Is there a general rule how to create feminine words?

Is there a general rule how to create feminine words? For example feminine from waiter is waitress, from actor – actress, etc. So, generally the ending -ess means the feminine form. But I’ve never heard feminine forms for writer, programmer, designer etc. Is there a rule by which a native speaker would create feminine forms? … Read more

Between two options, which does “former” refer to and which does “latter”?

For example: James was talking to Karl, the former being much smarter than the latter. Is James the former or the latter? What is the rule? Answer Basically: “former” = “first item in a pair”, “latter” = “second item in a pair”. So, in your case, “the former” is James, while “the latter” is Karl. … Read more

Is there any difference between “which” and “that”?

What is the difference between the words which and that? For example I have the following sentences: “I have a car which is blue.” “I have a car that is blue.” Are there any rules specifying usage of which and that? Answer There is no difference in meaning. There is a difference in use. Relative … Read more

How would a native speaker understand “Time flies like an arrow”?

“Time flies like an arrow” is often cited to illustrate problems with computer aided language processing. It is also an example of how ambiguous English can be. But is it really so ambiguous? How would it be understood by a native speaker? Answer The sentence ‘Time flies like an arrow’, with or without context, is … Read more

Large, huge or big communities?

When I talk about many people, like community, what should I use? A large community A huge community A big community In my native language (German), we use just one word for that: groß. What is the difference in English? Answer Per this NGram, large is far more common overall than big and huge put … Read more

Is there any difference between being ill and sick?

I can say I’m ill or I’m sick. But what is the difference between the usage of these terms? I’ve heard that one can use sick for longer-term and ill for shorter-term, but is that really correct? How are these terms different for native speakers? Answer While those might mean the same for the laymen, … Read more