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51

The joke is that Twain considers idiot and member of Congress to be synonymous!


20

Given the date my money would be on its referring to a rubber of whist, though bridge, cribbage, even backgammon are mentioned in the usage examples for this sense in the OED. It means an odd-numbered series of games, of which the winner of the majority of individual games is the overall winner.


17

Mark twain's comment relies on the sarcastic use of tautology: needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word. The author Dan Brown mistakenly makes a lot of tautological statements, parodied in this description: The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. The last word is an unnecessary repetition of ...


7

Unfortunately, the page you linked to is inaccessible to me. However, I believe I can still answer your question. Fl. is the abbreviation of flourished (or the Latin equivalent, floruit). The reference is to the active years of the person next to whose name the abbreviation appears. For example, if you open a history book, and next to the reproduction of a ...


3

What there is a reason to do... What there is a right to do... Can be parsed as The things [for which there exists a reason to do them]... The things [for which there exists a right to do them... What the author says is that what should be done is not the same collection of things for which there is a reason for them to be done. Let's say ...


3

This passage is indicating when "individuals are entitled to notice and hearing" of "facts that will produce adverse consequences to them". Two cases are contrasted: adverse adjudicative facts, and adverse legislative facts. The passage is saying individuals can expect be notified of the former (adjudicative) but not the latter (legislative) . The final ...


2

To insist that there is no difference between “John fired a gun whose bullet entered Mary’s heart and caused her death” and “John ought to go to prison for murdering Mary is the logical subject of the main verb is sufficiently implausible, though it is postposed (probably because it is such a heavy clause) and the formal subject it inserted. ...


2

I checked out page 228 of the book (thanks to your precise reference). In the said context, draw will mean attract or bring upon itself. This usage is akin to: This form of felony usually draws (attracts) a year of imprisonment. or: He drew the ire of his peers with his controversial remarks. Also, the word within in this context is not ...


2

Your sentence is immediately understandable and perfectly clear. The only place that makes the reader really stumble is “Even so commonly held, it seems a flawed assumption…”, which is clumsy and needs a verb in the leading apposition: “Despite being so commonly held, this seems a flawed assumption…”. With that said, keep abreast of does seem ‘off’ somehow. ...


2

Parsing as follows: Nevertheless, it is sufficiently [implausible to insist that there is no difference between “John fired a gun whose bullet entered Mary’s heart and caused her death” and “John ought to go to prison for murdering Mary”] that [allegedly sophisticated challenges to any of the distinctions in the text] need not detain us any further here. ...


1

I cannot make a grammatical argument for how the clauses are connected, but I can tell you how I naturally parsed it, and my consequent interpretation of the entire sentence. The author is saying that the statements "John killed Mary" (fact: "informative") and "John should be punished for killing Mary" (opinion: "normative") are so clearly different that we ...


1

To answer your question, I think it's best to cite from the definition of set as a verb which you've used in your question- Put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position If you look at the examples given with this definition of set(as a verb)- Delaney set the mug of tea down and Catherine set a chair by the bed and then ...


1

Squared away comes from old sailing ships. When they were docked in harbour for inspection, all the cross-members (from which the sails were hung) were placed exactly square with the line of the ship. This is a position in which the ship would never sail and is purely to make it look smart for inspection.


1

It's meaning 2, 'firm contact or grip', but in a metaphorical sense coloured by the original meaning of the verb 'seek to obtain'. Literal usage, as shown by the examples, typically conveys a sense that the contact is firm only through significant effort (that is, it is something that was 'sought to be obtained'). The author is implying that the optimal ...


1

Yes, it could be left out, but it could also be extended to or so. The meaning of the sentence changes ever so slightly: The analogy, the skeptics insist, did not determine the result. The skeptics insist that the analogy did no such thing. I, the author, am just reporting their insistence. The analogy, so the skeptics insist, did not determine the ...



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