Warsaw Will

Joined: December 3, 2010

Number of comments posted: 1033

Number of votes received: 355

I'm a TEFL teacher working in Poland. I have a blog - Random Idea English - where I do some grammar stuff for advanced students and have the occasional rant against pedantry.

Questions Submitted

Natural as an adverb

In his entry on ‘try and do’, Fowler calls it “an idiom that...

apostrophe with expressions of distance or time

I imagine everyone uses an apostrophe with expressions of di...

tonne vs ton

I’m all for the metric system, and I’m sure a lot of British...

Tell About

On ESL websites I sometimes see instructions to students of ...

“reach out”

I’m not usually a peever, but I do make an exception for bus...

Fit as a butcher’s dog

Has anybody come across the idiom “Fit as a butcher’s dog”, ...

You’ve got another think/thing coming

If you’re over a certain age, you will probably be familiar ...

When “one of” many things is itself plural

There are all sorts of things I believed in then which I don...

Recent Comments

on: Plural forms of words borrowed from Latin

@Brus - 'You can tell from his number XII that he probably w...

on: Plural forms of words borrowed from Latin

@Brus and Skeeter Lewis - the learned Will did indeed slip u...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@Nancy N - as far as I remember, the first recorded example ...

on: in that regard

@HS - agreed, but it's marked in Oxford Dictionaries Online ...

on: Plural forms of words borrowed from Latin

And speaking of Latin pronunciation, did Julius Caesar say '...

on: in that regard

@HS - "Wow! I certainly got your attention." - because it wa...

on: Plural forms of words borrowed from Latin

@HS - sorry, but who on earth pronounces alias with an 'ah',...

on: in that regard

I think there are two separate points here. Firstly, there’s...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - off to bed now so will get back to you later, but ...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - I got interested in "(the) injured men" vs "(the...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - it seems that all this stuff about qualia and GL i...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - they come up, but only just - these are real figur...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - Unit 82 - I would say sometimes rather than usuall...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - OK, I think I see what you're getting at: The p...

on: Misuse of “lay”

@ providencejim - totally agree with you about the sound of ...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

Did I say 'passive mood'? Tush, tush! What I meant, of cours...

on: “We will have ... tomorrow” or “We have ... tomorrow”

@HJMCS - I'm afraid that's not good enough. With a moniker l...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - I'm not really saying that a past participle used ...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles - I would say all three are valid sentences, but not...

on: Five eggs is too many

@Thredder - Mais ca, c'est pas logique! Pour une personne on...

on: Five eggs is too many

@Hairy Scot - I thought you'd gone AWOL! Care to explain (in...

on: Idea Vs. Ideal

@Brus - ROFLMAO = Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off -...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@jayles - I'm certainly not defending business speak. As for...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@Brus - I'm not calling you a snob, but I don't think you re...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@Brus - I was brought up on all this U and Non-U stuff and i...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@Brus - We've already talked about Nancy Mitford and the who...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@Brus - Actually, I wrote a blog post about this a couple of...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@Brus - I have some sympathy with your views on business spe...

on: gifting vs. giving a gift

@Brus - I've no doubt your granny got 'gift' as a verb from ...

on: Misuse of “lay”

@Colin Hammond - Well, there's a blast from the past - from ...

on: “into” vs “in to” and “onto” vs. “on to”

Correction - I've just realised that I made one basic mistak...

on: “into” vs “in to” and “onto” vs. “on to”

@Chris B - I think you're absolutely right about 'everyday' ...

on: Misuse of “lay”

We could also add 'your arms' to your list. 'This gets a lot...

on: “into” vs “in to” and “onto” vs. “on to”

I'm minded (reminded) of the famous (for older people in the...

on: “into” vs “in to” and “onto” vs. “on to”

I haven't seen confusion between preposition 'to' and infini...

on: Possessive with acromyms ending in S

@Proper Usage - well, specifically in answer to porsche's qu...

on: Past tense of “text”

@Chris Beaver - you were unlucky to land on a page where at ...

on: Substantial vs. substantive

Hi Richard, some words can definitely take both, but I would...

on: Why Don’t We Abolish Irregular Verbs and Nouns?

Sorry, one sentence there was badly worded and implied somet...

on: Substantial vs. substantive

To put it another way, you can almost always replace 'substa...

on: Why Don’t We Abolish Irregular Verbs and Nouns?

Probably most languages have irregular verbs, certainly the ...

on: Past tense of “text”

@Chris Beaver - why on earth 'as an English teacher' would i...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

For fans of Steptoe and Son, heard in Series 2, Episode 2 -...

on: O’clock

@Budahust - Why do we say 9.30pm, but not half past nine pm?...

on: Most-Populous vs. Most-Populated

@Mani - 'would' has lots of uses apart from in conditionals ...

on: “Over-simplistic”

'does get a bit of a mention in Fowler's 3rd Edition, where ...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Hi Jim, I teach foreign students, and in British-based EFL t...

on: If ... were/was

@Brus - you might be interested in my blog post on the subju...

on: If ... were/was

@jayles - Yes, we don't use present subjunctive much in BrE,...

on: If ... were/was

@Brus - thank you for your kind remarks and the fact that, a...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Hi Jim, off-topic discussions are often the best. As you say...

on: If ... were/was

@Brus - I'm a little confused. In your first comment on the ...

on: “Over-simplistic”

A bit of clumsy editing as usual - an extra 'of' and a missi...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Hi Jim (?), from Providence (?) - I agree, technically, it j...

on: If ... were/was

@Brus - the subjunctive has been disappearing from British E...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Hi providencejim, I don't think my problem is specific to 's...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Firstly (It's OK Grammarnut, that's standard in BrE), congra...

on: He and I, me and him

It took you a hell of a long time to work out I was British;...

on: Past vs. past perfect

@jayles - I'm not sure that the rest really are a problem, a...

on: Past vs. past perfect

@jayles - Thank you for confirming my suspicions, but why th...

on: He and I, me and him

Just spotted in a piece by David Baddiel at the Guardian: ...

on: He and I, me and him

@grammarhack - perhaps I'm too old to have recognised that a...

on: Past vs. past perfect

Hi Jasper, this is a weird one, and no, I do mean after, alt...

on: He and I, me and him

@grammarjack - I don't know what world you live in, but the ...

on: He and I, me and him

@grammarhack - First of all, thanks for taking the time to r...

on: He and I, me and him

@jayles - but what I don't understand is why the name on the...

on: He and I, me and him

@jayles - I'm confused. When you were just plain jayles, you...

on: He and I, me and him

@Over50guy - It's always easier to throw out personal insult...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Correction - unambiguously...

on: “Over-simplistic”

@providencejim - Glad you liked the Stephen Fry video. I hop...

on: He and I, me and him

@Over50guy - except that people don't do it consistently wit...

on: Past vs. past perfect

Addendum - there's also one type of construction when we can...

on: Past vs. past perfect

Well we've got three tenses (or forms if you prefer): pas...

on: The Term “Foreigner”

Correction - in the first paragraph it should read 'the teac...

on: The Term “Foreigner”

@speedwell2 - just on a technical note, ESL (English as a Se...

on: “Over-simplistic”

@providencejim - well, 'each to his ane (own)' as we say in ...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Addendum - Looking at those examples again, I think 'simplis...

on: “Over-simplistic”

Personally, I have no problem with 'over-simplistic'. Sure, ...

on: Fora vs Forums

@Cirsium - I'm surprised at your two groups of linguists. Li...

on: “my” vs. “mine” in multiple owner possessive

@ArjSaj - I take your point about Romeo and Juliet's love wh...

on: Substantial vs. substantive

@jayles -I'm sure you're right in a more specialist sense, b...

on: How many “ands” in a row

Firstly, this sounds like spoken English to me rather than w...

on: couple vs couple of

@ElktoothChain - My idea of descriptivism is that you make y...

on: Pled versus pleaded

@Rosewood11 - one small problem, 'pled' doesn't appear in th...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@Skeeter Lewis - I think it was a case of partially changing...

on: “I’m just saying”

@Nelson - perhaps not authoritative but this might interest ...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@MagicMatt - "So I'm pretty big on correcting other people's...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@JJM - It doesn't matter for native speakers in the course o...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@Chris B - You didn't come across as an apostrophe snob - I ...

on: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?

@jayles d) adjective -plants often eventually wither of the...

on: If ... were/was

@JJMBallantyne - good to see you back....

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@Chris B - I assume your own was deliberate! Unlike errant c...

on: Joke

Sorry to rub it in for American readers, and of course Brita...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@I'm late - sorry, you lost a bit of your name in the last o...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@I'm - of course, they're both idioms, so I don't think the ...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@I'm late - Doesn't exactly look as though it's dying out to...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@I'm late - "The old version ... uses a word which has been ...

on: If ... were/was

Well, you learn something new every day; what a fascinating ...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

Oops - a wayward double negative - the second sentence shoul...

on: You’ve got another think/thing coming

@Rob Schmidt - obviously a lot of people are quite happy wit...

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