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seen May 11 at 22:13

I don't regard myself as particularly interested in English language and usage, but it is undeniable that I've often discussed them with friends.

I used to think my friends and I spent way too much time arguing details, but the experts on English StackExchange definitely have taken that to a new level (with plenty of newbie biting and antisocial behavior). So this is not a place I enjoy spending much time on, although I appreciate the good advice sprinkled throughout by the less ego-driven, well-meaning contributors.

Relevant info to know about me:

  • Native fluency in American English
  • Descriptivist

Aug
31
comment How do I say that something must happen or another thing, not both, in one simple sentence?
english.stackexchange.com/a/13892/22229
Aug
30
comment How do I say that something must happen or another thing, not both, in one simple sentence?
+1 this is the most complete and accurate answer.
Aug
30
comment How do I say that something must happen or another thing, not both, in one simple sentence?
"Either" is suggestive of 'exclusive or', but only that. I certainly wouldn't say it does anything as strong as "implies".
Aug
29
comment What does ‘It’s one thing to dance like Fred Astaire, but Ginger Rogers did it backwards’ mean as a metaphor to John Roberts' ruling?
Yoichi may be interested in this: I'm pretty sure I've heard references to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers just from American television, e.g. Jay Leno, Letterman, etc. As I said, maybe most people don't get the reference completely, but it is not an unheard of thing like the answer and comments above suggest.
Aug
29
comment What does ‘It’s one thing to dance like Fred Astaire, but Ginger Rogers did it backwards’ mean as a metaphor to John Roberts' ruling?
I think the level of eruditeness needed to understand the quote is exaggerated. I expect most people can get the gist just fine without knowing exactly who Houdini, Ginger Rogers, or Fred Astaire are. Yes, to understand at a very complete level is probably beyond younger Time readers, but on the other hand, I've asked people that use expressions about Houdini what or who "Houdini" is and often found out they don't actually know. I've never watched Jersey Shore but understood the quote quite easily.
Aug
27
comment The verb for carrying out a bitwise OR/AND operation
I have a feeling you could use a better sentence construction to begin with. Why not "the two values are combined using bitwise OR on their tags"?
Aug
19
comment Should I say “have a good night” at 5:00 PM?
Terry, there is no way people are going to think you're wishing them only well for the evening but not later by saying "have a nice evening". That's just contrary to social norms and the use of such pleasantries. In fact, "have a nice day" is perfectly fine too. But I feel wishing them a good evening is slightly better than a good night, because you are recognizing the day is still early and there is time for them to enjoy the evening.
Aug
19
comment Should I say “have a good night” at 5:00 PM?
@Tim I agree. "Have a good night" is decidedly more formal.
Aug
19
comment What are some uncommon but valid portmanteau words that people use?
The OP asked for "uncommon" examples. Televangelist, soundscape, napalm, alphanumeric, sysop, smog, pixel, sitcom, newscast... (and more if I took a closer look) are common examples.
Aug
19
revised What does “Drop and give me twenty, America’ in ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ mean?
add probably usage in song based on J.R.'s comment; comment on politicians
Aug
19
comment What does “Drop and give me twenty, America’ in ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ mean?
@J.R. thanks for the comment. I didn't see it when revising my answer, but I think I've incorporated a bit of what you said.
Aug
19
revised What does “Drop and give me twenty, America’ in ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ mean?
add explanation of meaning
Aug
19
answered What does “Drop and give me twenty, America’ in ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ mean?
Aug
19
comment “Comparing” vs “A comparison of ”
Neither of the claims "a gerund is a verbal noun" and "a verbal noun is a noun" require me to show every noun is a verbal noun. The first claim just means that 'gerund' belongs to the group 'verbal noun' and the second claim just means that 'verbal noun' belongs to the group 'noun'. Together they imply that 'gerund' belongs to the group 'noun'. This does not mean gerunds and nouns are the same thing. In particular, this does not mean a given noun such as 'car' is a gerund. Neither can you conclude that 'car' is a verbal noun.
Aug
19
comment Do I need a comma after “when in (%time)”?
@terdon According to Larry Trask's Guide to Punctuation, the kind of commas under discussion ("bracketing commas") are for "weak interruptions", and "In many cases a weak interruption does not absolutely require bracketing commas."
Aug
19
comment “Comparing” vs “A comparison of ”
You should explain what about your link suggests a gerund is not a noun. Believe it or not, I did read it before. I suspect you think that a noun cannot have verbal properties, but that's nowhere in the definition of a noun.
Aug
19
comment “Comparing” vs “A comparison of ”
@RoaringFish Thanks for the lesson on the elephant. If you say "a gerund is a verbal noun" and "a verbal noun is a noun...", then that means a gerund is a noun. Also, just because a verbal noun is different from other kinds of nouns does not mean it is not a noun (incidentally, it's a bit ironic that you say "other nouns").
Aug
19
comment What exactly does the phrase “pass a week” mean?
@Jim that's a good point, but I don't know anybody (I think) that would respond "I passed a week" in that situation.
Aug
19
comment What is the correct form of address for a police officer?
If you're going to do that in the US, at least fake an English accent.
Aug
19
comment What is the correct form of address for a police officer?
@raxacoricofallapatorius You might not be doing anything wrong, and even if you were, you might not be aware of what it could be. But I doubt it's because you used "officer" to address a police officer.