August 1, 2005  •  markmiodovski


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?

July 20, 2005  •  rin


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...

May 4, 2005  •  dave


Is anyone else alarmed by the linguistic nonsense spouted by the newly formed Society for the Preservation of English and Correct Speech? Any comments regarding what they say about grammar, usage and the like would be welcome.

February 17, 2005  •  sarah3


Sentence in question: “The coursework for this assignment is differentiated and dependent on grade level and ELA designation.” on or upon? Does it matter? Does it ever matter?

February 17, 2005  •  joni


Which statement is correct? 1. The patient has never undergone a colonoscopy. 2. The patient has never underwent a colonoscopy.

January 7, 2005  •  manilavanilla


Since when does colo=ker. For the word ‘colonel’ we say “kernel,” but we don’t say “kerol” for the word ‘color.’ Its just a total disregard for any spelling rules whatsoever.

December 25, 2004  •  robinbather

The way the English talk. Bothering details

I suppose I should know the answer to this observation as an Englishman, but I don’t. I listen to the BBC news and I frequently hear the word “headquarters” pronounced as “headcorters”, “Quebec” pronounced as “Kebec” and the word “one” pronounced as “won” with the “o” as in “hot”. When I lived in England 32 years ago I never seemed to hear these pronunciations and they bother me now. I always pronounce “qu” as “qw” and “one” as “wun” (”u” as in “hut”). Are they really just affected speech fads that will die out? Merry Christmas to all

December 9, 2004  •  debvanermen

One Love

I would like to know more about the meaning of the popular song, One Love, by Bob Marley. It’s especially popular now in the States because of the current tv ads on traveling to Jamaica. Thank you!

December 6, 2004  •  nizou2

Afraid not

Is the phrase “I’m afraid not,” such as in the below exchange, an idiom? It does not seem to make sense to me. “May I please have the newspaper?” “I’m afraid not.” Would that construction not indicate “I am not afraid?” To me, it seems that perhaps the phrase came from the shortening of “I’m afraid I can not” by dropping the “can” which completely ruins the ability of the phrase to make logical sense. Even if I am correct in my assumptions, the phrase is still commonly used and understood. However, in formal writing, should I purposely avoid using this phrase due to my above concerns?

December 3, 2004  •  nizou

“Tilting at Windmills”

After doing a brief search and thinking a bit, I cannot come to an answer to the question of what “Tilting at windmills” means or where such a phrase may have come from. What does “tilting at windmills” mean or symbolize? What are some usages? Thanks.

November 12, 2004  •  chuck2

Is it sunday or sunduh?

My wife and I have this ongoing battle over the word sundae. She always pronounces it sunDUH while I say it’s sunDAY because when they were first made, one could only get the ice-cream treat on Sunday. She says I’m nuts - I say she’s kinda douchey. Who’s correct - anyone know?

October 29, 2004  •  marta

silent autumn

Does anybody know why the ‘n’ in the word ‘autumn’ is silent? May it be possible that the ‘n’ sound got lost somewhere at some point in the historical development of English? Or maybe our ancestors mispronounced this word and such is the case up to this day? Or is it just a matter of the English phonology system, which does not allow for pronouncing ‘mn’ clusters? Can any phonologist help?

August 10, 2004  •  marta

Proper Names

What’s the linguistic term for the words derived from proper names (e.g. Dianaphiles, Blarism, Clintonite, Ophranisation, MacDonaldisation)?

July 18, 2004  •  Dyske

Wiener Coffee

At a dinner last night, my friend at the table put a scoop of whipped cream on his cup of coffee. I then asked, “That’s called Wiener Coffee, right?” Everyone laughed, but I wasn’t joking. As funny as “wiener” may sound, “Wien” is the proper name for “Vienna”, and “Wiener” the proper adjective for “Viennese”. In fact the word “wiener” to mean a type of sausage came from wienerwurst, “Viennese Sausage”. Then someone else at the table said that the word “India” is never used among Indians. The same goes for “Japan” too. The proper name is “Nihon”. It seems that every non-English speaking country has an alternative name that has nothing to do with the original. Why is this? Why are English speakers compelled to ignore the original and invent their own? (Or, perhaps, this has nothing to do with English.) The reason why I knew about “Wiener Coffee” is because in Japan, they honor the original names of most countries.

June 18, 2004  •  yoko


If octo means 8, why is October the 10th month?

May 12, 2004  •  avery


Is there a non-gendered 3rd person singular pronoun that could be used in the place of that awkward he/she? If not, what about ze?

May 11, 2004  •  charlie


Try as I might I cannot find out anything about the origin of WILL CALL as in “You can pick up your theatre tickets at the WILL CALL window.” Any enlightenment will be deeply appreciated.

April 10, 2004  •  Dyske

Silk and Silkworm

Silk is made from thread of silkworms. The fact that the word “silkworm” contains the word “silk” would imply that the worm was named after silk, but without the worm, we would have no silk. Does this mean that when they first made silk, they had no name for the worm, and they named the worm after the fact?

April 9, 2004  •  henryix

Stress pattern in the word ‘totalitarian’

It occurred to me last evening that I pronounce the word ‘totalitarian’ with a major stress on all three [t] sounds. It seems as well that any people I have heard use the word say it that way. I cannot think of any other English word that has triple major stress. Even double major stress is rare - I can’t think of an example just offhand. Are there other words in English that have triple major stress?

February 15, 2004  •  jenga

It was the coup de’grace of et all!...or was it?

Over the years, I have seen the words “coup de’grace” and “et all.” One day fine day, I decided to look them up and see how they were to be correctly used; unfortunately, I could not find either of them! Perhaps I am spelling them wrong? (Which could very well be the case with “coup de’grace, but I am certain that is how I say “et all” spelt.) Can someone please tune me in on if these are even words and if so the correct way of spelling and using them?

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