55,222 reputation
362174
bio website umich.edu/~jlawler
location Bellingham WA
age
visits member for 3 years, 2 months
seen 9 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.

11h
comment Is a predicative adjunct part of a noun, or is it part of the sentence?
Right. As Greg points out in his answer, it's not really part of the constituent, but rather sideband presupposed material. I'm not crazy about the "adposit" term, but "predicative adjunct" is a really useless description that I would never interpret as describing these examples.
12h
comment Subjunctive usage
This is not "subjunctive". There is no subjunctive mood in English; people tend to call any verb useage they don't understand "subjunctive", because they've heard subjunctive is sposta be hard to understand. What this is is a relative infinitive; that is, a relative clause that happens to be an infinitive clause instead of a tensed clause. The money to be earned means the money that can/will/should/is gonna be earned (by Indef).
14h
comment Phrase for “false conceptual framework”
In American English, the usual word is bullshit.
16h
comment Should it be written due date or date due?
Each of them is the betterest.
16h
comment Should it be written due date or date due?
Yes. It is better to write one of those. Either one. There is no difference; they're both fixed phrases.
17h
comment Any chance you being home?
Any chance alone at the beginning of a question is common in Conversational Deletion, and perfectly normal in speech; the Is there is predictable, and therefore can be omitted. Likewise (though not nearly so commonly), the linking of can be omitted, since this is just a basic question -- Question marker plus condition. Any chance is the question marker, you being home? is the condition. Of course, formal writing doesn't work this way, but email and txt does, just like speech.
19h
comment A good term for something that sustains itself via a positive feedback loop?
Actually, vicious cycle is Positive feedback, or runaway. It converges to infinity and blows out amplifiers and speakers. It's negative feedback that keeps systems functioning; if it gets too cold, the thermostat turns on the furnace, bringing up the heat until the thermostat turns off the furnace. "Negative feedback control is the primary mechanism for maintaining stability in living (and nonliving) systems, ranging from the smallest cell to the entire biosphere."
19h
comment Compound preposition
That's correct if you change the catalog "a noun, an adjective or an adverb" to some other word. Otherwise it's incorrect because it's not complete. A compound preposition is like a compound noun or a clause or a verb phrase -- it's got parts, instead of being just one word. An example is in front of, which is in fact used as if it were a single word, instead of a prepositional phrase followed by another preposition. Others include off of and out of. Any grammar book that doesn't give at least three examples of any term it expects you to understand is only good for starting fires.
19h
comment What comes first—verb or adverb?
It depends on the context. Both types occur and there's no difference in meaning. But those are just remains of clauses; you need a full sentence to decide which one to use. That's what speakers do -- decide what to say next; at speed.
20h
comment If pogonotrophy means to grow a beard, is there a term for shaving a beard?
Pogonotomy uses the same root as appendectomy, hysterectomy, microtome, etc. Scientific Greejk usually uses the O-grade stem tom- from the same PIE root *tem- as the Greek verb τέμνω 'I cut'.
20h
comment What's the correct spelling of the made-up word meaning “to treat like an oracle”?
You get to make up the spelling when you make up the word.
20h
comment Wondering if this mixed conditional is correct or not ( taken from Euronews )
That would be "English Language Teaching Journal", I presume. So you see even the English Language Teaching researchers are confused about the terminology. In a case like that the solution is to learn some actual English syntax and shut up about the N categories.
20h
comment How widespread is the use of the term 'sidemeat'?
No, the bread was homemade, but it was white bread. There was a lot of corn bread, too.
1d
comment Verb reuse after conjunction
You're welcome. Just make sure you clean off the verbs before you reuse them. There are some nasty viruses around, especially if you're telling chicken jokes.
1d
comment How widespread is the use of the term 'sidemeat'?
My Irish farmer relatives in DeKalb County, IL used the term side-meat to mean bacon; a typical farm breakfast often involved side meat and (cornmeal) mush, both fried. They were two generations older than me and I was born in 1942. It can be safely referred to as a rural N. American term from the Northern or Midlands regions (DeKalb Co. lies spang on the isogloss bundle between the two regions).
1d
comment Any example of when one would pronounce the word “a” with a long A sound?
There is none. The corresponding rule for the indefinite article is the a/an rule; a /ə/ and the /ðə/ both precede consonants, and an /ən/ and the /ði/ both precede vowels. So there is no reason for someone to use /e/ for the indefinite article. When one hears /e bɪɡ dɔɡ/ (instead of /ə bɪɡ dɔɡ/, which is normal), it is usually interpreted as the speech of someone learning to read aloud, haltingly.
1d
comment Are there measures of language complexity?
Readability measures are just simplistic bullshit. Don't put any faith in them. As for complexity, it doesn't have to do with using fancy or weird words; it's a human perception, and -- like most things -- people have different perceptions about what kind of language they find more complex. So, no; there aren't any useful measures of language complexity, unless you start out with the idea that certain things are more complex, in which case you tend to find what you expected to find.
1d
comment Why is “any ancient civilization” supposedly wrong in this sentence?
Dunno what they might be thinking of. Maybe they think it should be than any other ancient civilization, to avoid recursion. But nobody's died of recursion in English for at least two centuries, so that's not really a big problem any more.
1d
comment Verb reuse after conjunction
Results of search for "conjunction reduction" here.
1d
comment Verb reuse after conjunction
Sounds right. Conjunction reduction is optional and can apply in order to replicated items, or not. Though once you stop deleting, you can't delete beyond that point: He has been following the Seahawks and the Colts / He has been following the Seahawks and following the Colts / He has been following the Seahawks and has been following the Colts are all OK, but not *He has been following the Seahawks and has following the Colts.