1,607 reputation
312
bio website ryanhaberphotography.com
location Bethesda, MD
age 36
visits member for 2 years, 10 months
seen Nov 25 '13 at 19:36

I'm a technical writer at MicroStrategy in Vienna, VA.

I like running 5k, 8k, 10k, and marathons; watching movies; and reading philosophy or novels. My favorite activity, though, is hiking/backpacking/camping in wild areas and faraway lands ranging from Cambodia to my own backyard. And bringing my camera along is likely to make anything into pure joy.


Oct
13
comment How popular is “sine qua non” in English? If I use it in day to day conversation, will I be scoffed at?
Actually, the Associated Press has a handbook, which I have on my desk at home, that - if I am not mistaken - gives a list of Latin phrases they believe to be current and therefore acceptable for newspaper publication. It would be interesting to see if sine qua non is on the list.
Oct
13
comment How popular is “sine qua non” in English? If I use it in day to day conversation, will I be scoffed at?
You are correct, Jimbob, in a general rule that Latin phrases with technical meanings should be used. An earlier comment gives a good general rule to avoid Latin phrases in company unlikely to understand them. To refrain from their use in such circumstances is a courteous thing to do.
Oct
13
comment How popular is “sine qua non” in English? If I use it in day to day conversation, will I be scoffed at?
Jimbob, your comment is correct, in my opinion, until the last paragraph. You use the word "obfuscation" and it makes a nice demonstration of your last paragraph. The word is not as widely known as perhaps it ought to be, but a child or even an adult not knowing the word hardly makes it pretentious - except from the perspective of the ignorant party, who might just as easily have some sort of inferiority complex about the whole thing.
Sep
29
comment What do you call a person who is easily replaced?
Yeah, it's not an exact synonym because you can of course dispense with a thing without replacing it; but it seems to have something of the connotation sought, so I thought I'd put it up.
Jul
14
comment Referring to past times with “hence”
@ColinFine et al., I have to disagree. A week since is perfectly standard English. At least here, on the East Coast of the US, I here it in practical if not frequent use. Ago is certainly preferred.
Jul
14
comment “Late to the party” vs. “late for the party”
Mmm... not so sure. Your first two examples add verbs "will be" and "arrived" that modify the simple meaning of I am late for the party.
Jul
14
comment What does the phrase “ungodly hour” really mean?
Lol, fair enough.
Jul
7
comment What is the origin of the word “Latin”?
@Neil Coffey: Your Latin is a bit rusty, but maybe just a bit. Lingua latina is the correct phase and it means the Latin tongue or the Latin language. Latinus/a/um is the adjectival form of Latium.
Jul
7
comment What is the difference between “illicit” and “illegal”?
Whoa ho! We can get into an ethics conversation, and there certainly is a case to be made that individual use of narcotics causes social harm, but that is pretty far afield, Malvolio, from a board on English language and usage. I think my point was perfectly clear.
Jul
7
comment What is an expression for something you particularly like?
Lol. Except if you want to sound like you're from wherever I'm from. Then "rilly" is the way to go! Lol.
Jul
6
comment What is an expression for something you particularly like?
Ya. And "soft spot" isn't exactly the same, because you might say you have a soft spot for babies or kittens, but you wouldn't say you have a soft spot for Swedish girls. Soft spot is rather more... sentimental... than most men feel for women ;)
Jul
6
comment What is an expression for something you particularly like?
Especially "I have a thing for" is very commonly used, and might be used of almost anything.
Jul
6
comment What is the difference between “illicit” and “illegal”?
Illicit might be used to highlight the moral quality of the act as opposed to its legal quality. In practical use it also often carries something of a connotation of secrecy that is absent in illegal.
Jul
5
comment What color does ‘pale thing’ have?
Brown eyes are almost necessarily dark. I presume that in the description, "pale eyes," the operative fact is their paleness, rather than a specific color. The color would be either a blue (pales into gray, like mine, like the picture above) or maybe hazel.
Jun
29
comment What's the difference between “ludicrous” and “ridiculous”?
Is that distinction really true? It strikes me that in your example, the words might be used interchangeably. In fact, even Merriam-Webster doesn't seem to make a clear distinction between them.
Jun
23
comment Is there a term to describe speech that has a hidden meaning but is not sarcastic?
Hmmm... I don't think so. I'm gonna stand fast on this one, JAB. We speak very loosely of "poetic irony," but only in the same way that we speak of "poetic justice." In reality, when we use these phrases, the words poetic, irony, and justice are all being used somewhat loosely or analogously.
Jun
23
comment If Christopher is a “carrier of Christ” then what is Jennifer carrying?
And the v/b misspellings are common. As a non-native speaker, I learned Spanish from 20 years of regular study. I memorized the spellings of words as I learned them. Native speakers who are not well educated very often make these misspellings - not necessarily in very common or easy words, like vivir, though I've seen that, but certainly in difficult words. Sometimes, there is overcorrection as well, i.e., words that ought to be spelled with a b are spelled with a v. Kinda cool, huh?
Jun
23
comment If Christopher is a “carrier of Christ” then what is Jennifer carrying?
Just so. In fact, before the 16th century, it never would have been pronounced as a <b> at all. In a Greek class that I took in grad school, the prof explained how historical pronunciations are reconstructed from times that did not have sound recording. Guess how? The spelling errors! Ingenious, no? Spelling errors don't always, but usually tend to simplify spellings and to write words as they are spoken. Ten bucks says that the common Latin American misspellings surrounding v/b are entirely absent from before the 16th c.
Jun
23
comment A single word for someone who is not pleased no matter how hard you try
Implacable is a perfectly intelligent word. And it has the benefit that "plac-" is the Latin root for "to please." It literally means, "unpleasable."
Jun
21
comment If Christopher is a “carrier of Christ” then what is Jennifer carrying?
Good ear! A reverse flow happens too. We commonly think of "Spain" Spanish as "older" than Latin American Spanish, and so on. When we look at the idea, we see it is absurd. Spain isn't older than Latin America, and its Spanish isn't either, even though it was spoken there first. LatAm Spanish branched from Castilian, and they both continue to develop alongside each other. The branching happened relatively late in their development and as reliable means of communication were becoming available. Things trendy in the New World spread home, and purists in the New World insist upon the older ways!