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Joined: December 27, 2004  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 79
Votes received: 174

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Questions Submitted


May 4, 2005

Film titles

November 20, 2004

Recent Comments

I'd go with A and D. A is a bit more formal. D is a bit more everyday.

B and C both sound unnatural, and certainly not standard English (UK or NAm) to my ears.

Dave Rattigan April 8, 2014, 1:44am

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Didn't know about the BNC. thanks for the resource!

I should clarify that I'm British-Canadian, so I've lived on both sides of the Atlantic. Currently in the UK.

Dave Rattigan August 8, 2013, 7:36am

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I didn't mean to suggest "was" was not British English. I hear both "was" and "were" used as the subjunctive (in the UK). I've rarely heard the latter used in North America. That's just my experience.

Dave Rattigan August 8, 2013, 3:50am

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To my knowledge, it's a North American/British English distinction. North Americans say "was," where British English speakers say "were," as it's a hypothetical ("if such-and-such were true").

Dave Rattigan August 7, 2013, 9:28am

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You're all wrong. The correct answer is "Five eggs is perfect, and don't forget the cheese."

Dave Rattigan July 8, 2013, 6:06am

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It's clearly a noun, as in the phrase "My bad."

Dave Rattigan June 10, 2013, 2:35am

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Warsaw Will speaks sense. Idioms just generally don't have that kind of logic. (Well, most actual English doesn't, to be honest.)

J, I bet "could care less" makes your blood boil. ;)

Dave Rattigan May 26, 2013, 12:45pm

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What Warsaw Will said. It's only used in North American English, to my knowledge, or at least it's never used in British English. When I moved from Canada to England as a kid, my classmates teased me mercilessly about saying "anyways." They'd repeat, "British Anyways," a pun on "British Airways." :D

David L Rattigan April 2, 2013, 3:08am

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The "H" sound at the beginning of a word is a natural way to get attention, hence its presence in all kinds of greetings -- ahoy, hullo, hallo, hi, ha, yoo-hoo. Its breathy, snappy nature makes it a kind of verbal clap. All these variations go back to that; some, like "Hey," "Hi" and "Hello," just happen to have survived as standard greetings.

"What" shares the same origin, incidentally. It's all in David Crystal's "The Story of English in 100 Words."

Dave Rattigan December 11, 2012, 3:37am

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Both meanings of "entitled" are established. In my experience, "entitled" in the sense of "named" is mostly British usage. In North American English, "titled" seems to be preferred.

David L Rattigan August 8, 2012, 2:01am

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That's generally true, but a noun isn't always just one word. "Melody" is a noun, and so is "form," but "form of melody" is also a noun. In this case, it's the referent of the pronoun "one."

There's also the musical context; a melody only ever appearing in one composer's work would be unremarkable.

Maybe this is why the Germans like to bunch up all their nounphrases into newwords.

David L Rattigan July 3, 2012, 1:09am

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None of the examples you've given is wrong. You're probably just not used to hearing them. "I've an idea" is very common in my experience. "I've to go" is much less common (again, in my experience, although it's not totally unfamiliar to me), but "I've" is, after all, just an abbreviation of "I have."

Give those poor friends a break.

David L Rattigan April 14, 2012, 4:33am

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Hairy Scot, can you provide some objective reason why "nother" should be seen as "dumbing down"?

David L Rattigan March 12, 2012, 5:15pm

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I remember that show. The host was Paul something.

David L Rattigan March 8, 2012, 1:18pm

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You did fine just now.

David L Rattigan March 7, 2012, 2:54am

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Hear, hear, Sandy.

David L Rattigan March 5, 2012, 2:07am

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Language is changing, not "devolving," just as it always has.

David L Rattigan February 28, 2012, 12:13am

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I'm not aware of a shift in meaning. I think those instances you cited are just cases of the writer or editor not understanding the meaning.

David L Rattigan January 25, 2012, 2:23am

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Either is fine: "eg" or "e.g." Periods in abbreviations that are so readily understood are becoming obsolete, or at least optional.

I don't see "eg." much, with just one period, and if I did, I'd probably assume it was a typo or error.

David L Rattigan November 11, 2011, 12:27pm

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Very curious. I see what you mean. I was about to say it's not *strictly* true; for example, you can ask "Will you be long?" or "Will you be there for long?" But on reflection, "long" is still a negative in both questions, almost as if "long" really means "too long."

So yeah, interesting observation. But I have no clue as to the answer. :p

David L Rattigan August 29, 2011, 8:11am

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