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2:55 PM
@RegDwight: Yes, sometimes I convert answers to comments.
I am not sure which answers you are talking about specifically; I could go back and look again — maybe they would be appropriate as comments.
@RegDwight: Maybe you are talking about the comment by PSU here:
Q: What does it mean, 'Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink'? Why is it funny?

Rakesh Juyal Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water and make it drink. I read this on chucknorrisfacts.com. What I think this sentence means, is: Chuck Norris can take his horse to where the water is and then his horse will drink the water. So, what is funny about this? Isn't it something pretty normal?

It was originally an answer and I have converted it to a comment
3 hours later…
5:34 PM
Do we use the plural form for tags, or the singular? I don't want to create a new tag by mistake.
5:49 PM
Can anybody transform this question is a CW? english.stackexchange.com/questions/10571/…
I think it should be a CW, but I forgot to select the checkbox.
Why do my links appear as text, while other appears different?
Q: What are English expressions which are used with a meaning opposite to their literal meaning?

kiamlalunoThe phrase least common denominator is a phrase that has a meaning opposite to its literal meaning. Are there any other phrases like that? What is the term used for such phrases?

6:28 PM
@kiamlaluno: We tend to use the plural form.
@Kosmonaut: Thank you, for the reply, and the question transformed in CW.
No problem.
Good thing I was continuing to say "it should be a CW" to myself. :-)
(Maybe I should say "me"; there have been a debate about using "myself" instead of "me".)
There is a subfield of linguistics called "binding theory" where people try to investigate this kind of thing
There are certain cases where "myself" and "me" are both fine
But in your case, "myself" is the preferred one.
6:45 PM
Do they investigate about using "that" instead of "who/whom" too?
Well, they work on pretty much everything :)
Not me though, I work on word forms and sounds, not so much on sentence structure,
(I hope they can tell me where my car keys are)
Do you mean how words are created?
How parts combine together to make complex words
(I am not sure about "forms". :-) )
What mechanisms we use to decide how to create new words
6:49 PM
@Kosmonaut: yeah, I was talking about that answer by PSU, my bad, I only noticed that it got deleted, and didn't notice it in the comments.
No, I moved it after you said that, @RegDwight.
I would have thought that answers that get converted to comments disappear completely from the Answers section, rather than get greyed out.
That is an interesting topic.
Sometimes I will move the answer to the comments, but if it just seems like junk anyway I just delete it.
6:51 PM
I guess the search form still is not able to find some words. I tried searching "I have got", but I didn't get any result. (Or that, or I didn't write correctly a word.)
This was one of those moments where I sort of was like, "eh, junk" but once you mentioned it, I reconsidered.
@kiamlaluno Yes, it still has problems. When I want to find that sort of thing, I do a Google search on english.SE
I will remember that before to ask a question. :-)
@kiamlaluno: they are trying out an all-new search over at the meta Meta, but it still ignores a whole lot of stop words such as its, there, how, etc. It does work much better in general, though, the results are more relevant.
By the way; I thought there was an answer to my duplicated question, but I don't see it anymore.
I didn't delete any answers.
6:54 PM
Would not be easier to not ignore stop words? :-)
Q: New Stack Exchange Search, Try it out!

Nick CraverFor a few reasons, we recently changed the guts of how search works on our sites. If you keep up, you've probably read somewhere that we were using SQL Server Full Text Search. There are a few areas that utilize search that all got a replacement tonight: Search itself (box in the upper right)...

@Kosmonaut: Do you see any answer to my question? If you don't, then I am worried I lost my brain. I am sure I also commented on the reply.
Well, there have been three or four requests to that extent, @kiamlaluno, but so far they kind of got ignored.
@kiamlaluno: Apparently they can't or don't want to do that for EL&U only.
@kiamlaluno It appears that the author deleted it himself
@RegDwight: Yes, I remember there was a request on meta.english.
6:57 PM
I am talking about the meta Meta, actually, we have brought it to their attention, too.
@Kosmonaut: Thank you. I was starting to think I dreamed the last 2 hours. :-)
Uhmmm… I am not sure I am being thanked because I closed the question, or because I have replied. ;-)
Q: How to prevent an endless deluge of questions about “that” and “which”

nohatI know we have already asked about this problem twice, but English.SE has now had its third question about the difference between that and which (first, second). The “Ask Question” page is supposed to pop up a list of related questions, but because that and which are both “stop words”, When you s...

Q: Need to be able to search for "stop words" on English.SE because they are often the most salient search term

nohatI know this has been addressed before, but I don’t think anyone has clarified that this is a real, actual problem—not just a hypothetical one—at English.SE and that some kind of solution is needed if the search functionality is to do its job in a useful way. Hey guess what? English.SE is necessa...

Q: SO sites don't search for common words

Jader DiasTry it yourself. Type "want" in the top left box and press enter. I want it corrected! Sometimes I remember the phrasing of the question I am searching and it doesn't contains any keyword, so I have to go to Google to search it.

Q: Searching for "which" or "what" doesn't work on english.stackexchange.com

RegDwightIt appears that interrogative words are excluded from search. This might make sense in the context of SOFU, but not on English Language and Usage. In my case, I was looking for a question on the difference between "what" and "which", but neither of the following worked: http://english.stackexc...

It seems like something that ultimately really needs to be addressed.
BTW, @Kosmonaut, what should we do with the "English is illogical" question? I see that it has collected 4 close-votes. Perhaps it would make sense to really close it, so that new answers don't keep being added.
Isn't that a peeve masked as question?
7:08 PM
Heh, I just noticed which answer the OP has accepted. You are well on your way to the Populist badge.
@kiamlaluno: never thought about it that way, but yeah, you have a point.
@RegDwight I may be biased, but I thought I turned it into an informative thread :D
@Kosmonaut: that was my thinking, too, but then I noticed all the close votes (though one of them is mine, so it doesn't really count).
@RegDwight: That is the reason I voted to close it. :-)
The plot thickens.
Well, people couldn't decide why to close it
Note that two votes are for "exact duplicate"
Which I disagree with
7:12 PM
Yep, one of those votes is actually mine, which is why I say that it doesn't count. I had explained my reasoning in a comment, which I subsequently deleted after you posted your answer.
(I am still wondering if I should say "to crack eggs" or "to break eggs".)
"Crack an egg into ______" = unambiguously, the egg was broken and the contents came out
My initial reaction was that it was a three-part question, the part about vowels I considered to be a dupe of the GVS question, hence the vote, and the part about consonants and suppletion should be two separate questions, I argued. In hindsight, I should have picked "too broad" as my close reason
Though kiamlaluno does have a point with "peeving disguised as question".
Wow, I can't believe he didn't choose my answer
I think he felt insulted by it.
Heh. Perhaps. Though I wouldn't know why.
It's pretty objective.
But then again, that's what that shiny gold badge is there for.
7:17 PM
@Kosmonaut: If you add that as answer, I will accept it. ;-)
I said his premise was flawed
Well, that's not exactly a gangsta-rap insult.
No, but choosing someone's answer isn't exactly a drive-by shooting either :)
I guess I didn't choose the reason I thought; nobody selected "off-topic" to close that question.
In a way, I think the sentiment is not unique — a lot of people think English is a crazy language that makes no sense and has almost no rules.
It might not be bad to have a general answer for that
7:30 PM
That's true.
I would make them study Italian! :-)
I actually think the answer he chose sort of agrees with his premise more, maybe that's why it was chosen.
I am happy it doesn't have 13 genders, though. :-)
For x, y, and z reason, English is crazy and it is amazing we can understand each other
13 genders is just scary.
I am fine with 2; thank you. :-)
7:33 PM
I remember saying something similar, let me see if I can find it...
For a non-native speaker, 2 is something that is manageable.
Three (with German) can be much more difficult than two
Ah yes. "Oh well, at least we don't have fifteen cases, gender specific verb inflections, dual, trial, paucal or distributive plural, three alphabets with up to 50,000 different characters... Actually, the more I go on, the more I am inclined to say that learning English is a piece of cake. – RegDwight Oct 15 '10 at 10:53"
Hm, I remember that comment.
Does German have three grammar genders?
Yes it does.
7:36 PM
Yes, masculine, feminine, and neuter
But only for nouns, not adjectives or verb forms.
Adjectives have to agree with the nouns though.
I have to work hard to get the genders right
Sometimes I restructure the sentence just so that I can increase my odds of being correct
Like, if I can put the word into dative case, then masculine and neuter are the same, so now I only have two choices! :)
True. EineR schöneN Frau. EineS schöneN MannES.
Right, genitive also, but usually I have to change the sentence a lot to get something into genitive
The worst thing is that I can't just repeatedly hear one article with a word
I think the only way to really grok genders is to not learn them, but just acquire them like a child does, without much thinking, simply by mimicking others.
7:42 PM
Otherwise you quickly enter a world of pain. Book is feminine in Russian, neuter in German, masculine in French, and God knows what in English.
But I don't get enough exposure, so I think "have I heard der Brief? Yes, but was that genitive feminine or masculine nominative?"
Yeah, that can be annoying. Been there, done that.
Amazing: Russian has a female and male word for potato. :-)
The thing that I love is that when new words come around, somehow, very rapidly, everybody knows the gender of that new thing
7:45 PM
But they mean slightly different things. The feminine form is more casual, the male one is what botanists use.
That happens in Italian too; I could say "euro" is masculine.
How do people know the gender of new words? I don't think it's completely clear
Not necessarily. Reisig is probably two thousand years old, yet people still can't agree whether it's der or das.
In Italian there is just a word, which is feminine.
Yes, there are a few weird ones
Ketchup was another, people said it could be der, die, or das
7:46 PM
In Italian is easier; every words end with a vocal.
I say das. That must be correct!
Although... der sounds good, too!
But never die, what have they been smoking
Don't ask me! :)
I don't know, it was a late night with a lot of beers when this conversation happened :)
Anyhow, I think for the most part, you just see a suffix and see, oh well, it's clearly feminine, even if you've never read that word before.
7:48 PM
I remember I said, "when you borrowed Show, how did you know it should be 'die Show'?"
And they told me, well, it's because of "die Sendung"
Because it's die Schau in German
or that
So I said, okay, what about der Song?
das Lied but der Song?
Maybe because of der King Kong.
7:49 PM
Some sort of version of Cockney rhyme slang?
German rhyme genders
Or because of der Gong.
Or because someone just felt that way.
But it's die Bong!! :)
Aha, that answers the question about smoking.
In Italian, it's lo show (masculine), la canzone (feminine).
7:55 PM
You borrowed "show" also?
It feels like such an English word... it's very amusing to me
Well, Italian TV uses a lot of English words.
In Russian, it's neuter.
Except when it's that other Show, who is spelled Shaw in English.
"al tuo look ci pensi tu?" (Do you take care of your look?)
That reminds me of a German creation from English words that I love
Partner is a perfectly German word.
7:58 PM
I think we borrowed it too.
Well partner is a Romance word
I parse it as Partner (German) + look (English)
My point exactly.
But I guess what I really mean is... the meaning is totally transparent to an English speaker
It is not an English word
How about Handy?
I like that one too
8:00 PM
And how about bodybags sold at Aldi?
I'm not familiar with bodybags
They didn't like Rucksack for some reason, Bodybag sounded much better to them.
Oh man... that is a really awful choice!
Especially funny since we have rucksack in English
8:05 PM
Also, here, yet another thing called bodybag: humanlanguages.com/rlerfeng.htm
I love that.
And how could I possibly forget about beamer?
Oh yeah
And it makes perfect sense, like Handy
Though I must say that that one makes a lot of sense. I was actually surprised to learn that it doesn't work in English.
Heh. Telepathy.
Me too, to be honest
When I heard that the German word was "beamer" I thought, "yeah, I think that's a word some people use for it in English"
To my surprise it was not
We do use the word for BMWs though.
8:12 PM
That W in BMW reminds me of a totally unrelated question: do people really say double-you-double-you-double-you for WWW?
I remember reading on Jeff's or Joel's about how people had trouble coming up with something shorter.
Some people say dub-dub-dub... but really only techie people
Which left me wondering why nobody just says three-double-you, as the French do.
Yes, we do have to say double-you x 3
Yeah, dub-dub-dub was what Jeff (or Joel) proposed in that post, too.
But I've heard the full double-you-double-you-double-you almost every time
8:18 PM
But again, why isn't "three-double-yous" or "triple-double-you" in use? I always thought that would be such an obvious possibility (And syllable-wise, it's just as short as dub-dub-dub), yet nobody seems to have ever considered it.
Well, we end up saying "dubya" a lot of the time in terms of actual pronunciation anyway.
In the US anyway.
I really don't know why we didn't do it one of those other ways.
But now when I try to say it to myself, it sounds strange. I couldn't imagine people starting to do that now. It's too late already.
Yes, I think the whole world is now aware of dubya thanks to the 43rd President.
Wow, I never expected you to thank him
Yeah right, make that a due to. I should know better.
Q: Difference between "due to" and "thanks to"

RegDwightWhen should "due to" be preferred over "thanks to", and vice versa? When can they be used interchangeably?

Actually, I think "thanks to" gives the proper ironic sense here... I just wanted to make the joke :)
8:26 PM
And I wanted to promote my question. :)
Too bad it's rather poor, I only posted it to populate the site during Beta.
Anyhow, just for the record, I did LOL at "never expected to thank him".
8:54 PM
Hi guys!
I have a silly question, hope you could help me :)
I've lost some weight recently, and I was able, for the first time today, to close my belt buckle using a notch higher than usual...
For the life of me I can't figure out if I "went up a notch" or "down a notch"?
Is this phrase even applicable for an actual belt? :)
Interesting question. I have no idea. Why don't you post it on the main site?
I was about to... though it might be too silly :)
(+ I need at least 20 minutes between questions, being a new user :))
Q: Up or down a notch?

hmemcpy(I apologize for the silly question ahead) I've lost some weight recently, and I was able, for the first time today, to close my belt buckle using a notch higher than usual... For the life of me I can't figure out if I "went up a notch" or "down a notch"? Is this phrase even applicable for an ...


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