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May
19
comment Can you sort by random?
Ward has neatly summarized PNRGs, but that's not the end of the story on that topic.
May
19
comment Can you sort by random?
Is it just me, or are you not quite parsing this correctly? I don't think you can just ignore the word hash here. You can most certainly assign a random number to each record in a table, and then you can sort the table by those randomly-generated numbers. That's sorting by a set of random numbers, which isn't necessarily the same as "sorting by random." P.S. @Catija - The numbers you get from here are random.
May
12
comment Why is “Grab” so common in advertisments (and other places where it might not make much sense)?
You ought to add a few examples to your question. I was a little skeptical until I Googled the phrase. Some of these are surely poor translations into English, like this one: "So, never miss out to grab these offers now! At present, people are quite busy for engaging home and official works. They don’t have much time to have shopping with their families by visiting at local market." However, that may explain some of the hits, but it doesn't seem to explain every instance.
May
12
comment How to tell which -ing verbs you can use as a noun?
Sorry; I was just channeling my inner Groucho Marx.
May
12
comment What is the meaning of “tank” in this sentence?
@Area51 - Better yet, look in dictionaries, instead of Google. I recommend starting with onelook.
May
12
comment How to tell which -ing verbs you can use as a noun?
Unless, of course, we're talking about food: "He doesn't like my drinking, my nagging, or my dressing – he thinks I put too much celery in it." ;^)
May
8
comment Word for the “life/world” outside phone calls, text messages, and the Internet?
@CactusWoman - See how cool you can become by paying attention on ELU?
May
8
comment Is “troop” unique among English words in meaning both a group and an individual member of that kind of group?
@ermanen - "He is a troop" may sound a little awkward, but "He is a good troop" is normal parlance.
May
7
comment Is “troop” unique among English words in meaning both a group and an individual member of that kind of group?
"Go fish." (Would words like sheep, deer, quail, and fish count?)
May
6
comment Adverb position in “Listen carefully to what I say”
I'm not seeing how the definition of careful unwraps the mystery here, or explains why Look carefully before you cross the street sounds natural and almost idiomatic, while Place carefully the soufflé on the countertop sounds like it has a misplaced adverb that should be moved to the beginning or end, i.e.: Carefully place the soufflé on the countertop, or: Place the soufflé on the countertop carefully.
May
6
comment During a visit or on a visit
@dardeshna - I agree that during sounds better, but not because on means "on top of" – on means so much more than that. For example, there's nothing incorrect about: I went on a trip to France, and bought this ring while I was there.
May
5
comment Generic form of “first world problems”
(cont.) The other examples follow this pattern: Instead of being grateful I'm at the cinema, I'm complaining because I missed the previews; I'm full of angst because I don't know where I should go on vacation (while others would be thankful to have a job); instead of being glad for my working cell phone, I'm sad because the screen is cracked, and so forth. These FWPs are funny because, when you think about them, they highlight an wealth of resources and technology. The weight gain, when viewed as a first world problem, underscores ready access to abundant food. Not so much the B on the test.
May
5
comment Generic form of “first world problems”
@Janus - The definition says, "implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world." I think the O.P. is looking for a term that can be used in the same way, but where no such contrast is implied. The "motivational" posters here, for example, are meant to underscore that refugees don't get chocolate chip cookies and milk, yet someone is complaining about the size of the glass, or that children in <insert developing country here> don't get to play with Legos, but we complain when they stick together. It's a glass-half-empty kind of thing.
May
4
comment Is the expression, “I was the admissions mistake” grammatically right?
@Dan - I never thought you were. But you may take it on faith that statements like the one you made can confuse English learners, and quite often have.
May
4
comment Is the expression, “I was the admissions mistake” grammatically right?
@WS2 - Sure, of course. But I was addressing what Dan said in his initial comment: "an Admissions mistake" makes a lot more sense than "the Admissions mistake", unless a mistake by Admissions had been previously mentioned or introduced. Those last three examples are addressing that part of the comment. (Over on ELL, people get confused all the time because of statements like that. I just wanted to clarify that we don't need that aforementioned "previous mention" to use a definite article.)
May
3
comment Is the expression, “I was the admissions mistake” grammatically right?
@Dan - Far-fetched or not, I think it's a bit pedantic to call that a "usage error." I can think of similar usages of the definite article, like: Jared was the problem child of the class, Dan was the class clown, and Damita was the teacher's pet (even though classes don't always have one and only one problem child, funny guy, or teacher's pet). The use of the definite article isn't limited to cases where the noun has been "previously mentioned or introduced;" we can say, "Bob plays the violin, the lion is king of the jungle, and my favorite poem is the sonnet."
May
3
comment Is the expression, “I was the admissions mistake” grammatically right?
@Dan - The definite article works fine, although an admissions mistake might be more straightforward. The way it's worded in the original, though, I would elaborate like this: Every year, admissions lets in one person who they probably shouldn't – I thought I was that year's admission mistake. It's not meant to be an exact number, though; rather, it's just something hypothetical. It's not unlike, "Every family has a crazy uncle..."
May
3
comment A polite form to change the time of an appointment
@mari - You really should add details like that to your question. Moreover, you don't say whether or not you want to say the verbally or in writing. That might make a difference in the kind of answers you get. Lastly, I recommend that you wait a day or so before accepting an answer, and give others a chance to weigh in.
May
3
comment Avoiding Ignorance
Avoid ignorance. It could be thought of as a clever way to say "Seek knowledge", or "Pursue enlightenment". By itself, I think it could make a swell bumper sticker.
May
3
comment How to say “My biggest (Something I am attracted to)”?
RE: I thought so, but I was trying to avoid using that. I don't understand why pertinent information like that is left out of so many questions. If you had already thought of turn-on, and you were looking for a less suggestive alternative, then why didn't you say that in your quesiton? SE questions are not like tweets; there is no need to conserve characters.