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Joined: November 6, 2002
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Questions Submitted

“go figure”

November 29, 2015

Use my brain or brains?

June 14, 2014

It had impacts on...

April 19, 2012

Collins Dictionaries

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Word for Twitter Whores?

June 15, 2009

Someone else’s

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Peter thins them out

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One of the most...

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Effect vs. Affect

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June 24, 2008

Do’s and Don’t's

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Don’t mind if I do

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Feeling concern

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Life Savers 5 Flavor

March 18, 2005

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Murphy’s Law

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Color of People

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Silk and Silkworm

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The Flu and a Cold

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The Americans

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At least, at the least

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Shame on You!

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Either Is or Am

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A Jew and Jews

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Hyphen, N-dash, M-dash

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Sister Company

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The Reality

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ON the Lower East Side

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Taking sides

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Fried Chicken

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Neither is or neither are

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Down to the Wire

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In and of itself

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hit a snag

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a shit

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lack of “a”

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Letter A

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November 2, 2002

Recent Comments

I just thought of one scenario where "width" is indeed used independently of the orientation: a carpet.

I think most people would call the shorter side "width" and the longer side "length" when describing the dimensions of a carpet regardless of where they are standing in relation to it. And, if they were to draw it on a piece of paper, they are more likely to draw it horizontally and still call the vertical side "width." This is because we write horizontally; drawing the carpet vertically on a sheet of paper would take up too much space.

So, any two-dimensional shape lying flat on the ground would use the convention where "width" is orientation-neutral. This may include a shape of land, pool, and road. It, therefore, makes sense that Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (the quote in my original post) would use "width" independently of the orientation. In fact, I can't think of another word that we could use instead of "width." In other languages, there may be an orientation-neutral word that is paired with "length" which simply means "the shorter side." In English, there isn't one.

This may be the source of confusion.

The word "height" has no ambiguities because it's not possible for us to change our standing positions in order to change the orientation. (We would have to be able to defy gravity and stand on a wall.) In contrast, with a shape lying flat on the ground, we can easily change the orientation without moving the object, hence the confusion/ambiguity.

Dyske May 8, 2017, 7:46am

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I think you are referring to "ditto mark". See this Wikipedia entry:

Dyske February 5, 2016, 5:58am

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If the question mark is inside of the inner quote, 'no substitutions?', it would imply that the menu itself was asking the question. (As if the menu is asking the customers if they want substitutions or not.)

So the right answer is b.

Dyske January 29, 2016, 10:03am

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The latest comments are at the bottom of the "Discussion Forum" page.

If you guys want any particular features or changes, please email me at

Dyske November 10, 2015, 3:44am

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I would say the statement itself is a fact, not an opinion. It is expressing the fact that everyone expressed the same opinion (or preference).

Dyske October 26, 2015, 6:31am

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I didn't know that "curb your dog" was legally defined. That's interesting, and good to know. Thank you.

But what I'm curious about is how that expression came to be; the etymological origin. If "curb" means to take something to the curb to pee/poo, is it ever used for anything other than dogs? If it only applies to dogs, it would mean that this particular usage of the word "curb" was invented only for this particular situation, nothing else. If so, who invented this usage? And, why did s/he invent it? If no such usage of "curb" existed outside of this particular instance with dogs, how could this person expect the public to understand that it means to take the dog to the curb to pee and poo?

And, if it applies only to dogs, why bother saying "your dog"? "Curb" alone should suffice. Just define it as a legal term to take your dog to the curb to poo and pee.

Dyske March 19, 2014, 5:54am

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I thought about this further and realized that street "curb" is put in place to control/restrain the movement of the cars. Curb is a framing device that contain/restrain what's inside of it. In that sense, "curb" as in the edge of the street and "curb" as in "control" are related. What is NOT related is the fact that it just HAPPENS TO BE a good place for dogs to poo or pee.

Dyske March 13, 2014, 6:42pm

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See this definition:

"Where a bridge takes one form of transport over another it is both an overbridge and an underbridge, depending on the reference level. For example, where a road passes above a railway, the bridge is an overbridge from the point of view of the railway and an underbridge from the point of view of the road."

I think this definition is confusing. It should be the other way around. From the point of view of the railway, it should be called "underbridge" because the bridge structure allows the train to go under the road. And, from the point of view of the road, the same structure allows the cars to go over the railway. In other others, it should describe what it allows you to do as you use the structure. The other way is unnatural, because you are thinking from the point of view of the other, what the structure allows the other party to do (go over/under me).

The terms "overpass" and "underpass" are used in the way I describe. It's an overpass if it allows YOU to go OVER something. It's an underpass if it allows YOU to go UNDER something.

So, it should be called "overbridge" if it allows YOU to go OVER something, and "underbridge" if it allows YOU to go UNDER something.

Dyske June 28, 2013, 3:52am

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So, the question is: What is the difference between these two statements?

"If I had studied, I would have gotten a good grade."
“If I had studied, I would have a good grade.”

For instance, I would say that the former would be appropriate if receiving a bad grade happened in the past. The latter implies that having a grade is still a current state. For instance, I could imagine a conversation like this:

"So, are you an A-student or a B-student?"

"I'm actually a C-student now. If I had studied, I would have a good grade."

In other words, having a bad grade is his current state, so it would make sense to say "I would have a good grade now, but I don't."

This would make more sense for health inspection grades for restaurants or grading of hotels. Some restaurants are rated "B" by the health department, and that status would remain so until the next inspection. So, until then that restaurant is a "B" restaurant. The owner could say, "If we had cleaned our kitchen better, we would have a good grade now."

Dyske March 20, 2013, 11:54am

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While I agree with Warsaw Will, wouldn't it still be grammatically correct to use "mine" in this case, if you were to think of "mine" as referring to "my child"? That is, what if the original sentence was this?:

"I so appreciate you taking my child and Gregg’s child to school today.”

This should be grammatically correct although it would be stylistically better not to repeat "child" twice.

What if we then replaced "my child" with "mine"? Wouldn't it still be grammatically correct?

Dyske January 7, 2013, 8:01am

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If they are grammatically correct, the rest is all about their contexts, no?

Dyske January 1, 2013, 4:42am

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Some of those are not legitimate words, like "horrifical" and "feministical", but I see your point. Why there are two forms, and if there are any differences.

Dyske September 11, 2012, 9:22am

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I guess it's like "Think different." I don't have an answer but I would be curious to know if "Live local" would be grammatically correct.

Dyske June 22, 2012, 2:44am

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Thank you for that link. That is interesting. In the comment section, another person left a link to another page:

I'm not quite satisfied with those explanations. When we create a word with "er" to mean a person who does something, the verb usually comes first. For instance, "bake", I'm sure came before "baker", because the act of baking had to be invented before the word "baker" can be born. The same is true for "hitter", "driver", "swimmer", runner", "programmer", "painter", and so on... The verb has to come first.

So, the verb "hack" must have been used in the field of computers or technology before the word "hacker" was coined. And, "er" was added later to mean someone who hacks. If we want to trace the history of the word "hacker", we should trace the origin of the verb "hack" as it was first used in the field of computing or technology.

Dyske April 30, 2012, 3:16pm

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Interesting. My guess was that "unauthorized access" came before "tinkering". If you are right, I would imagine that "hack" to mean "tinker" or "cope" came before computers.

Dyske April 30, 2012, 1:21pm

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I would say intent is irrelevant for the definition of "lie". Think of so-called "white lie". Suppose your boss gives you a present for your birthday, and he asks, "Do you like it?" If you are polite, you would say "Yes" even if you didn't like it. The "intent" in this case is to be polite or to express your appreciation for the gift.

Many restaurants claim things like "World's best pizza". It's a lie because they have done nothing to prove that they do indeed serve the best pizza in the whole world. Is there an intent to deceive? No, because we all know that claiming something to be "world's best" is a common expression; it is not interpreted literally.

Say, you come home really tired and you are not in a mood to talk to your spouse, so when your spouse asks, "What did you do today?", you reply, "I went to the moon." It's a lie but you have no intent to deceive because it is obvious that you didn't actually go to the moon. The intent is to say, "I don't feel like talking right now," or "Don't ask me boring questions."

Dyske January 8, 2012, 12:48pm

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It is certainly not a grammatical issue; it's a stylistic issue, SO, it's not wrong. It just does not sound good when you repeat any word over and over.

Dyske April 12, 2011, 12:35am

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I have the same exact problem! If I write without paying conscious attention to using "so", I end up with a whole bunch of them. So, I have to always read through my text specifically to revise my usage of "so". I think I naturally think this way. That is, my mind always structures thoughts into "if - then - so", or that I only have that type of thoughts. Even when I replace "so" with "therefore", "thus", etc., they get quite repetitive also. I think this is just how some people's brains are.

Dyske April 11, 2011, 11:16am

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@Jesse the blob of Bromine

I feel your response is beyond exaggerating with all the capital letters and exclamation marks, as well as your desire to harm someone physically. The word "exaggerating" isn't enough to express how I feel about your response, but I cannot think of a better word at the moment. I need something stronger than "exaggerating". I'm not sure if there is such a word in English. Any suggestion?

Dyske March 21, 2011, 10:29pm

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See below for the new development on this topic:

Dyske March 18, 2011, 10:10am

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