Unanswered Questions

16
votes
0answers
946 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: ...
10
votes
1answer
903 views

Dictionary of English constructions

There is a family of grammars called construction grammar that started perhaps in the 80s with the work of Fillmore & Kay among others. Examples of constructions include: the time + away ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Source and meaning of the proverb “Milk says to wine, Welcome friend”

While investigating an unrelated expression, I came across the following proverb in George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum ; or Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, Etc., second edition (1651): Milk says to ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

“Tommyknockers”: why the “tommy” prefix in AmE?

From The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to run, don't know if I can, 'cause I'm so afraid of ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

A word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency

I am looking for a word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency. To give a specific example, one might be seeing a random shopper drop their bag every time you enter a ...
4
votes
0answers
96 views

What is the origin of “rat”?

A simple little word for a common little fella. Yet, the origin is unknown (or not?). Both OED and Etymonline are bold enough to say "of uncertain origin"; but, of course, they try to explain the ...
3
votes
3answers
150 views

No adverb of controlled?

Can anyone confirm that there is indeed no adverbial form of "controlled" that could be used with verbs that describe actions done in a controlled way. For example, it seems to be wrong to write ...
3
votes
2answers
114 views

What could we call a “market for predicting decisions”?

I've always called these "decision markets", and will do so here to simplify the language in this discussion. But that term is overused to the point of being confusing, and I'm curious if anyone can ...
2
votes
0answers
80 views

How to explain the use of stress to emphasize agreement

In a discussion with someone whose first language is not English, the phrase "that is fun" came up, with the stress applied to emphasize agreement. This was taken as an insult; he thought the stress ...
2
votes
2answers
89 views

Word definition request

I am searching for a word that describes a person who complains about people who complain. I have tried numerous synonym blogs, but cannot find anything satisfactory.
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Pronunciation Feedback Required

Did I pronounce the phrase "I'm gonna be gone for five weeks" correctly? https://clyp.it/oobrogbu Phonetically it looks like: [aɪm gɑnə bɪ gɔn fər faɪv wiks]. I have no idea which words should I ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

“The internet is full of clothes. But only some are perfect for your shape.”

I have a slight problem with a video we're working on. I'm wondering if "some are" is correct grammatically in the following sentence. The internet is full of clothes. But only some are perfect ...
2
votes
0answers
113 views

Is there a technical name for this kind of wordplay?

In his book Humorous English, Evan Esar writes, The blended compound is the fusion of two compounds, with the terminal word of one being the same or similar to the initial word of the other. By ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

In reference to statistics as it relates to information about research?

Academia.SE is working on retagging statistics and I was trying to figure out if I was missing a word on the tip of my tongue. Here's the original thread. These are the three definitions for ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Telling if a word is a verb in the imperative mood

I'm working on a static analysis tool for the documentation in the Python programming language (PEP257). For this, I need to check if the first word in a documentation string is a verb in the ...

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