Submitted by heather  •  November 7, 2006

injecting swear words

Does anybody know if there’s a term for inserting a word in to another word, particularly swear words? For example: Fam-damn-ily, or Ri-goddamn-diculous?

My roommate and I have scoured all of our grammar books and literary dictionaries, but to no avail. Any thoughts?

Submitted by jr  •  June 20, 2006

Word for a word with no rhyme?

There are many words in the English language which allegedly have no rhyme. I was wondering if there is a term to denote rhyme-less words (i.e. orange, silver...)?

Submitted by duke  •  June 7, 2006

Word for unconscious vital process?

Is there a word or phrase that describes a vital process that is necessary to maintain a system or operation but is seldom thought about or considered.

For instance, the heart pumps blood but a healthy person doesn’t necessarily think about it as he/she goes about doing things.

Submitted by guyadams  •  May 24, 2006

Interpreting “beyond that already extended”

I have run into a slight dispute at work regarding the following statement and the context is travel insurance.

“The company will not reimburse for any additional cover beyond that already extended”

There then follows a short list of 3 or 4 items such as health insurance, life cover, baggage.

1. I interpreted the statement as follows: The company would not reimburse for cover that was additional in the specific categories already noted. For example increasing the amount of life cover would be such a case where no reimbursement would be paid. However I interpreted the statement as meaning that if the requested reimbursement was for insurance that was not in one of these noted areas i.e. had not already been ‘extended’ then a claim would be valid. In hindsight I feel that I have used the ability to possibly twist the interpretation into a situation where a modest claim for personal liability insurance cover of £70 (which was not a listed item) will be rejected.

2. 2 colleagues thought that the meaning was simple - no reimbursement for ANY additional cover. I can see this point but if that was what was intended why did the statement not just read ‘ The company will not reimburse any additional cover’?

Any ideas or somewhere where I can gather some opinions? BTW I am more interested in the principal and ensuring the correct wording for others in future than the actual claim.

Submitted by manuia  •  April 7, 2006


Responding to an old post (see below) I was under the impression that there were several kinds of Persian: Farsi, Dari, etc. If we use the word Persian, how does someone know to which one we are referrring? I have seen it written as Persian (Farsi) to make that clear. Is there a cultural reason why Persian is preferable?

Khodadad Rezakhani Mar-19-03 3:28AM Something I want to ask you to bring into attention. English has its own names for other languages: Eliniki is called Greek, Deutsch is German, and so on. About the name of the language of Iran: the English name is Persian, a correct name based on the rules of English. However, there has been a wide use of the word Farsi in main stream media (and even the computer world). Farsi is the local name for the language, and as we don’t say “I speak Espanol” when conversing in English, we shan’t say Farsi either. Please point out this matter in your weblog.

Submitted by tim  •  March 13, 2006


Why is it that drug addiction is referred to as ‘dependency’ and not ‘dependence’? I realize it’s a synonym but it seems like an unnecessary one. No one ever uses the word ‘independency’

Submitted by elledee  •  March 6, 2006

What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling?

You know when people or businesses use improper spelling for effect?

eg. “Rogz for Dogz” or “Phantasy Star”

What is that called? I simply can’t find the answer anywhere.

Submitted by mikegreen  •  February 15, 2006

Should you sign the copy of a letter

If you have cc’s in a letter, when you mail it, should the “copy” be signed?

Submitted by lenga  •  February 2, 2006

Are there diffferent types of latin?

Why are latin expressions written differently in English and in French? Example: “ne plus ultra” in English is “nec plus ultra” in French.

Submitted by jon  •  January 2, 2006

Pronunciation: aunt

I’m not sure if we can ask pronunciation questions here. Well, I’d like to know the correct way to pronounce “aunt,” whether it’s closer to “ant” or “ont.” When you answer, please say where you’re from. I’m curious if it’s an American vs British English thing.

In Western Canada we say “ant.”

Submitted by ellei  •  November 29, 2005

Is it a colloquial form?

Can anybody tell me which is the literal meaning of the following words taken from a Dylan’s song? “a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”

It is the “a” before “gonna” not clear at all.

Submitted by silje  •  October 31, 2005

Steak - correct pronunciation

Is it possible to pronounce steak as the /ea/ in weak is pronounced? Or should it always be pronounced as the /a/ in bake?

I’m from Norway, and we’we got steakhouses here, it’s no word for this in Norwegian. So when people pronounce this as the /ea/ in weak, is this incorrect, or is this possible in English too?

Thanks in advance.


Submitted by marta  •  October 3, 2005

Wanna know what it coulda be...

Does anybody know what’s the lingustic term for the words like “wanna”, “gonna”, “outta”, “kinda” etc? Once I heard them being termed as “clitics” but I’m not sure if this term is really used in linguistic circles. So far I’ve come across the words like: gonna, wanna, outta, gotta, hefta (for “have to”), coulda, woulda, shoulda, needa, lotsa (”lot of”), kinda (”kind of”), betcha (”I bet you...”), gotcha (”got you”), supposta (”supposed to”) and also cuppa :) Any other ideas?

Submitted by richardcaburet  •  October 2, 2005


Why is w pronounced double u, but m is not pronounced double n?

Submitted by steve  •  September 29, 2005

Spell checkers

You folks could probably answer this question better than anyone else I can think of. Is there any evidence that computer spell checkers help improve peoples’ unaided spelling skills? I ask because I believe it has helped mine. The immediate feedback offered as I type on a word processor seems to break any tendency I might have to start spelling certain words wrong all of the time.

No doubt there are educators, psychologists, and others who would argue that a spell checker makes us lazy and without the spell checker on the system we would soon regress to our primitive spelling roots. Maybe they’re right and my improved spelling is just a figment of my imagination, or perhaps a natural tendency that would have happened anyway after many years of writing.

Submitted by markgilbert  •  September 24, 2005

How many thats?

A friend asked me, “how many thats can you have in a row?” If a sentence has two thats in it, you could say, “Delete this that, not that that.” (That’s two in a row.) And, he could ask, “Is that that that that you want me to delete?” There’s four, can any more make sense?

Submitted by adamphillips  •  September 24, 2005

Hang Glide

Although technically the phrase “hang glide” is two words it seems to be used as one - as in hang gliding.

So what on earth is the past tense of hang glide? Hang glided?

Submitted by m  •  August 13, 2005


For a normal bibliography entry for an internet resource, one must include the author’s name, title of site, date of document, date of access, and of course the URL.

What happens if my resource is the excellent Wikipedia? A site that I do not know the original author of the article or the date the article was published? Would I have to leave all the info I don’t know blank, or add “Not Applicable?”

Also, if most of my references are from different articles (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus, Copernicus etc) but from the same website (Wikipedia) do they have to be seperate or listed all in the same entry?

Submitted by markmiodovski  •  August 1, 2005


When using numbers in a sentence to express a percentage, such as sixty-six and two-thirds percent, is it proper to use a hyphen between “66″ and “2/3″ or just a space?

Submitted by rin  •  July 20, 2005


Is there a set rule to capitalizing certain words in any given title (such as a book)? For example:

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

In that title, one doesn’t capitalize ‘the’ or ‘and’ (not counting the first). Which words should you NOT capitalize in a title? I once asked my English teacher, and she told me to capitalize the “little” words. o__o Can someone clarify that for me...?

For instance, a song:

“Here With You”

Would ‘with’ be capitalized or not? I consider that to be a relatively ‘small’ word...

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