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jayles the unwoven

Joined: June 3, 2014
Comments posted: 201
Votes received: 103

No user description provided.

Questions Submitted

Salutations in letters

November 20, 2016

Are proverbs dying?

June 30, 2014


June 24, 2014

Recent Comments

This would suggest -ies is more common:

could be avoided by: ".... you will receive four issues of the SGS Quarterly this year."

jayles the unwoven December 7, 2016, 1:32pm

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Resume and CV are far more common than the rest in print. There are keyboard issues with entering accents for many users.

Copy this to your browser address line for the evidence:

jayles the unwoven December 5, 2016, 6:23pm

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@HS No, far be it from me to suggest that "those of us who attended schools and universities prior to 1965 should forget all that we learned about the English language in that time". On the contrary, one should remember and question everything, especially the assumptions behind so much of what was taught. Education begins when you leave college and life hits you in the face. Clinging unquestioningly to what we were taught simply leads to fossilized thinking. If education is in part an older generation passing on what they believe to important or useful skills and knowledge, then we must recognize that the framework of our education for our generation was founded in a "Victorian" view of the world, and a "Victorian" view of the English language. What was right for them, may, or may not, be right for us in our time. But mostly I question the whole attitude that some (upper-class) can make up rules for my language by mere fiat or diktat. Not that I wish to begin the whole argument anew; merely that in my world my education finally led me to question everything, and come to the conclusion that in so many things there is no black and white, no right and wrong except in the mindset of so many blinkered people. Fortunately I managed to emigrate, get away from it all, and learn what is important and useful for myself.

jayles the unwoven October 13, 2016, 11:23pm

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@hi Same issue - on first reading "the environmental dimensions" seems to be the first item in a list of four. How about:

Perhaps less common are the four “new” categories (or environmental dimensions) presented: visual, aural, olfactory, and tactile.

jayles the unwoven October 9, 2016, 2:10am

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@HS I don't recall being taught anything about collective nouns plus singular verbs at school; perhaps it was taught and I was so busy daydreaming about our French conversation mistress at the time and worrying about my sinful thoughts that I missed it. Presumably your syllabus was different or you were more attentive.

jayles the unwoven September 25, 2016, 6:38pm

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Whether it is "correct" or not would hinge upon the criteria used. However if "people who are apparently reasonably well educated" persistently and knowingly use words such as "family" with a plural verb, despite "what has been taught for decades in schools in the UK and elsewhere", there must be a good reason, they must feel comfortable doing so, and editors do not automatically edit such constructions out. If you feel uncomfortable with this, then your eduction or background or thinking must be different to theirs.

jayles the unwoven September 25, 2016, 11:00am

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jayles the unwoven September 25, 2016, 1:35am

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@HS You have not actually explained Jane Austen's use of 'family' - a "collective" noun - with a plural verb, which seems contrary to your opening post: 'Despite arguments to the contrary, "family" is a collective noun, and I don't care how many family members there might be, it therefore gets a singular verb.'

jayles the unwoven September 24, 2016, 10:05pm

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I would also like your analysis of whether "family" is a collective or plural noun in the following extract taken from Pride & Prejudice, Chapter VI of Volume II (Chap. 29):
"...and it was but the other day that I recommended another young person, who was merely accidentally mentioned to me, and the family are quite delighted with her."

jayles the unwoven September 24, 2016, 7:55pm

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@HS So how can we tell that "cattle" is plural but "herd" is a "collective" noun?

jayles the unwoven September 24, 2016, 7:10pm

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@HS Could you please complete the following:
a) Quick! The police ___ coming!
b) The cattle ___ lowing, the baby awakes.

Please also explain how, in your world, we can tell which nouns are "collective" and which are not.

jayles the unwoven September 23, 2016, 1:03pm

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"He assisted his boss with planning the project launch" OR
"He assisted his boss in planning the project launch"

drafting would be used for engineering drawings, a book or report, or a timetable or schedule. Planning is more general.

"That partner assisted the company with additional funds to finance the mall construction"
OR finance the construction of the mall.

jayles the unwoven September 19, 2016, 1:05pm

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Whilst I agree that the term "indirect speech" has almost always been used in writing to refer to "reported speech", it has on occasion been used to refer to oblique or circuitous ways of addressing a topic. For instance, in some tome on Quakerism from 1808:

and in Judson's Burmese-English dictionary 1893 "this speech is indirect and circuitous":

The question for you would be if the term "indirect speech" is not to be used for these types of polite roundabout ways of addressing a topic, what other terminology could be used?

jayles the unwoven June 19, 2016, 8:27pm

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@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, 12:51pm

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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, 4:12pm

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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, 5:28pm

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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, 10:17am

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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, 7:42am

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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 7, 2016, 11:59pm

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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, 1:25pm

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