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BS: English grammar question

maire-aine 14 Feb 09 - 06:45 PM
Bobert 14 Feb 09 - 06:52 PM
Terry McDonald 14 Feb 09 - 07:02 PM
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maire-aine 14 Feb 09 - 07:05 PM
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John on the Sunset Coast 14 Feb 09 - 07:06 PM
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Subject: BS: English grammar question
From: maire-aine
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 06:45 PM

Can anybody explain how it comes to be that verbs with a "double-e" have a past tense with a "t"? For example: keep/kept, sleep/slept, sweep/swept, weep/wept.

Clearly, this is not an earth-shattering problem, but I've wondered about it for a while.

Thanks,
Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 06:52 PM

Well, the only thing I can say with any level of certainty is that George Bush had nothin' to do with it...

B;~)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:02 PM

Speed, bleed, seed, need, weed............?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:03 PM

Anglo-Saxon had a lot of inflections for grammatical changes, and we inherited many of them in modern English. Many are phasing out, but a lot are still here.

It would never occur to a native English speaker, in my experience, to say "sleeped", "weeped", "keeped", "sweeped".   Why?   No reason, really, except that's the way the language has gone.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: maire-aine
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:05 PM

Following upon Terry's post, my examples all end in "p", while his end in "d". How does that factor in?

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:05 PM

It seems to only work that way with words ending in "eep". Maybe it's because it's more comfortable to say "slept" than it is to say "sleeped". I mean, it rolls off the tongue more easily.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:06 PM

Maryanne - it may have to do with the etymology of such words. It may have to do with the ease of speaking, or the euphony of the word, or none of the above. Many things come into play in the English grammar.

I did find this site:
http://www.computing.surrey.ac.uk/personal/st/A.Gruning/teaching/cs187/SS2008/slides_20070219.pdf

It covers irregular verbs, etc. Whether it will answet your question? But it may start you in the right direction.

Good Luck...and let us know the answer too.

JotSC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:29 PM

You asked only about words ending in "eep". Confer, however, with other words with the exact same sound, which are regular in construction:

reap, reaped, reaped, leaping
leap, leaped, leaped, leaping ("Leap" used to have the past and past perfect form of "lept". You still occasionally find "lept", but it's going away in favor of the regular "leaped".

What's the difference? Damfino.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Monique
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:39 PM

Some explanations here
Be happy to have such an easy conjugation!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 07:47 PM

In the UK the past and past perfect forms of "Leap" are, I think, "Leapt".


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:00 PM

Yes, I still use "leapt" sometimes. It's pronounced "lept".

A living sheep is a sheep. A dead sheep? Oh, well, that's a "shept", of course. ;-) If you find a shept lying in the field, make sure to dress it quickly and refrigerate the mutton before it goes bad.

A songbird peeps, but if its peeping occurred yesterday, then you say that it "pept".

And so on...


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:07 PM

How about beep - beeped, peep - peeped and seep - seeped.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:16 PM

or bleep - bleeped and steep - steeped

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:19 PM

or even cheep - cheeped

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Monique
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:41 PM

Wouldn't that depend on whether the verbs are "old" or "new"?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:57 PM

When proof-reading for an international publication, the U. S.-UK differences came up, e. g. spelled, spelt and their ilk. Different preferences in UK and U. S. so we accepted both. Leap, leaped, leapt is another. Many in the UK use leapt. We used to get letters, however, from Americans on the one hand questioning 'Briticisms,' and from the English pointing with scorn at 'Americanisms.'

Big arguments about collectives like army- in the U. S. it is 'army is,' in UK it is 'army are.' Listen to the BBCnews on cable; Chelsea are, etc. Americans say Boston is, etc.

In Canada, which has a foot in both linguistic camps, both usages may be heard, but preference is tending more and more towards American usage. Proximity and cable television bring uniformity.

Many conventions, as mentioned above, have come down through the years from Old English; just go with the flow.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 09:18 PM

What about dream? Any other that uses 'eamt'?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 10:39 PM

Somewhere there is a really boring jadrool who knows everything about English grammar and outside of his novelty value he is the singular most pathetic human being on earth..........with the possible exception of the limpdick who put the bop in the bop-shee-bop-shee-bop.

I love ya' but try to find something else to bother you Maryanne(;<))

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 10:39 PM

And then there's wreak; I wince when I hear "wreaked" instead of "wrought" but that's my Oz version of pedantry for you.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 11:23 PM

The pronunciation of the vowel sounds in many English words underwent changes between 1200 and 1600 in what's known as the Great Vowel Shift. Many words that had been pronounced with what we call a "short e" (as in "bed") came to be pronounced with a "long e" (as in "bead"). Prior to then, in Old English and Middle English times, the verbs sleep, keep, weep, and sweep were pronounced more like slep, kep, wep, and swep. The past tenses were not really all that irregular. They were formed by adding the unvoiced "t" sound instead of the voiced "d" sound simply because it's easier to say "t" after "ep" than to say "d".

As to why the present tenses of these verbs underwent the vowel shift while their past tenses kept the older pronunciations is something I'm not boring jadrool enough to know.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 11:45 PM

Little kids logically will say keeped, sleeped, etc. My grandson is growing out of it now, but has been known to do so. Bill Bryson makes note of it in his excellent book, The Mother Tongue. (I think it's a little out of date, though, on some things. It was written in 1991 and fairly predicts the demise of Irish Celtic, etc. Wish he would do an updated version.) Still worth the read and done with much laughter pointing out absurdities, origins, etc. in a very entertaining way.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:01 AM

Even now it's a good read, Kat, and a good antidote to any tendency to be over-righteous about "correct" practice.

But, even so, "wreaked" makes me wince; I must be truly old-fashioned.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:09 AM

What makes me wince is,

"So I'm like, 'Whaddya mean?', and she's, like, 'You should know what I, like, mean!', and I'm like 'Whatever!', and he's like, "Will you two just stop?!", and I'm like, she is just soooooo...."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Gurney
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 01:09 AM

It's complicated because we LIKE it complicated!

If anyone wants simple, let 'em Esperanto.





There. Now I feel better! 8<}


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Monique
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:10 AM

It's complicated because it's old and changes over time. Like shoes: the more people wear them, the less they look like the way they used to be when they were new and the less they look alike.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:28 AM

to myself (TAB...not ENTER, you dummy)! Sorry about that vacant post up there. I was about to offer "plead/pled" which seems to be morphing to pleaded. To me that seems to be the wrong direction!?

As I have been told by those in the know, in Middle English words such as "knight" each letter was pronounced. "Knight" was "k'nict" whereas just plain old night was "nicht" not far off the German pronunciation. A "knife" was "k'niffee" and a "wife" was a "Wiffee". And Old English is pretty much unrecognizable to the uninitiated.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 04:21 AM

Changing languages, I've always been intrigued by the way that English words ending in 'ity' are matched in Spanish by 'idad' (Trinity - Trinidad, electricity-electricidad etc). I don't speak Spanish so I'm sure there are exceptions, but I've never come across one yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 05:10 AM

I was about to offer "plead/pled" which seems to be morphing to pleaded. To me that seems to be the wrong direction!?

I have never, to my knowledge, heard "pled" used as the past of "plead", nor would I ever use it. "Pleaded" is correct for me.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:03 AM

Manchester Citidad ?? Simplicidad? Wittidad? The Nittidad Grittidad Dirt Band ??


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:19 AM

Machester Ciudad, Simplicidad seems to be correct, don't get the third one and the last example just has to be right!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Monique
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:56 AM

Latin words ending in "-tas" => Italian words ending in "-tà", Romanian words ending in "-ate", Spanish words ending in "-dad", Occitan words ending in "-tat", French words ending in "-té", English words ending in "-ty" through Old French.
This works for nouns ending in -ty that are not diminutives, nor for adjectives either.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim McLean
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:58 AM

In dialect Scottish you'll hear 'keepit' (kept) and 'keekit' (keeked, one syllable).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 07:27 AM

the English language is full of contradictions .
look at the different pronunciations of the these words .cough,bough,rough,dough,enough, phonetically the would be spelled.cof bow,ruff,do,enuff ,then the word do,is pronounced du .


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: maire-aine
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 08:31 AM

Here in midwest USA, I find the phrase "pled guilty" more normal sounding than "pleaded guilty", although we hear both forms.

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 11:07 AM

Rowan said:

And then there's wreak; I wince when I hear "wreaked" instead of "wrought" but that's my Oz version of pedantry for you.

I, too, used to think that "wrought" was the past tense of "to wreak", but the two words are unrelated.   I looked them up (that's when the trouble starts):


To wreak (third-person singular simple present wreaks, present participle wreaking, simple past wreaked or rarely wroke, past participle wreaked or rarely wroken)

   1. (transitive) To cause, inflict or let out, especially if causing harm or injury.

          The earthquake wreaked havoc in the city.
          She wreaked her anger on his car.

   2. (archaic) To inflict or take vengeance on.
          * 1856-1885 — Alfred Tennyson, Gareth and Lynette

                Kill the foul thief, and wreak me for my son.



But "wrought" is defined as:

wrought

   1. Simple past tense and past participle of work.


Note that the cognate "-wright" (as it appears in words like shipwright, millwright, wheelwright) is one who works in a particular field, named by the first element in the word. Thus, I suppose you'd gloss them as "shipworker" etc. Actually it seems to be more of a "-builder" or "-maker".

I have to confess that I find myself uncomfortable with "wreaked" as the past tense of "to wreak", mainly out of old habit I suppose. But the definitions and etymology rule, so I shudder and bear it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:55 PM

Right, Uncle Dave. Wreaked it is. The OED sez yer rite. The man from woop woop is wrong.

Wrought means made, fashioned, shaped, prepared, etc., e. g., finely wrought steel swords; or it also is used to mean overly excited over something, as in 'all wrought up'. (I like the slang 'all het up' better).

Slag, many scholars would like to know the Middle English pronunciations. Vas you dere, Charlie?
The use of the k' in pronunciation is extrapolation from modern Germanic and northern dialects, but much is guesswork.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 01:12 PM

That's the trouble with becoming too terribly indignant about grammar and usage - chances are that you're wrong (even if you're repeating precisely what you were told back when you were in short pants, when the world was such a better place).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 01:33 PM

Old English strong verbs. They're very logical in Old English, but in Modern English new verbs are generated according to the Old English weak verb system, that is the same verbal stem plus suffix -ed. So today some strong verbs get sucked into incorrect weak endings by the principle of analogy. Modern English is also collapsing separate classes of the strong verbs. 'Gotten' as the past participle of 'get' is correct according to etymology, but is being replaced in some areas by 'got' (analogous to pasts such as 'bought'). This collapse of strong verbs and victory of the weak verbs for new word formation is the source of other confusions (dive--dived or dove) etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: gnu
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 01:40 PM

Kept takes up less storage than keeped. It's more green. >;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:19 PM

" I wince when I hear "wreaked" instead of "wrought" "

That's indeed sad, but far worse is the increasingly common usage of "wrecked havoc"....arrrggggg...(don't believe me? Google it.)




people see it spelled correctly, and 'see what they are familar with',...."wreck"... then pronounce it incorrectly and, if needing to write it, they write it like they have been saying it; and another word heads for oblivion.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:24 PM

"...fairly predicts the demise of Irish Celtic"

Has there ever been a language known as "Irish Celtic"?
................................

keep and kept etc are particular examples of a vowel change from long e to short as an indication of tense.

Also shows up in, for example bleed/ bled, or dream/ dreamt. And there are other analogous vowel changes for the same purpose eg run/ran.

But the alternative, and more "regular" way of doing it coexists and overlaps, with the vowel staying long and "ed" being added at the end. And children, being pretty sharp, notice that regular form and apply it, which is why they say things like "I runned" or "I keeped". And that's how those forms creep into the language, and often take over from the older form.

It's a very curious language. But then they all are.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:03 PM

Mcgrath reminded me of the "I seen," which is common in North America. Teachers have tried to beat it out of their pupils for generations, but with little success.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:15 PM

But tell me why L is pronounced as a W by many of the tracksuit bottomed hoardes who wear "all weather" trainers all the time?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:48 PM

Because language changes all the time, and you can't stop it happening.

For example the spelling "hoardes" for "hordes" is highly unusual, but I can imagine it could conceivably become standard English at some time.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 03:53 PM

Hmmm- perhaps we will read that in these hard times, the hoardes are hording their dollars (pounds, pesos yen yuan etc.).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 04:25 PM

The man from woop woop is wrong.

Sorry to disabuse you Q but, out here, it's known as Woop Woop West.
And many thanks to Uncle Dave; such erudition. Now, why didn't I go to the dictionary instead of relying on the oral history I picked up in my youth?

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:47 PM

Slightly off-topic, but I always think of Jez Lowe's song about the Bergen as the "eep" song, because the first accented word of the first and third lines of each verse is an eep or eap word....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 06:59 AM

Thank you to the learned Uncle Dave!

Cheers
Nigel (stirring the pot just a little!)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 08:23 AM

Rowan, I was looking in the OED and accidentally spotted woop woop. They say it is sham aborigine and a jocular name for a remote rural area or an imaginary place.
No woop woop east?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MarkS
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:26 AM

For a very well written and entertaining book on our language, try the offering by Bill Bryson = English, The Mother Toung And How It Got That Way.
I may have the title off a bit, but I promise, you will never look at the words you speak or why you speak them the way you do the same way again!
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:28 AM

Tongue


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 11:02 AM

To get back to the original question, about sleep/slept, and weep/wept, etc:

I don't know why the e changes, but I have just noticed that when we make the past tense of a verb ending in p, we change the d to t. Say the following:

hoped
moped
hopped
developed

they all actually end in a t sound, not a d sound. (This keeps all the action near the front of the mouth, so it's easier.) I never noticed this before.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 12:51 PM

Hmmm, I don't. Exaggerating, hoped comes out hope-d(uh), not hope-t(uh).

Which one of us is in the majority? Is this a regional disparity? Should we make an issue of -t vs. -d?

Pistols at 500 paces!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: ard mhacha
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:01 PM

I have just come onto this Thread and Bobert`s suggestion that "George Bush had nothing to do with it", has me `doubled up`.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:05 PM

As far as I know, the terms "strong verbs" and "weak verbs" are not used in the USA. We call them "irregular verbs" and "regular verbs," respectively.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:11 PM

Jim, yes, regular and irregular are the terms for contemporary English usage. But the origin of the difference is in Old English and the distinction there--in both US and UK handbooks of Old English grammar-- is that between strong and weak verbs. The strong verbs' principal parts show more variation, but a number of different regular patterns so they are not strictly irregular.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,jOhn
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:21 PM

waht all this is about?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nickhere
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:37 PM

Maire- aine, it may have to do with phonetics. The examples you mentioned - keep, sweep etc., all end in an unvoiced consonant (place the palm of your hand over your throat and say 'p' 'k' 's' 'or 't' - be careful not top add vowels while doing this: if 'p' sounds like 'puh' or 'pee' while you're saying it, you've added a vowel. Now try doing the same with 'b' 'z' 'g' or 'd' - the latter should sound with an accompanying buzz / vibration - these are voiced consonants).

The general rule is that unvoiced consonants are followed by unvoiced consonants in regular verb 'ed' endings when pronouncing: that's why the 'ed' in Kicked, washed and stopped sounds like a 't' (Kikt, washt, stopt). After voiced consonants the 'ed' sounds like a 'd' - that's why moved, buzzed and gagged 'ed' sounds like 'd' (moovd, buzzd, gaggd).

I think the same thing is happening here, not only in the sound but also the spelling -

keep / sweep / creep - kepT, swepT, crepT   

compare Terry McDonald's

speed, seed, weed

Two of these are the infnitive forms of these verbs, and they are regular verbs so the past tense is formed by added 'ed'

seeded, weeded. These are pronounced with 'ed' as an extra syllable - seed'd / weed'd (and that;'s how they were written in Shakespearean times as well)

The first is irregular, the past is formed

speed - sped. But the infinitive form ends in 'd' - a voiced consonant.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:55 PM

jOhn, my sympathies are with you. Phonetics have disappeared from the schools, as well as language history. It was still taught when I went to school, but that was ages ago, and my memory of such is gone.

Grammar still lingers, but use a style manual to keep up, you heah?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:56 PM

That's right about the consonants, but the vowel change has a different origin--it's the vowel alternation in the Old English strong verbs, called ablaut, a feature shared with other Germanic languages.

Ablaut patterns in the seven classes of Old English strong verbs
are explained in a fairly accessible way here:

here

This is all a matter of historical linguistics--not speculation or intuition--the verb forms are abundantly documented for Old English, which has many volumes of written texts extant.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,jOhn
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:58 PM

a styal manual?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 03:00 PM

No style manual needed, jOhn just a weblink to a bit of information!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 04:53 PM

No woop woop east?

Pardon the diversion, please. Oz was colonised (by English speakers) from the east, so all references to "the back of beyond" , "beyond the black stump" etc (even "back o' Bourke") carry an implication that you're referring to something "out west", where the pelican builds its nest. I suspect it builds on northern European folkloric notions about the west being somewhat mythical and/or unattainable.

So, while Woop Woop shares its existence with a lot of other places real or mythical, there can be no Woop Woop East and WW South or North are most unlikely; Woop Woop West is the real "boondocks", isolated "Hicksville", "Royston Vasey" equivalent.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 07:07 PM

Woop Woop West is the real "boondocks",

Hence the internet's "www"...


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:07 PM

Thanks for explaining that, McGrath. I've often wondered...


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:32 PM

The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd edition, cw 1992, has "pled v. A past tense and a past participle of plead." Under the verb proper it is listed as a second choice and "pleaded" as first. Not wrong but definitely on its way out.

I don't know if it has been retained in subsequent editions but the AHD has an excellent brief history of the development of the Indo-European languages and an apparatus which appends to many entries showing the development of word groups based on the proto-language. It also mentions the Brown Corpus which is a statistical analysis of English language speech patterns of usage. If you Google "The Brown Corpus tag-set" you will get an idea of their strategy in doing this much heralded analysis.

ps. When is the last time you saw the word "flivver" in print? 23 skiddoo!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:42 PM

When is the last time you saw the word "flivver" in print? 23 skiddoo!

About 6 months ago, when I was reading a novel set in the 30s, I came across "flivver" and I last used the word skiddoo about a month ago when referring to the removal of huskies from Mawson, Antarctica.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 11:34 PM

I had a kid's book which had flivver in the title!

As to "Irish Celtic," Bryson, whose book I mentioned earlier, is a little confusing. On page 23 he calls it "Celtic," in general and notes where it used to be spoken, over large areas of Europe, etc., and how it is dying out, but "not dead." He goes on to say it occurs in "shrinking pockets of Galway, Mayo, Kerry, and Donegal in Ireland," etc. Then, on page 35, he writes about the "Gaelic of Ireland." He then interchanges it and talks of the "Celtic" language of Manx being dead and that the "Gaelic of Ireland" may be the next to go. As I said, written in 1991; I'd love to see an update about that.

And, since we are doing grammar stuff, please refresh my memory:

If I write using the word "had" in front of a verb, i.e. "she had made" instead of "she made" which one is considered more correct and which one is acceptable, if not both, and which is more common? And, what is the technical difference, i.e. tense(?)?

Thank you!!:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 01:40 AM

I'm shooting from the hip here but I believe that "had made" is "past perfect" tense as opposed to just plain old "past tense". The idea is that the action was completed at a point in time and is over and done with (grammatically incorrect, I know but, well...). Past tense means that what was made in the past might still be being made now. The Aorist tense in Greek is akin to that, signifying an action being started at some point in the past and continuing on into the present. Perfection means completion.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 03:27 AM

I think it's easier to think of the past perfect as being further back in the past than the simple past. You only use the past perfect when speaking of one action in the past in relation to another, it seems to me. So, "Yesterday I went (simple past) to the store; I had gone (past perfect) the day before as well." Or, to use katlaughing's example, "She made a post to Mudcat today; she had made many previously."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 03:46 AM

Both the perfect and the past perfect (or pluperfect) are single complete actions, neither any more than the other--in contrast to the imperfect past ('I was going to the store').


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 05:12 AM

peregrina:
yes but the past perfect is used to state that something is already in the past when discussing something in the past tense.
So to use Kat's example "She made a post to Mudcat today; she had made many previously."
She made a post today (in the past). At the time that she made that post she had already made many previously.
The second sentence relates to an action already in the past at the time of the first sentence.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 05:16 AM

Yes--I wasn't clear--of course the pluperfect is prior, but both are equally snapshots/punctual/aorist in aspect rather than continuous or incomplete.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 09:41 AM

I like to think of the past perfect as "the past's past".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 10:50 AM

Thanks, you lot!

So, in a fictional version of an oral history, if I used past perfect it would be more correct? I know this is in my head, somewhere as Mr. Grassfield and Mrs. Worcester (old teachers) made sure it was, BUT I do most of this without thinking. My new book is in the final stages of editing and I've asked my editor to watch out for all of the "hads" as it seems to me there are too many, but maybe not as most of the actions are indeed in the distant past, though the story is written as in its time...oh, now I am confusing myself. I may post an example, later today; my grandson is on his way over for now. Thank you all, very much!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 12:12 PM

Oh, kat (sigh!) - poor Mr Grassfield and Mrs Worcester .... The past perfect is only "more correct" where it's more correct. The issue is not how far back in the past the action is in and of itself, but how far back it is in relation to some other action in the past. Typically, but not always of course, fiction is written as having happened in the past. Now, if the narrator, having established that he is in the past, then speaks of something further back in the past, prior to the linear main plotline as it unfolds, then out comes the past perfect tense (your "hads"). For example: "Before I tell you about how Aunt Agnes wrestled down a charging bull, you need to hear what little Lucy HAD said to her THE DAY BEFORE."

If, on the other hand, your narrator is speaking in the present tense, then he will use the simple past to speak of action that took place before the present action: "I can't believe [present tense] it - Aunt Agnes is in a wrestler's crouch, jaw clenched, awaiting the charging bull. I suddenly remember what little Lucy said [simple past] to her YESTERDAY."

However, you will notice that many writers will find ways around using the past perfect in situations where it would otherwise need to be used almost continually in a text, e.g., a relatively long passage relating a character's history prior to his entry into the story. When this is done, it is because the past perfect gets too "clunky" (assuming the writer is grammatically competent). You will notice that the past perfect is rare in modern poetry, for this reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 01:18 PM

"I had made a mistake last Monday, so I was specially careful, and as a result I made no mistake last Tuesday."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 02:48 PM

To simplify:
Jedge, I done wrong a spell back but I ain't a-gonna do it no more.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 03:10 PM

When "had had" shows up (in writing or in your head) and might be misunderstood, it can be helpful to mentally insert a word like "already" or "previously" between them.

"John had told me that he had (already) had his breakfast."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: s&r
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:19 PM

Smith where Jones had had had had had had had had had had had the examiner's approval.

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 08:53 PM

I forgot to mention that of course all vowels are voiced, which explains why speed and weed both end with a voiced consonant 'd' - since the vowel preceeding - /i:/ - is voiced (/i:/ sounds like 'ee' in sheep).

Past perfect is used in literature (and speech!) to fill in the background to events, to give a 'flashback' effect so to speak. It is the 'past before the past' so to speak. But that could be ten minutes, or ten millennia ago.

'Perfect' (derived from latin) translates into English as something like 'up to / before' hence present perfect refers to the period of time 'up to / before the present' while past perfect refers to the period 'up to / before the past'. All perfect forms imply a period of time over which there is no change in the situation or action of interest to us. Change in the past perfect is indicated using past simple:

"I had lived in London for 10 years before I MOVED to Paris"

note that the clause "I had lived in London for 10 years" can't stand on its own, as it assumed that something else must have followed this action.

Several languages (e.g French, Spanish and Italian) have forms similar to English perfect forms but are used differently: "io ho visto ieri" in Italian literally translates as "I have seen him yesterday" but obviously you can't use present perfect with past time expressions like 'yesterday' so the correct version in English would be "I saw him yesterday" just using past simple. On the other hand those languages also have different forms of the past for near or far off actions:

Ho avuto una macchina (I had a car, yesterday, last year)

Avevo una macchina (I had a car when I was 16)

English doesn't have that kind of remote past. The past perfect doesn't really perform that function as it simply refers to a period of time before a point in the past, which is uually connected in some way to that past event.

BTW, does this constitute thread drift?

That got me to thinking, I'm off to start a thread on the best grammatical / spelling howlers you've seen while out and about, or in books.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nickhere
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 08:54 PM

Ahem... io l'ho visto

...sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 11:12 PM

Thanks, I think.:-) I'm going to wait and see what the editor has to say about it all. I've been working on it too much to see anything clearly at the moment or to be objective. When I said I do it without thinking, I meant it is ingrained thanks to my old teachers.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 01:40 AM

"I had lived in London for 10 years before I MOVED to Paris"

or how about "I lived in London 10 years, then moved to Paris."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 04:27 AM

That's be ok, too, Slag. Past simple plus past simple gives us a series of actions, one after the other in the order they are said / written. Past perfect may come after past simple syntactically as in "Before I moved to Paris I had lived in London for 10 years" but is still understood to preceed it chronologically. Since both mean essentially the same thing here, in this case, I think it would simply be a subjective style choice as to which form to use.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 04:57 AM

Reading this thread (and I still use leapt as a matter of course: I leapt into action etc.) I note a couple things. First of all, in Old English, at the time when there weren't any "regular" verbs in English, just strong and weak ones, the vowels that turned into "ee" and "ea" in modern English (which Uncle DaveO referred to as "the exact same sound") were quite distinct; they have merged into one, but at the time that the irregular verb systems were being put in place they were not the exact same sound, indeed not even particularly close to each other. I'm pretty sure "bleep" is a modernism, and one expects modernisms to have regular tense forms, but "steep - steeped" does seem a bit odd, at least to an American mind like mine, brought up to think of tea as something quaint. And then in the matter of "creep", while "crept" is the past where it's a verb of motion (or near-immotion), I think in its modern use as a verb of emotion the past is "creeped":

The way he crept up and licked her calf really creeped her out.

On the other hand, I think in the case of sneak it's the irregular past, "snuck", that's the modernism.

Aye, laddies, she's an odd one that English language.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Penny S.
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 05:47 AM

I have been asked by children at times which is the correct of some forms and have had not the slightest idea. e.g. she leaned against the wall, she leant against the wall. Knowing the rules would have helped me, but not them. Notice the pronunciation of helpt.

I once had a day training for the Initial Teaching Alphabet, a brilliant wheeze for simplifying the learning of English, and noticed it fell down on some of these things. It was OK where some professional had done the transliteration, but as a teacher, I'd have had to write the stuff for display and so on. My particular bugbear was the schwa, for which they had no letter.

We had to write the story of Cinderella. I got stuck on her name, as the e and the a both needed the missing sign, and I was told that I should use the ITA e and a. Immediately undoing the principal of phonetical equivalence underlying the idea. I now realise that the terminal t and ed confusion would have done for it as well, because they would have gone for ed regardless of sound.

I have often thought that the nice thing about English is that we don't need to know the names of all those tenses and the complex forms that go with them but can string together weres and haves etc to place the action nicely in time, indicate whether it was a single or continuing event and so on just by ear.

I should have gone out by now, but have allowed myself to be distracted by the Mudcat.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 09:13 AM

'On the other hand, I think in the case of sneak it's the irregular past, "snuck", that's the modernism.'

Don't know how far back "snuck" goes, but until these degenerate recent days, it was classed as a "barbarity" (citation needed).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 09:49 AM

For an example of the deliberate miss-use of a past tense for poetic reasons, there's the first verse of "Cân y Melinydd" where the use of the wrong past tense retains the meter & scansion:

Mae gen i dy^ cysurus
A melin newydd sbon
A thair o wartheg brithion
Yn pori ar y fron

I have a cosy cottage ,
A newly builded mill.
And three contented dappled cows
Are grazing on the hill.

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 10:37 AM


I have often thought that the nice thing about English is that we don't need to know the names of all those tenses and the complex forms that go with them but can string together weres and haves etc to place the action nicely in time, indicate whether it was a single or continuing event and so on just by ear.


Yes, Penny! Thanks for putting it so clearly.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 11:33 AM

have often thought that the nice thing about English is that we don't need to know the names of all those tenses and the complex forms that go with them but can string together weres and haves etc to place the action nicely in time, indicate whether it was a single or continuing event and so on just by ear.
I would agree, but the standard of teaching is slipping so that children (and some teachers) can see no difference between:
I have
I got
I have got (or I've got)
I had
I had got (I had gotten)
etc.,

I wondered (16 years ago) why my son, instead of saying 'double it' or 'multiply it by two' was saying 'times it by two'.
On a parents evening I didn't get as far as asking his teacher because she explained one mark as being for a 50 question test, and "we take the score and times it by two to get a percentage"

There's a few of us pedants (boring old farts) who feel we are fighting a losing battle!

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 12:22 PM

"pluperfect tense" (eg "I had eaten")is what we called it, one of the three past tenses in English, along with the "perfect" (eg "I ate) and the "imperfect" (eg I was eating").

I gather the alternative terms are "past perfect", "present perfect" and "past continuous" - which seems if anything more confusing. I mean, "present perfect" for a past tense...


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 02:57 PM

Oxford English Dictionary-
snuck, chiefly U. S. pa. t and pple of sneak v.

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary-
snuck, past and past part of sneak.

Haven't found how old 'snuck' is; late 19th c.? The origin of the word sneak is uncertain acc. to the OED, late 16th c. (1570 the earliest quote) in print. Shakespeare was an early user.

Barbarism? dear me, thats so 19th c.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 04:03 PM

That one's analogous to take/took and speak/spoke


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 04:26 PM

Probably even closer to stick/stuck, and perhaps introduced on that analogy by nonnative-anglophone immigrants for whom long e and short i were allophones of a single phoneme.

Nigel says "There's a few of us..." but I was raised to say "There're a few of us..." (construing "a few" as plural). When and where I grew up (Seattle, b. 1954) "snuck" was normal colloquial but incorrect formal usage.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 05:34 PM

Right you are, Nickhere! In the spoken word "had" usually gets an emphatic stress or pause which emphasizes the fact that the subject is in the past.

I don't know how many of you are familiar with ASL (American Sign Language) but it is interesting that the grammar is often shown by facial expression. You can learn a lot about language origins by taking a class or two in this fascinating field.

Signing varies from country to country so the are equivalent course somewhere near to you. You ought to see the deaf singing folk songs! It is really beautiful!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 06:55 PM

"Barbarism? dear me, thats so 19th c."

19th c.? Oh, yes: before the barbarians won ...


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 06:02 AM

Not just the teachers. The children cannot hear differences such as those between f or v and th. Or see them, if demonstrated and given a mirror. And cannot be got to understand that would've is would have not would of.

By the way, what tense is "I would have been going to..."?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: s&r
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 07:21 AM

Subjunctive mood

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 07:36 AM

Well, yes, but start with yesterday, and finish with what prevented me, and it's some sort of past tense as well, isn't it?

I do like the subjunctive.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: DMcG
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:25 AM

Isn't that a song?

"O I do like to see a good subjunctive"


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 02:31 AM

Since the standard English pronunciation of "of" has "v" for its consonant, rather as if it were Welsh, there is no reason I can think of why a mirror should help a kid understand the difference between "-'ve" and "of". It's not that they can't tell an F sound from a V sound. They can distinguish "very" from "ferry", can't they? So that's not it.

Don't forget the optatives, volitives and gerunds.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jeanie
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 05:15 AM

Haruo, one of the things Penny is talking about here is people's inability to differentiate between the "f/v" sounds and the "th" sound, not between "f" and "v". The writing of "could of" in place of "could've" is a totally separate issue.

Penny says: "The children cannot hear differences such as those between f or v and th" - and I agree. Depending on the local accent that they have grown up with (and have hence filtered out certain differentiations between sounds), some people really do find it absolutely impossible to hear any difference between, for instance, the word "fought" and the word "thought". It's a case of the good old "faw ee faazend fevvers on a fwushes fwo" !!!

There are so many examples of this kind of thing. For instance, I've come across people who, because of the local accent they grew up with, cannot hear any difference between the short "i" sound and the long "ee" sound, with the result that the word "mill" and the word "meal" are both pronounced as "mill" - and try as you and they might, they just cannot hear the difference.

Somebody once confused me greatly by telling me about people who had been "stealing pillars from the hospital".


- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 08:08 PM

Thanks, Jeanie, but part of Penny's post seems to me still to have to do with a supposed inability to distinguish f from v: "The children cannot hear differences such as those between f or v and th. Or see them, if demonstrated and given a mirror. And cannot be got to understand that would've is would have not would of. I can understand and agree with the point about "fought" vs. "thought", but I can't see any reason why a child (or an untutored adult) ought to be able to tell from the sound in even the most refinedly royal English that the sound sequence we write as "[would]'ve", if uncontracted, would be "have" rather than "of". Indeed, if the uncontracted full form of the compound tense were not a feature of said speaker's dialect (or idiolect, in the case of a kid), it would probably make more sense for the speaker to guess "of". In my dialect, and in standard American English, an educated speaker asked to slow way down while saying "would've" is likely to move the sound between the d and the v from a minimal schwa "ə" in the direction of "ă" or even "ah" (as in "Avenue" or "Ave Maria") and may even insert a bit of an audible aspiration for the missing "h". But a speaker of a dialect where "would have gone" is never said but "would've gone" is, when asked to say "would've gone" extremely slowly, will most likely merely elongate the ə: — "woooooood uuuuhhhhvv".

Speaking of pedantry.

In my dialect (and this is a fairly widespread but not universal feature in the US) the three words underlined in the sentence "So taken was he with the young lady's attitude that he decided he wanted to marry merry Mary, when spoken at a normal conversational clip, are pure homophones.

In any event, as texting takes over from text, it will probably not matter by the time the children referred to are in the job market, whether they think the "correct" spelling is "have" or "of", it'll be as archaic a question as whether and why one ought to sing "Mine eyes have seen the glory" or "My eyes..."

Haruo


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: BobKnight
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 08:40 PM

Scots inflected endings used to be "it," rather than "ed." So, look/lookit,bark/barkit, and so on. However, as someone said earlier in the thread, proximity to our larger Southern neighbour and the media, mean that most of these are now disappearing. Mostly due to the media I think, since we've had those same neighbours for a thousand years, and it's only in the last thirty years or so that the erosion has taken place.

Interestingly enough the Scots past form of tell, is telt rather than told, and I've heard people from the Newcastle area using that as well. Scots is probably closer to the Anglo Saxon/Old English forms than "English" English.

In Aberdeen there is a road called The Lang Stracht (The Long Straight) - almost German/Dutch sounding with the soft "ch" velar fricative sound. Oddly enough, it's in a suburb of Aberdeen called Mastrick, which is very similiar to "Mastricht" which is in Holland if I remember correctly.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 09:39 PM

Haruo, I'm from southern Minnesota, transplanted to central Indiana forty-nine years ago. I don't know how one would pronounce "Mary, marry, and merry" differently from one another. I don't think I've ever heard a distinction made in my seventy-eight years.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 10:48 PM

the sound between the d and the v from a minimal schwa "ə" in the direction of "ă" or even "ah" (as in "Avenue" or "Ave Maria")
and
In my dialect (and this is a fairly widespread but not universal feature in the US) the three words underlined in the sentence "So taken was he with the young lady's attitude that he decided he wanted to marry merry Mary, when spoken at a normal conversational clip, are pure homophones.

Novel, to my ears and thus not pedantry (to me, anyway) Haruo.

My Oz ears distinguish "Avenue" (where the 'ave' is pronounced as in "have") from Ave Maria, which is pronounced as you have indicated in your neck of the woods. Similarly, my Oz ears hear 'marry' as in "have", 'merry' as in "bell" and 'Mary' as in "airy" and thus not as phonemes in the sense you described.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:22 AM

English-speaking Canadians often say 'Mary' as in 'airy;' that is the way they are taught. Here in Alberta, many say all three as Uncle Dave-Haruo do, and as I do (NM, TX, IL all places that have modified my speech).
Like Hawkerladdie, I think the TV has done much to eliminate regional speech.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 01:59 AM

Hawkerladdie, are (or were) your Scots past tenses formed in -it even when the verbal root ended in a voiced sound (or for that matter, do you have final voiced consonants in Scots at all? Of course you do, though maybe not final voiced stops). I ask because in terms of pronunciation, the English past tenses "looked" and "barked" end in "-t", not "-ed". (But the tense suffix usually written as "-ed", though pronounced "-t" in the just cited examples, is pronounced "-d" after verbs ending in vowels or consonants other than "d, t", such as "shampooed", "lagged" or "banned", and as "-ĭd" [the ĭ may be a schwa or a short e, depending on phonetic environment, idiolect, and rapidity of speech] after verbs ending in voiced stops or in "t", e.g. "banded" or "bunted". Bear in mind that when I say "verbs ending in such and such" I am referring to their final sound, not their final letter. English spelling being what it is, 'twere madness to base linguistic principles on orthographic prescriptions.

Rowan, I think I misled you into thinking in my dialect "Avenue" and "Ave Maria" have the same initial vowel. No, "Avenue" starts with pretty much the same vowel as "bad" (and "have"), but there are dialects I've heard of, mainly British but occasionally North American, where "have" has a vowel more like the Polynesian "mana" than like "manna [from heaven]"; more like "Ma. Pa." than like "Ma'am. Pam". Unfortunately, your efforts to clarify the initial vowels in "marry merry Mary" simply extends the problem to other examples. In my dialect, "airy" rhymes with "fairy", and "fairy" and "ferry" are as like as two phonological peas in a pod. When I hear you (i.e. someone who distinguishes these vowels) speak I register the difference as "their accent" but have no difficulty understanding it. You, on the other hand, might completely misunderstand an utterance in my dialect on account of the same difference. So "mutual intelligibility" of dialects (even among educated speakers of standard English dialects*) is not necessarily an equally wide street in both directions. I have the advantage in listening comprehension, but you have the advantage in avoidance of ambiguity.

Haruo

*using "standard English" in a broad sense that includes versions from Oxford and the BBC to Stanford and the ANU, and using "dialects" in the non-judgmental, scientific-linguistic sense in which all of us speak in dialects... (Remember the old adage, not true but truthful, "a language is a dialect with an army"...)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Monique
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 03:36 AM

"A language is a dialect with an army" I like this one! We French say "A language is a dialect that succeeded" but Jaurès said "We call patois the language of the defeated" (patois is a pejorative word in French and locutors of regional languages -it's what they're called here- are usually affected when their language is called that)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Slag
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:06 AM

The fox walks on rocks and watches out for hawks and the auks watch the fox.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: maire-aine
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:57 PM

Greetings to all of you brilliant people!

This thread has more than answered my original question, and provided some interesting reading in the process.

Perhaps someone would care to weigh in on another point of curiosity: why do certain verbs that end in "ind" take "ound" in the past tense? Examples: find/found, grind/ground, bind/bound, wind/wound.

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 03:59 PM

As to -ind words with the past as -ound, my nonacademic answer is that it's been that way since Anglo-Saxon, which was heavily into inflections, that is, meaning changes flagged by internal vowel changes. cf. goose/geese, foot/feet.

I see you said "certain verbs that end in '-ind'", and thereby hangs a comment. One of the verbs you cited was "wind", past tense "wound". That's true for one of the verbs "wind", but the other word "wind", meaning to blow wind through, as "I will wind my horn to signal for help," is pronounced with a short i, like the disturbance of air, and makes its past tense with "-ed": "He winded his horn for reenforcements."   

Do these make sense? No, but languages--especially English, the polyglot language that it is--are not required to make sense. They just are.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:21 PM

(Sorry again - that was me again).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:33 PM

That's okay, if I do say so, meself.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:43 PM

Again, maire-aine and Uncle DaveO, the spelling-vs-pronunciation-(dis)similarity issue comes up with "-ind". For me a more basic question, and one that might cast light on maire-aine's question, would be "why are there all these common verbs in English that are spelt (something to do with wheat?) "-ind" but pronounced as if spelled (stepped in to provide a brief respite?) "-ined", AND why do so many of them have "strong" past tenses in "-ound" (pronounced to rhyme with "downed", not to rhyme with "crooned", at least ootside Scotland)?? There are exceptions to the irregularity, for example the verb "to mind": no English-speaker, I think, would consider "She always mound her mother" a well-formed utterance. Or at least there's that one; right off the top of my head I can't think of another. Wait, yes! Blind! Fanny Crosby was blinded in infancy, not blound.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: peregrina
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:55 PM

-ind to -ound is part of the same vowel alternation (called ablaut) of the Old English strong verbs--just like got to gotten and so on--the same phenomenon as the question that started this thread.

Earlier I posted a link to what I thought was a reasonably accessible explanation--here it is again:

old english vowel alternation in strong verbs


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: maire-aine
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 05:10 PM

Thank you. Peregrina, I did read the earlier post, but I wasn't sure if it covered my second example.

Regards,
Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 06:38 PM

How has this reappeared when last entry seems to have been in Feb? Till this one - but you will see my point.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: bobad
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 06:43 PM

"How has this reappeared when last entry seems to have been in Feb?"

It was most likely refreshed by a spam post which was deleted by a clone.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: bubblyrat
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 04:49 AM

I think we should continue with this thread,now that it has re-appeared.
Things that people say which drive me to distraction ;
   " Jim lit a fire"    ? No, Jim LIGHTED a fire ! The fire WAS LIT by Jim.
"A U-Boat sunk the Lusitania " . No, The Lusitania WAS SUNK by a U-Boat.! A U-Boat SANK the Lusitania !
"Last night,my father rung me on the 'phone". No, last night my father RANG me on the 'phone ! I WAS RUNG by my father !
    " I clumb the mountain" ( Movie, "The Way West"----did they REALLY talk like that ?)
            " This railing is too low; we must higher it " ! ! What happened to "RAISE", I wonder ??
"It's doable,if you times it by two "
       What is that all about ?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: bubblyrat
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 04:56 AM

Getting back to the original point of the thread---

Life would be so much more simple ( not simpler ! ) if we were to adopt Chinese grammar . Example ;

      "Today, I go shopping."

Past tense ? Easy ! " Yesterday, I go shopping ."

Future tense ? Yes !! " Tomorrow, I go shopping " !!!

But their "Alphabet" does seem to be somewhat harder to deal with !


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 05:01 AM

"It's doable,if you times it by two "

That's a spelling mistake or typographical error.

It's double if you times it by two.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 06:42 AM

"Jim lit a fire? No, Jim LIGHTED a fire ! The fire WAS LIT by Jim."

Depends where you come from. I'd normally use lit as the past tense, and Oxford, Chambers and Collins all give both forms as alternatives.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 07:07 AM

Verb conjugation of the infinitive 'To Light'.


Just in case anyone's interested.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: s&r
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 07:32 AM

Wot! no imperfect.....

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 07:41 AM

There's always one . . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 12:10 PM

Here's one that used to confuse me, but I think I've got it sorted out now:

"He is taller than me." vs. "He is taller than I."

The second is traditionally correct, but I think that would come as news to most people in the US—or make them scoff outright.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

How about the distinction between "shall" and "will"?

I'm not 100% sure I understand the traditional usage myself. Suffice it to say that The King's English, by Henry Watson Fowler and Francis George Fowler, devotes about 10 pages to the subject (133 to 154).

"Shall" has almost disappeared from American usage except in questions:

"Shall I get you some coffee?" = "Do you want me to get you some coffee?"

We would almost never hear or say "I shall get you some coffee."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 04:07 PM


"Shall I get you some coffee?" = "Do you want me to get you some coffee?"

We would almost never hear or say "I shall get you some coffee."


Speak for yourself, Jim.

My wife: "Would you get me some coffee?" or maybe, "Would you turn off the radio?"

And my reply is reflexively, "I shall." Or sometimes, "I'll do that," if I'm in a very informal mood.

I don't find the difference between "shall" and "will", "should" and "would" at all daunting in concept, in either the first person or second/third person, and I don't find the correct usage at all hifalutin'. Nor do "can" and "may" hold any terrors, nor do "capital" and "capitol", nor "principle" and "principal".

But then I'm a court reporting professional, and English usage techniques are drummed into my psyche--meat and potatoes, bread and butter, so to speak.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 05:02 PM

"It's doable,if you times it by two "

That's a spelling mistake or typographical error.

It's double if you times it by two.


Esteemed Guest, I forget whether this came up much earlier in this thread (earlier than I'm prepared to search) or I saw it in a different thread recently but what you describe as a typo might not be. Someone with the same irritation as mine, complained that kids these days often describe the multiplication table as "the times table" and, instead of saying "multiply by two" say "times it by two".

The act (in this case) of doubling is "doable", another term I regard as lacking felicity. But I'm old fashioned about many things.

And in reading back I came across Haruo's gentle commentary on one of my posts; would that such gentleness was universal. As it is I share a corridor with a bunch of academic linguists who might (but haven't to me, yet) be similarly explanatory.

Cheers, Rowan. And have a Happy Christmas.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 06:14 PM

He is taller than I (am). The am is understood.
He is taller than me is more common in the U. S. of A.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 06:48 PM

>>kids these days often describe the multiplication table as "the times table"<<

A quick Google search shows teachers (not just kids) using it in 1875.

"Kids these days"....


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: s&r
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 07:12 PM

What about 'He is taller than he'

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 08:09 PM

'"Than" is a grammatical particle serving as both conjunction and preposition in the English language. It introduces a comparison, and as such is associated with comparatives, and with words such as more, less, and fewer. Typically, it seeks to measure the force of an adjective or similar description between two predicates.'

Whether one uses 'I' or 'me' in that construction will depend on your decision regarding the above. One is able to solve the problem by completing the sentence. He is taller than I am. Else, use He is taller than me.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 08:21 PM

>>kids these days often describe the multiplication table as "the times table"<<

A quick Google search shows teachers (not just kids) using it in 1875.

"Kids these days"....


I'm sure you're right, Lighter. The target of the expression of dismay was not the name of the table but referring to multiplication (in the various verbal declensions) as "timesing" (if you'll pardon the pun) even by teachers who probably knew no better.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 08:58 PM

I have fond memories of my grandfather teaching me the times table.

He also ran for a time a trading post, for which articles were ordered from wholesalers by dozens and gross.
When without my handy-dandy calculator, I still tend to count by fours- four, eight, dozen, sixteen, 20, dozen2, 28, 32, dozen3,.... gross (144).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 09:50 PM

You got me, Rowan. In my youth (as documented in the film "10,000 BC") we never talked about "timesing."

...Kids these days!!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 11:29 PM

I'm sorry folks. After almost a year of running this thread, it has come to light that George Bush IS in fact to blame for all of this. Now break it up and go home......Move along there Johnnie......Nothin' to see here..............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Ringer
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 10:17 AM

S&r's contribution, Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:19 PM, of all those "had"s only makes sense if punctuated correctly.

I knew it as:

The teacher thought that although Smith, where Jones had had "had had" had had "had," "had had " had it. Mine has 10 consecutive "had"s - how does s&r punctuate his 11?

Smith, where Jones had had "had had" had had "had;" "had had" had the examiner's approval - 10 again, same as mine. Any other offers?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Ringer
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 10:29 AM

Answering my own question,

Smith, where Jones had had "had had" had had "had;" "had had" had had the examiner's approval

has 11 consecutive "had"s.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 03:14 PM

Dave O: 'I don't find the difference between "shall" and "will" ... at all daunting in concept.'

I wonder: if you tried reading the relevant pages in "The King's English" would you still feel that way? I believe the issue is more complicated and subtle than you think.

I read it long ago, and here's what I think I have retained:

In the first person, "I/We will" indicates personal choice (or an act of will, if you will) while "I/We shall" indicates that the matter is beyond my/our control.

"I will bring you a cup of tea" is correct (I choose to do it; I am willing to do it).

"I shall be 63 on my next birthday" is correct (I can't help it; it will happen whether I like it or not).

"I think we shall have rain today; therefore, I will bring my umbrella."
(I have no control over the rain; bringing an umbrella is my choice.)

In the second or third person, things get turned around.

"Thou shalt not steal" is correct. God is speaking the second person. It is God's will that we humans should not steal.

"You shall finish your homework before bedtime!" (I insist.)

"...but you will keep dawdling!" (You are defying me; we are having a battle of wills.)

"Should" and "would" are the subjunctives of "shall" and "will".

"If I should die before I wake" is correct. (I don't want to die, but in case it happens anyway....)

In the above usage "should" does not imply "ought to"—but that's how we Americans usually use "should" today:

"I shouldn't have another cookie" = "I ought to forego it"

Mind you, I don't claim to always follow these rules myself—most of the time I don't even try—but I find it interesting to know about them.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 07:48 PM

Jim, where Henry had had 'had had' had had 'had'. 'Had had' had had the teacher's approval.

The original had eleven 'hads' in it, FYI.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 09:33 PM

"One is able to solve the problem by completing the sentence. He is taller than I am. Else, use He is taller than me. " Guest/ 8:09

That doesn't work, surely? One could say: He is taller than I (am), but not say: He is taller than me (am) or (is).

Colloquially, like most of us, I suppose, I say: Did you hear me knocking on your door? That was me!

Formally I say, Did you hear me knocking on your door? That was I!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 06:32 AM

I came to conclusion decades ago that instead of trying to force English into a straightjacket based on Latin grammar, we should accept "taller than me", with "me" being an emphatic pronoun analogous to the French "moi".


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 11:41 AM

Jim said:


Dave O: 'I don't find the difference between "shall" and "will" ... at all daunting in concept.'

I wonder: if you tried reading the relevant pages in "The King's English" would you still feel that way? I believe the issue is more complicated and subtle than you think.


The rules or principles you then set out are exactly what I have understood for fifty years, and (mostly) applied. As I say, I don't find them at all daunting in concept.

Later in your post, you say:
"I shouldn't have another cookie" = "I ought to forego it"

Not on the subject of will/shall/would/should, but your next-to-last word touches on a pet peeve of mine. That word should (ought to) be "forgo". This is not a mere spelling issue, but a wrong word issue.
"Forego" is to go ahead of, to proceed before. "Forgo" is to do without, to give up.   That initial element, "for", is the same one we see in forbid, forget, forbear, forswear, and so on. It's a negation of the verb in the last part of the word, whereas "fore" deals with the verb's time or position.

(pedant mode off)

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 04:03 PM

Dave, you seem like a well informed bloke so you might be able to help me out. If I were to refer to you post by using the word "apropos" , I've always used the construction "A propos your post...." by virtue of the French origin but usually omitting the accent over the "a". But I find I'm in a diminishing minority, outnumbered by those who insert "of" immediately after it. Why do think that might be?

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 04:49 PM

I've sometimes used Re, but I, too, ain't sure that that is correct.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Monique
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 05:33 PM

In French it's "à propos de... something", meaning "about something". Unless it'd be just "à propos" meaning "at the right moment"


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 05:52 PM

'Catters have come up trumps again!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 09:47 PM

He is taller than me.

That's fine. The subject of the sentence is "He". "Me" is in the object case (predicate) as it should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 10:56 PM

Why wouldn't it be "He is taller than I"?

He is
I am

"He is taller than I (am)" versus "He is taller than me (am/is)".


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 12:37 AM

I'm in North America. Today, people answer "Thank you" with "No problem."

'He is taller than I'. However, I would say 'He is taller than I am' OR 'He is taller than me.'

'He is as tall as I' sounds just a bit put on. However, I'd never even consider correcting someone for saying that just because I'd rather hear 'He is as tall as me.'

The purpose of the spoken language is to communicate. Either will do, but I'd say me, not I.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tangledwood
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 02:57 AM

I'm in North America. Today, people answer "Thank you" with "No problem."

That's a common response in Australia too. Another one is "too easy".
Oh, OK, I'll make it harder for you next time.

The response to "thank you" I most often came across in US was "sure". I don't know what the correct reply to that should be. Umm, "yes I'm sure I want to say thank you?"


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 10:04 AM

Rowan, you asked:

I've always used the construction "A propos your post...." by virtue of the French origin but usually omitting the accent over the "a". But I find I'm in a diminishing minority, outnumbered by those who insert "of" immediately after it. Why do think that might be?

Why people insert "of"?   Damfino.

I would never think to put an "of" in there, and I haven't been particularly aware of that usage.   On a nonacademic basis, I think of the use of "of" in that connection as a mistake.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 11:31 AM

OK, thanks. I understand current usage trumps historical usage, and it always has been mainly about being understood.

I am the very model of a modern English professor
I'm down with how real people talk and these are things I'm noted for:
Teaching how to get your point across is what I sure can do
And participles go where it sounds comfortable for them to...

I've made it through so far focusing on whether something makes sense or not, then I can think about where it's correct. The whole point of language is communication, and when someone bitches about subject-verb agreement, or anything else all the time, it hinders communication a lot more than a technical mistake. All that to say I agree.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 01:29 PM

"No problem" is by far the most frequent response to "Thank you" here in Dixie. "Sure" may be tied for third with "Don't mention it!" Also occasionally heard is "Any time!"

I can't even remember the last time I heard someone say, "You're welcome," and when I say it, people look askance.

People under 50, anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 02:08 PM

Monique gave the French usage of apropos. T
the term has been in English usage (adjective) since the 17th c., meaning "both relevant and opportune."
It appeared as a preposition in print in 1910; "apropos of."
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
Dave O, I tend to agree with you, although some might argue.

In the foreign word section of that dictionary, there are entries that I don't think have entered English in translation.
à propos de rien- apropos of nothing.
à propos de bottes- apropos of boots- used to change the subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 02:16 PM

I think that Grammar is Grim...Grimmer than Grammer though are those who tell you that you've spelt Grammer wrong, but the double grimmergrammergrommerts and the ones who tell you you've spelt spelled wrong too.

Of course, the GrimstoneGrammarstones of English Grammar are those who cannot sleep if the apo'strophey' is put in the wrong place...

I like Elizabethan Grammur the beft.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 02:51 PM

What a CAT-a-strophe! (Jimmy Durante)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 03:14 PM

Among the crowd I encountered in the late 70s (in Oz), a frequent response to "Thank you" was "No River Murrays". This was a Strine version of "No Worries" and the increasing frequency of both seemed a bit of a reaction against the creeping influence of US marketing programs that were teaching people like shop assistants to say "You're welcome" in response to a "Thank you". Personally, I'd more frequently respond to a "Thank you" with "It's my pleasure".

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 05:57 AM

"sleeped", "weeped", "keeped", "sweeped"

weeped - poetically certainly.
sweeped - yes - it depends on your particular patois.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 04:45 PM

The check-out people in our supermarket tend to respond to "Thank You" with "Thank You", and customers are likely to respond in like manner. It can go on for quite some time as they bat it back between each other. Especially if you are in the queue behind them.

I dislike the kind of grammarian who imagines there is just one way of saying things and the rest are plain wrong, but I love the ones who help us understand what the variations can tell us about who we are and where we come from.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 09:51 AM

dreamed/dreamt
Both acceptable artistically:
"I dreamt I slept in marble halls"
or
"I dreamed a dream in days gone by"

Cheers


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: EBarnacle
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:52 PM

I dreamed a dream the other night,
Lowlands, Lowlands away, my John...

I find it amazing that the Microsoft grammar check finds fault with intensives such as "had had."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:44 PM

I dreamt that I dwelled in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my side, .....

(Ah, those were the days-)


Nigel, dremt is inserted parenthetically in the OED.
I prefer my own creation, drempt. It fits the usual pronunciation on this side (west) of the pond, but so far no one has accepted it to their dictionary.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:55 PM

Surely alternative forms like learned/learnt, dreamed/dreamt, leaned/leant (cont p 94) are so common as to be hardly worth considering in context of this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Amos
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:55 PM

HE is taller than ME is.   ME is taller than his sister am.
WE is taller nor them. Him am tallest of all of us'n's.

Any questions?



A


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 04:18 PM

I be taller than he be, baint I?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:14 PM

it should be; a question concerning English Grammar?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:17 PM

beep /beeped, but not beep/ bept


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:26 PM

beep/bept - I like it, though I haven't been bept for years.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:33 PM

This was a great series that aired on Public TV in the US a while back. Some of it's a bit dated, but it has a lot of interesting information about how English grammar started to evolve into what it is now. One of the things I find kind of interesting is that English is really a patois of several other languages, and evolved more for the purpose of expediting commerce between peoples who spoke different languages (which no doubt is why it's the preferred language of commerce today)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FtSUPAM-uA&feature=PlayList&p=C31CBDD3AC8C4837&index=0

To have it automatically proceed to next video instead of having to do that manually, click on the words "play all" immediately to the right of "Playlist" over on the right hand side.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 08:48 PM

"We/they are both the same height" avoids the problem (if you think it is a problem).

MtheGM - learned/learnt seems to be the precedent for earned/earnt - as in "Bankers earnt billions in bonuses despite posting losses on the year." - No they didn't, they stole the money!

Ross


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 09:53 PM

Not sure what your point is, Ross ~ grammatical or satirical. Anyhow, looking for analogies [as in the non-existence of 'bept' for beeped', rubricated above], is as sterile as trying to find logic in English spelling {tough, bough, cough, ...} ~ the whole point being that English doesn't work in that logical fashion, so that 'learned/learnt' provides no necessary precedent for non-existent 'earned/earnt'; tho this perhaps anyhow catching on thru misplaced usage?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 05:00 PM

Without checking it in the dictionary (just in case I'm wrong!)
Learned & learnt are two different words.
Learned (prounounced learn'ed) means erudite, and is an adjective "the learned judge"
Learnt means having taken on the knowledge "he learnt his two times table"

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 05:14 PM

After checking in the (Oxford) dictionary, learned/learnt and learned are two different words.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 04:07 PM

The special "learned" represents two words, according to how you pronounce it. One of them can also be spelled (or spelt) "learnt".

It's a great language...


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 12:58 PM

we prefer intellectual masturbation,take your all hole sex scenes,somewhere else.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 12:59 PM

or to use two anglo saxon words,which are very apt, Fuck Off


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 03:13 PM

It would be nice if the PTB would put in a post that says "there was a post deleted from this spot" -- it gets confusing following the flow of the convo otherwise!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 05:04 PM

But it makes for quite entertaining reading sometimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 08:06 PM

Can't argue.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 10:19 AM

To go back to the otiginal question, its a matter of phonetics rather than grammar. 'p' is unvoiced, so it attracts the unvoiced 't'. Similarly the negative prefix 'in' is modified by the consonant that follows it. Illogical, irreligious, imperfect,indelible.
In Yorkshire, this tendency is still more pronounced than in other parts of the country, you will hear 'olt people' referred to, and Jim Laker, the cricket commentator, always referred to batsman David Steele as'Davit Steele'


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 11:15 AM

Also, even now spelling has now become more regularised, and doesn't follow pronunciation,the phonetic differences still remain. hence from above, sweeped would still be sounded sweept, and beeped as beept.
English grammar and orthography is almost 100% predictable if all the factors are taken into account.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 04:07 PM

I dreamt I saw Joe Hill last night...



I dreamt that all people will be judged by their character and not the color of their skin...


artisticly dreamed is dreamier to my ear than dreamt.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 04:51 PM

Donuel, I agree with you about the attractions of "dreamed" versus "dreamt".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 09:02 PM

But which is more common. Both are clearly ok.'Dreamed' and 'Drempt'are both used, it would be interesting to see who habitually ueses which, and why.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 09:15 PM

If it was (or I wanted it to be) short and sharp, it's dreamt, but
if it was (or I wanted it to be) long, langourous &/or dreamy, it's dreamed.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 11 May 10 - 07:57 PM

You don't say.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 May 10 - 01:15 PM

If it was (or I wanted it to be) short and sharp, it's dreamt, but
if it was (or I wanted it to be) long, langourous &/or dreamy, it's dreamed.

Cheers, Rowan
that sounds australian


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 13 May 10 - 01:07 AM

"Guilty" Your Honour, for that's where I hail from.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 May 10 - 12:34 PM

So would it be out of keeping to use "dreamed" for a nightmare?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 May 10 - 05:51 PM

I dreamed a dream, I nightmared a nightmare. Maybe not.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Rowan
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:46 AM

So would it be out of keeping to use "dreamed" for a nightmare?

On the (rather rare) occasions when I was recalling them I always said "I had a nightmare." Using "nightmare" implied, rather strongly I thought, that I was dreaming at the time rather than nocturnally dealing with brumbies. In fact, the only animal that appeared (in recurrent dreams I recall from my adolescence) was a boomer, but that's another story.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:33 PM

Rowan:
"Guilty" Your Honour, for that's where I hail from.
As this is a discussion on grammar, may I point out that it is considered (by many) that a preposion is not something to end a sentence on.

Cheers
Nigel (tongue most firmly in cheek!)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Smokey.
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 08:51 PM

Both my grammars were English.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 09:53 PM

As this is a discussion on grammar, may I point out that it is considered (by many) that a preposion is not something to end a sentence on.

Considered what?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 04:19 AM

Another grammar question....
if te singular of children is child, what is the singular of brethren, and how s it derived?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,^&*
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 04:35 AM

Generally, "brethren" is used as the plural of one or more particular senses of "brother" e.g. monk, fellow trade union member, member of certain religious groupings... (See Concise Oxford Dictionary).

It's an archaic plural form, essentially.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:57 AM

As this is a discussion on grammar, may I point out that it is considered (by many) that a preposion is not something to end a sentence on.

And that is a rule, up with which i will not put.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Les from Hull
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:41 AM

The singular of brethren is brother. As is the singular of brothers.

And as for the old chestnut about not ending sentences with a preposition, I suggest you look up 'phrasal verbs', a problem area for many people learning English as an additional language.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Penny S.
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 11:26 AM

I have realised that ages ago a post of mine caused confusion.

A. Some dialects of English use an f sound for unvoiced th, and a v sound for voiced th. This goes back at least to Domesday book. children grown up with this variant cannot hear the differences, and some cannot see that one pair of sounds uses the teeth and lips, and the other the tongue and teeth.
B. Would've is a separate issue, in which the person using "would of" does not realise that this does not make sense, while "would have" does.
C. I omitted "went down the town and got off of the bus" and "can I go toilet?"

And reading on I realise that there are now three new usages which are lost issues, but wind me up no end. "Fascia" for "facia", as in plastic bits on houses fitted by double glazing salesmen. "Gifted" instead of various past tenses of "give". Thought it was an adjective, used as in "he was a gifted guitarist", or possibly "he was gifted with great musicianship", but not "he gifted the school a trophy". And the pronounciation of wort as in figwort, liverwort, lungwort, squinancywort, and especially Saint John's Wort as if it was spelled "wart". Oxford gives "wert" which makes sense as it has the same form as word, world, worth, work, worm, worst, and worthy. I gather that parts of the States use the "wart" form.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:47 PM

This Yank has never seen "St. John's Wart [sic]," so there's still hope.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 10:40 PM

It was on his right elbow.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 11:07 AM

I think I can safely assert the people of the US don't even have a pronunciation for St John's wort, because until recently nobody had ever even heard of it.

So when it began to appear in the news, we simply sounded it out and made it rhyme with 'sort,' 'Mort' and 'short'.

I agree with you about 'gifted.' I believe that the form 'He gifted it to the school...' originated with lawyers. In the US, there is a combined estate and gift tax. It's a package deal which prevents the wealthy from avoiding estate taxes by giving away assets right and left when death seems imminent. There are limits on how much one can give away, and how soon before death they can be given.

Lawyers have become so focused on the word gift from 'estate and gift tax' that they started using the form 'gifted' instead of 'gave.'   

If I presented you with a necklace of Czech glass beads, a lawyer would say I gave it to you. But if I gave you $30,000, kept a record and paid tax on it, the lawyer would say I gifted it.

I believe that people sensed that 'gifted' was associated with wealth and prestige, and they copied.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Penny S.
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM

Ahha on the wort. I did check with a Californian of my acquaintance, so I assumed it was common usage, like route (UK root, US rowt) or buoy (UK boy, US booey). It's a bunch of people on both sides of the pond unaware of botanical usage, looking at the end of the word rather than the beginning.

Curiously, on a recent program, a chap (ethnobotanist) teaching how to make remedies out of herbs started out with the wart pronounciation, met a herbal specialist of the older sort who used the wert version, started using wert himself, and then, by the end of the programme had slipped back to wart, very gradually.

And thank you for the background on "gifted". It fits with something I had noticed about the formality of the sort of cases it was used for but had been hard to define (as it was definitely leaking out). Yesterday I noticed someone on the Beeb doing the same thing with another adjective, but have mercifully forgotten which one.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tangledwood
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 10:48 PM

or buoy (UK boy, US booey).

Whether or not this is different pronunciation in UK and US I don't know, but it is very deliberate in maritime radio communications. I first became aware of it when communicating with an aircraft searching for a missing fishing boat. The pilot's statement that "I have sighted a boy in the water" required quite different responses from the rescue organisation depending upon whether he had sighted rubber or flesh.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 10:15 AM

And "route" is not necessarily "rowt" in the U.S.   

I admit that in my childhood in Minnesota (30s to 40s) I absorbed "rowt", as in a "morning paper rowt". But sometime before my 21st year I had learned that "root" was "right"!

It's largely a geographical distribution. I've seen language maps that break down exactly this pronunciation distinction.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 11:09 AM

You don't get your kicks on rowt 66.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 11:37 AM

Another question.

How (in UK) did to word presently change meaning (I think in the 18th century) from meaning now to meaning in a short while?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:31 PM

I certainly wouldn't know when, but I can surely imagine "presently" first being thought of as "Now, instantly", then "REALLY quick now," and then "I have it in mind for current execution, and I'll get it done in just a little bit," and pretty soon forgetting the urgency and expanding the now-built-in delay. A sort of gradual widening of the time parameter, forgetting the initial immediacy.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: gnu
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 04:53 PM

And in modern acronym, RFN, Dave.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 08:56 PM

I'd like to add something about the "th" blend. Some people in N.S.
pronounce just the "t". I've heard some people pronounce "menthol"
for example as "mentaul", instead of the "th" sound. I am guilty of
doing this sometimes myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 04:13 AM

What makes me cringe is when, for example, someone writes in a report:

There are presently 30 people using the service when they mean there are currently.....


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tangledwood
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 05:07 AM

Pronunciation:/ˈprɛz(ə)ntli/
adverb
1 after a short time; soon:
this will be examined in more detail presently
2 at the present time ; now:
there are presently 1,128 people on the waiting list
Usage
Presently has two meanings. The older, meaning 'now', dates from the 15th century and is the dominant meaning in American English, as in he is presently chair of the committee. The second meaning is' in a while, soon ', and used to be the chief meaning in British English, as in he will see you presently. Nowadays the first meaning is just as common in British English as the second, and just as correct, despite the objections of some traditionalists.


source - Oxforddictionaries.com

Enjoy your cringing. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Jun 10 - 10:26 AM

What makes me cringe is when, for example, someone writes in a report:

There are presently 30 people using the service when they mean there are currently.....


They mean the same thing in the United States. I'm sorry we make you cringe. Time to join the world community and realize different places can use words differently.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: bubblyrat
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 05:37 AM

In the original "Saint" stories by Leslie Charteris, one can often find references to Simon Templar's smoking habits thus ;

" The Saint lighted another cigarette".

       I rather like that,although I fear that most people,especially the young,would use "lit" instead of "lighted".

The cause of some mystification to me currently is the American usage of the word "Momentarily" ,meaning soon, shortly,etc.,as in "I shall be with you momentarily" ( Spok to Kirk in a Star Trek film).Whereas we in Britain use the word to suggest an event of very short duration,as per "The lightning flash illuminated the scene momentarily", although there is a distressing tendency nowadays for British people to spell ( those that can ) lightning as "lightening". But of course,it doesn't really matter,says my girlfriend (who is a teacher !!). Bollocks !!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 09:02 AM

Bubblyrat said, in part:

The cause of some mystification to me currently is the American usage of the word "Momentarily" ,meaning soon, shortly,etc.,as in "I shall be with you momentarily"

My preferred answer to that is, "Surely I'm entitled to a little bit more time than that!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 11:28 AM

I was taught that "lit" referred to fire and "lighted" referred to illumination. Is this not the same across the pond?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 10:41 AM

For the folks who are sad about the casual responses to "Thank You": Hally's response to that was always either "You're entirely welcome", or "You are more than welcome". I find myself using those often. Tw


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Patsy Warren
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 10:17 AM

Teenspeak grammar will always be irritating to some, that is the whole point of it. It sets them apart from the older generation (or old farts) and is a form of rebellion to conform. I was listening to a group of girls on a bus saying 'I'm like this and I was like that and it was just so cool'. This way of talking is quite widespread from state schools and public schools alike so it isn't a class thing either. But I do wish as with other trends it passes as quickly as possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Jul 10 - 04:11 AM

What makes me cringe is when, for example...

...people supposedly passionate about Folk Usage & Vernacular Idioms reveal themselves to be a bunch of reactionary pedants hung up on notions of Correctness in a field (i.e. language) which is constantly evolving and determined entirely by Pragmatics. You really should be out there celebrating this stuff as living Folklore, not bemoaning it for its deviancy from some illusury rule.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: mousethief
Date: 30 Jul 10 - 04:25 AM

Teenspeak grammar will always be irritating to some, that is the whole point of it. It sets them apart from the older generation (or old farts) and is a form of rebellion to conform. I was listening to a group of girls on a bus saying 'I'm like this and I was like that and it was just so cool'. This way of talking is quite widespread from state schools and public schools alike so it isn't a class thing either. But I do wish as with other trends it passes as quickly as possible.

The great thing about it is that it evolves so rapidly that very little of it actually gets into normal usage. Words and phrases that were the absolute height of coolness when I was in school are completely unknown now. And so on it goes.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: framus
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 01:37 PM

I've been browsing way back to the subject of dreamed/dreamt, and wondered if anyone knows any other word that ends in mt. And you can't have Gustav Klimt, 'cos he's a proper noun, and anyway he's foreign.

Also wreaked/wrought. My garden railings are not made of wreaked iron.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 01:54 PM

Undreamt: not yet imagined!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 02:05 PM

Unkemt- no, unkempt


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Amos
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 03:37 PM

Looks like we're stumt.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 04:25 PM

Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Company of India.

I wouldn't wonder that their grammar leaves something to be desired.
What is your grammar question?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 04:46 PM

SPAM!
[Spam deleted] -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 04:53 PM

No, Jim, they don't sell Spam. Don't think I have eaten any since WW2.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: EBarnacle
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 03:55 PM

"About 6 months ago, when I was reading a novel set in the 30s, I came across "flivver" and I last used the word skiddoo about a month ago when referring to the removal of huskies from Mawson, Antarctica."

That's Ski Doo, a brand of jet ski [the land version of the personal watercraft] and William Saroyan's fabulous story "The Phantom Flivver."

Strip-ed bass

A long standing issue I have had was with the pronunciation of knish. Many pr0nounce it as kunish; I have even heard nish. The correct pronunciation is, of course knish, with both letter pronounced and elided into each other.


"I'd like to add something about the "th" blend. Some people in N.S.
pronounce just the "t". I've heard some people pronounce "menthol"
for example as "mentaul", instead of the "th" sound. I am guilty of
doing this sometimes myself." Clearly a cognitive issue.

Of late [the past couple of years] I have been hearing or perhaps attending to "I and my..." and "me and my..." I thought this was a new aberration until I was reading a book from the early 19th century and found the same thing. Aaaargh.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Slag
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 09:10 AM

Pot Purri!?

Stink, stank, stunk

Think, thank, thunk!

And then there was Dizzy Dean, baseball player and announcer who once commented on an extra-ordinary play (of words?) "He slud into first base!"


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 06:28 PM

Me and My Shadow, walkin' down the avenue.....



I thinked it was so, but twuzn't


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Dec 10 - 07:20 PM

I have been hearing or perhaps attending to "I and my..." and "me and my..."

There is nothing wrong with either one of those, if the form of the first-person noun fits its function in the sentence.

"I and my brother went downtown" is a perfectly good choice of the form for what is being said. "I and my brother" is(are?) the subject, and thus "I" is called for. Many would prefer the order "My brother and I", but that's not a grammatical distinction as such. Naming the other person first is more a matter of politeness.

"When we got there, a drunk insulted my brother and me." That's fine too. "My brother and me" is the object, not the subject.

One can test these by leaving out the other person:
"I went downtown." ("I" as subject) and
"a drunk insulted me." ("me" as object).

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 10:55 AM

Dave, when I was a kid, I was taught that the objective form, me and my ... or I and my..., was poor grammar. I suspect you were also. Suddenly I and those around me seem to be inundated with it. Sounds clumsy, doesn't it.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 12:20 PM

I think the preference of 'and I' over 'I and', is just that it avoids consecutive vowels especially in relation to how syllables are concatenated. Normal spoken English would sound like 'An di', whereas in the other case unless each word is deliberately enunciated as two words, it would sound like 'Iand'.

There are similar processes in other languages where word combinations, and changes in spelling exist purely to ease pronunciation.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 12:43 PM

SPB-Cooperator, according to present-day standards of politeness, "I" comes last in any list of persons, in any language I know. "My husband and I" is so-called Queen's English. Of course, like all conventional modesty, this sometimes sounds like hypocrisy, e.g. "My helicopter pilot and I are going to arrive at 8 PM".

"I and my dog like sausages" would seem acceptable, though. "Me and you and a dog named Boo [are] traveling ..." violates the laws of grammar and politeness, but at least it rhymes.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:49 AM

It seems the rules of grammar regarding what is polite or not polite to use is perhaps not as strict as it used to be. All generations of young people I suspect have been criticised by authoriative figures regarding the decline of standards in English grammar. My parents criticised my 60/70's generation who were encouraged to cram everything in quantity rather than quality but compared to my sons generation my parents did not have anything really to worry about. I have never been over confident of using grammar and when using the Royal 'My Husband and I' I was met with stifled giggles.

Now I don't worry or stress about it anymore however I had an occasion to to correct my son on something he said and he looked at me and told me to 'just chill out.'


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 01:20 PM

What is the socially-approved way of getting across the concept of "My Husband and I", in the UK?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:31 PM

"My Husband and I"

Isn't that what Mrs Windsor says?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 05:33 AM

These days I would say 'my partner and I' rather than husband whether I was married or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 07:56 AM

GOD, I love grammar pedantry, out of all proportion.

Can someone help settle an argument about 'shrimp'?

Is the collective noun 'shrimp', or can you have '7 shrimps' on your plate?

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: s&r
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 08:21 AM

The collective noun for shrimp(s) is troup(e). The plural can be either shrimps or shrimp.

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 10:20 AM

When I was 7 I had my primary school class rolling with laughter when my story was read out by the teacher who drew attention to my use of meeses as plural for mice, all because of Jinx the cat hating those meeeses to pieces.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:21 PM

The modern member of society behaves as if he/she were shept.

(I retire sheepishly).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:23 PM

After I had stepped out of the intersection, I felt that I had been bept. (At).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 04:43 PM

I'm afraid that should be:

After I had stepped out of the intersection, I felt at whom that I had been bept.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: framus
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 07:50 PM

I still don't understand shrimps and troup(e). Am I missing something?
By the way, didn't shrimp used to have a rather rudish meaning as a verb?
Dave.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: s&r
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 03:53 AM

There was a question asking for the collective noun for shrimp. Collective nouns are things like a gaggle of geese broadly meaning a group. The collective for shrimps is troup, sometimes with an 'e' on the end - take your pick. The plural of shrimp is shrimp or shrimps.

There's a vulgar(?)( meaning of shrim as a verb meaning toe sucking (as allegedly David Mellor and Antonia de Sancha some years ago)

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Slag
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 05:37 PM

Me and you and a dog named Boo works because "Me and You" function as a plural. Rephrased it would be "We and a dog named Boo" not poetic but you see my point, don't you?

re Shrimp: It's funny that most of our finny little friends and venison of the deep (just joking, as I am now sure that some here just love to jump on word play as though it was the original sin) have names that are the same whether singular or plural. Fish or fishes works but having caught a fish or several fish seems simpler. Trout is fine but "trouts" is certainly awkward. Shark and sharks sounds fine either way. Ass and asses if fine for the land dwellers but bass, and no basses.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 06:05 PM

I bept my horn and I blew my own trumpet


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: framus
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 09:09 PM

Schweik - are you double jointed?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 04:24 AM

Slag (22 Dec 10 - 05:37 PM), "Me and you and a dog named Boo" has that "me" for subject as mentioned by other posters above, it should be "I" (in noncolloquial contexts). Secondly, by conventional modesty, "I" should come after "you". Also, "a dog" would be wrong stylistically, because the fellow traveler being addressed will know the dog already.

"You and I and that dog named Sly" might be better. But then, lyrics for feel-good songs are often "incorrect" on purpose, to symbolize freedom from pedants like us [objects!]. We just gotta know in case we write texts for more formal purposes.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Bristol
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 06:14 AM

Or as it is here in the South West me and thee and a dog named Smee.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 12:56 PM

Should meself be penalized for colloquial usage?


I'll get me hat!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Dec 10 - 02:33 PM

Q, who is penalizing anyone? If you happen to ask me (who learned his first English word at the age of 10), use your dialect whenever adequate. I wrote about noncolloquial contexts, i.e. not colloquial.

BTW, to all of you: The postponed preposition, preposterous so-to-speak, has been taught to me as a peculiarity of English language. Certainly there is no logical argument forbidding it. Which authoritative source declares it wrong?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 02:35 PM

To humorless Griska, I'll not tip me hat.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 03:36 PM

No problem with humour or even humor here. I just felt I should disclaim any authority, in case someone seriously believed otherwise.

Write 50 times: "Me teacher's always right, not me."!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 04:28 PM

humour not humor,
you can have 7 shrimps on your plate, but if you are vegetarian you cannot eat them.
"We just gotta know in case we write texts for more formal purposes".
What appalling English,it should be.. We have to know in case we have to write etc


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: meself
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 04:56 PM

So do I go to the penalty box or not?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 05:11 PM

I see, GSS. What about "It is imperative to be aware of the aforementioned provision ..."?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 05:28 PM

a bitten Verbose, old bean


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Slag
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 05:31 PM

Us and Gus and a dog named Cuss, gassin ' and a quibblin' in the band.

In speech, if you elaborated on the line, it might sound something like a Michael J. Fox line out of Back to the Future "me and you (pause) we....and you (pause) and a dog named Boo (pause), a traveling and a living off the land..." (with due apologies all around). Me and you functions as "we". Therefore, "we and a dog named Boo" it works lyrically and is grammtically okay, albeit marginal. Throw in a little poetic license and your their! (bait warning!).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 06:38 PM

Me and youse and a bottle of booze?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 10:05 AM

To intimidate - to make timid. Why not timidate?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM

Steve, why not? because its wimpish, intimidate sounds exactly right intimidating, timidate sounds like a mouse has got a date with another mouse


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 02:16 PM

intimate to timate?
inane to ane? Insane to sane? Would not work as a rule.

'Timate' not in the OED; so coin your own meaning and invent a new word.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: r.padgett
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 01:47 PM

"Youse" seems to be a plural form of "you," as coined maybe in Scotland or Liverpool?

Ray


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 03:03 PM

'youse', better written as 'yous', is common in lower class Dublin speech.
I have just finished reading "Faithful Place", a novel by Irish novelist Tana French, in booklists as a mystery, but really about family relations.
For the next few weeks, I am afraid that some of those usages will be part of my speech.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 02:18 PM

I sometimes ponder whether to use "may" or "might", for example:

"You may not have heard...."
"You might not have heard...."

Is there a difference in meaning, between "may" and "might"?

I remember teachers drilling us on the difference between "can" and "may", but the difference between "may" and "might", if there is one, never came up.

It seems odd that two such common words could be totally interchangeable, without having some nuance of difference between them.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 06:34 PM

According to an old grammar book I have (and also in Bartleby on line)-
Might I express my opinion conveys less insistence than May I express my opinion.

I dunno. I have heard people in heated argument use both MIGHT I EXPRESS...., and MAY I SAY....; both very insistant about their viewpoint.

(Years ago I went out the back door of a used book shop to get to parking, and saw a trash barrel full of books. Some were on English usage and grammar, and I took a few. I still have one or two, but I followed the book dealer's example with most of them.)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 07:05 PM

As the years pass, g sounds and y sounds tend to hop back and forth, changing places. Have you seen 'yett' for 'gate'? I have. And foryive for forgive?

I believe that may and might (which at one time would have had a gutteral sound at the end) were probably come from the same root, and there is no real difference between them.

I tried to do the right thing and look up the verb 'might' in my unabridged dictionary, and to my shock discovered that it's not there. I want my $1.00 back!

Well, they do offer one line of print which says that 'might' is the past tense of 'may'. How they figure that, I do not know.
=========
By the way, 'may' comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'maeg' meaning 'I am able to.' Sounds the same as 'I can,' doesn't it? I suspect the difference between 'can' and 'may' is something that someone thought OUGHT to exist. The distinction does make sense, but somehow it has never caught on.

I enjoy Joan Hess's novels of Arkansas, where people use nifty double constructions such as, "You might should call her and make sure she's all right."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 11:05 PM

Recently I astonished my wife by using the expression, "I might could..." meaning "Maybe I could...." I don't know why that expression popped into my head. I must have heard it years ago.

My mother came from Arkansas, but I don't think it's something she would have said.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 11:38 PM

I have heard 'I might could' in East Texas (near Arkansas), so it could be a regional usage.
I'll look up may and might in my handy-dandy 20 volume OED tomorrow, it's getting past my bed time.

Starlight, star bright, First star I see tonight,

Wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

And so to bed.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 03:18 AM

Both "may" and "might" (the latter originally being the past tense or conditional of the former) have various distinct meanings in current English, cf. dictionaries.

When used to qualify statements like "You have heard", "may" gives it a probability between 20% and 90%, "might" would be between 5% and 20%, the remaining range being covered by "almost certainly" resp. "there is a faint chance" etc. Exact numbers of course vary.

However, given the English sense of irony, "might" is even used for absolute certainty in phrases like "You might prefer being late to being dead."

Ironic usage can modify many academic distinctions. For example: my English teacher told me that "ought to" could be used in lieu of "should" only when talking about a moral obligation. Well, how often do we encounter people saying "That ought to be sufficient", not realising they are being ironic.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 07:29 PM

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary-
may verbal auxiliary, past might; pres. sing & pl may(ME) (1st & 3rd sing pres. indic), fr. OE m&@230;g akin to OHG mag (1st & 3rd pres. indic.) have power, am able ...
1a archaic: have the ability to b:have permission to (you --go now): be free to (a rug on which children -- sprawl- C. E. Silberman)- used nearly interchangably with can
c- used to indicate possibility or probability (you --be right) (things you -- need); sometimes used interchangably with can (one of those slipups that --happen from time to time -Jessica Mitford) (copula --optionally be deleted-J. D. McCawley); sometimes used where might would be expected (you --may think from a little distance that the country was solid woods -Robert Frost
2- used in auxiliary function to express a wish or desire esp. in prayer, imprecation or benediction (long --may she reign) 3- used in auxiliary function expressin purpose or expectation (I laugh that i --not weep) or contingency (she'll do her duty come what --) or concession (he --be slow but he is thorough) or choice (the angler -- catch them with a dip net, or he -- cast a large, bare treble hook -Nelson Bryant) 4: SHALL MUST --used in law where the sense, purpose, or policy requires this interpretation usage see CAN

Someone else (has my permission to) -- continue with might

Or, if one wishes to be pedantic, see the Oxford English Dictionary.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Apr 11 - 07:34 PM

I see from the above that I should hire a typist.
In 3- expressin =expressing


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jun 11 - 07:19 PM

Offer discount is very nice indeed and coupled with engrish grandma is offer we cannot diffuse...


DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 05:24 AM

Offer discount is very nice indeed and coupled with engrish grandma is offer we cannot diffuse...
Why are we offering a discount on Joe?
Is his Grandma really english?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Songwronger
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 11:15 PM

May vs might.

May is more forceful. You may want to listen to this.

Might is less forceful. You might want to listen to this.

Or so I recall from one of the standard grammar guides. I know that people respond better to suggestions when I use "might." Using "may" seems to make people tense. I think they may be recalling episodes in school where teachers pulled the can/may semantical thing on them. "I'm sure you can go to the bathroom, but the question is may you."

But then I might be wrong, mayn't I?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Jun 11 - 03:05 PM

In my experience (not being a native speaker, as I said), "You may want to ..." is a fixed idiom, of slight irony, meaning "I urge you in your own interest to ...". The irony may be taken further in phrases like "You may want to pay me $ 100 to prevent me from telling your wife about your whereabouts last night."

"Might" mightn't make it any better.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: G-Force
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 08:53 AM

In these days of appalling speech and grammar, what a pleasure it is to read a civilised discussion about the english language.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 11:13 AM

Thanks, G-force. I have observed that there are more discussions of language on the Mudcat than anywhere else around. It's one of the reasons I'm a regular here.

If you really want to be impressed, join in when we start a discussion on Middle English.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 12:19 PM

Actually, English speech and grammar has always been appalling.

We just don't notice the gaffes of ancient times because now they're established. Also, most of us are likely to be exposed only to the most polished, most gracefully and effectively written documents of the past, because those are the ones that were most likely to survive.

Even before the Normans in 1066, Old English was simplifying its complex grammar in a way that would have shocked King Alfred - if he cared that much.

And remember, Classical Latin turned into French, Italian, etc., solely because of appalling speech and grammar.

Not that I encourage the truly appalling. Far from it. But it often wins out with no serious consequences that are obvious to future generations.

What's more appalling than sloppy speech and grammar is poor reasoning, clumsiness, insistent vulgarity, deception, and so forth. Of course, those things have always been with us as well.

They just didn't have electronic communications media to make them even more popular.


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Subject: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 11 - 12:15 AM

Lighter, next time you have nothing to do, read Sir Ernest Gowers' old book on "Plain Words". He will deal with your arguments better than me, which I choose to say rather than "better than I". If we'd all used perfect grammar - meaning speaking as out grandparents did - we'd be speaking the proto-language of the first humans. A good thing maybe?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jun 11 - 02:53 PM

What, me worry?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 24 Jun 11 - 05:19 PM

Of course, I should have said "have" always been appalling, but who's counting?

I've read Gower's book and many more. They mainly discuss style, not the other things. A list of 100 obnoxious usages would still be only 100 out of a hundred thousand. Of course, there's always room for improvement.

I suspect that the average person's writing style too has always been appalling, particularly since most of the population has never had to do much formal writing. It may seem worse now because we're exposed to more of it in the media (including online postings), and because it's very hard to teach writing to students who'd rather rock.

Much current journalism (to take an example) is too trivial and breezy for my taste. On the other hand, 99% of it is lucid and lively.

But I don't have any definite statistics, particularly comparing now with then. I'm not even sure that any could be established. There seem to be too many variables involved. And how do you measure taste?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: maire-aine
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 01:01 PM

Just saw a news headline that said "Rupert Murdoch attacked whilst giving evidence to MPs (www.thejournal.ie)". I was surprised to see the word "whilst" used. Does one pronounce it with a short "i" or a long "i"; left on my own, I'd say "short". Is is still common, and are there rules for when one uses instead of the common US "while".

Thanks,

Maryanne

PS: I love this thread, and keep coming back to it. I hope it doesn't go off on a Murdock tangent.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 01:20 PM

Well I'd say it's archaic and can easily be replaced by 'while'. In fact if I see it I don't think so highly of the writer. I imagine most style guides would advise not using it.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:24 PM

While- not really a grammatical question, but worth a few remarks. The Harbrace College Handbook, by editors of Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, publishers, cautions "Do not overuse [while] as a substitute for 'and' or 'but'. The conjunction 'while' usually refers to time."
No mention of whilst, but I had an English co-worker who said that he was taught to use it in school. When I was editing papers for a journal, I changed it to while, but the journal was American. I don't know if it would be acceptable to an English editor, but I suspect some publications would accept it and some not.

Many handbooks on 'style' and usage. For North America, the Chicago handbook is most followed.
There has been much discussion in previous threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 02:58 PM

I hadn't realised that while/whilst was a UK/US difference. I would be inclined to use "while" for things that just happen to be going on at the same time, but "whilst" where there is some kind of contrast, but I have discovered that authors can get VERY irate if you want to change their "whilst" to "while" so I usually leave well alone.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 04:30 PM

Both sound fine to me, but I've learned to prefer "while."

Maybe people object to "whilst" because they think it's like "oncet."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 05:32 PM

Doesn't oncet have an apostrophe? Never mind, I'll go quietly.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 07:12 PM

Among – amongst
Amid – amidst
While – whilst
Again – against ?????

False analogy, you will say, but could there be some historical connection?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Tangledwood
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 07:23 PM

Does one pronounce it with a short "i" or a long "i";

I've only heard it pronounced like "while" with an added "st".
I would be very surprised to hear it used in everyday speech although I don't think that it is so unusual to see it in print.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Newport Boy
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 05:15 AM

There was a good discussion about whilst and while in the Guardian's Notes & Queries a while ago (sorry!).

Phil


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Sally
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 05:26 AM

I am swept away by the sweepings from your minds.

I have been mystified by the sudden (to me) change in the word "strength". I heard it once, in something by a Canadian popular group, as "strenth" and now that seems to be a common usage. Did it leap the pond? How did it get here? Anyone know?

I notice, too, that on the WWW the old folks similar to myself go to "sites" (places) on the net, and the young folks go to "Sights" (something to see) instead. MHOP is that they simply didn't learn about sites early enough. Perhaps I am wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 02:29 PM

The 'g' in strength has become silent in much of North America; Webster's Collegiate gives both pronunciations.
The Oxford Dictionary gives weight to the 'g', but I wonder how general this usage is in UK or if there are regional differences.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 04:39 AM

The 'g' still seems to be in current usage over here. It goes from strength to strength.

Most people seem to have lost the first 'n' in government though!


300


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 05:39 AM

Jim:
Among – amongst
Amid – amidst
While – whilst
Again – against ?????

False analogy, you will say, but could there be some historical connection?


How about:
Agin - against


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 09:10 AM

Nigel is right, except that the alternative Middle English form was spelled "ageyn."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 03:59 AM

Sally ~~ MHOP ???

All that Google free online Dict gives are Mali Health Organising Project & Milton House Of Pizza.

Which of these did you mean ~~ & why?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Sally
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 04:15 AM

My Humble Opinion
Standard internet-ese lernt from my kids.
I am never sure about anything


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 04:28 AM

Thank you, Sally. But is not IMHO the more usual abbreviation for this?

Oh well ~ probably vain to try to keep up with the next generation's developments...

In that connection,IANSAA, either. {Do we think that one might catch on, then?}

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 03:36 PM

IS IMHO a type of Eno salts? What do these initialate forms have to do with grammar?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Aug 11 - 02:43 AM

I think, Q, the answer to that is that they relate to the grammar of Textese, a language invented by young people to facilitate the expression of their main compulsive activity ~~ which is what grammar does vis-à-vis all languages.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Aug 11 - 06:40 PM

Their 'main compulsive activity'- As in the birdie looking for a nest?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: CapriUni
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 06:28 PM

Actually, abbreviating words by eliminating individual letters, creating acronyms (IMHO -- or my favorite IMNSHO [in my (not so) humble opinion]) occurs any time in a culture where the "bandwidth" (how much space a message takes up) is expensive.

So, for example, Thomas Jefferson (who was writing in a time when mail was taxed according to how many sheets of paper were used -- and the recipient was expected to pay the postage) would often abbreviate "your" as "ur" -- just like the 'feckless' and 'sallow' youth of this generation (when cellphone users have to pay to receive calls and text messages -- sound familiar?). And you certainly wouldn't accuse Thomas Jefferson of being sloppy or careless with language, would you?

But I don't know, ymmv (your mileage may vary).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 08:10 AM

Its all an

Annoying
Concept of
Recycling
Old
Names with
Your own
Meanings


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 09:53 AM

IMHO is not an acronym: it is an initialism. Acronyms are said as words, NATO or AIDS, for example. I think it's useful to maintain the distinction.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 09:59 AM

Thanks for that, Steve. I make that point a lot.

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 08:20 PM

Steve Shaw: You mean you don't say "IMHO" in two syllables? Spelling it out in letters takes away most of its charm.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jun 12 - 08:31 PM

No I don't. In a certain accent, it would sound short for "he's a whore."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 05:27 AM

Abbreviations/initialisms/acronyms are slowly becoming confused.
Text speak seems to be moving into realspeak. I've heard a sardonic 'Lol' following a not very funny joke.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 05:37 AM

Certainly the definitions of them are getting confused, which is a pity. I don't think we should let nuance slip too easily. In nearly every case you see, the mistaken use of "acronym" is pretentious. It's become something of a vogue word.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 05:56 AM

Entirely agree there, Steve. It is always a shame when the precise meaning of a word becomes obscured and less specific in its application thru widespread misuse or misapprehension, which there is much danger of happening to 'acronym, liable to degenerate to meaning just any old abbreviation, rather than one than can be, and generally is, pronounced as a word.

Disagree, however, with your objection to such a pronunciation of IMHO. Object to any word which happens to have a homonym (or in this case the merest hint of a sort of creole one) of dubious or disobliging meaning, and where will be the end of it? We shall have to abolish all our rape fields for a start, and what would that do for our agriculture!

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 06:05 AM

I doubt whether most of my friends would have the faintest idea what I was on about were I to preface an assertion with "imhoe". It's a practical thing. Generally, though, I haven't avoided using terms that might have a dubious double meaning, and I've been like that ever since I was a "bachelor gay".


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 07:16 AM

Agree too with danger of this last example, Steve; but isn't one of the saddest examples of the kind of damaging over-definition we join here in deploring the fate of that fine, happy old word "gay"? One dictionary I came across [Collins?] gave "homosexual" as the primary meaning and glossed "bright and cheerful" as 'obsolete', which I think appalling. I agree that 'imhoe' is not a elegant usage, nor yet a readily comprehensible one; but my point is that these are reasonable objections to its usage, whereas I think your avoidance of it on grounds of putative moralistic objectionability a trifle finicky.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 11:29 AM

I avoid it in order to not confuse people; in fact, it's never really occurred to me to say "imhoe". Language is best used in a way that helps the recipient to do as little mental processing as possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Bert
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 08:29 PM

One problem is that English is not 'A' language. It is a mixture of many languages.

Way back, Britons spoke a Celtic language. then the Romans came and gave that a dose of Latin, Then the Saxons came and so on.

So roughly English has its origins in Celtic, Latin, German, Danish, Norwegian and French languages.

Then came the Empire which gave it doses of Hindi, Spanish, Malay and Gawd knows what else.

Also some individuals like Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear started mucking about making up their own words.

So don't start looking for consistency or regularity of you'll go crazy.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 09:09 PM

"Celtic"??


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Bert
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 11:11 PM

Or gaelic or whatever ya call it and however you spell it.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 01:07 PM

IMHO, "in my humble opinion," "in my honest opinion," "in my holy opinion," "in my highest opinion," "in my hesitant opinion," are the most common definitions; others listed in acronymfinder.com.
Also "International Medical Health Organization."

Listed and defined, an initialism, Richard A. Spears, 2007, Dictionary of Anmerican Slang and Colloquial Expressions 4th ed., McGraw Hill.

When I see it appended to a message or comment, I read it as "MY BELIEF (YOURS IS WRONG !).
In other words, the comment can be ignored as ninnyhammer.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 07:15 PM

It's the "humble" bit in IMHO that is annoying, because it's so clearly insincere. At least when you say something like "It seems to me" or "My personal view is..." you leave open the possibility that you actually do accept that you might be wrong.

As with "smileys", these internet acronyms are presented as a way of avoiding giving offence by making communication less likely to give rise to misunderstanding. But in fact I would suggest that they have the reverse effect, and that taking time to write what we mean is still a better way of achieving those ends.

(The solution to the problem of misunderstood irony might best be solved by the typeface Mencken once suggested, "ironics", with the letters sloping the opposite way to italics. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be available to us.)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 08:16 PM

I agree with that. I never use IMO or IMHO. That H signifies, to me, the very opposite of "humble". Other nasty wee things that irritate me are IIRC and BTW. I won't use 'em. I'm cool with lol ever since that Rebekah Brooks email (or was it call-me-Dave's). Since then, my mum and I have used lol instead of xxx in our text messages to each other. I think she thinks it means what call-me-Dave thought it meant. Lol.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 11:58 PM

Why, Steve? IMO, IIRC, BTW are very useful, timesaving abbrevs IMO; tho the H in IMHO is IMO creepy. LoL would be useful if not ambiguous.

LoL.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 06:01 AM

It's just more polite to write out words fully, thx. What's a few seconds in an eternity?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 06:34 AM

That is not necessarily the case at my age, IMO BTW! Evry 2nd cts!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 12:06 PM

"3 Fatal Guitar Mistakeswww.GuitarScaleSystem.com
If you do either of these three things, you will never play well."

The above is an ad that appeared when I was looking for some chords on the 'net. Houston, we have a problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 01:00 PM

"At my age" none of these initialisms/acronyms translate into meaningful language/lingo.

My bank started to use an acronym some time ago. I threw out a couple of statements before I found out what they were. I still have the same reaction to these abominations.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 01:41 PM

Going back to the question asked by the original poster, is it now OK to say 'Jesus weeped'?


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 05:50 PM

IIRC

Is it really clear?

"What does IIRC stand for? Your abbreviation search returned 21 meanings"

Ambiguity does not really save time.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 11:27 PM

"Ambiguity" is not the same as "synonym" or "homonym". Context will generally make clear which usage/meaning is intended in the cases eg of

where ware wear were we're weir
there their they're
not knot knot[grass] knot[nautical speed]

Likewise IIRC.

IMO which is far from H.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 06:00 AM

We know.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 06:24 AM

NO!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 03:18 PM

IIRC seems to mean *"if I recall correctly" or "if it really counts" or "if I really cared" or "it is really cool" or ...

*In plain language, "I am guessing."

Often a redundant initialism, essentialy emphasizing the original unsupported statement.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 11:24 PM

Q: "Often a redundant initialism, essentialy emphasizing the original unsupported statement."

Often a redundant initialism, essentialy emphasizing the original unsupported suppository.

GfS


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Subject: LagvSYKxpxhhEHFi
From: GUEST,Eng
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 04:27 AM

break a leg!' he or she means    or If someone says break a leg!' s/he means    This often looks unitdy when written, and feels awkward when reading it.2. If someone says break a leg!' the person means    This feels awkward to me as a native English speaker.Another solution is to write examples using a pronoun with a specific gender. Often it is considered acceptable by academic institutions to alternate between using he and she in examples, whereas in the past the default was always to the masculine form (he).So you could write either:a) If a man says break a leg!' he means    ; or b) If a woman says break a leg!' she means    .What you choose will be determined by requirements of your writing. For a general audience, such as in an online forum, using the grammatically incorrect, but often used, they' as a singular pronoun is acceptable. For business or academic writing you will need to find out what style of writing is required and considered acceptable.Unfortunately English has some defects in certain areas. The other similar one is the lack of a plural pronoun for you ( yous being grammatically incorrect, but used by many people in everyday conversational speech).


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 05:59 AM

Or, to simplify, you could write:
"The comment 'break a leg' means ..."

There are few percieved problems with written english which cannot be resolved by restating.

(Attributed to) Churchill: Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put!"
This, to avoid ending a sentence with "I will not put up with"
He clearly used this just to make a point about tortuous use of language.
He could have easily said: "Ending a sentence with a preposition is somethich which I will not tolerate."
But this would not have emphasised the point nearly so well.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 06:00 AM

For 'somethich' read 'something'!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: IanC
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 06:16 AM

Saying that the singular use of "they" is ungrammatical ought, I think, to be construed as incorrect.

Grammar is not a set of rules by which one should speak or write but a description of how this is done. If the grammar says "they" is wrong, then clearly the grammar is wrong and needs rewriting.

After all, "the use of the plural "you" for the singular "thou" was once thought to be ungrammaticla.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 06:32 AM

What we lack is the equivalent of French 'on' ('on dit') or German 'Mann' ('mann sagt) as the indefinite pronoun. So we fall back on 'they' + the plural ('they say'), which is perhaps a bit clumsy but generally works clearly enough for everyday communication.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 06:57 AM

English does not lack the equivalent of the French 'on' or German 'Mann'. It's just that one rarely uses it.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 07:02 AM

'One' is not used in quite the same way, though. "On dit qu'il-y-a des nouvelles importants", would not be idiomatically translated as "One says that there is important news", but as "They say that ...". Do you not agree?

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 07:26 AM

No, I don't agree. The only reason that the phrase is translated in one's mind as "They say that …" rather than "One says that …" is that the former is more is more familiar than the latter to man in the street. I would suggest, ~M~, that if you heard Bertie Wooster using "one" instead of "they", your ears would accept it without question.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 07:42 AM

No - disagree, Doug. We tend to use the passive if we don't want to use "they", as in "There is said to be important news"; or to generalise "they" to something slightly more specific ~ "People say that ..."   But "One says that ..." just is not English to my ears.

I should be interested if you can find a quote from PGW anywhere in which Bertie Wooster says anything of the sort you suggest. I am sure Jeeves would have given him one of his looks: or Aunt Dahlia.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 08:22 AM

Two superstitions based on no factual evidence whatever:

1. "They" cannot be used as a singular.

2. "He" refers to men exclusively.

The first comes from the idea that a singular "they" is "illogical." Tell that to the Germans, whose "sie" means both "they" and "she." (Capitalized it means formal "you" as well. That didn't keep Luther, Nieztsche, or Einstein from communicating effectively.)

The second comes from the claim that there's bad juju about "he" that magically keeps women down. Tell that to every female author in English before 1970, including Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Emily Dickinson. Women are discriminated against, but not because of "he." Chill out.

"He or she" is useful in situations where confusion is possible or emphasis is desired. "S/he" is unpronounceable except as "she."

Language is inconsistent and illogical by nature. No word carries a single meaning for eternity.

Even though I heard Michael Wood on PBS last night assuring us that we "still speak Old English, with a few foreign words more or less."


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: GUEST,NICKNAME
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 02:30 PM

Stop hack the program!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 02:57 PM

I have contended for some time that instead of writing 'man' as the default we should use 'woman'. After all, man is clearly included in the word. If desired, it could be written as (wo)man.


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Subject: RE: BS: English grammar question
From: Airymouse
Date: 03 Apr 13 - 06:22 PM

J. Swift railed against the strong verb form -t, but he lost. "Slink" is a curiosity: as a transitive verb it's regular (e.g.,the cow slinked her calf and after she had slinked her calf, we called the vet); it's slink, slank, slunk as an intransitive verb. Lucky I, all this stuff comes naturally to me, but I am startled to find "au" in "rice pilau" pronounced "off".


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