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We must stop correcting grammar

Steve Shaw 15 Dec 17 - 08:20 AM
Mrrzy 15 Dec 17 - 08:05 AM
Steve Shaw 13 Dec 17 - 08:29 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 17 - 03:01 PM
Donuel 13 Dec 17 - 02:49 PM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 17 - 10:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Dec 17 - 10:29 AM
punkfolkrocker 13 Dec 17 - 10:26 AM
Mrrzy 13 Dec 17 - 08:23 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Dec 17 - 04:56 PM
Donuel 10 Dec 17 - 09:19 AM
The Sandman 10 Dec 17 - 09:08 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 17 - 08:47 AM
Will Fly 09 Dec 17 - 08:43 AM
Mrrzy 09 Dec 17 - 08:37 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Dec 17 - 07:41 AM
Mr Red 09 Dec 17 - 06:43 AM
Donuel 09 Dec 17 - 05:56 AM
Will Fly 09 Dec 17 - 03:57 AM
Will Fly 09 Dec 17 - 03:55 AM
leeneia 08 Dec 17 - 09:44 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Dec 17 - 08:23 PM
Donuel 08 Dec 17 - 07:00 AM
Donuel 08 Dec 17 - 06:32 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 17 - 05:25 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Dec 17 - 05:01 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 09:14 PM
Tattie Bogle 07 Dec 17 - 08:38 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 08:02 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 08:00 PM
bobad 07 Dec 17 - 07:40 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 06:50 PM
Doug Chadwick 07 Dec 17 - 05:52 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 05:31 PM
Iains 07 Dec 17 - 01:11 PM
leeneia 07 Dec 17 - 11:49 AM
Will Fly 07 Dec 17 - 11:13 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 10:07 AM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 17 - 09:42 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Dec 17 - 09:35 AM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 17 - 09:29 AM
Nigel Parsons 07 Dec 17 - 08:53 AM
Mrrzy 07 Dec 17 - 08:30 AM
Donuel 07 Dec 17 - 06:56 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 06:44 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Dec 17 - 06:31 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 06:29 AM
Nigel Parsons 07 Dec 17 - 06:18 AM
Iains 07 Dec 17 - 06:16 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 17 - 06:15 AM
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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Dec 17 - 08:20 AM

Mrs Steve had me clean the kitchen.

Mrs Steve obliged me to clean the kitchen.

Both sentences contain an infinitive.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Dec 17 - 08:05 AM

I didn't say all tos are parts of infinitives, nor that all infinitives have tos. In your example there is no To to be part of the infinitive, but if there were, it would be, as I said.

And I'm not sure that in your example clean is in the infinitive, from my English-as-a-foreign-language classes.

I completely agree that there is no current rule against splitting the infinitive and that to boldly go is way better than either alternative, but I stick to my point that when the infinitive is in the form to verb, that to is part of that infinitive.

Gimme another hair, this one's gone to Croatia.

Split, get it? Bwa ha ha ha ha.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 08:29 PM

"Um, "to" *is* part of the infinitive in English, that is why "to boldly go" splits the infinitive."


Not necessarily. "Mrs Steve had me clean the kitchen this evening" contains the infinitive "clean." No "to" required. The rule against splitting infinitives that allegedly included "to" was a Victorian invention. Many of the great poets, John Donne and Shakespeare included, split "to" infinitives for reasons of poetic licence. All power to their elbows!

But the point is this: "to boldly go" is beautiful English, so to hell with the naysayers. "Boldly to go," or "to go boldly" pale in comparison. English isn't about rule-makers in ivory towers. It's about wot us bloody plebs prattle on abaht in us daily lives, yeah?...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 03:01 PM

Well I've gone from 15 stone of gym honed muscle to over 18 stone of flab since I joined mudcat...

Maybe I've needed to spend too much time sat on my arse double checking, then rechecking, all my spelling and grammar before risking posting to threads...???


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Donuel
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 02:49 PM

Cosmology aside, we have all heard what Steve eats. How does he remain svelte? If I ate that much I'd be 18 stone.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 10:31 AM

the waistband is expanding outwards at an an alarming rate..
and there are frequent uncomfortably big bangs in the rear...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 10:29 AM

You have infinite trousers?


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 10:26 AM

It's far worse splitting your trousers...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Dec 17 - 08:23 AM

Um, "to" *is* part of the infinitive in English, that is why "to boldly go" splits the infinitive.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Dec 17 - 04:56 PM

I like to leave you in suspenders, Dick.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Donuel
Date: 10 Dec 17 - 09:19 AM

Will, An article on me in the Democrat and Chronicle used a title with the word gobbledegook in it since I employed the word to describe propaganda and obfuscation by some government agencies.
Instead the word was used to describe my statement, clever bastards.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Dec 17 - 09:08 AM

Now excuse me as I have 2p off to buy the paper.
An example of an unclear statement, do you mean you have to go off to buy a newspaper or do you mean you have a voucher worth 2 pence which you must use to buy a newspaper?


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 08:47 AM

"To" is not part of the infinitive. That's the point. Except that grammarians argue that point and there are different interpretations of "infinitive," but the argument is sufficient for the ditching of even the hint of that silly don't-split-it rule.

I'm very happy to see "decimation" remain in common currency, Nigel. Your point was right on the money. That's my one pence worth. Now excuse me as I have 2p off to buy the paper.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 08:43 AM

One of my favourite sites...

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/gobbledygook-generator.html


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 08:37 AM

Y'all are so right.

Vive la difference, indeed. With an accent on the e after the fs. I don't remember html either.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 07:41 AM

From: Steve Shaw - PM
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 08:23 PM

We really need to give up on decimation.


Hear hear!
Let's go back to pounds shillings and pence :-)


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 06:43 AM

from splitting infinitives

WOT? U spekin Latin or sumpin?

There are scholars far more erudite than I (or me), let us just say professors of English at Oxford University, who claim it is not possible to split an infinitive in English.

First find your infinitive.

Don't argue with me, I just use English to communicate. Take your grievance up with the professor.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Donuel
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 05:56 AM

Lasagna can be given an evocative power beyond deliciousness depending on the writer. "Helena had given birth just last Tuesday to beautiful little Tiffany. Helena was in wonderful spirits but her vagina still looked like a punched lasagna."

You gonna finish that slice Steve?


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 03:57 AM

And the enormity of typing on this feckin' iPad keypad is beyond me!


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Dec 17 - 03:55 AM

I quoted Orwell' essay earlier on because one of the points he makes is that people sometimes use words or phrases in order to sound more "impressive", rather than to sound simpler and clearer. They think words such as decimate and enormity are somehow more meaningful - even when they don't fully understand the

"The enormity of the task was beyond him" is used to mean "The huge size of the task was beyond him", when it actually means "The vile nature of the task was beyond him".


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 09:44 PM

I agree, Steve. And I pity that poor lasagne. (I'm curious. Did you know how to spell 'lasagne' right off the bat, or did you have to look it up? I would have to look it up.)

Today I read a quotation that's right on point for this thread. I have to paraphrase:

People will forget what you did, and people will forget what you said. But people will always remember how you made them feel.
            ~ Maya Angelou

Those who feel free to make others feel small by correcting their usage should remember that.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 08:23 PM

We really need to give up on decimation. Even if the word hadn't acquired its modern usage, just think: no army these days ever kills one-tenth of its own soldiers. The word would retain some mystical, arcane, redundant meaning only and would probably die away. But we've hung on to it by giving it a meaning beyond its literal past. I think that's really good meself. Now excuse me as I'm just off into the kitchen to decimate that leftover slab of lasagne...

Good word!


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 07:00 AM

Its a small change but we used to say "I read it -in- the newspaper", when newspapers had an inside, but technology has changed so we often say 'I read it -on- the Guardian, or on Brietbart' or whatever.

Its what is on (the screen) not what is in the screen.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 06:32 AM

When I see a thread like this I think "OH good, here's a chance to learn about grammar". The topic of grammar quickly evolves into personal reprisals.

You see, my angular gyrus is not dedicated to language. Instead automatic language function does not exist for me. My workaround is to process information bilaterally and send information back and forth between hemispheres. This bicameral processing takes more time in real time speech but makes for more interesting writing. Some things get lost in the translation and that is mostly proper names. I don't know what's going on in the la Broca speech region in the frontal cortex, but being male and having only the left region as opposed women who have one on each side, may be respondsible for language difficulty.

This spectrum condition called dyslexia appears as soon as kindergarten or 1st grade. The strategies being taught to dyslexic children today are much different and detailed than my early methods.

Vivre l'differance.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 05:25 AM

'Pleonasm' had me rushing to look it up in an online medical dictionary...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Dec 17 - 05:01 AM

I put five pleonasms in my last post. What better way than by example! They're quite hard to entirely eliminate.

Look at that! A split infinitive AND a pleonasm in just three words! Whaddam I like!


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 09:14 PM

Just look it up at 6am in the morning and you'll see it with your very own eyes. The final upshot will be that you'll hardly find a safe haven for your grammatical tautologies. You'd be better off listening to the recent news.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 08:38 PM

Pleonasm - never heard that word - looked it up. Can think of a few who fit that bill! No gonnae dae that - tell a'body wha disnae understand "pleonasm" - they can look it up an a'! Too many words there!


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 08:02 PM

"you've nailed it decisively."

Cheers, boobs, for giving us the perfect illustration of a pleonasm!


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 08:00 PM

Reflecting on my last post (before anyone else does, winking emojee), I think I'm referring not to the pomposity of those whose mastery of the language is such that they can use elegant yet rare constructions with ease, tripping them off the tongue with amazing elan, fluidity and consummate fluency (as that isn't pomposity at all), but to those who disdain common parlance (which is always the best of all) in favour of what they mistakenly regard as "clever talk" which, they think, will impress their readers so much as to have them dazzled into uncritical acclaim, sycophancy even. I'm talking not just about those insecure types who resort to office jargon but also people who seem unable to take the path of least resistance, always the best road to take in furtherance of one's English credentials. There is NEVER any need to resort to "prior to" or "alright" or "fraught with" or "albeit" or "razed to the ground." But do it if you want to. I may well think you're an idiot. I could well be right. But equally...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: bobad
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 07:40 PM

Good work Doug, you've nailed it decisively.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:50 PM

Then challenge and defend the specific points I've "complained" about, Doug, as I appear to be the main target of your contumely, of your unseemly high dudgeon.

In fact, I don't complain about misuse, not really. Complaining would have got Canute nowhere, as he ably demonstrated to his naysayers. I simply remark on the loss of elegance and nuance and the smudging of meaning. Let's see you defending "prior to" over "before." I quote no rule, as there isn't one, but I do rail against pompous inelegance.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 05:52 PM

The article referred to in the opening post states that, in correcting grammar, a racist contributor to a web page " ...was using his education and his superior knowledge to put someone down and make them feel bad about themselves". The author then examined his own motives and realised that he was much the same:

"I wasn't trying to show people they were wrong, or using intelligent arguments to change their minds. I only wanted them to feel demeaned. I wanted to dominate them, and show that I was better than them"


I can see how the thread drifted from grammar to irritating phrases, expressions and tautology. However, arguing that a word "is plain ignorant, whether or not it's become 'standard English' " or that a commonly used expression "is ignorant because what you've done is copied what you've heard another ignoramus say without bothering to check what it means", seems to miss the whole point of the original article. Suggesting that those who use expressions that don't fit your own personal preference are "clumsy (though technically correct)" and, "as a result, you sound ugly, inelegant and ignorant and cause a raised eyebrow or two", is doing exactly what the article asks us not to do.

DC


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 05:31 PM

When Liverpool beat Spartak Moscow 7-0 in the Champions League last night I was literally over the moon.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Iains
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 01:11 PM

decimation


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 11:49 AM

The logical thing is to avoid using either word (decimate or enormity) so as to communicate clearly and avoid hard feelings.

I do the same with "comprise." I avoid it.

(Come to think of it, I wonder if they guys in the togas ever actually managed to decimate a legion. Can we suppose that the big, brutal, barbaric legionnaires simply lined up to be counted and killed? I suspect this is another one of those bad things in history which never actually happened.)


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 11:13 AM

Sorry Mrrzy, "decimate" has its origins from Ancient Rome - a particular punishment being the execution of every tenth person in a legion for failure, treason or other offences.

I grant you the original word has now more or less a historical meaning, as opposed to its modern usage.

Another word used wrongly, even by people who should know better, is "enormity" - whose correct meaning is something of extreme seriousness or wrongness. But people use it to mean something large - confusing it with enormous.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 10:07 AM

Moggy?


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 09:42 AM

I like that word... It sounds good and strong..

It is a single word with two completely different meanings, one very nice, and the other usually a tory...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 09:35 AM

Seeing as it is a thread about the use of English, PFR, I think the term "over sophisticated pompous windbag" could easliy be cut down to one simple Anglo-saxon word. :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 09:29 AM

I sooner put up with a good interesting person's fallible use of language,
than any amount of over sophisticated pompous windbags...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 08:53 AM

From: Mrrzy - PM
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 08:30 AM
Decimate is 9/10, not 1/10, dead. One-tenth survive.
My latest peeve just happened again, when did all NPR announcers start saying Coming up in 1 minutes from now? Hey people, it's either in 10 mn or 10 mn from now.
My dad used to talk about the Department of Redundancy Department...


Your meaning of 'decimate' is its modern usage. It has changed.

decimate
verb

verb: decimate; 3rd person present: decimates; past tense: decimated; past participle: decimated; gerund or present participle: decimating

kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of.
"the inhabitants of the country had been decimated"

drastically reduce the strength or effectiveness of (something).
"public transport has been decimated"

(historical)
kill one in every ten of (a group of people, originally a mutinous Roman legion) as a punishment for the whole group.
"the man who is to determine whether it be necessary to decimate a large body of mutineers"


With Coming up in 1 minutes from now? my objection would be using a plural noun for 1 minute. I also shudder when I hear the expression "one pence".


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 08:30 AM

Decimate is 9/10, not 1/10, dead. One-tenth survive.

My latest peeve just happened again, when did all NPR announcers start saying Coming up in 1 minutes from now? Hey people, it's either in 10 mn or 10 mn from now.

My dad used to talk about the Department of Redundancy Department...


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:56 AM

I have often wondered about the speech and writing of people who are not dyslexic. Do they consciously write from a set of rules or is it an automatic process?


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:44 AM

Exactly! I can't help thinking that "razed to the ground" had "to the ground" added by the newsreader to "help" the audience to understand what she was on about. Had she said that the houses were razed, maybe she'd thought that half the people listening would start searching in the sky for for flying houses. It would have been far more "helpful" just to say "burned down!" "Razed" is one of those words that works better written down.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:31 AM

Aaaarrrrggghhhhh! Sorry I started this thread. One point that comes out of it though and underlines a point I have been trying to make for years on here. There are groups of people who have difficulty understanding each other. As grammar is supposed to be about clear communication it is a related topic. Unless we use very formal and precise language there will always be room for misinterpretation. At times this could be on purpose but I think it is generally accidental.

I have no problem at all in understanding Steve's point that it is not always a question of right or wrong but of elegance, economy of language or taste. To take the point in question, it was started by a report that some houses had been 'razed to the ground' in the California fires. We all understand what it means but would it not have been simpler just to say they had burned down?

Just my 2p.

DtG


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:29 AM

No, Nigel. "Level" does not carry the same connotation of destruction as "raze,' neither does it bear the same stigma of cliched usage as "razed to the ground." I could level a site by removing material, by redistributing material to fill hollows and eliminate high spots or by demolishing the buildings on it then steamrollering the whole lot to flatten it. "Raze" is a gorgeously economical word with little scope for variance. "Level" can mean several different things, though with a similar goal, and can usefully be helped along its way via supporting words. Relax and enjoy the lingo, Nigel, and stop worrying.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:18 AM

Steve.
I see that you've managed to ignore the fact that your comment "The word raze means to level a building right to the ground" misuses 'level' in the same way you claim others are misusing 'raze'.


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Iains
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:16 AM

For stevie blunder:

Subject: RE: BS: Use of the English language
From: Iains - PM
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 03:40 AM


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Subject: RE: We must stop correcting grammar
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 17 - 06:15 AM

I tried to correct myself there but my post hung. I meant "self-proclaimed."


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