This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books. You can browse through the latest questions and comments below. If you have a question of your own, please submit it here.
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I am a cab driver and pick up people from all over the country/world and take them where they want to go. Boring disclaimer aside; I hope to understand a word used by a southern man that unsurprisingly follows a strong Christian background through his adult life. As mysterious as the story may be if time were allotted to tell it, or was applicable in this forum, he constantly referred to me as “hand.” Not sure if this coincides with his Christian background, i.e. “The hand of God”, or it is a long lost southern slang with a more ambiguous meaning.
One hears this phrase more and more from sports commentators. A typical example would be a commentator at a sports event referring to an injured player or perhaps some celebrity as “watching on from the grandstand”.
Makes one wonder if, and why, “looking on” has suddenly become passé; or is it just an affectation started by someone trying to be different for the sake of being different and which has then been adopted by those who are inclined to participate in fads? Shall on-lookers now be known as on-watchers? Somehow it just doesn’t sound right.
There exists a claim that the word “man” originally only referred to people of unimplied sex. To restate, “man” always refereed to both male and female people.
The claims I found were made by sources known by some to be categorically highly unreliable, so I turn to you.
There are claims that “wer” or “were” was used at least for adult males.
The most reliable sources I’ve found to support that are
What evidence can you provide of the use of “were” or “wer” in english and the use of “man” and whether “man” changed over time with respect to gender or whether there was always ambiguity?
Why does the Western media have so many different spellings for some Arabic terms?
1. hezbollah hesbollah hizbullah hizbollah hisbollah
2. ayatollah ayatullah
Which of the following are okay to you?
a) While roses are red, violets are blue.
b) Whilst roses are red, violets are blue.
c) While some roses are red, many are not.
d) Whilst some roses are red, some are not.
e) Roses are red, whereas violets are blue.
f) Roses are red, while violets are blue.
g) Roses are red, whilst violets are blue.
h) Some roses are red, whilst some are not.
i) Whereas most roses are indeed red, some are not.
j) While I loved my first wife very much, she did in fact become fat.
k) While my first wife did in fact become fat, I still loved her very much.
l) Whilst I loved my first wife very much, she did in fact become fat.
And thus what, to your good mind, is the rule?
And what a pain English is!
I have recently received a number of emails where the phrase “Thank you for reaching out to ___” is used instead of what I would expect to be the normal expression “Thank you for contacting ___”.
These emails are from companies in the USA.
Is “reaching out” now the in vogue expression for the simple act of contacting someone?
Now, I’ve been rolling this question over for few weeks now. I personally believe whom in the cases, but on we go. After writing most of this, I think  should be who now.
The infinitive phrase/clause normally takes the objective case as its “subject”.
“I wanted to meet him.”
Thus, the corresponding interrogative:
“Whom did he want to meet?”
But what happens if you take this construction and use it with a copular verb?
 “Who/whom am I to judge.” (?)
 “I am who/whom to be.” (?)
Which may correspond to the declarative sentences (U=unacceptable; A=acceptable):
[1a] “I am he to judge.”
[1b] “I am him to judge”
[2a] “I am he to be.”
[2b] “I am him to be.”
[2c] “I am to be he.” (U)
[2d] “I am to be him.”(A)
It is possible to expand them into relative clauses:
[1a'] “I am the person who can judge them.”(A)
[1b'] “I am the person whom can judge.” (U)
[2a'] “I am the person (who) you should be.” (U)
[2b'] “I am the person (whom) you should be.” (A)
The construction has two verb constructions (one copular and the other infinitive) vying for dominance. So thoughts? These conundrums are fascinating and, due to my obsessive-compulsiveness, frustrating. </p>
I just have the impression that the old proverbs that I heard as a child aren’t heard as much today. People just don’t seem to use them much anymore.
Of course this is hard to prove: maybe I am not mixing in the right circles; maybe there are newer proverbs that have replaced the older (proverbs change with each generation); maybe the media and/or gurus have picked up some and ignored others; maybe few make into print outside the tabloids and popular magazines.
As far as the printed word goes, of those I have looked at some seem to peak around the 1930′s and then trail off, only to recover somewhat over the last decade or two. “Actions speak louder than words” was the commonest one I found, 3:1 against “Beggars can not be choosers”.
What is your impression? Is proverb use declining or just new ones becoming popular?