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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.


14h
comment Correct use of “immaculate” in a compliment
Perhaps you should elaborate by telling us why you think that expression might be inappropriate. Also, tell us more about the circumstances. Is this woman your boss? A stranger in a cafe? A clerk at a store? Your sister's best friend? Many words can be suitable in some contexts yet highly inappropriate in others. (And please don't do so by responding in a comment down here, do so by editing your question.)
Mar
22
comment What word means a “male temptress”?
Where in that wiki does it say anything about an Adonis "enticing others into making bad decisions"?
Mar
16
comment “Technology” vs. “a technology”
@Edwin - Hmm... That was awhile ago; I don't know what I was trying to say there. That may have been a "pre-coffee comment."
Mar
13
comment “between” vs. “among”
@tchrist - You noticed I saved the best for last :^)
Mar
13
comment “between” vs. “among”
@tchrist - I recently had to do a little research of my own, and found similar results. I hope you don't mind me adding to your comprehensive answer here with some of my findings.
Mar
8
comment Phrases that express “to look around nervously”
Perhaps you could try to substantiate your answer, rather than adding nonsensical remarks to meet character minimums. (There's a reason character minimums were implemented; namely, to discourage two-word answers.)
Mar
6
comment “Too much pills and liquor” or “Too many pills and liquor”?
I understood your reasoning, I'm just wondering if there's a rule in a style guide or something that would back you up. (Incidentally, that's not a challenge; your answer has simply made me curious. If I manage to find one before you do, I'll mention it.)
Mar
5
comment “Too much pills and liquor” or “Too many pills and liquor”?
I like the theory; I wonder if there's some source that would corroborate it.
Feb
23
comment Preposition following “boarded”
@WS2 - If your memory serves you right (and I have no reason to think it doesn't), and one can "actually board the train straight into a compartment," could you not just say, "She boarded his compartment" as well? Not sure a preposition is required.
Feb
23
comment Is “uncrumples” a word?
What does "apparently" mean? That a spell-checker puts a red squiggly line beneath it? Spellcheckers are notorious for underlining valid words, particularly words with prefixes and suffixes.
Feb
23
comment Preposition following “boarded”
I agree with @James that the verb board seems off. Change the verb, and the preposition might be into: "She shuffled into the compartment where Max was seated." As an aside, this might be a better question for English Language Learners – more info on that available here.
Feb
22
comment Idiom for someone “not from this world”?
Words like extraterrestrial, celestial being, and time-traveler may align with the O.P.'s title (i.e., someone “not from this world”), but they don't seem to fit with the body of the question (know nothing about reality; come up with ideas that can never work; know nothing about science). Perhaps you can cite some quotations where these terms are used in the "usually pejorative" manner that the O.P. seeks.
Feb
21
comment How to avoid using redundant words like “not so”, “quite” or “sort of”?
@ChrisH - That's a good point. I was picturing a car that looked something like this – very dirty, but not squalid. Put some half-eaten bags of fast food in the back seat, though, and, voilà: a squalid automobile.
Feb
21
comment What does “what you're in for” means
This question has four close votes, but it seems like it might have been a good candidate for migration to English Language Learners.
Feb
16
comment “Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”?
@Sam - grammatically correct English and politically correct English are hardly overlapping sets :^)
Feb
15
comment “Homosexual” or “Gay and Lesbian”?
I think this is a valid ELU question, but boy did you step in a minefield when you clarified with a comment: "Which is more correct to use in the English language?" English doesn't care if you use gay and lesbian, homosexual or a rash of other derogatory terms – all of them could be "correct" under the grammatical rules of English. On the other hand, if you're asking about "most polite," or "most unlikely to offend," I think that could be a valid word choice and usage question.
Feb
15
comment One sentence with two meanings! “The door was locked”
As a new user to the Stack Exchange and learner of English, I'd like to give you a pointer toward English Language Learners, which you might find helpful. You can read more here about the differences between these two sites. Yes, English can be quite confusing, so feel free to be active in both communities.
Feb
10
comment What is a word that means an instance of a game?
+1 - This is the word that is used in the rules: "A Banker who plays in the game must keep his/her personal funds separate from those of the Bank; a bankrupt player must immediately retire from the game," etc.
Feb
10
comment Word to describe a question with multiple exact correct answers
I like "multifaceted"; it's the word Lars-Gunnar Lundh used in the title of his 2009 paper, What makes therapy work? A multifaceted question.
Feb
10
comment What is a word that means an instance of a game?
δοῦλος - As I said, I have no problem with, "Let's play a round of Monopoly." Sounds just fine. But when the question is, "When I am playing it, I am playing a _______ of Monopoly?" then round just doesn't seem to fit as well as game.