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Southern Dialect: Word for a time of day?

I remember reading a story somewhere that a Southerner wrote about one of his life experiences. He mentioned that in the region he lived there was a time of day that cooled off a large amount in less ...
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  • 199
8 votes
1 answer
397 views

The traditional grammar term for 'nominals'

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 329) has a section titled 'Nominals': Intermediate between the noun and the NP we recognise a category of nominals: [3] a. the old man b. that book ...
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  • 4,681
8 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why is "x" used as an abbreviation for some nouns?

This question is related, but is not a duplicate, of Why do some words have "X" as a substitute?. I have noticed that a few nouns can be significantly abbreviated with an "x" at the end. ...
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  • 699
7 votes
2 answers
237 views

Words spelled the same way they are pronounced

Is there a term for words that are spelled the same way they are pronounced? If so, is there a list of them somewhere? For example, I have thought of: "a" spelled A pronounced "A" ...
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  • 187
7 votes
2 answers
236 views

What is the equivalent word to oenology for the study of, knowledge of or expertise in alcoholic drinks and making them?

Apologies in advance, I am no linguist and don't know the proper terminology for things. I am looking for a collective word to describe someone who is interested in alcohol, makes cocktails, brews, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
281k views

Is 'I am glad to hear that' very formal or informal phrase?

I said this to one professor when she expressed about her current research work. Later, I realized that that phrase could be very informal.
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6 votes
3 answers
143 views

Word for the sensation of reading a word on a page without knowing where it is

I frequently experience the phenomenon of turning a page in a book or flipping a slide in a slideshow, and my eyes catching a single word on the page without me consciously knowing where the word is --...
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  • 161
6 votes
1 answer
104 views

Why are "er”, "ar” and "or" often listed as R-colored vowels but "air”, "ear" and "oor/ure" are not? Are they vowels or vowel+consonant?

NOTE: I speak a rhotic variety of English. I am struggling with how to explain r-coloured vowels/vocalic R to teachers during a presentation on the phonemes of English. Many grapheme-phoneme lists ...
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  • 61
6 votes
0 answers
492 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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
83 views

Is there a "-nym" word for kinship terms?

... or do we just say "kinship terms" or "family relationship terms" or something like that? In English we have for example "aunt" and "uncle" meaning "...
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  • 79
6 votes
1 answer
189 views

Why are the articles "an" and "the" not allowed in this structure? "(The/An) X though Y was..."

(*An) astute businessman though he was, P was capable of extreme recklessness (*The) actual perpetrators though they were, the criminals never admitted their guilt in court Why are the articles not ...
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  • 2,187
6 votes
1 answer
263 views

Where does compulsory "do support" come from?

We are familiar with the concept of "do support", where the verb do is used as an auxiliary verb. It can be found frequently in Shakespeare and before and it is claimed to derive from the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
164 views

When did "sink" start referring to the tap as well?

A current TikTok trend involves someone asking another person to "turn off the sink". In a play with the term "turn off", the second person then goes to the sink and says something ...
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5 votes
0 answers
166 views

American vs British English: using 3rd person singular pronoun or person's name?

I grew up in the UK and now have a lot of American friends and colleagues; I tend to notice an almost systematic difference in the way Americans use 3rd person singular pronouns in preference to a ...
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  • 151
5 votes
0 answers
243 views

Is "luggage" becoming a countable noun?

When I learned English, I learned that "luggage" an uncountable noun, meaning the collection of all your bags and suitcases (and/or their contents). From https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/...
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  • 59
5 votes
1 answer
583 views

What is the opposite of a retronym?

A retronym is the name given to an obsolete or older object to differentiate it from its newer replacement. Examples include "straight razor" (once just called "razor" until the modern razor), "analog ...
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5 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is there a difference between 'on your account' and 'on account of you'?

Consider the following sentences: Get thee hence, lest we too die on your account! Get thee hence, lest we too die on account of you! My intuition is that the two are identical in meaning, the ...
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  • 151
4 votes
0 answers
113 views
+50

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: ...
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  • 4,681
4 votes
0 answers
71 views

Is there more to “A hell of a …” than mere interjection or expletive?

Previous examination of “A hell of a …” on this site focussed on emphasis, interjection or expletive usage. As examples we have: (What is the meaning of "a hell of a lot"?) a great deal or ...
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  • 22.2k
4 votes
1 answer
72 views

Is the verb "to see" a metaphor?

For example, when one thinks an argument is invalid, one can say "I see this argument as invalid". Nevertheless, I always thought a metaphor requires, at minimum, requires two object/ideas; ...
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  • 43
4 votes
0 answers
60 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 ...
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  • 141
4 votes
0 answers
79 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 ...
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4 votes
0 answers
655 views

Etymology of "get off your duff"

The phrase "get off your duff" is a call to action. The recipient of this exhortation is (literally or figuratively) sitting, unmoving, and is being asked to get off of his buttocks, as seen ...
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  • 16k
4 votes
1 answer
264 views

B vs P pronunciation?

I'm a native Arabic speaker -Egyptian- we don't have the V & P sounds natively, I'm fully capable of pronouncing the V sound & telling the difference between it & the F sound perfectly, ...
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  • 41
4 votes
0 answers
171 views

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

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 410) defines "Fused-head NPs" as follows: Fused-head NPs are those where the head is combined with a dependent function that in ordinary ...
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  • 4,681
4 votes
1 answer
94 views

"Gentle confines"

Where does this phrase come from? It's something I use (usually ironically) and something that's "just there" in my lexicon like "fit as a fiddle". However when I Google it, no origin pops up. It ...
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4 votes
1 answer
981 views

Is inversion using the present perfect correct in ''Should you have decided...''?

In an email I received from my university, the following is stated: Should you have decided to do the assignment, please send us an email. My question is whether the inversion and usage of should is ...
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4 votes
1 answer
172 views

Category of the First Term in the Partitive Construction

Are the words in bold type in the following sentences determiners? One of the books was written by X I want two of those 8 percent of the population has X I ate some of that cake In a treatise ...
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4 votes
0 answers
12k views

Opt into vs opt in to

On the site 'Writing Explained' it is recommended to use "in to" instead of "into" when "in" is part of a verb phrase. As such, I would conclude that the phrase "opt in to" would be preferred over "...
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  • 141
4 votes
1 answer
201 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 this construction. I just realised how odd this construction is to think about, even though it feels perfectly idiomatic. ...
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4 votes
0 answers
3k views

Is it more common for the noun "research" to be stressed on the first or second syllable among educated native speakers of American English?

Which of the two common pronunciations of the noun research is more common among educated native American English speakers? /rɪ ˈsɝt͡ʃ/ with the stress on the second syllable /ˈriː sɚt͡ʃ/ with the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
222 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 ...
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  • 342
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: 1. I gave ...
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  • 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 ...
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  • 6,300
4 votes
1 answer
8k views

"true for" vs "true of"

I am collaborating on a text which includes a sentence like This is always true of subset A and, here, it is also true of subset B. A collaborator has asked if I should write "true for" instead of ...
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  • 255
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

How did epilogue and epigraph come to take on meanings opposite spatially when used in books?

I was thinking today about the apparent similarities in spelling at the start of the two words: Epigraph Epilogue And the fact they have seemingly opposed semantics. The first appearing at the start ...
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  • 9,518
3 votes
0 answers
29 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 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
52 views

Origin of the phrase "head shop"

As more U.S. states legalize marijuana, "head shops" (places that sell drug paraphernalia and related items) are experiencing a bit of a comeback. Where did this term come from? Few online ...
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3 votes
0 answers
46 views

How should I understand the nuances between "astringent" and "acerbic"

I keep on getting these two words mixed up in my head. How should I understand the nuances that distinguish "astringent" and "acerbic"? Is there ever a reason to use one over the ...
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  • 39
3 votes
2 answers
91 views

Is "punching a number" still used?

I'm a second-language speaker of English. I wonder if "punching a number" is still correct when calling on a smartphone and whether there are more precise alternatives?
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3 votes
0 answers
57 views

Reverse Tensing of the /æ/ Phoneme in American English?

I am a native speaker of a General American sociolect that realizes the /æ/ phoneme as [ɛə] before nasal consonants (e.g. 'fan,' 'stand,' 'ram'), and I've recently noticed that I've begun un-raising (...
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3 votes
0 answers
114 views

Etymology of fruit names (the unusual formation of berry fruit names and the indigenous fruits of England)

I am from Italy. Italy has a warmer climate than England, some fruits that naturally grow in Italy (and maybe they do not naturally grow in England) have an English name that sounds a lot like the ...
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3 votes
0 answers
64 views

Do dictionaries disfavor "disfavor"?

A question on ELU asked for A word for making an event more likely or less likely and I proposed the verb pair favor/disfavor in an answer, with these examples: For example, in the case of the Ising ...
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  • 17.3k
3 votes
1 answer
97 views

Antonyms and opposites

Is there an antonym for the verb besiege? asked for an “opposite” for the word besiege, with answers like occupy, barricade, where the person doing the barricading is inside the barrier, defending his ...
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  • 94.6k
3 votes
0 answers
56 views

outsized vs. outsize

Like many, I have often come across phrases such as "outsized influence" or "outsized contribution". However, once when trying to apply this myself, it was suggested (I think it ...
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  • 307
3 votes
1 answer
117 views

Ad hominem for non persons

An ad hominem argument is typically, according to Wikipedia, "a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument ...
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3 votes
2 answers
136 views

What do you call a person who's limited to contemporary ideas and practices?

Someone who doesn't have any appreciation for the past and clings to modernity, or to the current, the way a bigot clings to the outdated. Trendites or hipsters wouldn't quite cut it any more than ...
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3 votes
0 answers
67 views

Can "why" ever be used as a subordinating conjunction?

I posted an image of a list of subordinating conjunctions for my students today, and one of them asked about "why" on the list. I couldn't think of any example where "why" would be ...
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3 votes
1 answer
111 views

Am I interpreting the sentence correctly?

I'm having trouble understanding the bolded sentence in the following paragraph. The use of enslaved laborers was affirmed — and its continual growth was promoted — through the creation of a Virginia ...
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3 votes
0 answers
55 views

"lift/raise all up to" or "lift/raise up all to"

I know the rule with phrasal verbs and pronouns is that If the object is a personal pronoun (me, you, him, us, etc.), we always put the pronoun before the particle: Oh, I can’t lift you up any more. ...
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