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Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
At issue isn't whether "certainly possible" is a contradiction, but if it is an oxymoron, in the same manner as "pretty ugly". I've yet to see any answer either 1) claim that "pretty ugly" is not an oxymoron (which @oerkelens has in his comments to my answer), or 2) explain how "certainly possible" differs in construction from "pretty ugly" (or "awfully good"). It seems that everyone is hung up on whether the phrase is a contradiction instead of whether the phrase is an oxymoron.
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
@Spork, why would "certainly possible" not be an oxymoron, when "pretty ugly" and "awfully good" are?
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
@deadrat, just to be clear, oxymorons are not self-contradictory, only seemingly so. Neither "pretty ugly" nor "awfully good" is self-contradictory, yet they both are commonly cited as examples of oxymorons in textbooks.
Jul
14
revised Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
Added more links to lists of oxymorons to bolster my claim
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
@oerkelens In fact, can you find a list of oxymorons that does not include "pretty ugly"?
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
@oerkelens "Pretty ugly" is pretty much included in every list of oxymorons you can find: google.com/… oxymoronlist.com/oxymora-p grammar.about.com/od/rhetoricstyle/a/… jimwegryn.com/Words/Oxymora.htm
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
How does "certainly" acting as a modifier differ from the classic oxymorons of "pretty ugly" or "awfully good"?
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
A key word in that definition is seemingly. Pretty ugly is a classic oxymoron, but it is not an actual contradiction either, is it?
Jul
14
comment Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
@oerkelens oxymorons are not actual contradictions but only seeming contradictions, where by seeming, I mean that one can read the phrases out of context in a contradictory manner. As you say, "pretty ugly" is not a contradiction at all, but it is a very classic example of an oxymoron. There might be an exception, but all of the oxymorons that come immediately to my mind fall into this same category: they are only contradictions if one misunderstands them.
Jul
14
answered Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?
Jul
14
comment An English equivalent of Arabic idiom ‘Show us the breadth of your shoulders’
There's also the Southern variant of: "Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya"
Jul
11
comment Word for “animals, including humans”?
English is my native language, and pretty much everyone I interact with on a regular basis (granted, I live in a University town) uses the word 'animal' in such a way that it would include 'human'. Frankly, I am surprised by the number of people here who are taking it for granted that 'animal' does not typically include humans even when used in casual context. That said, the OP does explicitly state this as an assumption, so a good answer should at least acknowledge that assumption. I personally could see using "animal" as the label, and "non-human animal" vs. "human" as options.
Jul
5
answered Word for Thing Being Described?
Jun
20
revised Word for winning because the competitors were miraculously all worse
2 /= 3
Jun
19
answered Word for winning because the competitors were miraculously all worse
May
9
awarded  Yearling
Oct
24
comment What is the word for a sentence that initially sounds profound or deep, that is, in fact, meaningless or empty?
@DoktorJ: see also philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/149/… :)
Oct
20
comment Alternative expression for “xyz Nazi”
There's also the "police state" which the KGB, etc. refers to.
May
9
awarded  Yearling
Jul
29
comment What is “beer money”?
@tchrist: I know that I've heard the term used here in the US, although it's entirely possible it's been by people who imported it from the UK.