14,753 reputation
32768
bio website
location
age
visits member for 3 years, 9 months
seen 18 hours ago

18h
comment What is the name of the sign indicating positive or negative numbers
Mathematician here — I second this answer, in my experience both among professional mathematicians and in talking to people who use maths in other fields.
Aug
12
awarded  Popular Question
Jul
30
comment Is “our and other” correct?
@bib: at least in my field, referring directly “this paper”, “this study”, etc. is Not Done in academic writing, rather like referring to oneself directly as “I”. And again like that, there are some very awkward conventional circumlocutions — “the present paper”, for instance, is a standard alternative. No idea why, but it’s one of those well-entrenched quirks of academic style that it takes a brave author to break from.
Jul
28
comment Sentence in which “its” and “it's” can be interchanged without changing the meaning?
Another technique for your list: have other words in the sentence that can change grammatical rôle. Steve Bennett’s answer gives an example which changes meaning, but is at least grammatical both ways: “I want to hold the cat before it[’]s shot.” I can’t quite see how to adapt this to one without a change of meaning, but it seems hopeful!
Jul
27
comment Sentence in which “its” and “it's” can be interchanged without changing the meaning?
A variant that avoids some of the quibbles: “I never know when to put an apostrophe in its.”
Jul
18
awarded  Necromancer
Jul
8
awarded  Nice Answer
Jul
2
awarded  Curious
May
9
comment What do you call someone who says they will do things but doesn't?
This is very apt, but it's worth noting that it's mainly an American word --- it's unusual in British English (and I think also Australian), though not absolutely unknown.
May
2
revised Singular of “dice”
wording
May
2
answered Singular of “dice”
May
1
comment Singular of “dice”
Moreover, restricting to British English makes the gap much smaller again --- while roll a die is still consistently more popular, I think that search shows pretty unambiguouly that in British English, roll a dice is an acceptable alternative. Edit: and, oddly, with throw a die/dice, the situation changes further --- since 1990, throw a dice has been more common.
May
1
comment Singular of “dice”
@chapla: as others have suggested, roll one die/dice may exaggerate the die-preference, since it will occur mainly in contexts where multiple dice would be an option, hence will select for the usage of more hardcore-game-players? Comparing roll a die/dice instead still shows die as preferred, but not so overwhelmingly --- a factor of 5--10 in the last decade, not a factor of 50 as your example suggests. I suggest this may be more indicative of popular usage.
May
1
comment Singular of “dice”
@Cruncher: really? To my ear, if the speaker knows there is only one dog, then feed the dogs is ungrammatical, or the very least highly disfavoured compared to feed the dog.
May
1
comment Singular of “dice”
Since the question already starts out by quoting one authoritative dictionary in support of singular dice, a good answer really needs to be based on more than just the answer's judgement and one other dictionary.
Apr
25
awarded  Good Answer
Apr
24
comment Is it common to say “late girlfriend”?
Re your second para: late is a very unusual adjectives, in that (when applied to people) its meaning depends on its grammatical position. When given as a complement --- my girlfriend was late --- then as you say, it means someone who's going to show up in a while. But when it modifies a noun --- my late girlfriend --- then it pretty unambiguously means they're dead.
Apr
24
comment When is it appropriate to use “late” when referring to someone who has passed?
Note for later readers: a very similar question was asked again here, and for some reason attracted a lot more detailed answers.
Apr
24
answered Is it common to say “late girlfriend”?
Apr
21
awarded  Taxonomist