Answers

Answers to common questions about the English language.

How do you use 'can' and 'could' correctly?

A PhraseMix reader asked this:

Please tell me which verbs can be used with "could"? In the present past as well as future...?

"Can" and "Could" are tricky because you can use them for a few different purposes, and the rules are different for each version.

"Can" and "Could" for ability

You can...


What's the difference between "under", "below", "beneath", and "underneath"?

These words are all similar in meaning, but figuring out the differences between them can be a little tricky. First, it's helpful to know how common each word is:

1. "Under" is the most popular.

2. "Below" is used about 1/4 as often as "under"

3. "Beneath" is used 1/2 as often as "below"

4....


How do you use the words "clothes", "clothing", "apparel", "garb", and "attire"?

When it comes to a group of synonyms like "clothes", "clothing", "apparel", "garb", and "attire", how do you know the differences between them? If you look them up in a dictionary, you'll probably get definitions which seem to point to each other. For example, here's one definition of "attire"...


What's the difference between "still better", "better still", and "better yet"?

I recently got this question on Twitter:

The answer is "no". Here's what each of them means:

Still better

Use this when something was better before,...


How should I start and end a business email?

The old way

When I was in elementary school, I remember learning how to write a letter. A business letter was supposed to go like this:

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. (Last name):

(Write the message here.) 

 

Sincerely,

(Your full name)

When I graduated college and started looking for a job, I...





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