Search found 8402 matches

by Erik_Kowal
Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:36 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: that's kind
Replies: 3
Views: 1613

Re: that's kind

Agreed. While 3) and 4) are acceptable in the sense that they do not violate any grammatical conventions, they both strike me as being unnecessarily prissy and over-complicated. Why would you say "That gesture was kind of you to make" when you could simply say "That was a kind gesture [of yours]", o...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:40 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: his ex-wife
Replies: 3
Views: 1578

Re: his ex-wife

That all depends greatly on what Phil would call the pragmatics attached to the utterance. If you had recently been discussing a particular ex-wife of Tom's with your interlocutor, or if she had come to the attention of you both for some other reason (being mentioned in the news, for instance), they...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:24 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: may or might
Replies: 5
Views: 1696

Re: may or might

I agree. I would just add that it is simultaneously an instruction and permission: when the secretary instructs you to wait in the waiting room (it's an instruction because there is no other plausible choice), she is implicitly (and necessarily) giving you permission to do so. If she were to say 4),...
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:54 am
Forum: No, wait. Don't tell me
Topic: Nuts to the squirrels in the attic
Replies: 0
Views: 1464

Nuts to the squirrels in the attic

A priest, a rabbi and a minister were sitting around talking, and it emerged that they all had the same problem: squirrels in the attics of their respective places of worship. The priest said, "When we realized what the problem was we hired an exterminator, sealed up all the entrances, and fumigated...
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:09 am
Forum: No, wait. Don't tell me
Topic: Or is it?
Replies: 0
Views: 1116

Or is it?

Two conspiracy theorists walk into a bar.

That can’t be a coincidence.
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:45 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: too long ago for me to remember
Replies: 1
Views: 1254

Re: too long ago for me to remember

To my mind, none of them mean b). If that is what was meant, it would need to be referred to directly, e.g.:

It happened so long ago that I don't [care to] remember it.

3) is so long-winded that nobody would say it unless they were deliberately trying to spin it out.
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:52 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: so far back
Replies: 2
Views: 1405

Re: so far back

Both 1) and 2) sound strange to my ear. I don't think a native speaker would utter them. I would say either: 3) For as far back as I've been working here, he has been the accountant. 4) For as long as I've been working here, he has been the accountant. 5) Ever since I began working here, he has been...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:58 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: I've got a pie in the oven
Replies: 6
Views: 1989

Re: I've got a pie in the oven

Being unsure who the people in the meme's top photo were, I ran a Google image search. This suggested that they were Antifa ("anti-fascist") protesters. The meme appears to have been constructed by someone who sympathises with those who oppose Antifa. The implication of "Y'all hurry up, I've got a p...
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:10 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Feedback
Replies: 5
Views: 2039

Re: Feedback

Another couple of similar cases that I've noticed: "learnings" and "softwares". "Learnings" is usually used as a shorthand way of saying "lessons learned" or "conclusions drawn", usually in the context of a formal learning setting or session, or as part of a formal evaluation process. "Softwares" is...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:00 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Green blood stream
Replies: 3
Views: 1631

Re: Green blood stream

My assumption is that this expression, which I've never heard before, is a nonce coinage by Person C. (I assume that this similarly applies to "red eyed comments", where I take "red-eyed" to mean "hostile".) Person C is invoking the cultural association of the colour green with envy and jealousy -- ...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:29 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Christ above
Replies: 7
Views: 2503

Re: Christ above

Phrases like that one, which reference God are considered blasphemous by many people… using God’s name in vain was one of the 10 biggies (#3) when Moses received the rule book. Even saying OMG is bound to offend someone. There is another way of interpreting the term "using God's name in vain", name...
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:17 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Christ above
Replies: 7
Views: 2503

Re: Christ above

Shelley wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:58 pm
Of course "flat white" isn't coffee -- it's wall paint where I come from.
People say it's especially suitable for decorating apartments with.
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:13 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: or a new recruit
Replies: 1
Views: 1456

Re: or a new recruit

To answer your questions directly: 1) works, but strikes me as being rather ungainly. 2) and 3) are ambiguous: it is unclear whether the word in question was or was not used for a new recruit, especially with 3). The underlying problem with this kind of construction is the difficulty of avoiding the...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:03 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: so that
Replies: 1
Views: 1422

Re: so that

None of the sentences sound natural to me. A couple of them are improved by giving them an active verb construction (a.) or a more precise description (b.): a. This plan is designed to keep you safe. b. The purpose of this plan is to keep you safe. c. The plan to keep you safe was devised by him. d....
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:29 am
Forum: No, wait. Don't tell me
Topic: Hail Mary
Replies: 0
Views: 1427

Hail Mary

As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast.

So he shouted out, "Anyone here know how to pray?"

Just one guy stepped forward and said, "Aye, captain, I know how to pray."

"Good," said the captain, "You pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets -- we're one short."