September 24, 2005  •  markgilbert

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?

September 24, 2005  •  adamphillips

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?

August 13, 2005  •  m


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?

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.

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