Search found 8468 matches

by Erik_Kowal
Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:50 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: the angels
Replies: 2
Views: 324

Re: the angels

The only way to find out for sure what Jack meant is to ask him. But since his answer to Tom is clearly facetious (and since angels don't actually exist, despite the belief of the majority of citizens of the USA that they are real), it hardly seems worth investigating how many angels Jack knew — or ...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Dec 26, 2020 3:34 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: fell twice
Replies: 3
Views: 526

Re: fell twice

Not to overlook Schrodinger's umlaut, which simultaneously exists and doesn't exist, depending on who's writing his name. :lol:
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Dec 24, 2020 12:13 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: deuteragonist
Replies: 3
Views: 504

Re: deuteragonist

...quadragonist... pentagonist... hexagonist... heptagonist... For those hefty high-Victorian novels (or novel sequences) like The Forsyte Saga.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:29 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: it would be preferable
Replies: 1
Views: 377

Re: it would be preferable

A native speaker would be likely to simplify that message to something like: For him to come here would be better than for you to go there. If he comes here, it would be better than if you go there. Him coming here would be better than you going there. Shortest of all: Better that he come(s) here th...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Dec 19, 2020 2:51 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: dated two women
Replies: 2
Views: 445

Re: dated two women

Any of those inferences is possible because that sentence is highly ambiguous, as you obviously already know.

Anyone who prioritized clarity in their messaging would find a different way of expressing their intended meaning.
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:43 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: safe place
Replies: 3
Views: 629

Re: safe place

Strangely, I prefer sentence a in your first pair (the attributive construction) and sentence d (the postpositive construction) in your second pair. Annoyingly, I have no idea why at present. The obvious difference is that the heart of the expression in a) is "safe from" and in d) it is "safe for" ...
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Dec 18, 2020 4:17 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Style
Replies: 2
Views: 566

Re: Style

There's an expression which is common in North America, namely the injunction to "fake it till you make it". According to the brief article on it in Wikipedia, "Fake it till you make it" (or "Fake it until you make it") is an [...] aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, an...
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:19 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Hold my Ensure
Replies: 3
Views: 651

Re: Hold my Ensure

Just to supplement Trolley's otherwise nutritious explanation, Person B's utterance is a play on the well-known trope of "Hold my beer!" that is jocularly attributed to people — stereotypically, they are American working-class and/or rural-dwelling men — who are about to do something that most peopl...
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:20 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Rice balls
Replies: 3
Views: 748

Re: Rice balls

The description is only an approximation description of the shape, and not to be taken too literally.
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:16 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: the devil, he may take you
Replies: 9
Views: 2874

Re: the devil, he may take you

navi wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:30 amI had found meaning in something meaningless!
You possess a useful superpower for parsing the utterances of many of today's politicians.
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Dec 12, 2020 2:57 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: whose book's cover
Replies: 12
Views: 2205

Re: whose book's cover

I have never thought about this one, but we can often simply tack two words together to convey the meaning "the x of the y". Some examples "car door" "kitchen light", "chair leg". And "book cover" can also work like this. But when we try to use them in certain sentences, they sound rather absurd: "...
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:12 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Mattress
Replies: 3
Views: 1131

Re: Mattress

I think that could be described as a tatami mattress, although it's not made from straw, which is one of the traditional materials used for making tatami mats.
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:25 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Darn
Replies: 7
Views: 1595

Re: Darn

"Darn" (or its variant "darned") is very mild, and in many US contexts it would come across as a ruralism or as a somewhat old-fashioned intensifier. I think it's safe to use it with pretty much anyone. Nowadays, the intensifier "damn" (or "damned") would usually not be regarded as objectionable exc...
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:05 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: whose book's cover
Replies: 12
Views: 2205

Re: whose book's cover

Phil White wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:23 pm Sorry, I just realize that I missed a "who" out of my sample sentence. Here it is: who.
Thank you. It's a very nice-looking "who".
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Dec 09, 2020 6:38 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: whose book's cover
Replies: 12
Views: 2205

Re: whose book's cover

Phil White wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:19 pm"The kid whose aunt knitted him the red pullover's dog bit his friend who gave him the bicycle's arm is confused."

Don't go there. We don't think like that.
In this context, "We" = "Probably everyone who didn't grow up speaking German".