel"

In the afterword of its novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury states that I didn't know it, but I was literally writing a dime novel.However dime novel seems to have a negative connotation, according to the following definitions: a cheap melodramatic or sensational novel, usually in paperback and selling for ten cents, especially such an adventure novel popular c1850 to c1920. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/dime-novel Dime novel, a type of inexpensive, usually paperback, melodramatic novel of adventure popular in the United States rough...Read more

Can the word "paired" be used when describing more than two objects?

Is the following sentence acceptable? Matches are played three v. three. In the first hundred matches, teams are randomly paired.Can "paired" be used in this case, since it is 3 teams that are being put together?EDIT:There seems to be a little confusion on what I'm trying to describe here. The game is a robotics competition (FIRST Robotics Competition). Teams of up to 50 people each build a robot and bring it to a competition. The matches are played 3 robots vs. 3 robots. In the first hundred matches, the 3 robots on each alliance are randomly...Read more

cultural phrases - IBM used the words "Toxic combinations of duties" in an advert. Does that dilute the current/popular meaning?

This IBM advertisement uses the phrase "toxic combinations" of duties to sell a security product. As someone who has 20 years of experience in social services and IT Security, this usage is off-putting and I can't articulate why. Can someone help me parse why this this usage doesn't seem appropriate, or... explain how I can justify its usage here...Read more

word usage - Is it commonly considered erroneous to place "much" after "and", when talking about myself?

Is it commonly considered erroneous to place "much" after "and", when talking about myself?My phrasing: well experienced with content management systems, and much interested in E-commerce.Commentators phrasing: well experienced with content management systems, and very interested in E-commerce.I am not sure who's more accurate than both of us, in regards to what's common and accepted in English....Read more

word usage - Is "spellbind" a defective verb?

A defective verb is one that doesn't have all the usual forms, e.g. "give", "gives", "giving", "gave", "given" are forms of a non-defective verb.I had thought the only defective verbs in English are modal auxiliary verbs; thus: Today he can do that. (simple present) Yesterday he could do that. (simple past) Often he *has been able to do that. English doesn't allow "He has could" or the like.We speak of "being able" and not "canning", and we say "He will be able" instead of "He will can." (In the Carolinas however, it is perfectly stan...Read more

word usage - "Exist" in the progressive tense

I was reading the following article and came across this usage of the word exist."There is evidence climate change is existing..."There seems to be a shift happening in English in which verbs that were once considered off-limits for present progressive are being used with that tense. "Love," seems to have been accepted, as well as "like." To my mind, "exist" as it was used in this case is not supported, as something either exists or it doesn't...it's doesn't have a temporary aspect like "eat," "walk," or "read," to name a few examples. I con...Read more

etymology - History and usage of the term “furore”

Furore entered the English language by the end of the 18th century to refer to a “wave of enthusiastic admiration”: 1790, Italian form of furor, borrowed into English originally in the sense "enthusiastic popular admiration;" but over time this meaning was eventually lost: it later descended to mean the same thing as furor and lost its usefulness. (Etymonline)(As a side note, the Italian term furore doesn’t have and never had the connotation with which it was originally adopted by the English language.) According to Google Books, from the...Read more

word usage - Is "gone" meaning "pregnant" a Britishism?

The slang usage of gone meaning pregnant is mainly a BrE one according to Cambridge Dictionary (mainly UK informal) pregnant: How far gone is she? (= How long has she been pregnant?)while Collins Dictionary and The American Heritage Dictionary state that it is also an AmE usage(US, slang) pregnant: She is two months gone. I couldn’t find other details about this usage so I’d like to ask: Is gone meaning pregnant originally a BrE expression which later spread to AmE? What sense of gone conveys the meaning of pregnant here? How recent is th...Read more