Search found 2864 matches

by Phil White
Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:02 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: more books than are in your library
Replies: 5
Views: 193

Re: more books than are in your library

It is possible to imagine a scenario in which a sentence structured in that way could mean one of the possible things it was intended to mean by the person who constructed it in the first place. That still doesn't mean that any native speaker would actually construct that particular sentence. Two di...
by Phil White
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:14 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: his big blue motorcycle
Replies: 2
Views: 103

Re: his big blue motorcycle

In none of the cases is it entirely clear. Erik is correct to say "strongly suggests", but it is no more than that. In speech, the intonation of "small" could possibly give a clue. Heavily stressing the word "small" in 3) would suggest that my bike was also blue, but again, only suggest.
by Phil White
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:00 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: more books than are in your library
Replies: 5
Views: 193

Re: more books than are in your library

Quite frankly, I would find it pretty impossible to make any sense of the sentence as it stands. I cannot really imagine a native speaker coming up with something like that.
by Phil White
Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:34 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Decimated
Replies: 3
Views: 132

Re: Decimated

In a documentary last night, I heard the following: "The Black Death decimated the population of Europe. At least a third, possibly anything up to 60 percent of the population died." In reality, I don't have a great problem with that. It is what "decimate" means nowadays. The real problem I had with...
by Phil White
Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:38 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Decimated
Replies: 3
Views: 132

Decimated

On the BBC a few days ago, an American politician referred to Raqqa in these terms: "half the city has been decimated". Now call me a stickler, but surely that means that one twentieth of the city has been destroyed. Seriously, though, as far as I am concerned, you can "decimate" an army or a crop, ...
by Phil White
Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:02 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Back to the tough stuff: prepositions
Replies: 2
Views: 173

Back to the tough stuff: prepositions

After an enforced absence of several weeks, I am slowly picking up the threads of normalcy again, and I return here brimming with outrageous ideas about language, structure and grammar. I have for many years been thinking that our traditional analysis of parts of speech, or word classes, is not mere...
by Phil White
Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:19 pm
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: Nottingham
Replies: 1
Views: 170

Re: Nottingham

I think you may have misunderstood her import. She probably meant "You won't be playing now, will you?"
by Phil White
Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:50 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: A kind of vegetable
Replies: 4
Views: 290

Re: A kind of vegetable

It seems to be called "bitter melon".
by Phil White
Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:36 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: any ideas on the difference betwwen paint kettles and paint scuttles?
Replies: 3
Views: 381

Re: any ideas on the difference betwwen paint kettles and paint scuttles?

Quite so, Bonnie. I was familiar with "paint kettle" (and, surprisingly, so was my 89-year-old [I'm nearly 90, you know] mother). But "paint scuttle"? 'Fraid not. Clearly it's used, as you can get them from most DIY stores. As far as I see it, a paint kettle allows you to carry only a small amount o...
by Phil White
Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:03 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: who worked for him/tense question
Replies: 1
Views: 151

Re: who worked for him/tense question

None of your examples suggest when the insults took place. The temporal relationship between "insult" and "work" is neither explicit nor implicit in the tense. The changes in tense have no impact on that. They merely place the act of working in the temporal context of the narrative. In all cases, th...
by Phil White
Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:51 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: use for vs. use to
Replies: 1
Views: 150

Re: use for vs. use to

To all intents and purposes, they do not differ. It may be that one suggests a more concrete case of a given use (I think my tea has polonium in it) and the other suggests the general use, I cannot think that anyone hearing either version would necessarily be fixated on such a distinction.
by Phil White
Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:43 pm
Forum: No, wait. Don't tell me
Topic: Grimaldi
Replies: 3
Views: 338

Re: Grimaldi

It is touted as true and has been for many years. If QI says it is true, it must be...
by Phil White
Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:33 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: as if by a madman
Replies: 1
Views: 148

Re: as if by a madman

Your feeling is correct.
by Phil White
Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:19 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: comma question
Replies: 7
Views: 365

Re: comma question

I think your underlying question would be better answered with different examples. Something like: a. "Let's have a meal and go to the cinema if you want." b. "Let's have a meal, and go to the cinema if you want." Punctuation is only ever a poor representation of the way we intonate an utterance whe...