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 Civic Duty
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Jan
25
answered A phrase to describe the external spreading phase of some infection?
Jan
17
answered Opposite idiom for going with the flow
Dec
27
comment Difference between “spruce” and “fir” when used in “Christmas tree” context
Conversely, in northern Europe, where the practice comes from, a Christmas tree has traditionally always been a Norway spruce (Picea abies), although nowadays other similar-looking trees may sometimes be sold as well. Part of the reason for this uniformity of tradition is that there just aren't that many conifer species that grow wild around here; the only other one as common as Norway spruce would be Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, which has long tufted needles and sparse branches, and would look just plain silly as a Christmas tree.
Nov
30
comment “Throw you with a stone” vs “Throw a stone at you”
@WS2: Sure, because you've broken the "<verb> <ind.obj.> <dir.obj.>" pattern by moving the direct object immediately after the verb, and there are no longer any visible case markers in English to let you vary the order of the objects, so you have to specify the recipient some other way -- and pretty much the only other way is to indicate the recipient using an adverbial phrase like "to me", which can go anywhere. My point is that, while "throw to me the keys" would indeed also be valid, it isn't and never was idiomatic, and it's not the historical form that "throw me the keys" evolved from.
Nov
29
comment “Throw you with a stone” vs “Throw a stone at you”
@WS2: AFAIK, historically, the "me" in "throw me the keys" used to be in the dative case, back when English still had such case distinctions. (Compare e.g. German "wirf mir die Schlüssel".) The cases got merged together, but the "<verb> <recipient> <direct object>" construction survived for some verbs ("give", "tell", "send", etc.), generally describing a transfer of something, with word order instead of case now serving to distinguish the two objects. So it's not so much an elided preposition as a loss of case markers.
Oct
23
comment Why is 'Where's it' Grammatically incorrect?
I like this explanation... except that, if I were to read out the sentence "If your column isn't country data, where is it?" without any explicit emphasis markers suggesting otherwise, I'd tend to put the stress on "where" rather than on "is". Even so, for some reason, "where's it?" sounds wrong to me (even though, at least to my ear, it could work if the "it" was replaced by a longer phrase). Thus, I suspect that your explanation, while certainly illuminating, is not quite the whole story.
Oct
22
answered Word for inlets of a mountain
Aug
3
comment Why is liquid a countable noun?
Your second example would seem to be using "beer" as a countable noun to refer to specific kinds of beer. Compare: "The company produces two non-alcoholic beers: a light lager and a darker variant." But then, arguably, that's true for "liquid" in the OP's quote, too.
Jul
31
comment Is it proper to use a colon followed immediately by a hyphen?
Indeed, this answer seems to raise more questions than it answers. Clearly, for this usage to have been taught in schools, it must've been common (and likely even prescribed) style somewhere at some point. When did it change, and why?
Apr
12
comment What do you call the wooden bridge-like structures that make up a harbor?
@AE: That's a good answer. Or it would be, except that it's not an answer, but a comment.
Mar
11
comment What do you call excessive snow?
...or the phrase "snowed in".
Mar
10
comment “Finnish Swedes” or “Swedish Finns”?
@Janus: Oh, it's definitely a lot less showy. Two things that Helsinki lacks, compared to other Nordic capitals, are 1) a genuine medieval old town, like Tallinn and Stockholm have (and Copenhagen used to have, before it burned down in 1795), because it's a much younger city, and 2) the trappings of an old imperial capital, such as a big royal palace and lots of pompous statues of old kings, like both Stockholm and Copenhagen have. There's a presidential palace, which is really just a fancy old converted merchant's house, and one big equestrian statue of C.G.E. Mannerheim. That's all.
Mar
10
awarded  Civic Duty
Mar
9
revised How is “erogenous” incorrectly formed?
don't abuse code markup for literal asterisks, use backslashes instead
Mar
9
suggested approved edit on How is “erogenous” incorrectly formed?
Feb
20
awarded  Yearling
Feb
11
comment Word for a leader who rules from behind the scenes?
+1 for "grey eminence", was going to suggest it myself.
Jan
7
awarded  Excavator
Jan
7
revised Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?
fix broken Wiktionary link, add missing "a" to title, improve image alt text
Jan
7
suggested approved edit on Is there a single term for “nieces and nephews”?