75,273 reputation
10100242
bio website english.stackexchange.com/…
location United Kingdom
age 60
visits member for 3 years, 4 months
seen 3 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.


5h
answered meaning of the expression “wet flannel”
7h
comment Ataraxis or/and ataraxia, a quandary. A question over their existence and usage?
My guess is that ataraxis is simply a rare (and erroneous) "back-formation". OED lists only the noun ataraxy (with alternatives ataraxie, ataraxia) and the adjective which may occur as ataractic or ataraxic. All of these [legitimate] forms occur more often than ?ataraxis, but as Apis points out, none of them are common. But I can't imagine any examiner downmarking a candidate for using that last word simply because it's effectively "made up". If the candidate knows what it means and uses it "validly", what's the problem? They're not being tested on "word etymology".
7h
comment Alternative to 'apart from the purpose to'
This looks like proofreading/writing advice to me, but if there's a meaningful question in here, it should probably be asked on English Language Learners where it might get answers more targeted to non-native speakers.
12h
answered Single word for shopping after comparing price and features across multiple shops and product types
12h
revised find something gone or find something has gone
deleted 1 character in body
12h
comment find something gone or find something has gone
@Mari-Lou: Disregarding judges in trials etc., the general rule is when you "find" something, it's unexpected. It's hard to see how someone could unexpectedly nick your kidney, even if you were asleep/anaesthetized at the time.
1d
comment using the word “croesus”
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a virtually non-existent metaphoric usage (i.e. - metaphorically using unqualified Croesus to mean a rich man, rather than the standard simile usage as rich as Croesus)
1d
comment using the word “croesus”
In the amount of time it took me to scroll down this far, I've forgotten where OP's definition said Croesus was king of. For the purposes of English, you don't need to know anything except that he was very rich (richer than even Midas, for all I know or care). And we only normally say "He's as rich as Croesus", not "He's [a] Croesus" - so even if you forget that one little "factoid", you'll probably be reminded of it.
1d
comment Punctuation usage safe practice
Who can say?!
1d
comment The antonym of political-savvy
When they're sure they won't be overheard, I imagine the "savvy" people refer to the others as resources (or maybe sheep). But I expect OP is looking for a more "positive" expression.
1d
comment Did I get wrong what she said with ' If you could be my everything.. '?
@Tucker: Of course, we have no way of knowing whether the girlfriend knew all the time that OP could not be her "one and only". Perhaps she herself only realised this when thinking about the implications of her (unplanned) relationship with [mutual friend]. Or perhaps she cynically had a fling with the friend as a way of making it "indirectly obvious" that she wanted to break up. All I can say is if people conduct their courtships in languages they don't understand very well, they'd better have some pretty bulletproof "sexual chemistry" if they're hoping to stay together for the long haul!
1d
comment Did I get wrong what she said with ' If you could be my everything.. '?
but fwiw I'd imagine she meant "You are not (and could never be) the most important person in my life. This follows logically from the fact that I have become close to [our mutual friend], since I would not have done that if I had been completely devoted to you."
1d
comment Did I get wrong what she said with ' If you could be my everything.. '?
This question appears to be off-topic because we're being asked to pronounce on the fine nuances of meaning that might have been intended - in a conversation involving at least one (if not two) non-native speakers.
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
Don't think too much about my "elided subjunctive" there (I make no claim to understand the correct terminology). All I'm really saying is that some words (particularly, I think, verbs relating to perception, emotion, knowledge, etc.) can be used in certain grammatical constructions where other words can't. Even though those alternative words might be very close synonyms which can directly replace the original word in other constructions. Essentially, the "grammar" of any given word doesn't necessarily conform to the grammar of all (or any) closely-related words.
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
@Edwin: I don't know. I'm just "working outwards" from what John said first off, which would seem unassailable to me even if I didn't take it for granted he knows much more about such matters than most of us. That's to say, I'm convinced OP's #2 "derives" from an infinitive complement - with to be deleted, but it still sounds fine if you add that back. But I can't say the same about "We left him to be dead in the road", and I can't see exactly why "We left him to be standing there" sounds even worse, even though it looks like a similar construction.
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
@Edwin: No. As John says, the underlying construction there is "subjunctive" found the computer to be destroyed. In that specific utterance I have to say explicitly including the missing verb sounds a bit weird to me, but I'm happier with it where find carries more the sense of classified, decided, adjudged, as in "I've tried various folk remedies, but found them to be ineffective".
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
@Kristina: To my eye and ear (and brain! :) the idea that you might wake up to discover one of your internal organs isn't there any more sounds a lot worse than "suspicious". Apart from anything else, how would you know one of your kidneys was missing? You can get by fine with just the other one, and I'm sure millions of people are blissfully aware they are in fact doing this (1 in 2400 are apparently born with only one functioning kidney), and I bet most of them never find the other one non-functional at all).
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
You're misunderstanding the underlying sense of find here. It doesn't directly refer to finding the kidney (or not, as the case may be). It's about finding/discovering the fact that the kidney is present/missing.
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
This is completely wrong, in that it uses comparison with a "near-synonymous" alternative verb to justify the false assertion that only one of OP's constructions is "correct". Per my own comment to the question, it just so happens that find allows the "elided subjunctive" form, whereas most other similar words don't. You can't extrrapolate valid usages for find by considering valid usages for discover.
1d
comment find something gone or find something has gone
@Kristina: Sorry to rain on your parade, but I don't think any such distinction would occur to most native speakers.