Help settle a grammar dispute: Can I say "He was to Africa," the same way I would say "He has been to Africa"?
And so I found myself asking this for some sort of reassurance, which question would be fielded by AskMefi's language nerds with bewildering rapidity
In David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again he uses the word "which" in a way that I found unusual - a usage that is described under heading three here. I think I'm fairly well read, but I can't remember ever having seen this before. I've been having (what I think are) migraines lately and I'm curious if I'm becoming linguistically befuddled, or if this is just an obscure or archaic usage. Examples after the jump. [more inside]
Question about the usage of 'satiety' [more inside]
John Locke wrote "one may destroy a man who makes war upon him." I understand that in this sentence "one" and "him" are the same person, and "man" and "who" are a separate person. In the most basic sense, this sentence justifies fighting against people who war with you. But I have read sentences before - often in poetry - where cases are switched. If the above sentence were such an example, then "one" and "who" would be a person, and "man" and "him" would be the other person. In this case, the sentence would suggest that one runs the risk of destroying someone if they make war against that someone. What are some examples of such sentences?
I'm putting together a writing guide for my undergraduate philosophy course. What information should I put in the guide? [more inside]
I'm kicking around a concept for a theoretical piece I hope to work on in the near future, dealing with the way "femininity" and the "female" category are conceived of linguistically. Help me find some empirical data!
I'm kicking around a concept for a theoretical piece I hope to work on in the near future, dealing with the way "femininity" and the "female" category are conceived of linguistically. Help me find some empirical data! [more inside]
"Gotten" = "have had?" [more inside]
Good examples of intercultural communications based on ideograms or common concepts? [more inside]
Looking for online grammar exercises, games, etc. that would enable me to do a few exercises here and there throughout the day. [more inside]
Why is Sudan frequently referred to with an article, as in the Sudan?
"has been changed" vs "had been changed" [more inside]
When should I use "instructive" and when should I use "instructional"? [more inside]
Should I "take" or "make" a decision? [more inside]
Looking for examples in literature where the author had to rely on his/her editor rather heavily. I'm thinking of instances where the authors were capable of spinning a good yarn, yet they had trouble with grammar, structure, punctuation, etc. [more inside]
GrammarFilter: Origins and form of "As well he should"? [more inside]
Please help me with a quick English grammar question. [more inside]
I need help with a pronoun issue. In the following sentences, what noun is the word it replacing? [more inside]
What do you call this ugly form of conjoined sentence, and am I right in thinking it's ungrammatical? [more inside]
When I was in high school, we had a writing lab with some type of mainframe-ish type terminals setup, where there was writing software available which would list frequently repeated words, point out large paragraphs, spelling errors, document complexity, punctuation errors, etc. This was awhile ago, is this type of thing freely available anywhere these days? [more inside]
In a sentence such as "When I was younger, I would swim a mile before going to work every day," what grammatical tense is in play? [more inside]
I am married to a wonderful (black) man who sometimes has terrible grammar (sliding into ebonics). Should I continue to correct him, even though technically, he knows the proper way to say things or should I stop nagging because it will never work? [more inside]
I've noticed the New York Times is now using "Miss", or Ms., as the accepted honorific for a women both married and unmarried. Is this MLA, or is the New York Times in the vanguard? Is Mrs. dead?
Extra! Extra! The verb "to be" missing from TV newscasts! Anchors and TV reporters omitting "to be," often favor using participles instead. Why? [more inside]
In French, the singular of eye is "oiel" and the plural is "yeux." Are there any nouns in English that have completely different spellings of the singular and plural like this?
Mixed footnotes: do numbered notes precede symbol notes, or vice versa? [more inside]
Is there a rule as to how many ...'s are supposed to be placed at the end of a sentence which is to be continued? [more inside]
Footnote experts/writers: Please help me decide the best way to use footnotes in my document. [more inside]
"Already has" or "has already" [more inside]
You have a murder of crows, sleuth of bears, even an exaltation of larks, what about Fairies? [more inside]
I am a composer looking to score a piece for orchestra and Soprano Voice. I wrote it in English, and after a bit of reading attempted to translate it into latin using a dictionary and grammar book. It's not gonna be perfect, but I gave it an honest attempt, and hope the metafilter community can help me to streamline it and help me with some grammer isses I don't understand (ie.ablative or accusitive). thanks much! (by the way, the meter is 4/4 and a slow tempo,flowing legato melody, but once I have a working translation I'll make it fit) [more inside]
Which preposition is the correct choice in this context? [more inside]
German grammar check: free online tools or Mac freeware/shareware? I have fairly solid German; goal is polishing drafts I'm writing in German, not translating from scratch. Seeking best stopgaps for when I can't afford or barter for a human's time. (And I don't have an MS Office CD with German tools.)
"Grocer's Apostrophe" or "Grocers' Apostrophe"? [more inside]
Grammar Filter: what is the English equivalent to the "Double Future Tense"? [more inside]
What is the difference between "no more than" and "not more than"? [more inside]
English grammar filter: can a common noun act as a proper noun if the thing being referred to exists within a shared context? Please help to settle a dispute between my girlfriend and I. [more inside]
Which expression is correct when describing grammatical mistakes: "bad grammar" or "poor grammar?" [more inside]
How do you pronounce the word 'read' when used in the following context? -- 'John is dry (read: boring).' /rɛd/ or /rid/ Thanks!
How can I best learn the French language, grammar, and pronunciation? [more inside]
On a recent trip to Kenya, we visited a school who is in need of simple French language instruction booklets for elementary-age children. [more inside]
How do you properly capitalize "summa cum laude" on a diploma? [more inside]
Looking for recommendations for English grammar workbook(s) designed for adults who did not finish high school years ago. [more inside]
Vagaries of the English Language, part n: I need to tell my boss why the contraction "I'm" cannot stand alone as a sentence. For example, "Yes, I am" is okay. "Yes, I'm" is not. I haven't been able to find any good logic for this case or that works for the different contractions in general ("don't" can also stand alone, "I'd" and "I've" cannot). Given this is about languages, and particularly English, "just because" is, alas, potentially the best answer.
GrammarFilter: True/False -- The following sentence can be grammatically correct. There's rockets. [more inside]
EpigramFilter: What's the converse of "Don't kill the messenger"? [more inside]
Wordsmiths, Help! -- Do you capitalize the word "left" in the phrase "the political left"? [more inside]
Copy editors or grammar natzi's: I am pre-copy editing a manuscript for my friend. Is it acceptable to start a sentence with the word "but"? I am leaning towards no but I can't remember. Also what are the rules about mentioning name brands in novels? such as "Hilton" or "Boston Red Sox" or "Boston Globe"? Thank you so much!
I need recommendations for the best Spanish review/dictionary. [more inside]
GrammarFilter: I was listening to "Blackbird" by the Beatles recently, and was struck by the line: "You were only waiting for this moment to arise." I was intrigued by the way the phrase "to arise" has sort of an ambiguous function here. [more inside]
Do you correct colleagues when they make grammatical mistakes? What is the proper etiquette? [more inside]