« first day (693 days earlier)   

12:59 AM
There are some interesting quotes in this book
> The very fact that English is an international language means that no nation can have custody over it. [...] It is a matter of considerable pride and satisfaction for native speakers of English that their language is an international means of communication. But the point is that it is only international to the extent that it is not their language. It is not a possession which they lease out to others, while still retaining the freehold. Other people actually own it.
 
1:11 AM
Interesting. Maybe we can think of NNS-English as another dialect that covers a wide variety of Englishes.
By the way, I found this: perec.mcmaster.ca/noun-countability
> Which words do non-native speakers of English pluralise the most? This is an interactive visualisation of a semantic network of 417 plural nouns that are pluralised most by non-native English speakers.
 
 
8 hours later…
9:14 AM
Hi! I am confused about these sentences. Please check and let me know which one sounds fine to you. "Haven't I been calling you?" vs "haven't been I calling you?". Please tag me so I get the notification.
 
 
3 hours later…
11:47 AM
The latter is ungrammatical. You can only invert one auxiliary verb
 
 
1 hour later…
12:50 PM
Hi @DamkerngT.
What's up
 
Hi! I'm trying to get a new hat. :D
 
What's all this buzz about hats! I am missing something
 
The Pizza Hat one is really hard on ELL, I'd say.
@learner Ah, but you're wearing a hat, too!
 
Oh, I see! I thought it was a head band !
 
Hey, you've got a Selfie hat! Nice!
Hehe!
 
12:53 PM
I was suspicious about that selfie thing!
Could it mean somehow I'm selfish !
 
That question of yours is really great.
@learner Not at all. I think you gave us good information.
 
I did a bit of a research about the word selfie yesterday but left it there
No I meant the word selfie itself
 
Oh, you mean the word selfie itself. It's usually used nowadays when people taking a photo of themselves (thus self-ie.)
 
Yeah, that's what I've learned
 
As far as the hat is in concerned, it just means you answered your own question.
 
12:56 PM
but not sure of any additional undertones!
Hope so
 
4
Q: It's/I'm acting in your best interest/interests

learnerThe plural version is more common according to Google ngram. It is also used as an example in Cambridge's dictionary. It's in his interests to keep careful records However, I would like to know whether the plural and the singular versions are equally perfect to use without sounding unnatura...

I think this one gets you the hat! :-)
 
Yup
 
@learner Answering our own questions is actually encouraged here. I think I can remember StoneyB mentioned that once on the meta.
 
The real question I was interested in was about the perfect modals in the future and I am happy that I've gone that far with this stuff. There's still more but I'm on it
I have this feeling that these big guys are ignoring me :(
 
Oh, I think it's quite popular now to think of English as a two-tense system, i.e. no future tenses.
@learner Not quite so, I think. I can tell that StoneyB seems to have less time to contribute to the site lately.
 
1:01 PM
I've learned so
Yeah I can see that but still !
maybe JK too
 
J.K. is a moderator. I think he tries not to write too many answers.
 
you think so
 
Ben is potentially another user who can give you a great answer. But I haven't seen him for a few days. He wrote a few great answers about tenses.
@learner Yes.
 
I'm afraid I don't remember him
What's his ID?
 
A moment.
 
1:04 PM
take your time
 
Oh I see I gotcha
 
Most native speakers can answer your modal questions, more or less. But not everyone can spell out all the nuances for us learners.
 
He may have been here for a while but I've only recognized him recently
 
nods
 
1:07 PM
You know what, that modals question of mine is tricky even for common native speakers
 
I have a very good idea about them (the modal verbs), yet I think my idea is not 100% aligned with all native speakers. (But, hey, I think even native speakers don't always agree with one another.)
 
I've done a bit of online research and I can tell
 
@learner Exactly. I think one main problem is the usage varies across dialects.
Aww... Pizza Hat is really hard on ELL!
(It's the 30 Minutes or Less hat: ask a question that gets at least 5 answers in 30 minutes or less.)
 
so what do you need to do to get one
waw
it IS really hard
 
1
Q: Wow! Nice! I smelled you baking cake!

Damkerng T.Which one is grammatical? "Wow! Nice! I smelled you baking cake!" "Wow! Nice! I smelled your baking cake!" Both of them are acceptable, maybe?

That's my first attempt. :P
The second one sounds tricky. But I think it's okay because I feel it's similar to patterns of my+ gerund I've come across recently. I think it's a bit formal? — learner 36 secs ago
@learner I think maybe it's because the second one is the correct one, pedantically, strictly speaking.
You know that I am not given to giving answers! — learner 2 mins ago
Um... I think anyone can write answers here (given than their account didn't get banned).
 
1:23 PM
Maybe the first sentence means "I smelled you (while you were baking cakes)"
Good evening, @DamkerngT.!
 
I'm not sure you got what I meant. Just in case, I meant to say, I don't usually post answers
 
Good evening!
@learner Ah, I see. I misunderstood your message, it seems.
 
@DamkerngT. no worries, that was my newest phrase today!
I almost hated that guy who used it ! I've never seen it before ! =)
 
Probably alludes to Mark Twain's.
 
don't know but I might google it up
Brb
 
1:46 PM
@DamkerngT. This sentence seems fine, although personally, I might say "given to writing answers" to avoid using give in two different senses in the same sentence
> [predicative] (given to) Inclined or disposed to:
@learner Don't forget there's no space before tall punctuation in English :-)
 
@snailboat I didn't misunderstand it that way. I just think it's rare to use give to mean allow. Also, I thought it's rarer to mean I didn't give me to do something.
 
@DamkerngT. I don't think it meant allow
 
Oh! I think it simply means I don't (or won't) allow myself to ...
 
Oh, I don't
I think it meant what learner said, "I don't usually post answers"
 
Hmm... Interesting. I think the 'usually' is implied. (It's the same in my language. Maybe we borrowed it from English.)
 
1:51 PM
Well
> having the tendency to do something
 
I know but I keep making it from time to time! I was gonna do it now hehe
 
So in the negative, it means "tends not to do something"
 
Nice! They have a separate entry for it!
 
OED given sense 2. "Used predicatively: Inclined, disposed, addicted, prone. Const. to."
Not all of these are true positives, but lots of them are :-)
 
I think, according to the dictionary definition, the subject doesn't have to be a person.
 
1:59 PM
Can you think of an example where the subject isn't a person?
 
This machine is not given to mistakes.
 
Hmm, sounds funny...
Hey, I found an example! :-)
Feb 18 at 13:20, by Damkerng T.
0
A: What's "that strength"?

StoneyBThis is 19th-century poetry, and Tennyson was a little given to archaisms. A strength is an obsolete term for a company of troops†, and Ulysses is addressing “my mariners”, the men whom he led to Troy and who passed many dangers with him on the return voyage. So he's saying “We aren’t that band o...

 
That sounds nice.
 
I mean, the subject here obviously refers to a person (I think it might always). I just meant an example of given to :-)
 
I mentioned Mark Twain because of his phrase, "I am not given to exaggeration, and when I say a thing I mean it."
 
2:02 PM
I don't think of given to as an allusion to Twain
But that's a good example!
I think the phrase given to exaggeration predates Twain
 
Probably. This phrase sounds really old-fashioned to me. Maybe it's coming back!
 
It's formal English
It's not especially common outside of formal registers
And language is gradually moving toward being less and less formal
 
(Twain's was just something I thought of when I learned about learner's intended meaning.)
 
It sounds somewhat old-fashioned to me too, I suppose
Although I probably say it myself from time to time :-)
 
I can imagine that! (In a good way, I mean. :-)
 
Hey, it's indeed coming back! (Try changing the year to 2008. Perhaps not very reliable, though. :-)
 
The data past 2000 are not directly comparable to the data before 2000
So you can't conclude that there's a resurgence
They put the default window at 1800~2000 on purpose
They call that range the most carefully curated of their datasets
> As a result, we caution users that results from after 2000 are not generally comparable with results from before 2000 and often reflect changes in corpus composition. This was an important reason for our choice of the period between 1800 and 2000 as the target period.
 
6
Q: When is it acceptable to say 'my son'

Angelo.HannesI've heard the phrase being used in multiple occasions. But I'm not sure, when exactly it is OK to use this phrase. It seems to be acceptable in a religious context. For example a priest talking to a member of his church. It is of course OK if you are actually speaking to your son. But I've al...

This one is almost Pizza Hat!
@snailboat It takes a huge amount of effort to curate a corpus, I think. Also, 1800-1900 materials were sometimes OCRed incorrectly.
 
@snailboat What do you think of the expression (I'm afraid) as in "(I'm afraid) I can't agree/ etc"? I have this feeling it's UK English and not an American. Something as the pattern "Do you fancy playing ..." is.
 
2:23 PM
Hehe! That reminds me of...
"I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that," said HAL.
 
Chime in then @DamkerngT. This question has been bugging me for long now
 
I think I'm afraid is quite dialect-neutral.
Fancy sounds a bit more BrE, or formal, or old-fashioned, to me.
 
This use of fancy is definitely BrE
Other uses of fancy are fine in AmE, though
 
Heh! I'm not familiar with sense 3!
 
It's rather common in BrE
But it would be strange in AmE
 
2:31 PM
Come to think of it, maybe something like, "I fancy her touch," is sense 3. <-- Oh, no one ever said that on Google.
 
What's important is "I'm afraid". I don't hear it as much as I do from BrE speakers
that Dave!
 
Yep! (My Flash is disabled at the moment, but I can remember that scene.)
 
I think even the comparison seems unfair regarding "I'm afraid". So what do you think?
 
@DamkerngT. I think of phrases like "Do you fancy him?"
 
@snailboat nods
 
2:34 PM
@snailboat & @DamkerngT. I'm going out now. See you later & I'm hoping will find your comments later
 
See you around!
@learner I'm not sure if it's true (that BrE speakers tend to say "I'm afraid" more often), but I think I expect BrE speakers to say "I'm afraid [...]" more often than AmE speakers.
-3
A: "He saw it stop and his son get out"

AdmiralAdamaBoth sentences have grammatical errors, in my opinion. Are you sure they were copied from the novel correctly? The simplest way to fix them is to make these two changes: Gordon was about to walk away from the Impala when he saw it stop and his son GOT out. So it was real. (period) The boy h...

I think I could downvote it for the Crab hat. I chose not to, though.
Hmm... I may change my mind later. :P
 
 
3 hours later…
6:07 PM
Hi!
I had asked a question before but I still don't have answer.
Please tag my name with the answer.
 
Hi! -- Oh, which one, on the main site?
 
@DamkerngT. I don't know who begins sentences with I'm afraid more often, but AmE speakers certainly say it commonly enough
Looks relatively even in GloWbE corpus.byu.edu/glowbe/?c=glowbe&q=35740935
 
I feel that way because I think generally AmE speakers are more outspoken.
 
@user62015 I can't. I don't know what you want us to answer.
@learner I'm not sure what you want me to comment on, either
I'm here, though! :-)
 
I had posted a question two hours ago.
Let me ask again. Please wait.
 
6:18 PM
You can use the simple past for that, by the way. "I posted a question two hours ago."
 
Thanks.
But let me ask as the past perfect also sounds fine?
 
Sure, potentially, though my ear expects the simple past.
Which is why I mentioned it
@DamkerngT. In my experience, most native speakers are absolutely lousy when it comes to explaining modal auxiliaries.
 
Haven't I been going to school for two years? VS have not been I going to school for tow years?
I agree. Thanks -:).
 
I'm hardly an exception―which is why I tend to leave questions about modals to other people… :-) Although I've been working on my understanding of modals
Ah, that's different from the question you asked last time.
@user62015 Last time you said "Haven't been I going to school for two years?"
 
I asked in the chat.
I did not post the question.
 
6:22 PM
This time you said "Have not been I going to school for two years?"
Both are ungrammatical
As I said before,
"Haven't been I going to school for two years?" is ungrammatical because you've inverted two auxiliaries. You can only invert one.
 
No. I am just concerned about the negative interrogation questions.
 
"Have not been I going to school for two years?" is ungrammatical for the same reason, plus another one
I'm not sure what you're saying "no" to
"Haven't I been going to school for two years?" is fine.
In this sentence, the negated auxiliary haven't is inverted with the subject I
It relates to the declarative sentence "I haven't been going to school for two years."
If we take the uncontracted version: "I have not been going to school for two years." and invert the auxiliary, we end up with: "Have I not been going to school for two years?"
In that case, the not is a separate word and does not invert along with the auxiliary
Your other mistake is treating have not like haven't.
They are different.
 
So these two sentences are fine, right? "Haven't I been going to school for two years?" And "Have I not been going to school for two years?"
 
@user62015 Yes.
 
Haven't I been.........is wrong?
 
6:28 PM
No.
I just said that both of those sentences were fine.
 
Oh
Sorry!!!
 
No need to apologize
 
I meant to ask "Haven't been I"
opps
 
@user62015 Yes, a sentence beginning with "Haven't been I…" is ungrammatical
 
Okay. And didn't I call? Sounds fine?
 
6:30 PM
"Didn't I call?" is fine.
I would prefer to discuss complete sentences
 
I just need to understand the negative interrogation questions.
Did I not call you? Is also fine, right?
 
@user62015 Yes, this is fine. Do you understand why?
 
But Did not I call you? Is wrong.
 
@user62015 You're correct, that sentence is ungrammatical
 
Not 100%
Please go ahead. If you may have time.
 
6:32 PM
Only the auxiliary moves before the subject.
Did is the auxiliary.
 
Okay.
 
"I did not call you." → "Did I not call you?"
The tricky part is:
Didn't is one word. It's a negative auxiliary.
"I didn't call you." → "Didn't I call you?"
 
Making sense. Great.
Go ahead.
I am watching it.
 
So "Did I not" and "Didn't I" are both acceptable, but "Did not I" sounds non-native.
 
Understand.
And you made a great point.
I appreciate it.
 
6:35 PM
It's a common error among non-native speakers.
 
Wasn't I working? Is fine, right? And the same point you have just made works for every tense, right?
 
@user62015 Regardless of tense, you invert only the first auxiliary.
If you don't have an auxiliary, you add the dummy do.
The negative suffix -n't is considered part of the auxiliary.
 
I understand.
 
The negative word not is considered a separate word.
 
I agree.
What about the future perfect continuous tense?
"Won't I have been"
 
6:39 PM
Try it. What do you think it becomes when you invert the subject and auxiliary?
 
Making sense?
 
"I won't have been" → "Won't I have been"
Just like you said.
 
And "will I not have been"?
 
Uncontracted: "I will not have been" → "Will I not have been"
That's right.
 
Making sense?
Great.
Today you have solved a big problem of mine.
I appreciate it and it will help me a lot.
I had been searching the solution for the last three days. And finally my journey ended here.
Thanks.
 
6:43 PM
That will cover almost everything. There are just a few exceptions to the rules, like "Aren't I"
People say "Aren't I" even though "I aren't" is ungrammatical
 
I understand it.
Anything else I should know?
 
Although cannot looks like one word, people generally don't say "Cannot I"
They say "Can't I" or "Can I not"
 
I agree. -:)
 

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