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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.
Jun
27
comment Use of the plural form for “flotsam”
It's the difference between "stuff" and "things". Flotsam is "stuff". The logs you may recover near shore are "things", but together they make "stuff".
Jun
27
comment What causes the euphemisation of medical terms?
The idiot-imbecile-moron thing was abandoned largely due to the catastrophic failure in trying to quantify what had been qualitative assessments, specifically trying to bring IQ into the picture. Sure, it's likely that they would have gone PC anyway since the terms were used loosely as insults more often than they were used clinically, but that would probably have happened later than it did. "Shell shock" was initially thought to be a physiological reaction to, well, shells exploding nearby. Turns out that loud noises and pressure waves aren't all that can mess a fellow up in wartime.
Jun
27
comment Word for where speakers and honoree sit at a comedic roast?
No Red Buttons? What kind of roast is that, where everybody got a dinner?
Jun
27
comment Use “of” or “for” with Institute, Department, Office…?
Use the official name as published, since it varies. For instance, Canada currently has a Minister of Foreign Affairs, but it used to have a Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs doing the same job.
Jun
26
comment “No less than” when referring to non-quantities
It is an awkward sentence, and I don't think very many writers would write it that way. The formula is A requires B no less than [it requires] C, but the omitted repetition of the verb does make the sentence a hard read. There are much more felicitous phrasings available.
Jun
26
comment How to say one minute past midnight in military time?
In fact, in formal military radio communications (at least within NATO), it would be rendered "figures: zero zero zero one", with a specified pronunciation of zero (ZEE-ro) and a slight pause between each of the numbers. Ambiguity, or the potential for it, is not tolerated.
Jun
24
comment Etymology of certain words ending in “-en”
You want victims? How about chicken, which is not even use as a plural anymore, let alone as the plural for immature hens and cocks.
Jun
24
comment Should a translated quote be delimited by double quotes?
The fetish for exactness is novel; until well into the twentieth century, transcribed speech (as opposed to translated) quotations would routinely be tidied up even in "hard news". One needs to make significant adjustments before it becomes paraphrasing. Accuracy does not imply honesty; clever quote mining can put just about anything into anyone's mouth.
Jun
24
comment Etymology of “mortgage” and “deed”. Are they both related to “death”?
Indeed, a deed is a type of contract whose very creation requires a specific action, or deed (historically, "signed, sealed and delivered").
Jun
19
comment Definite article, repetition in lists
They are all understood to have the definite article, barring interference (one cannot apply the to John simply because one never applies the to John unless one is distinguishing between multipe Johns).
Jun
19
comment Single word for “this is why”
No, it doesn't - but neither does "thus" answer "how?" Your "when" and "where" examples offer a single-word value that answers the question. All of the others require additional information. If you have a single-word reason, then it will answer "why?"