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Joined: November 29, 2005  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 24
Votes received: 49

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Recent Comments

For the example given in the original question, my is correct and mine grammatically impossible - the rest is just style.

Nicholas Sanders January 9, 2013, 3:42am

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I wouldn't use it, but some might find it bearable. Be that as it may, your document is certainly not "able" under any circumstances - try *capable of being* or *can be*, with either expression then followed by *customised or tailored*.

nix March 7, 2012, 3:36am

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nix February 16, 2012, 9:34am

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You strain it.

nix February 16, 2012, 9:33am

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I note that I have left an open bracket - although that was accidental, it illustrates my feeling about "different than" rather well…

semiotek January 31, 2011, 6:20pm

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Surely the term is a noun rather than a preterite, and therefore not to be considered as a verb? Anyway, were it to lose its first element it is potentially confusing, which possibility might account in part for the usage. Another is that it belongs to a set that includes self-loathing, and others that I cannot think of at present.

However, my preferred 'explanation' for the specific case is that it did not originally mean confessing as that is now commonly understood. Rather do I *imagine* that the first use of the expression would be found in such a context as a Protestant admitting her or his belief, rather than waiting to be accused by the Inquistion - admitting, declaring or self-confessing.

Of course, this suggestion could be complete nonsense…

semiotek January 31, 2011, 4:14pm

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Logical argument - this is language usage in the real world of which you speak, no?

As to my own usage, I can live quite happily with "different to" but find "different than" to be semantically unviable. I might hazard, for example, that the red of my kilt is different to the red of yours, but to say the one is different than the other is rather similar to the answer to the question "what's the difference between a duck?" - "one leg's both the same."

Seriously though, if prepositions actually follow a system of logic it is one unknown to (wo)man - ponder awhile on the question of why a Dane says on the post office but in the bank. (As it happens, I have a theory, but it seems not to hold for all similar cases. Further, our Dane actually says _på posthuset_ or _i banken_ - we translate the prepositions as on and in, presumably because those are what they seem most commonly to mean.

Logic, language - oedipus smoedipus!

semiotek January 31, 2011, 3:59pm

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Prescribed by whom, precisely?

semiotek October 17, 2010, 3:45am

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Although scyllacat is correct in this case, her argument doesn't hold up for an example such as _it is me_ - not many would now say _it is I_.

semiotek October 14, 2010, 1:20pm

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Did you never hear that the verb "to be" takes no object? Too strict an adage for real world usage of course, but dead on in this case.

semiotek October 14, 2010, 11:42am

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I suspect the jeans issue is due to trousers having begun life as two separate leg covers which were subsequently joined together. Nevertheless, it was commonplace (when such existed) for gentlemen's outfitters to refer to "a trouser".

As for scissors, the Danish _saks_ is singular - but a scissor is very hard for my brain!

semiotek October 7, 2010, 7:27am

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One - anything else drives me insane!

semiotek May 30, 2008, 5:56am

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HFK's would also work, for the same reason.

nix May 9, 2008, 7:26am

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Gosh - it'll be gerunds next!!

semiotek December 20, 2007, 12:39am

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Wonderful Drew - there are at least two of us who remember the subjunctive!

semiotek December 20, 2007, 12:22am

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There is no need for any comma at all, and the inclusion of a full-stop is a matter of style only nowadays.

Nicholas Sanders June 30, 2007, 9:06am

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I think "crazy" a very polite description for the gentleman - what he claims is arrant nonsense, and if anything it would be the use of impact as a verb that is questionable (at least for a Brit, such as myself)!

Nicholas Sanders November 30, 2006, 2:20pm

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Whatever about that, "a SIGNIFICANT figures" is clearly incorrect!

Nicholas Sanders July 24, 2006, 12:46pm

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In my view it is entirely proper to write the digital/symbol form. I always write numbers up to ninety-nine in words, greater numbers in digits, and percentages as described.

semiotek July 19, 2006, 10:58am

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While I can't think of a rule for this, it does occur to me that the expression "do the necessary" may offer a clue to why the chores get a definite article.

Nicholas Sanders July 4, 2006, 9:40am

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