40,275 reputation
7106189
bio website nohat.net
location San Jose, CA
age 34
visits member for 3 years, 8 months
seen 5 hours ago

Full disclosure: I have a degree in linguistics, and so I am partial to descriptivist approaches to questions of usage. For me, assertions of correctness or incorrectness that are not reflective of actual usage are highly questionable.

I am a native speaker of American English.

My real name is David Friedland and my e-mail address is david.friedland@gmail.com. Feel free to contact me directly.


1d
comment How do you differentiate “thru”, “threw”, “through”, and “thorough”?
For the second question, "threw", "through", and "thru" are all homophones, meaning they are pronounced the same, as /θruː/. "Thorough" is pronounced /θəroʊ/
Apr
11
awarded  Nice Answer
Apr
10
comment Are there metaphoric English expressions meaning “keeping composure at a fatal moment, never panicky”?
Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/91439/… also, in my opinion, the best word for this equanimity, though it is not metaphorical
Apr
9
comment Why is English grammar so basic?
(FWIW I contributed the above as comments and not as an answer to the question because I am objecting to the question's premises, not answering it.)
Apr
9
comment Why is English grammar so basic?
Also, while some forms of English subjunctive are all but extinct (e.g. If this be true) or moribund (e.g. If I were king), other forms of English subjunctive are quite alive and well. Consider the difference between subjunctive and indicative in "They are insisting he be on time" vs. "They are insisting he is on time".
Apr
9
comment Why is English grammar so basic?
I'm pretty sure English grammar is not "rudimentary". Consider do-support (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do-support), articles (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_articles), phrasal verbs (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrasal_verb), polarity items( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarity_item), tag questions (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_question). All these things have quite complex rules regarding their use. My Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is over 1840 pages long.
Apr
9
awarded  Nice Answer
Apr
2
comment Grammar knowledge - cause for low knowledge
You are begging the question. Native English speakers by definition have mastered the grammar of their language. Are you, perhaps, not asking about "knowledge in grammar matters" but instead asking about "knowledge of the rules of the formal style"? Or perhaps you are misidentifying non-native speakers as natives?
Apr
1
comment Using “them” instead of “those”
I've just clicked through to the first book. It's really quite charming, but woefully outdated. The section on spelling corrections has some good howlers given what would be standard today.
Apr
1
comment Using “them” instead of “those”
Great answer! Do you have any information about the author's or publisher's locations for the first two books?
Mar
25
awarded  Good Answer
Mar
20
comment Aren’t there English equivalents to Japanese word, Senpai (先輩) meaning a senior in school, career, or age?
@BenCrowell if I called anyone "sir" or "ma'am" in my office, I'd get—at best—eye rolls and sarcastic responses. I also couldn't imagine addressing any service worker as "sir". Certainly not a bus driver. This might be a generational thing, or perhaps a regional thing, but "sir" or "ma'am" is, in my experience, only a sure way to annoying someone—not a way of showing respect.
Mar
19
comment Aren’t there English equivalents to Japanese word, Senpai (先輩) meaning a senior in school, career, or age?
This answer is very good, though I would note that calling someone "sir" or "ma'am" does not just risk being "a tad formal for most situations" but offensive in many situations. In the United States, at least, there is a presumption in conversation that everyone is equal, and using a formal term of address adds the idea of different social status where one may not be not welcome.
Mar
16
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
10
revised ___, ___, and I am/are…
edited title
Mar
7
comment “Tote” vs. “carry” in AE
I think the question would be better inverted: carry is many more things than tote is. You can only literally tote things but you can metaphorically carry many different things.
Mar
7
comment Is it grammatical to have duplicate 'it'?: __ it it __
Thanks for updating the question. As for your specific examples, I do not think they are wrong, but the first would be better with a comma, and the second would be better as a genitive (and with a comma)—"Because of its size, it doesn't fit in the array"
Mar
7
comment Is it grammatical to have duplicate 'it'?: __ it it __
It would help if OP posted an example that motivated the question; otherwise it seems like vague musing.
Mar
7
revised Is it grammatical to have duplicate 'it'?: __ it it __
improve question
Mar
7
comment Whose usage determines correctness?
@Wayne that is exactly my point. One group makes a distinction that most people are unaware of. Is failure to make the distinction "incorrect"? How small and marginalized do objectors have to be before we can dismiss them as cranks?