103,479 reputation
8121220
bio website caxton1485.wordpress.com
location United Kingdom
age 71
visits member for 2 years, 7 months
seen 3 mins 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
21
comment why do we say “she” referring to a general user of a program
We do have a gender-neutral word to use. It's 'they'.
Feb
20
awarded  Popular Question
Feb
19
comment Agreement of articles and prepositions
Can't think of any. A is probably what you want. A story about Mark is one of several possible stories. The story of Mark is his one entire story.
Feb
19
comment Agreement of articles and prepositions
A if your readers don’t know which story you’re talking about. B if they do. D if you’re telling the story of his life. C only in very unusual circumstances.
Feb
19
comment Agreement of articles and prepositions
I think you should first tell us exactly what it is you want to express.
Feb
19
answered Agreement of articles and prepositions
Feb
19
awarded  possessive
Feb
18
comment Why is “underhaul” not listed in dictionaries?
I thought it might have been in the Urban Dictionary, but it isn't.
Feb
18
answered Why is “underhaul” not listed in dictionaries?
Feb
18
awarded  Good Answer
Feb
17
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
17
answered Punctuation of a question that ends with a statement
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.