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13h
comment Is a dark polka dot necktie dark?
If you google images for "black polka dot dress", most of the dresses are black, but in some of them, it's just the polka dots that are black. (And occasionally, neither the dress nor the polka-dots are black, showing us that Google Images is not perfect.)
18h
comment Do I so often encounter simple past for past participle (e.g., “I have went,” “what was did to her”) because of where I am or when?
@David Garner: That "old American saying" has bad grammar in order to make it appear "folksy". Other "old American sayings": "look what the cat drug in", "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", "Lord willing and the creek don't rise". There seems to be some process in which sayings get "folksified" by introducing non-standard grammar.
21h
comment usage of the word of
I agree with @Andrew. I don't know what "continuation of completion" is supposed to mean ... once you've completed something, how can you continue to complete it?
21h
comment Is “were I you” archaic?
What do you mean by archaic? Rarely used nowadays, although it was much more common in the past? Or so out-of-use that people will look at you funny if you use it? It fits the first, but not the second.
22h
comment The origin of Shelock Holmes' “deerstalker”
@David: Are deer found as easily in the open country? My impression (as an American) is that prime deer habitat is recent-growth forests; moose like older-growth forests. And the 1860 Encyclopaedia Brittanica article that Mari-Lou cites in her answer says that deer-stalking was done in Scottish forests.
22h
comment Active vs Passive (Which construction is correct in which context )
They mean different things. It's impossible to tell which one is correct without context.
22h
comment Capitalisation help: maître d' or Maître D'
This is a French word. The French use much less capitalization than the English, so I'd lowercase it.
1d
comment Infinitive in complex sentence: 'we will do your best in order to ensure the debate be vivid and fruitful.'
It may be attempting to be a subjunctive, but, at least in American English, ensure is no longer a verb that takes a subjunctive.
1d
comment Why does the meaning of a root sound different than the root?
Tolkein was a linguist. He knew over a dozen languages, and he invented more of them just for fun. He probably could have told you which English words were descended from Old English, which came to English from Latin through Old French, and which ones we just borrowed straight from Latin. If you want to invent languages as competently as Tolkein did, you have a lot to learn first. Of course, the languages in most fantasy novels aren't anywhere as complete and consistent as Tokien's, and the books work perfectly fine.
1d
comment Is “Are” always used with plural verbs/nouns?
@PerformanceDBA: you said One distinguishes there from there're by ... rolling the rrr's. It is worth qualifying this statement by noting that one only does this if one is Australian.
1d
comment Why is “earnt” not a word?
@rogermue: have you looked in Australian dictionaries? English dialects vary, and most dictionaries don't include Australian English.
1d
comment Why is “earnt” not a word?
It sounds like earnt is becoming established in Australia. In which case, you're probably out of luck, because while Microsoft accommodates American and British English—treating Americanism such as dove and snuck as valid past tenses—I expect it doesn't pay any attention to Strine.
1d
revised I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?
added 94 characters in body
1d
answered I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?
1d
comment I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?
It's not necessarily a threat. But should carries the sense that you are obliged to do it, while had better carries the sense that if you don't do it, bad things will happen. You should write thank-you notes. You had better pay the mortgage.
1d
comment I can say: “You shouldn't have done this!” Can I say: “You had better not have done this!”?
You can say both of them, but they mean different things.
1d
comment Are prior, previous, and preceding interchangeable?
And Google Ngrams shows that both previous and preceding are used frequently for this meaning, but prior is not, justifying my vague intuition that you shouldn't use prior.
1d
comment Are prior, previous, and preceding interchangeable?
Generally, "the previous/preceding moment" is C; while "a previous/preceding moment" could be any of them. In the plural, this distinction would be "the two previous/previous" or "the previous/preceding two" versus "two previous/preceding" (no article). I personally don't like using "prior" for this meaning, but I can't tell you why (or if) it's wrong.
2d
comment various ways of punctuating a sentence — are they all correct?
@curiousdannii: not everything with a name is correct: e.g., murder, kidnapping, burglary, adultery, perjury, ...
2d
comment A sentence equivalence questions
Since in real life, these test questions generally offer five choices, I would suspect that the answer is: none of the above. What you really need there is a word like immaterial. Otherwise, the conclusion to the sentence, "every letter reveals stamps of his personality," doesn't make sense; -1 for not copying the question completely and giving us a choice between two wrong answers.