October 15, 2004  •  elizabethmourer

Use of Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, etc.

I have been wondering about the use of these terms, especially when they came up repeatedly in the Presidential Debates. I am taking a Linguistics Class and my Professor asked me to do some research. I don’t even know where to start, what are these terms referred to as, and what are the constraints on their use? They always sound awkward to me when I hear them, but I am starting to realize that that doesn’t mean anything. Thanks in advance, Elizabeth

September 23, 2004  •  speedwell2

Taking the Name, in vain or in earnest

Thought of one. I’m aware that there is an area of controversy surrounding the capitalization of words in English pertaining to the Divine (What- or Whoever you may think Him, Her or It might be). Most Christians write “God” and “the Supreme Being.” (Quakers write “the Divine Light.”) Entities worshipped by other religions are referred to as “gods” by Christians. Scientists also refer to the “gods” of various cultures and civilizations. Modern Pagans write, for example, “the Mother Goddess” and “the Horned God,” or “the Green Man.” Islamic writers write “Allah (blessed be He),” Hindu writers sometimes write “the God” when they are referring to a member of the class of Entities that they worship. Atheists mostly insist on writing “god/goddess/gods,” although I am an exception; I think that usage is nothing more than defiant. Any time I am asked, I say that it is customary in English to capitalize the name of God and all pronouns referring to Him, no matter what religion the writer happens to profess or not profess. It is no longer a question of respect, but of proper English capitalization. Commenters, what is your view?

September 19, 2004  •  jeudi2

Construction

Hi Everybody! “The chances for my ever being interrogated were nil, but I nevertheless felt better that way.” Sounds English? PS: Ben! Now, I am really confused about future in the past and tense coordination!

September 10, 2004  •  vindibul3

Adjective in place of Adverb

Today I found myself in the position of wanting to use “volatile” in the sentence “The bombs rested volatile on the edge of the shelf.” I immediately realized the sentence seemed choppy. I also realized, however, that “volatilely” is not a word. I was thinking of “precariously” but wanted to express a more explosive mood instead of the somewhat timid-sounding “precariously.” Are there situations where an adjective can be used in place of an adverb? For instance, tonight I heard a teleivision show use the phrase “You’ve done nothing but wax idiotic.” Any examples, rules, or guidelines relating to the use of this kind of adjective/adverb structure would be a boon to my understanding. Thank you.

August 30, 2004  •  jeudi2

As If vs. As Though

“As if” and “as though”, does it mean the same thing? Is one more colloquial and the other more formal? How do you use them?

August 26, 2004  •  clivebellmore

“Can I get” vs. “May I have”

I am told by my business partner that using “Can I get a...” from a waiter is verging on the rude and that you should use “please may I have...”. Would you agree?

July 23, 2004  •  goossun

Example

Can anyone give an example of verbal “charade” plesae?

May 30, 2004  •  daischi

Discrepancy

I want to say there is a conflict/difference between things, in this case, materials reported to be in a bottle. Would I say there is a discrepancy IN materials, a discrepancy OF materials, or a discrepancy BETWEEN materials?

March 25, 2004  •  goossun

-

What’s the defference between hyphens and dash?

March 3, 2004  •  goossun

00′s

I just wonder how can we name the decades of the 2nd millennium. i.e. we say “during 80′s”. How we say “during (20)10′s”? or “2020′s” etc.?

February 18, 2004  •  goossun

Have/halve

Was reading an interview with Peter Greenaway last night and he was asked: “What’s the excitment of essentially halving the amount of information on the screen by mirroring it?” I just thought to myself I would certainly hear or understand the word, HALVING as if it was HAVING! How could one really differ these two when talking? They are pronounced just the same. And in this case both correct.

February 17, 2004  •  goossun

Any reference?

Does anybody know any reference to look up for the exact “English” pronunciation of the Greek names such as Aeschylus, Euripides etc? These are of course common names and traceable in some talking dictionaries. I mean the weirder names.

February 16, 2004  •  goossun

Pronounciation of TH+S

I’ve been always wondering how I must pronounce: months, mouths etc. How the S after TH sounds? Z or S or what?

February 12, 2004  •  guriko

Writer or Author

I’ve always wondered about the difference between “writer or author” - I heard someone (not a native speaker either) say “I want to be an author.” Wouldn’t it be more natural to say she wants to be a writer, since she’s (attempting to) write a novel? What if she was compiling a cook book? would that be an author or a writer?

January 28, 2004  •  chuck

Is it A or An?

I’m a graphic designer and a customer wants the sentence: “I’m a M&M peanut.” I say it should be an because even though vowels preceed consanants, the sound dictates. It’s not mother or mouth, but “EM” the sound of the letter. That makes it a vowel to me.

January 20, 2004  •  slo

“Proper” Diction?

Hi all; first time here. I could probably ask questions till everyone is blue in the face, but I’d just as soon be able to research them myself. At this point, my English is much more intuitive than intellectual; what “seems” right to me usually flies, but I’d like to know the “proper” way, so that when I “break” a rule, I am doing so consciously. The gist of the above is that terms like grammar, diction, and usage are blurry. I just know this is not a spelling/punctuation query; those types of answers I can find in my dictionary. Is there a recognized “bible” for word usage? Here is a typical question I would look for in said source: Which is more correct, “I have a watch that runs slow,” or “I have a watch which runs slow,” or I have a watch that runs slowly,” or “I have a watch which runs slowly”? I noticed some time ago that substituting “which” for “that” often yields results which I don’t find disagreeable, and it drives me nuts. I would appreciate any responses directed to: slo11@mail.com Thanks for your time!

January 19, 2004  •  Dyske

The Flu and a Cold

Why does “flu” get “the”, while “cold” gets “a”? It appears that you never say “a flu”. Here is a good example.

December 5, 2003  •  Dyske

The Americans

When you say “Americans” to mean the American people, do you need “the”? What is the difference between with and without “the” for any nationality? E.g. “The Germans” vs. “Germans”, “The French” vs. “French”.

November 24, 2003  •  mitch

Love, In Love with, etc..

Ok, I hope I phrase this correctly to be understood well enough to elicit an answer. What is the difference between, being “in love” with someone, and telling someone “I love you.” Because to my understanding, you can be In Love With someone while not directly being involved with them (stalker, adoring fans etc...). But to tell some one that you love them or “I love you” would require a prior relationship. Are there two different connotations attached, or am I just an idiot?

November 20, 2003  •  fangrl

Advanced vs. Advance

When I hear things like “advance care” or “Game Boy Advance” it always makes me cringe. Is this really correct? Shouldn’t it be “Advanced care”, because it connotates a superior level of, well, care?

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