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2d
comment Is “women men girls love meet die” a valid sentence?
... sense, is nevertheless difficult to understand. Once you introduce elements into the sentence that don't make sense, you create an entirely different issue: Is the sentence difficult to understand because we expect sentences to be rational and coherent and so we stumble over the illogic? Or is the sentence difficult to understand because of the "layered" construction? If I said, "Orange Sally is fast", you'd likely stumble over the meaning for entirely different reasons. It doesn't make sense, so you struggle to extract meaning, even though the grammar is simple and straightforward.
2d
comment Is “women men girls love meet die” a valid sentence?
Hmm, I agree that the "die" part is jarring and doesn't really make sense. There are certainly men that girls love. These men presumably often meet women -- assuming here that we're distinguishing "women" from "girls". Up to that point it looks like we are moving toward a coherent meaning, something about what happens when mature women meet men who are loved by young girls. But they die? That doesn't seem to make sense. In this sense I think I agree that the sentence is poorly constructed. It would be more effective to show that a sentence that, if successfully parsed, makes complete ...
Mar
23
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
20
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
17
comment What is a term for something unwanted but which cannot be ignored?
@HotLicks To an extent. But if, say, someone keeps kicking you in the shins, you can try to ignore them, you can pretend to ignore them, but you can't just not notice that they're doing it. Also, just because you CAN ignore something doesn't mean that you do. So I think it's fair to talk about things that a person is TRYING to ignore but which is difficult to ignore.
Mar
17
answered “someone or I” and “me or someone”
Mar
17
comment How do you native speakers pronounce @ in an email address?
As in, "4 @ $2" means you are buying or selling 4 for $2 each, total price = $8.
Mar
17
comment How do you native speakers pronounce @ in an email address?
I've always head it called either "the 'at' sign" or "commercial 'at'", since long before email was common. (I'm an old man.) I never heard the term "asperand" before reading the above post. That certainly doesn't prove it's not a real word -- I'm sure there are many words in English that I don't know, especially technical terms in fields outside my own -- but I don't think it's in common use. Maybe it's a term familiar to linguists.
Mar
17
answered Native speakers never confuse sounds of 'ma'am' and 'man'?
Mar
17
comment What can I call a person who directs traffic?
In the U.S. you routinely see signs that say "Flagger Ahead", so I think "flagger" is the accepted (politically-correct) U.S. term. I wouldn't be surprised if the average construction worker still calls them "flag men", just like Americans routinely call the service people on airplanes "stewardesses" even though the politically correct term for a couple of decades now has been "flight attendants".
Mar
17
comment What can I call a person who directs traffic?
@gnawme Yes. These might be good descriptive terms, but they are not in common use, and while someone might guess what you mean if they heard them, then again they might not. If someone asked, "What is the term for a person who performs medical operations?", the right answer is "surgeon", not "medical operator", no matter how descriptive you might think the latter term is.
Mar
7
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
4
comment What is the word for something that has not yet been configured?
@tchrist I guess if you throw up, that's "uneaten food". :-)
Feb
28
comment How do you pronounce numbers written in different bases?
... I do not expect to use political terminology to describe a math problem, or to use Java to express my love for my wife. I do not expect a union contract to use the definition of "work" found in a physics book. Etc.
Feb
28
comment How do you pronounce numbers written in different bases?
@DavidSchwartz Much-belated reply: When we are reading decimal numbers, it makes sense to use decimal-based names. When we are reading octal numbers, it makes sense to use octal-based names. To say that English uses decimal-based names begs the question. English uses decimal-based names when talking about decimal numbers. Who says what sort of names we should use when talking abut non-decimal numbers? When we are talking about a different subject matter it makes sense to use a different set of terms. ...
Feb
18
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
6
comment Is “stepmother treatment” Indian English?
@FumbleFingers Hmm, someone asks if a certain idiom is common, and you say that this question is "not constructive" because you believe the answer is "yes"? So if the answer was "no" would you consider it a valid question? Your position presupposes that the poster knew the answer before he posted the question. If we disallow all questions to which the answer is "yes", then the site becomes superfluous, as the only possible answer is "no". We could simply have a single page that says, "No".
Feb
6
awarded  Nice Answer
Jan
20
comment Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?
@ivanhoescott Whether such use is grammatically correct or not is, I think, a subject about which English speakers disagree. I don't dispute that you can find examples of such usage in printed texts. But you can also find many people who will say that such usage is wrong. As we've discussed on other threads, a problem with arguing about grammar is that it's difficult to say what constitutes proof that a certain position is right or wrong.
Jan
20
comment Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?
Well, sure, one can think of special cases where you could refer to a specific person and not know their gender. As you say, the anonymous author of a book, the person identified as doing a certain thing but that's all the speaker knows about that person ("The person who murdered Mr Boddy", "The inventor of the first wooden plow"), or a person with a name that could apply to either sex ("Robin", "Taylor", a name in a foreign language that we are not familiar with). But USUALLY, if you are talking about a specific person, you know their gender, which I think was Mr Reynold's point.