53,994 reputation
357165
bio website umich.edu/~jlawler
location Bellingham WA
age
visits member for 3 years
seen 1 hour 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.

1h
awarded  Nice Answer
1h
answered “Shamefully presents” vs. “ashamedly presents”
2h
comment Can “tamper” be used transitively?
I agree. The closest I can come to transitivity is tamperproof, but that doesn't really require an object. Tamper with means 'to do something that affects', and is effectively a transitive verb, in that it can even be passivized: This package has been tampered with.
2h
comment Don't you do this vs Don't do this
Normally the you is not said, but if it is, it's a mark of emphasis, as to a child, where it usually means -- or is intended to be interpreted as -- "I'm getting angry". Adding dare, as @HotLicks points out, is another emphatic marker.
19h
comment which is correct? grammatically and in present form
Become is infinitive, present tense (except third person singular), and past participle. Becomes is present tense, third person singular. She is third person singular. In the present tense, She becomes is correct; in the past tense, She became is correct. *She become popular in Canada is not ever grammatical.
19h
comment Phant Latin root and similar words
Try googling for hierophant etymology and this is what comes up first. Note that this comes from the Greek verb φαίνω 'to show, display, exhibit, explain, inform'.
19h
comment Who decides how a foreign name should be transliterated and why do such transliterations change over the decades?
And they will seem even more abrupt when they die out.
22h
comment Using “could” when giving direction
I think I saw something that used some of those terms; but I don't recall details.
23h
comment Using “could” when giving direction
It's A correct way to use it, anyway. There are many ways to be indirect, and modals feature in many of them.
23h
revised Does -able have an imperative meaning?
deleted 1 character in body
23h
comment Who decides how a foreign name should be transliterated and why do such transliterations change over the decades?
Like spelling and punctuation. They used to be personal matters, like handwriting is today. The idea that there should be only one way to write -- when there isn't any one way to speak, after all; there's a multiplicity of dialects -- is a recent invention that took a couple hundred years after Caxton to settle into the common consciousness.
23h
comment Who decides how a foreign name should be transliterated and why do such transliterations change over the decades?
The first part of your question is: Nobody decided. Anybody who had to transliterate it did it their own way. And they all had different ways, and that's the answer to the second part, too -- some transliterations were not made by or for English speakers, but were borrowed anyway. Like Tschaikowski, which is German spelling, ameliorated occasionally by a V or a Y, but always starting with TSCH. There is no universal (or even ISO) standard for transliteration, nor any set of rules. As Tom Lehrer said of folk music, the reason transliteration is so bad is because it was done by The Folk.
1d
answered Does -able have an imperative meaning?
1d
comment Which is the correct use of 'no'
They are different, in structure, but they mean the same thing. There's just a different choice of determiners, is all. Like the difference between all the people and all of the people. The illusion that there must be a correct answer, or that one of two sentences is more correct than the other, is a fallacy. Authors make choices representing their speech habits.
1d
revised Noun or adjective required
deleted 1 character in body
1d
comment Why do people pronounce “f***ing” like “f***en”?
@Robusto: Yes, in many speech groups precise articulation is taken as a sign of extreme self-control, which is extended to temper control metaphorically. The result is a message of "I'm at the end of my tether".
1d
comment What is the spatial difference between in and on
If it's flat, like the land to the horizon, or the ocean, it's two-dimensional. If it feels like it contains something, though, it's a container, and containers are three-dimensional.
1d
comment Recommended sources for understanding the spatial and abstract meanings of English prepositions
Probably a good (though not visual) place to start is with Fillmore's Deixis Lectures, which cover space, time, and other topics. Read them in order. They have no illustrations, but the word pictures are pretty clear.
1d
comment What is the spatial difference between in and on
Your email is a container; in is used with containers and contents. The spatial difference is that on refers to things located with respect to two-dimensional spaces (on the rug, on the lawn, on the floor, on the page), while in refers to things located with respect to three-dimensional spaces (in the bag, in the yard, in the room, in the message). The semantic space is merged with en in Spanish; that's easy for English speakers to deal with, but hard going the other way.
1d
comment apart from + verb with gerund or not
The only way I can answer that is to say how I would say it, if I ever wanted to. If I intoned it as it's printed (i.e, with no additional comma intonations), I'd probly use the infinitive. With an additional comma intonation after anything, I'd prefer the gerund, though.