17
votes
0answers
1k views

Graphotactics of possessive: the true reason for the apostrophe

I have some hypotheses for English graphotactics: 〈w〉 and 〈y〉 are optional positional variants (i.e. allographs) of 〈u〉 and 〈i〉, respectively, in digraphs that correspond with diphthongs or vowels: ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

Is this just a peculiarity of the specific text, or does the disuse of “‑self” to indicate the reflexive here speak to broader trends?

In the 1917 JPS translation of the Hebrew Bible, we have, in Ecclesiastes 2: I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in ...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

How to pronounce the polish name “Aronszajn”

Nachman Aronszajn was a american mathematicaion born in poland. I will make a talk (in english) on a subject for which I would like to cite some of his works. But since I am not a native english ...
2
votes
0answers
58 views

'Might' is the subjunctive inflection of 'may'; was there ever a subjunctive inflection of 'must'?

I acknowledge that there is no subjunctive mood in English. However, there are variants of some words that we might regard as subjunctive variants. For example, 'might' is the, if you will, ...
2
votes
0answers
86 views

a flap in “wedding” and “bidding”

I'm wondering if a flap occurs in "wedding", and "bidding" in American pronunciation? I can't hear it out here: http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/wedding
2
votes
0answers
176 views

Looking for an Equivalent to the AWL for Academic Idioms

Coxhead developed and evaluated something called the "Academic Word List" for English Language Learners. This is a list of (supposedly) the most common "academic" terms to be used by students from ...
1
vote
0answers
16 views

It was nice being here vs It was nice to be here

What is more appropriate to say: It was nice being here or It was nice to be here? I hear both constructions pretty often, and am aware of the slight difference, but it seems that people use them ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

Second Person Singular conjugation of words ending in Y

I know that most regular verbs would be conjugated in Second Person Singular by adding "est" (Thou makest), and Third Person Singular by adding "eth" (She maketh), but what if the verb ends with a Y? ...
1
vote
0answers
9 views

Use/non-use of articles before Adjective + Abstract noun

I have confusion regarding use/non-use of articles before adjective + abstract noun. Eg. competent handling, prolonged tread life, enhanced durability Providing COMPETENT HANDLING and PROLONGED TREAD ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

I'd been sent to kill him / I was sent to kill him. etc..?

When do I use had and when can I leave out had? or use was instead of had This is the context it was used in: With the Reds and the Germans knocking seven shades of shit each other back at Museum ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

On professional bias

The well-known expression professional bias appears to date back to the very first years when professions started to exist: "Professional bias" designates a mental conditioning brought ...
1
vote
0answers
17 views

Can we use the preposition “for” in this manner?

Is it possible to use the preposition "for" with the perfect infinitive? Like so: It must really be hot in here for her to have taken so many clothes off. It must really be a serious matter for him ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

What's the subject in “You, go to the store”?

In the following sentence, what is the function of "You"? You, go to the store. I know the sentence is in the imperative mood, and that generally means there is an implicit second-person ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Accuse someone of having manners

I came across the following sentence in a book, and I'm not sure of its meaning. The quote is: “It would be rude to refuse a gift,” Blake said, eyes cast over her [Weiss'] head towards Cinder, ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Usage of “Vanessa” in Open All Hours

In the episode "Duet for solo bicycle" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCnc8hUPuPU&t=4m22s Albert Arkwright says - "No need to get all Vanessa about it." 00:04:00 I made progress last night ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

How did French “cacher” divide into English “cache” and “cachet”?

I encountered Merriam-Webster's article on cache vs cachet (while researching another word). I understand it and other websites that broach the confusion caused by these two nouns, but none explain ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

to switch up, to change Up - why are these now taking the preposition up?

Does anyone know the root of the emergence of usage of the preposition "up" with the verbs "to switch" and "to change"?
1
vote
0answers
59 views

What is this wordplay called?

"For these people" "For those people" When you say "these", it sounds much more 'personal', especially when done in poetry. Is there a specific literary device to refer to this, or can you just say ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

What's the meaning of “I+verb+not+object1+the less, but+object2+more”?

What's the meaning of: I verb not object 1 the less, but object 2 more. Example: I love not man the less, but Nature more.. I've searched Google about the meaning of it, but unfortunately ...
1
vote
0answers
71 views

Etymology: The root of the words 'real' and 'reality'

I wish to identify the oldest known root from which we derive the words 'real' and 'reality', et cetera. I got as far as determining the origin of the English words real and reality is Latin res, ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Does 'fever' share an etymology with 'fervent, fervid, or fervour'?

The ODO entry for 'fervent' recommends to: Compare with fervid and fervour. I did read Etymonline's entry for 'fever' which doesn't explicitly answer this, but I think that I'd need to know ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

'mawkish' : What's 'exaggerated or false' about maggots?

mawkish {adjective} = Sentimental in an exaggerated or false way [Etymonline:] 1660s, "sickly, nauseated," from Middle English mawke "maggot" (see maggot). Sense of "sickly sentimental" is ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

The use of "were- should- had” at the beginning of sentences instead of “if”

Conditionals in English are usually formed by using if with normal word order; but for the three past (subjunctive) forms were, should, and had, it is also possible to express the conditional through ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

Origin of the phrases “out back” and “out front”?

I'm going through the Song of Ice and Fire books, and although it's mostly written in what appears to be British English, very occasionally Americanisms sneak in. One example that I just noticed is ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

Sentence stress and word linking with the problematic Y?

the question: Can I use your bathroom? phonetically looks like: [kə_naɪ ˈyuz yər ˈbæθˌrum] I think the stress should be on the verb USE and the noun BATHROOM. Am I right? Some dictionaries show the ...
1
vote
0answers
64 views

Origin of “kill the ghost”, “killing the ghost”

A British friend of mine who used to work with us came back from London for a short visit to the town.Before going back home again he showed me photographs of the town beach and hotel saying he came ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Can I use the plural form when stating the possession of just one item?

If I want to say I have something without emphasis on the quantity, are both of these sentences ok? I have an apple. I have apples. (I may just have one apple.)
1
vote
0answers
100 views

Early Modern English second person present tense when verb ends with st

In EModE you normally would add -st or -est to verbs to conjugate them to the second person singular indicative tense (past and present), but what do you do for verbs that already end in -st or -est? ...
1
vote
0answers
95 views

Is there more monosyllabic lexis in the English Language than polysyllabic lexis?

In terms of words in the actual dictionary are there more monosyllabic words or more polysyllabic words?
1
vote
0answers
70 views

The word “mine”: Anyone else use a velar nasal /maiŋ/ for “belongs to me” meaning, but still /main/ for “explosive”/“coal mine”?

I think I naturally distinguish these words: mine (ie "belongs to me") /maiŋ/ mine (ie "explosive" or "coal mine") /main/ I vaguely remember noticing this years ago, but I was only just reminded of ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

already , southern pronunciation ≈ [ʰɑɾi] “oddy”

Cut to the chase pals Could anybody confirm the southern pronunciation of "already" as something like oddy ? if so, What's its phonetic transcription? is there any eye spelling for it? I've noticed ...
1
vote
0answers
77 views

wrecking vs wracking vs wreaking

What I understand so far: Wrecking - to trash/destroy/be destroyed Wracking - to be tortured, possibly from variant of "rack". http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=wrack also seems to mention ...
1
vote
0answers
89 views

Is there a difference between articles and determiners?

I have heard the, a, and an referred to as both articles and determiners. Do these two terms mean the same thing, or are there some differences between them? Can a word be an article but not a ...
1
vote
0answers
103 views

Affricate variations in English: t͡s d͡z?

the T between vowels change to t͡s in some english speakers? Usually when I heard "What's, that's" or similar constructions, where the T come with S, I always consider like a t͡s, so I really don't ...
1
vote
0answers
105 views

Is there a fraction prefix for “(one-)third”?

I am a mathematician, working with things called 1⁄k-regular polytopes, dubbed thus by Conway. For the case of k = 2, as in ½-regular, it is naturally pronounced and written half-regular. However, I ...
1
vote
0answers
94 views

Definite article before an abstract noun

When is the definite article the appropriate before an abstract noun? In particular, I have the following examples. Which are correct? Case I In the Theorem 4.4, we prove property A for all ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

What are the terms for same meaning phrases that only differ in having a preposition?

I don't know sentence structure terminology much, however, provided with these two sample phrases, that mean the same thing. Refrigeration of Food Food Refrigeration My questions are, in the ...
1
vote
0answers
80 views

Using the subjunctive without “that”

One purpose of that is to “express a wish or regret.” Even so, can that be removed from the following sentence and still leave it OK? It is crucial that you be there before Tom arrives.
1
vote
0answers
730 views

How many “monophthongs” are there in RP? Do all the varieties of spoken English in the UK have the same number?

A monophthong is a pure vowel sound. The monophthongs can be contrasted with diphthongs, where the vowel quality changes within the same syllable, and hiatus, where two vowels are next to each ...
1
vote
0answers
98 views

What are the grammatical phrases in this sentence?

I'm analyzing this sentence and scanning it for prepositional, appositive and verbal phrases. In the sentence so far as I can tell there is only one prepositional and no appositive and no verbals ...
1
vote
0answers
86 views

Detection of dangling modifier

Sentence that needs correction : "For building vocabulary skills, students should try to speak and write new words in appropriate contexts, rather than merely memorizing definitions". How is ...
1
vote
0answers
79 views

“Somewhere” - is it really a pronoun?

Is it? If it is then why is not listed in the major dictionaries? LDOCE, Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster: No
1
vote
0answers
239 views

Diagramming Sentences with Causative Verbs and Predicate Adjectives

So I was recently relearning how to diagram sentences, but I ran across a sentence that had a causative verb and a predicate adjective and I had no idea how to diagram it. This is my best guess, but ...
1
vote
0answers
370 views

Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”

In my ell answer, version 32, I provided the following, problematic, wording (especially bold italic), and I need help to better understand this issue so I can fix my answer:1 The thing is ...
1
vote
0answers
119 views

spread of the quotative “be like” outside North America

I thought that the quotative "be like" was limited to American English, but was surprised to hear a 60-something New Zealand woman using it repeatedly recently. What is the status in world English? ...
1
vote
0answers
162 views

Pronounciation of with

For me its quite hard to pronounce 'with' correctly, especially when I try to speak faster. For example saying 'with sauce" nearly breaks my tongue. Do you have any advice for me? Can I reduce the ...
1
vote
0answers
184 views

When is it appropriate to use a comma before “which”, “with”, and “who”?

Is it appropriate to use a comma before which in the following sentence? The group has helped me to make new friends and become more independent, which has increased my self-confidence. Is it ...
1
vote
0answers
143 views

Do I so often encounter simple past for past participle (e.g., “I have went,” “what was did to her”) because of where I am or when?

Since moving to small-town northern Minnesota (USA) two dozen years back to teach English, I have noticed a lot of instances in spoken language where the simple past is used in lieu of the past ...
1
vote
0answers
123 views

Why do the first and last “t” in “taste” sound different?

When I listened to the audio pronunciation of "taste" /teɪst/, I noticed that the first and last "t" sound different: the first "t" sounds like [tʰ] while the second one sounds more like [tsʰ]. Words ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

Difference between discursive construction and discursive representation

Are there any good definitions of the concepts of "discursive representation" and "discursive construction" which highlights the difference and/or relationship between these? I'm thinking about ...

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