Joined: March 17, 2003  (email not validated)

Number of comments posted: 19

Number of votes received: 53

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Recent Comments

Re: Life or Lives  •  March 18, 2003, 1:07am  •  0 vote

"The life of the people" is the collective social life of the people, as in "The life of the Hopi is still largely communal," or "The life of the medieval peasant was a hard one." If you turn it aroun

Re: Control  •  March 18, 2003, 12:28am  •  0 vote

I apologize for the English language, but there isn't a great deal of difference between the following phrases: I am in control of the ship. I am in full control of the ship. I have the

Re: A position followed by a company name  •  March 18, 2003, 12:06am  •  0 vote

The job title lost its initial article, not because it was preceded by the name of the company, but because it was followed by the name of the jobholder. This becomes clearer when you remember that "S

Re: Text, A Text, Texts  •  March 17, 2003, 11:34pm  •  0 vote

Dariensan nailed it: some text (the words on one or several pages in a book), a text (the whole book), some texts (several whole books).

Re: A lot of water  •  March 17, 2003, 11:21pm  •  2 votes

May I offer a slight emendation to that? "Much" and "a lot of" are synonyms, though "much" is getting to be a tad archaic. It survives in forms like "has much to offer." "Too much" and "a lot

Re: Future  •  March 17, 2003, 11:15pm  •  0 vote

You only say "in futures" if you work in futures trading. You can say either "in future" or "in the future". The tendency is to use "in future" to refer to relatively limited actions -- "In future,

Re: How old am I?  •  March 17, 2003, 11:06pm  •  0 vote

Biks is right about the hyphenation. The rule there is that "38-year-old" is a compound adjective -- a group of words functioning as a single adjective -- and therefore hyphenated. Other examples: a c

Re: Five of Ten  •  March 17, 2003, 10:55pm  •  0 vote

There's an older way to say that: "It lacks five minutes of ten." That is, you're five minutes short of ten o'clock. When that got shortened in everyday use, the answer to "What time is it?" became "I

Re: In and of itself  •  March 17, 2003, 10:52pm  •  0 vote

There's a functional difference. "In itself" is a more ambiguous construction, and will occasionally get you into trouble where "in and of itself" won't. "In" gets used so many ways, in so many di

Re: Potboiler  •  March 17, 2003, 10:33pm  •  0 vote

Purple Dragon's right again. A potboiler is a commercial project of no great moral or aesthetic significance that smooths out the jagged valleys of a freelancer's income. I didn't know until this

Re: Neither is or neither are  •  March 17, 2003, 10:24pm  •  8 votes

Whoops, forgot. Jun-Dai Bates-Kobash asked what you do when one element is plural and the other is not: "Two small apples or one large apple can be used, though neither is/are ideal" The answer is

Re: Neither is or neither are  •  March 17, 2003, 10:19pm  •  43 votes

I have to respectfully disagree with a couple of you. As used in the sample sentence, "neither" unquestionably takes the singular. Think of it as being short for "neither one". "Neither one is ideal"

Re: Fried Chicken  •  March 17, 2003, 10:08pm  •  0 vote

A live chicken is a single indivisible unit. Once it's killed and cooked, it becomes some quantity of fried chicken, which is divisible -- and hard to keep track of, if you have light-fingered hungry

Re: Decades  •  March 17, 2003, 9:56pm  •  0 vote

I'm not hearing any common use of terms signifying which century we're in, because it's usually so obvious from context that there's no need to specify which century you mean. I'm hearing this deca

Re: Taking sides  •  March 17, 2003, 9:49pm  •  0 vote

"Taking sides" is the common phrase, I suspect because that way you don't have to count up sides, or determine anyone's specific position. You can simply observe that they've gotten to the point of ta

Re: Matching the tense  •  March 17, 2003, 9:45pm  •  0 vote

It's "is" because it's a general statement about a continuous ongoing state of affairs: "My teacher explained why the sky is blue."

Re: ON the Lower East Side  •  March 17, 2003, 9:33pm  •  0 vote

The reporter was correct. It's colloquial New York usage. This isn't a 100% reliable rule, but in general, regional designations are "on" -- the Upper West Side, the Lower East Side, etc. -- but yo

Re: Value  •  March 17, 2003, 9:14pm  •  0 vote

Purple Dragon's right. Anything can have value, or have some value; but when it has a value, it's a quantitative measure, and math probably comes into it.

Re: Sheep, Fish, and Cattle  •  March 17, 2003, 9:11pm  •  0 vote

English has a bunch of irregular nouns left over from its amalgamation and transformation of several languages into Middle and then Modern English. It's been losing them gradually. There are no sim