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  • 0 posts edited
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Jun
30
comment Why aren't double quotes always closed?
Even in a typescript created on a manual typewriter, a change in the left margin (or begin and end block indications, if indicated in the style manual for a publication) would be correct. Even newspapers will use a call-out box in their narrow columns. Doing things otherwise is ignoring the convention for block quotations -- that doesn't make the dialog quotation style correct.
Jun
30
comment Why aren't double quotes always closed?
In a typeset document, extended quotations from another written source would normally be set as a block quotation without quotation marks.
Jun
30
comment A or an XML report?
+1 - Even if the reader expands the abbreviation to "Extensible Markup Language", it would still take "an". With some abbreviations, you'd need to consider what's being abbreviated and whether the abbreviation is normally pronounced in its abbreviated form or in its expanded form; with XML it works out the same both ways.
Jun
30
comment Why aren't double quotes always closed?
I think we're supposed to go through some sort of ritual now that involves one of us hitting the other for some reason, and claiming that returning the gesture is absolutely forbidden by the rules...
Jun
30
comment The meaning of “Even if I should”
"Even if I should ..." can be used either way -- as a subjunctive or as an indicator of liability/obligation. That part of the sentence is naturally ambiguous; you can't really tell which usage is intended until you get to the second half.
Jun
29
comment Using 'very' with a noun
I thought it likely that you did (it's hard to have been exposed to any of the Big Three -- Shakespeare, the KJV or the BCP without having noticed something going on). I was merely providing additional info to the OP.
Jun
29
comment Using 'very' with a noun
It may help to know that "very" was once an adjective meaning "true" and that the adverbial form was "verily", or "truly". The meaning and usage have slipped over time.
Jun
28
comment Is “Sheath” the right word for describing exterior covering of the plane?
+1, although you'll see the term "sheathing" or "sheathed" used in old documents (pre-WWII) especially in regards to doped-fabric-over-plywood construction. "Skin" seems to have been preferred for as long as the covering has been a stressed part of the airframe.
Jun
28
comment What does 'age out' mean?
It can also mean compulsory superannuation of any sort, like reaching mandatory retirement age (particularly in establishments like the military) or age-restricted fraternal and service organisations. And yes, in the "garbage collection" sense, its use is merely figurative.
Jun
28
comment What’s the meaning of ‘smooth chin’?
I'd go beyond "beardless" to "clean-shaven", indicating a certain habitual fastidiousness on the part of the character. Not wanting to spoil the plot or anything, but Bagman's appearances later in the book have him looking a little haggard and careworn for various reasons.
Jun
27
comment What constitutes a double negative?
@drm65 - no. "Not unpleasant" means "other than unpleasant" in this usage, so it is not an example of the non-standard use of double negation for emphasis. (It doesn't necessarily mean "pleasant" either; it can have a neutral as well as a positive meaning, in the same way that non-negative numbers include zero.)
Jun
26
comment What is the difference in meaning between “pattern” and “rhythm”?
There is some confusion injected into the issue as well because rhythm has been metaphorically extended into the critical vocabulary around static visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, architectural design, etc.). Too much of that sort of thing and the metaphor gets lost, so we wind up with semantic drift.
Jun
25
comment “You were already having been going to do that!”
Crap! Missed the edit window. That should have been "wollan have beon".
Jun
25
comment “You were already having been going to do that!”
... or they willion haven be, at least.
Jun
24
comment Which symbols can I use as shorthands to convey specific meanings?
@Jon: I only read the illegal ones, myself.
Jun
24
comment Use of “it” in titles
There's a problem with that rephrasing as an article headline, in that the subject under investigation is "hidden" by putting "Does the" in front of it. A list of technical or scientific article abstractions is usually pretty dense, and panning for gold in one can be annoying. The problem lies in trying to recover normal grammar at all; a better restatement would probably have been something like "Chomsky normalform method: CYK parser performance implications?". In running speech, it would probably indicate aphasia, but as a "search key" it says it all.
Jun
24
comment Which symbols can I use as shorthands to convey specific meanings?
Actually, the ampersand is just a digraph of e and t -- one can often see et cetera abbreviated as &c and et alia as &a in older works.
Jun
24
comment Should we avoid using words that have alternate offensive meaning
This reminds me of this old CBC comedy classic: youtube.com/watch?v=W6iSk9vsK_E
Jun
24
comment What does “I was had” mean?
In this case, it could even be a mixture of the two: "I thought I had someone (a significant other) -- or maybe I was had (the relationship is/was a sham)." It really depends on the context.
Jun
24
comment “Can hardly wait” versus “can't hardly wait”
Nice to be linguistically semi-functional again. I take the abomination of prescriptivism personally -- the emphatic double negative never went away in fluent spoken English (nor did the split infinitive, prepositional sentence endings or compound subjects containing the object form of pronouns). The usage is correct, it's just not in accordance with the artificial grammar imposed by people who were oblivious to the actual grammar of the language. The 1300-year-old reference was an example of the age of the idiom; it was current when I learned to speak and is current today.