85,181 reputation
16142279
bio website english.stackexchange.com/…
location United Kingdom
age 60
visits member for 3 years, 10 months
seen 7 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.


7h
reviewed No Action Needed Is it a poke in the eye with a sharp, or blunt stick?
7h
reviewed No Action Needed “Removals Service” or “Removal Service”?
7h
reviewed Leave Closed How can I ask for a user's contact information?
7h
comment Is majoritively a word?
Google Books claims 38 instances of the word. But that's in over 20M books, so I'd be inclined to dismiss that handful as "ignorant errors".
8h
comment How to interpret this?
@bugfixer: What BlessedGeek says is perfectly true - the two figurative usages being contrasted/equated are open your mind (be more receptive towards unfamiliar thought/ideas) and open your heart (have a more positive emotional outlook towards the outside world). But in practice such exhortations are usually used in contexts where the subtext of open/free your mind actually means put aside your [probably justified] prejudice against my kooky philosophy.
9h
comment Should street numbers be written as cardinal or ordinal numbers
@Digital Chris: Wow! Every tin-pot local councillor in Britain would weep to see a road that could have been named in his honour being wasted on an unappreciative number!
9h
comment Movable Type vs. Word Press
@SrJoven: I'm not planning to resolve my curiosity over the matter (I'm not that curious! :), but offhand I don't know whether the most common association for the term Wordpress is the umbrella website where people publish blogs & such, or the free and open source blogging tool which I assume people use to organise and present their text.
10h
comment Be but sworn - grammar
@tchrist: You're welcome to claim droit du seigneur on matters of obscure terminology - I'm just kicking around the possibility of accepting, say, "He is sworn my enemy" (as opposed to "He is my sworn enemy"). Warming to my theme, here's an example of such usage - which it seems fine to me, if a little "poetic".
10h
comment Should street numbers be written as cardinal or ordinal numbers
I find it hard to believe any town/city planners could be so unimaginative as to have over two hundred streets (or avenues, or whatever) that they couldn't be bothered to think of names for. But Fifth Avenue is always ordinal - I never heard of anything like Five Avenue.
11h
answered What do you call those two strands coming out of the electric capacitors?
12h
comment Movable Type vs. Word Press
We call it wordplay, not game of words. In this case, some native speakers may see parallels that others don't, and these may or may not be intended by those who coined the name, but it's really a matter of opinion.
12h
comment Do I need an apostrophe in this title?
Hi Ariel, welcome to ELU. Your question is a bit basic for this site (the answer is you do need an apostrophe, because you're talking about the influence of education on Christianity), but it would probably be better asked on English Language Learners.
12h
comment Proper usage of “let out onto”?
I can't find a supporting dictionary definition, but it's just a slightly less common variant of give out [onto some wider expanse] (also open out [onto the broader area]). It basically means extends (or perhaps gives access, if you want to stick closer to the underlying core sense of the words).
12h
revised “I'm dry” meaning “Would you buy me a drink?” What semantic or rhetorical term describes such usage?
added 241 characters in body
13h
answered “I'm dry” meaning “Would you buy me a drink?” What semantic or rhetorical term describes such usage?
13h
comment Be but sworn - grammar
@tchrist: If you like. But in such usages, "concessive clause" amounts to "conditional imperative", as in "Be quiet!" conjoined with ... or I'll smack you or ... and I'll give you a treat.
14h
comment Be but sworn - grammar
That's to say it's at least feasible to interpret it as "If only my love were to be sworn (by you, or by both of us - it's not relevant), I would do [blah blah]").
14h
comment Be but sworn - grammar
@tchrist: I haven't addressed your beloved subjunctive at all. But so far as I'm concerned be there looks like an imperative ("Be nice and I'll give you a present"). The issue I'm musing over is simply that by today's syntax it would be possible to parse the implied subject of "sworn" as being either Juliet or "my love". Most likely that would have been the case several centuries ago too - we allow considerable latitude in poetry/theatre, where the language is often far removed from "everyday speech".
15h
comment Be but sworn - grammar
@tchrist: This is getting to be "micro-analysis", but personally I don't find the implications of your last comment very credible. I can't see be but sworn my love as just a roundabout rephrasing of if my love were only to be sworn. I see it as an imperative/request addressed to Juliet, not a more generalised pious hope about what "my love" might do.
15h
comment Be but sworn - grammar
...On the other hand, I can imagine a young Elizabethan lady fobbing off an unwanted suitor with something like "Desist, sire! For I am sworn!" (meaning "I am promised to another man"). I might be going out on a limb here, but extrapolating from that (admittedly, hypothetical) usage, one could parse Romeo's "my love" there as directly addressing Juliet (i.e. - "If you promise to be "sworn", darling, I'll do anything you want".