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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: 60-years olds
Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:35:00 PM
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Hello Koh Elaine.

In British English, normally the phrase for the group of people who are all sixty years old is "sixty-year-olds".
A "sixty-year-old" is ONE noun, so the words are all connected by hyphens.

He is a sixty-year-old.
They are sixty-year-olds.
There was a whole group of sixty-year-olds at the reunion party.


I am not sure whether it is exactly the same in America.
The conventions concerning hyphens are not always the same.
We generally do "sixty-year olds". We don't seem to like hyphens much any more, so no way we're using more than one.

Medically, we have the same issue: is it non-small-cell carcinoma, non-small cell carcinoma, non small-cell carcinoma, or non small cell carcinoma? You find it done all ways.
Topic: 'A murder-suicide' (a noun is modified by a hyphenated descriptor OR compound adjective)
Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:31:14 PM
A cooperator wrote:
Hi,

The World Trade Center in New York City came under a suicide attack on September 11, 2001.

4 dead in apparent murder-suicide at Texas resort, police say.
Four people are dead in Galveston, Tx., Monday after an incident involving gunfire took place at the popular San Luis Resort, which poilce are calling a murder-suicide.


My questions are:
1) why is 'murder-suicide' hyphenated. However, 'suicide attack' isn't? We can then rephrase "murder-suicide" as "suicide murder"

2) there are : suicide, commit suicide:
commit suicide = suicide
so, I can say the following
murder-commit suicide
Commit-suicide murder.

You would not be wrong to hyphenate "suicide-attack". Hyphenated nouns have fallen out of favor over time. They were once considerably more common. In the case of "suicide attack" the hyphen is not generally used, because it is not needed. Hyphens are most often used when stacking descriptors up. Using hyphens clarifies which things go together.

In the case of "murder-suicide", the hyphen is used to tie what could easily be two separate incidents into a single action. It clarifies that the motive was the same; the perpetrator was the same.

Both "commit suicide" and "commit murder" are correct descriptions of different actions. To "commit murder-suicide" is to do both as part of a single, so to speak, action, one intent. It is "murder-suicide", not "suicide-murder". Think about it: it would be extremely difficult (impossible) to commit murder if one had committed suicide first.
Topic: What do you call this beverage?
Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:19:15 PM
Fyfardens wrote:
When I think of 'fruit tea' I think of a drink made with leaves and, sometimes, flowers.

That's interesting, because (of course) leaves and flowers are not fruit.

One could certainly get a fruity tea from leaves and flowers, but in terms of terminology, leaves and flowers fit the herbal tea or tisane description.
Topic: The meaning of 'Scramble an egg', or 'Scrambled egg'
Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 6:17:17 PM
"To scramble an egg" is, indeed, to mix the yolk and the white part of the egg. It is a description of an action. Strictly speaking, one is generally mixing the yolk and the glaire, since the glaire is clear, not white, until it has been heated.

"Scrambled eggs" is a description of a food.

Exactly what goes into making scrambled eggs will depend upon individual and cultural preference. One may pan-scramble eggs (also called ranch or farm scramble). In this method, the eggs are broken into a pan over a low to medium heat and stirred while cooking. Scrambled eggs made this way are streaky white and yellow rather than uniformly mixed. They tend to have a rather coarse "crumb", which refers to broken up chunks of the scramble, rather than being a single mass.

Adding water, milk, or cream adds water to the eggs. When the eggs are cooked, the water turns to steam. As with baking a cake or bread, the steam loosens the texture of the resulting product, keeping the eggs from becoming too dense and (for lack of a better word) leathery. Using cream or full-fat milk also adds fat to the product. This changes the final texture, giving the cooked scramble (yes, you can use it as a noun, referring to the scrambled eggs) a creamier, silkier mouth feel. (Yes, that's a real term used to describe food.)

The method of cooking also changes the texture. If one stirs the eggs constantly, one will develop a "crumb", coarser or finer depending on how firm the eggs are when one stops cooking. Stopping the stirring while the eggs are quite soft lets them come together in more of a mass, though there will still be some fine crumb to the texture. The other way is to not stir, but let the eggs cook undisturbed for a while. Then, one uses a spatula to gently scrape the cooked portion to one edge of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked portion to run down onto the pan bottom, over the heat. Done properly (per chef's idea of proper), the eggs should not be browned. (I like browned eggs fine, so I don't worry.) This is similar to how one makes an omelet, if one is doing puffy omelets, as opposed to thin, rolled omelets.
Topic: What do you call this beverage?
Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 5:40:25 PM
In the New World, a cordial is a fruit liqueur. That would not fit a nonalcoholic, hot drink. For U.S. English, we need to find another term.

I am unsure we have a specific word for this. It would not be particularly common here. We have the terms herbal tea (common), and tisane (relatively uncommon). But, those both refer to drinks made with herbs, vegetation (leaves, stems), and/or seeds. Here, I think we would call it a fruit tea.
Topic: 'They, you are a student.' (Subject - Complement-Noun Agreement.)
Posted: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 9:57:19 AM
A cooperator wrote:
Hi Everyone!

As far as I know if the subject is not dummy(There), then I think the verb must agree with its subject in number and person.
However, no need that to need to the subject agree with the object or complement in number and person.

None of them was English-Arab teachers. (The completement "English-Arab teachers" is plural, however, subject is singular)
"None" means "Not one". Substituting "Not one" may make it easier to see what is wrong with the sentence.
Not one of them was an English-Arab teacher.


The Japanese are an industrious people. (The complement is singular countable "an industrious people" )
For this one, it is necessary to remember that "people" can either be plural-when it refers to a collection of individuals: Look at all the people who are in line for the movie-or singular when it considers "a people" as "a group", distinct from "another people/group".
The Japanese are (Plural, considering all the individuals of Japanese heritage) an industrious people. (A people/a group distinct from, say, the people/group of Chinese heritage.)


The English people are a great people. (The complement is singular countable "a great people")
Works exactly as above.

They are a great people (The complement is singular countable "a great people")
Also works exactly as above.

They are a student. (The complement is singular countable "a student")
This does not work, because "student" refers to an individual, not a group. You could say something similar by using a group noun. English can use "class" to refer to students in a certain year of school: freshman is first year; sophomore is second year; junior is third year; senior is fourth year.
They are a great senior class.


Topic: Embarrassing Mispronunciations
Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2017 2:08:35 PM
Romany wrote:


Ah - but the word 'Persephone'has been around long before any of the other three concepts.

So we know to pattern it after SOK-ruh-teez and Par-MEN-uh-deez; and say Per-SEF-uh-nee. Thus not being taken in by your fiendish plot to trick us with your 'modern' pronunciation,Whistle

(I'm using "we" broadly as: - 'we who were educated by nuns, priests and brothers of the Catholic religion up until around the 80s.' Because I know Drago and I went through exactly the same education: he in the North of England and I on the East Coast of Australia.)

Actually, Romany, this pattern was what I learned to use to pronounce scientific names of organisms--the so-called Latin binomials--which are often as much Greek (or, today, English) derived as Latin. One accents the antepenultimate syllable, i.e., the next to the next to last syllable. This, of course was back in the dark ages, in the `50s & `60s.

This method of pronunciation has fallen out of favor, at least in the U.S., today. So I now sound old-fashioned in my pronunciation.
Topic: Must/should
Posted: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 4:17:49 PM
For the first sentence, it depends on what you are trying to say.
I could hear music coming from the house. There must have been somebody at home. This simply means that because the music is there and loud, the writer believes there is someone at home. Surely, the people who live in the house would not have left for the day leaving the stereo blasting at top volume.

"Should" would be used most commonly when going on to say that it wasn't so. I could hear music coming from the house. There should have been somebody at home. (Because, it is rude to go away and leave your music blasting so loudly it annoys other people.) But, when I knocked on the door, no one answered. Looking in the windows, I could find no one in the house.

It would be perfectly proper to use "must" in the same way I used "should". It would be not-wrong, but certainly less common to use "should" the way I used "must the first time. These are more differences of flavor and customary usage than of right and wrong.

For your second sentence, you have much the same issues. The choice depends on what you wish to continue to say. For the simple sentences you have here, "must" is the better choice: They live on a busy road. It must be noisy.

However, with a little consideration, one can come up with a different possibility: They live on a busy road. It should be noisy, but there is a big earth berm between the house and the roadway that deadens the traffic noise.
Topic: questions
Posted: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 3:51:32 PM
Maggie Q wrote:
Migraines, Dr. Haskell said. All Junior knew was that they hurt like the end of the world, and bright light made them worse, especially when they were hatching. Sometimes he thought of the ants he and Frank DeLesseps had burned up when they were just kids. You used a magnifying glass and focused the sun on them as they crawled in and out of their hill. The result was fricasseed formicants. Only these days, when one of his headaches was hatching, his brain was the anthill and his eyes turned into twin magnifying glasses.

He was twenty-one. Did he have this to look forward to until he was forty-five or so, when Dr. Haskell said they might let up?


Question 1 / 1: when they were hatching --- in this case, what’s the meaning of ‘hatch’?
An egg hatches when the organism inside of the egg breaks out. "To hatch" is also used to mean "to start" or "to originate". One can hatch a plan, for example. It does indicate the start of something.

Question 1 / 2: when they were hatching == when they began to hurt/attack? If not, what does ‘when they were hatching’ mean?
Yes, your conclusion is good! If "hatching" means "starting" (see above), then "when they were hatching" would mean "when they were starting". For many people, migraines have a prodrome, a set of symptoms which signal the start of a migraine. Often, these are perceived as flashing lights. Sometimes, people hear ringing in the ears. Sometimes, they become nauseated. Migraine medications are generally most effective when taken during the prodromal phase, before the pain and symptoms reach their maximum.

Question 2 / 1: Did he have this to look forward to until he was forty-five or so --- in this context, what does ‘this’ refer to?
The beginning of your quotation talks about what Junior experiences.
If you look at the parts of your quotation I've marked in dark red, you can see the reference.

Question 2 / 2: Did he have this to look forward to until he was forty-five or so --- in this context, what does ‘Did he have this to look forward to until he was forty-five or so’ mean?
Note the doctor had told Junior the migraines might let up once he (Junior) got to be forty-five. In this case "look forward to" is being used sarcastically. To "look forward to" something in the literal sense implies looking forward to it with enjoyment, or happy anticipation. Clearly that is not the case for someone looking at several decades of migraines. In this case, Junior would be looking forward with dread to several decades of migraines.

Question 2 / 3: Did he have this to look forward to until he was forty-five or so --- in this case, what's the meaning of 'look forward to'?
See the previous question.

Question 3: The result was fricasseed formicants. --- what’s the meaning of ‘formicants’?
The scientific family name for ants (all ants belong to this family) is Formicidae. The root of this name is formic, as in formic acid. Ants produce formic acid as a defense mechanism and, indeed, formic acid takes its name from ants (formica is Latin for ant). Formic acid is what makes that sharp smell when an ant is squashed. Some ethnic groups find the formic taste to be spicy, and use ants as a condiment.
Topic: Kinda, gotta, gunna, and all the elisions that appear in written English(Showing accent in writing)
Posted: Sunday, December 24, 2017 5:39:22 PM
A cooperator wrote:
Hi Everyone!

I was told that "gotta", "gonna/gunna", "dunno", "hafta", and all the elisions that appear in written English, don't represent "bad" English. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong, or incorrect, or substandard about these contracted forms.

However, I have only a question about "Kinda"
I know that that "Kinda' is used in writing to represent an informal way of saying "kind of":
I was kinda sorry to see him go.

However, I don't think that 'Kinda' can modify a verb. So, I think, "We kinda have the same hair." is incorrect.

Being kinda or kind of or sort of sorry is colloquial use, meaning I am not very sorry, but I am a little bit sorry. "We kinda/kind of/sort of have the same hair" means there is some similarity between your hair and mine, but no one would actually mistake them for the same head of hair. This is very common casual usage.

These are a written representation of casual speech. If the writer is trying to give the flavor, so to speak, of a character's speech, then they are fine to use. The have no place in formal writing, or, indeed, in formal speech. They represent sloppy speaking, which is very (very, very) common in English, but is not something any reasonably educated person would do in a formal situation, or with people who were other than good friends.

Gotta - got to, which should actually be 'must' or 'should' or need to'. 'Got to' itself is poor speech, but is very commonly used in casual conversation.
Gonna/gunna - going to.
Dunno - don't know.
Hafta - have to, which, again, should actually be 'must' or 'should' or 'need to'.

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