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Number of comments posted: 477

Number of votes received: 778

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Re: 114  •  April 23, 2004, 8:13am  •  0 vote

Joe, it's the United States standard phone number you dial to reach Information. 411 = Information. Get it?

Re: The Reality  •  April 22, 2004, 8:49am  •  0 vote

Try this thread: http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.asp?id=120

Re: Who’s this Joe?  •  April 20, 2004, 8:13am  •  0 vote

Right the first time. It means "the average person." You may see it as Joe Public, John Q. Public, John Doe, "the average Joe," Joe Six-Pack (in which case it means the average working-class per

Re: 114  •  April 19, 2004, 10:33am  •  0 vote

It's American slang, but I think it started with the generation younger than mine. Will do on the e-mail.

Re: 114  •  April 19, 2004, 9:30am  •  0 vote

Just by contrast, some cases in which you MIGHT hear "four eleven:" - Apartment #411 - April 11 (4/11) - Code 411 (spoken by a police officer, perhaps) - 411 as a sequential number (i.e. check n

Re: 114  •  April 19, 2004, 9:24am  •  0 vote

Since it's a telephone number, you say it by "spelling out" the digits. If I was telling you my area code (Houston, TX, 713), I'd say "seven one three." 411 would be pronounced (and is pronounced) "

Re: S  •  April 16, 2004, 8:19am  •  0 vote

Goossun, that's fairly common. Hungarian does it so often it's a well-known rule; there are no occurrences of two consonants together at the beginning of a word in the language, so that when the

Re: Term  •  April 15, 2004, 9:01am  •  0 vote

I think the word "single" is most frequently used in scholarly writing.

Re: S  •  April 15, 2004, 8:51am  •  0 vote

Also interesting: We always say "a U-turn." U is a vowel, but the pronunciation of its name begins with consonantal Y, as in the word "you."

Re: S  •  April 15, 2004, 8:49am  •  0 vote

Kiseun, that's too simplistic... Here at work we have a type of oil well component, for example. Each component can be assigned a model designation beginning with C, so we call them "C-types." If

Re: Stress pattern in the word ‘totalitarian’  •  April 15, 2004, 8:38am  •  0 vote

Reconceptualization? Perhaps... although I prnounce it as a two-major word ("re" and "za"), with a significant minor stress on "cep". In my everyday speech (and I'm a pretty representative speaker i

Re: Stress pattern in the word ‘totalitarian’  •  April 12, 2004, 1:45pm  •  0 vote

http://www.univ-pau.fr/ANGLAIS/phon2/ProjetPhon2/PB/StressandAccent.html That web site may clear things up. I notice, for example, that there's a difference between stress and intensity. I live

Re: Stress pattern in the word ‘totalitarian’  •  April 12, 2004, 12:06pm  •  0 vote

I can't think what three syllables you are major stressing. I minor stress the second (tal) and major stress the fourth (tar). I do so even when the word is lengthened into "totalitarianism." Under

Re: The Reality  •  April 12, 2004, 11:47am  •  0 vote

Remember when writers used to capitalize the names of abstract concepts, like "Truth," "Faith," and "Honor?" (This was a particularly common affectation of writers who were attracted to mysticism.)

Re: Is it A or An?  •  April 12, 2004, 11:30am  •  0 vote

MS, in Australia you don't pronounce the initial H in hotel or hallucination, do you?

Re: Letter A  •  April 12, 2004, 11:17am  •  0 vote

OK, it's exactly the same problem as whether you refer to "my son John" or "my son, John." In the first case you imply that you have more than one son (and this one is named John), and in the second,

Re: a shit  •  April 12, 2004, 11:02am  •  1 vote

My two cents worth: There are at least two forms of the word here. If you can substitute the word "nonsense" in the sentence, then don't use the article. If you can insert the words "piece of" bef

Re: The Old IS or ARE  •  April 12, 2004, 10:50am  •  0 vote

besides, Ali forgot to place the comma after "dipshit."

Re: War in/on/with Iraq  •  April 12, 2004, 10:42am  •  0 vote

it's "the war against iraq," for crissakes.

Re: A Jew and Jews  •  April 12, 2004, 10:39am  •  0 vote

OK, I happen to be a Jew and an atheist. That makes me a Jewish atheist. I'm trying this out for sound.... Seems we have the same problem with the word "Hindu." One can be a Hindu and an atheist

Re: Either Is or Am  •  April 12, 2004, 10:28am  •  0 vote

My vote's mainly with carrie and Pigpen. Here we have a construction meant to set one thing against another, "Either A or B" (but presumably not both). I would consider the separation of the phrases

Re: Who reads thrillers?  •  April 12, 2004, 10:19am  •  0 vote

MS: No need to be redundant ;)

Re: Sheep, Fish, and Cattle  •  April 12, 2004, 10:15am  •  0 vote

Teresa is always right :)

Re: Friends  •  April 7, 2004, 9:40am  •  1 vote

Yeah, you're right. Sounds better that way. "Let's you and I be friends" is a childhood memory.

Re: Advanced vs. Advance  •  April 7, 2004, 9:38am  •  0 vote

In the case of the Game Boy, I have to put in my two cents worth.... Products are frequently named by sticking a cool-sounding word on them without any regard for rhyme, reason, or the long-suffering

Re: 00′s  •  April 7, 2004, 9:30am  •  0 vote

'80s is correct. You don't write 80's because the 's is not an acceptable way to form the plural. You're abbreviating "eighties," not "eighty's."

Re: There is no such a thing as...  •  April 5, 2004, 8:32am  •  1 vote

hey Tensor! a fan says hello... You CAN say, "there isn't any such thing." My father, a native Hungarian speaker, used to say "no such a thing" until I was about 3 or 4. I used to work for a f

Re: More than a pain in the English!  •  April 1, 2004, 8:38am  •  0 vote

Yeah, I saw that website too, Z. AFTER I tried my best to guess.

Re: -  •  March 26, 2004, 8:39am  •  0 vote

I gave up proofreading when I stopped getting paid for it... lol. In the first paragraph above (it SHOULD be above, but the posts show in REVERSE chronological order... this is a hassle), it should

Re: -  •  March 26, 2004, 8:32am  •  0 vote

There are three types of "line thingies" you can use for various purposes; they are the hyphen, the en dash, and the M dash. Visually, the difference is that a hyphen is short (long enough that it isn

Re: “...”  •  March 24, 2004, 2:51pm  •  0 vote

OK, so much for the goody-two-shoes rules.... Online, it's easier and looks better to violate all the rules and just follow your statement by three or four closed-up periods, depending on whether or n

Re: “...”  •  March 24, 2004, 2:49pm  •  0 vote

It's called an "ellipsis" (plural: "ellipses"), and it's used when there is a pause or when words have been left out of a sentence. It is also used in the place of words left out of a direct quote.

Re: Identical  •  March 17, 2004, 11:49am  •  0 vote

OK, disregard all that as I did not really answer the question, did I. As you used it, yes, "essence" should be singular, because it is a single essence shared by both things. "Color" is another g

Re: Identical  •  March 17, 2004, 11:43am  •  0 vote

OK, back. Relevant examples: Was: "...the vertical distribution of heat and particles was identical in megaplume 1..." "...the number of runs and rewards was identical in both..." "The definit

Re: Identical  •  March 17, 2004, 8:17am  •  0 vote

Feelings, wo, wo wo, Feelings.... Compare: "The plots of this book and that book are identical." "The color of this book and that book is identical." "The main characters of this book and that

Re: Pet Peeves  •  March 12, 2004, 3:06pm  •  0 vote

Most dictionaries define "peeve" as an "annoyance." "Pet" would refer to something that is a favorite of yours (think about the phrase "teacher's pet."). It's meant ironically in this case to mean t

Re: Question about these things: { }  •  March 10, 2004, 8:20am  •  0 vote

Hmmm. I think "wavy brackets" is the Southern U.S. vernacular. :)

Re: Was it like that or Were you just joking?  •  March 3, 2004, 8:03am  •  0 vote

Same in what sense? Are we ever exactly the same from one moment to the next? What is the meaning of life, anyway? (grin) I may have dropped a few brain cells between one occasion and another. Esp

Re: A lot of water  •  March 1, 2004, 8:35am  •  1 vote

Don't forget that the construction "There is too much water here" is also correct and contains "much." "Many waters" is a Biblical usage that I think was intended to translate a passage that actually

Re: Past / Present  •  March 1, 2004, 8:32am  •  0 vote

Blend, if we could so easily refer to "any grammar reference book," there wouldn't be any need for this site. Or any fun either. :P I especially like it that many speakers, of different dialects,

Re: Was it like that or Were you just joking?  •  March 1, 2004, 8:28am  •  0 vote

Borderline shmorderline... :) This is a perfectly straighforward case of "drop the prepositional phrase and make what's left over agree." I've trained myself to have an ear for such things, as has an

Re: Have/halve  •  March 1, 2004, 8:25am  •  0 vote

Blend is correct in that pronunciation varies from country to country and even within countries. In my own speech (a very pure "baseline American" accent, according to a linguist I once dated) and in

Re: Have/halve  •  February 27, 2004, 4:25pm  •  0 vote

it would if there WAS an "L" sound in "halving," which there is not.

Re:  •  February 27, 2004, 4:23pm  •  0 vote

There was another British actor names Arthur Askey.

Re: More than a pain in the English!  •  February 26, 2004, 1:26pm  •  0 vote

Then there's this I just found: http://rec-puzzles.org/new/sol.pl/language/english/pronunciation/breakfast A few of my off-the-cuff solutions were wrong. (who is Beaverbrooks?)

Re: More than a pain in the English!  •  February 26, 2004, 1:23pm  •  0 vote

lessee.... the ones that spring right out at me are aphorism, beaver brooks, effervescence, age for pension, hell-for-leather, "O for the wings of a dove" is a Bible quote (think "I wish I had the win

Re: Colon and Semi Colon  •  February 24, 2004, 8:06am  •  0 vote

Why does it do that??!?! The information given above as "colon..." was cut off; the real name was "colonsemi.html." Hey, I used a colon and a semicolon in my posts. Hoo-raw, as they say around her

Re: Colon and Semi Colon  •  February 24, 2004, 7:59am  •  0 vote

I can't improve upon the clear advice given here: http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/WC/colonsemi.html

Re: Any reference?  •  February 19, 2004, 9:53am  •  0 vote

A quick/general reference on pronunciation is here: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/classics-faq/ I think that if you pick up most recent translations (intended for college reading) of the Classical autho

Re: Thread or threads?  •  February 19, 2004, 9:39am  •  1 vote

The singular form (ex. "thread") is generally preferred but the plural form (ex. "threads") is not wrong. Sometimes it depends on context. When I worked in a fabric store, a customer might ask me,

Re: Have/halve  •  February 18, 2004, 3:47pm  •  0 vote

Longer in duration, I think the previous poster meant. I have the same feeling. Still, the context would primarily decide this one. I would avoid it if I could... perhaps recasting as "dividing in

Re: un/ir  •  February 18, 2004, 11:59am  •  0 vote

...blows up laughing at the mere thought of anyone trying to make sense of Derrida...

Re: Weird name  •  February 17, 2004, 8:45am  •  0 vote

Remembered this question last night as I was reading the sci-fi classic "The Demolished Man." The author uses the word "gimpster" occasionally, and it doesn't seem to fit either of the above meanings

Re: Weird name  •  February 16, 2004, 2:13pm  •  0 vote

I know of two definitions for the word. Maybe one will ring a bell. The first is used to refer to someone unable to walk because they are crippled or injured. The "gimp" can refer to the lameness

Re: Pronounciation of TH+S  •  February 16, 2004, 2:07pm  •  0 vote

I've never heard anything but the ess sound rather than the zee sound after TH. Anyone else?

Re: It was the coup de’grace of et all!...or was it?  •  February 16, 2004, 2:04pm  •  0 vote

blech. "decisive." Darn it, I win spelling bees all over the place and then forget to pay attention to spelling ever after. :)

Re: It was the coup de’grace of et all!...or was it?  •  February 16, 2004, 2:03pm  •  0 vote

jenga, try: "coup de grace" and "et al" or "et al." (with or without the period, that is). You'll find the first comes from French and the second comes from Latin. To the best of my recollect

Re: Gerund and Present Participle  •  February 13, 2004, 8:55am  •  0 vote

"Of," not "if."

Re: Gerund and Present Participle  •  February 13, 2004, 8:45am  •  0 vote

Well, the gerund is a noun made out of the present participle of the verb, to put it briefly. PP: "I am baking the bread." Gerund: "I am doing the baking." PP: "I feel good when I'm running." Ge

Re: Writer or Author  •  February 13, 2004, 8:39am  •  0 vote

Guriko, here's how my ear and experience lead me to answer: "I want to be an author" is an answer to "What role do you wish to have in the production of this book?" (Contrast "I want to be an edit

Re: Plural usage  •  February 13, 2004, 8:27am  •  0 vote

Sarah, I assume your document contrasts "releasee," the one released from the contract, with "releasor," the one releasing. (Do not use "releaser" in this context.) You should simply add the "s" a

Re: List Punctuation  •  February 13, 2004, 8:19am  •  0 vote

Adam, thanks; don't know HOW I missed that one. Digihippy, I'm with you... when I start seeing that even people whose business it is to know such things really neither know nor care, I start to won

Re: Is it A or An?  •  February 10, 2004, 9:42am  •  0 vote

He's simply hung up on the spelling. Fix your customer's cognitive dysfunction this way: Tell him about the different dashes in typesetting. He probably won't know whether you are talking about an

Re: “Proper” Diction?  •  February 10, 2004, 9:35am  •  0 vote

And what would be wrong with "My watch is slow?"

Re: Bathroom  •  February 10, 2004, 9:32am  •  0 vote

Upon further reflection, I realized that the real question begging to be answered here is not, "what usage is correct," but "why is the mistaken usage so often used?". I think what people often hav

Re: People(s)  •  February 10, 2004, 9:12am  •  0 vote

Not that the Chinese were notable pyramid builders or anything :)

Re: People(s)  •  February 10, 2004, 9:11am  •  0 vote

I hope I'm understanding your question properly. After examining the dictionary entries for "people" (which usually also contain "peoples"), I conclude that the distinction is probably made to avoi

Re: Double/Single Quotation Marks  •  February 9, 2004, 8:23am  •  0 vote

Overlooked something.... The use of "security" above is an example of quotes used as if you had in mind the word "so-called." Quotes used to express sarcasm should follow the normal rule for quota

Re: Is it A or An?  •  February 5, 2004, 8:26am  •  0 vote

Jesus, are you kidding? I thought that pronuciation went out in the Elizabethan era. For what it's worth, I think "an hotel" is an affected pseudo-Englishism favored by American Anglomaniacs.

Re: Double/Single Quotation Marks  •  February 4, 2004, 12:01pm  •  0 vote

Use single and/or double quotes when (in descending order of importance): 1) The style sheet or style specs used by your school or company specifically require their use in a case such as yours. 2

Re: Sister Company  •  February 3, 2004, 11:06am  •  1 vote

Capitalism originated in the Renaissance. The very first corporations were formed to finance sea voyages. Each company was formed for a single ship voyage and dissolved at the end. Since the ship ba

Re: Email  •  February 3, 2004, 10:58am  •  0 vote

"email" is French for "enamel." Use "e-mail."

Re: Friends  •  February 3, 2004, 10:55am  •  1 vote

"Let's be friends" is a quite proper shortening of "Let's you and I be friends."

Re: “Proper” Diction?  •  February 3, 2004, 10:52am  •  0 vote

The Chicago Manual of Style, while quirky in spots, is the resource my typesetting company has used for many years. Understand that some rules are disputed and some situations have more than one OK s

Re: Bathroom  •  February 3, 2004, 10:50am  •  0 vote

You're right to catch this. Contrast: Man/lady man's/lady's Men/ladies men's/ladies' that help?

Re: Already or all ready?  •  February 3, 2004, 10:48am  •  0 vote

Contrast: Are we there already? Are the kids all ready?

Re: Ann Brashares  •  February 3, 2004, 10:42am  •  0 vote

The cat's doing what's called "milk treading." Kittens do it when settling down against mama cat for a feed; it stimulates milk letdown. Cats generalize kitten behavior to their people (you are mama

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