Search found 2924 matches

by Phil White
Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:08 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: currently sat
Replies: 15
Views: 453

Re: currently sat

I think you need to make a better case than that for differentiating between stood/sat/knelt and the additional instances I put forward. "Need to"? Only if I have good reason to believe that my intuition is any more reliable in this case than anyone else's. Or if I am out to prove at all costs that...
by Phil White
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:00 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: currently sat
Replies: 15
Views: 453

Re: currently sat

Apart from "I was sat/stood", which have already been given, I can only think of one other body position that allows this construction: "I was knelt (at the altar)." Consider also stooped (over), bent (over), squatted (over / on), crouched (over / on) : "I saw him in the playground yesterday aftern...
by Phil White
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:00 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: currently sat
Replies: 15
Views: 453

Re: currently sat

Nice spot, trolley. My intuition tells me a few things: Yes, it is very much a UK thing I suspect also that it is from the broad London region (Estuary English), which may root it in East Anglian or Essex dialects. Either way, it flows much more naturally with an Estuary accent. Apart from "I was sa...
by Phil White
Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:25 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: gave her the flashlight to...
Replies: 7
Views: 221

Re: gave her the flashlight to...

Hmmmm. Of your 4 sentences, the first 3 are fine. Something troubles me about "We send you to school to acquire useful knowledge," although I cannot pin down why. Generally, I am at a loss as to why some sentences work and some don't. I don't think it has to do with the main verb. It will take some ...
by Phil White
Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:13 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: gave her the flashlight to...
Replies: 7
Views: 221

Re: gave her the flashlight to...

Sentence 1 is so labored as to be painful: "She was in the way of the bike. I pushed her out of the way of the bike." That also eliminates the construction that you seem to be asking about. Sentence 2 is fine, but there is no benefit to using the "to her" variant in sentence 3. That leaves sentence ...
by Phil White
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:16 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: talked to him first
Replies: 3
Views: 170

Re: talked to him first

Admirably thunk, good man.
by Phil White
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:10 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: as regards
Replies: 1
Views: 90

Re: as regards

Sentence 5 is simply incorrect however you try to read it. Sentence 3 can only refer to the particular law that covers John's misdemeanor. The remainder are all ambiguous, probably slightly favouring the interpretation "the law covering John's misdemeanor". Simply reversing the order of the sentence...
by Phil White
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:00 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: each/every/all
Replies: 1
Views: 89

Re: each/every/all

In theory, sentences 1 and 4 require your reading a) and all the rest require your reading b).

That said, I would very much expect most people to understand all the sentences as your reading b).

The distinction between "each" and "every" has never been well upheld in spoken English.
by Phil White
Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:48 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: talked to him first
Replies: 3
Views: 170

Re: talked to him first

Yes and yes. The ambiguity of the second sentence does not arise in spoken English, as the meanings would be intonated differently. As far as your first sentence is concerned, I think you are scraping the barrel for ambiguity here. Yes, it is ambiguous, but only to the extent that virtually any temp...
by Phil White
Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:22 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: it is worth
Replies: 3
Views: 199

Re: it is worth

This use of "it" can be analyzed in a couple of different ways. One way is to see "it" as an anticipatory subject. This reading allows the sentence to be read as "that movie is worth seeing". The other way is to see it as an empty subject. I believe Quirk et al also call this a "prop" subject. It is...
by Phil White
Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:25 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: first learning of their mistake
Replies: 2
Views: 157

Re: first learning of their mistake

Sentence a does not work as you have it. It needs to read "On first learning ...".

The sentences then have the meanings you originally proposed.

As far as your suggestions c, d and e are concerned, the answer to all of them is probably no.
by Phil White
Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:18 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: tinfoil hat
Replies: 9
Views: 1148

Re: tinfoil hat

I've never heard it this side of the pond.

I do rather like it.
by Phil White
Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:52 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Purely out of curiosity: loth/loath
Replies: 5
Views: 270

Purely out of curiosity: loth/loath

"I am loth/loath to lend him any more money." Both spellings are accepted in most dictionaries, and "loath" seems vastly more common in the US, whereas it is only very significantly more common in the UK. For no reason other than idle curiosity, which spelling would you use? Personally, I have alway...
by Phil White
Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:38 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: in any event
Replies: 2
Views: 188

Re: in any event

Yes, along with a host of other alternatives, such as "whatever we do", "either way" (which does not scope to only two alternatives in colloquial English), "whatever happens", and so on. Some, such as your sentences c and d, are more formal and sound a little out of register compared with the rest o...
by Phil White
Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:11 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: anyone who likes him
Replies: 9
Views: 267

Re: anyone who likes him

Yes, Tony. I hit on that one when I began applying a test. I am still struggling with a comprehensible formulation of my thinking, but I shall try. The various "any..." words all have a fundamental meaning of "a random exemplar from a given set". If the set is not explicitly specified, then the set ...