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Hello!

I have a couple of questions to ask.

1. What's the difference (especially in meaning) between :

a) wood and timber ?

b) a wet blanket and a killjoy ?

c) a good mixer and the life and soulf of the party ? (by the way - why is there "the" instead of "a" at the beginning ? and why is there "the party" ?)

d) yell and scream ?

e) moan and whimper

2. Can I say...

a) Do you want a candy? or do I have to say "Do you want a piece of candy?"

b) same question but with "sweet"

3. Why is there "the" in :

a) As a child I used to wake up with a scream in the middle of THE night.

4. I don't understand the difference between some words naming sounds... because most of them simply name the same sounds...

a) toll of a bell vs chime of a bell vs tinkle of a bell :-/ :-/ :-/

b) whimper of a child vs squeak of a child

c) plop (in water) vs squelch (in water as well)

5. Do we say :

a) "in front" or "in the front" ?

b) "in north" or "in the north"

c) a newspaper or the newspaper ?

thanks a lot,

best wishes,
Comments  
Wow. A lot of questions here. I'll try some of them. By the way, there's no space between the end of the word and the question mark. I'm correcting it below.

1. What's the difference (especially in meaning) between :
a) wood and timber? Timber is the more natural state of the wood. An object could be made out of wood, but you would not say it's made out of timber. When the trees are cut down and sent for processing, they are timber.

b) a wet blanket and a killjoy? Not much. Both are people who will make comments that make something less fun, or not allow something "fun" to happen.

c) a good mixer and the life and soulf of the party? A good mixer is someone who can talk easily with other people, but "the life and soul of the party" is going to be attracting a lot of attention, making jokes, being entertaining. You can be a good mixer but be very quiet, not drawing attention to yourself outside of the conversation you're having. When the life and soul of the party enters a room, everyone in the room knows it.

(by the way - why is there "the" instead of "a" at the beginning? and why is there "the party"?) "the life and soul of the party" is just an idiom

d) yell and scream? You can use them interchangeably many times. Yell (to me) implies volume, and scream has emotion associated with it. I might yell across the field to make sure I was heard, but I would scream if I were angry, frightened, etc. But that said, you'll see things like "She had to scream to be heard over the wind" so it will depend on the writer and the context.

e) moan and whimper Again, not much difference here. Wimper might sound a little more like speech. If you speak in a wimper, it's a small voice. You don't wimper loudly. You can moan loudly though.

2. Can I say...

a) Do you want a candy? or do I have to say "Do you want a piece of candy?" a candy bar, a piece of candy, some candy, but not just "a candy"

b) same question but with "sweet" This is a BrE word, so I'm going to leave it to a Brit for a definitive answer, but I belive you can have "a sweet" which means "a piece of candy." I think if you were to say "a piece of sweet" you would have taken whatever you have and broken it so you could offer a piece of it. But I could be entirely wrong. Nona??
We don't use candy in Brit English so we distinguish between

chocolate - that yummy brown melting stuff. It could be a bar of chocolate, a piece of chocolate (broken off a bar) or a chocolate (created as a single bit sized piece, usually with a filling)

sweets - anything based on sugar really, as Grammar Geek said. Individual sweets.
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Yes, they are close, but I think killjoy is more negative, more gloom-related:
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wet blanket

1 : a blanket soaked in water (as for quenching a fire)
2 : someone or something that quenches or dampens enthusiasm or
pleasure <a woman who cannot laugh is a wet blanket -- W.M.Thackeray>

killjoy
: one that inspires gloom or counteracts joy or high spirits : one
that tends to pessimism or a depressing solemnness especially among
people that are happy or optimistic : one that dispirits <professional
killjoys whose chief fear it is that people ... might get some fun out
of life -- T.P.Whitney>

Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged.
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Forum_mail4. I don't understand the difference between some words naming sounds... because most of them simply name the same sounds...

Toll, chime, and tinkle represent different sounds, and would be associated with bells different in size, form and material.

Thanks for your imput folks :-D

There are questions 3, 5 and some of sub-questions form 4 unanswered yet Emotion: wink
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3 - Um... because that's how we say it? The middle of the afternoon. The middle of the night. In the heat of the night. And so on.