All Questions

8,711 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
9 votes
1 answer
301 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
  • 559
7 votes
0 answers
712 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
6 votes
0 answers
129 views

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
6 votes
0 answers
237 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
  • 15.8k
6 votes
4 answers
291 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
6 votes
0 answers
286 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
  • 6,491
6 votes
3 answers
344 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
81 views

Does English prefer abbreviated names more than other IE languages?

Background I have a name that English L1 speakers find hard to pronounce.* One of the first questions I get whenever introducing myself to one, is ‘Can I call you […]?’ After years in the university ...
Canned Man's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
104 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
168 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
  • 6,491
5 votes
1 answer
441 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
  • 6,491
5 votes
0 answers
221 views

Term for/etymology of the opposite of a nosism (using 'we' to mean 'you')

A nosism is the term for using 'we' to refer to oneself. I am looking for a term for/etymology of using 'we' to mean 'you'. EDIT: Another way of putting it is that I'm looking for the proper term ...
Lordology's user avatar
  • 2,277
4 votes
0 answers
57 views

Easier said than done vs. Easier to say than do

As a speaker of English as a second language, I've long been curious to know why English speakers would choose to say "Easier said than done" over "Easier to say than do". Why ...
Choe Guevara's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
89 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
  • 15.8k
4 votes
0 answers
102 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
0 answers
167 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
98 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
162 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
2 answers
3k views

Where does the phrase "Ain't no thang but a chicken wang" come from?

Where does the phrase "Ain't no thang but a chicken wang" come from? Per Online Slang Dictionary, it's an interjection used to indicate that something is "okay; not a big concern." ...
JSNinja's user avatar
  • 49
4 votes
0 answers
201 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
  • 6,491
4 votes
0 answers
103 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
667 views

How did English final /əl/ come to usually be spelled "le"?

English has suffixes spelled "-le" and pronounced /əl/ with several meanings. However, they variously come from Old English -el, -ol, -ul, and -lian. Of these, only -lian has a vowel after ...
Dijek's user avatar
  • 61
4 votes
0 answers
71 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
2k 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
  • 400
4 votes
0 answers
222 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
216 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
12k 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
131 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
1 answer
107 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
194 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
  • 2,433
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
  • 8,184
4 votes
1 answer
401 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
140 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
2 answers
350 views

Placement of “anymore” with respect to other complements, as in "not possible anymore to …"

I often see sentences like this from non-native speakers: ?It is not possible anymore to cross the border without a passport. To me, this sounds wrong, and I would write this instead: It is no ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

"With probability", "with a probability", "with the probability"?

As a mathematician, I often write and read about probabilities. In the literature, I've seen versions of all the sentences below. Which one is correct? This happens with probability (of) 30%. This ...
Paula's user avatar
  • 149
4 votes
1 answer
144 views

What do we call the past movement to latinize English?

When examining intriguing etymologies, Merriam-Webster often brings up a historic movement to regularize the English language by making it more like Latin, as they do in this video examining the ...
gen-ℤ ready to perish's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
274 views

What are the characteristics of masculine and feminine speech in English?

I imagine that people will instinctively say, "There is no masculine or feminine speech in English," but I am not so sure. For instance, the stereotype is that men speak roughly and women ...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
89 views

Verb tense in Phineas and Ferb song “History of Rock”

I've been learning English for decades but I still don't get how its verb tenses work. The Phineas and Ferb episode “Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together” has the song “History of Rock”. In its ...
b_jonas's user avatar
  • 179
3 votes
0 answers
61 views

Participle clauses after "even"

You can do that even from home. You can do that even when working from home. (1)You can do that even working from home. (2)?You can do that even living in Korea. You can do that even when hurt, angry,...
desmo's user avatar
  • 511
3 votes
0 answers
136 views

Is Erich Fromm's claim that the extended use of "have" corresponds to the rise of the market economy and Protestantism accurate?

In the book To Have or to Be Erich Fromm claims using "have" in English increased due to the rise of the market economy and Protestantism. Where one is alone in the market, with their ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
61 views

Should I capitalize a quoted transliteration?

Consider the following: "Saranghe" not only means "I love you," but it also means "Let's be together till we die." In Telugu, "Intiki veltunnava?" means "...
bhuvana ruddarraju's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
39 views

Commas in an introductory phrase for both a time shift and a new setting

So let’s say I’ve got an introductory phrase that introduces both a new setting and a new shift in time, sort of like a “scene change” phrase. For example, let’s say those two elements are “later” for ...
inkwell87's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
1 answer
106 views

Is there a documented merger or split responsible for whether or not people treat lair and layer as homophones, and if so, what is it called?

Discovered a weird bit of pronunciation distinction in friends today, between three words: lair (as in home to monster) layer (as in levels of a cake) layer (as in "one who lays things down"...
ShadowRanger's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
75 views

History of "dummy" as adverb?

The meme-y term "dummy thicc" uses "dummy" as an intensifier modifying "thicc" (meaning curvy). How common is this usage of "dummy"? How long has it been around?...
joshuahhh's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
0 answers
52 views

Was 'without' always the opposite of 'with'?

It seems that the word without was constructed as the opposite of within (or vice versa, but either way, they're a pair). However, we also use the word to mean the opposite of with, and that poses a ...
speedfranklin's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
121 views

How did -ing become a suffix for both present participles and nouns derived from verbs?

In non-modern and non-Middle-English Germanic languages, present participles and nouns derived from verbs look and sound very different: English: wend - wending - wending Middle English: wenden - ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
  • 5,391
3 votes
0 answers
73 views

What is the difference between phrases "is used when" and "is used for when"?

I was recently reading some articles about type conditionals, and one of them had a following line: The zero conditional is used for when the time being referred to is now or always and the situation ...
whatserface's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
128 views

Why are some Russian names Anglicised but not others?

For example, we speak of "Peter" the Great, "Nicholas" II, and "Joseph" Stalin, but no one ever spoke of "George" Gagarin, "Theodore" Dostoevsky, or &...
JAF's user avatar
  • 131

15 30 50 per page
1
2 3 4 5
175