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Unanswered Questions

9
votes
0answers
148 views

A convenient word for school toilets?

At the very British-colonial Routledge primary school in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1950s we were given breaks to run off to the toilets or "arkees" (I am giving the word a phonetic spelling). ...
6
votes
1answer
714 views

Can a collective noun denoting a collection of inanimate objects be treated as plural in British English?

This grammar page on ‘Matching verbs to collective nouns’ provided by Oxford Dictionaries says: Collective nouns are nouns which stand for a group or collection of people or things. They include ...
5
votes
0answers
103 views

Origins of the 'editorial we' and its counterpart, the 'editorial I'

In researching an unrelated EL&U answer, I came across this commentary in an item titled "Hobart Town" in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (November 10, 1829): These three ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the difference between 'entry' and 'entrance', and 'admission' and 'admittance'?

This is what I have gathered from the dictionary and a few other websites: entry: the act of entering, in a more formal way entrance: the act of entering; a gate/door, etc admittance: permission ...
4
votes
2answers
80 views

How to best describe: all law, primary/secondary legislation, etc - with “laws”, “acts”, “statutes”, “ordinances”, etc?

I'm writing software that needs to have the following categories of law for a non-English speaking country: (a) all laws (b) primary country-wide legislation (passed by parliament) (c) secondary ...
4
votes
1answer
193 views

Syntax of fused relative construction with 'what'

I really liked what she wrote. According to CaGEL* (Page 1073), what she wrote is not a clause but a noun phrase (NP). The reason I believe is that the head of what she wrote is not the clause she ...
4
votes
0answers
79 views

How to determine if a pre-head dependent of a noun is a complement or a modifier

These examples are from CGEL*. a linguistics student a first-year student CGEL says 'linguistics' is a complement of the noun 'student', whereas 'first-year' is a modifier of the noun '...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

the meaning of sentence “look for contrast to decades”

"As clucks of disapproval about Americans' political apathy have grown louder in recent years many historians have looked for contrast to the decades before the Civil War as a time when Americans were ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

use of the pronoun 'it' in extraposition

I really don't know about this it in the sentence: […] I didn't know why I resented it so intensely to have them think of me as something newly minted, but it was – I am certain – echoes of that ...
4
votes
1answer
324 views

On the phrase “You wouldn't think it to [look at him]”

There is an oft-used phrase structure that appears odd to me, but I can't tell if it qualifies as a set phrase, idiom, a mere grammatical fluke, or an archaic grammatical structure. The superstar ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

Can you have a compound of a predicate nominative (noun) and predicate adjective with a single linking verb?

Beth is a nurse. Nurse is the predicate nominative (noun). Beth is a nurse and a sailor. Nurse and sailor appear to me as compound predicate nominatives (nouns). Beth is funny. Funny is the ...
4
votes
3answers
364 views

wonder if/whether (negative clause)

There's another post concerning a similar question, but after reading through it, I'm still not sure about the meaning of the sentence I encountered: The calendar was blank, as it had been every ...
4
votes
2answers
269 views

Grouping word that includes nouns and adjectives but not the other parts of speech?

I am looking for a grouping word that would include nouns and adjectives but not other parts of speech like verbs, adverbs, and prepositions. Does such a word exist? Example: The words "tree", "red", ...
3
votes
0answers
18 views

Term or phrase like “pangram” for more general cases

I am looking for a word or phrase like "pangram" that signifies an example of something that contains all the allowable contents of that class of object: "1,234.567809" contains all the generally-...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Word for people who ask to be treated but never accept when offered

I'd like to apologize in advance if I don't make sense. I'm not a native English speaker. Anyway, here's the background: Back home, it is common that your friends ask you for a treat for every ...

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