50,433 reputation
350153
bio website umich.edu/~jlawler
location Bellingham WA
age
visits member for 2 years, 8 months
seen 6 hours ago

I'm a retired English grammarian. I enjoy answering questions.

  1. My Website at the University of Michigan
  2. My alt.usage.english English Grammar pages
  3. Details and handouts from some recent talks.
  4. A term paper about K-12 Language Science
  5. Two scanned coursepacks from my Intro Ling class. (each ~100 pp)
  6. Scanned teaching materials from my Etymology class
  7. Abstract of a recent talk (4/12/12) in Denton, TX.

8h
comment Is the describer needed in 'not…but…" type constructions?
With the negation, it'd be better to say not X but rather Y, to make sure that the scope of the negation is cancelled. In general, it doesn't matter how much repeated material is deleted by Conjunction Reduction -- as long as it doesn't introduce ambiguity accidentally.
8h
comment What's the appropriate way of integrating the expression “full stop” into a written sentence?
Make sure that only British English speakers read it. In American English, the phrase (and the name for the punctuation) is period. And it's punctuated that way It isn't just a X, it's a Y. Period.
9h
comment “They have been replaced by…” or “They have been replaced with…”
As you suspect, it's with. And you can use either order for the two prepositional phrases; equally good is have been replaced with new ones by the mayor. This is similar to what happens to the ambiguity of the phrase the shooting of the hunters (did the hunters shoot, or were they shot?) when one adds a by-phrase. The shooting of the hunters by the soldiers is quite unambiguous.
9h
comment What are Java Programmers called?
Javahuts, javajava, javajive, javalines, javalinos, javouzem.
1d
awarded  Nice Answer
1d
comment Usage of Who and Whom
Totally incorrect, sorry. Whom may not be used as the subject of the relative clause it introduces. This is why I always advise people -- native and non-native speakers alike -- never to use whom. Never. Until you get at least one degree in linguistics; otherwise you won't be able to understand the rule.
1d
comment “Whom” or “who” for object of a subordinate clause inside a relative clause
Interesting; I've never heard the story that goes that way. Who told it to you? The rule for dropping relative pronouns drops any relative pronoun that is not the subject of the immediately following (i.e, top) relative clause; it says nothing about them being objects, of any sort. In this case, it is indeed not the subject of that relative clause -- instead, it's the subject of a clause farther down. That's what's interesting about ungoverned rules like Relative Clause Formation -- they aren't limited to only one sentence, so many bets are off. Like I said at first, it's complicated.
1d
awarded  Enlightened
1d
awarded  Nice Answer
1d
comment what does “ Plant Your arse” mean?
It means Siddown!; plain speaking, informal speech. Often used between old friends or colleagues, or to simulate friendship and collegiality in the appropriate context.
1d
comment Variations in the pronunciation of “the”
Native speakers are taught that there is no difference between writing and speaking, and that writing is the more important of the two. Therefore they're taught nothing about the English language, which is spoken. Anything else they're taught is useless with those presuppositions. As we see here daily; most people think of punctuation as grammar, for instance.
1d
comment In grammar what is the pattern of the sentence “My watch is running slow”
They do mean the same thing, but they get to it by different routes. My watch is running slow means you don't trust it; my watch is running slowly refers to the workings of the machinery, but it has the same outcome -- therefore, you don't trust it.
1d
comment British usage: add verb forms of “do” after a conditional
Interesting question. It's completely weird by American standards; it marks text as British just as fast as RP would in speech.
1d
comment Variations in the pronunciation of “the”
Native speakers are not taught anything about the English language in Anglophone schools. Yes, there are rules for pronouncing the; they're the same rules as for pronouncing a and an -- one before consonants and one before vowels. Perfectly normal, like adding an extra syllable to plurals after a final /s/ or /z/. As to the OQ, /ði/ is the usual stressed variant and if the article is being emphasized, that's what'll normally come out. /ðə/ may be used as a default version by some people, but -- as witness previous comments -- no native speaker will ever notice the details.
1d
comment Usage of Repetitive words
"we often" is not sufficient context, sorry. Who are "we"? Nobody can answer your question without knowing what the repetition is sposta mean, and who does it when.
1d
comment Something happens because clause A, and clause B.
Don't delete that second because: -- because he woke up late, and because his bicycle was broken. Most ambiguities come from deleting too many words; every time a word is deleted, information is lost from the signal, and must be reconstituted by the receiver, who has to guess. If there's not enough structure left to guide the guess, choices multiply rapidly.
1d
comment Understanding the sentence meaning
Ambiguity resolved easily by repositioning stacked prepositional phrases: for particles moving with macroscopic velocity u in a medium. If you don't mean to specify something about the medium, don't modify it with a prepositional phrase. Your readers will probably understand it, but why take the risk when doing it right is just as easy?
1d
comment Something happens because clause A, and clause B.
Yes, it is grammatical. However, it's also ambiguous. It can mean either what you intend, or it can also mean that as a result of the facts that John woke up late and came late to school, his bicycle was broken.
1d
comment How to remember when I should use “then” and when “than”?
Than is only used with comparatives -- other than is a simple mnemonic to look for the comparative word or phrase with than. If you want a more complex mnemonic, better than than then. Then has a number of uses, so the simplest mnemonic is: if it's not a comparative -- it it's not the other than -- use then.
2d
comment What's a better word for “part” in this sentence?
Just repeat "the world", and use a demonstrative: -- or at least that part of the world that could pay --