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Jul
18
comment Is “how come” slang?
@user58319: I suspect It was all present: How cometh ...? * to *How comes ...? and then a set phrase of How come?, perhaps with a past of How came ...? which is now rarely used.
Jul
12
comment What does the phrase “it’s like Groundhog Day every day” mean, and where does it originate?
@Martijn: conceit
Jul
4
comment Pronunciation rules
I would have thought an online dictionary for example saying tough, though, through and thorough are pronounced /tʌf/, /ðəʊ/, /θruː/ and /ˈθʌrə/ respectively was an indication that the relationship between English orthography and pronunciation can be complicated and that the spelling often does not indicate the sounds of words.
Jul
1
comment will or be v-ing?
Not C or D as halls do not build
Jun
30
comment Origin of the term 'country mile'?
@Kylos - I thought I had said that with "the difficulty of terrain makes a country mile harder to travel"
Jun
22
comment “Both a” vs “a both”
That looks odd for adjectives which usually come before the noun. Perhaps "This thing is both natural and powerful" as an alternative
Jun
19
comment “Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
@IQAndreas: And medica has pointed out it was written by Stephen Crane (died 1900)
Jun
19
comment “Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
@IQAndreas It is all over the internet attributed to Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but like you I find that doubtful. A quick search at a page with the text of the five books could not find a single example of the word "obligation" (there are three examples of "obliged" in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe).
Jun
3
comment Do I need to use “from” after “graduated”?
@HotLicks: being British, I would use a preposition, either at or from and name the university. High schools (or better secondary schools) do not produce graduates here.
May
23
comment A word to describe a London projects dweller
If you include housing association premises as well as council housing, this is called social housing
May
20
comment Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?
I see nothing wrong with your suggestion of "it is a poor thing" and English not being her first language (or the first language of the people she talked to).
May
20
comment Did they say “hand job” in the 1800s?
"triangulate", at least as a survey term, would have been meaningful in the 1860s, such as this example
May
15
comment If it was'nt / hadn't been for
Plural "were" or subjunctive "were"?
May
11
comment What's a correct expression for professions in which you do a lot of sitting?
You can run words together in English, but you are more likely to keep the spaces, as in back-friendly sitting positions. It reminds me of the British claim to excel at "sitting-down sports" such as cycling, rowing, sailing and equestrian.
May
2
comment Are 'short circuited' and 'short-circuited' both correct?
Hyphenations evolve, as do verbs. To me a battery can be shorted in a short circuit, but I would understand if somebody said it had been short-circuited, and I would not say they were wrong.
May
2
comment What is the meaning of “tank” in this sentence?
to fall hard and fast, in contrast to a soft or parachute landing
Apr
19
comment What is a word for “detaining without trial”?
The verb is intern (and so interning and interned) and is transitive - though there is the risk that somebody might now read it as unpaid training.
Apr
13
comment Why is there no plural indefinite article?
The Spanish plural unos/unas suggests that an English plural like ?ones/ans or (if it is an adjective and so did not decline) one/an/a might not be logically impossible
Apr
13
comment Word like “ancestors” or “ancestry line” which includes the initial subject?
If you show the ancestry of Henry VIII on Wikipedia (click on "show" on the right), it includes Henry as the child of his parents.
Mar
27
comment Is there an English idiom that means “you can always find a law to convict anyone”?
""Must be guilty of something" is what comes to my mind. There is AP Herbert's report of the case Rex v. Haddock where the Court of Appeal said "It is a principle of English law that a person who appears in a police court has done something undesirable" but sadly this is fictional. By contrast the real Scots law declaratory power allows the the court to declare behaviour to be criminal activity, even if it had not been previously defined as criminal.