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The Free Dictionary Language Forums
Monday, November 16, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020 3:21:12 AM
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Last 10 Posts
Monday, November 23, 2020 3:19:53 AM
Hygieia was the Greek goddess of health, a personification of classical Greek ideals. The term hygiene is sometimes extended to reflect the ethos of those days, the aspects of The Games, gymnastics and later, the Latin phrase; "Mens sana in corpore sano", translated as "a healthy mind in a healthy body".
We might say it showed their vision of "the good life".
This was many centuries before the acceptance of germ theory, but reflected their empirical observation that certain behavious involving diet, sunshine and movement, led to desirable health outcomes. Their concept of "hygiene", like its goddess, included their idealisation of "beauty"; we retain the term "health and beauty" as a phrase today.
Maybe because of advertising trends, hygiene today is often restricted to germ killers and clean spaces for food preparation, which is a long way removed from the original concept.
Monday, November 23, 2020 2:59:41 AM
a. Not everyone who is here knows anyone in your office.
I think (a) can have two different meanings:
1. Only some of the people who are here know everyone in your office.
2. Some of the people who are here don't know anyone in your office.
Am I right?
By analogy, may I cite a joke sentence I coined a few years back to use when leaving a social gathering. "I won't say it hasn't been fun!"
On the face of it, reasonable English, but in practice, it's not at all clear what I'm communicating there. By oddly juxtaposing negatives etc. we can obfuscate our intended meaning.
Consider this word salata; "The President said he thinks he certainly couldn't say definitely how we can surely decide, regarding how reliable the outcome of the election might be or otherwise, at this time." Now, do we think we know what that means?
"never known him (to) talk about . . ." in American and British English
Monday, November 23, 2020 2:31:01 AM
Sarah had never known Tom
talk about such topics.
If we substitute other verbs, things get clearer.
Sarah had never known Tom go to town on Tuesdays.
Sarah had never known Tom
go to town on Tuesdays.
Sarah had never seen Tom read a book.
Sarah had never seen Tom
read a book.
To my ear, with "known", that "to" before the verb seems more regular. With other verbs, like "seen" it doesn't.
When in doubt, with other verbs, inserting the extra "to" is acceptable, but can be omitted.
With "known", it seems almost essential.
It may help to experiment by substituting with a few other verbs, and see what your language ear tells you. :)
Should "Syntax" be in lower case?
Monday, November 23, 2020 2:16:15 AM
Lower case is correct. The colon is a clause separator, but not a sentence separator, so, like a comma, it does not incur capitalisation.
Neither is syntax a proper noun, so it does not require capitalisation on that ground.
So, (and this is backed by the entry on 'colon' in TFD), syntax should be lower case.
In English, comma, semi-colon and colon usage is not as well understood as it might be; this supports the case to increase focus on language structure in general education.
The cited sentence is verbose: I'd prefer, "Let's begin by defining those terms, with examples."
Saturday, November 21, 2020 8:08:18 PM
Lagging behind implies "not keeping up" ... with whatever or whoever is "setting the pace".
It is synonymous with "falling behind". It can also be used figuratively, e.g. "Nurses' incomes were lagging behind price increases."
Note: placement of the possessive apostrophe after, rather than before, the letter "s" refers to nurses as a group, not as individuals.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 6:34:56 AM
Speaking as a former uni lecturer, almost any response that causes the student to look up from his or her smartphone will be taken positively! Even a grunt. A nod and a smile are usually well received.
the preposition 'in'
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 6:30:44 AM
he followed Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau
proposing the social contract as the ultimate test of political legitimacy.
In proposing... "by proposing" would mean the same thing in that context. All English prepositions are very sensitive to the context and specific in use, so 'in' and 'by' cannot be exchanged in some other usages. Like e.g. 'out', 'through', 'over', 'under' and 'off', they often creep into phrasal constructs and cliché, so their correct use involves a lot of reading and conversation.
the usage of "refer"
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 6:09:44 AM
The first sentence is correct. You could also say, more formally, "By what nickname are you referred to by your friends?"
The second is also correct. It could also be phrased, "To whom do you usually refer for some advice?"
From refer we get referee, the person to whom we refer, which reflects the passive role of referees in the early days of football. They didn't intervene till asked for a decision.
Reference, as a noun, that which was referred to. But also, a testimonial for a job. "I'll give you a reference."
Refer and reference can both be used as verbs too. "I'll reference your work in my essay", or "I'll refer to your work in my essay."
In the middle of this elephantine travail, there came a knock ...
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 5:59:16 AM
'There came' is conventional usage in literature, but is rather archaic and is uncommon in everyday speech now. 'Came' may used with an impersonal pronoun, so, used with 'it', "it came to pass", or, using 'there', "there came a knock on the door".
'There' has no special meaning in this context. It equates to, "there lived a man in olden days", with 'there' meaning 'at that time', not referring to place but to time. 'There' has many odd usages which do not imply place. I might say, "There, there" to calm and console you. I might give you a present saying, "There you go!" but it doesn't mean more than, "Look at this".
So, "Once upon a time *there* lived a wicked witch". Not 'there' as in a specific place, but implying at a certain time, akin to 'then', though 'then' implies a result, a sequence of an occurence after other events. "We spent our money. Then came the day of reckoning".
Sometimes the phrase 'then and there' occurs, where 'then' implies the time and 'there' now implies a place. English has many of these odd idioms.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 5:34:22 AM
Chore. A chore is a mundane task, one that repeats often, such as cleaning the bathroom, emptying the rubbish bin or ironing one's shirts. The word implies it's routine but may also hint that it's boring or unpleasant. By its very nature, there is nothing special about a chore. It tends to be of a domestic nature, so doesn't usually include personal tasks, such as brushing your teeth, bathing or shaving. You "do" a chore, e.g. I got up early and did my chores.
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