September 28, 2005  •  steve

Do not induce vomiting

Often poisons, and certain drugs give directions to NOT induce vomitting. Indeed, I don’t ever remember reading directions that did advise you to induce vomiting. So, this begs the question, are they saying go ahead and vomit but don’t do so by sticking your fingers down your throat, or are they saying avoid vomiting altogether... take some gravol or something?

September 28, 2005  •  steve

The Toronto Maple Leafs

Shouldn’t that be “The Toronto Maple Leaves”? They’re a hockey team in case you never heard of them.

September 26, 2005  •  kitty


My boss always says “irregardless” when I believe he should be saying “regardless.” Is irregardless even a word? Since I know what he means and more importantly, since he IS the boss, I refrain from correcting him, but this misusage always makes me cringe. Any insight? I’ll hang up and listen!

September 26, 2005  •  martin2

How many “ands” in a row

How can you put the word “and” 5 times in a row in the same sentence? I need to tell a story. The landlord of a pub called The Pig And Whistle asked a signwriter to make a new sign. When he saw it he thought that the words were too close together so he said to the signwriter “I want more space between Pig and And and And and Whistle”.

September 7, 2005  •  seankelly

Past tense of “text”

Now that text messaging has become a normal method of communication, “text” appears to have become a verb, as in “Text your vote in now”. Once that vote has been sent, what is the past tense? I don’t think that I can bring myself to use “texted”, but always saying “sent a text message” seems to be a contrived way to avoid “texted”.

July 20, 2005  •  ivaylotivanov

Mileage for kilometers

Can you help me find the best word that covers the same concept as ‘mileage’ but for kilometers: mileage (mileages) 1. Mileage refers to the distance that you have traveled, measured in miles. Most of their mileage is in and around town. N-UNCOUNT: also N in pl Are such neologisms as ‘kilometerage’ or ‘kilometrage’ used in English?

July 12, 2005  •  jiri

Assimilation /d/ + /j/

Hi I’m a non-native English teacher. We did recently some work on assimilation of /d/ + /j/ as in ‘Could you...’ or ‘Did you...’ I was trying to elicit some other examples from my students and I got back this sentence: There is a dead yak. Clearly, the two sounds meet here but I wonder if native speakers would really use any assimilation at all. To me, ‘dead Jack’ sounds odd..

June 30, 2005  •  scott


Can I replace smaller with littler always, sometimes, or never. Is the use of littler ever proper?

June 10, 2005  •  erik

I versus Me

I could have sworn that someone told me once that the proper use of one self when combining with one other was “me” and not “I”. For example, if I want to state that: “Jim and I discussed the proposal that was sent.” really should be: “Jim and me discussed the proposal that was sent.” Can you clarify?

May 26, 2005  •  ivaylotivanov

North or northern

Hi all! It’s a wonderful blog. Congratulations! I’m in this predicament: What is the rule for using north/south/east/west and northern/southern/eastern/western with geographical names? For example, why is it called “Eastern Europe” instead of “East Europe” and “North America” instead of “Northern America”. In this regard, which collocation is more acceptible - “Southern France” or “South France”. Why? What’s the rule? Thanks!

May 4, 2005  •  fishslapper

Everybody doesn’t say it like that...

It might seem a bit nit-picky but I was wondering about how people say... oh this is hard to word for me. Take for instance, a whiny kid who wants to go the park. His mom takes him to the side and says, “Timmy(or something like that), everyone doesn’t want to go to the park.” That’s a really bad example... But I’m wondering if that’s wrong, or if it’s any better at all to say, “Not everyone wants to go to the park.” It’s just that when someone uses Everyone + Negative verb it seems like “Nobody” instead of “Only a certain few”--I think they mean. Of course if no one wanted to go they would just say, “Nobody wants to go”, not “Everyone does not want to go”... it’s weird the second way. It grates my nerves to hear someone say “everyone can’t do it...” instead of “Not everyone can do it”. Maybe they don’t want to have a negative outlook. gyahhh. Am I making sense? (no).

April 26, 2005  •  eggbert


Can one really work “under a time-constraint”? This seems odd to me. Since the person cannot literally be under this constraint. Would it make more sense to state, “ the context of a time-constraint”? Or is is better to state in some other way?

April 18, 2005  •  pjwade

Bloody Mary

I work for a liquor distributor and have a recurring problem with vodka & tomato juice. My coworkers and I cannot agree on the correct plural form of Bloody Mary. Help!

April 4, 2005  •  jimmcculloch

you all

New to this blog, I read back a few days and discovered the entry on you all, in which some commentators maintained that you by itself does satisfactory service as a plural. But consider the following: Person walks into a bar, says “hi, y’all” to everyone there. This utterance would be recognized as perfectly grammatical and ordinary by any native speaker of red-state English. Is there any variety of English where “hi, you” could be taken as a greeting to everyone?

March 9, 2005  •  jennifer

Login into or log in to

I’m damn confused about this... Can anybody tell me which is the right way to say? “I am sorry to hear that you have trouble with login into our website.” or ” I am sorry that you have trouble with log in to our website.” I feel both are wrong. If so, what is the right way to say this?

March 9, 2005  •  eduardo

The Nanny

I recently came across the following sentence in an American online newspaper: “He has left a message for his children’s baby sitter, a high school freshman who lives next door, to relieve the nanny, who leaves at 6.” Which left me wondering as to the disctinction between a baby sitter and a nanny. Any comment is greatly appreciated. Tks y’all!

March 8, 2005  •  gerrymerchant

you all

Why do most Americans say “you all” instead of just the second person plural “you”? When and where did this originate. I am expecting answers from you all.

March 7, 2005  •  ericguyer


Is this a real word? Can’t find it in dictionaries, but commonly used as found by web search.

March 5, 2005  •  martine


Recently a guy introduced his significant other (a female who was present) to me by saying “this is my partner”, and it took me some time (and after seeing them together) to figure out that she was a significant other instead of any other forms of “partner” - a business partner, a tennis partner, etc. My understanding of the term is that “partner” is often used to refer to a homosexual partner, which is apparently not the case here; or, when the partner being mentioned is not present, I guess one could say “my partner and I went shopping”, in which case, the “partner” could be taken as either male or female. But when the person herself is there, isn’t “partner” too general a term to use? would you have figured out right away that he meant a significant other? Or is this an accepted usage within any specific region? (this is in the U.S.) thanks, Martine

March 2, 2005  •  megan


Does anyone know the correct way to use “comprise”? I’ve often seen it used like this: The conference comprised of a number of lectures... I don’t think it would be right to say “the conference comprised a number of lectures” but I’m really not sure about using “of” with “comprise”.

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