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"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. These little problems help me to do so." (Sherlock Holmes)

I sometimes enjoy embedding puns and subtle self-references into many of my answers and comments.

Remember, context is everything.


Never make the mistake of thinking that a tiny preposition has only one meaning.


12h
comment many questions today
You might also want to check out English Language Learners, although the same expectations about research apply there as well.
Jul
14
comment Can “nice” when used about people mean “beautiful”? Can a nice woman be ugly?
No, it's not always only about behavior and kindness. When wanting to eliminate ambiguity, some might use nice-looking to clarify, but even that can mean either well dressed or sexually attractive (or both, or something else, such as well-groomed).
Jul
12
comment single word for one who eats the same food all the time
It's all a matter of interpretation, of course, and the O.P. has given us little to go on; however, I think creature of habit fits perfectly. The way this man is described, I imagine that, not only does he eat the same foods every day, but he always does so from the same chair, he always cracks his egg open the same way, the tuna is always served on the same toasted wheat bread, etc. Very Phileas Fogg-like: the tea and toast at twenty-three minutes past eight, the shaving-water at thirty-seven minutes past nine...
Jul
12
comment single word for one who eats the same food all the time
I think this is a better answer than the mono- alternatives, considering that the example person eats eggs, chicken, and tuna everyday. My first thought was the word regular.
Jul
11
comment single word for one who eats the same food all the time
Cool word, but I don't think it quite fits what the O.P. is asking for, except in a humorous context. Monophagous seems to be more of a scientific term, not something that would generally be used to describe an ultra-regular daily diet.
Jul
8
comment Is there a word for a picture of a face that is made from the letters of a name?
@Leo - I'm guessing it's this one
Jul
8
comment How to order food that is hot (temperature) but not hot (amount of capsaicin)?
@HubertSchölnast - In that case, it's going to be hard to sum that all up in a single word. You're just going to have to explain it like you did in Edit 2. (My first suggestion was only trying to help differentiate between hot meaning "not cold", and hot meaning "spicy.")
Jul
6
comment How to order food that is hot (temperature) but not hot (amount of capsaicin)?
"I want it served warmed up, but the food needs to be very bland. I cannot tolerate spicy food."
Jul
5
comment Wish someone 'good luck' for an operation
@JohnLawler - When my wife broke her ankle earlier this year, those were my exact words as they wheeled her into surgery. :^)
Jul
5
comment A poetic word or expression for networking/lobbying/making professional connections
Behind the closed doors all the high-rollers schmooze / Jovial thanks to cigars and the booze There, I just made it "poetic," even.
Jul
3
comment Usage of the word “through”
The construct "verb from x to y" also sounds "correct" in the phrase count from 1 to 10.
Jun
30
comment Isn't the word “shotgun” a self-redundancy?
Konrad - Had you asked this question on English Language Learners instead of ELU, I am confident you would have received the same helpful answer, with a lot more understanding that an English learner doesn't necessarily know every meaning of a particular word, and thus can be easily led off-track. ELL still expects OPs to research their questions, but with the understanding that some simple things aren't always so simple for the novice learner.
Jun
28
comment “Soccer mom”: why soccer?
@Gala - I didn't say kicking it "randomly," I said booting it down the field. Realize, too, that I was talking about the game at a recreational level, played by kids. Sure, a good pass is much better, but, in gym class, there's an element of field position involved. I think some of the disconnect here is because some people talking about recreational youth leagues, and others are thinking more in terms of competitive play.
Jun
28
comment “Soccer mom”: why soccer?
@Gala - On being a skilled player in basketball vs soccer: In soccer, you can boot the ball down a large field and help your team. In basketball, you can't simply hurl the ball down the court and help your team – that just results in a turnover. I do think it's easier to put a novice on a soccer field than on a basketball court, and have them feel a little better about themselves at the end of the game – but I don't really think that's why the term "soccer mom" came into being, even if some moms did let their not-so-athletic kids run around on the soccer fields in a Saturday morning league.
Jun
27
comment “Soccer mom”: why soccer?
True, the question isn't about demographics, but it is about soccer moms, and I think most moms graduate past "soccer mom status" once their teenagers get their driver's licenses. As for popularity rankings, that all depends on how you measure. If you measure parental hours on the sideline, soccer is probably at or near the top. If you measure TV rankings though, soccer would lag far behind football, basketball, baseball, and NASCAR racing – and probably ice hockey as well.
Jun
27
comment “Soccer mom”: why soccer?
I remember playing soccer as a kid - just not in organized leagues. I also remember kids my age admiring Pele, so I don't know if it would be entirely accurate to call it "forgotten & abandoned." The sport has always had trouble catching on at the professional level in the States; maybe the organizers of youth sports never thought to form youth leagues, erroneously thinking there wouldn't be much interest. Nature abhors a vacuum; in the U.S., there is a hardly a vacuum when it comes to sports, so maybe it was slow to catch on (just a theory). Now that it has, though, my daughters love it.
Jun
27
comment “Soccer mom”: why soccer?
@Mari-Lou - My high school had a soccer team, and my kids played in a recreational league until high school. The emphasis here seems to be on 7-12 year olds, because that's the demographic of the soccer mom, which is what this question is about. Sure, soccer is played by older teens, but the numbers drop off (largely due to teens getting jobs or getting drawn to other activities that may not have been available when they were younger). Plus, as you say, older teens are less likely to need carting around, so a mom may not feel like a "soccer mom" any longer, even if her son is still playing.
Jun
26
comment Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?
If McFry was a kind of person instead of a last name, that last sentence could mean something different, as in: She is a space cadet. (Which could mean she's zoned out a lot, like Walter Mitty, or it could mean she's an astronaut in training.)
Jun
24
comment Why am I wrong in this case?
@phenry - Precisely why I believe the first interpretation is the intended one.
Jun
24
comment Why am I wrong in this case?
@Rupe - I believe the sentence is attempting to say: Even though 911 centers are understaffed and under tight budget, they are still striving to adequately provide emergency assistance to the citizens. Also, I believe the point of the exercise is to emphasize how, of these four words – yet, meanwhile, but, although – only the last works as a first word in a sentence that says, Although X is true, Y still happens. Between the testmakers using the perhaps poorly-chosen struggle in lieu of strive, and the test taker using an ellipsis in place of a blank, the result is a bit of ELU chaos.