Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

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Joined: August 12, 2010
Comments posted: 741
Votes received: 107

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Five eggs is too many

June 30, 2013

Recent Comments

"daemon" is often used with this spelling when referring to a piece of software that is permanently running on the server, for instance as a channel to a database. Spelt without the lig here:

jayles April 22, 2014, 5:59pm

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Curious how looker(s)-on was overtaken by onlooker(s) toward the end of 19th year-hundred.
Also the difference in meaning between passers-by and by-passers (ie people who take the bypass), and the following:

jayles April 19, 2014, 9:22pm

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jayles April 19, 2014, 9:13am

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@WW "putter-onner" , putter-inner, taker-outer, leaver-outer, - all several have hits on google

jayles April 19, 2014, 9:02am

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jayles April 18, 2014, 11:09pm

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jayles April 18, 2014, 6:17pm

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More at:

google "putter-upper"
"by-stander" and "passer-by" lack the -er on the adverb.

OED has “picker-upper” (1913), “fixer-upper” (1932), “pepper-upper” (1934), “maker-upper” (1936), “builder-upper” (1936), “opener-upper” (1941), “mucker-upper” (1942), and “looker-upper” (1951). But “Ver-up” is actually more frequently attested than “Ver-upper” in the forms collected by the OED.

jayles April 18, 2014, 6:09pm

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@WW No sweat. I guess, were it not for "The Few", we'd both be German subjunctives.

jayles April 16, 2014, 5:13pm

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@WW my view is greatly influenced by German where "could you please" is most definitely subjunctive:

But then again I could be wrong.

in "The Lexical Approach" there is a section which debunks the "conditional" in English I think. It certainly does not exist as a mood in German.

jayles April 16, 2014, 2:31am

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Is this a question of spelling or ligatures?
Ligatures like æ are tricky to get for the uninitiated from a standard keyboard so maybe that is a downer for them. (How do people in Europe get the euro € ?)
I would suggest, as far as spelling goes, the trend is to follow whatever is in the spell-checker.

jayles April 15, 2014, 7:20pm

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@WW German closely follows the English patterns:

jayles April 15, 2014, 3:56pm

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@WW Sorry I didn't mean to suggest that 'would','could', 'might' etc were always subjunctive; just in polite phrases like:
"Would you like to.."
"Could you please..."
"Might I ask..."
Whether or not is of course wide open, but some explanation as to why these seem to be past forms with a present meaning might be helpful.
I do agree that "will you..." maps to "Voulez vous.." and "Would you .." to "Voudiriez vous..", although that's about the limit of my French.

One approach I like with modals to rewrite sentences with modal substitutes:
"Would you like a coffee?" becomes "May I invite you for a coffee?" (in Hungarian)
"You must turn it on first.." -> "It is essential to turn it on first.." and so on.

Secondly, as I understand it, in the "Advanced Learner" dictionaries, the most frequent meaning is put first in the list. "Will" has between nine and twenty seven usages depending on the dictionary. The challenge is to guess which usages are the commonest for each modal without looking first! "Must" always surprises me.

jayles April 15, 2014, 9:52am

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@WW At present my understanding of the history/background here (and I may be wrong) is as follows:
in the beginning 'will','can', 'mote', 'shall', 'may' were past forms of prehistoric verbs (thats why there is no 3rd person 's') which acquired a present meaning.
Some time later a back-formed past tense was made-up, giving us 'would','could','must','should','might'. We still use this past (subjunctive) for politeness with present meaning.
In the case of 'must', 'mote' fell into disuse, so the past/present distinction was lost, so people started using 'have to', to cover the gaps; likewise 'be able to'.
The end result today is (well, a mess) overlapping meanings and usages. I think much of the meaning here in terms of annoyance/lament would come from context, intonatiion and emphasis, and not necessarily be rooted in choice of modal/auxiliary

jayles April 14, 2014, 2:20pm

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@HS Sounds like you had fun! My first computer game was on a PDP8 in 1970.
The oddest thing about programming languages today is one would have thought after fifty years they'd have business/financial math sorted, but pick up any modern language and it just gives you "drowning-point" math, and "dinnae-fash-y'sel" no-types, which makes adding-up a lottery for the unwary.

jayles April 14, 2014, 1:57pm

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@HS Strictly speaking, the -ee add-on should only be used on French loan-words as it comes from the French past participle. However it seems to have taken on a life of its own in English and become one of the building-blocks for making up new words, so one may do whatever one will unless the meaning is beclouded.

It truly has its uses: in writing software I use the label "pointee" to indicate the data or function a "pointer" is poinitng at - what else would I call it?

I think this is what drives the rise of new words, the sudden need for a label; much the same happens with "ize" appended to a word; once we can find a label for a complex idea it simplifies our thinking. For instance, "bastardization" is very much a shorthand label for a manifolded idea.

"Rupee" has of course other roots.

jayles April 14, 2014, 11:12am

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jayles April 14, 2014, 3:06am

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@WW just to be clear: B or C is not something I would choose to teach; (just grabbed the workbook to cover someone's class.) I think textbooks like to be seen to "cover" every possiblity. I doubt Englsh learners need to be able to produce C, when A and D are quite good enough.

jayles April 14, 2014, 3:02am

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@WW A and D are both fine and normal; there's no issue about that.
Context? well I think not.

jayles April 14, 2014, 2:35am

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@WW cf New Headway Intermediate workbook Unit 4 section 2 Item 9 : answer is given as "will we have to" : why can't we say 'shall we have to' - "because people don't" - and so on...

jayles April 13, 2014, 4:18pm

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