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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.
Mar
12
comment Is there a word that means “multiply by ten”?
@DCShannon: You count to ten. Then push that individual off the cliff. Continue, restarting counting from one.
Mar
12
comment What is it called when a word is translated phonetically from a foreign language to English?
@WS2 Вокзал but the name was attributed to the pleasure gardens
Mar
11
comment Why isn’t the pronunciation of “though” anyhow close to the one of “tough”?
@Nicole also thorough and lough, the latter possibly being the original pronunciation of most of the others.
Mar
1
comment I've said it once, I've said it twice, I've said it a thousand times: English doesn't make sense
While twice may be more usual than two times, the reverse is the case with thrice and three times.
Feb
11
comment What's the difference between “blond” and “blonde”?
@Edwin Ashworth: as others have said, it seems that blond woman is more common in American English than British English, whether deliberately or accidentally. For some British readers it may be jarring, which is as close as a non-prescriptive language comes to being wrong.
Jan
19
comment The Copyeditor's Handbook says this is not a suspended compound
If you leave out the units from the first number, you could run into difficulties with something like "the current mortality data are consistent with between 63 and 136,000 cases" and whether the first number is about half the second or less than a thousandth (the latter in this particular example)
Jan
13
comment Is there an English idiom for trying to do two things at the same time and failing at both of them due to splitting your effort?
"If you can't ride two horses at once, you shouldn't be in the circus" - James Maxton
Jan
3
comment We're finished vs We're done
I would have thought "I'm done ..." is as good or bad as "I'm finished ..."
Dec
28
comment Is “will open 1st quarter 2015” grammatically correct?
Probably not in British English (an implied in the), but the meaning is clear
Dec
27
comment Is there a single word for “turn a blind eye”?
From a historical point of view, Parker´s order to withdraw was designed to be disregarded if Nelson wished to continue the battle. The British Articles of War were strict, and so Nelson could only withdraw if ordered to do so, no matter what the situation, as seen by the execution of Admiral Byng half a century earlier. Parker´s words when giving the order were "I will make the signal of recall for Nelson's sake. If he is in condition to continue the action, he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be imputed to him."
Dec
21
comment Why does 'swings and roundabouts' mean 'gains and losses that offset each other'?
The strange thing is that both swings and roundabouts return to where they started (unlike, say, a slide) but this is not part of the meaning of the phrase.
Dec
17
comment Is it correct/idiomatic to say “got informed there?”
The school was full of gossip. So Anna was probably told there.
Dec
16
comment 1 % of (the) GDP - with or without the article?
On its own, I would use "1% of GDP" or "1% of US GDP" but in context "1% of the GDP of the United States"
Dec
12
comment Is there a saying or proverb for a situation where the weakest party will always lose?
That is not a quote from the book. The nearest is "For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran: ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS"
Dec
11
comment What does “and counting” in “Bits of plastic in oceans: 5.25 trillion and counting” mean?
The number is not being counted: instead a recent PLoS article based it on the estimated amount of plastic in the oceans and the estimated sizes. Some pieces are bigger such as some netting shown here where some netting is providing a marine habitat
Dec
7
comment The Equivalent Term for Pharmacy in the UK
In the 19th century there was a difference between a pharmacy and a chemist and druggist's shop. The later term became shortened to a chemist's, often with a pharmacy counter within it. Sir Richard Robinson was an example of a chemist and druggist who owned pharmacies and employed pharmacists
Nov
27
comment What's a common phrase that means “To put it simply though not 100% correctly”?
Handwaving might fit this list