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Number of comments posted: 477

Number of votes received: 775

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Re: S  •  December 30, 2004, 11:34am  •  0 vote

Goossun, Qov's list is correct for standard American and British English pronunciation. So "an H" is probably correct. The Irish pronunciation you referred to is probably nonstandard.

Re: Films  •  December 29, 2004, 1:03pm  •  0 vote

It's also correct in American English to spell it "orangutan." The first element, the "ourang" part, is "man" in one if the Indonesian languages, interestingly, so the title could also be read as if

Re: Jigsaw evidence  •  December 23, 2004, 11:07am  •  0 vote

Frankly, Olga, I'm not surprised that you're confused. The sentence you quoted should win some kind of award for gibberish. It is so hopeless in so many ways. :)

Re: Jigsaw evidence  •  December 23, 2004, 11:04am  •  0 vote

That is extremely strange. The writer evidently meant to allude to a "jigsaw puzzle," the kind in which a picture is pasted to a board and the irregular pieces are cut apart with a jigsaw (a saw us

Re: State of the Art  •  December 21, 2004, 9:50pm  •  0 vote

From www.wordorigins.org : "This term arose in engineering circles. The earliest known usage is from 1910, in H.H. Suplee's Gas Turbine. There is a use of the term status of the art dating to 1889

Re: Conceptual Art  •  December 21, 2004, 8:53am  •  0 vote

The Free Online Dictionary, at www.thefreedictionary.com, has this definition: "Art that is intended to convey an idea or concept to the perceiver and need not involve the creation or appreciation

Re: Zorbing? What’s that?  •  December 21, 2004, 8:38am  •  0 vote

A speck more reasearch would have revealed the official Zorb site, www.zorb.com (how hard was that?), where the following official, Concise Oxford English Dictionary definition can be found: zorbin

Re: fill in the blanks!  •  December 20, 2004, 11:32am  •  0 vote

Debbie, this site describes all of the applicable laws and forms for notaries in the state of Texas: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/edinfo.shtml The "Form for Ordinary Certificate of Acknowledg

Re: Murphy’s Law  •  December 17, 2004, 8:56am  •  0 vote

There's a list? Awesome. I bet it's in the book... I never got around to reading the book, actually. :(

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  December 17, 2004, 8:52am  •  0 vote

What, is Texas not in America, now? "Public servant" may be a technically correct phrase, but I was careful to say that I think very few such refer to themselves as such anymore. Speaking of bei

Re: One Love  •  December 16, 2004, 4:40pm  •  1 vote

Well, I originally intended to be ironic (that's what the smiley means), but the following excerpt from the lyrics is pretty clear: "Let's get together to fight this Holy Armagiddyon (One Love!),

Re: BCC  •  December 16, 2004, 4:34pm  •  0 vote

This post has some good thoughts: http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.asp?id=58 I prefer "e-mail." "E-mail," with the capital E, would only be used if the word "electronic" would be capitalized i

Re: Ya’ese  •  December 16, 2004, 4:31pm  •  0 vote

No, Jay. "Menopause" and "geripause" (I've never heard the second one) are not words for a woman past the "change of life." They're words for the "change" itself. You would never call a menopausal

Re: Why so few diacritics in English?  •  December 16, 2004, 8:00am  •  0 vote

It's used to represent the sound that "sh" represents in English.

Re: Why so few diacritics in English?  •  December 15, 2004, 11:20am  •  0 vote

Joachim, could the ess-tzed be part of the explanation for why Hungarian uses "sz" for the sound English writes simply as "s"?

Re: Newfoundland Expression  •  December 14, 2004, 4:07pm  •  0 vote

Oh, that's terrific! (thinks about going home and making something like this for dinner) :)

Re: According to ME, you, him....  •  December 14, 2004, 8:29am  •  2 votes

Oh, it's possible to have that construction in English--there's nothing grammatically wrong with it at all. Any English speaker would understand what you meant by it. But it is just not something th

Re: BCC  •  December 13, 2004, 9:20am  •  0 vote

Oh, it's a secretary question. Yippee :) You would send "blind" carbon copies if you sent out copies of a letter to more than one recipient, but purposely omitted the cc: notation at the bottom. Yo

Re: Bios  •  December 13, 2004, 9:08am  •  0 vote

P.S. The proper Latin for "Speedwell" is "Veronica spp."

Re: Bios  •  December 13, 2004, 9:05am  •  0 vote

I got the impression that the writer was trying to use it in some specialized sense, but I didn't get the impression that he was using it in a well-understood sense (like a technical term). My best g

Re: Hairy  •  December 12, 2004, 7:19pm  •  0 vote

While I can easily understand the term as a reference to (sexual) maturity, it's a new one to me, also.

Re: Ya’ese  •  December 12, 2004, 7:16pm  •  0 vote

My mom referred to menopause itself as "the change of life." A non-medical phrase you can use is "she is past childbearing." English doesn't have a simple word. "Crone" is used sometimes to

Re: One Love  •  December 10, 2004, 6:00pm  •  0 vote

It's anti-atheist hate propaganda. ;)

Re: Footnote references and punctuations  •  December 9, 2004, 2:12pm  •  0 vote

Circumflex macron? ^¯

Re: Newfoundland Expression  •  December 7, 2004, 3:40pm  •  1 vote

Incidentally, I always thought "pease pudding" was thick, cooked-down, mushy bean soup that solidified somewhat when it cooled. The nursery rhyme, "Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold, Pease

Re: Bios  •  December 7, 2004, 3:36pm  •  0 vote

I'll save you! :D It's the Greek word for "life." You can see it used, for example, in the phrase "skene pas ho bios," or "Life is a stage." The writer of the article was trying to sound over-edu

Re: Newfoundland Expression  •  December 7, 2004, 3:30pm  •  2 votes

Found this mention online: "Jiggs was a comic strip character and his wife would make him his favourite meal, corned beef and cabbage. (thus Jiggs Dinner)." It's evidently the same thing I used

Re: “Tilting at Windmills”  •  December 7, 2004, 9:38am  •  1 vote

Actually, goossun, I do agree. I think he was doing it to dramatically prove a point. I never did get the impression that he had completely lost touch with reality.

Re: Broad  •  December 6, 2004, 12:21pm  •  0 vote

It's the breadth of the woman as seen from behind. I'm sure of this one. The broadest thing about me is my mind. :D

Re: Usage of “come”  •  December 6, 2004, 11:50am  •  0 vote

"Fixin' to" is one of my favorite expressions. Billy Bard didn't say, but it means "getting ready to do" or "getting around to doing." For example: "Honey, it's Saturday afternoon and you're just

Re: “Tilting at Windmills”  •  December 6, 2004, 11:11am  •  1 vote

Well, Satan is something akin to a deity, too, but I'm just kidding :) Thanks, nizou, I'm doing this because it is fun. I'm glad you are being helped!

Re: Afraid not  •  December 6, 2004, 11:08am  •  1 vote

I suppose I could try answering your question. :) "I'm afraid not" and similar phrases can be used where there is some uncertainty as to whether the unwelcome event will actually happen. You might

Re: Afraid not  •  December 6, 2004, 10:58am  •  4 votes

I always understood "I'm afraid not" to mean something like, "I'm sorry to have to disappoint you, but no." I suppose the "fear" represented by the word "afraid" is the same sort of thing expresse

Re: rubber meets the road?  •  December 6, 2004, 8:16am  •  2 votes

Don't mean to help hijack the thread, but I always understood "when the shit hits the fan" to mean something like "the moment when the consequences of someone's inept or stupid actions are visited upo

Re: See you laters???  •  December 6, 2004, 8:04am  •  0 vote

Sully, I think you just gave me my new sig line! :) (Thanks for the compliment... I think it's a compliment... I will assume it's a compliment...)

Re: Looking for a word  •  December 6, 2004, 8:00am  •  0 vote

I think the word wanted is "schlemiel."

Re: Murphy’s Law  •  December 4, 2004, 9:39am  •  0 vote

Oh, there WAS a Murphy! The version of the Law I gave below is its popularization. See this page for details: http://www.cpuidle.de/murphy.shtml

Re: Irregardless?  •  December 4, 2004, 9:12am  •  0 vote

It's just irregular, MM. One of those head-scratching idiosyncracies of the language of angels, you know? Look in the dictionary in such cases.

Re: Murphy’s Law  •  December 3, 2004, 6:59pm  •  0 vote

Murphy's Law is literally, "If anything can go wrong, it will."

Re: “Tilting at Windmills”  •  December 3, 2004, 9:50am  •  5 votes

Some uses, via Google: "The United States can ill-afford to be tilting at windmills while Al Qaeda remains at large and able to operate." "A coworker once compared me to Don Quixote, tilting at

Re: “Tilting at Windmills”  •  December 3, 2004, 9:33am  •  10 votes

It's from the book "Don Quixote" by Cervantes, summarized, readable and searchable here: http://www.online-literature.com/cervantes/don_quixote/ Don Quixote was a knight who at one point in the boo

Re: Water  •  December 2, 2004, 9:41am  •  1 vote

Sue you? For what? How much money do you have? ;) To clarify for folks who are not native English speakers, the word you used is actually meant to represent a slurred pronunciation of "another," an

Re: Color of People  •  December 2, 2004, 9:37am  •  1 vote

Terry, in the US the phrase is reserved for the racially disadvantaged, not the techno-nerdy overacheivers like you Asian folk. (Pardon my sarcasm... I do honestly admire individual achievement and I

Re: Hyphen, N-dash, M-dash  •  December 1, 2004, 3:58pm  •  3 votes

Um, "anonymous" was me, below there.

Re: Water  •  December 1, 2004, 11:17am  •  1 vote

Somewhat relevant.... Don't be surprised if you are in Texas and ask for a Coke, and your host asks you, "What kind do you want?" They do not mean for you to choose between Diet Coke, "Classic" Co

Re: Water  •  December 1, 2004, 11:06am  •  2 votes

I have an idea why some (clueless) Americans would object to mineral water or bottled still water if they ordered "water." Here in the States, if you order "water," they bring you a glass of tap water

Re: tuitions in graffiti  •  November 30, 2004, 3:21pm  •  0 vote

Fun and relevant: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=001EH5

Re: Double header  •  November 30, 2004, 7:53am  •  0 vote

Yes! It's two baseball games in a row. The endurance of the fans is not part of the question, actually. :)

Re: tuitions in graffiti  •  November 29, 2004, 8:25am  •  0 vote

Instead of "kevrob" might I suggest "goody two-shoes?"

Re: Gerund and Present Participle  •  November 25, 2004, 9:13am  •  0 vote

Further discussion of the difference between gerund and participle may be found here: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/gerund.html

Re: Something X Anything  •  November 21, 2004, 8:40pm  •  0 vote

Oh, there's nothing at all ungrammatical about your use of "something." In fact, I was about to say that the word might not be the very best choice, but I took it back before I said it. You did in fa

Re: Film titles  •  November 21, 2004, 8:33am  •  0 vote

Dave, read this (though it is somewhat unlikely to make you less confused): http://www.tc-forum.org/topicmai/ml03capi.htm Apparently, in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," you should capitalize "off" beca

Re: Usage of “come”  •  November 21, 2004, 8:24am  •  0 vote

That is, "...you'll have them ready when the next [cooling] season comes [or happens]." It's sort of a cop-out to just call the usage "idiomatic," but that seems to be the best that some dictionari

Re: Usage of “come”  •  November 21, 2004, 8:19am  •  0 vote

Cole, I think this usage is related to the specific meaning of "come" as "happen." The word is used in much the same way in the following examples: When what we want to happen finally does happen,

Re: I don’t think...  •  November 18, 2004, 8:54pm  •  0 vote

"Excuse" has only one U, dear.

Re: Commas and Quotation Marks  •  November 18, 2004, 1:35pm  •  0 vote

Yes, yes, I know there are exceptions. This might be one, but it depends on how you used the list in a sentence. If you are referring to the programs as programs, then you would follow the US styl

Re: Use of Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, etc.  •  November 18, 2004, 8:04am  •  2 votes

"Language existed for many hundreds of years before people started to try to pigeon hole it into grammar rules." Well, clothing has existed since before recorded history, but fashion still insists

Re: V-cards  •  November 18, 2004, 7:57am  •  0 vote

Cool. I did not know that. Well, OK, then the word must still have been "raise!" :)

Re: I don’t think...  •  November 18, 2004, 7:55am  •  0 vote

Newcomers should realize that this is a question about personal preference and not about proper grammar. Both of ladylucy's initial example sentences are actually correct English sentences.

Re: Why so few diacritics in English?  •  November 17, 2004, 1:55pm  •  0 vote

Clarissa, that works for me! Thanks!

Re: Plural of word “rum”  •  November 17, 2004, 1:47pm  •  0 vote

You use "hairs" in sentences like, "The fairy godmother told Prince Florimel he must get three hairs from the tail of the unicorn." You're absolutely right about "rums." A representative exampl

Re: Commas and Quotation Marks  •  November 17, 2004, 1:42pm  •  0 vote

"Test.prg," "Test2.prg," and "Test3.prg." is correct standard American English. "Test.prg", "Test2.prg", and "Test3.prg". is correct standard British English (and Canadian, etc.) Pick the

Re: Why so few diacritics in English?  •  November 17, 2004, 8:30am  •  0 vote

Wow, Berger, terrific post. Tell your Welsh friend that if he is writing in French, he may use the "hat" over the O in role. In English it is dead as the dodo. English as a pidgin... Hahahaha..

Re: I don’t think...  •  November 17, 2004, 8:08am  •  0 vote

(shrug) Whatever it is you're talking about (and frankly I'm not sure I can make it out), it isn't a valid distinction in English grammar. It sounds like you have a personal "thing" against using a p

Re: See you laters???  •  November 16, 2004, 8:21am  •  0 vote

Yeah, I've heard it... it is not standard. You would only use it informally, to people you were friendly with. It's considered "cute" and somewhat affected.

Re: Why so few diacritics in English?  •  November 15, 2004, 5:31pm  •  0 vote

Preliminary research suggests that English does not use diacritics because the written language was heavily dependent on Latin. The basic Latin alphabet used no diacritics. The macron, or long sign,

Re: I don’t think...  •  November 15, 2004, 2:26pm  •  0 vote

Ladylucy, a question in the form "I don't think (something)" does not refer in any way to whether or not you actually have thought processes. The concept you're having trouble with is whether the v

Re: Why so few diacritics in English?  •  November 15, 2004, 2:07pm  •  0 vote

English doesn't use ANY diacritics. Any that you may see are on words taken recently from other languages. When fully assimilated into English, such words lose their diacritics. As far as WHY thi

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  November 15, 2004, 2:01pm  •  0 vote

Eduardo, I'm ashamed to admit that it probably sounds fast to me because I'm completely ignorant of Portuguese. This is not helped by the fact that the engineer is the excitable type. :) Janet, rea

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  November 15, 2004, 8:20am  •  0 vote

"Aliens." LOL I don't think anyone I know uses that word anymore to refer to any immigrants from locations within the orbit of the Moon. :)

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  November 15, 2004, 8:17am  •  0 vote

Eduardo, you might try "Portuguese as a Second Language," if your target audience is speakers of English. This is by analogy with the classes we have in the US that we call ESL, or "English as a Seco

Re: Quotation Marks in Parenthetical Statement  •  November 15, 2004, 8:10am  •  1 vote

Johanna, just so. Thanks. Houston is in Texas, and Texas is in the US, and that means I'm an American. :) For the sake of consistency, I always post using the writing style that is most correct whe

Re: Is it sunday or sunduh?  •  November 15, 2004, 8:02am  •  0 vote

Perenna, you really cannot do better than this: http://www.onelook.com/ Pay attention, though, because although they give you results from a couple dozen possible dictionaries, a few are of purely

Re: Lux’ or Lux’s  •  November 15, 2004, 7:58am  •  0 vote

Generally, yes, but here the confusion arose between the written S and the pronounced S sound at the end of X. It's a natural and common error and essentially shows that the person does actually care

Re: @ mark  •  November 15, 2004, 7:57am  •  0 vote

The news that Japanese is a different languiage from English will come as no surprise to anyone on this board; however, that's a really interesting fact. Thanks for mentioning it.

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  November 12, 2004, 7:54am  •  1 vote

Perenna, you're from Great Britain? (I don't think government workers in the US commonly refer to themselves as "public servants" anymore.) In the US, inclusive and tolerant as we like to think

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  November 11, 2004, 5:58pm  •  1 vote

OK, here's another thought. I sense you may be looking for a word to place in a construction like this, in which refer to my own family background: "My father was born in Hungary and moved to the

Re: The Term “Foreigner”  •  November 11, 2004, 5:43pm  •  1 vote

Stuart, please go out of your way to avoid using the word. It may be the quickest and easiest word to think of, but unfortunately nasty people have ruined it. Your best alternatives depend on cont

Re: Different than  •  November 10, 2004, 8:37am  •  0 vote

Mike wrote: "X differs from Y" "X is different than Y" "X differs in respect to Y" These usages are the preferred ones: "X differs from Y in that..." "X is different from Y..." "X differs

Re: Right Question For this Answer (about count/rank/order)  •  November 9, 2004, 6:10pm  •  2 votes

Forgive me for being didactic about a word that does not even exist, but I believe that if it did exist it would actually be spelled "whichth." "Whicheth" sounds like the kind of fake King James Bi

Re: Resume, resumé, or résumé?  •  November 9, 2004, 8:32am  •  3 votes

Since English does not use accent marks, I do not use accent marks in words that have been fully assimilated into English. I've never heard the word pronounced "re-zhu-may." Every time I hear pe

Re: Go + noun? Idiom or bad grammar?  •  November 9, 2004, 8:23am  •  0 vote

Heh. I couldn't see anything wrong with it, so I thought I'd wait to see what others said before I commented. The construction is not used in formal contexts, but it is fairly common in colloquial,

Re: Different than  •  November 8, 2004, 2:24pm  •  0 vote

Bad edit, sorry... the example sentence above should read "...those of her four older sisters."

Re: Different than  •  November 8, 2004, 2:23pm  •  0 vote

Personally, I hate "different than" and go out of my way to avoid using it. But, strangely, when I hear it used, I rarely mind. Some usages sound better to my ear than others do, though. Bad-sou

Re: Fifty G’s if you get this one  •  November 8, 2004, 7:49am  •  0 vote

Nate, that's cool. I've never heard it. A Google search on "high society" combined with "thousand dollars" returns less than 600 hits. The only hit that I see that links the two in meaning as you d

Re: Screw The Pooch  •  November 8, 2004, 7:44am  •  3 votes

Yeah, Jimmy, that's what I was avoiding... :)

Re: Two Weeks Notice  •  November 8, 2004, 7:43am  •  2 votes

No, Jappy, Merge is only partially correct, because their solution fails to take into account the possessive. You must have the apostrophe after the word "weeks" for the phrase to be properly rendered

Re: Fifty G’s if you get this one  •  November 5, 2004, 8:35am  •  0 vote

Second question first. Did you know that the term "buck" was also applied to black men during the time that the United States (however united or disunited at the time) embraced the institution of s

Re: Realize or realise?  •  November 3, 2004, 2:28pm  •  0 vote

Well, now, that's true. I've never been to England, though. Is there an English speaker from England in the house? We could use a good breakdown of how the R drops in various dialects in England.

Re: Realize or realise?  •  November 3, 2004, 8:19am  •  0 vote

What an interesting observation. I've always thought that the opposite was more usually true, and that spelling followed pronunciation. Of course both views are true, since languages are much older

Re: F word  •  November 2, 2004, 5:06pm  •  0 vote

Elizabeth, that's a lovely and sane sentiment, but you're never going to eradicate the fact that the expression actually refers to a son who practices incest with his own mother. Sorry.

Re: V-cards  •  November 2, 2004, 7:58am  •  0 vote

I think you're right and the word must have been "raise." A "vCard" is an electronic business or visiting card that people pass around by beaming from their PDA or cell phone. I think the "V" must st

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  November 1, 2004, 8:59am  •  0 vote

Actually double negatives have nothing at all to do with it. We're sort of off track here. Think of what you mean when you say the expression. If you say "I could care less," what you mean is it

Re: @ mark  •  November 1, 2004, 8:43am  •  0 vote

Oh, well, if you want to take MICROSOFT'S word for everything.... lol.... But if you would rather be accurate, @ is still a "mark." What I see when I do an Insert/Symbol in Word is the full rang

Re: silent autumn  •  November 1, 2004, 8:32am  •  0 vote

It's "ha'penny." And lots of people I know from the Illinois/Ohio/Pennsylvania belt say something like "samwich." Don't get your panties in a wad.

Re: couple vs couple of  •  October 29, 2004, 11:18am  •  4 votes

Dominic, your instincts are correct. "A couple of X" is similar to "a pair of X." "A couple X" is just slurred.

Re: silent autumn  •  October 29, 2004, 8:39am  •  0 vote

Wow, look what I just found. Not only did the word lose a formerly pronounced N, but it also gained and lost a P (of all the damned things) in both French and English. Here: [Middle English autum

Re: silent autumn  •  October 29, 2004, 8:23am  •  2 votes

Working on it. In the meantime enjoy this representative list of silent letters in English: Silent a: musically, realistically, logically Silent b: thumb, dumb, climb, debt, doubt, subtle Sile

Re: @ mark  •  October 28, 2004, 3:15pm  •  0 vote

What I'm about to say is just philosophical play, not official English. I'm theorizing. I think there is a subtle usage difference between "sign," "mark," and "symbol" that could be hinted at here.

Re: begin from page 10  •  October 28, 2004, 2:52pm  •  0 vote

"Let's begin with page 10"? Let's begin doing what with page 10? If you mean, "Let's begin reading on page 10," then you mean, "Let's begin on page 10." If you mean, "Let's begin tearing pages

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