Grammar

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Grammar

Grammar Fri Dec 15 2017 14:15:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)
WHERE THE PARTY'S AT -- Q: What’s the difference between repository and depository? Why, for example, is the Beinecke library at Yale often referred to as a repository while that notorious building in Dallas was called the Texas School Book Depository? A: The two
Better late than never (I hope) here is the summary of the SEVENTH 'Untranslatable October'my annual tweeting of an 'BritishAmerican untranslatable' (that is, item lexicalized in one national dialect and not the other) on each weekday. If you'd like
In spite of what you may read on Yahoo News, Roy Moore is not the Republican Alabama Senate: Obviously there’s a word missing and maybe some words out of place. Was Roy Moore the Republican Alabama Senate candidate? Or the Alabama Republica
What is a preposition? What does it do? You'll find everything you ever wanted to know, and this picture will help you. It will be fun! Check it out!
Dear copywriters, editors, and reporters: Do you really think youre being clever with your Tis the season line? Trust us: you are not. I refer you to that wise man John McIntyre, of the Baltimore Sun, reminding us to beware holiday clichs: Tis the se
Q: Is the use of even correct in all these sentences? (1) Even when he is sick, she works. (2) She works even when he is sick. (3) She even works when he is sick. Thanks for any insight you can provide. A: All three are correct: #1 and #2 mean the sa
I wrote an article on the importance of gender-neutral language in the workplace for UK job-board company Totaljobs. The article considers work-language in a cultural context and the harmful effects of gender-biased usage. Heres an excerpt: Studies h
Miss Richards was my teacher for the four years I studied French in high school. I was not a brilliant language student, but I did pick up a few words of French. For one thing, I learned the difference between a fianc (a male who is engaged to be mar
Its my yearly roundup of brand names that made headlines and were linguistically interesting, including a few Ive written about here: Velar, Keurig, Oath. Access is restricted to subscribers for three months (give yourself a gift!); heres an excerpt.
A couple of days ago, I heard an interesting talk by Juliet Stanton, who proposed that variation in stress on the -at- in (English) words in -ative depends in a gradient way on the total duration of stressless material between -at- and the word's ear
Q: Why do the British use plimsolls for what Americans refer to as sneakers? A: The British generally use plimsolls or plimsoll shoes for low-tech athletic shoes with canvas uppers and flat rubber soles. They use trainers or training shoes for more s
A couple of posts back, I tackled my brother’s question of whether one would say “black little people” (yes), or “little black people” (not so much). M. Makino commented, I usually try to shorthand th
Margaret Atwood has a short essay in A Virago Keepsake to Celebrate Twenty Years of Publishing, one of twenty contributions to this slim and enjoyable volume from 1993. In the essay, Dump Bins and Shelf Strips, Atwood describes her introduction to Vi
An elliptical clause is a type of adverb clause in which the subject, verb, or both of them are left out but implied. I'll make it easy for you to learn more! Check it out!
I don’t know what the correct wording is here at Yahoo News, I just know this is wrong: Either were sat should be simply sat or were sat should be were seated. The implication of each is different, so the reader is left wondering if the sub
Pretty much everywhere you look, things are bad. Sexual predators in Hollywood, Washington, Alabama, and between and beyond. Wildfires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in December! (As someone observed on Twitter this week, theres no such thing as
A political cartoon reacting to the discussion of who wrote one of Donald Trump's tweets: Another John, John Dryden, gets blamed for the original "zombie rule" about no-clause-final-prepositions — "Hot Dryden-on-Johnson action" 5/1/2007, or
I was trying to decide whether to drive into Boston or take the T, but I figured I'd save myself from rush hour on 93 and stopped at the Quincy station. I was excited to see this blatant apostrophe catastrophe.
Q: How did an intercontinental ballistic missile become an ICBM instead of simply an IBM? A: The original abbreviation for intercontinental ballistic missile was indeed I.B.M. (with dots), and some standard dictionariesMerriam-Webster Unabridged, for
In a post from exactly one year ago, I began with a sentence that I’d heard on the “Criminal” podcast. Here’s the original sentence, followed by the way that I would express the intended thought: Id be whoevers
I recently watched Andrew Ng's excellent lecture from 2016 Nuts and Bolts of Applying Deep Learning and took notes. I post them as a helpful resource for anyone who wants to watch the video. I broke it into the following sectionsEnd-to-End D
English Grammar Revolution products teach homeschoolers and classroom teachers to be confident English grammar instructors. Use sentence diagrams to teach grammar systematically!
Even among fans of Wes Anderson, his debut film Bottle Rocket (1996) remains relatively unsung, less seen and less acclaimed than the likes of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Moonrise Kingdom. It lost money and wrong-footed viewers, but over time
I was tweet-talking with Lane Greene this morning about whether Americans' love for/Britons' indifference to optional commas can be quantified. And so I did a little experiment. And so I'm going to tell you about it.For this I'm comparing the British
That is just plain wrong on Yahoo News’: If you think is should be are (because subject-verb agreement) you are right. Advertisements Filed under: Subject-Verb Agreement, Verbs Tagged: editing, grammar, proofreading, Subject-Verb Agreement,
Proto-Indo-European *ghebh-(e)l- "head" became Proto-Germanic *alaz "top of a pitched roof", then Old Norse gafl, borrowed into Old French as gable, then borrowed into English as gable.In Greek *ghebh-(e)l-became Greek kephal "head", which was borrow
In the digital world, ownership or ownage, is its often called is an intangible quality. The tech-jargon sense of to own originated among hackers in the 1990s, who used it to mean taking control of someone elses computer; it was picked up by gamers,
Forwarded by Alex Baumans, an email advertisement from Legend Footwear in London — "RESTOCK YOUR SHOEDROBE FOR WINTER!" Alex asks: Shoedrobe? How did that formation come about? Are there other -drobes out there? There are certainly plenty o
Dictionary.coms word of the year for 2017 is complicit. The selection is based on the number of online lookups, which spiked in March, when SNL featured a perfume ad parody; and in April, when Ivanka Trump said she didnt know what it means to be comp
Q: In reading my mother’s 1931 diary, Ive noticed the expression kicking over the lighter, as in The boys tried kicking over the lighter. I cant believe it should be taken literally. Any thoughts? A: We aren’t familiar with kickin
On Twitter yesterday, Bryan Garner shared a quote by Arthur Schlesinger on language usage that I hadnt come across before; it seems to be from Schlesingers 1974 essay Politics and the American Language: The purity of language is under unrelenting att
I think I've seen this before, but can't remember where or when: Source(bottom of the page) zhnbi zhnzhng wih hpng Prepare for war to maintain peace What is striking to me is that the first, second, and last word of the main slogan in Vietnamese seem
Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) asked me to write a script about Proto-Indo-European, so I did and here it is. It ended up being my longest script for her to date, except for a two-parter I once did on active and passive voice. AdvertisementsMignon
Have fun with grammar! Use these sentence diagrams of Thanksgiving facts to learn or teach grammar the fun way!
This is infuriating. At least I think that’s the word the Yahoo News editor meant to use: I don’t know if Ellen DeGeneres is infuriated, too, by the fact that the editor or writer can’t quite get her name right. Advertis
It's the last morning of my (BrE) holiday/(AmE) vacationoff to the airport in less than two hours. But Will W just pre-wrote for me most of a blog post, so I'm going to take advantage and get another post up before I land back in work reality.Here's
Proto-Indo-European *pe- "to pluck the hair" in the extended form *pet- became Proto-Germanic *fetan "to fight" and English fight.The zero-grade form *pt-en- became Greek , kteis, ktenos "comb", borrowed into English in ctenophore, the comb jelly.
If youre just a tiny bit aware of blockchain, its probably thanks to Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer virtual currency introduced in January 2009 and rising sensationally, if erratically, in value ever since. (On November 25 a single bitcoin was worth US$8,
Q: What are your thoughts about using I bet versus Ill bet to introduce a statement? I prefer Ill bet, but I cant explain why. A: The verb “bet” has several meanings in addition to its usual gambling sense: 1. to agree (&#8220
Editing texts at work reports, circulars, strategic plans and the like is a vital step in preparing them to communicate their content as well as possible. Hiring a professional editor is generally a good idea, but if the text is for in-house use only
Zhao Mengfu(1254-1322) is one of the most famous painters in the history of Chinese art. Many of his priceless works still exist, and he was even honored by having a167 kilometer-diameter feature on Mercury (132.4 west, 87.3 south), the "Chao Meng-Fu
My brother Glen is a fan of Game of Thrones, and recently he came across a this blog post by Adrienne Marie Brown, where she proposes an all-black cast for GoT. However, when Glen reached the bottom of the list, he realized that one important charact
Learn how to make your last name (surname/family name) plural. You'll also learn how NOT to do it.
It must have been a stressful weekend over at the editor’s desk at yahoo.com. Maybe that’s why the editors missed the missing apostrophe here: Or failed to recognize that schoolyard is one word: Someone should demand to know why a
Will Fitzgerald has asked me more than once to cover British use of the adjective sorted. It has made an appearance on the blog before, as part of an Untranslatable October. But that short bit on it does not really give it its due. In the Corpus of G
Guido Crepax's Valentina comics feature an subterranean race with a language that was heavily influenced by Germanic languages - he calls it "Lautverschiebung in reverse" as I noted in my previous post.These stories have recently been published by Fa
I ducked into Mrs. Dalloways, a Berkeley bookstore, to pick up a gift. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Three books with wonder in their titles, all published in the last 12 months. Wonder Valley, by Ivy Pochoda, a visionary portrait of c
Q: Do all British people say sat instead of sitting, as in this example from a Brits blog: we were sat around the coffee table? A: No, not all British people would say something like we were sat around the coffee table. That usage isnt considered sta
Technology is a constant source of new vocabulary not just new words but new ways of using existing words. One Ive noticed this year is ratio as a verb in internet slang, which Ive bundled here with the more familiar take as a noun. Ratio began life
"Wall Street big, 49, killed by shark while diving in Costa Rica", Fox News (N.Y. Post) 11/4/2017: A 49-year-old Wall Street private equity manager was killed by a tiger shark while diving with a group off a Costa Rican island, according to officials