Search found 3494 matches

by Phil White
Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:25 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: But don't tell a soul
Replies: 11
Views: 289

Re: But don't tell a soul

"Don't tell anyone that I didn't have a handkerchief with me and just wiped my nose with my finger."
by Phil White
Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:11 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: But don't tell a soul
Replies: 11
Views: 289

Re: But don't tell a soul

This has begun to interest me. There are a few discussions around on the Web, some of which reference the film "The Sting", but I seem to remember the gesture from my childhood, which predates the film by some time. Indeed, even a cursory search throws up this passage from the 1839 Dickens novel Nic...
by Phil White
Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:10 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: But don't tell a soul
Replies: 11
Views: 289

Re: But don't tell a soul

Good point, trolley. On reflection, it is an odd gesture. I cannot think of it being used outside of the context of an exhortation to keep secrecy, but I can think of no verbal connection with the nose.

Suggestions as to the origin of the gesture, anyone?
by Phil White
Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:41 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: But don't tell a soul
Replies: 11
Views: 289

Re: But don't tell a soul

It would be quite usual to follow any of these with a tag seeking confirmation, such as "OK?", "you got me?" or "all right?" (possibly accompanied by a couple of taps with a forefinger on the side of the nose). For clarification, Steven, Erik means that the speaker may tap himself or herself on the...
by Phil White
Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:13 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: No worries!
Replies: 3
Views: 145

Re: No worries!

I had a little trouble finding this old thread, using the search. There's a few largely undocumented problems with the native search function on the site. The search index doesn't include words of 3 characters or less (you're is two words), but the search function still tries to search for them, wh...
by Phil White
Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:22 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: live longer
Replies: 1
Views: 106

Re: live longer

"Live longer than" is ambiguous in common usage. Live with it.
by Phil White
Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:15 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: second best
Replies: 1
Views: 83

Re: second best

Your proposed meaning for 1 is so absurdly contrived that nobody in their right senses would intuitively understand the sentence in that way. If the comma serves any purpose, it is likely to be one of the following two: I had not originally intended to mention that Harry was best, but decided to aft...
by Phil White
Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:20 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: that's kind
Replies: 3
Views: 360

Re: that's kind

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:36 pm
... they both strike me as being unnecessarily prissy and over-complicated.
This assumes that there are situations in which a certain level of prissiness is necessary. I would be intrigued to see an example...
by Phil White
Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:56 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: may or might
Replies: 5
Views: 349

Re: may or might

Good point. Perhaps it was a slightly inadequate formulation on my part. It is not so much a question of being offered a choice of multiple alternatives as of being presented with the option(s) available to you, even if the number of realistic options is precisely one: "This is the course of action ...
by Phil White
Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:32 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: may or might
Replies: 5
Views: 349

Re: may or might

In direct answer to your question, sentence 2 sounds very odd to my ears. More generally, the distinction between "may" and "might" is problematic, as virtually all speakers or groups of speakers appear to use and understand it somewhat differently. In the UK in particular, the use of "may" and "mig...
by Phil White
Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:33 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: so far back
Replies: 2
Views: 407

Re: so far back

I agree with Erik and would merely add that, unless there is a good reason to do so, I would not front the temporal phrase: "He has been the accountant ever since I have been working here."
by Phil White
Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:28 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: as teenagers are
Replies: 1
Views: 334

Re: as teenagers are

"Teenagers are usually into video games and he was no exception." If that is the meaning intended, sentence 2, with the comma, would be normal and preferable, but I have said before that the comma is a very poor indicator of semantic distinction, as their use is, in many cases, an extremely subjecti...
by Phil White
Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:18 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Feedback
Replies: 5
Views: 724

Re: Feedback

Generally, the dictionaries give "feedback" as an uncountable noun, and most ordinary folks find "feedbacks" to be very strange. Professionally, I have only come across "feedbacks" a couple of times, and always in the field of IT. However, if you look at the way some people are using it on blogs and...
by Phil White
Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:02 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: kinds of birds
Replies: 3
Views: 839

Re: kinds of birds

If either, or both (birds and kinds) are plural, I would say "live" rather than "lives". Yes. However you do it, it is almost impossible to avoid apparent grammatical or semantic illogicality. I am certain that different people more or less subconsciously apply different "rules". You in fact touch ...
by Phil White
Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:23 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: kinds of birds
Replies: 3
Views: 839

Re: kinds of birds

You missed the other alternative "kinds of bird". This is another one where people get very agitated and claim that only one of the four possible alternatives is correct. The most common argument that I have heard is that the two halves of the expression must agree in number, hence "kind of bird" or...