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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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9 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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  • 709
8 votes
1 answer
424 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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8 votes
2 answers
321 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
427 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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  • 79
7 votes
1 answer
289 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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7 votes
3 answers
288k 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
0 answers
508 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
94 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
202 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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6 votes
1 answer
603 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
0 answers
60 views

What is the path of the expression "fall out" to mean have a quarrel?

I wonder what would be the logical or historical path that led the phrasal verb "fall out" to mean to have a quarrel? I mean phrasal verbs are not baptized to an action out of the blue, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
368 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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  • 4,791
5 votes
0 answers
108 views

Is there a word for "the king who has a regent"?

As the title says: Is there an established word or phrase for a "regent-ee," as distinct from a reigning monarch who does not have* a regent? From 1811 to 1820, the future King George IV was ...
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  • 2,403
5 votes
1 answer
191 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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5 votes
2 answers
9k 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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  • 265
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
85 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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4 votes
0 answers
145 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: ...
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4 votes
0 answers
81 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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4 votes
1 answer
88 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
1 answer
87 views

The distribution of *by*-phrases in complex nominals

I was recently reading page 39 of Surface Structure [1980] by Robert Fiengo when I stumbled upon the following dataset: (1a) The suggestion of a different tactic by John (1b) *The suggestion of depth ...
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  • 369
4 votes
0 answers
62 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
82 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
733 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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4 votes
1 answer
271 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
2 answers
145 views

Comparison (using Ellipsis)

I am trying to figure out when do we need to use an action verb explicitly and when can we omit it using the (ellipsis concept). For Example: John is taller than Jim [is] (I understood that here is ...
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  • 41
4 votes
0 answers
182 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 ...
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4 votes
0 answers
1k views

Incrementor vs Incrementer

While this may be pedantic, I'm curious about the proper usage, if any. We have a piece of software that opens a file, increments a counter in the file, and closes the file. This piece of software is ...
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  • 251
4 votes
1 answer
1k 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
0 answers
13k 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
205 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
206 views

Idiom for tinkering and then returning to what you had at first?

I'm trying to think of a good idiom/phrase for the process of questioning what you have, tinkering with it and finally returning to what you had at first. Specifically returning accidentally, then ...
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4 votes
0 answers
430 views

The pronunciation of the definite article by American speakers

I was reading an article the other day and I came across an interesting passage: Notice that the weak form of the is typically [ði] before a vowel-initial word (the apple) but [ðə] before a ...
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  • 814
4 votes
1 answer
241 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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  • 352
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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  • 6,838
3 votes
0 answers
73 views

Why do some folk songs from 1930s Appalachia pronounce the word 'Jordan' as 'Jerdon'?

In two songs I've listened to recently, "River of Jordan" by The Carter Family (1929-1932) and "Wayfaring Stranger" by Doc Watson (1992, but was almost certainly first played much ...
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3 votes
0 answers
46 views

English equivalent of German da- constructions

In German, the prefix da- can precede a number of prepositions, and in each case the compound da preposition is an anaphor, with the meaning of the preposition itself + it. For instance, the ...
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  • 616
3 votes
2 answers
105 views

Is there any expression for 'things that are innocent but appear or look bad'?

Is there any phrase or expression or idiom for a situation where things are actually innocent but appear bad. Example: A young girl is not supposed to go to a boy´s home if his parents are not there. ...
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  • 31
3 votes
0 answers
49 views

Was Middle English or something like it spoken during the late Anglo-Saxon period?

As far as I've been able to determine from Wikipedia and Googling (I'm not a linguist), Old English appears to have changed into Middle English very soon after the Norman Conquest (around the end of ...
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  • 39
3 votes
0 answers
82 views

Why did the English people switch from the Celtic language to Old English?

There is a widely held theory that when the Romans left England in the 5th century AD the island was defenceless against Anglo-Saxon invading armies. In the south and east the Britons were defeated in ...
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  • 173
3 votes
1 answer
40 views

Nonstandard agreement in relative clauses (usage)

Kimball and Aissen (1971) describe a dialect of English in which the matrix verb may agree with the embedded subject when it is relativized. That is, this dialect admits both (1a), with thinks ...
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  • 369
3 votes
0 answers
60 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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  • 41
3 votes
2 answers
105 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
65 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
145 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
67 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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  • 17.4k
3 votes
0 answers
128 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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