103,188 reputation
8120219
bio website caxton1485.wordpress.com
location United Kingdom
age 71
visits member for 2 years, 7 months
seen 10 hours ago

I have spent most of my career in government service, much of it abroad. I have a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and the Diploma in English Language Studies from the UK's Open University, and am qualified as a teacher of English to foreign learners. I have studied several other languages including French, German, Latin, Arabic and Old and Middle English.

My blog, Caxton, is mostly, but not entirely, about the English language.

Elsewhere on the web I have attempted to write in the constrained style of the 'Ouvroir de littérature potentielle' (OULIPO) in Variations on an Incident in Paris and in Variations on Jane Austen. I have also created a full set of 256 Syllogisms by figure and mood and showing which are valid and which are not.


Feb
15
comment What is the origin of the word 'mug up'?
There's only one on-line version of the OED. The fifth entry for ‘mug’ is here: oed.com/view/Entry/123337?rskey=IzTcFY&result=11#eid
Feb
15
comment What is the origin of the word 'mug up'?
Take a look at the fifth entry for the verb mug, where two definitions are given. The intransitive one is ‘To read or study in a concentrated manner. Now freq. with up (on a subject, book, etc.)'. The transitive definition is ‘To learn (a subject, book, etc.) by hard or concentrated study. Usu. with up.’ The origin is unknown, but may be related to the definition given in the third entry, ‘To pout, grow sullen; to mope’.
Feb
15
answered “In [noun] terms” vs. “in terms of [noun]”
Feb
12
comment Reasons why is English the best language for scientific papers
Not all. His mathematical treatise was ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’, but his later work on the property of light was ‘Opticks: or, a Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Infractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light’.
Feb
12
answered Reasons why is English the best language for scientific papers
Feb
12
comment If America has a woman President, will her husband be known as 'The First Gentleman'?
Elizabeth I didn't allow too may kings to outrank her.
Feb
12
comment If America has a woman President, will her husband be known as 'The First Gentleman'?
True, but unlikely to be repeated, I'd have thought.
Feb
12
comment Is “alone” an adverb in “I was sitting alone”?
+1 for raising the point. It's rather like Huddleston and Pullum’s attempt to extend the membership of the preposition class beyond the words that traditional grammar calls prepositions.
Feb
12
comment If America has a woman President, will her husband be known as 'The First Gentleman'?
I think it’s rather the case that whether the husband or wife of the monarch doesn’t receive the title depends on an Act of Parliament. The default is that the wife of The King is The Queen and that the husband of The Queen is The Prince Consort. Whatever she is told to call herself, the wife of the present Prince of Wales will become The Queen when her husband inherits, unless an Act of Parliament says otherwise.
Feb
12
comment If America has a woman President, will her husband be known as 'The First Gentleman'?
There are other anomalies. The eldest son of a Duke becomes a Duke on his father’s death, but a daughter, even if an only child, doesn’t become a Duchess. The wife of a knight is called Lady X, but the husband of a dame is not called Sir X. And even female members of the UK’s upper house of parliament address their colleagues, male and female, as ‘my lords’.
Feb
12
answered Is “alone” an adverb in “I was sitting alone”?
Feb
12
answered If America has a woman President, will her husband be known as 'The First Gentleman'?
Feb
12
answered Usage of two hads in a sentence, not continuously
Feb
11
answered What's the meaning of “should we be interested”?
Feb
11
answered What does “I do believe” mean?
Feb
11
revised What does “I do believe” mean?
deleted 6 characters in body
Feb
11
answered When Are There Too Many Commas?
Feb
11
comment “since ages” or “for ages”?
Then that may explain it.
Feb
11
comment Which one is correct and why?
I didn’t say it was incorrect. It’s not an effective sentence because the antecedent of whose is not immediately clear to the reader.
Feb
11
answered “since ages” or “for ages”?