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Joined: March 29, 2005  (email not validated)
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Your use of the definite article is incorrect. "Murphy's Law"" is equivalent to "the Law of Murphy", therefore "the Murphy's Law" contains an implicit reduncancy, since it would be equivalent to "the the Law of Murphy".

richard-brodie April 5, 2005, 12:35pm

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I'm guessing with a name like Romano, you're of Italian extraction. So if I were you I'd use Romanoes, even if that's technically incorrect, if only because Romanos looks an awful lot like a Mexican name ;)

P.S. this is not to imply that I have anything against Mexican names - my ganddaughter's last name is Mendoza - just that it would give an erroneous indication of your nationality.

richard-brodie April 1, 2005, 1:01pm

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Of all the common English words ending in -ple, two others besides purple have no rhymes


Six have only one rhyme:

maple - staple
apple - grapple
couple - supple
people - steeple
scruple - quadruple
dimple - pimple

One has three rhymes:

ample - sample, trample, example

One has four rhymes:

triple - nipple, ripple, cripple, stipple

Neither the two doubly feminine words:


nor the one triply feminine word


have any rhymes.

richard-brodie March 30, 2005, 8:59pm

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It has been suggested that "beforehand" is an adverb, and that "beforehandedly" is therefore redundant. However, there are two kinds of adverbs. The first kind, without the -ly suffix, does not immediately preceed the verb. It is more of a stand-alone clarifier than a direct
modifier. For example, in

"He placed the kindling crosswise to the rest of the wood."

"crosswise" is of this type. We cannot say

"He crosswise placed the kindling."

But neither can we say:

"He crosswisely placed the kindling."

because the rule is that -ly needs to be added to an adjective (or a noun), not to an adverb.

(and conversely we cannot answer the question "How did he place the kindling?" with "Crosswisely.")

So we need some intermediate suffix that will convert the original type 1 adverb into an adjective, so that we can then legitimately make it into a type 2. To do this we adapt a pattern used to convert a verb into an adjective. The verb "advise" becomes an adjective by adding "d", and then pronouncing the result with three syllables rather than two, to differentiate it from the identically spelled past tense. Finally we get to the adverbial form "advisedly", and hence "crosswisedly", and hence "beforehandedly".

richard-brodie March 29, 2005, 7:11pm

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It's just fine to import words into the English language, as long as they are modified to be compatible with our basic spelling and pronunciation conventions. Even though "tidal wave" connotes, in the mind of the average English speaking person, nothing more than a huge wave (without regard to the technicality of how it may have been produced), nevertheless I can see the value of being able to differentiate between waves produced by tidal forces and those produced by seismic activity.

Yesterday I heard more than one reporter on PBS/NPR - which seems to have a preponderance of commentators with British and other foreign accents - pronouncing tsunami without the leading "t". And that is the way it should be. The consonantal blend "ts", appearing at the beginning of a word, is not native to the English tongue. The spelling of this word should be "sunami".

Another example is "Sri Lanka". When that country's name was changed from the perfectly fine "Ceylon", English ought not to have been affected. "sr" at the beginning of a word does not belong in our language any more than does "ts", and from what I understand, the two words are closely related variants meaning nearly the same thing anyway.

Do we call the country whose capital is Berlin, "Deutschland"? Of course not. We call it Germany.
And conversely, Do the Germans refer to us as The United States. Of course not. They say "Die Vereinigte Staaten". And somehow we manage not to take offense at that.

And when the Japanese, upon importing the English word "computer", chose to say "konpyuutaa" do we get all bent out of shape? Of course not. So why the hell is it we think that we have to accomodate to alien pronunciations?

richard-brodie March 29, 2005, 5:48pm

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