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Mar
3
comment Singular form for “headphones”?
Agree. "She wore headphones in one ear and listened to him with the other" is perfectly understandable as would be "she was interrupted while dressing and was wearing her pants on one leg."
Mar
3
comment How is vehicle fuel efficiency expressed outside the United States?
FYI, the General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1979 adopted the additional symbol L for "liter" to avoid any confusion with the numeral 1. This has become the preferred symbol in North America.
Mar
2
comment “Luck”, “coincidence”, “chance” — most appropriate in this situation?
@The Raven Of course, now that I posted that I realize you mean "I found my X by luck" is non-idiomatic, not just "by luck." Even then, I respectfully disagree. I would use "by chance" if I wasn't actively looking for/missing something, but If I were looking for something and somehow stumbled upon it in an unlikely location, I could imagine exclaiming "I found my missing X purely by luck!"
Mar
2
comment “Luck”, “coincidence”, “chance” — most appropriate in this situation?
@The Raven I'm with @Robusto on this. I don't think by luck is non-idiomatic. A simple google search for "by luck" returns many results. In fact, the phrase would sound far more natural to me than by chance in several situations: "Did you win that game of darts by luck or by skill?"
Feb
25
comment A generic word to define the superset of companies, NGOs and faculties
That's funny, I would have thought it the other way around. A group is a more specific entity. After all, I am an entity, and not a group. :)
Feb
24
comment What's the recommended way to refer to the September 11 attacks in formal writing?
I see, so you're using should in the sense of there aught to be rather than pointing out that it's usually written that way. ;-) Personally, I think you're being too prescriptive. A hyphen isn't needed in compound adjectives if there is no ambiguity. (e.g. Saturday morning cartoons.) -- Even more so with dates. No one writes July-fourth celebrations.
Feb
24
comment What's the recommended way to refer to the September 11 attacks in formal writing?
Why should there be a hyphen? I don't recall ever seeing it written in print with a hyphen…
Feb
23
comment Is the term “blind spot” something that only native English speakers would understand?
@Martha I have lots of criticisms for Photoshop, but I'm not sure what you mean. A quick search of the help files shows that mask is indeed always referring to… well to use the technical term, masking things. You might as well complain about Photoshop's extensive use of the word "size."
Feb
23
comment What does ‘[Ronald Reagan’s] colossus with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in his fist' mean?
I think @Robusto answered this well, but I'll just note that I think you're reading too much into the timing of Reagan articles. I don't think it's directly related to frustration, It's mostly simply the fact that what would have been his 100th birthday recently passed. The article in question is critical of people who would co-opt Reagan's image to put forward their own agendas.
Feb
22
comment Better synonym for “actionable”?
@chaos That's my point, "actionable" is devoid of content. What sort of item is not actionable? What makes the item actionable? To come up with a replacement, we need to know what makes the item "special."
Feb
22
comment Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?
related: What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? and Is “ 's ” ever correct for pluralization?
Feb
21
comment Is it correct to say “cold temperature”?
@ShreevatsaR Could you say that 30 km/h is a slower speed than 60 km/h? Why can't you say that -20°C is a colder temperature than 30°C?
Feb
21
comment Is it correct to say “cold temperature”?
Saying that you cannot use "hot" or "cold" to describe temperature is hogwash. You can say you are travelling at a high/low speed or fast/slow speed, similarly you can say that chicken is cooking at a high/low temperature or a hot/warm/cold temperature.
Feb
17
comment Name for an electrical element to use multiple appliances on the same plug
Power bars in Canada.
Feb
17
comment Name for an electrical element to use multiple appliances on the same plug
@advs89 it's true the energy bar has usurped the phrase. However, up here in the Great White North, power bar is not an uncommon term. :) canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/7/Electronics/TVsAccessories/…
Feb
17
comment What would be a a linguistic term for those nouns ending with -ing?
@Kosmonaut I had just updated the answer as you were adding that comment, thanks. :)
Feb
17
comment What would be a a linguistic term for those nouns ending with -ing?
@Ben "Fencing" when referring to the sporting activity is indeed a Gerund. "Fencing" as in the white picket fence surrounding a house, is not. I like building bridges is a gerund. The Empire State Building is not. Same holds for scaffolding, and ending. I guess I just assumed that was what the question was pointing towards…
Feb
14
comment How does “if you must know” differ from “you may (might) know”?
I think this is the best explanation. The writer is being dismissive of the straw poll by using the phrase if you must know.
Feb
4
comment Is “supply” the inverse of “apply”?
I don't agree. "The machine is applied to flour and sugar to make cake" sounds strange and contrived.
Feb
4
comment How come 'ou' was reduced to 'o' in the US?
Contour is stressed on the first syllable -- at least it has been every time I've heard it or said it. dictionary.reference.com/browse/contour -- according to your Wikipedia article it's when the vowel is unreduced, not stressed, that it retains its 'ou' spelling.