June 24, 2014  •  Krista

Plaque for family home

I’m having a custom item made to indicate when our home was established.  The year will be the year my husband and I were married and started our family.  My issue is I’m not sure how our name should appear.  Here is the text. The (LAST NAME) Est. 2008 Our last name is Myers.  Please help!  I’m not sure if it should be possessive (ownership of the home/family) or plural (for the people).

June 24, 2014  •  jayles the unwoven

subwait

At the clinic I was directed to the “subwait area” and left to ponder my fate. I did wonder whether this should be sub-wait and how fully portable “sub” has become as a preposition and/or prefix, when attached to a Germanic-rooted word. What other words are there where “sub” is used as an English word, apart from phrases like “sub judice” and “sub” as a short form of “substitute” eg in sport “he was subbed off”?

February 25, 2014  •  thisbe

Pronouncing “str” like “shtr” as in “shtrong” “shtrange”

Can you please comment on a trend that I have noticed recently. More and more people seem to be pronouncing words that contain the letters “str” as if they were written “shtr”. Strong sounds like shtrong, strange sounds like shtrange, and so on. I have noticed even my favorite NPR journalists mispronouncing these words. I first noticed this pronunciation in one of Michelle Obama’s early speeches. I’d appreciate any insight that you might have.

January 20, 2014  •  Hairy Scot

Pronunciation of “gill”

I have always believed, probably in common with most Scots, that the pronunciation of “gill” varies depending on whether one is referring to the organ of respiration in fishes and other water-breathing animals ( /ɡɪl/ ), or a measure of liquid (/dʒɪl/ ), or even one of the many other variations of the word. I was therefore somewhat surprised recently when watching an episode of QI to hear the erstwhile Stephen Fry and his guests use /ɡɪl/ for both the fishy organ and the liquid measure..

November 27, 2012  •  Speak England very delicious

Pronunciation of indefinite article “a”

Does anyone know if there are rules governing the pronunciation of “a”? It’s either “AYE” or “UH”, depending on the word following. My preference is dictated by how it sounds and how it flows off the tongue, but I have never been able to establish if actual rules exist. Americans and Australians tend to use “AYE” all the time and sometime it just sounds ridiculous, like...”Aye man driving aye car stopped at aye traffic light”

October 17, 2012  •  Amber

Diacritic for “Yana”

What diacritic would I use over the word YANA to accent the first a as an “ah” (short o) sound. It is pronounced Yahna. Thanks!

July 5, 2012  •  sefardi

From which part of England do people pronounce the vowel “u” in a similar way to the French “u”?

They pronounce words such as success, luck, but et al with a closed “ooh”: “sook-cess”, “look”, “boot”

January 19, 2012  •  Lori

Pronunciation of “Nova Scotia”

I recently saw the trailer of “Anne of Green Gables”, and the Marilla character can clearly be heard saying that she is expecting an orphan boy from “Nova Scotia”, but she pronounces that “ti” inn a very strange way. It sounded like “Scothia” or “Scozia”, I couldn’t tell. Is this an alternative pronunciation for the usual “SCO-SHA”?

December 23, 2011  •  sigurd

ye, yer, yers

Since ye is you’s plural, are yer, ye’re and yers respectively your, you’re and yours pluralized, and/or do they have other plural counterparts?

April 14, 2011  •  sigurd

The opposite of “awaken”?

Is there an English word that means ‘to fall asleep’? Since there’s a word, ‘awaken’, that denotes ‘to wake up’, I’m wondering if ‘awaken’’s antonym exists.

September 17, 2010  •  james3

Can every letter be used as a silent letter?

Can every letter in the English language be used in a silent way? Like the b in numb? But at least one example for all 26 letters. Kind of a nerdy question but has anyone succeeded? I have tried and failed... Don’t ask why!

August 9, 2010  •  shaunc

Canadian pronunciation of “out and about”

Americans typically make fun of Canadians, claiming that “out and about” is pronounced as “oot and aboot” (personally I can’t hear it). So if that is the case, what do Americans hear when Canadians actually say “oot and aboot”? What does Canadian “boot” sound like to an American?

January 16, 2010  •  dwaynect

Word in question: Conversate

Is conversate a word? Many people use it and some people claim it’s not a word but I found it on online dictionaries.

July 30, 2009  •  johnkoh

a long sentence with the verb “demand”

I want to write as follows, but it is confusing.: This modern society, which is increasingly being globalized and opening to the world, demands the attitude of understanding different countries and respecting different culture on the basis of broad knowledge of various places of the world of students of this era. The above ‘s structure is as follows: The modern society demands something of somebody. Here, something is [the attitude of understanding different countries and respecting different culture on the basis of broad knowledge of various places of the world], and somebody is [students of this era] The setence structure can be simplified as follows: This modern society, which is increasingly being globalized and opening to the world, demands [the attitude of understanding different countries and respecting different culture on the basis of broad knowledge of various places of the world] of [students of this era]. I am not sure in such a case, how I should write it. One solutin may be this? This modern society, which is increasingly being globalized and opening to the world, demands, of [students of this era], [the attitude of understanding different countries and respecting different culture on the basis of broad knowledge of various places of the world]. Please help me, thank you very much.

May 7, 2009  •  karlb

“It is one of his girlfriends.”

Heard this in park: Whose car is it? It is one of his girlfriends. If it were just: It is one of his girlfriend’s, or: It is one of his girlfriends’, it might be easier to interpret this sentence. As it was said, there are several degrees of uncertainty involved. Can you guess how many?

March 10, 2009  •  missmass

Defining a proper noun

I’m trying to apply a consistent style to a teacher training website and am battling the Capital Letter Police on a few issues. I’ve culled capital letters for nouns such as “teacher” and “headteacher” unless we refer it as part of a job title. Now I am left with names of meetings and forms that have traditionally been capitalised, but I’m not sure they need to be. Should such things be capitalised if they are being discussed generally? Eg: “You should undertake three observed teaching sessions each year and keep a record of the feedback received on a teaching feedback form.” or “You should undertake three Observed Teaching Sessions each year and keep a record of the feedback received on a Teaching Feedback Form.” And: “Download a teaching feedback form (link to PDF).” or “Download a Teaching Feedback Form (link to PDF).” Any advice?

March 5, 2009  •  maggiefisher

Texted

How is the past tense of text PRONOUNCED? “Texted” It is said as “text-ed” in a bank’s TV commercial and sounds so inappropriate to me. Why wouldn’t it be pronounced “texted”? Does anyone know the rule on this one? Why would one say “they just text-ed me back...” sounds like ill use of the verb to me!

June 24, 2008  •  Dyske

Announcement

One of our regular contributors, porsche, informed me that submitting a comment redirects you to Microsoft’s website. Sorry about that. I keep track of the IP addresses of Spammers, and I send all the spammers to Microsoft’s website. I recently moved the site to a different server, and the new server was returning the same IP address for everyone, and I ended up listing that IP address as a Spammer’s. And, so the site considered everyone who commented as a Spammer. That’s what happened. But that’s a long, boring, technical story, and what matters is that it’s working fine now. Thank you, porsche, for informing me of this problem. If anyone ever experience any problems like this on this site, please let me know.

April 17, 2008  •  Rob

Inch vs. Inches

I’m editing a technical manual. The engineers I’m working with have regularly typed amounts which are under one as “.05 inches” or “.67 inches.” I’ve been of the opinion that this is to be typed “.05 inch” and “.67 inch,” as the amounts are less than one, but I can’t find anything to support either opinion. Please advise.

September 18, 2007  •  ben

Orally Aural. Oh Really?

I suppose these questions are frequently preceded by an argument between one regarded as a pedant and another who is one secretly. I’m the pedant. Are these words pronounced so similarly as to be only identifiable by their context? For instance ‘a dentist works orally’ or ‘I am to give an oral presentation.’ This can lead to ambiguity (if they are pronounced the same): ‘I can only learn a language aurally/orally.’

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subwait  —July 22, 2014, 10:28am

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