531 reputation
27
bio website mikepope.com/blog
location Seattle, WA
age
visits member for 3 years, 10 months
seen Aug 18 at 3:14

I'm a technical editor and occasional technical writer in the software industry. I speak American English natively and have formally studied German and Spanish. Although in my role as editor I assiduously police Standard Written English, I am by disposition a firm believer in the descriptivist approach to usage.


Oct
6
awarded  Yearling
Oct
8
awarded  Yearling
Oct
21
answered Why do you suck at XYZ?
Oct
21
comment Rule for using “for” vs. “to”
PS I have beat my head against por/para in Spanish, not to mention the various idiomatic uses of prepositions in German, so I am completely sympathetic to your friend's difficulties in mastering these in English and to your difficulties in finding mnemonics for them.
Oct
21
awarded  Critic
Oct
21
comment Rule for using “for” vs. “to”
I wonder whether the edited example (fix for) is simply idiomatic -- compare solution to, which has similar semantics but a different preposition. If so, it's probably impossible to find a rule of thumb that would make it clear for a non-native speaker. Back to memorization. :-)
Oct
19
answered Rule for using “for” vs. “to”
Oct
19
comment What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ?
I think that eff-ay-que is the least ambiguous pronunciation, altho as noted here, there is not really a formally correct one. (As if English had formally correct pronunciations for anything, haha. :-) )
Oct
19
comment Doubt about the subject in this phrase: I, me, or myself?
This is kind of interesting, because what's the subject of remaining? I can't come up with something that should be in the nominative, I don't think. (?)
Oct
19
comment “A force is acting on a box until t = 10 seconds”. Is the force still acting on the box at t = 10 seconds?
I agree that without further qualification, the question can't be resolved. At least, as a question about until. Perhaps it can as a physics problem. :-)
Oct
19
comment What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ?
I'm curious that people still sometimes spell "scuba" in all uppercase but never do for radar. Or is that my imagination?
Oct
19
answered Plural name apostrophe position
Oct
15
comment Is “funnest” a word?
The issue if "if it's in the dictionary, it's a word" misses some subtlety, no? Of course funnest is a word, in the sense that people use it. I imagine that you're asking whether it's standard English, which as J D suggests, is a matter of establishing what context you're asking in. FWIW, here's Grammar Girl's take on the issue: grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/is-funnest-a-word.aspx
Oct
13
awarded  Commentator
Oct
13
comment XXIII, neither IIIXX nor XIIIX, represents 23. Is it correct grammar?
PS Yes, it's understandable. :-)
Oct
13
comment XXIII, neither IIIXX nor XIIIX, represents 23. Is it correct grammar?
Substituting not for neither definitely fixes it. (Well, the dashes to set it off are part of that.)
Oct
13
comment XXIII, neither IIIXX nor XIIIX, represents 23. Is it correct grammar?
Oops, sorry, good point. Neither sounds odd in this context. I think the issue is you basically have what looks like a sentence with two subjects: "XXIII represents ..." and "Neither IIXXX nor XIIIX represent[s]". It does not sound grammatical to me, but I cannot define exactly why not; the best I can do is suggest tweaks that seem to make it better, like "XXIII, but neither IIXXX nor XIIIX, ...".
Oct
13
comment “viruses” or “virii”?
... which gets back to the original question -- the only really legitimate plural of virus in English is viruses, no? Certainly in the vernacular. (BTW, the question about the plural of opera is a bit of a trick question -- opera is the plural of opus.)
Oct
13
comment “viruses” or “virii”?
"When those words escape medical-jargon into the language as a whole, then the plural will be a Latin plural". A fair assessment of how (e.g.) Latin plurals end up in English, correct or otherwise. I would qualify this to say that the Latin plural is a plural, and might for a time be the only plural, but that standard English morphology has an excellent (and legitimate) chance to assert itself over time. And in any event, any such imported plurals would not be considered productive, right?
Oct
13
answered XXIII, neither IIIXX nor XIIIX, represents 23. Is it correct grammar?