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profile for tchrist on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

I’m Tom Christiansen, author of Programming Perl and Perl Cookbook from O’Reilly. I’m a freelance instructor giving courses in Perl programming, including Unicode and regular expressions. I’ve been using BSD Unix for 30 years now; like your maid, I don’t do Windows.

I’ve undergraduate degrees in Spanish and in Computer Science, and a graduate degree in compsci focusing on operating systems design and in natural language processing. I’ve studied Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, and German, with a smattering of other languages thrown in. For the last few years I’ve been dabbling in computational linguistics.


7h
comment Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”
@CoolHandLouis There are uncountably many sentences whose grammar is impeccable but which make no sense whatsoever. Yours is merely one of them. Why you choose to represent a plural noun with a singular pronoun I have no earthly idea, but that’s your own fault.
7h
comment Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”
The only agreement rule is that finite verbs must agree with their subject. Period. There is no such thing as “subject–complement” agreement in English, be it grammatical or notional. The problem is the horses is perfectly normal, standard, and correct in all possible ways, and therefore since your question is based on a false premise — that there is some sort of “problem” with that form — it can have no possible answer.
7h
revised Is “Universityhood” a valid English word?
edited tags
9h
reviewed Edit A word or phrase for 'Holy grail' (a goal impossible to achieve)
9h
revised A word or phrase for 'Holy grail' (a goal impossible to achieve)
edited body
10h
revised A critical situation in which no trick works?
edited body
10h
revised A critical situation in which no trick works?
clarifying copyedit
10h
revised A critical situation in which no trick works?
Set use–mention distinction in italic face.
10h
revised A critical situation in which no trick works?
Per http://meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/364 for the use–mention distinction, please use an italic face not a bold one. It makes the page look too heavy otherwise, and furthermore runs counter to typographic convention both on this site and in scholarly works.
12h
revised Word combination with “eternally”
edited title
12h
comment Proportion of unique words in typical English text?
This is exactly what I was thinking.
12h
reviewed Reviewed Syntax of “not only” + “furthermore”
12h
comment Syntax of “not only” + “furthermore”
The usual collocation is Not only . . . but also. . . .
12h
revised Syntax of “not only” + “furthermore”
copyedit
12h
reviewed Reviewed Do both of these introductions mean the same thing and make sense?
12h
revised Do both of these introductions mean the same thing and make sense?
copyedit
12h
reviewed Reviewed Word combination with “eternally”
12h
revised Word combination with “eternally”
copyedit
12h
revised Origin of “name happened” form: from “s*** happens” via “magic happens”?
heroic copyedit; edited tags
19h
revised Any term for someone who pretends to be neutral
set use–mention distinction in italic not bold