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jayles the unwoven

Joined: June 3, 2014
Comments posted: 187
Votes received: 82

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Questions Submitted

Are proverbs dying?

June 30, 2014


June 24, 2014

Recent Comments

@HS "Calculus" is perhaps first encountered as some awful maths concept and formula at school, and seems to be the most common meaning. However, there are alternatives, including specialist meanings in dentistry and medicine, and also a more general meaning as follows:

"A decision-making method, especially one appropriate for a specialised realm. " (wiktionary)

"calculation; estimation or computation" (

2008 December 16, “Cameron calls for bankers’ ‘day of reckoning’”, Financial Times:

The Tory leader refused to state how many financiers he thought should end up in jail, saying: “There is not some simple calculus."

If a Tory PM has used the word in this meaning, it must be okay, mustn't it?

jayles the unwoven May 10, 2016, 4:51pm

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Just to be clear: we are not discussing the "-ish" ending of words like abolish, punish, which comes from French.
"-ish" in the sense of "somewhat" is recorded in the OED as far back as 1894/1916
The alternative is to use the French version: "-esque" .
"Ish" has become a new standalone word in British English, meaning somewhat.

jayles the unwoven April 25, 2016, 8:12pm

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@Wheelye With so much international emailing, it is just a matter of avoiding ambiguity. In the same way it is better to avoid ambiguous date formats such as 03/04/2016 and always to spell out the month: March 4, 2016 or 4th March 2016. Similarly if one simply says "this Wednesday" or "Wednesday week" or in an email adds the day as "Wed 12th", then all is clear.

jayles the unwoven April 13, 2016, 9:28pm

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@HS there is some discussion on this topic here:

the last two comments there attempt to distinguish the meaning of "not much choice" from "not much of a choice".

Certainly both phrases with or without "of" are in use.
If one searches the web for "that big of a deal" and similar phrases, their usage seems to have taken off in print since the 1980s, seemingly on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether this is because the "of" was edited out prior to that is not clear.

jayles the unwoven April 12, 2016, 2:17pm

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@Joan I would suggest:
thirty-two and thirty-two-hundredths percent
thirty-two and thirty-two hundredths percent

jayles the unwoven April 10, 2016, 11:42am

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@tori I think you will find "an HTML" is more common if you search the internet.
In some schools, especially in Northern Ireland, 'H' is pronounced "haitch", so some people write "a HTML".

jayles the unwoven April 8, 2016, 3:59am

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"A sentence that occurs within brackets in the course of another sentence does not generally have its first word capitalized just because it starts a sentence. The enclosed sentence may have a question mark or exclamation mark added, but not a period."
Alexander then conquered (who would have believed it?) most of the known world.

Parentheses are somewhat "jarring to the reader and best avoided where feasible" - as per West Michigan University

I would remove the parentheses from your alternative stand-alone sentence

jayles the unwoven April 5, 2016, 5:25pm

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1) Some adjectives are (by their very meaning) gradable, and some not. For instance it would hardly make sense to assert that seven were "more prime" than five. Or again, she is a "more born" pianist than I am. Sometimes it is just a bit illogical: this carpet is less wall-to-wall than that one. Could one say: practice is more key to success than theory. Well, I guess I would understand.
2) if one googles or ngrams "is key to", it does come up. Sometimes arguably just a journalistic shorthand for "is the key to". For example: "information sharing is key to effective ..."
3) This all harks back to the big ask: what do you mean by "right" and "wrong"; is it common usage, or possible but uncommon usage? The exact criteria will affect all answers to the original post.
"Spurs boss Harry Redknapp opted to rest many of his key players,"

jayles the unwoven March 20, 2016, 8:56pm

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Does anyone else have the impression that the -er ending for comparatives is slowly dying?
I have just heard the weather forecaster reading from a script say "more wet"; and in speech people here seem to be saying "more easy" or "more easier", or "more happy" and similar examples.

jayles the unwoven March 20, 2016, 1:08pm

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putting 2.0459% into legal terms:
a) two and four hundred fifty-nine tenthousandths percent

b) one could recast the numbers and words using per mille
or parts-per-million; but the end result would be no clearer to my mind

c) 2.00459% two and four hundred fifty-nine hundredthousandths percent

d) caveat: I am no lawyer and no experience of drafting

jayles the unwoven March 7, 2016, 9:57pm

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Two point zero four five nine percent

People here would say 'oh' instead of zero but in a legal document zero would seem more appropriate.
Again 0.45 might be 'zero point four five', although people might actually say 'nought'

jayles the unwoven March 2, 2016, 2:12pm

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Two point zero four five nine percent

People here would say 'oh' instead of zero but in a legal document zero would seem more appropriate.
Again 0.45 might be 'zero point four five', although people might actually say 'nought'

jayles the unwoven March 2, 2016, 2:12pm

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@LLJ Well I really didn't understand your sentence on first reading so could I suggest:
"My greatest passion in life is creativity; put it together with art, food, or wine - well then you have my attention!"

jayles the unwoven February 19, 2016, 1:56pm

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yet ‎(not comparable)
1) (usually with negative) Thus far; up to the present; up to some specified time.
He has never yet been late for an appointment; I’m not yet wise enough to answer that; Have you finished yet?‎
2) Continuously up to the current time; still.
The workers went to the factory early and are striking yet.‎
facts they had heard while they were yet heathens
3) At some future time; eventually.
The riddle will be solved yet.‎
He'll be hanged yet.

your example seems to be a less common usage these days

jayles the unwoven February 9, 2016, 11:39am

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a) "you're" is short for "you are" - "I hope you are well " sounds ok so the answere is "you're".
"Your" sounds the same but indicates possession (compare we - our / you - your) ; "I hope your health is ok" is correct.

b) Who is seeking? Answer: "our client"; singular or plural? = singular; therefore "is" is correct. Thus either: "Our client is seeking" or "Our clients are seeking".

c) "Our client seeks" is fine, just perhaps a little more formal in this context.

jayles the unwoven February 5, 2016, 1:11pm

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Some people of a certain generation and background (like me) can recall being told at school NEVER to use this so-called "ugly" (ie lower-class) word.
Quite why the word "get" was deemed bad was never explained, and that indeed is the question.
'Get' has been in English an awful long time and is widely used:

Nonetheless, for examinations/academic writing I do still teach my students to consider using a more precise word such as "obtain/receive/become", if only to demonstrate a wider lexis.

However there are phrases where "get" is the only natural choice:
"They became married" would sound quite odd.

I would suggest there is little wrong with sentences like "The hard disk got erased by mistake" either, where get=become befits the situation.

As to why "people" use "get" so widely, well I think it might have something to do with it being somehow harder to formulate the sentence without "get" in some situations. But who are these people? Be not peeved, life is too short.

jayles the unwoven January 30, 2016, 1:20pm

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Subjunctive with inversion tends to mean "if" or "though" or "whether" as in:
"Yes, dearest, it is an awful moment to have to give up one's innocent child to a man, be he ever so kind and good..."
"As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, ... " (12th night)

see also :

jayles the unwoven January 30, 2016, 12:54pm

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@HS Doubtless you are not alone. I must say I despair of modern English - I notice people no longer pray like they used to - whatever happened to :
"Oure fadir that art in heuenes, halewid be thi name; thi kyndoom come to; be thi wille don in erthe as in heuene: gyue to us this dai oure breed ouer othir substaunce; and forgyue to us oure dettis, as we forgyuen to oure gettouris; and lede us not in to temptacioun, but delyuere us fro yuel."

How times have changed!

jayles the unwoven January 9, 2016, 3:18am

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