What do you call a person who motivates or inspires?

My choices so far: motivational source inspirational source source of motivation source of inspiration Being a non-native speaker, I don’t know which one to use. What I want to say is that somebody has been motivating me since 2008, so the whole sentence would read: John Doe was motivational source since 2008. John Doe was … Read more

Word or phrase for a woman who shows up at events in gaudy outfits, garish make-up, and excessive jewelry?

Such person is usually – but not necessarily – upper-middle class. I’m looking for a noun or a noun-phrase but the words I’ve found so far (unpolished, inelegant, gauche, etc.) are adjectives and/or don’t fit what I’m looking for. EDIT This noun or noun-phrase… is more likely to be used by women when gossiping. (“Did … Read more

Is ‘low speed’ finally proving its merit?

Technically, you should expect the term low speed, not slow speed (which is obviously illogical). However, it seems the two phrases co-existed as long as one can look back: with low speed fighting a desperate battle to prove its merit. It is only recently that English users seem to have seriously recognized the difference as … Read more

Word for eyes “pleading for approval”

I would like to know a word/phrase that can be used to describe the eyes of a person seeking/pleading approval. Similar to the colloquial usage ‘puppy eyes’. Sample usage: Her mother insisted on going home after school. She looked at her with puppy eyes pleading her mother to take her to the park. Answer pleading … Read more

Is there a word or phrase for someone who has difficulty telling his right side from his left side?

For some neurologic reason such person can’t tell right side from left side. He may have a ribbon round his wrists to save him trouble. Answer There is the colloquial phrase directionally challenged for someone who confuses their right and left. Someone who has difficulty determining right from left Someone who often confuses directions, and … Read more

Phrases that express “to look around nervously”

I’m trying to describe a situation where someone is on high alert, scanning his surroundings looking for potential threat. It seems to me that “Look around” lacks the sense of tension I want. “Scan” feels strange in the context “one moment he was ____ around in search of threat, and the next [an incident happened]”. … Read more

Prepositional verb structure – “[rely] [on John]” or “[rely on] [John]”

It is difficult to determine the correct consituent structure of prepositional verbs, such as rely on someone. Either on someone forms a constituent to the exclusion of rely, as in (1), or rely on form a constituent to the exclusion of someone, as in (2). (1) Mary [VP [relies] [on John]] (to do something) (2) … Read more

“My wife and I’s seafood collaboration dinner”

I just stumbled upon a Reddit post titled: My wife and I’s seafood collaboration dinner. How does it look? Sure enough, the top comment immediately points out that it should be “my wife’s and my”. However, a cross-post to the Grammar subreddit produced the following comment: It’s fine as it is written. “my wife and … Read more