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16h
comment What would be an apt technical term for the fear of eating cat food?
Oddly enough, "eating cat food" is as well-known expression, and refers to poverty among senior citizens (mostly metaphorical, but by extension from a literal practice). In that case, the technical term to use might be more closely aligned with financial insecurity than with the substance itself.
Sep
12
comment What is the story behind “a-” prefix / suffix?
Like so much else that appears inexplicable in English (such as do-support and all of those words that have had questionable just-so etymologies in older dictionaries), there is an annoying near-exact parallel in the Celtic languages that were already on the ground when English was emerging. I can hear ol' William stropping his razor even as I type...
Sep
12
comment Is the usage “God only knows” correct?
@medica - Speaking as one, who associates pretty much exclusively with others, my experience says "not unless you're a hardcore antitheist".
Sep
11
comment Is this a correct English sentence: “I'm not quite well enough ready yet.”
I would say that it's a perfectly good reply to the suggestion that "you're well ready, mate". That would make it rather colloquial, since "well" used to mean "very" is a regionalism; it may be comprehensible elsewhere, but it wouldn't be idiomatic and would take some time to process.
Sep
4
comment “No, faith, not a jot, but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it.”
Loam has always been fertile soil (a mixture of sand, clay and organic material).
Sep
2
comment How to parse “once upon a time”?
... and while upon may be archaic (or at least out of fashion), we have no problem at all with on when dealing with time, at least at the day level. We tend to use in for months and years and at for hours, minutes and seconds, but if it happened on St. Ralph the Liar's Day, it happened on St. Ralph the Liar's day.
Sep
2
comment What does the expression “With a twist” means?
It could also mean travelling with a small bit of citrus peel on your person.
Sep
1
comment The etymology of “redhead” vs. “ginger haired”
Ah, but there are red-heads, and then there are red-heads, as anyone who has read the tale of Mr. Jabez Wilson (as related by Dr. John Watson) can attest.
Sep
1
comment The etymology of “redhead” vs. “ginger haired”
Redhead was usually hyphenated prior to about 1900, and the hyphen was pretty much gone by 1960 or so. Proportionally, that is; we do seem to have developed a bit of an obsession for classifying humans by hair colour since the late 19th/early 20th century (using X is a Y rather than X has Y-coloured hair).
Sep
1
comment What is the definition of definition?
@Kris - are you being deliberately obtuse? Read the second sentence of the first paragraph.
Aug
31
comment Pronunciation of “influence”
CEment is also rare these days (though there was a time when it was deemed proper in areas that no longer use it), but the noun/verb stress shift can be seen all over the language. That said, I have never heard anyone put the stress on the second syllable of influence, either in person or recorded, in well over a half-century of complete immersion in various (and often wildly varying) English dialects.
Aug
30
comment How do you pronounce 'vegan'?
@booksee - There are four exceptions to the rule than a "g" should be hard when followed by a vowel other than "i" or "e": gaol, margarine, mortgagor and algae. Of those, one is an archaic spelling that has mostly been replaced by jail (and which has changed pronunciation over the years), one is a derivative of Law French (where the or has replaced eur in English), and the other two are just plain weird pronunciations of borrowed foreign words.
Aug
29
comment Couldn't be parked: Ngaio Marsh
In fact, with just that snippet of a phrase in the context given, the meaning I would take is "I can't be tied down", "I'm not ready for marriage" or "I'm not the marrying sort".
Aug
29
comment Approximate values of amount modifiers
Non-two uses of a couple also include but I've only had a couple of drinks, Constable and I'll just be a couple of minutes. (Not nit-picking; just being thorough. It's not so much a grammatical or vocabulary issue as a divorce from some aspects of reality.)
Aug
28
comment is the phrase 'accelerate success' proper english?
Please find anything else. That phrase stinks of marketing buzzword bingo games, ranking right up there with leveraging synergies.
Aug
28
comment Approximate values of amount modifiers
In common, everyday use, a couple of (or, more properly, a coupla) is exactly two... but certainly no more than a half-dozen or so at most if it turns out not to have been two.
Aug
26
comment β€˜It’ – ambiguous antecedent?
It seems to me that the sentence has already established that the program is the thing doing the inputting.
Aug
26
comment Is Modificator a word?
It's French, and a very common kind of mistake for French people to make in English even when the rest of their English seems immaculate. (There are a number of words which, in English, end in ier, but the French cognates end in icateur.)
Aug
25
comment use of “not on purpose”
There also arises the question of whether or not one should worry about the formalities of grammar in any sentence that includes a hash tag.
Aug
25
comment Why isn't “innard” a word?
Innard (inward) would be a direction; innards are what you find when you get there. The same as inside and insides.