jayles the unwoven

Joined: June 3, 2014

Number of comments posted: 123

Number of votes received: 48

No user description provided.

Questions Submitted

Are proverbs dying?


Recent Comments

Re: How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days?  •  July 23, 2015, 8:54pm  •  0 vote

Most international students need written English for business or academic purposes; what is acceptable means what is acceptable in those contexts. This means what is in the writing guides at uni, or r

Re: “I’ve lived many years in Kentucky.”  •  July 20, 2015, 4:55pm  •  0 vote

@WW Thanks for your research. Whilst commas are generally used to show how the sentence is to be read, there are some disparate views on the detail: 1) British vs American usage - see:

Re: Unusual use of “infringed”?  •  July 18, 2015, 11:23pm  •  1 vote

One usually infringes a right or upon a freedom, as in "the right to bare arms shall not be infringed". What seems to have happened here is a back formation from the phrase "parking infringement". The

Re: “I’ve lived many years in Kentucky.”  •  July 15, 2015, 1:41pm  •  1 vote

@WW utterly agree with you re passive. One would hope the examiners do too. IELTS marking scheme does mention "good control over punctuation". What exactly they mean by this - especially comma usa

Re: “I’ve lived many years in Kentucky.”  •  July 14, 2015, 6:08pm  •  0 vote

@WW Thanks - I found this topic difficult to google. It does seem that we can sometimes drop "for" with time-duration expressions where the meaning is clear from the word-order. Re "however": this

Re: “I’ve lived many years in Kentucky.”  •  July 13, 2015, 6:37pm  •  0 vote

More grist: 1) "He searched five years for his estranged daughter." 2) "He sought five years his estranged daughter." 3) "I was two years buiding a trimaran." 4) "Seven years I studied Latin." 5

Re: How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days?  •  July 2, 2015, 4:26pm  •  0 vote

The important thing to grasp is that punctuation converts to form part of an audio file in your head: listen to the voice in your head as you read this. So the question becomes: how does one pr

Re: Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence?  •  July 2, 2015, 4:00pm  •  0 vote

My understanding is that in the Middle Ages, European people generally read everything aloud; punctuation was introduced to help them do that and we have kept it because we read "aloud" in our head. N

Re: Is “leverage” a verb?  •  July 2, 2015, 3:32pm  •  0 vote

"-age" is a "suffix typically forming mass or abstract nouns from various parts of speech, occurring originally in loanwords from French (voyage; courage) and productive in English with the meanings “

Re: “In the long term”  •  June 11, 2015, 10:56pm  •  0 vote


Re: Apostrophes  •  June 10, 2015, 3:11pm  •  0 vote

I dont see why we need apostrophes at all: after all we manage to understand speech without them - and somehow get by without making making an explicit distinction between genitive singular and plural

Re: Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence?  •  June 2, 2015, 9:56pm  •  1 vote

Punctuation is very much a convention of signals which guide the reader as to how the sentence is to be read and construed. One might consider a comma as a one-beat pause, a semi-colon as two, a colon

Re: How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days?  •  June 2, 2015, 5:32pm  •  1 vote

Just to make it clear: when reading slowly many people are actually "reading aloud in their head"; (if not, then one is technically "skimming"); either way if one cannot read a text out loud correctly

Re: Is “painstaking” pronounced the same in Britain as here, as “pain-staking”?  •  June 2, 2015, 4:13pm  •  1 vote

Where is "here"?

Re: How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days?  •  June 2, 2015, 4:10pm  •  0 vote

The purpose of punctuation is to make it clear how to read the text aloud; sometimes this affects the meaning. So the comma in your sentence after "Every morning" indicates a pause (with a downwar

Re: Social vs Societal  •  April 3, 2015, 10:03pm  •  0 vote

@WW Quite right my dear fellow! I just have a couple of quick questions for you: 1) Do you advise your students NOT to start a sentence with "but" when writing in an English exam? 2) Do you adv

Re: Opposition to “pretty”  •  March 21, 2015, 6:34pm  •  0 vote

Maybe because the meaning can be unclear - "very" or "somewhat" ? Deeming "pretty" as informal seems to predate the wave of political correctness so I wonder wherher it was just some post-Victorian

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  March 5, 2015, 11:57am  •  0 vote

@WW My thesis would be that modal verbs in English are used in much the same way as they are in German, Dutch and languages like Frisian. Thus in German the past subjunctive "must", "could", "might",

Re: issue as problem  •  March 4, 2015, 1:06am  •  1 vote

My understanding is that the widespread use of "issue" to supplant "problem" stems from a desire to be more positive, particularly when broaching a topic with your boss. "Issue" has become just anothe

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  March 3, 2015, 2:05pm  •  0 vote

Actually the subjunctive is around quite a bit even though it is unmarked. Modal verbs have a 'real' past tense in reported speech: "She said she would do it" Modal verbs also use the past subjunc

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  March 3, 2015, 1:46pm  •  0 vote

@WW but why not "a ten-days' tour", "a four-hours' trip" ? Anything beyond "because that's not what people say" ?

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  March 2, 2015, 9:21pm  •  0 vote

One would need to distinguish between "non-semantic" vs "idioms & collocations" vs "meaningful but seldom used" ; thus: "a glass of wine" is partitive; "a wine's glass" hard to construe; "the ca

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 28, 2015, 5:15pm  •  0 vote

@WW I would lump your examples Groups...Descriptions together as partitive/compositional. As you may have guessed by now, this all arises when some non-native speaker innocently asks the question:

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  February 27, 2015, 12:25pm  •  0 vote

She would have died there and then, were it not for the sudden arrival of the medics

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 26, 2015, 7:21pm  •  0 vote

@HS You see, I keep my posts undetailed and uninteresting, just so that WW may shine

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 26, 2015, 2:06pm  •  0 vote

@WW agreed, "fossilized" was the wrong word. You're absolutely spot on in saying that "when we took 'de' from French, we took on a lot more than possession and partitives", and this is the root of t

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 25, 2015, 9:07pm  •  0 vote

"a body of evidence",, "a can of beer", "a mass of documents" = partitives; hence we cannot use a genitive (not "a document's mass). This leaves us with expressions like "a man of culture and sensi

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 25, 2015, 8:34pm  •  0 vote

errata: "the lions' slaughter" -> not clear whether the lions died or they killed a lot of anmals

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 24, 2015, 10:14pm  •  0 vote

A few more idiomatic items: "the sweet smell of success" vs "success's sweet smell" "the stench of failure" vs "failure's stench" (but: "failure's foul stench") "the state of the nation" vs "the n

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 24, 2015, 9:42pm  •  0 vote

Re 4) objective/subjective genitives: this really only comes into play if the verb-from-the-noun is possibly transitive; thus: "Tom's death" -> die is intransitive therefore Tom is the do-er and he i

Re: ‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF  •  February 24, 2015, 5:32am  •  0 vote

No hard and fast rule here, but as general guidelines I would suggest: 1) be wary of genitives to indicate composition, : "a book of leather" not "leather's book"; 2) attributes seem to be more i

Re: He was sat  •  February 10, 2015, 7:57pm  •  0 vote

@WW Thanks: I never realized that "Magna Carta" was a Southener thing; and I always thought of "Swing" as a music genre. "He was sat" is hard to explain grammatically; just idiomatic. One of the

Re: He was sat  •  February 9, 2015, 7:50pm  •  0 vote

1393, 1489, 1936, the North beyond Edgware was ever non-conformist

Re: Is “leverage” a verb?  •  January 30, 2015, 2:08pm  •  5 votes

From a grammatical standpoint one can use any noun as a verb if the meaning is clear in context; whether it is good style is another matter. Thus one can "pen" a letter and so on. The exception to

Re: “nervous to perform” or “nervous of performing”?  •  January 22, 2015, 6:18pm  •  1 vote

I would have written: She's nervous about performing... or (with a different meaning) : She's too nervous to perform

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  December 30, 2014, 2:29pm  •  0 vote

Another example of where phrase/context/meaning may be at odds is "How are you?". This is often more politeness rather than a real enquiry. Answering with anything other than "fine" or "good" may not

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  December 30, 2014, 1:52pm  •  0 vote

One way of looking at English is to view it as a collection of patterns, collocations, phrases and idioms, from which if needed we may identify some 'rules'. However there is also the matter of regis

Re: Victorian Era English  •  December 22, 2014, 9:03pm  •  0 vote

Ah I meant before 1840.

Re: Victorian Era English  •  December 22, 2014, 8:55pm  •  0 vote


Re: Victorian Era English  •  December 21, 2014, 1:40pm  •  0 vote

@WW thank you; most interesting. I am not sure how representative the verb "come" is. Here are some others that show contrary patterns of usage: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=wiil

Re: Victorian Era English  •  December 21, 2014, 2:30am  •  0 vote

Just trying to get a handle on when present continuous became so widespread in English and began to be used instead of will/shall Taking "comes" vs "is coming" as an example, and beginning with Cha

Re: issue as problem  •  December 19, 2014, 5:28pm  •  1 vote

OOPS meant to post: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=she+has+issues%2C+he+has+issues%2C+you+have+issues&case_insensitive=on&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&di

Re: issue as problem  •  December 19, 2014, 5:26pm  •  0 vote


Re: Victorian Era English  •  December 18, 2014, 6:55pm  •  0 vote


Re: Victorian Era English  •  December 18, 2014, 1:57am  •  0 vote

One must strive to imitate the language of the Bronte sisters and others of that ilk. Using a dialect is more likely to be credible. Use the "thou" forms instead of "you" when addressing one family

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  December 17, 2014, 2:05pm  •  1 vote

Just to explain the meaning of the grammatical term "relative clause": As you may know, Santa is spending this Xmas down-under visiting relatives, leaving the prezzie handout to DHL. Unfortunately

Re: “Anglish”  •  December 17, 2014, 12:42pm  •  1 vote


Re: “Anglish”  •  December 17, 2014, 12:33pm  •  1 vote

"Because back in the 1840s, around 80 percent of people living in Wales were Welsh speakers, many of them spoke no English at all. Fast forward to the recent 2011 census and that number has dropped to

Re: “Anglish”  •  December 17, 2014, 12:26pm  •  1 vote

http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~cpercy/courses/6362-lamont.htm My next question would be: how much did the post-1847 drive to teach English to Welsh children in schools contribute to the much-more-

Re: “Anglish”  •  December 16, 2014, 10:40pm  •  1 vote


Re: 3 Laning?  •  December 12, 2014, 11:10pm  •  0 vote

"deviation" + "railway" shows up quite easily on Google

Re: 3 Laning?  •  December 11, 2014, 6:09pm  •  1 vote

I never understood why the French for 'detour' is 'deviation' on all the roadworks

Re: “Anglish”  •  December 7, 2014, 6:43pm  •  1 vote

So what did they use in Middle English for "decide"? "Choose" is not quite the same thing. "betake" seems little used in books (after 1500) "slit" (cf schliessen, entschliessen) does not seem to

Re: “Anglish”  •  December 3, 2014, 9:19pm  •  1 vote


Re: “Anglish”  •  December 3, 2014, 3:33am  •  1 vote

One of the odd grammatical things about modern English is the way we use : want. Eg: I want her to come Oddly, if one puts this phrase into Ngrams it does not show up before 1804 http://books.g

Re: “Anglish”  •  December 2, 2014, 7:52pm  •  1 vote

No need to cloud the meaning with "pedophile" when foot-lover would do instead.

Re: “Watching on”?  •  December 1, 2014, 10:04pm  •  0 vote


Re: “Anglish”  •  November 25, 2014, 2:07am  •  2 votes

@HS Given our diverse genetic genes, and the otherness of our upbringing and sundry experiences, and the on-flow on our mindset and thinking, it is hardly likely we shall see eye to eye on this. To lo

Re: “Anglish”  •  November 24, 2014, 6:03pm  •  0 vote

oops 'vendor' instead of 'seller'

Re: “Anglish”  •  November 24, 2014, 6:01pm  •  1 vote

@HS Why is this thread here? Well it has lead me to consider the roots of modern English; to become much more aware of the influences on modern English lexis; the 'snob' value of using 'rapidly' inst

Re: Evolution of Exactly the Same  •  November 17, 2014, 1:16pm  •  0 vote


Re: Why so many different spellings for some Arabic terms?  •  October 19, 2014, 6:30pm  •  0 vote

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_alphabet#Vowel_omission My understanding is that Arabic is usually written without vowels, rthr lk ths.

Re: What words were used to refer specifically to males before “man” did?  •  October 19, 2014, 6:25pm  •  1 vote

'Wer' still survives in 'world': world (n.) Old English woruld, worold "human existence, the affairs of life," also "a long period of time," also "the human race, mankind, humanity," a word p

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  September 27, 2014, 7:03pm  •  0 vote

Bewildered by English mores (or hating the class system), in the early seventies I took a PanAm flight from Heathrow, never to return to Blighty - apart from a brief sojurn there in the early nineties

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  September 27, 2014, 2:57pm  •  0 vote

if one Ngrams the following: [no - show]:eng_us_2012,[no - show]:eng_gb_2012 it becomes evident that "no-show" was originally a US phrase. It was one of the many phrases I had to get used to wh

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  September 26, 2014, 7:36pm  •  0 vote

"WAIT HERE UNTIL RED LIGHT SHOWS." Was this in the USA? In my experience US usage of "show" differs slightly from UK. "He never showed" vs "He never showed up" "The chef was a no-show" vs "The c

Re: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?  •  September 24, 2014, 1:18pm  •  0 vote

When adding -able to a verb, the meaning seems to include a passive element: fixable -> able to be fixed; doable -> able to be done, and so forth. There are two exceptions : "variable" and "changeab

Re: Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word?  •  September 22, 2014, 7:29pm  •  0 vote

I guess it is 'Strine or Kiwi then. They do not seem to say 'an Hotel' here, though; so it's not generalized. And maybe it's just the newsreaders for emphasis in phrases such as 'an HHistoric win for

Re: Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word?  •  September 21, 2014, 11:27pm  •  1 vote

Newsreaders where I am at the moment consistently say "an Historic", aspirating the 'H" quite clearly.

Re: “Anglish”  •  September 12, 2014, 8:57pm  •  1 vote

@AnWulf Thank you for this: it is refreshing to climb out of the latinate ruts of today's English. That said, my understanding is that "pithy" stems from c 1520 not earlier? And I seem to recall e

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  September 1, 2014, 4:40pm  •  0 vote

Hungarians who learn English "tend to avoid using the English passive voice" : believe me it does NOT make for plain and simple English. http://www.acta.sapientia.ro/acta-philo/C2-2/philo22-9.pdf

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  September 1, 2014, 3:50pm  •  0 vote

One way of writing simple, plain English is to make the topic of the paragraph the subject of the sentence. Thus : Eggs. Eggs are eaten the world over. They are fried, boiled, scrambled, poached

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 31, 2014, 8:03pm  •  0 vote

@WW well-done! It is of necessity long and detailed because the usage is Whilst Euro-languages are often similar to English, a common error for Chinese speakers is to insert "but" at the start of

Re: P & K  •  August 26, 2014, 2:20pm  •  2 votes

@red Unfortunately you are a thousand years too late my friend. In those days English was pronounced pretty much as spelt; however around the time when printing began, spellings fossilized but pronunc

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 19, 2014, 3:31pm  •  0 vote

@WW Thanks, that's better. An "A" pass in CAE was/is equivalent to "C" in CPE (and FCE-A = CAE-C), but I haven't checked this recently. Indeed parts of CAE are very useful for IELTS too.

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 18, 2014, 8:33pm  •  0 vote

So, as a rule of thumb, we can safely use "whereas/while" to begin a trailing contrast clause; and "while" at the beginning of a sentence instead of "although". But "whereas" at the start of a s

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 17, 2014, 3:45pm  •  0 vote

Perhaps I should add: typical requirement to work as a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, radiographer, engineer, teacher , and other professionals is IELTS 7.5, mininum 7.0 in any one exam. Big accounting fi

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 17, 2014, 3:26pm  •  0 vote

@WW Apologies, local jargon I guess. By "trailing contrast clauses" I meant sentences with while/whereas between two clauses: Roses are red, whereas violets are blue. EAP = English for Academi

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 12, 2014, 3:19pm  •  0 vote

@WW Yes they do act more like coordinators in trailing contrast clauses cf Hewins unit 82 Of course this stuff is sine qua non for EAP/IELTS , esp as IELTS marking schema says "uses a variety of c

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 12, 2014, 12:42am  •  0 vote

@WW Thanks. I think I've got the weft of it now.

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 10, 2014, 7:41pm  •  0 vote

I must be thick or something but I'm having trouble getting example sentences where "whereas" corresponds to "although". As in: "Many people believe in the Loch Ness Monster, whereas it is proba

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 9, 2014, 7:47pm  •  0 vote

@WW damn! I thought I had this all sussed. So you mean it's not my fault she put on weight? ;=)))

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 9, 2014, 4:35pm  •  0 vote

@WW Whilst understanding your comments (and indeed I would have agreed wholeheartedly a few months ago), now I am not so sure. It is simply a matter of "best usage" rather than a near miss. The fol

Re: While vs Whilst vs Whereas  •  August 8, 2014, 8:13pm  •  0 vote

@HS Yes exactly: which has the sense of concession like 'although' as opposed to contrast? It is about when and how to use while/whilst/whereas and what they convey as nuance.

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  August 3, 2014, 3:58pm  •  0 vote

Incidentally we are not simply limited to active or passive; in classical Greek there was a 'middle' voice too, meaning to do something 'for one's own behoof'; in Latin there are 'deponent' verbs - pa

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  August 3, 2014, 3:43pm  •  0 vote

Nothing to stop a verb having more than one meaning, or the meaning changing slightly according to context, and varying between transitive/causative and intransitive: Children grow quickly. Flowe

Re: Are proverbs dying?  •  August 1, 2014, 11:26pm  •  0 vote

"It's /It was pouring" seems to outtick "raining cats and dogs".

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  July 31, 2014, 2:50pm  •  0 vote

@SL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergative_verb http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_ergative_verbs "Transform" is there on the list of so-called ergative verbs. I must confess w

Re: What’s happening to the Passive?  •  July 30, 2014, 7:53pm  •  4 votes

@SL I think quite a number of style guides suggest that one should avoid the passive wherever possible. There are still a few verbs pairs in English (like rise/raise, fall/fell) where the causative

Re: subwait  •  July 21, 2014, 8:45pm  •  0 vote

@AnWulf The surgery in question used to be a couple of doctors in a rather homely converted detached house; now they have merged with others into a new clinic with a largish reception area and a fair

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 20, 2014, 10:18pm  •  0 vote

@WW "If I repeat the point about usage, it is because this is one of the few language forums where this is not considered important." Where is your evidence for this? ;=)) Sadly many normal,

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 20, 2014, 9:23pm  •  0 vote

sic transeunt populi anglici linguae gloriae

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 20, 2014, 9:11pm  •  0 vote

@Jasper Perhaps the root of the problem in English lies in the word roots: http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=this&searchmode=none http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_f

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 20, 2014, 8:30pm  •  0 vote

@Jasper Not sure I can help you here; in truth I am not very academic. However FWIW in German ( and up till William the Bastard et al came to stay English was germanic) one would say something like:

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 19, 2014, 3:49pm  •  1 vote

@Jasper I must confess that thick as I am, I am still not entirely lucid on what exactly you are trying to clarify and why this is so important to you. Is it just that you wish these sentences to fit

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 18, 2014, 7:33pm  •  1 vote

@Jasper To my mind, there is a difference in the usage of "am" in the following: A) Who am I to judge? B) Whom am I to judge? In A "am" is a true copula. In B "am" is a sort of modal auxil

Re: When did contacting someone become reaching out?  •  July 18, 2014, 3:15pm  •  5 votes

@HS Thank you for reaching out to us in your hour of need. As you now know, we operate an outreach program for those whom the modern vernacular has left feeling bewildered, betrayed and benighted.

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 18, 2014, 4:26am  •  1 vote

There is a list of copula verbs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_copulae Right now I cannot see how to follow any of these with a complement and then an infinitive. It is pe

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 17, 2014, 2:38pm  •  2 votes

Victoria: I am to be queen then? Lord Melbourne: Yes, you are, ma'am. Victoria: And who is Prince Albert to be? Who is he to be? Lord Melbourne: He is in no way to be KIng, ma'am. Victoria: Well

Re: Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive  •  July 17, 2014, 2:37am  •  0 vote


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