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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?"
Jun
19
comment Single word for “this is why”
@AndyHasIt - you can also say "because" and point. There is an archaic use of therefore (which answers wherefore), but therefore has semantically drifted to meaning something more like "it follows that" (sequitur) than the original "because".
Jun
19
comment What does “pay the graces” mean?
To my ear, "I've kept it all clean" suggests that the "graces" in question are the social graces. I don't know if the "paying graces" idiom is anything like current, though; it's the sort of thing that sounded old when my grandmother said it 50 years ago.
Jun
18
comment “force kill” vs “forcibly kill”
You are also not "killing a process forcibly" but "forcing the killing of a process" (using a procedure that may or may not be called "kill" formally on the platform) rather than, say, queuing a request to terminate when the machine finds it convenient (often because the process will ensure that it is never a convenient time).
Jun
14
comment Different prononunciations of “consummate”
@BrianDonovan - Believe it or not, as you will, there are a lot of non-native users of English hereabouts. Humour is fair game (as is wordplay) - $_DEITY knows I've committed a bit of it myself here - but promoting confusion isn't.
Jun
14
comment Different prononunciations of “consummate”
@BrianDonovan - are you referring to consommé?
Jun
11
comment “I and Jane” or “me and Jane”?
Oddly, me in a compound subject wasn't "incorrect" or "ungrammatical" until Robert Lowth's A Short Introduction to English Grammar. The use of I in such cases has merely been made conventional (just as its position of conspicuous humility has been). If they stopped teaching that usage in schools, it would be gone in a generation. It's not real grammar.
Jun
11
comment “I and Jane” or “me and Jane”?
@JonHanna - Yes. The old schoolteacher's suggestion to remove everybody else before deciding which pronoun to use actually changes the underlying grammatical construction, so it doesn't work. The rules of Latin do not apply to English.
Jun
10
comment “I and Jane” or “me and Jane”?
Sorry about the tone. My previous comment was just a bit flippant. The major cues are spontaneous usage by children who have acquired grammar and the frequency with which constructs are used in dialects other than The Standard. When almost everybody makes the same "mistake", it's probably not a mistake, regardless of the opinions of people like Hugh Jones, Robert Lowth, Lindley Murray, William Cobbett or their spiritual heirs, successors and assigns. Much of what they had to say stemmed from a desire to make Latin and Greek easier to learn for people who were literate in English.
Jun
10
comment “I and Jane” or “me and Jane”?
Try Huddleston and Pullum or Pinker. This isn't exactly a new or an odd concept.
Jun
10
comment Open vs Open Itself
... and English, unlike most European languages, does not share in the fetish for inherent reflexives. We simply remember; we don't remember ourselves.
Jun
7
comment What's the British equivalent of American “Formica” for faux wood?
Just to clarify, "Formica" is a brand name for what is more generically called "laminate". (It was a resin-and-paper-based replacement for mica, or, more properly, mica-impregnated linoleum sheeting.) Like Band-Aid (or Elastoplast in some regions) for sticking plaster, the brand became the generic term for a class of products. It doesn't imply faux wood; geometric elements (scattered lines, circles and diamond patterns) and faux stone prints were far more common except for a short period (approximately coinciding with the terrible reign of avocado and harvest gold appliances).
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".