Search found 2901 matches

by Phil White
Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:19 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: The Dibble
Replies: 7
Views: 244

Re: The Dibble

Errr .... ?

Nope. Top Cat and Officer Dibble. No other explanation.

If you can find an example prior to 16 May 1962, which is when Top Cat first screened in the UK, I will change my mind.
by Phil White
Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:00 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: The Dibble
Replies: 7
Views: 244

The Dibble

In November, a news story started doing the rounds in the UK, not because it was particularly newsworthy, but because of what the police tweeted. In essence, a driver was vastly exceeding the speed limit and a police car was chasing him. End of story. But everyone picked up on the tweet from the Gre...
by Phil White
Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:47 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: A gift from the Devil’s grandmother
Replies: 5
Views: 314

Re: A gift from the Devil’s grandmother

I believe that the "Devil's Grandmother" gained wider popularity in Germany after the appearance of the fairy tale "Der Teufel und seine Großmutter" in the collection by the Brothers Grimm. There is a translation here . Oddly, the grandmother is not an evil figure in the fairy tale, far from it. The...
by Phil White
Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:58 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: The bones of his ass
Replies: 4
Views: 277

Re: The bones of his ass

I would have no problem with the "emaciated" explanation.

I had never heard the expression before, but it reminds me of the rather old-fashioned "on his uppers".
by Phil White
Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:49 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Why English is so hard to learn
Replies: 7
Views: 395

Re: Why English is so hard to learn

As a gross generalization, English tends to have more of these inconsistencies than many other languages. There are several reasons, including: English is a hybrid language, taking much of its grammatical structure and many everyday words from Germanic sources, but most of its vocabulary from Romanc...
by Phil White
Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:30 pm
Forum: Welcome to the Clubhouse
Topic: The new style Clubhouse and site
Replies: 21
Views: 1815

Re: The new style Clubhouse and site

On the Home page there is a black title bar. On the right hand side it says : Howdy, tony h followed by my avatar. Ah, there! You can only see that bar if you are logged in. You can make it disappear by running the mouse over your name, choosing Edit My Profile and unchecking the option "Show Toolb...
by Phil White
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:25 pm
Forum: Welcome to the Clubhouse
Topic: The new style Clubhouse and site
Replies: 21
Views: 1815

Re: The new style Clubhouse and site

tony h wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:20 pm
But why does it say "Howdy"?
Where on earth does it say that?
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: 414

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: 199

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: 414

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: 268

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: 268

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: 323

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: 402

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: 641

Re: A kind of vegetable

It seems to be called "bitter melon".