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8
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2answers
165 views

A question of interpretation: single word parenthesis

To my mind this: Entity foo varies seemingly at random. is semantically equivalent to this: Entity foo varies, seemingly, at random. However, is this necessarily the case? What ...
7
votes
4answers
898 views

What does the initial fragment of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy mean?

I begun reading Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This is one of the initial fragments, emphasis mine: This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of ...
6
votes
6answers
887 views

The word 'not' often doesn't mean total negation in mathematical sense?

Consider the following conversations: X1: I paid $10 for that hamburger. Y1: That's not cheap! X2: I pay $1 for broadband Internet access. Y2: That's cheap! X3: I paid $1 for a hot ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How to understand these verses from the poem “The road not taken” by Robert Frost

I actually have two questions regarding this poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Divided by half - meaning

If someone says "Fifteen divided by half", I would interpret that literally to mean 15/0.5, or 30. However, I usually see it interpreted as 15/2, or 7.5. Which interpretation is correct?
4
votes
2answers
406 views

Meaning of: “The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right”

This is a Mark Twain aphorism: The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. This is apparently intended to be easily understood, but the ...
3
votes
4answers
640 views

Is it the “second half” or “second part” of the century?

I faced this problem when interpreting the transcript of records today. The subject is: "European History of the second half/part of the XX century till today" So is it better to say "part" or ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “I'll kill that cat” in the play Dinner for One mean?

In the play Dinner for One, James the butler says, "I'll kill that cat," at time 14:05. What does this mean? Is he referring to the tiger rug which keeps tripping him, or is it a saying or ...
3
votes
5answers
427 views

Is cruel standard use as a noun in poetry? Are there terms for non-standard English specifically in regard to use in poetry?

I hope this question isn't off-topic. I heard a madrigal with the following verse which bothers me somewhat, grammatically. Cruel, wilt thou persever? Peace to leave ever? Peace shalt thou have and ...
3
votes
2answers
185 views

How to interpret “…the disinfectant burnt her inside out, of course”

A character in a play is talking about how a girl committed suicide by swallowing strong disinfectant, but it's "burnt her inside out" that I'm questioning. It may be possible to interpret it in both ...
3
votes
1answer
67 views

Making sense of a sentence in a politcal economy article

Reading this critical geopolitical economic article, I found myself troubled understanding this sentence: "Markets have priced in nothing bad from here to as far as the eye can see." Here's the ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Interpretation of “The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone”

When I read the phrase The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone I interpreted it to imply that the first occurrence of iPhone happened to itself -- that is, the first iPhone ...
2
votes
2answers
445 views

Failed Experiment? [closed]

Is it proper to use the phrase "failed experiment" at all? And if so, should it refer exclusively to experiments that had some ineluctable flaw in the process of their implementation or can it also ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

Antecedent of “whose common theme is death of fathers” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1. Scene 2 Claudius: Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd; whose common theme Is death of ...
2
votes
3answers
206 views

What does this intricate sentence mean? [closed]

What does this bold part mean? It doesn't make any sense. What did he want to say here? ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

What does the author mean by “door culture” in this context?

What does the author mean by "door culture" in this context? First-order effects I take to be a metaphor with economics. However, I don't understand how to translate my understanding of "first-order ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Does the sentence “What the fox say?” mean anything?

In the lyrics for the song "What does the fox say" the following sentence appears. "What the fox say"[sic] It uses the word "say" and not "says", and there is no "does". Does the sentence make ...
1
vote
1answer
161 views

Could somebody translate this into modern English? [closed]

This was extracted from Book I of the Iliad by Homer (translated by Samuel Butler): Therefore I say, and swear it with a great oath- nay, by this my sceptre which shalt sprout neither leaf nor ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

“Elves and Men, the Firstborn and the Followers”

This is a quote from Silmarillion, but I really do not know if there are two meanings or one. Because on my language this "Followers" can means that come after the Firstborn or those who likes ...
1
vote
1answer
391 views

Can someone please explain the following passage from Milton's Paradise Lost?

I understand all the words, but not quite the meaning of the following passage, from Milton's Paradise Lost, Book I: 635 For me be witness all the host of heaven, 636 If counsels different, or ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

How should this sentence be interpreted?

So I am reading the essay "On Some Verses of Virgil" by Michel de Montaigne (translation by Donald M. Frame) and I came across this particular sentence. Is there any ugliness in doing wrong that ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

What does this sentence about 'ὑπό' mean?

Wiktionary has the description of meaning for the ancient Greek word 'ὑπό': under, that is, (with the genitive) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Is “gilded” usually associated with gold as an element or as a colour?

I know that gilded means covered or highlighted with gold or something of a golden color So it can be associated both with gold as a chemical element or just the colour. Some situations might ...
1
vote
2answers
44 views

can hardly read … and feel

The following quotation is taken from an article by Fintan O'Toole titled This glorious and unruly English language that lets everyone in (The Observer, Sunday 15 September 2013). Does the word ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

Meaning: I'm so happy that I can sing

Suddenly came up with a thought that the sentence below could have two meanings due to the "so ~ that" structure. I'm so happy that I can sing. If the sentence had no "so", it would mean that the ...
1
vote
2answers
135 views

Finding the correct interpretation of “Every X [units of time], at maximum/minimum.”

I've recently been involved in a discussion over different interpretations of the following sentence (paraphrased): Users may update their information every two weeks, at maximum. The intended ...
1
vote
1answer
396 views

Rhetorical analysis — compare? [closed]

Can someone please explain similarities and differences between rhetorical analysis and close reading?
1
vote
2answers
161 views

Kiwi Power Green - is that more Kiwi “Power Green” or more “Kiwi Power” Green?

Recently my wife bought a piece of toddler swimwear for our little ones. A crisp, flashy neon green cute little piece of garment that had a label on which the color name was written: "KIWI POWER ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

On the interpretation of “walked to the station at 9 o'clock” [closed]

I want to confirm what a book says. It says: I went to the station at 9 o'clock. I walked to the station at 9 o'clock. Sentence (1) has the following two meaning: a. I left for the station at 9 ...
1
vote
2answers
370 views

Could “extraordinary few exceptions” be correct?

In his 1991 book, historian J.B. Russel writes: with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person ... believed that the earth was flat Should extraordinary be an adverb, or could this ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

Curious combination of freedoom, self made fences?

Many friends have said to me that they love New York now in a way they never did before, and their love, I've noticed, takes for its object all the things that used to exasperate them--the curious ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Contradictory meanings of 'sick'

We usually use the word 'sick' to refer to something that you are tired of or don't like. So it is quite clear when we say I'm sea-sick, that we mean, one is sick of travelling by sea (eg: boat) ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Would you tell me the difference between object and objective as a noun?

I am very confused. Could you possibly elaborate (in detail) the reason why: My object is to improve my English as much as possible. [WRONG it should be 'objective'] My object is to learn ...
0
votes
3answers
51 views

Confusing passage

I find people willing to seriously consider robots not only as pets but as potential friends, confidants, and even romantic partners. We don't seem to care what these artificial intelligences ...
0
votes
2answers
267 views

Meaning of 'pedal' in sentence?

What does the following sentence mean: “Mattan and the yellow jersey were right in the middle of the pack as it peddled hard in the blistering heat.”? I don't understand what "peddle" means in ...
0
votes
3answers
259 views

Literally vs. figuratively: how literally is literally? [closed]

I'm sensitive to the fact that in light of recent events, the example discussed in this question may be unsettling to some. For that, I apologize, but I cannot think of an effective alternative. In ...
0
votes
2answers
164 views

Interpretation of paragraph in Homer's Iliad Book II [56] translated by Samuel Butler

I'm having some problem understanding the phrase "but do you others go about among the host and prevent their doing so" in the context of the following paragraph: The dream then vanished and I ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

what is the usage of 'so much going for it that' here?

"Lynn Margulis, to her everlasting credit, saw that separate DNA complements imply the fusion of at least two different kinds of other organisms, each with its own DNA complement, to form a single, ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

How should this be read? [closed]

We all know that you do not belong here, have no idea what you are talking about, and can't actually script. Should this be interpreted as We all know that you do not belong here You ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

What does “I don't want to die like X” mean when X is alive? [closed]

Some possible interpretations of "I don't want to die like X" seem to be: Just like X, I, too, do not want to die. Taking death non-literally: I do not want to die in the way that X has "died". I do ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

“Damage to the undercarriage; damage caused by water”

Does this phrase mean that damages to the undercarriage caused by water is not covered, OR does it mean damage to the undercarriage is not covered regardless of the cause, and that damage to the ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

Meaning of ' as long as you fed him, he would be cooperative' [closed]

About the meaning of the sentence 'as long as you fed him, he would be cooperative': (1) The clause 'as long as you fed him' is about past or present one? (2) Depending on the above, the 'would' at ...
0
votes
3answers
104 views

What does “these things are in the ether” mean?

What does "these things are in the ether" mean? The context of the sentence is My own daughters' names are Freya, a more popular name across the pond than in the US, and Calla, which last trended ...
0
votes
2answers
123 views

Is the usage of “forfeit” correct here?

«The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property.» ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

Two types of the definite article

I have a question regarding the usage of the definite article. Here is an excerpt: Those were the days of lofty promises made by a hopeful candidate. Today, we are faced with the disappointing ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

Adjective, “but” adjective question

How about a burger? Delicious, but healthy? Is the proper interpretation of the second phrase ("Delicious, but healthy?") what follows below? The part that comes before the comma should be ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Signing off with “Best” instead of “Best regards” [duplicate]

I'm active on many different online forums and platforms and do much communication with my own customers and customers of a company I am employed at. The signature I used to sign off a post or email ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Is the English correct? What's the best translation or interpretation? [duplicate]

I'm reading a technical IT document that can be found here. So, the question is, in the phrasebelow: A challenge password is it correct write "a" instead of "an"? Why? What is its' best ...
-1
votes
1answer
27k views

What does “mother father gentleman” mean? [closed]

How should I interpret the phrase "mother father gentleman" in a recently popularized song entitled gentleman? What is the purpose of describing gentleman with mother and father? Is this just a slang ...
-1
votes
1answer
87 views

What does “With a team” mean? [closed]

Does the phrase "with a team" imply that the speaker is on the team, or rather that the speaker is explicitly not on the team (of course it may also be ambiguous)?