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March 22, 2011
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To make ê type alt-136 (on the numeric keypad): mêléeAt least that's how I do it.
I can't see why it shouldn't be "table of contents".The contents are plural things, right? Bits, pieces, ingredients, constituents, call them what you will.I think what's causing some confusion here is that the individual contents, when combined, make up the whole, which is your content.But the table shows the individual bits and pieces, i.e. *plural* contents.
Of course "table of contents" sounds way more natural too.
As an aside, when I was a kid living in the UK I wondered what the hell the "eyes to the right" and "nose to the left" meant.
I'm pretty sure it should be yeses, like buses and gases (as already mentioned).Is the plural of no "noes"?
Kenneth - I don't think you can say "numbers of yes" any more than you can say "numbers of person". There's only one number so it shouldn't be plural (unlike "types of cake" where there are several types). That's my take on it anyway - I might be wrong.
WW:I totally agree with you. When someone in the corporate world takes a very meaningful word or phrase and attaches it to something meaningless, to give it a puffed-up sense of importance, I find it extremely annoying. "Reach out" to mean simply "contact" is a good example of this.
"Touch base" irritates me too but it's arguably less bad because the phrase doesn't really mean anything elsewhere. Does it come from baseball like "step up to the plate" or "it came out of left field"? My knowledge of that game is sketchy to say the least but I didn't think you could touch base *with* somebody, so I'm not sure how the phrase came about.
Will and Porsche,I think you're both sort of right about the pronunciation of French é. It's basically the first half of our "ay" diphthong in English. It's actually pretty close to the "e" in English "bed" and I'd say that's our best approximation. However English phonotactics (I hope I'm using the right term here) don't allow the short "e" sound (or indeed any short vowel sound) at the end of a word, so "ay" is the best approximation we can make for final é. That's why the two é's are pronounced differently in English, and why some people choose to put the accent on the second "e" only.
Warsaw Will: do you really hear people *say* (as opposed to just writing) OMG?But yes I agree with you about the job of a dictionary, although it should probably lag behind actual usage by a few years because some words/expressions turn out to be passing fads.I'd say OMG and LOL are common currency now.
I also agree that the pluralization (or not) of Lego hinges on whether it's a mass noun or a countable noun (this would seem to depend on what part of the world you live in), and the whole brand name thing is really a red herring.
Enticix: I've seen two apostrophes in a word on a few occasions, e.g. "shouldn't've" or "fish 'n' chips". As you say there's no reason why you can't have two apostrophes in a word. But I still don't like don't's.
The aversion to "dos" is simply because it looks like (and is) another word: Spanish for two, French for back, or one of those black pop-up screens with code in it. "Ifs and buts" causes no such problems (well actually "buts" is a French word but hey...)
As for decades, I prefer to dodge the apostrophe issue by writing (say) nineties.
There's scrappage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrappage_program
And screwage, which has largely replaced corkage, now that most wine bottles have screw caps.
Adz,I understand Lego wish to protect their intellectual property, but frankly they can say "you must do this" and "you must not do that" till the cows come home; it won't affect how people talk and write about their product in everyday life. People will still make things out of Lego, not "LEGO® bricks". That's just how language works; they can't dictate that.
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