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Number of comments posted: 477

Number of votes received: 780

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Re: This construction is puzzling me...  •  April 21, 2005, 2:02pm  •  0 vote

(cries) I didn't actually miss that but I didn't want to post four times in a row. Dyske, I wish we had a preview....

Re: This construction is puzzling me...  •  April 21, 2005, 9:40am  •  0 vote

Anonymous was me, sorry....

Re: This construction is puzzling me...  •  April 21, 2005, 9:36am  •  0 vote

Persephone and I are on the same page, but I'd make a slight additional change and say, "How about a return to the days when women were in such vulnerable and inferior positions, that it was easier fo

Re: Past or Past Perfect  •  April 20, 2005, 5:18pm  •  0 vote

Wouldn't you like it better if the sentence read, "He had spoken to his teacher before the examination had begun?" I think there's nothing wrong with "He spoke to his teacher before the examination b

Re: Upon/on  •  April 20, 2005, 5:16pm  •  0 vote

Persephone... subtle, subtle. LOL

Re: Upon/on  •  April 20, 2005, 8:44am  •  0 vote

Pet, the use of "differentiated" is correct in this sentence. The word can be used, and often is used, outside of a mathematical context--for instance in biology, to refer to 'cell differentiation."

Re: Bloody Mary  •  April 19, 2005, 8:15am  •  1 vote

I have a recurring problem with Scotch and soda, but... uh, never mind. :)

Re: American versus British question  •  April 18, 2005, 8:48am  •  0 vote

Both ways work for me also, and, like CQ, I had to read twice to catch the "on." I agree, use the "on" if you think it sounds better.

Re: Apostrophe Catastrophe  •  April 15, 2005, 2:40pm  •  0 vote

Marriage has nothing to do with it. Ownership in common is what counts here. One may correctly say, for example, "John Doe and Mary Roe's lawsuit against their employer."

Re: We, I, or my wife had a baby?  •  April 14, 2005, 11:46am  •  3 votes

Excellent. Hooray :) Best wishes to all of you.

Re: Left or right single quote?  •  April 14, 2005, 11:45am  •  0 vote

OK, I see that they're inconsistent... and I'm not going to help you decide which mistake to prefer in place of the correct usage. Maybe someone else will help you with that.

Re: Bring Brought  •  April 14, 2005, 11:43am  •  0 vote

They're both OK, but the second is less informal and I prefer it.

Re: Left or right single quote?  •  April 14, 2005, 7:55am  •  1 vote

Really? When I did desktop publishing, I was supposed to use *appropriate* punctuation. An apostrophe is a different punctuation mark from a single quote.

Re: We, I, or my wife had a baby?  •  April 13, 2005, 1:52pm  •  3 votes

Dyske still hasn't mentioned if he really is "...a father of a newborn...." LOL

Re: The Nanny  •  April 13, 2005, 1:49pm  •  0 vote

I live in the US, and I've rarely heard people refer to even "glorified" babysitters as nannies. "Nanny" is very close in meaning to "au pair" or "governess," who is the professional caretaker of the

Re: Left or right single quote?  •  April 13, 2005, 1:41pm  •  0 vote

I was always taught it was an apostrophe, because apostrophes are usually what you use to replace missing letters or numbers in, for example, contractions such as "don't" and "I'm."

Re: Life Savers 5 Flavor  •  April 12, 2005, 2:16pm  •  0 vote

Gee, Dan, for someone who uses the internet, you sure are provincial as hell. Loser.

Re: Apostrophe Catastrophe  •  April 12, 2005, 2:15pm  •  0 vote

Got one. http://www.users.bigpond.com/J_fersOffice/sample.htm "When you have 'double possession' - when two or more people (or subjects) own one item and both (or all) of their names are mention

Re: Apostrophe Catastrophe  •  April 12, 2005, 2:11pm  •  0 vote

First, absolutely, as Nicholas says. Will find cite.

Re: possession with an entity which uses parenthesis  •  April 5, 2005, 8:53am  •  0 vote

Slemmet's solution is the proper and elegant one. It's not clear to me whether you should use "Officials of..." or "The officials of...," but that's a quibble you can quickly resolve.

Re: you all  •  April 5, 2005, 8:50am  •  0 vote

It's "Hey, you," or "Hi, you guys."

Re: “by” vs. “of”  •  March 31, 2005, 7:45am  •  0 vote

Of course you can possess integrity or loyalty.. That's absolutely correct. Whether you can be "possessed of" them is a little different; strictly speaking you can (it's not absolutely wrong), but as

Re: Commas and Quotation Marks  •  March 29, 2005, 10:06am  •  0 vote

Who, me? Um... yeah, that's how my partner thinks I drive, anyway. LOL

Re: Commas and Quotation Marks  •  March 28, 2005, 7:10am  •  0 vote

Sure, as soon as you Brits start to drive on the correct side of the road. :))

Re: Realize or realise?  •  March 28, 2005, 7:09am  •  0 vote

OK, nice to hear from an expert. Got any links to material that supports and enlarges upon the claim, Dennis?

Re: politics in the kitchen...  •  March 24, 2005, 8:07am  •  0 vote

OK, I'm going to go do actual work now....

Re: politics in the kitchen...  •  March 24, 2005, 8:07am  •  0 vote

Not to mention what goulash looks like to the people below you when you throw it, lukewarm, over a balcony at a movie theater while making juvenile retching noises.... OK, I swear I've never actual

Re: L  •  March 24, 2005, 8:02am  •  0 vote

Heretic!! Burn the heretic! Burn the.... waaaaaaait....

Re: politics in the kitchen...  •  March 23, 2005, 9:38am  •  0 vote

As an ethnic Hungarian who regularly makes goulash (my father insists on "gulyas," its spelling in Hungarian), I guess I'm a cooking expert :) but I have nothing to add to what Persephone said, since

Re: L  •  March 23, 2005, 9:28am  •  0 vote

Oh, my, we have a word that isn't in the dictionary. Whatever did the language do before there were dictionaries? Were all the words just wrong?

Re: you all  •  March 18, 2005, 8:14am  •  0 vote

Oh, yes, and it happens in Spanish too, with the "familiar" form "tu" and the "formal" form "usted" (plural, "ustedes"). Because the word endings of nouns that agree with "usted" resemble plural endi

Re: tv + video + dvd = ?  •  March 16, 2005, 1:44pm  •  0 vote

Marta, that would likely be rendered in English as something like "home theater system." Which gives me an idea; perhaps we could refer to "TV plus stuff" as a "TV system."

Re: tv + video + dvd = ?  •  March 16, 2005, 8:31am  •  0 vote

I'd go with "entertainment center," understood in context as being the TV and related stuff that you have at home. I am just beginning to see the whole set of "TV plus gadgetry" referred to as jus

Re: you all  •  March 16, 2005, 8:26am  •  0 vote

Oh, yeah, "you" and "all of you" is the way I learned it growing up, part of which I actually did in Michigan. I didn't pick up "y'all" until I moved to Texas (the first time) when I was 12. Since

Re: some troubles with passsives  •  March 14, 2005, 8:23am  •  0 vote

Hear ye, hear ye. It hasn't been "completely incorrect" to end a sentence with a preposition since, oh, people stopped speaking actual Latin in colleges. Come to think of it, it's never been inc

Re: Login into or log in to  •  March 14, 2005, 8:18am  •  1 vote

Am I just old, or didn't we used to say "log on" to a network rather than "log in?"

Re: Plural s-ending Possessives  •  March 11, 2005, 2:44pm  •  2 votes

I suppose I should mention that I was taught to pronounce the extra syllable, contrary to what Brad's teacher held. Maybe it is different in different English-speaking regions. I've never had my pro

Re: Plural s-ending Possessives  •  March 11, 2005, 2:42pm  •  6 votes

Yes, "Klosses" is right for more than one family member. But the kitty belonging to the family is "the Klosses' cat." If she was just your kitty, for example, that's when she'd be "Ownie Kloss's cat.

Re: some troubles with passsives  •  March 11, 2005, 8:16am  •  0 vote

You may also choose to simply flip prepositional phrases around in either example I just gave, which would yield: "The defenders of the Alamo were given no quarter by Santa Ana's forces," and "H

Re: some troubles with passsives  •  March 11, 2005, 8:09am  •  0 vote

I agree that Dave made the better choice of the two options given. However, there's a third, more complete option. It's really easy to "lose" pieces of the active sentence when converting to passiv

Re: We, I, or my wife had a baby?  •  March 10, 2005, 8:18am  •  3 votes

*Did* you have a baby? If so, congratulations :)

Re: We, I, or my wife had a baby?  •  March 10, 2005, 8:16am  •  3 votes

I'd like to point out the utterly obvious, which is that your usage depends on context. You can easily see which to use in the following sentences: ____ had a baby, and we're both tired from getti

Re: you all  •  March 9, 2005, 9:08am  •  0 vote

Ahem. The proper spelling of the word, to the extent there is a proper spelling, is "y'all." "Y'all" is a contraction, like "don't" and "isn't." The apostrophe stands for the dropped letters "O" a

Re: 30 minutes parking?  •  March 8, 2005, 2:27pm  •  0 vote

Actually Naeboo's first example is incorrect, but his second example is correct.

Re: eat vs. have breakfast  •  March 8, 2005, 2:21pm  •  2 votes

Because the "doing" of a meal is something you must do on a prearranged basis and in company. When the Hollywood producer tells the star, "Have your girl call my girl and we'll do lunch," he's sp

Re: “Tilting at Windmills”  •  March 8, 2005, 9:08am  •  1 vote

Oh, really?

Re: partner  •  March 8, 2005, 9:04am  •  0 vote

I am a woman, and my partner of seven years (a professional animator who goes by "Phaedrus" online) is a man. We are in a permanent committed relationship. We are not married, but our families say w

Re: It was the coup de’grace of et all!...or was it?  •  March 3, 2005, 11:14am  •  0 vote

When speaking English, rather than French, the accent is optional. Use it or don't use it, but pick one and be consistent throughout your document.

Re: Worst  •  February 28, 2005, 8:25am  •  0 vote

It may help to experimentally substitute "better" and "best" into the sentence to see which makes more sense. If "better" sounds better, then you would use "worse;" if "best" sounds like the right fit

Re: Something X Anything  •  February 28, 2005, 8:20am  •  0 vote

What Nigel is suggesting by the use of "some thing" is close to and may be clarified by this example: "This is neither the beginning nor the end of a thing." For the record, I disagree; I think "so

Re: Right Question For this Answer (about count/rank/order)  •  February 28, 2005, 8:05am  •  3 votes

Ha! I got it... "What number is Manmohan Singh in the succession of Prime Ministers of India?" This will return "fourteen," but, understanding the intent of the question, many people will probab

Re: Worst  •  February 28, 2005, 8:00am  •  0 vote

Yes, the second "sentence" may be a fragment, but that isn't what Ted really wanted to know. Ted, "worst" is the opposite of "best," so despite the fragmentary nature of your second example, the us

Re: None are/None is  •  February 24, 2005, 8:42am  •  0 vote

As a Houstonian myself, xuan, I really sympathize with you and all the other people who took the TAKS test yesterday. (MUST they call it "TAKS?" Seems like the government is tax-crazy, huh.)

Re: eat vs. have breakfast  •  February 18, 2005, 8:13am  •  5 votes

"To eat breakfast" is just more precise than "to have breakfast." You can almost always substitute "to have" for "to eat." Some weird context exceptions: "My baby won't eat his mashed bananas

Re: statement  •  February 17, 2005, 9:22am  •  0 vote

Think of a simpler example: "I have never gone to see her new house." Or, "I never went to see her new house." "To undergo" follows essentially the same format as "To go."

Re: statement  •  February 17, 2005, 9:19am  •  0 vote

The following sentences are both correct: "The patient has never undergone a colostomy." "The patient never underwent a colostomy." One or the other may sound better to you in your context.

Re: web site or Web site  •  February 16, 2005, 4:12pm  •  0 vote

I prefer "Internet," but many newspapers and magazines are going with "internet." I hate that. As far as goes an individual site, I most often see and prefer "website." "Website" only at the begi

Re: Immediately  •  February 15, 2005, 12:04pm  •  0 vote

Just to clarify "immediately to".... You can have a sentence such as "Jane went immediately to the kitchen to make coffee," or "Mike set immediately to work on the dirty dishes in the sink." But in

Re: Immediately  •  February 15, 2005, 11:59am  •  0 vote

You can actually use "immediately" in any direction in space or time, so you can have "immediately before," "immediately after," "immediately above," "immediately behind," etc. The sense is equivalen

Re: DOUBT vs. QUESTION  •  February 14, 2005, 8:13am  •  1 vote

I agree 100%. No doubts here :)

Re: Sunday best  •  February 10, 2005, 8:16am  •  0 vote

Still used in the non-ironic sense here in Texas, if the speaker wants to give a sort of old-fashioned, earnest tone to what he's saying.

Re: Worst Case or Worse Case  •  February 1, 2005, 8:18am  •  1 vote

No, because we're too lazy to tweak the cliched phrase for grammar agreement. :) "Worst-case" is a compound adjective that I've also seen modifying words like "performance" and "outcome." The use

Re: Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word?  •  February 1, 2005, 8:05am  •  1 vote

Oh, pish-posh. :) "Modern" French (that is, not Old French) is probably responsible for most, if not all, English words beginning with a silent H. It has nothing to do with the ancient English pro

Re: L  •  February 1, 2005, 8:01am  •  0 vote

Well, it depends. "Beforehand" can be an adjective or an adverb. Check this out: http://poets.notredame.ac.jp/cgi-bin/wn?cmd=wn&word=beforehand Adjective example: "Maximilian was beforehand in hi

Re: Immediately  •  February 1, 2005, 7:51am  •  0 vote

I remember reading, in American novels more than a hundred years old, "directly" used in the same way. Probably the usage has just fallen out of currency here in the States.

Re: L  •  January 31, 2005, 9:22am  •  0 vote

Oh, Christ, I'm so asleep. I had better not come back until after coffee time. I meant "proactively," not "presumptively," which will not do. I'll stay on the case and report back after the caffe

Re: L  •  January 31, 2005, 9:19am  •  0 vote

"Beforehandedly" would be the correct way to form the adverb, if you wanted, but look up "presumptively" and see if it doesn't have the meaning you want.

Re: L  •  January 31, 2005, 9:17am  •  0 vote

"Frilly" was a terrible example, I do admit. (Monday morning... better have that cup of coffee now!)

Re: Indian English: “reach”  •  January 31, 2005, 9:13am  •  0 vote

I can think of at least one case in which American English speakers don't use an object with the verb "reach": "Reach over and I'll hand you your coffee." "I'm trying, but I can't reach." In th

Re: L  •  January 31, 2005, 9:06am  •  3 votes

lysdexia, goossun learned English, I gather, through his continual study and travel abroad. You must be one of my fellow Americans, because you appear to think that people who have trouble with certa

Re: Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word?  •  January 31, 2005, 8:32am  •  1 vote

Joachim, you're right... Chiara, I did misunderstand you, partially. You said "an" would not be used for words beginning with "u," and then you gave examples of "u" words that DO use "an." Just rem

Re: Worst Case or Worse Case  •  January 28, 2005, 8:22am  •  15 votes

It's properly pronounced "worst." Laziness, however, is how ALL linguistic change comes about.

Re: Irregardless?  •  January 25, 2005, 7:55am  •  0 vote

Madame from Nîmes, I think you're right, but do you have any thoughts about why the error is so common and widespread?

Re: silent autumn  •  January 25, 2005, 7:52am  •  0 vote

It's not my list, id, but I'm sure that certain dialects do omit the L (members of my family from the Midwest and California speak this way). In others, the L is at least partly suppressed. As I sai

Re: Dew Claw  •  January 24, 2005, 9:12am  •  0 vote

Sorry about the hasty nature of the previous post... Speedwell posts from work and accidentally hit "send" while the boss was dictating an e-mail. I'll leave the grammar correction as an practice exe

Re: Dew Claw  •  January 24, 2005, 9:09am  •  1 vote

According to the (online) 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, "The origin of the word is unknown, but it has been fancifully suggested that, while the other toes touch the ground in walking,

Re: Possessive with acromyms ending in S  •  January 20, 2005, 3:45pm  •  26 votes

Nicole, it works like this: You make the plural and the possessive in the usual way for acronyms. For example: I had a VCR. The VCR's power button was broken. I bought another VCR, so I had two

Re: [sic]  •  January 20, 2005, 9:48am  •  0 vote


Re: The Approaching-Ubiquitous “The”  •  January 19, 2005, 10:53am  •  0 vote

Another interesting example is shown in this excerpt from the (presumably ancient Scottish) poem "Hardyknute": "To horse, to horse, my royal liege, Your faes stand on the strand, Full twenty

Re: B4 Dickens  •  January 19, 2005, 10:47am  •  0 vote

Oh, I don't particularly care about being brainier-than-thou, and I've known about Cawdrey since the second grade. You were the one who started with the uncalled-for sneer against Steph, not to menti

Re: Plural of word “rum”  •  January 19, 2005, 10:43am  •  0 vote

My experience with the M-W is that they tend to try to describe the way the language is spoken, rather than to try to prescribe how the language should be spoken. So they straightforwardly accept a l

Re: silent autumn  •  January 19, 2005, 10:38am  •  0 vote

Bill(n), the answer to your question can be found in this thread: http://www.potters.org/subject47443.htm

Re: The Approaching-Ubiquitous “The”  •  January 18, 2005, 5:31pm  •  0 vote

That's true, goossun. I didn't elaborate (it seemed a bit off-topic), but "Poet Rainer Maria Rilke" uses "poet" as an adjective, sort of like a title. So would "the poet Rilke," in a way. If you dele

Re: B4 Dickens  •  January 18, 2005, 3:21pm  •  0 vote

Brad, if you were really as smart as you hope we think you are, you'd know who Robert Cawdrey was.

Re: B4 Dickens  •  January 18, 2005, 3:14pm  •  0 vote

LOL. I think Steph just meant, "There were no standard spelling rules in English before the time during which Webster wrote his famous dictionary." Strictly speaking, there are still no "rules" fo

Re: The Approaching-Ubiquitous “The”  •  January 18, 2005, 3:04pm  •  0 vote

Copy Dog: I honestly had not even noticed the phenomenon until this very minute, when I read your post. I tried saying some similar phrases to myself, but I don't have any preference for one way o

Re: Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word?  •  January 15, 2005, 4:34pm  •  1 vote

No, Chiara, "useful" and "unit," like "university" and "Europe" and all similar words, begin with a consonant sound, so they take "a" rather than "an."

Re: Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word?  •  January 14, 2005, 9:09am  •  1 vote

Hello, Frank. One of two things is happening here: 1) The writer does not pronounce the H in those words. 2) The writer is being "hypercorrect." What I mean is that the writer actually thinks t

Re: Tsunami  •  January 11, 2005, 5:47pm  •  2 votes

Ladylucy, the comment in question was intended as general helpful advice to the readership, not as a personal offense tactic directed at you.

Re: Jigsaw evidence  •  January 11, 2005, 9:48am  •  0 vote

Which doesn't at all change the fact that Olga's quoted sentence is as stupid and mechanical as a bag of loose car parts.

Re: [sic]  •  January 11, 2005, 8:15am  •  0 vote

Noah, you're correct... "sic" means "thus" or "so" in Latin. I know why I thought it meant "such." It does... if you're speaking the Doric (Aberdonian Scots). Let this be a lesson to me to not tr

Re: Coke, kleenex, xerox  •  January 11, 2005, 8:10am  •  0 vote

Sol, the word for what is going on when a brand name becomes a standard English term seems to be "genericide," oddly enough. http://www.wordspy.com/words/genericide.asp The most commonly used phras

Re: Tsunami  •  January 11, 2005, 8:03am  •  2 votes

All of the 10+ dictionaries I consulted clearly specify that the T should be pronounced. The Merriam-Webster 10th Online, however, seems to indicate that the T is sometimes optional (not, I gather, t

Re: Tsunami  •  January 10, 2005, 8:20am  •  2 votes

Although I may be wrong about the recent coinage; see this Language Log entry: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001761.html

Re: Tsunami  •  January 10, 2005, 8:16am  •  3 votes

Wendy, "tsunami" is the technical term for it. Why on earth must you be so oversensitive? Dyske, I was informed (can't find the link anymore) that the word was coined by seismologists (earthquake

Re: colonel  •  January 8, 2005, 6:41am  •  0 vote

lol degustibus. For the rest of us... if you did not understand deg's response, google "ghoti." You'll find some interesting thoughts on spelling in English also. Manilavanilla, no existing word

Re: [sic]  •  January 8, 2005, 6:38am  •  0 vote

Yes, it is only used in a direct quotation. You can also use "[sic]" to avoid confusion. Suppose you had a quotation in which someone wrote an ellipsis (like this quote from a friend's e-mail): "

Re: Credit card  •  January 7, 2005, 8:06am  •  0 vote

That's "produced." Dyske, can we have a preview mode? Please? :)

Re: Credit card  •  January 6, 2005, 8:47am  •  1 vote

hey Goossun... Happy New Year :) I'll give the common terms as they are used by retail clerks and shoppers. If you want more technical terms, my dad once consulted for a company that producted the ma

Re: all  •  January 2, 2005, 3:26pm  •  0 vote

I'll merely point out that I agree with Craig's comment. That is all I wanted to say. :)

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