A week ago in chat Grace Note asked us to compile a list of questions we think should be migrated to English Language Learners.

Now, I'm not wholly in favour of migrating to ELL at the moment, because it's new and needs to find its feet without some other site interfering, but many users do want to start migrating things there and it will be useful to form a consensus about what should go.

So let's do that here. Post questions that you think should be migrated as answers (OMG that's totally heinous!) and we can vote up and down on them and Grace can see the list.

  • Maybe we can add a new category to the share edit close flag line: migrate?
    – user21497
    Feb 17, 2013 at 1:21
  • 2
    @Bill For migration, questions should be closed as off-topic (belongs on another site).
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Feb 17, 2013 at 14:59
  • @KitFox: Thank you for this information.
    – user21497
    Feb 17, 2013 at 23:19
  • 1
    @KitFox: Yes, but when you vote to close as off-topic, you get a screen that lets you suggest a migration to Writers or Meta with the click of a mouse. Surely ELL could be added to that list of radio buttons, no?
    – J.R.
    Feb 25, 2013 at 10:16
  • @J.R. Surely could, but won't be any time soon and for many reasons.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Feb 25, 2013 at 17:45

11 Answers 11


Currently, querying Google for "better fit" "english language learners" on ELU comes up with 34 hits, of which 28 appears to be Reg’s suggestions.

Here is an assortment of FIFTY of these ELU questions that were nominated for ELL, generated using the query given above and closely related ones. All but one or two are closed, and many have delete votes (sometimes three of them). They’ve been sorted alphabetically for easier reading.

  • 3
    I can't understand why anyone would downvote this. Maybe it seems more indiscriminate than the other answers, but this obviously took a lot of work, and it provides a good sampling of questions that other users thought would be good candidates for migration.
    – J.R.
    Feb 25, 2013 at 16:29
  • 2
    I appreciate the amount of work this answer represents. The only reason I can think of for downvoting is that you agree with all or none this way.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Feb 25, 2013 at 17:42
  • @KitFox I did it this way instead of making 50 separate postings as a kindness to the reader—which I believe it was. I took comments mentioning ELL as de-facto migration nominations; there are surely more of those than it makes sense to keep postings singletons of. However, if the consensus is that people prefer fifty separate postings, I will return my nose to the grindstone and grant them their wish.
    – tchrist Mod
    Feb 25, 2013 at 17:59
  • 3
    Actually, no. I prefer it this way personally.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Feb 25, 2013 at 18:10

Expression "I can / can't tell the things"

Presently, I'm not sure of the sense of the following phrase:

I can tell the things

that lies in this sentence :

I am learning Python and so far I can tell the things below about new and init

I wonder if the phrase in it is correct or if it shouldn't be :

I can't tell the things

  • 1
    Why is this question too simple for ELU? It has to do with a specific idiomatic modal-polarity use of the verb tell, as in tell time or tell X from Y, which both require a modal like can, could, may, might, or be able. Feb 22, 2013 at 20:11

What's the difference between these names of moving water?

What is the difference between these forms of moving water?

  • Creek
  • Brook
  • Stream
  • River

Are there other forms of moving water that I am missing?


Purpose For, Of

  • 1 He has no intention for marriage.
  • 2 He has no intention of marriage.

These two sentences are good English and have the same meaning.

In this PDF I read:
A review of the grading permit showed that the permit had not been modified from its original *purpose which was for a minimum use driveway for a mobile home.

Now, since intention means almost the same thing as purpose, could these sentences be okay?

  • 3 He has no purpose for marriage.
  • 4 He has no purpose of marriage.

This question is obvious Learner's English, and has already been closed here. I think the answers would be of value to ELL's audience.


Here's a good one, I think:

Question: Can I say “Very welcome to talk to you”? A friend wants to talk with me about something that makes her sad, but she's busy at the moment and wants talk later. I want to express that I'll be pleased to listen to her. Can I say: "Very welcome to talk to you"? I guess it's wrong, but how I can express it correctly? Should I use the word "welcome"?


Difference between "anyone" and "everyone"?

What's the difference between Anyone and Everyone?

  1. Everyone should keep quiet in the classroom.
  2. Anyone should keep quiet in the classroom.
  • That is too basic for even ELL. Maybe instead of this, english.stackexchange.com/questions/77058/… should be migrated?
    – Mohit
    Feb 14, 2013 at 4:20
  • 1
    If it's too basic for ELL, let alone ELU, where does one look for a correct answer? These are not simple words, and their use is not at all "basic". Anyone is an indefinite pronoun that's a negative polarity and a positive polarity item, and everyone is a universal quantifier that interacts significantly with negation. See the logic guide for details. Feb 22, 2013 at 20:22
  • @JohnLawler - The question referenced in this answer has been termed as a "duplicate" of the question I have referenced in my comment. As to the "too basic" aspect, I was basically referring to the language of the question and not the content. Content is important and it definitely needs to have an appropriate answer as you yourself have suggested. Since we had two questions basically covering same content, I went on to suggest the one which could be used instead of the one referenced in the answer.
    – Mohit
    Feb 25, 2013 at 11:03
  • @JohnLawler - logic guide is a valuable resource. Thanks for sharing! :)
    – Mohit
    Feb 26, 2013 at 12:46

Why does “want” take a preposition but “insist” does not?

Why can't you say:

"I insist you to do that!"

After all, you can say:

"I want you to do that!"

What's the difference between these two verbs, that they need to be used in sentences with different structures?

  • I posted the current revision of this question, since it has been edited, but it was the original revision that made me think this question would be a good fit for ELL.
    – aedia λ
    Feb 13, 2013 at 21:00

Choosing “with” vs. “in”

While doing some formal writing at my office, my friend told me that in is more apt than with in the following sentence. However, my understanding says when we talk about tools of action we generally use with.

A gazetted officer is required to sign with/in green ink.

So which is more apt here?



I have read a sentence like this:That's no way to go to your mother.here in this sentence what is implied(by a aportrophe and a "s") in "that's".and what is the meaning and structure of this sentence.


Here's one that could go either way; I only wish the O.P. had provided more context:

He left the house ___ I was still sleeping.

Would this be better completed with when or with while?

Had the O.P. elaborated with something like this:

I don't really understand the rules for when I should use these two words. Which one should I use?

then I would probably suggest migration to ELL. However, had the O.P. provided this exposition instead:

I understand what the two words mean, and how neither one would present grammar issues – I'm just wondering if, given the choice to use either one, there might be some subtle rule that would make one of them the more preferred word in a particular context.

I wanted to call attention to this question because it illustrates how the same basic question could be a good fit for either site, and the appropriate location would depend on the depth of the O.P.'s underlying question, and the O.P.'s background knowledge.

In this case, I'm very impressed with Edwin Ashworth's answer to this question, given the location on which it was asked. Perhaps "Ask an ELU question, get an ELU answer" ought to become a mantra.


Is "Them’s fighting words" a right and received English expression?

I came across the phrase ‘Them’s fighting words’ in the beginning part of a Time magazine (July 12) article ...

I interpret "Them's fighting words" to simply mean "They're fighting words." Can them be used as a subject being followed by the singular of "to be" and a transitive verb (fight) that takes the objective noun (words)? I’m puzzled if this is an established American usage of them or just a fashionable saying.

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