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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 26th, 2012, 02:02 am
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Default A Dictionary of the English Language

HI, I have several English problems, and I desperately need your help.

In the preface of A Dictionary of the English Language, by S. Johnson, I find "the English", which does not mean the people but the language. However, I always write "English" or "the English language", to represent the same thing. Is "the English" not accepted nowadays?

-------

Another question: is there any term specifically referring to teachers other than MR or MRS, like REVEREND to a clergyman?

Also, apart from "leave out" is there another verb for the action of ellipsis?

"in the range of 0 to/and 1 "←which word should be used?


"for use of sth/ for ease of understanding" .....why is there not a definite article?I found them in a dictionary, and a teacher told me that it is correct to leave out THE, and that it is unaccountable. Was he correct?
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Unread Jan 26th, 2012, 02:19 am
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Default Re: A Dictionary of the English Language

When you have different questions, do split them into different posts - it makes it easier for other people to find them. Also if someone wants to contribute an answer to one question only, it gets confusing if they all mixed up on the same thread.

Anyway, some answers. I've referred to your questions by number.

1. It's impossible to answer this without seeing the expression in context. Always quote the complete sentence. But if S. Johnson is Samuel Johnson,then the dictionary was written in 1755, so you're asking about how the language was used 250 years ago - and it will inevitably be different from current use.

2. No there isn't. English, unlike other languages, rarely uses professional titles. (Didn't we discuss this in another thread??) The only ones that come to mind are Dr. (Doctor) for either a medical doctor or someone with a Ph.D, eg a university lecturer; Rev. (reverend) which you mention; and Prof. (Professor) for the head of a university department. "Ordinary" teachers are just Mr/Ms.

3. Yes, omit is a generally used term, while ellipt and elide are both used in linguistics. I prefer to use ellipt when talking about ellipsis, and to use elide only to talk about elision. However, elide is used regularly in both contexts.

4 + 5. I don't understand the questions. 4 : which word should be used for what?? 5: a definite article where? Before use and ease or something and understanding?? Again, you need to give a fuller explanation and examples. If you do, put each one on a new thread with its own title so people can see what the question is about.
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Last edited by susan53 : Jan 26th, 2012 at 04:58 am.
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Unread Jan 26th, 2012, 02:43 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: A Dictionary of the English Language

I was curious about your first question so I went and looked up Johnson's Preface. I suspect the example you are referring to is this :

Our knowledge of the northern literature is so scanty, that of words undoubtedly Teutonick the original is not always to be found in any ancient language; and I have therefore inserted Dutch or German substitutes, which I consider not as radical but parallel, not as the parents, but sisters of the English.

Notice that here English is not the noun but an adjective. The full noun phrase is :
... but sisters of the English word.

word is ellipted in the original sentence, because retrievable from context (though the archaic quality of the text, with its tendency to sentences much longer than is currently normal, makes this more difficult for us now than it would be with a more modern sentence). But if you put the word back in, the grammar is clear.
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Last edited by susan53 : Jan 27th, 2012 at 11:28 am.
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Unread Jan 28th, 2012, 12:25 am
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Default Re: A Dictionary of the English Language

Sorry, I once again made the statements unclear. But thank you very much.

(I did try to use different threads and more words to make it clear, but I was using a mobile phone to surf

the net, and it was difficult to control, and typing words was hard for me
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