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  • 109 votes cast
Mar
18
comment Guide to alphabetizing upper case versus lower case?
The software won't let me upvote +5, more's the pity. This is an amazing answer. For information in case it interests you, my use case is a 13-page Definitions chapter in a technical manual. Since the chapter includes not merely nouns but all parts of speech, since it cites prominent instances of usage, it is not a mere glossary but more or less a proper dictionary, so I have followed Webster's convention of bolding each defined word in lower case. And, as you see, perplexingly, I have one noun with two, distinct uses in the literature, only one of which the literature capitalizes.
Mar
17
comment Guide to alphabetizing upper case versus lower case?
@GEdgar: I get that, thanks. My problem is that I am writing a Definitions chapter in a technical manual, and I have the same word capitalized and lower-cased, both nouns, but with different definitions. One or two denizens of the site are evidently grumpy about my attempt at humor in the question's title, but I still have two words, one capitalized, the other not; and one of them will perforce have to come first (since I cannot just typeset the two as superimposed upon one another). I just wondered if there were a rule. Apparently not.
Mar
17
comment Is the word “formulæ” valid English?
I would pointedly use formulæ to irritate progressives who tiresome bang on about English being a "living language." Otherwise, the word is a bit eccentric in today's English.
Mar
17
revised Can you use “a” before “1/4” when there is no unit following?
edited body
Mar
17
answered Can you use “a” before “1/4” when there is no unit following?
Mar
17
asked Guide to alphabetizing upper case versus lower case?
Jan
23
comment If you start an imperative with “you”, does it become a statement or stay as a command?
Well, you've got me there.
Jan
23
comment If you start an imperative with “you”, does it become a statement or stay as a command?
This answer is impressive in form and detail. Unfortunately, I believe the answer to be vaguely wrong. Imperatives have no subject, or their subject is implied, if you prefer. You put the book on the shelf is a bad imperative, and Everybody take turns is just poor English.
Jan
23
comment If you start an imperative with “you”, does it become a statement or stay as a command?
@Araucaria: Perhaps you are right, but I would have judged the sentence You be careful to be vaguely ungrammatical. Test it this way: He be careful; I be careful; we be careful; and so on. Doesn't work. I would say that the answer with the comma is right.
Jan
23
comment The statement “people are humans”, as a metaphor?
Hubbard's sentence is good. However, in your paper, even Hubbard's sentence will fall flat on its face unless you follow it with some kind of substantiation. Without even an anecdote to back it up, it is just a flat assertion, which will put off a discerning reader. (Of course, there exist many undiscerning readers who actually like unsubstantiated assertions, so long as these assertions confirm their prior biases. Your mileage may vary.)
Jan
23
comment The statement “people are humans”, as a metaphor?
The problem with the sentence, if it is a problem, is almost too subtle to attract notice. [1] The word "people" is freighted with a primary meaning which does not help you, for it is a singular which means "nation" or "tribe." The phrase "people are" is always faintly troubled. [2] "Persons are human" doesn't do what you want. [3] What you really mean to say is "humans are human" -- or, if you would flout PC, "men are men" -- but this probably achieves the wrong effect. I am not sure that the sentence can be much improved as it stands. Either leave it, or write something else.
Jan
23
comment What is an unmown lawn called?
Doesn't quite answer the question as asked, but the photo is nice.
Jan
23
revised Why does common usage of “random” feel so incorrect?
Struck scare quotes from 'correct.'
Jan
23
comment When to use “that” and when to use “which”?
@sumelic: I like the changes, and find nothing further to add to them. You have been generous with your time. Thanks.
Jan
23
comment When to use “that” and when to use “which”?
@sumelic: If you have time, would make the suggested edits? I had not known that all languages are like that. In particular, I had thought that the peculiar usage of "das" and its cognates was a Germanic thing -- unlike, say, "qua," whose cognates are not used in such a way. But my Greek is not so good (as in, my Greek is practically nonexistent), so you may be right.
Jan
23
answered When to use “that” and when to use “which”?
Jan
23
comment When to use “that” and when to use “which”?
I personally tend to disagree with this answer's conclusion (though I am American), but the conclusion is well argued and well supported. +1
Jan
23
comment When to use “that” and when to use “which”?
@TsuyoshiIto: Your position is logical. The trouble is that the word that serves so many roles in English (and even in this very comment!) that the word which makes a welcome change. Though I am of the conservative, antique school which (that?) holds that language is fundamentally nondemocratic, that proper English is solely that which ("that which"!) the best writers have endorsed and confirmed through decades of usage, even I can admit defeat on a logical point like this one. I fear that the answerer is right. As a conjunctive pronoun in this sense, which may stand in place of that.
Jan
14
accepted Hyphenation of a compound modifier formed of an adjective and a noun
Jan
13
revised Hyphenation of a compound modifier formed of an adjective and a noun
edited body