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Showing posts from November, 2011

a means of

Means, plural, but usually treated as single.

Notably, article a/the is used in front of 'means':

These pledges are a means to avoid prosecution.The pigtail was imposed by the victorious Manchu-Tartars when they finally established their dynasty in 1644, not so much as a badge of conquest, still less of servitude, but as a means of obliterating, so far as possible, the most patent distinction between the two races, and of unifying the appearance, if not the aspirations, of the subjects of the Son of Heaven.

By all means: of course, certainly (granting a permission). May I make a suggestion? By all means.By any means: in any way, at all (following a negative). I am not poor by any means.By no means: not at all; certainly not. The outcome is by no means guaranteed.