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bio website english.stackexchange.com/…
location United Kingdom
age 60
visits member for 3 years, 11 months
seen 16 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.


Oct
25
comment can I use “used to” for something is “used for” some objective?
+1 for that all-important point about pronunciation. I asked about the related have/haff to [do something] myself, over three years ago. It was pointed out to me then that use and suppose have also undergone this kind of change. If you forget about the largely irrelevant written form, these words have effectively spawned "new" words with significantly different meanings, which are never confused with the "original" in speech. But I didn't consciously register that difference between OP's examples 1 & 2 until I scrolled down to your answer.
Oct
24
awarded  Popular Question
Oct
23
comment 'Having been' verb third form, 'having been having'
@Arman: Native speaker would rarely if ever use the words having been having, simply because it's an "ugly" juxtaposition of two completely different usages of the same word (though "Having had training, I was able to handle the situation" is perfectly normal, if a little "formal"). Having said that, you should probably be asking questions like this on English Language Learners.
Oct
23
comment 'Having been' verb third form, 'having been having'
This question appears to be off-topic because it is asking us to interpret gibberish
Oct
23
comment the meaning of “this far”
They're not exactly completely interchangeable. "We've made it this far, so I think we stick to the plan" is normal, as is "It's always worked thus far, so I think we should stick to the plan". I certainly wouldn't reverse those two. If I had to justify that, I'd guess it's because this far just means to this place/state here (literal distance or figurative position within a "staged" plan), whereas thus far means all the way from the beginning right up until now (almost always metaphoric distance representing time).
Oct
23
comment To the point of my knowledge
To the best of my knowledge OP is probably looking for that usage (as per about 12,400,000 written instances in Google Books there).
Oct
23
comment pronoun antecedent agreement
@Araucaria: We get stupid example sentences from stupid "Me teach you English long time" sites on ELL too. Which you'll know, since you're (usefully) active there too. I don't mind addressing such questions there, but I usually make a point of suggesting to the OP that his "teaching aids/tests" are of dubious provenance, and that he should look for alternatives. With junk like this one, it's now obvious to me only the pronoun issue should be relevant to the OP. And to be honest, the semantics/grammar of the rest of it are a complete waste of time.
Oct
23
comment Is majoritively a word?
I obviously haven't made myself clear. Per my first comment, I consider it to be an "ignorant error", and per my second comment, my advice is DON'T USE IT! The intended meaning will be obvious to any native speaker, but they will also almost certainly understand an unwanted subtext (that you don't know English very well and/or you're making a fool of yourself by trying to use what you think are "posh" words).
Oct
23
comment pronoun antecedent agreement
@Araucaria: It's a stupid example sentence, almost certainly composed by a non-native speaker. I despair of some of the rubbish published online that purports to teach people how English is actually used. And even if we pass over all that, I don't consider ELU to be in the business of teaching stuff like this. that's why English Language Learners was set up.
Oct
23
comment pronoun antecedent agreement
@Araucaria: If that's how you read it then surely it's General Reference (as is the "correct pronoun" issue, so far as I'm concerned). But OP's exact text is such an unlikely utterance that I think we can safely say it's just incorrectly formed. If OP can't or won't explain what he means to say (which is unlikely to be what he appears to be saying) then it's UNCLEAR.
Oct
23
comment pronoun antecedent agreement
I suppose there are contrived contexts where OP's text makes sense, but it seems more likely to me the intended meaning is Both professional craftsmen and amateur woodworkers enjoyed working with their hands. It's not clear to me what the actual question is - but if that were to be clarified, it's probably a proofreading request anyway.
Oct
23
comment Does “candlelight” mean “compare side by side”?
@Josh61: It must be at least feasible that the speaker was facetiously punning on highlight - on the grounds that the results for Groups 14/15 don't unambiguously distinguish those two (and noting the numbering system, perhaps results for Groups 3-12 were so mixed up they were excluded from the chart because they didn't show/highlight anything meaningful). Whatever - it looks like a one-off usage to me. With no further context it's either POB or rare domain-specific jargon, so I think it's Off Topic.
Oct
22
comment Am I making jokes when I speak “please don't miss me”
@Dan Bron: Yeah - with people, it's always the quiet ones you have to watch, but with words it's always the little MF's.
Oct
22
revised Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”
"non-edit" to enable vote change
Oct
22
comment Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”
No - I posted several hours after you - though in truth, I never actually read your answer until a few minutes ago. Looking at it even more carefully right now, I think the implications of your final example "Wherever you came from (which doesn't necessarily interest me in the slightest), it must be a pretty weird place" are actually in accord with my own post, so I think I'd better reverse that downvote anyway! :)
Oct
22
comment Am I making jokes when I speak “please don't miss me”
I think this question would be a better fit on English Language Learners. @Jimmy - idiomatically, your usage is not natural English. If you want to be very informal, you could validly say "Don't miss out on me".
Oct
22
comment Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”
@Jeff: Only you can settle the argument here! :) Did you post your comment as a genuine enquiry because you really really really want to know (and you're surprised that you don't know)? Or because you're surprised that such a quote could even exist (and have actually come from somewhere)? That would be a binary choice A or B question - answers along the lines of "Just to make people think/laugh" don't count.
Oct
22
comment Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”
Don't get on my case for downvoting this (I'm mainly just ticked off because someone anonymously downvoted my own answer). But I think you've completely missed the point of the most likely context for OP's example with stress as written. Yours is the "contrived" context referenced in my answer (which could equally well have stress on where for effectively the same meaning). My context, which I feel is more common anyway, pretty much requires that the stress be on did to convey the intended sense.
Oct
22
revised Why is “did” italicized for emphasis in “Where did you come from?”
added 18 characters in body
Oct
22
comment Not until [sentence] do [sentence]
The same "do-insertion + reversal" also occurs naturally after Not without, Not unless, Not lightly, Not often, etc. And after Only if/when/where/etc. So I expect there's some fairly simple rule in play - but being a native speaker I probably just choose the "correct" idiomatic form in any given context without having the faintest idea why. You'll need a grammarian or a linguist for that. Good luck!