65

The trail of dees goes back to the mid-1800s, as follows. First, OED Online defines "puredee, adj. (and adv.)" (with forms pure-D, pure-d, pure dee, puredee, pure-dee, puredy, pure-T, all from the 1900s) as U.S. regional (chiefly south and south Midland). Thoroughgoing, out-and-out, complete, real. Also as adv.: very, totally, completely. ["...


49

It's true that OED's first definition for so-called is just called or designated by that name, but the most recent citation for that "neutral" sense is 1863. So even though OED don't explicitly identify it as dated/out-of-fashion, that's what I would say. The "current" definition is... Called or designated by this name or term, but not properly entitled ...


16

Sometimes it is negative, sometimes not. Generally if it precedes a term that is familiar and not a proper noun, it is being used to undermine that term. e.g. Band X have just released their so-called "Greatest Hits" album. The implication is that the songs on the album are only called "Greatest Hits", but aren't actually great or hits. Alternatively, ...


15

It has an opposing connotation. If someone is bothering to include "so-called" in a phrase, then they are seeing some reason to distance their own claim from that they mention. There's a few different reasons why one might do so, and if the claim is a positive one, then questioning it is negative. Conversely, if the claim is a negative one, then the ...


12

I'm going to disagree slightly with the other answers: I believe "Chinese writer" refers exclusively to the nationality of the writer (your option 2). The rest we assume from context, i.e. from what we know about the world. Think about it: do you know whether Mo Yan writes in Cantonese or Mandarin? Or what about if the headline mentioned "Swiss writer Juste ...


12

To answer the question directly: yes, it is perfectly correct to write “a 5-mm-thick layer”. However, when not in prefix position, it would be “a layer that’s 5 mm thick”, this time without any hyphens. The accepted answer appears to be wrong in its assertion that there is something wrong with writing “a five-millimeter-thick layer”. There isn’t. Here ...


12

In general usage, "so called" is used to indicate that the following words are not the writer's own, but come from another source. When the following words are not in common parlance, it could be considered neutral. It is especially useful when the introduced phrase has a literal meaning may be confusing. I have seen it used in popular publications when ...


10

The standard, but not very satisfying, answer is that you use an EN DASH (codepoint U+2013) as a higher-order HYPHEN (codepoint U+2010). Wikipedia says: In English, the en dash is usually used instead of a hyphen in compound (phrasal) attributives in which one or both elements is itself a compound, especially when the compound element is an open compound,...


10

Apparently, "way" was a contraction of "away". It took on an adverbial meaning in the early 1900s: In the 19th century, “‘way” was also used for “away” in the sense of a great distance: “way towards Tupper’s Lake” (1849); “He sat ‘way under the mantle” (1888); “way below cost” (1890); “mere specks, ‘way down the road” (1927), and so on. (Note that some ...


10

No, the comma is correct. Bound... is a participial phrase modifying the subject, the peasants, so it is not a clause; normally, only full clauses are set off by a colon, semicolon, or full stop. As to why you need the comma, a participial phrase that is removed from the subject (or from whatever it modifies) is normally appositional, i.e. a kind of ...


9

You've hit on a problem with gerunds: they can be ambiguous at times, and lead to syntactic ambiguity. From Wikipedia: Flying planes can be dangerous. Either the act of flying planes is dangerous, or planes that are flying are dangerous. Sometimes this ambiguity can lead you into a full-blown garden-path sentence, which forces the reader to reparse a ...


8

The Chicago Manual of Style gives these recommendations for hyphenating compounds formed with prefixes: Compounds formed with prefixes are normally closed, whether they are nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. A hyphen should appear, however, before a capitalized word or a numeral, such a sub-Saharan, pre-1950; before a compound term, such ...


8

I've always taken the omission here to be or the phrase "worth of". As such, what one means when one says "two weeks' holiday" is actually "two weeks' worth of holiday" and likewise with, for example, notice and imprisonment. The worth in this case belongs to the time, just as the worth belongs to the money when one says "three quid's worth of [insert ...


8

Form versus Function This is a perennial confusion, one deriving in part from different sources using the word “gerund” in conflicting and contradictory ways, some of which are based in older analyses that no longer hold, others which are simply too fuzzy for practical application. You seem to be using “gerund” to mean any old ‑ing word at all, no matter ...


7

I agree with Dizzwave that the rule should be this: use hyphens only where they reduce confusion. In the case of "our more educated patrons", "more" is an adverb that modifies the adjective/participle "educated", which is quite regular; it cannot be taken as an adjective, because "our more" would prevent that; therefore there is no substantial confusion ...


7

According to Whitesmoke, "Hyphens are used to link words that function as a single adjective before a noun." But the stronger rule seems to be, if a hyphen would reduce confusion, use it. IMHO, a hyphen makes your example read more clearly... but according to this Wikipedia article, "Compound adjectives that include comparatives and superlatives with more, ...


7

Yes (but you do have to know what you are meaning!) Some examples ... 'Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale; 'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale; A Christmas gambol oft could cheer The poor man's heart through half the year. ~Walter Scott I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller ...


7

A very quick google led me to this post on WordWizard by user Ken Greenwald ...The evidence, however, looks pretty strong to me for the probable origin provided by the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE): PUREDEE adjective, adverb. Also PURE-D, PURE DEE OLD, PURE O.D., PURE OLDEE, PURE-T [[all forms in lower case]] [Probably originally ...


7

Harold Wentworth, American Dialect Dictionary (1944) notes two early instances of "pure D" (and one in which "pure bee" may serve as an intensifier)—all from 1941—in its entry for pure, though it doesn't offer any insight into the question of what the D stands for: pure. ... 2. adj. Good, perfect; veritable, downright, 'regular.' [Relevant examples:} 1941 ...


6

You cannot interpose an adjective between the nouns of a noun phrase. As the Collins Cobuild English Grammar states: When a noun group contains both an adjective and a noun modifier the adjective is placed in front of the noun modifier. In most cases the noun phrase will be correctly interpreted, but it is legitimate to be concerned about potential ...


6

No, in written English you may not detach 'non', unless you're reporting a spoken utterance verbatim - in this case you're probably best off with no hyphens or dashes, since any hyphen or dash represents an editorial interpretation. Yes,'non-' (or 'non–', which as @tchrist's answer tells you is an ingenious and elegant neopunctism for resolving some ...


6

To your first question, the answer is 4: probably both. You're right, the modifier Chinese is ambiguous, but only in terms of what language the author uses. (Note that ambiguity in headlines is not necessarily something to reject. Eradication of ambiguity often requires the sacrifice of attention, and attention-grabbing is paramount in a headline.) In my ...


6

If used on something generally considered positive and desirable, the phrase "so-called" evokes a rhetoric of falsity or fraud in the thing being referred to, which is a negative connotation as you said. You Americans and your so-called freedom fighters have been doing nothing but invading other countries to maintain your power for over half a century. ...


6

Although both are possibly interchangeable: Sale Price is usually used when the item has a lower price than normal due to a sale. The discounted price of an item from the regular selling price. While sales price is an "alternative term for price" according to Business Dictionary.


6

In the examples of the OP, enough is a determiner for the ellipted noun people: Enough [people] are present to form a quorum. The determiner is negated by the adverb not: Not enough [people] are present to form a quorum. The understanding of what an adverb is, and what it can modify, has broadened over time: An adverb is a word that modifies a ...


6

To supplement the excellent answer from tchrist, I'll answer your question: For example, is it OK to say "With my persistent broadening the horizon of my knowledge of cosmology, my interest in it is ever growing."? No, it is not okay. "broadening" is apparently a noun here, since it is modified by the adjective "persistent" (as you recognize). But "the ...


5

I would say "3 1/2 -- probably but not necessarily both" :) "Chinese writer/author" pretty strongly implies "Chinese national" to me. It seems natural that one would specify the nationality of the winner of an international award. Especially since at least one of the articles stresses the committee's trend of picking Europeans. It stands to reason that a ...


5

If you mean the expertise of a particular user, then it would be the user's expertise, but if you mean the general concept of expertise developed by users, then user expertise would be clearer. For the general concept, you could, however, also say users' expertise, or perhaps users' collective expertise.


5

Yes, the article a can be used to precede the noun wind. However, this is a special case. For nearly all constructions, you should prefer the wind. As in, "The wind was blowing when I went to the store," or, "The wind carried my hat away." As you stated, using the article a before wind generally occurs when you are modifying the word wind. A gentle wind,...


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