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Why is 'women' sometimes pronounced as 'woman'?

Some American speakers pronounce both 'woman' and 'women' as 'woman' (ˈwʊm.ən). Is this a recent pronunciation change? Where, why, and when did it originate? I specified the American accent because ...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
519 views

What might the term "B-I-T-sweetie" mean in the context of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes's play "The Mule-Bone"?

I am currently reading through Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes's 1931 play, The Mule-Bone, and I am rather puzzled by the term "B-I-T-sweetie," which shows up in this exchange in Act ...
qoheleth's user avatar
  • 568
8 votes
4 answers
713 views

Does "have experience..." take a preposition?

I often struggle with whether "experience + noun/gerund" should include a preposition — and no matter how much digging I do in style manuals, dictionaries, and web search results, I never ...
cslorenc's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
336 views

Is there dialectal variation in the weak form of "on"?

This question is related, but not quite identical, to a previous one and to another similar one. In a recent video, phonetician Geoff Lindsey claimed that the words "off" and "on" ...
alphabet's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
805 views

Earlier sources or identity of person who coined the term "neutrois"?

A lot of work I've been doing recently has been around the emergence of various gender identities. "Neutrois" recently came to my attention, with more information about it here: Nonbinary ...
user3684314's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
698 views

Is there a term for sharing a word between multiple lines of a poem/song?

In Jonathan Coulton's "Sticking It To Myself," the last word or phrase in one line (bolded) often also serves as the first word or phrase in the next line without repetition: And I heard ...
Hactar's user avatar
  • 185
6 votes
1 answer
586 views

There seems (to be) a... vs. There seems (to be) little

There seems to be a problem. There seems a problem. In this type of construction, the version with to be, such as (1), is much more productive than the one without, such as (2). See this Ngram: ...
JK2's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
335 views

Is there an alternative modern approach to the fused-head noun phrase?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 410) defines "Fused-head NPs" as follows: Fused-head NPs (noun phrases) are those where the head is combined with a dependent function ...
JK2's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
424 views

Using ‘first’ pre-verbally: ‘When I first wake up, I...’, ‘When we first saw them, we...’

Sorry, I don't have a clear question so much as I'm just looking for info on the use of first pre-verbally in examples like these: When I first wake up, I […] When we first saw them, we […] I just ...
idshanks's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
125 views

Geographic Reasons for Phatic Expression "What's new?"

Quite a while back I had a language instructor tell me that the English phatic expression "What's new?" could be traced back in America to the fact that people lived very far apart from each ...
ChicagoShane's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
215 views

It’s an insult to us each

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Pages 427-28) has this: Universal personal pronouns of the type us all [6] i a. They’ve invited us all. b. It’s an insult to us both. ii a. She likes ...
JK2's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is there a term like "antonym" but for words of opposite sentiment?

I like to play a game where I take a descriptive word with an emotional bias (i.e. describing something "good" or "bad") and I try to think of a word with roughly the same meaning ...
Zekko's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes
0 answers
124 views

How are /ɪ/ and /ʌ/ realised in the Nottingham (East Midlands) accent?

I've got a sample of a few words pronounced by a Nottingham accent representative: https://youtu.be/2fCSeDEZeVU My ear is far from perfect and this is why I'd like to ask for your help in this ...
musialmi's user avatar
  • 177
5 votes
0 answers
189 views

There’s one letter (for you) to sign

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by H&P says (Page 1394): (d) Infinitival extensions [11] i a. A few replies are still to come. b. There are still a few replies to come. ii a. One ...
JK2's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
120 views

Other way to pronounce they'd

Is there another way to pronounce the word "they'd"? In this video (2:23), I think he pronounces it as "/ðed/ instead of /ðeɪd/. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXQQ94rg9ic Thank ...
Viet Hoang's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
65 views

Meanings of “catch one up” in British English

I know that it’s common in British English to say things like You go on ahead. I’ll catch you up. That usage is never encountered in American English. We would say, “I’ll catch up with you.” In ...
PaulTanenbaum's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
49 views

It this a that-clause

But thus it often is, that the constant friction of illiberal minds wears out at last the best resolves of the more generous. This is from Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener. I loved the structure &...
stavrogin82's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
97 views

pronunciation of "vehicle"

The Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary gives both forms for vehicle: /ˈviːəkl/, /ˈviːhɪkl/ for American English. Are the two pronunciations in free variation or can they be predicted based on ...
S K's user avatar
  • 1
4 votes
0 answers
98 views

"Had somebody something"

I wonder if it's okay to use "had somebody something" to convey the meaning of "if somebody had something"? For example: "I would have laughed at him had he more facetious ...
Sala's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
0 answers
118 views

Assimilation of /ʃ/ to [ɕ] before bunched [ɹ̈]

I noticed an odd phonetic phenomenon in my own speech that I initially assumed was widespread; then I asked @tchrist about it and he seemed to think it was highly unusual, which made me curious. IANAP ...
alphabet's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
133 views

current usage of "insightful"?

I frequently see "insightful" used to mean "provides insight", whereas I would agree with the answers to this question that "revealing", "illuminating", etc. ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
260 views

Is there a word equivalent to "sighting" but for hearing?

I'm trying to write a sentence like Nobody goes near the caves because of monster noises. "Nobody goes near the caves because of monster sightings" doesn't work because people have not ...
user478748's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
196 views

Non-standard grammar feature in British dialect?

I moved from Worcestershire in the UK to a non-native English speaking country when I was a child, which has made me very aware of my accent. Unlike my parents, I used to have a regional accent. I ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
0 answers
281 views

'To lie' and 'to lay' / 'to rise' and 'to raise' / 'to fall' and 'to fell' <-- Did English used to have more pairs like this?

My understanding is that there aren't many pairs of intransitive and transitive verbs in modern English. Off-hand, I know of three (though I think there are more): lie vs lay rise vs raise fall vs ...
Sweet Sheep's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
114 views

What is the origin of short form headlines in media/the news?

Every now and then one comes across a shortened form of headlines in media, mostly the news. For example: Study: Inflation Forcing More Americans To Choose Between Buying Groceries, Aston Martin DBS [...
Jpe61's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
0 answers
199 views

How can I distinguish between supplements and modifiers as proposed in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL)?

In CGEL, the authors use the term 'adjunct' as an umbrella term to cover an element that is either modifier or supplement. On page 1350, the authors explain the properties of supplements to ...
SalmonallDay's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

When are “carpet” and “rug” synonymous?

I am a speaker of Canadian English. Recently, I saw this video on Youtube about operant conditioning link to video where the speaker says "remove something pleasant like the carpet.” at about 1....
meepyer's user avatar
  • 708
4 votes
0 answers
212 views

The definition of 'clause' in modern grammar: construction vs function

Most modern grammars recognize verbless clauses such as the boy on the roof in (1) and on the roof in (2): (1) With the boy on the roof, they feared he might jump off it. (2) When on the roof, he ...
JK2's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
105 views

Again = 'back, opposite direction'

In the OED, archaic again, under def. 1a, is 'In the opposite direction; back.' The last example given there is from John Bunyan, with "turn again": "Come then, Neighbour Pliable, let ...
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
78 views

Terminology for using "the" instead of plural

I'm wondering about the following construction: The dog is a noble animal. This seems to have the same meaning as: Dogs are noble animals. I'm wondering if this sort of construction, referring ...
Winston Ewert's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
3k views

"Say" and "said" as transitive and intransitive verbs

I have an interesting question. Is "say" a transitive verb in the case of direct/reported speech? I understand that it can be a transitive verb in cases like "She said the phrase." or "She says the ...
AJK432's user avatar
  • 420
4 votes
0 answers
246 views

Where does the phrase "cheater caught, Peter red" come from?

Growing up in Pakistan, I heard variations of either: Cheater caught, Peter red; or Cheater cock, Peter red I assumed it was about a cocky boy named Peter who was either caught red-handed or turned ...
Amin Shah Gilani's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
456 views

caught-cot merger: can "lawyer" sound like "lier"?

"law" is pronounced as /lɑ/ if you speak with the caught-cot merger, so, logic suggests "lawyer" should sound like /lɑjɚ/, as "lawyer" is basically "law" + "yer" For me, the difference between /lɑjɚ/ ...
David Haim's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
248 views

What does one call the noun a preposition relates to its object?

With minimal research online one can easily find that a prepositional phrase consists of a preposition and an object. Most online and paper resources will describe a preposition as a word that ...
Charlie Mcvicker's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
13k views

Similar vs Similarly to

This is related to the following questions, 1, 2. In many papers in mathematics, I often see the following constructions. Similar to [1], we have that 2+ax = 3y. Similar to Equation 2.3, we note that ...
Echan's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
0 answers
3k views

Are "after" and "before" inclusive or exclusive in common everyday language usage

In normal everyday language use: following examples exhibit a)Date of birth is after 13/2/2017 exhibit b)Date of birth is before 13/2/2017 does (a) mean 13/2/2017 is also included? (b) mean 13/...
jimjim's user avatar
  • 968
4 votes
0 answers
140 views

The origins of the North American glottalised stop in place of certain consonant groups

In some North American speech (not sure about Canada;), I have long noted the pronunciation of certain consonant combinations that seem to have drifted to what sounds like some form of glottalised ...
neveRu's user avatar
  • 169
4 votes
0 answers
112 views

Is there always a difference between /ə(ɹ)z/ and /ɪz/?

Is there always a difference between the following two sounds: /ɪz/ as in the end of 'hedges' /ə(ɹ)z/ as in the end of 'ledgers' They seem super close. Is there any accent in which they sound the ...
guest's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
0 answers
2k views

"She talked about how..." Grammar Rule

I'm trying to find the grammar rule or name that explains these types of sentences: The movie was about how we all need to love each other. She talked about how there is a great fear of technology. ...
Acornrevolution's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
83 views

Term for Successful Sale after Demoing Product

I believe there is a business term for such an event, but I can't recall what it is. An example would be a vacuum salesman showing a prospective buyer how a vacuum works, and the buyer ends up ...
JustAnotherCoder's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
57 views

Origin of the phrase "Xs and the Ys who love them"

I was just writing something, and the stock phrase "Xs and the Ys who love them" popped into my head (where X can represent pretty much any noun and Y any animate noun). Where did this ...
sasquires's user avatar
  • 169
4 votes
1 answer
78 views

Can a present-participle (compound) verb which could function as an adjective be further modified with -ly become an adverb?

For example, if the height of an platform is such as to be sickness-inducing, then could the platform be said to be sickness-inducingly high? Or take the example of mind-boggling -> mind-bogglingly....
TylerDurden's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
320 views

How should I hyphen decimal numbers written in letters (that contains the word "point" and "and")?

All the wesites I've looked at says to hyphen numbers when you are describing compound numbers between 21 and 99 (except 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90). A compound number is any number that consists ...
Eren8hisfather's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
110 views

What do you call the set of ngrams?

A lexicon is a list of words that belong to a particular language (see this answer). Is there a name for "the set of all ngrams" ? I mean the set of all consecutive words (collocations and ...
marsei's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
1 answer
204 views

Performative "allow, permit, let"

According to Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 208, Allow, permit, and let can express deontic possibility, permission, but are also used more generally in a causative sense similar ...
GJC's user avatar
  • 2,509
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

What distinguishes a predicative complement from an object?

Asked this on ELL but with no answer: What makes be an intransitive verb? How do we know that the analysis of It is me as transitive by tradtional grammars is incorrect? Take for example: I gave an [...
Joe's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

The origin of the current use of 'readout' in reporting political news

The word ‘readout’ has recently started appearing in various U.S. news reports in a sense that seems to be relatively new: a public summary of a meeting, or a phone conversation, which was not itself ...
jsw29's user avatar
  • 8,640
4 votes
1 answer
501 views

The "few would argue" idiomatic phrase

Taken literally from a modern US English viewpoint, the phrase "few would argue that" would mean that the statement the phrase appears before is widely held to be false. The specific wording ...
Dallium's user avatar
  • 382
4 votes
1 answer
143 views

How did "as" amass all its confusing "broad and vague meanings"?

From Bahrych, Merino. Legal Writing and Analysis in a Nutshell 5th edition (2017). 343: as. Do not use the conjunction as when you mean “since,” “because,” “when,” or “while.” Its broad and vague ...
user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
3k views

Parenthetical sentence (double commas) followed by definition in parenthesis - where to put commas?

I am working with legal texts a lot and I was wondering about the following phrase that will show up in most US related prospectuses: "according to the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the ...
Gibsboy's user avatar
  • 41

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