17,467 reputation
11342
bio website
location Oldham, UK
age
visits member for 2 years, 11 months
seen 5 mins ago

I'm a retired maths teacher with a degree in chemistry. Like most people, I can spot a flaw in (someone else's) argument more easily than I can substitute a better one. It concerns me that many contributors assume that their / their teacher's / their favourite grammar's ... 'rules' / dogmas / analyses ... are the 'truth'.

I enjoy walking, scenic beauty, many types of music and art, well-written novels, well-plotted dramas, well-notioned SF...

I also believe we've been put here for purpose.


3m
comment Irony - Alanis Morisette Song
This has been addressed before. Have a look at this post about the different 'types of irony' (the word is used with some very different senses, and the Wikipedia article referred to explains this well). The examples you list are obvious examples of the 'irony of fate' (when 'fate seems to build up your hopes and then dash them').
15m
comment Do these sentences make sense?
Yes, you need a semicolon or above in the second example: otherwise you've got the dreaded comma splice. I'd choose 'In spite of' in the first sentence (and drop the 'would') and '. Nevertheless, ...' in the second. 'Notwithstanding' does sound dated / formal / po-faced ... Incidentally, the first sentence does not have an ungrammatical usage of 'notwithstanding'.
32m
comment Why is Gilt a word when we have Gilded? Is this town big enough for the both of them?
'Speeded' and 'sped' intrigue me. I'd choose 'He speeded up as soon as he left the outskirts of the town, and sped up the road leading into the hills.' 'Bent' and 'bended' are not usually interchanged, though 'burned' and 'burnt' are. 'Set' is the normal past, but 'setted' for 'put into sets'.
43m
comment Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”
If I remember correctly, the comma police here use various different law books. And John Lawler thinks that commas are off-topic (or should be). I've used a comma to mimic the sentence construction (after the comment clause) in 'The thing is, I may not be able to afford all the expensive books I'll need'. The repeat would probably be delivered without a pause, and the written form is clear from the first instance, so I'm quite happy to omit the comma in the repeat. The use of the comma to signal pauses in dialogue rather than just for clarifying particular structures is contentious, though.
53m
comment Obsolete language.
There was a guy used it and used it powerfully not all that long ago: 'For Sauron will have dominion over all life on this Earth, even unto the ending of the world.' But unless your essay is quoting him, there's no sound reason to use 'unto'.
2h
comment Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”
Ah, I was taking 'The thing is the books' at face value. I'd say that it is unacceptable to chop 'The only thing I want you to apply yourself to now is your books' or similar down to this level. I expected a context like _'Will you have enough money for your first year at uni?' _'Well – the thing is, the books.' If you don't like the frills, _'Pardon?' _'The thing is the books.'
2h
comment Why is Gilt a word when we have Gilded? Is this town big enough for the both of them?
@Janus The juries are out on the word classes of say glass, plastic, wood, wool, gold used attributively. The online dictionaries are even self-inconsistent when dealing with these attributive-nouns-showing-material v derived adjectives. Conversion is a well known phenomenon; who decides when it has taken place is less well known.
2h
comment Noun to describe a “typo-filled” letter
Shouldn't such a document include say 'tupo=fiiled'?
3h
comment Why is Gilt a word when we have Gilded? Is this town big enough for the both of them?
@Andrew Leach Their adjectival usages do overlap. (OLD :gilded (adjective) ). Like the usages of gold and golden, wood and wooden, wool and woollen; those of some flat and regular adverbs, ...
3h
comment Is there a term for 'Disregarding a persons opinion/argument because they haven't experienced it.'?
I read once that a rat died after being given about 30 kg of marijuana. I suspect it broke its back. // Becoming serious, tell these people that suicide can be dangerous, but perhaps they'd like to see for themselves. // Sorry, becoming serious, they're essentially saying that all scientific data is worthless unless the scientist used themself as a guinea pig. Kepler's Laws must be wrong!
3h
comment Noun to describe a “typo-filled” letter
Wouldn't 'typo-filled' be a contradiction in terms?
3h
comment Is there a verb meaning “to make similar”?
It's the correct answer. The fact that the intransitive usages of 'conform' are so prevalent shouldn't prevent it being accepted (but may).
3h
comment A word to describe a lot of people who lie on a place
fainting by numbers
3h
comment Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”
Janus wisely hedges in his com-ans: "... there seem to be some fairly stringent underlying rules that determine how semantic compatibility is ‘calculated’ / Metonymy seems to play a role, too". He doesn't attempt a complete answer; I'd say there's ample material involved to fuel a few doctorates. I'll add the observations that idioms often contradict logic (It's us, the thing is the neighbours, she's all thumbs ...) and that other 'mismatches' often occur and seem quite acceptable (A jury is twelve people who ...). As Janus says, not every pairing is considered acceptable: English is quirky.
3h
comment What is the correct expression: “the estimate number” or “the estimated number?”
I'd check your figures. I get 189,000 for "the estimate number of" and 39 300 000 for "the estimated number of". This Google Ngram is also telling. 'Estimate' is a noun meaning a number in its own right, and fills the role of an attributive noun with reluctance.
5h
comment What is meant by “same difference”?
"Same difference" was once widely used as a slang way of saying 'There's no difference' [between what you just said and what was mentioned before] (N England, '60s-'70s)
5h
comment Who, the subject or the object of the main clause, does the subject pronoun of a subordinate clause refer to?
It just doesn't sound right (other native speakers might disagree). 'Sweeping' is often used for statements with the meaning you give. We'd probably use 'They are railroading many users to the brink of addiction ....'
5h
comment Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”
"It's us" is virtually universally accepted, so the 'rule' is a pseudorule at best.
12h
comment Who, the subject or the object of the main clause, does the subject pronoun of a subordinate clause refer to?
@Romulus Parthus: Fine. And an extended (spatial) metaphor! I'm not sure I'd use 'sweepingly' here; as I hinted above, I think that the 'cavalier' attitude of the social networks may be what is intended to be stressed. I may be wrong. Perhaps 'sweepingly putting' sounds incongruous. "They are sweeping many users to the brink of addiction, if they are not already there" may be better.
12h
comment What is the name of the word or phrase people insert into sentences, seemingly unintentionally?
It's a 'pragmatic marker'. If it's largely automatic or to give him a moment to formulate the next sentence, it's a 'filler' and is speaker-orientated. In other circumstances, when it's used to grab attention ('Right!/OK! We're now going to ...') it's audience-orientated and a focusing particle (perhaps to gain the audience's initial attention, perhaps signalling a transition in dialogue).