63 votes

Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?

No, "their" is used quite correctly here, as a possessive. It simply modifies "air". To simplify the phrasing by removing some words, it basically says: Their inoffensive... air ...
Doug Warren's user avatar
  • 11.5k
34 votes

Term used to describe a person who predicts future outcomes

Some suggestions: Forecaster – someone who forecasts. (mentioned by Xanne in comment) to predict (a future condition or occurrence); calculate in advance: to forecast a heavy snowfall; to ...
xiota's user avatar
  • 891
21 votes

“These days are over” vs. “those days are over”

Semantically these/those holds just as true for days as it does for physical objects. These days means the ones you are currently experiencing. As in, the days right in front of me are .... Those ...
David M's user avatar
  • 22.5k
17 votes

Why can't "any" be used as subject in negative sentences, while "no" can?

First, the question is out of left field. The ungrammaticality of *Any children didn't come doesn't have a thing to do with subjects. It has to do with how one uses the word any, which is rather a ...
John Lawler's user avatar
14 votes

Term used to describe a person who predicts future outcomes

A term I particularly like for this is prognosticator. prognosticate prog·​nos·​ti·​cate | \ präg-ˈnä-stə-ˌkāt \ 1 : to foretell from signs or symptoms : PREDICT 2 : to give an ...
Cat's user avatar
  • 579
13 votes

Term used to describe a person who predicts future outcomes

An actuary is a business analyst who assesses future risks and uncertainties. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics describes actuaries as people who use past data and predictive models to tell the future:...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
10 votes

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: “If a ...
GoDucks's user avatar
  • 513
9 votes
Accepted

Are these parts of speech correct?

It's much easier to do parts of speech if we don't confuse them with grammatical relations/syntactic functions , and if we don't get distracted by inflections. A verb is still a verb, regardless of ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

a [box [of apples] ] vs [a box] [of apples]

One generally assumes that only constituents can be replaced by an indefinite pro-form and that only a constituent can be the antecedent for such a replacement. So since we can go from I want a ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 17.4k
8 votes

Is determiner 'a' needed in "one would call such a value a constant"?

Both of your example sentences are grammatically correct, but they mean subtly different things. "One would call such a value a constant" means that "a constant" is another name for a value with the ...
zwol's user avatar
  • 3,355
7 votes

Cardinalities in English language

You are confusing grammar and semantics. You are also confusing the idea of a question having an unusual answer with it being an invalid question. Just because the answer to the question "How many ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 25.5k
7 votes

Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?

I agree broadly with Anton, but will suggest that the sentence in question is elliptical. Melville is saying that the officers' attitude on deck is certainly not the strangest thing - No! the ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 41.5k
6 votes

Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?

I'm essentially agreeing with Edwin Ashworth's paraphrase, but I'll offer a second possibility as well; and I'll disagree with Anton's suggested paraphrase. First, here's the original paragraph again: ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
  • 2,662
6 votes

Serial number/id/reference/label as noun postmodifier?

Why does it come after the noun? This English construction is called apposition In particular, see "restrictive apposition". Two examples of this from the link are: My friend Alice Smith ...
GEdgar's user avatar
  • 25.1k
6 votes

Is "many" grammatically viable in front of plural-only nouns?

The Original Poster's diligent research has provided us with a clear answer to the main question. Many is used frequently in front of plural only nouns. And, as demonstrated, it's used by respectable ...
5 votes

When to use "this" or "that"?

In writing fiction, 'this' and 'that' can be used very effectively to connote different things. They are functionally equivalent, but the closeness of 'this' and the distance of 'that' can be used as ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 87
5 votes

Term used to describe a person who predicts future outcomes

Perhaps you are thinking of “analyst.” OED (Online), 2., b.: A specialist or expert in the analysis of events and situations or the prediction of future developments in a particular field. ...
Der Übermensch's user avatar
5 votes

Term used to describe a person who predicts future outcomes

According to Merriam-Webster futurist one who studies and predicts the future especially on the basis of current trends economic futurists predict a new world order in which information is the ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
5 votes

Is determiner 'a' needed in "one would call such a value a constant"?

A constant is correct. In programming and mathematics, a constant is a kind of value that is characterized by being unchanging, as opposed to a variable, which is used as a placeholder for a variety ...
fsdfds's user avatar
  • 87
5 votes

Does the part of speech of "said" differ between dialects?

Relevant discussion of said in New members of ‘closed classes’ in English (B. Reynolds and GKP) with the said district as an example. (See link to read more) 2.2.1 Said The word said follows a ...
user424874's user avatar
4 votes

"An High Priest of Good Things to Come" -- why "An"?

The wording of “an high priest” is archaic, and this creates a feeling of separation from ordinary language that you don't get as much with "a high priest." Peter Shor pointed out in a comment that “...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.7k
4 votes

Why is "any" not classified as an article?

Tradition The term "article" is relatively old, and grammatical terminology has a certain amount of inertia. So this is partly a historical question: why did the word "article" come to be used to ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.7k
4 votes
Accepted

Is "many a person" singular or plural?

The first is correct: I am able to avoid a pitfall into which many a student has fallen. The second could be modified to take a plural noun and still retain an equivalent meaning: I am able to ...
mjsqu's user avatar
  • 672
4 votes
Accepted

Why is "each row and each column" followed by a singular verb in this sentence?

This is a particular case of compound subject, one or more nouns joined with a conjunction. When compound subjects are preceded by "each", "every", and certain other words, they are rendered singular, ...
remnant's user avatar
  • 1,040
4 votes
Accepted

Is "Drink milk." a legal imperative sentence?

Articles are generally only needed if they refer to a single object or quantity. "Drink the milk." is a valid sentence as you noted, indicating that there is some obvious milk available. "Drink a ...
Kamil Drakari's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Why is "I see a few trees" correct but "I see a many trees" not?

The expressions, a few and its uncountable equivalent a little, are really idioms. Etymonline states that a few was originally meant to convey irony, Unusual ironic use in quite a few "many" (1854),...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

"Neither of us are" -vs- "Neither one of us is"

Your sister appears to be correct. 'Neither of us' is understood as 'neither one of us' and is treated as singular. From the Commnet "Guide to Grammar and Writing": The pronouns neither and ...
Roaring Fish's user avatar
  • 15.1k
4 votes

The BBC has shown me very little respect

Larry Zweir, at Cambridge Grammar and Beyond (abridged and reformatted), classes a lot of a great deal of a large amount of quite a few a little bit of a small number of a small amount of as ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
4 votes

The word “which” referring to a “whom”

The sentence: 'Doctor' means 'a learned man', which I suppose this man is. is perfectly grammatical, because the antecedent of "which" is "the condition of being a learned man", which -- being a ...
Gustavson's user avatar
  • 3,190

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