Search found 3582 matches

by Phil White
Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:28 pm
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: democracy
Replies: 3
Views: 1882

Re: democracy

The post you have replied to actually dates back to some time around the turn of the century and is no longer live. The poster of the reply, Jonathon Green, no longer contributes to Wordwizard, but was one of the mainstays of the site in the early days. Jonathon Green is, and was at the time, an em...
by Phil White
Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:21 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Volume on scents
Replies: 5
Views: 1138

Re: Volume on scents

Anyone who has seen the comedy movie Spinal Tap will probably also be reminded of one of the larger-than-life members of the rock band insisting that the volume should be turned up to 11 on an amplifier that is only calibrated from 0 to 10. Thank you for reminding us all of that scene: https://www....
by Phil White
Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:39 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: by when
Replies: 2
Views: 1033

Re: by when

As Erik says, context is all. I tend to agree with navi in that sentence 1 is more liable to be interpreted as meaning a, whereas the others are more open, although, unlike Erik, I tend to understand meaning b for sentences 2, 3 and 4. But sentences like these are never uttered out of context. They ...
by Phil White
Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:29 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: as my lawyer
Replies: 1
Views: 813

Re: as my lawyer

I find that they are all acceptable and grammatical, but there are those who would disagree. As I said in another post of yours , English is not particularly good at scoping. The further you move a modifier away from the item it modifies, the harder it becomes to establish the link between the modif...
by Phil White
Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:13 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: enough laywers' files
Replies: 2
Views: 2716

Re: enough laywers' files

Unlike many languages, particularly those with case systems, English does not provide the grammatical framework for unambiguous scoping. If we rely solely on the grammar of English, the scope of "enough" in your sentences is ambiguous. But speakers do not rely solely on the grammatical framework pro...
by Phil White
Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:14 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: for the better
Replies: 4
Views: 1367

Re: for the better

My intuition tells me that the phrase "It's all for the best" may be more common than "it's for the best".
by Phil White
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:59 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: for the better
Replies: 4
Views: 1367

Re: for the better

I suppose one could argue that they are grammatically correct, but they are wrong in every other sense. "For the better" and "for the worse" are idioms that are used when describing a change of state or circumstances. They are usually used with the verb or noun "change" ("the new government is a cha...
by Phil White
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:48 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Buck his sets
Replies: 4
Views: 1175

Re: Buck his sets

Good shout, trolley! "But cassettes" ...

" "Working on 8-track tape is far harder, I admit. But cassettes were so much easier than trying to work on the CDs."
by Phil White
Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:52 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Buck his sets
Replies: 4
Views: 1175

Re: Buck his sets

It is a very poor sentence with no punctuation. If you link to the original conversation, maybe we can work it out. My guesses would be: "Working on 8-track tape is far harder, I admit, Buck. His sets were so much easier than trying to work on the CDs." In that case, "for" is a typo for "far" and "B...
by Phil White
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:18 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: could have left the country
Replies: 1
Views: 918

Re: could have left the country

They are all grammatically acceptable. The distinction between "might" and "could", if there is one, is very subtle indeed. I feel that "might" tends to indicate a more remote possibility than "could", but it is not a distinction to get hung up about.
by Phil White
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:14 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: anyone
Replies: 3
Views: 1207

Re: anyone

As a rule, if you want to negate an "any" construction, you negate the "any" and not the associated verb. "Not any" = "No", hence "no political discussion is allowed...". "Not anyone" = "No-one" , hence "no one under sixteen is allowed ...". There are, of course, exceptions. "Anyone who eats junk fo...
by Phil White
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:30 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: bones of a hen
Replies: 3
Views: 1650

Re: bones of a hen

They all seem okay to me.

In reality, there is no difference between 1 and 1a or 2 and 2a. Sentences 1a and 2a do not imply that all the bones were used (which you may expect in other contexts).

In all cases, it would probably be more natural to say "hens' bones" or "a hen's bones".
by Phil White
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:26 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: for him to lose
Replies: 1
Views: 1207

Re: for him to lose

No comma needed. Both formulations are ambiguous and a comma is simply wrong. My intuition tells me that if we really wanted to explicitly express meaning b), we would use the formulation you suggest (it would be a good thing for him if he lost") or some some similar formulation ("it would do him go...
by Phil White
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:20 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: that he should/for him to
Replies: 1
Views: 1189

Re: that he should/for him to

They are both compliant with the conventions of English grammar. Neither are, however, particularly pretty. Whether they mean the same thing is also moot. The construction "for somebody to do something" generally puts the focus on the difficulty faced by the person concerned in doing what they did: ...
by Phil White
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:32 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Silver singles
Replies: 4
Views: 2116

Re: Silver singles

Would that we did not know these things...