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  • 0 posts edited
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  • 243 votes cast
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 Of those, one is an archaic spelling that has mostly been replaced by jail (and which has changed pronunciation over the years), one is a derivative of Law French (where the or has replaced eur in English), and the other two are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.
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).