Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

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Joined: October 20, 2005
Comments posted: 670
Votes received: 1613

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Recent Comments

... "It should be noted that pages 7 and 8 are substantively blank." ...

Wow, for the life of me, I can't even imagine what that means. Does the blankness of pages 7 and 8 have great importance? Are pages 7 and 8 sparkly white, blanker than other blank sheets? Or perhaps they are substantially but not entirely blank, not blank at all?

porsche May 24, 2012, 5:32am

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I have no problem with "per" meaning "according to" or "for each", etc. It's the "as" that bothers me. In nearly every case, "as per" can be replaced by simply "per". "As per" is worse than redundant. It's actually ungrammatical. I can put widget A into slot B "per the instructions" or "as the instructions INDICATE", but I can't do it "as per the instructions". What's next, "like per"?

porsche May 24, 2012, 5:05am

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Marina, I know some others might share your opinion about gifted, but I don't really understand the objection. For a more detailed discussion specifically about "gifted", see:

Scroll down there for my comments.

porsche May 19, 2012, 8:38pm

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re: "Y'all are looking at the wrong part"
Really? All of us, Anwulf? If I'm not mistaken, I said the same thing two years ago. Gee, how come I didn't get any votes?

porsche May 3, 2012, 4:03pm

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Let me make another suggestion. Many one word utterances may be frequently seen in writing. On the one hand, lexicographically, they may be sentences, specifically, beginning with capitals and ending with a period, but, at least in the "traditional" sense, they're not sentences, grammatically. Here's what I'm offering up here. They may not be sentences, but the mistake is assuming that we are somehow obliged to write in full sentences. Rather than insist that all of these short snippets are sentences, I would put it to you that there's nothing wrong with using sentence fragments, short exclamations, etc., even in formal writing. It's done all the time (by your own admission).

porsche April 15, 2012, 4:29pm

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While there's mostly nothing wrong with using "I've" as mentioned, even when not common, I can suggest a reason why there may be a problem in some cases like "I've to go". The verb "must" is a defective modal, i.e., there's no infinitive for it. The closest we have is "to have to". Generally, with "have to", the "to" is not part of the proceeding infinitive, but rather is linked to "have". The verb is "have to", meaning "must" (in the example, it's "have to" followed by the bare infinitive, "go"; it's not "have" followed by "to go"). So, the contraction "I've" leaves this oddly floating unassociated "to" which could be mistakenly grouped with "go". I wouldn't go as far as saying it's wrong, but this might explain why it isn't heard.

porsche April 15, 2012, 4:18pm

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I think that speedwell's and soiducked's responses pretty much cover it. The wearer of the gimp mask is in the submissive role, usually restrained somehow, I suppose metaphorically as if lame or crippled. It is a derogatory and offensive term, which would also explain its use to humiliate the submissive partner. At least, that was my take on it when I saw the movie.

porsche April 11, 2012, 11:50pm

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To Tolken and Ursus,

Regarding fractions and decimal numbers, neither one is fundamentally more or less accurate than the other. Also, any number that can be represented by one can be represented by the other. Every single rational number, terminating or repeating, can be represented as a fraction.

Irrational numbers, non-terminating and non-repeating, cannot be represented by a fraction OR a decimal number with perfect accuracy. They can only be approximated by such, and since every decimal can be converted to a fraction, any decimal approximation would be no more or less accurate than the corresponding fraction. Besides, while there are certain common conventions, accuracy can really only be known if the tolerance is specified for either.

Next, there's nothing special about inches that require the use of fractions whose denominator is a power of two. You can use English units but still use the decimal system for them.

porsche April 9, 2012, 5:54pm

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Miles, you're on the right track, but I would suggest that sewerage means the carriage of effluents, that is, the process itself or prehaps the infrastructure in the abstract, not the actual pipes, etc. The "pipes and things..." would properly be referred to as "sewers". Yes, sewerage is also listed in some sources as a synonym for sewer or sewage, but clearly its existence is justified by its primary and unique definition as the more global concept of sewage handling.

Personally, I think it's a great word. I can't wait to work it into my next conversation.

porsche March 26, 2012, 9:59pm

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If you don't mind waxing a little less poetic, you might want to consider the less yoda-esque, "And the 'little bastard' would go upstairs to his room -- back to his beloved stories of lonely wolves..."

Aside from the change in word order, also notice I said "go upstairs", not "go back upstairs". To me, the redundant "back" makes his room sound like a dungeon from which he rarely exits to see the light of day. I prefer the emphasis on his returning to his other cherished diversions.

porsche March 21, 2012, 5:34pm

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Brus, if I may suggest, using "which" instead of "that" really doesn't clear up any ambiguity suggesting that the Air Force has lost a beach. Instead, I would suggest the following phrasing: "the castaways found a jet pack that the Air Force had lost, washed up on the beach."

Oh, and while we're at it, I think that in this case, "that" is preferred over "which". Traditionally, "that" is used in a restrictive sense, while "which" is used in a non-restrictive sense. Presumably, the Air Force has lots of jet packs. The one mentioned is a particular jet pack, identified restrictively, as having been lost, so "that" would be appropriate.

porsche March 21, 2012, 4:30pm

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Brus, thank you. Peccable. What a wonderful word. I put it right up there with ruth (contrasted to ruthless of course).

porsche February 27, 2012, 10:54am

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The notion that the single "c" requires an "ee-" pronunciation is not a standard English pronunciation rule. In the variants of econo... ecolo... etc, the first e may often be pronounced with many options, including "ih-", "eh-", "uh-" (well, really "shwa"), and, yes, "ee-". Actually, in all of the dictionaries I've checked, the "ee-" pronunciation is not even listed in mostof the variants, and then, when it is, always the last pronunciation. They are pronounced the same as the double c, not out of ignorance, but out of correctness.

porsche February 27, 2012, 10:46am

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I'm not sure I really understand your colleague's complaint. If one uses "literally" in contrast to "figuratively" or "metaphorically", then I would think that the common use for it in place of actually is completely correct. I would only object to someone saying, say, "I'm so hungry I could literally eat a horse", since, clearly, they could never actually be that hungry. Even then, I still wouldn't say it's wrong. It's just a little exaggeration, poetic license, or perhaps irony.

porsche February 23, 2012, 11:16am

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Hairy Scot, to be honest, I'm a little confused by your original question. From my perspective, a shithouse, non-euphemistically, can only be thought of as an outhouse, a small stand-alone building. A urinal is an actual bathroom fixture into which one only urinates (or, I suppose, technically, a building that houses one, but I've never heard this spoken). Neither of these is routinely referred to as a bathroom, head, lavatory, toilet, rest room, john, library, reading room, loo, little boys' / girls' room, privy, smallest room in the house, necessarium, sandbox, etc.

Are you specifically asking for euphemisms for shithouse and/or urinal, or are you asking for euphemisms for bathrooms in general?

porsche February 23, 2012, 9:58am

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It seems to me that those opposed to over-exaggeration are all commiting the same logical fallacy. While not always stated exactly this way, I suspect all the arguments against are various versions of this: "There are no degrees of exaggeration. Either you are exaggerating or you are not". Such a statement is merely an assertion without any justification.

Let's break this down:

A = "There are no degrees of exaggeration"
B = "Either you are exaggerating or you are not"

I believe the underlying reasoning goes something like this:

A is true. The reason A is true is because, clearly, B is true. Or, to put another way, B implies A.

Here's the problem with this reasoning. B doesn't imply A. The following statement is just as valid:

"There are many degrees of exaggeration. Either you are exaggerating or you are not"

The statement "Either you are exaggerating or you are not" is obviously true; In fact, it is a tautology. As such, it proves nothing about whether exaggeration exists in degrees or only in superlative absolutes.

As an example, let's take being tall. Some people are taller than others. Some are very tall. Some are a little taller than average. There are infinite gradations of tallness. What if I said "there's no such thing as being very tall. Either you are tall or you are not"? Clearly that would be a foolish assertion. I could be very tall, a little tall, too tall. I could be overly tall. I could be, er, under-tall (say, 6 foot 2, but still not tall enough for the NBA), etc. That being said, the statement "EIther you are tall or you are not" is completely correct. It just happens to have no relevance.

Let's take another example: "You can't be a little pregnant. Either you are pregnant or you're not." For the sake of argument, let's say that both statements are correct and that there are no degrees of pregnancy. The truth is that the second statement, "either you are pregnant or you're not" is still irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with whether there are degrees of pregnancy. If it were possible to be "a little pregnant", then being a little pregnant would still be being pregnant, and the second statement would still be true.

I can be a little tired, a little hungry, a little late, and yes, that means I'd be tired, hungry and/or late.

I can exaggerate a little, a lot, too much, or not enough. Those that disagree are certainly free to do so, but simply stating it doesn't make it so. Nor does stating it more emphatically. It's just begging the question.

Also, comparing exaggeration to other words whose nature is superlative proves nothing. Clearly such words exist. Listing them doesn't prove or disprove anything.

porsche February 19, 2012, 8:40pm

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Compare the French question constructions of either inverting subject and verb, or preceding sentence with "est-ce que". Usually either is correct.

porsche January 13, 2012, 1:28pm

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In "The black and the white dresses were very becoming", using multiple articles makes it clear that there are black dresses and there are white dresses, not individual dresses that are black and white (striped, spotted, etc.). In "The political, economic, and social spheres...", there are no modifiers and, therefore, no potential ambiguity; thus, one article suffices. I noticed you used the words "grammar guide", I would put the emphasis on the word "guide". That which is ambiguous isn't necessarily ungrammatical. I guess I didn't say anything that wasn't already said, but perhaps I was a bit more concise. At least for now, I don't feel the need to smith any more words.

porsche January 13, 2012, 1:21pm

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Ok, while we're at it, how about "we"? I think there should be separate words for "we" that mean "they and I, but not YOU", and "you and I but not they", and "all of us". Come on now. surely, none of your are really serious that we need to (or even can) revamp all English pronouns to suit your particular pet peeves. If ambiguity were a yardstick for evaluating grammar, we'd have plenty more problems to deal with.

porsche December 27, 2011, 2:22pm

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And AnWulf, usually, those who make such a claim don't fully appreciate the claim's ambiguity. More often, they mean the particular collegiate dictionary they have on their particular shelf, never even realizeng that it may differ from others and changes daily, or even imagining that the OED is up to, what, twenty volumes now, I think.

porsche December 25, 2011, 8:09am

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