104,830 reputation
8127231
bio website caxton1485.wordpress.com
location United Kingdom
age 72
visits member for 2 years, 10 months
seen 47 secs 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.


Jun
7
comment Is there a clear delineation between the usages of 'this' and 'that' in American English?
@Edward Ashworth. Thanks.
Apr
23
comment Are “this” and “next” demonstrative determiners?
The authors of the Longman Grammar call it, along with same and other, a ‘semi-determiner’.
Apr
21
comment Use of “you and I” in TS Eliot's Prufrock
If you do believe that Eliot is 'not following that rule', then the answer is in my last comment.
Apr
21
comment Use of “you and I” in TS Eliot's Prufrock
We must remember that the voice is not that of Eliot but of J Alfred Prufrock, who I can imagine saying ‘Let us go then, you and I’ rather than ‘Let us go then, you and me’.
Apr
21
comment One has to cook himself or themself?
@Tucker Thank you.
Apr
21
comment One has to cook himself or themself?
I wouldn’t use one at all, myself, but, if you have to, then One has to cook oneself might do. I imagine the context would make it clear that self-immolation wasn’t required.
Apr
21
comment One has to cook himself or themself?
Why would anyone want to prepare their own body for consumption? It seems self-defeating.
Apr
12
comment Here's — Plurality Question
Pam Peters in ‘The Cambridge Guide to English Usage’ (2004) probably got there before him: ‘These various uses of there’s with plural (or notionally plural) noun phrases show how the structure is working its way into the standard. It seems to be evolving into a fixed phrase, rather like the French C’est . . . , serving the needs of the ongoing discourse rather than the grammar of the sentence.’
Apr
11
comment A more formal word for “tech-savvy”, relating to IT technologists in particular
@IQAndreas. I agree.
Apr
3
comment What is the accepted stance on using “they” in a singular form?
@ivanhoescott. I know. I've written about it here: caxton1485.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/…
Apr
1
comment Is it ok to use 'before' at the end of a sentence?
@medica. You might like to try this: ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/home.htm
Mar
25
comment What is this construction?
You asked about the construction, not the meaning, but the meaning is I don't know for sure, but my conclusion from all the available evidence is that it was a good idea.
Mar
25
comment What is this construction?
Why? The the sentence can be exapanded as I can't tell, but I conclude that it was a good idea. (And please don't use the term 'grammar Nazi'.)
Mar
18
comment What is the English word for “street along a river bank”?
+1. I was going to suggest 'strand' myself.
Mar
14
comment “Hungry” is to “full” as “thirsty” is to what adjective?
As thirsty is to pissed.
Mar
14
comment Why is there no article in “The Child is father of the man”?
I'd never assume I was right, if I was you.
Mar
13
comment Why is there no article in “The Child is father of the man”?
You make a valid distinction, but I think my 'owner' example could occur, in BrEng at least, in certain contexts.
Mar
11
comment The meaning of “rack” or “rock” in “The Peasant Poet” by John Clare
Perhaps. The two relevant definitions in the OED are 'a mass of cloud moving quickly, esp. above lower clouds; a mass of such cloud' and 'a bank of cloud, fog, or mist; a wisp of cloud or vapour. Also as a mass noun: mist, fog; sea spray.'
Mar
10
comment Sentence with Present Perfect
But it would be found in a sentence that continued as The summer has been over for several weeks now.
Mar
9
comment Syntax for “doesn't do this thing” but “will”
Then you need to ask yourself whether a comma would help the reader in any way. I can't see that it would. That doesn't set itself automatically is a defining relative clause, and defining relative clauses are not set off by commas.