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12:40 AM
. . . yawn . . .
Tiger be on page 60 in CGEL. yawn . . . . Is that dinner?
@F.E. For us people, see personal determinatives, p.374
@snailboat . . . looking . . . :)
@snailboat Actually, I had written previous posts by using that info on page 374 . . . my memory does seem to by going, going, going, what was I saying?
Think I better put a few cross-pointers in my copy of CGEL . . .
I wonder if I had copied this info into one of my posts on this site? (I know I had copied it into posts on other grammar sites.) Probably be faster if I just wrote it all from scratch . . .
I had done a quick skim in the 1985 Quirk et al. earlier, but didn't find what I needed.
The theory is that if I copy the info from CGEL into my posts, then my fingers will help me remember the info. But, it doesn't seem to be happening. I know I've copied stuff from page 374 numerous times into a good number of posts (6? more?), but, . . . :(
Tiger getting old. Long in the tooth.
Is that dinner?
1:04 AM
I can see your dinner next to you.
(Suppose that tigers eat bananas. :)
Stouffer's baked ziti. A surprisingly tasty meal, quick to microwave. Tiger recommends! :)
Sounds delicious!
Guess I'll eat while composing an answer post . . .
I'm eating serrano pepper fajitas
1:20 AM
I haven't really eaten anything yet. (Just had half a glass of milk and one slice of bread. :)
@snailboat Sounds like fajitas are your favorite. I haven't tried them before.
@DamkerngT. Habanero fajitas are my favorite, but it's getting hard to find hot peppers around here for some reason
I like Thai peppers too :-) Actually, I like almost any hot pepper!
@snailboat I like peppers too! Bell peppers are also delicious!
1:39 AM
@DamkerngT. Oh, I love bell peppers!
Peppers don't have to be hot for me to love them. I love all peppers!
1:56 AM
@snailboat Thank you for that pointer. :) . . . I cheated and only wrote (and copied) the bare minimum for my answer post. Yup, tigers are lazy.
2:09 AM
Q: there *was* a man and a woman

Graduate Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child. (http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm012.html) Why it is not were? A man and a woman are two people, so it is plural. The only justification I could think of is the ellipsis: there was a man and there...

Oh, that be one of Tiger's favorite topics: existential constructions. :)
You wouldn't believe how much resistance you get on ELL talking about the grammar of existential constructions.
People have very firm ideas of how their grammar should work, even though it doesn't actually work the way they want it to.
I don't have the energy to deal with it
A: "There Is"/"There are" depends on plurality of the first list element or not?

F.E.Yes, you should trust your ear. :) This topic comes up a lot. Your question involves an existential construction. It is safest (imo) to consider that the dummy pronoun "there" to be the grammatical subject. There are syntactic tests that can be used to sorta figure out the grammatical subject. ...

@snailboat I know. :) . . . But if I'm in the mood, sometimes I'll play a bit with them by posting comments, e.g. Er, what is the subject in that sentence?
A: "There Is"/"There are" depends on plurality of the first list element or not?

F.E.Yes, you should trust your ear. :) This topic comes up a lot. Your question involves an existential construction. It is safest (imo) to consider that the dummy pronoun "there" to be the grammatical subject. There are syntactic tests that can be used to sorta figure out the grammatical subject. ...

2:12 AM
Hey, I commented on your answer! :-)
Lookee-lookee, Tiger had written a post on that topic :)
One of these days I'll get the hang of this! GRRR!
@snailboat Yup, yup. Small world, ain't it? :)
"Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child." "Why it is not were? A man and a woman are two people, so it is plural." -- from that post. My question would be: Er, what is the subject in that sentence?
Oh, my. "…who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child"
@snailboat Hmm, yeah. Kind of an unusual location for it.
Ahh... I got involved in that a little too.
Hmm, Tiger don't have an account on ELL. Oh, boo-hoo, boo-boo. Good thing, huh.
2:22 AM
Robot hopes Tiger will have one soon. :)
Q: Plurality of verb depending on plurality of list elements

SF.This question is now open on EL&U: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/140854/there-is-there-are-depends-on-plurality-of-the-first-list-element-or-not Considering the amount of controversy it aroused, I believe it's past "Learners'" level.     An edit was suggested to my sentence. ...

Notice that the accepted answer (with bonus points) is at -2. :)
Umm... I think it was -1 earlier this morning (my timezone).
I haven't seen that cough member around for a while. He kept misidentifying the subject of clauses. shrugs
@DamkerngT. It ought to be at -500,000,000.
Just before they posted to ELU, I started a bounty to try to attract attention to the question. After they posted to ELU, though, I wanted to cancel my bounty and vote to close, because I thought the question should only be on one site or the other, and I thought it might get better answers on ELU. (And it did! But for some reason the ELL post is still open.)
I ended up giving my bounty to Damkerng (Hello!)
2:26 AM
The bounty on the -2 answer is from Gilles
I think some of the downvotes came from earlier revisions
Hello! I was rather innocent at that time. I was a newbie on ELL. (Probably still am.) :)
I think that's what it looked like when I downvoted :-)
It currently has 3 upvotes, 5 downvotes.
2:28 AM
Interesting that it was downvoted 13 minutes ago, but not by any of us
Tiger ain't got no account here, so I couldn't downvote it, though it deserves to be downvoted into oblivion.
Hey, what do you think of that sentence with were, anyway?
That cough member was trying to correct Tiger grammar.
> Once upon a time there was/were a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child.
@snailboat The one in with the new thread?
2:30 AM
@F.E. On ELU?
D'you think were sounds funny?
To me, were is funny in that sentence.
@DamkerngT. But your comment says both are possible! :-)
"Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who had long, but to no avail, wished for a child." -- Yeah, I think that has to be "was".
I guess others might be okay with the were version. :)
2:32 AM
@DamkerngT. I don't like were.
@F.E. Yippee! I's in agreement with Tiger Grammar!
I think using were forces me to think of that man and that woman separately, which is weird in this context.
@snailboat Tiger Grammar's the bestest!
Ah, jimsug answered the new question.
Once again I have no desire to write about existential constructions. :-)
2:35 AM
@snailboat Between you and I, Tiger Grammar is the bestest.
All they have to do is link to Tiger Answer from long ago. :)
It's just two links away for the OP. :)
Tigers make the best grammarians. 100 grammarians go into the forest. Only the tiger comes out. A very happily fed tiger. -- Personal story. :)
There, I linked to it in a comment.
Q: What is the purpose of using "don't" instead of "doesn't" in this phrase: "But she don't know you like I know you Slim"

user31782I was listening to Eminem's song Stan. I noticed in one verse he says: But she don't know you like I know you Slim... At first I didn't believe my ears, but when I read out the lyrics I got astonished. I further searched on Google and found on some other forums that this type of incor...

2:38 AM
> What is the purpose of this type of intentional misuse of grammar?
Yay! Now, it's just one link away!
Eminem didn't fail to use Standard English. He didn't make any grammatical mistakes. He succeeded in using Non-Standard English. — snailplane 14 hours ago
I've heard the artist in interviews, like this one. He strikes me as an thoughtful, intelligent individual, more than capable of speaking with decent grammar. Also, AAVE isn't the only dialect with misconjugated verbs. "Redneck English," for example, would also contain phrases that might "astonish" our O.P. — J.R. ♦ 15 hours ago
@snailplane - Agreed. I never said anything about mistakes. (I only meant to point out that a phrase like "She don't know you" isn't something you'd encounter only in AAVE.) — J.R. ♦ 6 hours ago
2:39 AM
I saw those earlier. :)
Oh, I haven't read those exchanges, until now!
"He strikes me as an thoughtful, intelligent individual, more than capable of speaking with decent grammar. Also, AAVE isn't the only dialect with misconjugated verbs."
Talking about AAVE this way troubles me
I think I understand.
A: What is the purpose of using "don't" instead of "doesn't" in this phrase: "But she don't know you like I know you Slim"

J.R.It's intentional. Emimem is using street language (where the word street refers to “of or relating to the urban counterculture”). Misconjugated verbs are part of street language; in a rap song, the idea would be to use a wrong verb deliberately, creating the impression that the lyrics are being...

2:40 AM
> Misconjugated verbs are part of street language; in a rap song, the idea would be to use a wrong verb deliberately, creating the impression that the lyrics are being rapped by some tough guy who “don't” care about his grammar so much.
I watched the music video, and I thought he (the singer who sings that part) was about to lose his mind. Later in the MV, he crashed his car with barricades, I think, and died.
I'm not sure about AAVE; I'm sure that I don't know about it much enough to give any critics on it.
I upvoted your comments.
Q: “A threat to us people” or “a threat to we people”?

RafatWhich of these is correct: Global warming is a great threat to us people. Global warming is a great threat to we people.

I think one problem for learners about grammar in songs is most of learners tend to think of everything in any songs as authentic, and by extension grammatical. So it's confusing when they found some conflicts.
Can you believe that thread already has 4 close votes?
@DamkerngT. It is grammatical. It's non-standard :-)
2:48 AM
I'd bet that none of those that voted to close it could actually answer the question.
It's silly to try to correct the grammar. Eminem isn't in a class at school where he's being graded on whether or not his writing fits the norms of the local prestige dialect
It's fine to talk about the grammar and whether or not it's standard, though. That can be educational.
nods -- But I guess that is not what most of the learners think.
I mean, many still think of native = correct.
Many non-standard dialects have more complex grammar than Standard English.
(And by extension, non-native = always incorrect.)
@snailboat nods
2:52 AM
The conflation of "correct" and "standard" is, I think, the problem. The two align any time one's goal is to speak or write Standard English
And for learners, usually that is the goal so non-standard English is incorrect.
The problem comes when you suppose that everyone shares that goal.
Or when you make a value judgment that everyone should share that goal
@F.E. And two downvotes!
Oh, I can't see downvotes there, on ELU!
2:53 AM
Oh, somehow I thought you were more active on ELU than me, Damkerng.
I've just barely got my 3k rep with 50 answers over there :-)
So I can vote to close or such.
I usually snoop around there. I choose not to answer there for a while already.
Ah, you need 1000 reputation, maybe?
It says +4 -2. I'm one of the +4.
2:54 AM
Not that I'm afraid of downvotes or anything. I was just too lazy. :)
ELU sometimes has a bit of negativity I don't feel quite in tune with.
I think ELU still gets about 30-40% of the questions that actually deserves to be on ELL.
ELU gets very, very few real grammar questions. So, it's kinda disappointing to see any of them getting close votes. Especially since when they are closed, the "duplicate" links given usually don't answer the OP's question. And often, the linked to accepted answers are bad.
nods -- I think I've observed that too. Though I still think that when it's good an ELU answer is usually better than ELL's one.
Hmm... That's tricky because we have to define what exactly is good or better. The audiences are (or should be) two different groups of people.
Well, ELL exists because users got shunted away from ELU with no place to go
3:01 AM
Ideally they'd all be on one site, I think.
Being rather conservative, I kinda like the way things are. :)
Maybe they ought to let ELU become "One word phrase requests", and make ELL become English syntax, morphology, and pragmatics. :D
Yes, yes, Tiger knows that syntax + morphology makes up grammar.
The old-timers on ELU, those with high rep points, seem to prefer the one-word phrase requests.
Word requests are like good puzzles, probably. :)
3:05 AM
It's because they can answer them without actually knowing any grammar.
3:19 AM
@F.E. Some of the top answerers on ELL don't know any grammar, either.
But ELL gets more grammar questions, and they answer those, too.
The local Spurs won!
I don't think my feedback is usually particularly welcome, but sometimes I leave some anyway :-)
@F.E. Congratulations! Go team!
(I like "Go team!". It works everywhere, for everyone!)
3:21 AM
I couldn't stand to watch, so I wait to the end to see how things ended. :)
I turned my chat responses to J.R. into comment responses.
@snailboat What? You were in one-on-one in chat?
No. I was responding in here
I figured I'd better turn those responses into comments so there was a chance he'd actually see them :-)
3:23 AM
Anyway, that is done.
> There were an apple and some oranges on the table. incorrect
Just saw this in jimsug's answer.
Strange that jimsug marked this as incorrect while leaving many as questionable.
@snailboat But they already were comments, weren't they? Because I had read them before . . . confused
I said more stuff.
Sorry for the confusion. :-)
CGEL makes a nice detailed argument for there having subject status in existential constructions
3:28 AM
@snailboat Oh, I see, you went and wrote comments under HIS post, instead of the other person's answer-post. (I saw the new comments.) :)
@snailboat Yes, they did. Actually, so did 1985 Quirk et al. :)
But, the 2002 CGEL didn't cover a lot of stuff, and I think their examples treat the right-hand-side NP as the "subject" for subject-verb agreement, if I am remembering right.
I've found out that I need both reference grammars. :)
Like, the 1985 one covers more broadly the cleft constructions; the 2002 one covers less types, but then goes into those that it does more deeply.
> From: http://ell.stackexchange.com/q/26422/3281
This diagram illustrates these five transmission steps, which computer performs each, and which steps involve the messaging system.
@DamkerngT. It was too difficult for me to parse the OP's text. :(
I think which computer performs each is ungrammatical, but couldn't explain exactly why.
I think this one makes more sense:
> This diagram illustrates these five transmission steps, which steps computer performs, and which steps involve the messaging system.
A: Is this an attributive clause or what?

BobRodesWhich functions as an adjective here. This definition (from merriamwebsteronline.com) applies: being what one or ones out of a group: kept a record of which employees took their vacations in July Here is an elaboration of what the sentence is saying: you have five transmission steps. Each...

> Which functions as an adjective here.
3:35 AM
Yes, those steps are very which
So determiners are adjectives too!
Q: "That" between "thought" and "could"

julesIs It was me that Mr. Jones thought could do it. correct? Is that required between thought and could?

Er, no comment.
I had upvoted that thread. But I was, and am, too lazy to write an answer post.
But maybe I should . . .
Definitely an ELL question, imo.
Actually, it is a good grammar question. :)
There's a lot involved there.
3:40 AM
Formal vs informal style in an it-cleft construction.
It also passes my grammar filter just fine.
(I wasn't trying to imply that my filter was that great or anything.)
"It was me that Mr. Jones thought could do it." -- CGEL has a nice short explanation about this, nominative vs accusative, which isn't really related to that example.
The part thought could do it is also interesting.
CGEL, page 459: "It is I who love you" vs "It's me who loves you".
Notice how the"I" version has a relative corresponding to "I love you".
While the "me" version has relative corresponding "He loves you".
3:47 AM
Notice how the relative clause uses 3rd person singular for subject-verb agreement, even thought there is a "me" (1st person accusative) in the main clause of the it-cleft.
While the more formal version "I" uses 1st person for subject-verb agreement in the relative clause.
Everybody is honking their car horns outside. :)
What happened?
Them folks celebrating the Spurs win.
The local time won.
They dominated the Heat. Amazing.
And Heat beat Pacers last month!
3:59 AM
A: What's the grammatical structure for "there is nothing a guy can do that even comes close"?

snailboatThis is a declarative existential clause with the dummy subject there and the copular auxiliary be taking a noun phrase (NP) complement: There is [ nothing a guy can do that even comes close ] We can, of course, divide the NP up further. Its head is nothing, which is modified by two relati...

Look at what I found. :) -- Or, look at what the Cat dragged in
2 hours later…
5:52 AM
A: When do we use a singular noun on its own without an article?

fluffyIf you know which newspaper he is reading (it is the same newspaper every day) you can use the definite article. The newspaper is defined: My father is reading the newspaper. If you do not have a particular newspaper in mind, you are just announcing that he is in the process of reading and...

> A singular noun on its own is used without an article for example when it is uncountable: My father is drinking milk.
I was surfing around and found that. (I know it's long ago)
@F.E. Oh no! An answer I wrote! embarrassed
That was one of the ones I wrote to try to get to 3k reputation so I could review close votes
Eh, but it's fluffy's?
A fluffy snail?
5:56 AM
Sounds cute enough
or maybe creepy
@Fantasier I was responding to an earlier message
I edited in a reply link thing
What is the grouping adjective for snails?
@snailboat Ah, I see :o
@skullpatrol I don't think there's an adjective
6:00 AM
But Wikipedia says escargatoire, rout, walk
a walk of snails...
@Fantasier I'm not sure I understand.
Does it make sense to say something is singular if it's non-count?
Do non-count nouns show a singular-plural contrast?
That's my point (of quoting it) I think it's very strange.
6:02 AM
I think count nouns can be singular or plural, and the singular form of the noun happens to be the unadorned base form of the word
Sometimes the plural is too
Sheep, sheep
I think non-count nouns are neither
But they can be countified
(Often with a plural of kind: milksmultiple kinds of milk)
6:04 AM
Fish--fishes. -- Well, no :P (It's a plural of a kind, but it's also countable)
CGEL does suggest there are singular and plural non-count nouns
> I'd like some oats.
But not
> *an oat, *two oats
Wait, can we say three pants (trousers)?
6:11 AM
Pants is what is called dual
Pants, scissors, trousers, etc.
Also called bipartite, but that's harder to remember :-)
Ah, interesting.
So I should quantify it with pair of--three pairs of pants, perhaps.
You can. You don't have to.
6:16 AM
Scissors, a pair of scissors, pants, a pair of pants, trousers, a pair of trousers
But if you want to count them, then yes
*Three scissors, three pairs of scissors
I was trying to compare it with oats. Both are always plural. Seems like there are many kinds of always plural (pluralia tantum?).
Yeah, pluralia tantum.
One moment
6:19 AM
Q: Five minute or minutes?

Aritra BRecently, while skimming through an article I came across a sentence which is as follows. The five minute walk will connect you with life. My rationale says it should have been "five minutes" & not "five minute". Kindly advise where am I going wrong? Thank you. P.S. Yes I know all these things...

I wrote an answer over here somewhere :-)
It mentions pluralia tantum! (I'm so proud of myself)
It's a fancy word.
In any case, it makes a point: some pluralia tantum have a form that is unmarked for number when used attributively
Scissor kick
6:20 AM
Is that Latin?
Do you like subordinator or complementizer better?
Subordinator, I think.
In (modern) Japanese grammar, much of which is in the generative tradition, complementizer is used and subordinator is almost unheard of
I feel like a rebel.
6:26 AM
With or without a cause?
Eh. Either/or.
@skullpatrol To the extent that I have a cause, here it is: I think generative grammar is wholly uninteresting. But people are doing good work in frameworks I have no interest in, and I'm interested in that work
I feel like I should just cherry pick the stuff I like, duct tape it together, throw on a new paint job, and call it a mixed metaphor.
Sounds like a good plan :-)
Oh, Wiktionary. Your parts of speech for Japanese are silly.
12:59 PM
My guess is that those who downvoted don't agree with "monster" and "man" being adjectives. Wouldn't be possible to interpret them as mass nouns? E.g. "cement will take more sand than lime". — Nico 1 min ago
nods -- Though I think I tend to think of this one as adjectives too.
3 hours later…
4:06 PM
@DamkerngT. Guess what! I think I heard a schwa from my mom. (Or maybe I was trying to hear it). This happened when she said the word Central (in Thai accent--เซ็นทรัล [the word] => เซ็นทั่น [how she said] => เซ็นทəน [what I heard]) I think you mentioned somewhere that Thai had no schwa.
2 hours later…
6:33 PM
burp . . . snore
7:09 PM
Q: "was" versus "had been"

user80338 1) In those days wherever you went I had always been with you like a shadow. or 2) In those days wherever you went I was always with you like a shadow. which one is grammatically correct?

Do you all think the 1st version is acceptable?
#1: "In those days wherever you went I had always been with you like a shadow."
Some related parts from CGEL: pages 151-8; especially page 156 [25].
I like it better with was
I think the "was" version (#2) is completely acceptable.
But, when I first read #1, it seemed that it was okay too--with it using a backshift preterite for that subordinate clause. But after I had edited that OP's post, and then re-read the two versions, I'm not so sure that #1 is acceptable. . . . Not sure if it violates one of the constraints on backshift (page 156).
Since I've already read and re-read #1 version ("had been"), I can't depend on my ear anymore. And I'm not looking forward to scrutinizing exactly what CGEL was saying or meant to say.
I'm wondering if the "went" that comes earlier might be preventing any backshift in the following subordinate clause(s). . . . ?
Now I'm thinking that #1 ("had been") is just fine. :) . . .
The restriction I'm thinking about (on page 156) is probably only applicable for reported speech (and similar stuff).
Here, this doesn't seem to be that kind of situation. (?)
Can anyone correct this statement? 'May I know which document you are referring?'
a question, sorry
The first part of the sentence establishes that a past time situation is being described, and so, the following clause can be backshifted (in general, that is). Or so I'm now thinking . . .
@Kabir101 'May I know which document you are referring to?'
'Might I know which document you are referring to?' -- informal
7:25 PM
what would be the most formal way to ask this question?
'May I know to which document you are referring?' -- Ugh! (ungrammatical?)
@Kabir101 I would probably reword it a bit differently. How I would reword it would depend on the environment and my job there.
One of the others here could probably give you better advice on a topic like this. :)
My dialect is Tiger. And so, I'm not so sure you be wanting my advice on style. :)
Appreciated @F.E.
You should tell people when you're asking the exact same question in two places at once
Otherwise, people may unknowingly duplicate the work of others
I understand, I just what to know the best way of putting this question.
7:31 PM
Q: Why is it that no articles have been used in "He was more monster than man"?

username901345 He was more monster than man. Source Why is it that no articles have been used here?

Me had wanted to put in a little comment, like: Me be more tiger than hoomin
But I was able to successfully resist. :)
You're very tiger.
The quintessence of Tiger-ness.
He was more interesting than a black man. 'Monster' and 'man' have been used as an adjectives.
the adjectives*
8:01 PM
Parts of speech are useful insofar as they allow us to reduce our workload in describing language. They let us avoid describing every word and every combination of words independently. Instead, we can figure out what the possible functions are in a sentence, and describe which classes of words can have which functions.
Of course, we can combine "category" and "function" into one thing, but then we make our job of describing language a lot harder!
If every single noun in the language can be an adjective, then how come they can't do all the stuff adjectives can do?
It seems simpler to me to say that if there's a function every noun can have, that they're still nouns when they have that function.
Just generally speaking. Not even talking about this particular example.
Yeah, this traditional thing, where "function" and "category" is all mixed up, is one something that will prevent a person from advancing their grammar knowledge of English.
But people who use "parts of speech", they be fun to poke on a rainy day.
Like, is a clause realizes subject function, they like calling it "noun-y". Ha, ha. So funny hoomins.
So, in a copular clause, it can have a PC be a noun or an adjective. So, is the adjective being "noun-y" or is the noun being "adjective-y"? snort snort
8:17 PM
Hi everyone
@F.E. Hey F.E
A preposition phrase (PP) can realize subject function: e.g. "Under the table is a good place to hide".
So, if a clause can realize subject function, is that clause then "preposition phrase-y"?
@snailboat: I dont think that every noun can be used as an adjective.
@Kabir101 I hope not. :)
And since a PP can realize subject function in a clause, then, when a NP realizes subject function, will that NP then be "PP-y"?
@Farooq Hello, back. :)
@F.E. You up for election for this. I want to vote for you too.
8:22 PM
@Farooq Er, no. I don't have the time, nor the patience.
@F.E. Since you give pretty good answers to our questions
Answering and moderatoring are two different things :-)
There's a difference between that and having the what-nots for being a good moderator.
Besides, moderatoring isn't fun.
A moderator ought to be good when dealing with people, and should have the time and patience and skill-set for that.
8:24 PM
@F.E. So what are you?
Tiger not good with people. People don't last long in a jungle when tigers are there.
Tiger good at Tiger Grammar.
@F.E. Well you are no tiger
@F.E. Yes Tiger Grammar. That is you:)
Q: Why don't Americans have British accents?

Jim BeamHere's something that's always stumped me: If the USA was settled by people fleeing prosecution from the British, why don't we (in present day) speak with British accents? All things considered, the US is still a "young" country - this didn't happen all that long ago. Did the language change that...

Tiger was able to resist commenting on that thread too. Hoomins. (shakes head)
Aw, -3!
8:28 PM
Gonna read comments for jokes.
I didn't downvote when I first saw it, because I assumed the person didn't realize what was going on.
Like, the obvious comment could be: Because we're Americans?! . . . But I resisted.
Hey, someone upvoted!
I'd like to encourage people to ask things like this. Sure, the OP is confused. But it's a good opportunity for someone to learn.
I don't think that just because someone is confused or isn't thinking about something properly that it makes a question bad.
Wait until BrE speakers comment after having a bad day. Southern England, Scottish, etc.
They be wanting to know what he be calling "British accent" . . .
Possibly I should have said confused and ignorant :-)
I go and read some comments now . . . :)
Ah, not much to read. Oh, well. I have seen that kind of question pop up on linguistic forums, and the answers there can get to be quite lengthy and detailed.
9:00 PM
2 hours later…
10:44 PM
@F.E. My first reaction: had always been sounds wrong
I wasn't sure if I should go that far
I felt the other way sounded better, but I didn't actually want to call it wrong
I didn't call it wrong either. I just thought that it sounded wrong. :)
And, hello!
10:49 PM
@DamkerngT. Well, I'm equating the two at the moment, because I'm talking about labeling things with my subjective impressions.
(Probably sounded is better; I don't think about it sounding right or wrong much no.w)
There's no implication that my subjective impressions are Fact.
You should split this into multiple questions. (By the way, I was a little surprised when a couple meant "three" rather than "two", since the usage didn't appear to be indeterminate.) — snailplane 48 mins ago
mainly American: a small number of things or people. e.g. There were a couple of things I wanted to discuss. From Macmillan @snailplane Besides, I would think they are just too little. — Zhanlong Zheng 42 mins ago
Yes, I agree that couple can mean "an indeterminate small quantity", but here you've followed it with a numbered list, so it's not indeterminate. Anyway, I guess I'll downvote since you insist on asking three questions in one. I like the "false as could be" question, though, so I'd rather upvote that one if it were possible. — snailplane 21 mins ago
10:51 PM
still trying to catch up with the chat...
Here are a couple letters: C, D, and E
Here are a couple letters:
1. C
2. D
3. E
That sounds a little odd.
I think declaring that couple can be three over-predicts when it's felicitous
It's clear that it's not limited to exactly two in all situations, though
10:53 PM
So the question is: when?
I guess it can. It still sounds a little odd to me anyway. Maybe a few is better.
I think that if you point to a numbered list with three items, calling them "a couple" is infelicitous
Ahh... I see. Because the number of things list is already definite.
It has exactly 3 numbers, and we can all see this while you're talking (or while we're reading)
I think that a couple can represent a small indeterminate quantity, or it can represent exactly two
10:54 PM
I don't think it can represent exactly three
It just happens that "a small indeterminate quantity" could be three
That makes sense.
But, for example, if a human had three eyes
And I said "Look! She's got a couple eyes!"
There's no way you'd consider a couple an appropriate description meaning "three"
10:56 PM
That would be very silly. :-)
nods -- I think now it's clear to me why I thought it was odd. :)
I think I can understand couple as a small indeterminate quantity when others use it, but I probably won't use it myself. I mean, it's very unlikely to be my choice of word. A few usually takes over.
It is totally okay to say "I have a couple questions" and then go on to ask three questions, though.
10:58 PM
nods -- I understand that.
Or, let's have a couple of drinks, and then we got three. :)
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