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Profile: Elvandil
User Name: Elvandil
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: None Specified
Joined: Friday, December 5, 2014
Last Visit: Monday, December 14, 2020 4:24:50 AM
Number of Posts: 342
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: -pend-
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2020 4:24:50 AM

This form of "hang" is the one meaning "suspend" and not the one, sometimes considered a different verb, that means "suspended by the neck for execution". The two meanings diverged somewhat in Indoeuropean. It may be convenient to consider them separate words since a picture is "hung" but a person is "hanged".

Topic: undeliverable perils
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2020 4:01:49 AM
lazarius wrote:
I have (half) a mind to reread Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. After 5 years of building a vocabulary it is quite an easy read but still...

Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great whale himself. Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all my curiosity. Then the wild and distant seas where he rolled his island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the whale; these, with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and sounds, helped to sway me to my wish.

The only way I can understand it is perils from which someone can not be delivered. So technically it should be undeliverable someone - not undeliverable perils. What am I missing?


It doesn't seem that you are missing anything. In fact, you should congratulate yourself for even noticing this. Technically, at least in modern usage, you are right that the word should apply to the person or persons imperiled. It is an unusual usage and perhaps more common in the past. The sense and usages of words change over time, and sometimes those time intervals are not very long. Word choice can also be influenced by prosody and compactness. If meaning is conveyed, the choice can be deemed a successful one. You might even call it a "poetic" usage.

I see this sort of thing much more often with English authors. There is a greater chance that technically ungrammatical sentences and phrases or unusual use of words will appear so far as I can tell. But these "mistakes" still transfer the meanings intended, sometimes better than a technically correct sentence might do. I've always attributed this (with shallow thought on the subject) to some sort of deeper understanding of the language and its capabilities, a sort of innate, bone-deep knowledge of the native language, that many others, like Americans (though not all) seem to lack. Even if I am not good at producing it, I can appreciate it.

Topic: Stainless steel monolith found in Utah desert
Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2020 10:23:22 AM
Let's hope the sleuths can't now be identified by the hair-loss caused by previously undetected radiation.
Topic: it either executes in its entirety or not at all
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 8:32:23 AM

It looks like an example of Gricean implicature. Though not explicitly stated, the meaning is understood by the reader based on what has been written earlier.

Topic: little donny = narcissistic jackass
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 6:46:11 PM
jj.smith wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:
I am no supporter of Donald Trump but I dislike the 'Little Donny' tag. It is petty, boring, and a sad reflection on American values. Give it a rest, please.

Donald Trump is a small man.

"Little Donny" gives him too much respect. It's like naming mold.

Topic: Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the...
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 2:23:11 AM
Daemon wrote:
Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Virginia is saying basically what Obama said: "You did not build that." Uh, oh.

Or maybe Einstein when he said he stood on the shoulders of giants.

In any case, the points are similar, that we do very little absolutely by ourselves.

Topic: A funny, satisfying action comedy...
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2020 7:27:04 PM
Short summary
A funny, satisfying, action comedy that never disappoints. This box set includes the feature, Bad Boys for Life, and an additional clip titled Easter Eggs: Behind the Scenes.

Long summary
The Bad Boys, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life. Then, watch how the people behind Bad Boys for Life created the movie in Easter Eggs: Behind the Scenes.
Topic: Comma before "given"?
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2020 2:35:51 PM
I don't see that it is necessary, though it may reduce ambiguity. There is really no way to read (or pronounce) that sentence in a way that is unclear. And the last phrase is not a "clause" since it does not have both a subject and a predicate. Adverbial phrases are generally not separated by a comma.

Topic: Have intelligence of
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2020 2:32:01 PM
To me, it is a very poorly phrased sentence. Decisions don't have intelligence. They may be based on it. I would have written it as:

"...was based on little or no intelligence concerning al‑Malik’s 30,000 horse and 3,000 crack Morisco arquebusiers...."

or similar.

Topic: the DNA-and-protein dilemma
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 10:04:17 PM
A dilemma is usually a choice between two options, though it is used for more than two things often. The phrase does not present a choice.

Early replicons did not require proteins for replication and RNA served as both the templates and the enzymes for duplication of the genome. These were the early ancestors of RNA viruses.