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10h
comment Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?
@nohat It's true that "you" can be either singular or plural. But I think this is a defect in English. It often creates unintentional ambiguities. The fact that our language is screwed up in one place isn't a good reason to screw it up in other places.
May
18
comment Proper term for people from eastern Asia
What offends people is hard to explain. I would think that if someone said, in a respectful tone, "Ah, the Oriental gentleman has arrived", there would be no reason to be offended. Well, "Yeah, those subhuman East Asian scum" sounds offensive to me. But what I think is offensive and what other people think is offensive are often unrelated.
May
17
awarded  Nice Question
May
3
comment Is “Next to that” really an alternative to “Additionally” or “Moreover”?
Search on "next to that" and most of the hits are talking about being physically adjacent, but I did find: bbc.com/news/world-europe-25364745 and quotes.dictionary.com/…
May
1
comment Is this a dangling participle? “To use the computer, it need to be powered.”
Which reminds me of the classic from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. I forget the exact words, but basically Bullwinkle says, "See this nail? When I nod my head, you hit it with the hammer."
May
1
comment Is this a dangling participle? “To use the computer, it need to be powered.”
That example naturally leads me to ask, If Mont Blanc were to turn around and look west, would it rise to a different height?
May
1
comment Is this a dangling participle? “To use the computer, it need to be powered.”
Revised draft: That said, most English speakers, with the notable exception of David Pugh, do not notice ...
May
1
comment Is “Next to that” really an alternative to “Additionally” or “Moreover”?
Yes, we disagree. I think we should fight to the death.
May
1
comment “Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” usage
@DavidPugh Oh, I thought you were saying she called herself that in English. Of course words can have different connotations in different times and places even when we are nominally speaking the same language. Connotations in a different language might well have little relation.
May
1
answered Can I describe time as “organic”?
May
1
comment “Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” usage
@DavidPugh The word "concubine" is used when discussing cultures where polygamy is practiced to mean a lesser wife of inferior status to the man's "primary" wife or wives. To me it sounds like a demeaning thing to call a woman, like, "You're not high class enough to be my wife, but I'd take you as a concubine." :-)
May
1
comment “Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” usage
I don't claim to know the history either. There are lots of things in language that don't have a good logical reason: they just are. @andrewleach In the U.S., women were calling female friends "girlfriends" while men were not calling male friends "boyfriends" for as long as I can remember, way back when homosexuality here was, if not illegal, at least much more frowned on that it is today.
May
1
answered Capitalization in merged company name
May
1
comment What does Ï mean in a play?
It doesn't mean anything. It may, as curiousdanni says, be some problem with the character encoding or some other issue with the creation of the PDF from whatever the original source file was. Or it may just be a typo: somebody accidentally hit an extra key when editing.
May
1
answered Is this a dangling participle? “To use the computer, it need to be powered.”
May
1
answered Is “Next to that” really an alternative to “Additionally” or “Moreover”?
May
1
answered I will offer up a few bits of advice (???)
Apr
30
comment What's the difference between 'mark' and 'grade', in an educational context?
Huh, really? In the US, approximately 40% of grades are A's, 35% are B's, 15% C's, 5% D's, and 5% F's. (See, for example, gradeinflation.com)
Apr
30
answered What's the difference between 'mark' and 'grade', in an educational context?
Apr
24
comment Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders?
And the change is in the wrong direction to fit that theory. If the language had shifted from using "thou" for lessers and "you" for greaters to using "thou" for everyone, a plausible conclusion would be that the culture had lost respect for the people who used to be called by the more formal word. But in fact it was exactly the opposite that happened. The obvious theory is that people said, in effect, not "Those people don't deserve special respect", but rather "Everyone deserves respect". (I don't suppose that this logic PROVES my point, but I think it is evidence.)