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location Oldham, UK
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visits member for 2 years, 8 months
seen 25 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.


25m
comment “How come” vs “Why?”
If the reason you don't like the word 'come' is because it has had unsavoury senses put upon it, I advise you to stand up for it like a hero rather than give ground to the forces of darkness. 'Come now, let us reason together.' // 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' [Burke] / 'The proper remedy for misuse is not disuse, but rather correct use.'
36m
comment “How come” vs “Why?”
I'm in the 'how come can be softer' school. I agree with Colin that it's marked in the UK, but, in the UK and with the right intonation, for a gentle chiding rather than a fairly stark confrontation. Imagine Snape using "How come you're late, Potter?"
1h
comment The very concepts of the “present” and “existence”
The proverb 'seeing is believing' means 'If I can see it, it's real / there / happening ... now.' It's taken as axiomatic. However, cosmological concepts can even challenge what we consider axioms, fundamentals. Is time really linear? Has the speed of light always been as it is now? Could light-information have been fed into the system, rather than needing to have originated from the apparent source ('distant galaxy')?
1h
comment Meaning Of Arrangement
You first need to study the specialised usage/s of 'contingency' in behavioural psychology.
1h
comment What are some words that start with DL?
This question appears to be off-topic because it is merely asking for a list (and almost certainly incorrectly).
1h
comment meaning of “yet” “as if”
Good analysis and re-synthesis.
1h
comment Irregular verbs: differences between BrE and AmE
@WS2 It's not a homophone, of course. You've obviously spent more time watching Bill Oddy than Hans Hass ['Starting in 1938 when he met and dove with another legend, Guy Gilpatric ...'] or Jacques Cousteau. Or their younger counterparts. See eg here for increased UK usage.
2h
comment Here's — Plurality Question
Would you use a work-around for 'It's us'? Would you 'correct' people using 'It's us'? Would you argue that Georg Maier doesn't give less subjective data on how most people actually use English in this area nowadays? I can't actually find the article saying that generalised it's, there's and here's are becoming far more widely used and accepted by grammarians as well as the man on the Clapham omnibus, but I'm looking. We do, of course, have the French precedent 'C'est nous' etc.
2h
comment Irregular verbs: differences between BrE and AmE
I'll just throw in dived / dove as the past simple of dive. I should think 'dove' is becoming more accepted in the UK, and that 'dived a cave/wreck' sounds incongruous. There's also speeded/sped. Here in the UK, I'd always use 'He speeded up when he reached the motorway' but 'He sped along the motorway'.
11h
answered Something of value that is worthless in the current context?
12h
comment Complex sentence whose subject is a clause
And in this case (a shortish that-clause) the comma would be dropped. Though 'He is clearly/obviously very sick' or 'It is clear/obvious that he is very sick' would be used by, I estimate, over 90% of native speakers.
16h
comment Boolean OR in English
@MichaelT I'd use the set-language-mimicking 'and' here. 'Here are John and Ali; at least one of them has opened the batting before now.' [The quantifier usage, rather than the pragmatic, concessive (things aren't as bad as they appear) sense.]
1d
comment Boolean OR in English
At least one of A and B.
1d
comment Grammar - has or have
Not the first version.
1d
comment What modal verbs do natives use nowadays?
@GalacticCowboy Not here. Google has: na·tive speak·er noun 1. a person who has spoken the language in question from earliest childhood. "native speakers of English" >> The compound noun usage would almost always be inferred here (otherwise we have to ask what is meant by the noun 'speaker' here – someone who's on his soap-box when not teaching?)
1d
comment Usage of the noun suffix “-ment”
I've no idea. But a subset of potential hosts might have been {verbs ending in -ine and needing a related noun} = {examine, determine, predestine ...}, which -ation rather than -ment snaffled (a technical term).
1d
answered Using 'good' and 'well' in comparisons
1d
comment Usage of the noun suffix “-ment”
Your answer may mean the U. Mass. article is using 'productive' in an unusual way; the -ation words may well be largely French imports, so increasing the English lexicon with loan-words rather than by domestic suffixation. I couldn't agree more about the unacceptableness of making one's own -ment words up, though. What confusement would result!
1d
comment Two terms showing perceptible difference in comparison owing to triangle in the sentence
This illustrates the classic argument for retaining the nominal case in 'He has more followers than they' – which is unequivocal but sounds very stuffy nowadays. Nouns give more scope for ambiguity as they don't inflect for case: 'He loves you more than Sue'. Often, context may disambiguate. However, adding a 'does' ('He loves you more than Sue does') or repeating the subject ('He loves you more than he loves Sue') always clarifies the meaning.
1d
comment Usage of the noun suffix “-ment”
This U. Mass. source says that the suffix -ment was/is productive, though increasingly less so: "Of course, not all suffixes succeed in adapting; formerly productive suffix -ment began a gradual decline in productivity in the 17th century because five times as many competing -ation words were being borrowed into English during that century. Since -ment failed to associate itself with any meaningful subset of potential hosts, it lost out to -ation."