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Jun
3
comment Meaning of “to wrestle places from their surveillance grids”
I would read wrestling here as a malapropism; wresting would make a whole lot more sense.
May
29
comment Is the opposite of 'within', 'without'?
One needs to be very careful using it in the sense of "outside" in order to avoid confusion; it is almost always seen in recent writing (even in recent writing that is meant to seem archaic, as in fantasy or period fiction) as the last word in a sentence for that reason: The doors were oaken within and brazen without. A reader unaccustomed to the usage might want to ask "without what?", but cannot be nearly as confused as if the answer to that question seemed to be in the sentence already.
May
9
comment Is there any difference between “word-for-word translation” and “word-by-word translation” and is the latter actually valid?
Word by word would be more applicable to a reading or critical examination of a document. ("Let's look at this word by word.") Word for word would be incorrect in that context, but would perfectly describe a naïve translation that ignores idiom and context shifting (and may even ignore the grammar of the target language). Literal, used to describe a translation, is usually somewhat more generous than word for word, at least insofar as it doesn't imply a failure of grammar (although it does often imply missing the point altogether).
Apr
6
comment When can one break the rule of using “does” instead of “do”?
In those dialects, does (or doesn't) would always represent the habitual, regardless of person.
Apr
6
comment When can one break the rule of using “does” instead of “do”?
The grammar is not incorrect in the dialect used. The reassignment of the marker that in Standard English means "third person singular present tense" is characteristic of Celtic-influenced dialects, such as Hiberno-English, the Newfoundland dialect, African American Vernacular English, and much of the vernacular on the ground in the southeastern United States. The idea that there is one and only one "true" English with a single grammar is utter nonsense.
Apr
5
comment Antonym for lying?
We've had them historically (usually as compound words, such as the native soothsay and the imported verdict) but they have always been semantically narrowed, to refer exclusively to "higher truths" and things of that sort, or changed part of speech. It may not be that we don't respect truth, but that we are too quick to put it on a pedestal. Even the word currently under discussion has pretty much become a signal for "conspiracy theory whackjob".
Mar
24
comment Is libre the only English single-word adjective signifying 'liberty' without also meaning 'at no monetary cost'?
@tchrist - That's a US-ian thing (where Spanish is a heavy secondary language throughout the country, with a few regional exceptions). The rest of the world uses the anglicised French pronunciation.
Mar
24
comment Is libre the only English single-word adjective signifying 'liberty' without also meaning 'at no monetary cost'?
@tchrist - the schwa is correct, and barely there; it exists only to allow the "r" to be heard at all. It is an English approximation of the French emphatic pronunciation of the word; in ordinary conversational use, /ˈliːbᴙə/ becomes [lib].
Mar
23
comment Are there sentences in languages which use grammatical gender that lose meaning when translated into English?
It's a mistake, really, to equate "gender" with sex. (The word is cognate with genre, and simply means "kind" or "sort".) It happens that in some languages (notably Indo-European languages) gender classification tracks sex closely for certain classes of words, to the point that we can speak of masculine, feminine and neuter. Other languages worry about whether things are human, beast, bird, rock, and so on; some assign gender by shape. Gender is merely grammatical despite its use as a euphemism for sex (which became taboo only because it was used as a euphemism for other things).
Mar
18
comment Word for something that is available/accessible all the time
The appropriate word/phrase to use would depend on what is available/accessible (personnel, equipment, etc.). Context is key with most things; words and phrases may have very similar dictionary definitions, but only one of a bunch might be appropriate and idiomatic.
Mar
15
comment Antedecent of “it” in “it fared with him as with the storm-tossed ship” in context
In fact, "How fares it with you?" would have been as common a question at one time (and still is among the elderly in some antique-ish regional dialects).
Mar
14
comment Single word to describe something that is “meant to be”
It seemeth me specially weird that fate should be a major theme running through a question concerning Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Mar
11
comment ___, ___, and I am/are…
Just to complicate matters a bit (because, hey, why not?): there is pretty good evidence that the actual, native rule in English for compound subjects that include yourself is to use "and me" rather than "and I". "Subject pronouns must be used in subject positions", along with a few other rules that English never really had, is an 18th-century imposition derived from Latin and Classical Greek. Robert Lowth and Lindley Murray (and their heirs, successors and assigns) meant well (I suppose), but they committed mischief upon our mother tongue, leaving things more awkward than necessary.
Mar
10
comment Is there a rule concerning nouns with foreign articles?
@KristinaLopez - Toronto's rather-more-famous-than-it-needs-to-be bar is, indeed, properly called "the El Mocombo" (or, colloquially, "the Elmo").
Feb
1
comment I wonder the reason why we must not use THERE in this sentence
@PeterShor - Here there be dragons, with or without a comma after here (punctuation has varied greatly over time), is a topic/comment construction (there is nothing intervening).
Jan
9
comment Is there a medieval term for a highwayman?
"Outlaw" had a specific meaning: one who has been formally denied the protection of law. Among other things, that meant you could be beaten, robbed, enslaved or killed without civil consequence. One could be declared outlaw as the result of criminal behaviour, but criminal behaviour didn't make one an outlaw, the declaration did.
Jan
9
comment “Get in” or “Get into the car”
It's probably safest to say that get into the car is the "correct" version if one subscribes to prescriptive grammar following on Lowth and Murray, but that to use it in much of the North American vernacular, at least, would either be hypercorrection or mark one as a non-native speaker. The real grammar of English is not at all clear-cut or universal.
Jan
9
comment A word describes things that can be used only once
The term for the specific instance heading the question is nonce; you might want to find a way to edit that into your already good answer.
Jul
28
comment Why is the word 'bologna' pronounced like 'baloney'?
Of course the proper pronunciation of the city's name is not, and never has been, /baloney", and I never said "the pronunciation". (Try reading.) What I said was that it was a pronunciation of the name -- the same one that gave us polony and baloney for the sausage -- among common folk in England. Try reading widely of old books (and give your heads a shake).
Jul
26
comment What is the origin and meaning of the phrase “bane of my existence”?
@z7sg: the phrase is very old and means essentially the same thing as "doom" or "nemesis" -- it relates to fate, not necessarily to a pre-existing state of death.