Questions tagged [canonical-question]

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2 votes
1 answer
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Do we have a canonical post on the pronunciation rules for the /s, z/ possessive clitic?

I've seen many questions asking about the punctuation of words ending in possessive S. There are also many questions asking about the pronunciation of possessive S when a noun already ends in an S. ...
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5 votes
0 answers
151 views

Why are all the can/may questions marked as duplicates of the question about the weird sentence “Can/may/will you help me with this?”

I'm familiar with the idea of choosing one question as an (informal) "canonical" target for duplicates, but I was surprised to find that for questions about the difference between "can" vs. "may", the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
72 views

Should "What's the difference between tense A and tense B?" questions be marked as a duplicate of something generic?

It seems as if I see a question like this at least once a day. What's the difference between "X is" and "X will"? Should I use "X is" or "X was"? Between "X was" and "X had been," which is ...
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6 votes
0 answers
127 views

On "The" and null/zero articles - cross-post an answer from English Language Learners?

Several questions have come up about the definite article vs the null or zero article. I haven't been keeping track of them, but here are some examples from ELU's repository: Scientific "control&...
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14 votes
3 answers
4k views

What's the English word for my father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate?

With sad regularity, it seems someone comes to the site looking for "the word" for some very specific relationship. Recently, it was What is the English word for husband of the daughter of my brother?....
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  • 22.4k
7 votes
1 answer
64 views

Is there a comprehensive and authoritative reference on whether or not an article is appropriate?

The question of whether an article should be omitted seems to be quite complicated and subject to numerous conventions. Moreover, it appears that there are acceptable variations: e.g., both The ...
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  • 293
15 votes
20 answers
367 views

List of FAQs and canonical posts

Based on the recent question: Let's change the canonical question about forming possessives for words which end in 'z' [Completed] and its predecessor: Please change the canonical '...
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4 votes
0 answers
145 views

Let's change the canonical question about forming possessives for words which end in 'z' [Completed]

I voted to close the question https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/362525/when-a-name-ends-in-z as a duplicate of Possessive form for a surname ending with "z" (Q1). Unfortunately, ...
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8 votes
0 answers
261 views

Discussion on reopening a specific question: "Do tenses in a time clause never back-shift in reported speech?"

The question Do tenses in a time clause never back-shift in reported speech? (which I'll call The Backshift Question or TBQ for convenience) has an answer that could be considered canonical for back-...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is a “canonical answer”?

I'm confused. There appears to be conflicting ideas as to what constitutes a canonical answer on EL&U. Simply saying it is the best answer, is too subjective. Best for whom? Best for the OP who ...
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10 votes
0 answers
337 views

Can we switch to a better canonical question about using pronouns in compound possessives?

We get a lot of questions about coordinating pronouns with nouns for joint possession, along the lines of "my wife's and my dinner," most recently: "you," "your" or "yours&...
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10 votes
1 answer
416 views

Please change the canonical 'ordinal question' to one which is more informative

Preface We get many questions along the lines of "how do I frame a question in order to elicit an ordinal number as a response?". And, inevitably, they are all closed as duplicates of: What ...
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