February 5, 2003  •  Dyske

Matching the tense

“I argued that McDonald’s is good for you.” Should it be: “I argued that McDonald’s was good for you.” Do I need to match the tense between “argued” and “Is” or “was”?

February 5, 2003  •  Dyske

Taking sides

It seems odd that you say, “take sides”. Wouldn’t it make more sense to say “take a side”? Why plural?

January 23, 2003  •  Dyske


60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s, and now what? 00′s? What do you call the current decade?

January 3, 2003  •  Dyske

Perturb vs. Disturb

What is the difference? How would you use them differently?

December 17, 2002  •  Dyske

Down to the Wire

Where did the “wire” come from?

December 12, 2002  •  Dyske

In and of itself

What does “and of” add to this phrase? That is, what is the difference between: “I agree. Islam isn’t evil in and of itself.” and “I agree. Islam isn’t evil in itself.”

December 1, 2002  •  Dyske


If over-the-counter drugs mean drugs that you can buy off the shelf, then why is it called over the counter? Prescription drugs are the ones that you purchase over the counter literally. It should be “off-the-shelf” not over-the-counter. Don’t you think?

November 30, 2002  •  Dyske

Five of Ten

If you say “five of ten” in the context of time, you mean 5 minutes to 10 o’clock. But, why is this? “of” is a possessive preposition, so one would think that “five of ten” would be 5 minutes that belong to 10 o’clock. That is: 5 after 10.

November 29, 2002  •  Dyske

Went to extremes

I would think that “went to the extreme” would be more natural. Why plural?

November 29, 2002  •  Dyske


How did this word come to mean “a usually inferior work of art or literature produced chiefly for monetary return”?

November 29, 2002  •  Dyske

hit a snag

What does this mean?

November 29, 2002  •  Dyske

“got the best of him”

I hear this expression every now and then, and I understand it as “screwed”, but it seems odd to say “the best”. Why not “all of him”? What does “the best” imply?

November 29, 2002  •  Dyske

Off His Rocker

What does this mean? And where did it come from?

November 29, 2002  •  Dyske

Gone to Seed

What does this mean? Where did it come from?

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