Search found 2971 matches

by Phil White
Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:25 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Grenades
Replies: 4
Views: 440

Re: Grenades

As far as I know, the US military use "fire in the hole" when a grenade is thrown into an enclosed space. The phrase actually predates military usage, coming from mining. Other than that, I have no military experience, but I seem to remember soldiers in war films simply shouting "grenade", either fo...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:13 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: everything somebody writes
Replies: 1
Views: 234

Re: everything somobody writes

Sentence 1 is extremely odd. Sentences 2 and 4 are good. Sentence 3 is problematic. The reason is not entirely transparent. "Somebody" isolates a single, but unidentified person. This makes the actual meaning of sentence 1 extremely bizarre. The first part of the sentence means "there is a particula...
by Phil White
Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:38 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Mountains
Replies: 5
Views: 509

Re: Mountains

That particular platform is at the "Summit Lodge" at the top of the "Sea to Sky Gondola". The people who run the facility refer to the various platforms as "viewing platforms" and "viewing decks" in their advertising material.
by Phil White
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:20 am
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: BBC Radio 4 Extra : Many a Slip
Replies: 11
Views: 1285

Re: BBC Radio 4 Extra : Many a Slip

Hmmm, I missed the responses to this one. I revel in language. Always have done. I consider myself fortunate to have had the education I have had and to have the facility with language that I have. And yet, the more I consider the way in which language actually works, the more I understand that huge...
by Phil White
Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:36 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: it is kind to...
Replies: 2
Views: 367

Re: it is kind to...

Your example a is odd. It is an unusual, but possible way to say b. For me, without further context or embellishment, sentence b (and a) would mean that I get a good feeling form helping (people). In other words, intuitively, they do not mean the same as your sentence c. Again, without a complete di...
by Phil White
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:33 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: epistemic closure
Replies: 6
Views: 543

Re: epistemic closure

tony h wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:22 pm
I tend to think of it as "thinking inside the box". :)
Brownie points for that.
by Phil White
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:27 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Mountains
Replies: 5
Views: 509

Re: Mountains

I would agree with trolley. There is no specific name for a structure like that. I would call it a viewing platform.
by Phil White
Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:25 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: the last thing we want
Replies: 1
Views: 478

Re: the last thing we want

c and f are probably the most natural to me. a and d sound fine to me, but I probably wouldn't use them myself. b and e sound odd to me, but I may just be being fussy. Or maybe I am wanting to see the subjunctive, which sounds fine to me: The best thing that can happen is that he fall in love. The l...
by Phil White
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:51 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: To be determined to
Replies: 8
Views: 655

Re: To be determined to

The link to the Word Detective reminded me - does anyone know how Even Morris is doing? Is he still alive? I sent a note by snail mail in January & didn't hear back. I'm still reading his archives & enjoying them very much. There has been no activity on his blog or on Twitter since Spring last year...
by Phil White
Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:38 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: To be determined to
Replies: 8
Views: 655

Re: To be determined to

As far as "hell bent for leather" is concerned, the mighty Ken had a good go at that one a few years back, and there are some even older discussions on the board if you search for them.
by Phil White
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:21 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Library ladder
Replies: 4
Views: 432

Re: Library ladder

Steven, you have made me very happy! As Erik says, what you show is a "spiral staircase". But it is not just any old staircase. It is THE spiral staircase in the single most beautiful room I have ever been in, namely the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin. When I first visited T...
by Phil White
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:11 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Khaki/Kharki
Replies: 4
Views: 502

Re: Khaki/Kharki

As far as I know, the "car key" pronunciation is standard in the UK. It's certainly the way I pronounce it. But because most English accents are "non-rhotic", there is no discernible "r" sound in there. As far as the apparent addition of an "r" sound to some vowels or some phonetic clusters is conce...
by Phil White
Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:47 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Dogs
Replies: 4
Views: 528

Re: Dogs

Neither are natural. "He/she/it is very big and clever, so he/she/it will protect the house." Most dog owners will always use "he" or "she", rather than "it". Probably the most natural conversation would be something like: "Why did you buy the dog?" "To protect the house. She's very big and clever."...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:13 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: want it new
Replies: 7
Views: 670

Re: want it new

@Erik Another example of how crucial pragmatics and full context are. I was actually thinking of a concrete example of a concrete firm I worked for one vacation when I wrote that. You were as likely as not to see the boss crawling around under some of the presses and lathes, getting his hands dirty,...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:30 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: want it new
Replies: 7
Views: 670

Re: want it new

Tony's comment is good, as it gives the context for the construction to work more naturally. In general terms, the construction "WANT + noun phrase + adjectival phrase is possible in English, but is often only used when the context promotes it. In some cases, it works without much context: "I wanted...