Unanswered Questions

9,096 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
19
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
181 views

Rustle up, cook up, google up—what’s up with phrasal verbs?

I was reading Why is “rustle up” different from “rustle”? which I came across as I was looking for a duplicate for google up meaning on ELL, and it made me realize how little I know about phrasal verb ...
9
votes
1answer
318 views

Is the origin of "butch" really from Polari?

I've been researching the origin of the term "butch" and noticed that sources tend to be split on whether they mention it originating from Polari. OED, Green's Dictionary of Slang (adj., ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
302 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
95 views

Why do we say "doctor's appointment"?

Doctors seem to be unique among professions in that we use the possessive when referring to their appointments. "Doctor's appointment" is many times more common than "doctor appointment&...
6
votes
0answers
439 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
261k 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.
5
votes
2answers
120 views

(*An) astute businessman though he was,...: (*The) actual perpretators though they were,

(*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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Term for poetic technique in which the last word of a line is the first word of the next

"Runs in the family" by Amanda Palmer contains the following lyrics: Strips in the city and shares all her best tricks with Me? Well, I'm well The first word of the bridge, "Me?", is ...
5
votes
0answers
145 views

Is there a name for the substitution of "the + singular noun" for a plural noun?

For instance, I might say, "Overcrowding is a major concern in the classroom today" rather than "Overcrowding is a major concern in classrooms today". Is that substitution a literary device? The ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What’s the reason for the zero article after a preposition and countable noun in “a change of X” and in “a switch from X to Y”?

I am a non-native speaker of English and therefore need your help. The question is: why do we use the zero article in the phrases “a change of X” and “a switch from X to Y”? For instance: a change ...
5
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
44 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/...
4
votes
1answer
313 views

Why is "second to last" not documented with the meaning of "third to last"?

All dictionaries I have looked at give the sole meaning of second to last as next to last (or penultimate and, in BrE, also second last). However, second to last is also used to mean what most folks ...

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