Search found 3010 matches

by Phil White
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:27 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Mountains
Replies: 5
Views: 1155

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: 2
Views: 1756

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: 1532

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: 1532

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: 1043

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: 1494

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: 1090

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: 1334

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: 1334

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...
by Phil White
Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:09 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: one to each
Replies: 3
Views: 900

Re: one to each

It would much simpler, more natural and more comprehensible to say something like
"She had a flower in each hand, one for her mother and one for her aunt."
by Phil White
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:51 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Pluck
Replies: 9
Views: 2534

Re: Pluck

Nice work, Tony.

Odd name to invent out of thin air.
tony h wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:38 pm
PS I have never seen a heap of slags.
You are more than welcome to visit Merseyside on a Friday night if you wish to change that.
by Phil White
Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:43 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: 1st April
Replies: 6
Views: 1256

Re: 1st April

As far as the initial question is concerned, both versions with apostrophes appear. Some dictionaries prefer one, some the other. I (the only true source of wisdom for my own writing) use "April Fool's Day". Having fallen for a few over the years, I was wary this year, and immediately picked up the ...
by Phil White
Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:22 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: L'esprit de l'escalier
Replies: 5
Views: 1282

Re: L'esprit de l'escalier

I have only ever known this as "l'esprit d'escalier" (note the variant).

Although "Treppenwitz" is still around in German, I have pretty well always heard "l'esprit d'escalier" in German as well. Mind you, most of my friends and colleagues were linguists... Says it all really.
by Phil White
Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:02 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Pluck
Replies: 9
Views: 2534

Re: Pluck

there is no 'k' in the Welsh alphabet. No, but there is a "c". My guess would be that the name has morphed from an older Welsh name, which may only loosely resemble "pluck". The obvious candidate would be "plwc", but it leaves you with the same problem of meaning and derivation. Old maps, old books...
by Phil White
Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:29 pm
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: BBC Radio 4 Extra : Many a Slip
Replies: 11
Views: 2405

Re: BBC Radio 4 Extra : Many a Slip

How my world has changed! I used to revel in beating the buzzers way back then. Now? Quite frankly, it makes me squirm. There is something horribly patronizing about it. "Do eat up your six o'clock news, dear. Otherwise you will grow up into one of those frightful people who cannot correctly disting...