Search found 3608 matches

by Phil White
Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:43 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: not A and B
Replies: 3
Views: 89

Re: not A and B

Not really, at least not for me. One of the problems is also with the collocation "not boring". This falls into the category of "damning with faint praise". It is not really an enthusiastic endorsement of the play and sounds as if the speaker is trying to find something nice to say. Or perhaps the s...
by Phil White
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:27 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: not A and B
Replies: 3
Views: 89

Re: not A and B

We simply wouldn't do it like that. We would either use two positives ("not boring" = "interesting" > "His play was interesting and original"), or we would reverse the order so that the "not" clearly only modifies "boring": "His play was original and not boring". That said, a modifier in front of "o...
by Phil White
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:20 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Crocodile - children walking in pairs
Replies: 2
Views: 81

Re: Crocodile - children walking in pairs

Here's a piece of cross-linguistic confusion. In German, a file of children would be said to be walking "im Gänsemarsch" (literally "in a goose march"). "Goose stepping", on the other hand is referred to as marching "im Stechschritt" (something like a "punching out" or "pricking" step). It has, in t...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:09 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: as well
Replies: 1
Views: 96

Re: as well

In all cases, "either" sounds better. The only one of your alternatives that could possibly be used is "also".
by Phil White
Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:28 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Whoop ass
Replies: 7
Views: 320

Re: Whoop ass

I admit that I have come across a theory that "arse" was a later invention, but that doesn't make it right. Nope, I have visited this one before: The presence of the "r" goes right back to proto-Indo-European and is still present in all Germanic languages. "Ass" for backside is only attested from t...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:57 pm
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: The Duke of Edinburgh
Replies: 3
Views: 416

The Duke of Edinburgh

On the day of his death, the media in the UK is tying itself in knots trying to avoid any suggestion that Prince Philip might have been a racist and a bigot. Instead, he was "gaffe-prone" or a "colourful character". Perhaps that should be a "character of colour"... If there is anyone out there I hav...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:52 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Juice
Replies: 5
Views: 487

Re: Juice

My feeling is that "juice" is used by many people (in the UK) for petrol in a car. It is also used by electricians and tradespeople to mean electricity ("turn on the juice", etc.). I don't think I often hear it among ordinary folks so much in reference to electricity, and I personally find it very s...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:47 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: whoever
Replies: 3
Views: 416

Re: whoever

I can't see anything wrong with Bob's answer.
by Phil White
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:45 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: emphasis
Replies: 2
Views: 254

Re: emphasis

Either form can have either meaning, and I cannot see any way of stressing the utterance that would make the precise meaning clear. As Erik says, it is only pragmatics that might reveal the meaning. But perhaps there is nothing in the discourse or situation that disambiguates the meaning. In that ca...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:38 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: neither
Replies: 2
Views: 327

Re: neither

Erik is spot on. Some simpler examples: I'm not deaf; neither am I stupid. I'm not deaf; nor am I stupid. It's not in the kitchen; neither is it in the lounge. The construction is often used over two sentences. I chose to use a semicolon instead. I could also have used a dash. Whatever punctuation I...
by Phil White
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:51 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: in case
Replies: 1
Views: 281

Re: in case

They seem okay to me.
by Phil White
Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:50 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: comma
Replies: 1
Views: 240

Re: comma

That is correct, but I would add what I always say whenever you try to use punctuation to distinguish different meanings: Punctuation is at best a poor reflection of spoken intonation and rhythms, not the other way round. It is the pause in speech that conveys the difference in meaning. The comma is...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:53 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Hold a candle
Replies: 3
Views: 443

Re: Hold a candle

It would never be natural to say that Frank Lampard is/was a good footballer :o :o . That aside, your suggestion is perfectly okay. That is exactly the way the idiom is used. It certainly is a very odd idiom. Ken had a little to say about it a very long time ago: http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/vie...
by Phil White
Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:45 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: which I didn't know
Replies: 3
Views: 1131

Re: which I didn't know

This is an example of a concept that, in theory at least, demands somewhat complex syntactical structures if we are to express it with the formal accuracy expected, say, in academic writing. Many of your questions raise similar issues. If we want to express such concepts in speech, where we have no ...
by Phil White
Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:21 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: more of a comedy
Replies: 6
Views: 1048

Re: more of a comedy

Odd one. It seems to me that the use of "of" in this construction is more the result of considerations of prosody than anything else.

"More of" rolls off the tongue more easily in speech.