Help with English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I'm saying that it shouldn't be before the verb. In the context of the sentence, "only" refers to "5 dollars". It shouldn't be before the verb because that would imply that it modifies the verb, which it doesn't.
     
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  3. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    But you said above: " "I only pay 5 dollars..." implies that I'm the only one who pays it." Now you say that in this sentence it modifies the verb, making it an adverb, which is what I claim.

    The real problem is that spoken language has the intonation which removes all ambiguity, and the written language is not that clear.
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    You're partly right. I shouldn't have said that "I only pay" implies that I'm the only one who pays. I should have said that in that position "only" implies that paying is the only thing I'm doing.

    But the context of the sentence is that "only" applies to the amount paid, so it shouldn't be an adverb. It should be placed next to what it modifies, "5 dollars".
     
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  7. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    I quite agree. It turns out to be a thorny problem, as discussed at length (better ad nauseam) in Fowler. He gives the example of "John could only see his wife from the doorway" which gives rise to three different meanings. He quotes the grammarian Lowth (1762) complaining about "He only spake three words" when the intention of the speaker manifestly requires "I spake only three words" and so on.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We count the different kinds of contaminants.
    No. "One" must always precede a singular noun, not a plural noun.
    Yes. "Americans have more civil rights than the people in Syria or Afghanistan."
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Someone must have made that up in a hurry. I've never seen it in writing, nor heard it in speech. Nonetheless, the meaning is obvious: to live on a very small budget.
    I think you'll find that, in general, "only" is more often used in the sense of an adverb than an adjective.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Actually, the U.S.A. is embroiled in this controversy. Most of the stores have the old signs saying, "10 items or less," but the newer stores are updating their grammar with brand-new signs saying "10 items or fewer."
     
  11. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    The Fed raised interest rates last week and penciled in two more quarter-point hikes.

    why pencil in?
     
  12. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    What is clique?
    Are terrorists clique?
     
  13. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    No, clique is a noun, not an adjective. It's (originally) French, and pronounced kleek. It's a small exclusive group of people. I don't think terrorists would be included in that definition.
     
  14. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    "a terrorist clique" might make sense in a particular context , I would say.

    As a phrase it does show up a bit in the searches.

    "a claque" is also an interesting word:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claque
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In a typical office meeting, the organizer of the meeting will print agendas for everyone to use. If he wants to add one more item to the meeting, but he is not sure that there will be enough time, he might add a hand-written item at the bottom of the agenda. This is universal office etiquette, so everyone will know that there might not be enough time to discuss the last item.
    A clique is a small group of people who regard themselves as very important--even though other people may regard them as completely unimportant. Cliques are often created in groups that have very little power.
    No. The essence of a clique is that it has very little power. Terrorists, unfortunately, have a lot of power.
     
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Universal? I have never heard of this before. In my experience one usually covers such thing within an AOB (Any Other Business) item - in which some things may be pre-stated - which comes at the end of the meeting, time allowing.

    "Pencilled in", however, usually means that it is a future intended action but subject to change.
    So to pencil in two more quarter-point hikes means that, given current forecasts, they have identified the timing of two more raises in interest rates of one quarter-point, but that these timings may change if circumstances change between now and then.

    You are more likely to hear it in the context of diarising appointments. If you agree to meet someone but are not quite sure whether you are actually free or not at the proposed time you might say to "pencil the meeting in", meaning it is agreed but subject to verification. Whatever is pencilled in (i.e. written in pencil) can be easily rubbed out / altered - so is not to be taken as absolutely fixed.
     
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  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I spent most of my career in the public sector, so I probably picked up their way of doing things. I don't think I ever actually saw a meeting agenda with a "penciled-in" item hanging off the bottom. Everybody has their own way of doing these things.
     
  18. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    discursive means what?
     
  19. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    egalitarian?
     
  20. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    devil's advocate means what?
     
  21. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    The voice of the devil. literally. Advocatus diaboli was the argument for the accused in Catholicism, as in the defender's role in a court of law. It means to take the opposite point of view and argue for its validity in a logical way.

    Why do you hammer this thread with stuff you could easily look up on your on?
     
  22. DrKrettin Registered Senior Member

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    I think that's a good question - the expression is nothing to do with some kind of peculiar idiom in English, but a concept which exists all over Europe: Anwalt des Teufels; Abogado del diablo; Avocat du diable; Advogado do Diabo; Djævelens advokat; Advocat del diable; etc. Google is your friend.
     
  23. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, it is a question that hangs in the air . However , this is Saint's thread as the OP and it goes back some 6 years and almost 3000 posts now.

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    EDIT: I see this thread is a sticky....
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017

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