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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.
Aug
25
comment What's the name for a place where powder is kept?
It's certainly current usage in the Canadian military; I can't vouch for others. Specifically, on land it's a building surrounded by a blast berm where bombs, rockets, pyrotechnics and ammunition are stored, and may also refer to a similar storage location aboard ship. The thing attached to a weapon is a miniature version of the same idea (an ammunition storage facility).
Aug
24
comment Intransitive verbs with preposition in passive sentences
I listened to her. I shouted at you. Where's the passivity?
Aug
24
comment What is the meaning of the phrase “for my sins”?
It's often used ironically as well, in a formula like this: "Professor, you were recently appointed to the Regius Chair for International Relations..." "For my sins." It sort of combines the concepts of desert and deprecation in one phrase.
Aug
22
comment Is it correct to use “yonder” as equivalent to “those”/“these”
+1 Yon and yonder represent a degree of spatial deixis that is no longer distinguished in most dialects of English (including the major standard dialects). If it's farther than here these days, it's there; you need to add words to distinguish more than that.
Aug
22
comment “I never went to poker yesterday” - Is this grammatically correct?
Grammatical, yes, but not in the standard dialect(s).
Aug
22
comment Why does 'threescore' mean sixty?
Quatre-vingt (fourscore) is still the way one says eighty in French (and counting upwards of sixty is done by twenties — seventy is sixty-ten and ninety is fourscore-ten), and sheep-scoring numbers are still used both for sheep-scoring (counting the flock) and in children's games in parts of English Britain (areas where the original Celtic languages have not merely been marginalized, but displaced altogether).
Aug
21
comment Clothing Nomenclature between US and UK
Minor niggle: dinner jackets (or tuxedos) are for semi-formal occasions. The really-for-real formal attire is "white tie", which means striped trousers (the "stripes" being braid or riband hiding the seams), black or midnight blue tailcoat and white waistcoat. (If the affair is early in the day, morning dress would be appropriate.) Something to keep in mind for those Nobel-award-winning ideas; you'll need to dress up a bit.
Aug
21
comment “Share me” or “Share with me”?
@oerkelens - It's the "share on X" variant that's causing the problem. But then I still have problems with boot as a verb meaning to cause a device to restart, pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, as it were.
Aug
20
comment Can “a person” be used as plural?
It might help to keep in mind that most of the "prescriptivist rules" were pulled out of thin air (and were intended, at the time, to encourage habits that would make the study of Latin and Greek easier by structuring English in such a way as to make it more similar to them). They never represented the actual grammar of English in any way, and it is only their repetition in schools that causes anyone to think them valid in any way.
Aug
19
comment Is there a word which means whatever you want it to mean? Or has no meaning?
Well, there's glory for you.
Aug
19
comment Correct Usage of Quotation Marks
Typographically, the introduction of a new term is traditionally marked by italicizing, not quotation. This is reflected in the default behaviour of the HTML <dfn> tag.
Aug
19
comment Can “a person” be used as plural?
@Ben - There is nothing "inclusive" in a lot of minds about the masculine, and there are (and have been for at least six hundred years) rules about the usage of singular they: its use is restricted to situations in which a hypothetical individual is extracted from a plural context (which does not need to be of mixed or unknown sexual composition).
Aug
19
comment Can “a person” be used as plural?
@bobie - Not at all. At least singular they goes back to Middle English; replacing thou, thee (and ye, for that matter) with you is, relatively speaking, newfangled sloppiness that should be eradicated.
Aug
13
comment Meaning of “clot” in the following sentence
No need to assume a typo; in the 16th century orthography wasn't quite as fixed as it is today. "Clot" is certainly no further than the "clout" in Ne're cast a clout till May be out.
Aug
1
comment What is the meaning of not in “as often as not” and “as likely as not”?
It also carries a sort of implied at least in most cases, shading in just beneath more than likely on a scale of probabilities, especially in its like as not vernacular form. Often used in the sense of "sure, those hoofbeats could be unicorns, but have you considered horses?".
Aug
1
comment What does “ 'Nation ” stand for in this context?
I'm not convinced the capital N is a typo; sacre-type profanities were often capitalized in times gone by (a lot of things were; reading older English texts often feels a lot like reading German) and contracting out the first syllable would not change the convention, I don't think. 150 years is a longer time than we often imagine it to be, and things have changed quite a bit.
Jul
25
comment What's this word?
@tchrist - Actually, enough context was given to provide a meaning, as well as a rough idea of what the word sounds like (which beats the heck out of the usual "it starts with a U or an M or something"). It's every bit as valid a question as any of the other "single word please" questions that have ever been posted here.
Jul
17
comment Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English
"Shall" and "shall not" (in any form) are pretty much restricted to explicit speech and formal writing in North American English now (the "will" future marker has almost completely displaced it in common usage). In explicit use, the not is stressed, so it's rarely heard as a contraction except as an affectation.