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comment “Boston” lobster vs. Italian “aragosta”
How can it be a lobster if it doesn't have claws? Heck, even crawfish have claws. Dunno what that aragosta creature is, other that scary.
Apr
23
comment Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders?
What Anonym said -- if all it takes to make a language polite is to have a T-V distinction, then English might be the most polite language around: we use the polite form exclusively, and have for many centuries.
Apr
23
reviewed Approve Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders?
Apr
21
comment What's the difference between “Thankful” and “Thank Full”?
If you have to ask such a question, then the answer is "thankful is a word, while 'thank full' is a nonsensical pair of words."
Apr
15
comment Are doggie bags still asked for?
+1 for "Can I get a box for this"; that, or variations thereof, is how I usually phrase it.
Apr
15
comment Difference between logs, timber, and lumber
1. Lumber is uncountable; "a lumber" is not something a native speaker would ever emit. Ditto for "bark": "barks" is the second person singular form of the verb, not a plural noun, because the noun form doesn't have a plural. 2. If you have a tree standing in nature, unharmed, it's called a... tree, oddly enough. "Timber" is what you yell when the tree you just cut down is in the act of falling.
Apr
10
comment Comma before “include:” preceding list: right or wrong, and why?
@AndrewLeach, but the point is, "what's funny is" contains TWO (2) verbs. "Key takeaways include" has only ONE (1) verb. In my mind, this makes them pretty fundamentally different. In particular, I think a comma in "what's funny, is" is excusable: not the way I'd write it, but I can understand why someone would put it there. The comma before "include", on the other hand, is completely and totally WRONG.
Apr
10
comment Comma before “include:” preceding list: right or wrong, and why?
@Andrew, I don't think that's a duplicate: "what is funny, is" has two verbs, and the comma is thus arguable. "Key takeaways include" only has the one verb, and thus there is absolutely no way for the comma to be correct.
Apr
10
comment Comma before “include:” preceding list: right or wrong, and why?
I don't understand how there could possibly be debate over this: that comma is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no business calling themselves a writer.
Apr
8
reviewed Approve What do you call a bunch of garlic (when you don't remove the cloves)?
Apr
8
comment What does this sentence mean?— “until the words lose all meaning and the chaos that is real life sets in”
Would it help to punctuate it as "...until the words lose all meaning and the-chaos-that-is-real-life sets in"? (Also, @Reg, how is this off-topic? The area of concern is clearly identified, the sentence is in English, it's not poetry or symbolism or anything far-fetched: it's a parsing question, not a literary interpretation question.)
Apr
4
awarded  Favorite Question
Mar
29
comment Why do ESL speakers sometimes use “sir” to women?
While this is sorta on-topic here, the ideal location for it would be English Language Learners: there, you might even get an answer from the horse's mouth, as it were.
Mar
29
comment Latin phrase to English?
1. Don't use anything other than a university professor (or equivalent) to translate anything into Latin. Unless of course you like being laughed at. 2. Mottos are actually more common in the vernacular than in Latin. If the character's family spoke English, then their motto is likely to be in English as well. 3. Like others have pointed out, this is totally off-topic here.
Mar
29
comment Etymology for “Mc‑” and “O’‑” prefix in surnames
@JanusBahsJacquet: note that putting the father's name in the genitive is a type of marking, so this is still not an example of an unmarked patronymic. It's Fred Johns, not Fred John.
Mar
27
revised Is there an English idiom that means “you can always find a law to convict anyone”?
typo in title
Mar
27
comment Is my name English?
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about genealogy, not English language or usage.
Mar
27
comment Is my name English?
This doesn't come up too often in English genealogy, but we repeat it all the time when people are searching for their roots in central or eastern Europe: the language (origin) of a name, the language spoken in a country, and the ethnicity of a particular person or family are three different, independent things. I have people in my family tree whose name is screamingly German, who were born in a town that is now part of Slovakia, but whose ethnicity is nevertheless Hungarian (based on where they went to church, among other things).
Mar
25
comment What to call Primary School + High School, but not College
When I was growing up, elementary school was K-6, junior high was 7-8 (yes, just two years), and high school was 9-12. Sometime after I graduated, they shuffled things around so the divisions were K-5, 6-8, and 9-12, but as far as I know, the terminology didn't change. "Primary school" was a synonym of "elementary school" with a slight whiff of old-fashioned fustiness to it. "Middle school" was a straight-up synonym of "junior high", just one we didn't happen to use much.
Mar
21
comment What is the exact meaning of “A can never be better than either B or C”
In practice, this probably depends on exactly what A, B, and C are. As in, language is never perfectly logical, and connotation matters.