87,699 reputation
16146291
bio website english.stackexchange.com/…
location United Kingdom
age 60
visits member for 4 years
seen 11 hours ago

I did my degree in English/French Language/Linguistics back in the '70s, but I only got a middling grade, and I've worked in software development ever since, so I'm really only an expert on English language in the same way any articulate native speaker is.

To save the trouble of repeatedly doing it on individual posts, I'll just say here that I don't come to EL&U looking for arguments. If I come across as contentious that will nearly always be inadvertent carelessness on my part.

Anyway - if you have been, thanks for reading.


11h
comment Is “straight from Kafka” an idiom?
@Rusty: I can go with that. In which context, I've no problem upvoting Centaurus's answer (which simply explains the classification of the usage, not the meaning). But I stand by my closevote because the OP specifically asks for the meaning as well as asking whether it's an "idiom".
12h
comment Is “straight from Kafka” an idiom?
@Robusto: If you think part of ELU's purpose is to help people who don't understand words like Dickensian, Orwellean, Marxist, Rubenesque, I suppose that's your prerogative (it's a user-generated content site, so any and all users get a say in the scope of that content). But I call it Off Topic.
12h
comment Is magnanimity the right word for courage, insight and willingness to overlook or forgive?
@Gao Weiwei: I'm looking at the subscriber-only full OED, yes. And given that second definition is obsolete, it doesn't surprise me that they haven't included it in the cut-down free version online.
12h
comment Is magnanimity the right word for courage, insight and willingness to overlook or forgive?
I don't make the courage connection myself. It's in OED's second definition: Great in courage; nobly brave or valiant. Of a quality, action, etc.: proceeding from or manifesting great courage. Obsolete. The first (still current) definition is generous in feeling or conduct; superior to petty resentment or jealousy, wherein it adds Also archaic: great or noble in spirit, ambition, or purpose. The Wikipedia article may be misleading for current use (perhaps it's like that to help decipher old texts).
12h
comment Is “straight from Kafka” an idiom?
@Robusto: I understand what you mean, but the fact that the vast majority of Google results for define kafka actually have Kafkaesque as the first word in the "snippet view" is enough for me to say I think that's not a significant stretch in context. And if you consulted a paper dictionary, you'd obviously find it by going to the right place in the alphabetic sequence.
12h
comment “get one's head around” vs “get one's arms around”
I've never come across figurative use of the "arms" version used in the sense of "understand". It doesn't really make any sense unless I see it as a "twice-removed" metaphoric extension from figurative grasp = understand, but I don't see why a competent speaker would want to do that. I think it's essentially a "copying error" from less competent speakers.
12h
comment Is “straight from Kafka” an idiom?
I think this is General Reference. Although not many dictionaries will have an entry for Kafka, they should all have Kafkaesque - used to describe a situation that is confusing and frightening, especially one involving complicated official rules and systems that do not seem to make any sense (that definition's from the Oxford Learner's Dictionary). And if I google define kafka, four of the first five results point me to definitions for that derived adjectival form.
22h
comment what does 'live up to the buzz' stand for?
Google Books estimates live up to the buzz:416 hits, live up to the hype:13,500 hits.
22h
comment what does 'live up to the buzz' stand for?
@Erik Kowal: I specifically said "slightly" because I knew someone would say OP's version was "normal". But it's too rare to graph in NGrams.
22h
comment The hidden flaw in “singular they”—what to do about reflexive pronouns?
I don't have a problem with using themselves reflexively of a singular subject, and that's what I'd normally use. On the other hand, I don't have any problem with themself either, and I'm sure I'll have used it myself many a time. Even though Google Books claims only 90 other writers who were each brave enough to do it themself (plus 126 who do it theirself)
23h
comment what does 'live up to the buzz' stand for?
It's a slightly "odd" usage, solely motivated by the punning potential. The normal word there would be hype, not buzz.
23h
comment Plural adjective not followed by noun
I think by definition a question on ELU that asks about "plural adjectives" citing an example context that doesn't even contain an adjective at all must be Off Topic because it lacks evidence of prior research.
23h
comment Plural adjective not followed by noun
@user3293056: Note that phonetics can be used in more than one way. As with, say, semantics, it can be a field of study. But you can talk about the semantics or the phonetics of a sentence, say. In that context, you mean the meaning or sound of the sentence (as defined and categorized within the relevant field).
1d
comment “Let it will be”
@Justin Greer: Close enough! :) I meant it as a "past tense" usage though. Indistinguishable in writing or speech until you change the verb - "so rented it will be" (equivalent to "let it be rented out").
1d
comment Is there a word or expression for when someone passionately wants something, and then discovers afterwards that it's different from how he imagined?
let·down - discouragement, disappointment. Or colloquial BrE damp squib - a situation or event which is much less impressive than expected
1d
comment “all the virtues in the calendar”
It's OED definition 4a: A list or register of any kind. (In the general sense, now only figurative)
1d
comment “Let it will be”
One could contrive a valid context, such as a somewhat "affected" speaker saying "I'm moving in with my fiance after Christmas, but I don't want to sell my house in case it doesn't work out. So let it will be"
1d
comment Meaning of 'charge' as a noun - Jan 8 1799 letter by John Marshall (US)
Google Books claims an estimated 370,000 written instances where a judge charged the jury. I doubt if any of them involve the judge accusing the jury of anything - they'll all be about the judge placing a (metaphorical) burden (of responsibility) on the jury. That's OED's definition 13a To impose a duty, task, or responsibility upon; to burden, entrust, commission with
1d
comment Send me your address so that i can send u my laptop ? Is it correct statement?
The space before ? is wrong as well. Besides which if we assume OP is using i and u as personal pronouns, consistency of register implies it should be ur, not your. A bit of politeness wouldn't go amiss either, so in my capacity as proofreader I suggest preceding the entire request by Pls.
1d
revised Sultanas and raisins, I'm confused
deleted 153 characters in body