83,638 reputation
16136272
bio website english.stackexchange.com/…
location United Kingdom
age 60
visits member for 3 years, 9 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.


Sep
12
comment Availability to meet vs availability to meeting?
The second version just seems ungrammatical, but neither sound good to me. I'd go for something like "I wanted to thank you again for being available to meet me." Or maybe "...making yourself available..."
Sep
12
comment "As powerful as just, as beneficient as wise… Is there a literary device for this phrasing?
@Erik: Looking through the first few pages of results for "it's as broad as it is long" in Google Books, I don't see a single one for the "literal" sense. Among others, usingenglish specifically calls it an idiom. But I notice they (and some others) say it's a British usage, which may be why we have different perspectives here.
Sep
12
comment “Jesus is a coming” - what's the exact grammatical role of the “a” before the gerund?
@Honza Zidek: I can't help it if the previous poster didn't bother to accept any of the answers. The one from Robusto covers the matter perfectly well, IMHO.
Sep
12
comment "As powerful as just, as beneficient as wise… Is there a literary device for this phrasing?
You might consider synathroesmus: - (rhetoric) Piling up of terms, especially adjectives, often as invective.
Sep
12
comment "As powerful as just, as beneficient as wise… Is there a literary device for this phrasing?
@Erik: I'd hardly say "It's as broad as it is long" is "purely descriptive". It's effectively an idiomatic usage, similar to "It's six of one and half-a-dozen of the other", both of which would probably be quite perplexing to a non-native speaker on first encounter. Whereas saying a king is as wise as he is powerful is a simple statement of fact that should be easily understood by anyone with even a minimal grasp of English.
Sep
12
comment "As powerful as just, as beneficient as wise… Is there a literary device for this phrasing?
Would this "device" include usages such as It's as broad as it is long?
Sep
11
comment what´s the difference between I don´t mind and I don´t care
It's actually very difficult to think of a context where you'd use non-negated "mind" to mean be bothered by. Unless it's negated, it usually means pay attention to [the step, your manners, what you say, etc.]
Sep
11
revised “No point in” vs. “no point of” vs. “no point to”
easier to read
Sep
11
answered What is an antonym for the term “straight-A student?”
Sep
11
awarded  Necromancer
Sep
11
comment “My work has done” vs “my work has been done”
This question appears to be off-topic because it belongs on English Language Learners
Sep
11
comment “That might even could happen” be considered incorrect?
@Dan: In general, I'm not big on the correct/incorrect distinction either. But as the top-rated answer on the original says of this usage, it's restricted to certain dialects of US English. In Standard English, it is not grammatical. This construction is also often stigmatized. My position on this one would be "Don't feel ashamed or obliged to change if you were brought up using it, but don't deliberately adopt it if it's not part of your natural usage".
Sep
11
comment What's the word for “running with your arms outstretched as though flying”?
I've never come acrosss the usage, and I see no support in OED for this extended meaning in OED. Apart from the obvious establish water depth with a fathom-line, the verb to fathom also means to encircle with extended arms (in order to measure it). Hence figuratively, to get the measure of = to understand. I simply don't believe it would ever have been used for a footballer's victory display or anything remotely like that.
Sep
11
comment As if + would is correct as in idiomatic use?
Related: Usage of “as if” as interjection
Sep
10
comment “And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?”
I'm not exactly an expert on standard Elizabethan usages, but I suppose the sense of the question is "What causes you to be away from Wittenberg?", which could refer to multiple causes. So perhaps it's based on an underlying "What [reasons] make you [be away] from Wittenberg?".
Sep
10
reviewed Leave Closed Words that changed meaning in past hundred years
Sep
10
reviewed No Action Needed Is the use of 'shew' and 'glew' as the past tense of 'show' and 'glow' commonplace in some areas?
Sep
10
reviewed Leave Open To go + gerund (go fishing etc)
Sep
10
reviewed Close Is it “is arranged” or “has been arranged”?
Sep
10
reviewed Leave Open How to pronounce “thon”?