Should vs. had better

What is the difference between “should” and “had better”? Consider these sentences for example: It’s cold outside. You should wear a coat. It’s cold outside. You’d better wear a coat. What are the differences in meaning? How can one decide which one to use? What pitfalls are there? Answer The primary difference between the two … Read more

Differences between “in order to”, “so that” and “so as to”?

Are there any differences (general or regional differences) between “in order to”, “so that” and “so as to”? I’ve seen that they may be interchangeable, but I’m not so sure. Answer Those are largely similar; however, from here and here: in order to and so as to are more formal and used before verbs like … Read more

Difference between “alright” and “all right”?

Is there any difference between “alright” and “all right“? I can find both forms in different articles (especially on the Internet), although all right seems to be more common. I was wondering if both forms are acceptable or whether it is some sort of difference between American and British English or just a common mistake? … Read more

What are the grammatical rules determining whether to use “which” or “what”?

What are the grammatical rules determining whether to use which or what? I usually go by intuition. It’s “What car are you looking at?” and “What bicycle do you like most?” but “Which song did you sing?” Quite often, I don’t know whether to use what or which. How can I tell? Answer Which is … Read more

How can I remember the difference between “loose” and “lose”?

Although both words can be found in dictionaries, I’m constantly forgetting which one is which. Are there any mnemonic rules that would help me remembering them? Answer Lose has lost one of its o‘s. Loose has an extra o, like an extra hole in a loose knot. (Honestly, though, remembering just the first one should … 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