Questions tagged [canonical-question]

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2 votes
1 answer

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. ...
5 votes
0 answers

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

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 ...
6 votes
0 answers

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&...
  • 37.9k
14 votes
3 answers

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?....
  • 22.5k
7 votes
1 answer

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 ...
  • 303
16 votes
20 answers

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 '...
  • 28.5k
4 votes
0 answers

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

I voted to close the question as a duplicate of Possessive form for a surname ending with "z" (Q1). Unfortunately, ...
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8 votes
0 answers

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-...
  • 37.9k
4 votes
1 answer

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 ...
  • 86.6k
10 votes
0 answers

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&...
  • 75.8k
10 votes
1 answer

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 ...
  • 86.6k