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Jul
7
comment Pronunciation of “accepted”
It's not the most common pronunciation, and it's not likely to become the most common pronunciation. That's not because too many people will consider it wrong, but because except sort of beat it to the punch. An initial unstressed schwa is just begging for eventual deletion, and 'cept (or, regionally, 'ceptin') is already taken. That will generate some push-back against any tendency to elide the "K" sound in accept.
Jul
7
comment How to use “of which”?
@ColinFine - Okay (he said is "no true Scotsman" fashion), no sane person's sensibilities.
Jul
7
comment What does “soda” mean in places where it doesn't mean soft drink?
And, depending on the context, it may also refer to things like washing soda (where, of all of the substances that have tradionally been referred to as [something] soda — whether that compound contains sodium or not — it's obvious that you mean only one of them).
Jul
7
comment How to guess/divine definitions from etymology?
@MattGutting - I again raise silly as an objection here. In OE and early ME, it was used to mean "blessed" (often in missals and breviaries). By late ME it meant something like "innocent" or "lowly", depending on context. Shakespeare used it to mean "defenceless" (Two Gentlemen of Verona IV.i.73–75). While it might be handy to know the then-current meaning and usage when reading old texts (and who among us doesn't enjoy fun facts in general), silly carries none of those meanings, even as the barest hint of connotation or implication, into its current meaning and usage.
Jul
7
comment Question about the proscribed use of “have” along with “get” or “be”
Idiomatically, we'd expect laces to have come undone rather than to have become undone, even if become would work for most other hands-off state changes that would require a reflexive formulation in other European languages. English grammar is mostly simple, except where it is fractally complex, and the hard parts are more likely to be found in homely usage than in carefully crafted formal writing. (That usage of homely is somewhat archaic, by the way, but there is no good modern substitute.)
Jul
6
comment How to guess/divine definitions from etymology?
Indeed. Knowing that silly comes to us from the Old English for "blessed" (and is a congnate of the German word selig) doesn't help a lot.
Jul
6
comment Claim a stake or stake a claim?
@JanusBahsJacquet - there's always the degenerate case, isn't there?
Jul
4
comment How to distinguish the meaning of “repair” and “ fix”
@mplungjan - Sadly, I have seen more than a few "craftsmen" who were, perhaps, not at the top of their game "repair" things in exactly that sort of way. It's about intent, not process.
Jul
3
comment Please explain the pronunciation of “indict.”
Just as a general thing: there are rather a lot of words in English whose spelling was adjusted to reflect Latin cognates after the word was already common in the language. Victuals, for instance, was vittailes when Chaucer wrote it, and is pronounced vittles.
Jul
2
comment What is “the culinary chops”?
Most excellent point, @JanusBahsJacquet
Jul
2
comment Open the rivers of Heaven?
I've never heard the expression, but to me it sounds more like the object of the game is to get the goodness (grace, bounty, whatever) to flow from heaven.
Jul
2
comment How are these two sentences connected?
Actually, it reads as "They stood in the darkened kitchen, illuminated by the streetlight outside shining through the curtainless window". It is a whole lot more awkward than it needs to be, though — definitely a Bulwer-Lytton Award candidate.
Jul
2
comment What is “the culinary chops”?
Both of the examples at the end use "chops" to mean skill/ability, not "item of first quality".
Jul
2
comment What is “the culinary chops”?
@YoichiOishi - While "chops" may be a slang term for a word that is used in the singular, the word itself is plural. You would need to say His English language chops are greatly improved to be grammatically correct, but that still wouldn't quite be idiomatic; His English language chops have greatly improved would be better.
Jun
30
comment The right word for someone with a higher rank in military
One may also use "Staff" (at least in Commonwealth countries) to address a person whose rank is not known to you and who may be a non-commissioned officer below the rank of Warrant Officer (or equivalent). (That's generally when you're being yelled at from behind for some breach of protocol or etiquette, but it could also be because you are unfamiliar with the rank designations for NCOs that go with particular rank insignia in another branch/service/regiment. You will generally be told, and quickly, how to fill in the blank.)
Jun
30
comment How to use “should” to express surprise and expectation respectively?
Well, there is the protestation case when the value is zero, was predicted to be zero, and somebody else has expressed surprise or doubt. In that case, the obvious rejoinder would be, "[t]he value should be zero."
Jun
30
comment crawl in a hole and pull it in after me
+1, but apparently you're not familiar with portable holes.
Jun
29
comment “A bunch of nincompoops!” Really ? In the 21st century?
In polite society?
Jun
29
comment Can “doubt” sometimes mean “question”?
It's a Portuguese influence in this case, not Spanish (as such, if you see Portuguese and Spanish as separate languages rather than as dialects of the same language with an artificial political boundary between them). Not only was Portugal influential in India before the English got there, there are Portuguese-based creoles still spoken in areas like Goa.
Jun
28
comment Semantic shift in “around”
In most (but not all) of these cases, "surrounding" would be a good substitute; the "issues" seem to be incidental (linguistic, procedural) rather than fundamental to the core subjects being referred to. In at least one case ("[...]around the idea of 'active citizenship'[...]") I'd be inclined to think that an overused wording pattern has simply led to an error.