7
   

Things that the swells like just the way they are?

 
 
Reply Sun 13 Feb, 2011 09:12 pm
I said:"His deal was blew up. That's what happens when you try to fix things sometimes. Things that the swells like just the way they are."

What does the last sentence mean here?
 
View best answer, chosen by PennyChan
Setanta
  Selected Answer
 
  4  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 05:37 am
@PennyChan,
"Swells" is a term used to refer to visibly important people--people who obviously have money and influence. It is not a very current term any longer, it was more often used in the 18th and 19th centuries--however, English speakers recognize the term and it's use. It usually referred to well-dressed people, whose clothing and manner showed that they were wealthy, and be extension, powerful. In this usage, the author is saying that people of power and influence resist change.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 10:11 am
@Setanta,

We dine at the best hotels
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 10:32 am
I live in hotels
I tear out the walls
I have accountants
Who pay for it all

I have a mansion
I forget the price
I've never been there
They tell me it's nice . . .
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:46 pm
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundel is set in 1947. If only these Chinese learners would SAY WHERE THE QUOTE IS FROM. Others are just as guilty.

Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 10:18 pm
@contrex,
That is a good suggestion, Contrex.
Joe (now stop shouting)Nation
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 08:41 am

In June, July and August
Far away from the city's smells.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 09:02 am
@PennyChan,
PennyChan wrote:

I said:"His deal was blew up.


This part is improper English by the way. It should be "His deal blew up" or "His deal was blown up."
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 04:06 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
In June, July and August
Far away from the city's smells.


No, that's wrong. Pardon. All together now

We're a couple of swells
We dine at the best hotels
But we prefer the country
Far away from the city's smells

We're a couple of sports
The pride of the tennis courts
In June, July and August
We look cute when we're dressed in shorts
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 04:10 pm
@PennyChan,
His deal was blew up. It is colloquial English i.e. spoken English. It may not be grammatically right but it is spoken that way especially with the Brits. 'He was sat in his chair' is common uasage in Britain.
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 04:15 pm
@talk72000,

Quote:
His deal was blew up. It is colloquial English i.e. spoken English. It may not be grammatically right but it is spoken that way especially with the Brits.


No, it isn't.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Feb, 2011 04:28 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
Non-standard English

I hear so many British saying I was sat waiting for an hour or I was stood in the rain. Isn't that grammatically wrong? Shouldn't it be: I was sitting..., I was standing...? I have even heard broadcasters on the BBC use this seemingly incorrect form! Is there some verb tense I'm not aware of? Thanks.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/ask_about_english/071231/

Quote:
Samantha Hague answers:
So what a great question! I have to say, it’s rare for a non-native speaker to notice this feature of spoken English, so you must have a very good ear for conversations! The feature that you’ve drawn attention to is called a ‘non-standard grammatical form’ and in the cases you’ve mentioned the speakers seem to combine two tenses into one new one.
So what’s going on here? I was sat waiting for an hour uses the simple past of be and the past participle of the second verb sit, and finally waiting is in the progressive verb form. This pattern, which almost looks like the passive voice, is used to introduce anecdotes and stories, almost as a kind of ‘scene-setting’ device. It also sometimes suggests that the person was forced to do something against their will, which is similar to the function of the passive. This phrase is likely to be used when we’re complaining about something:

I was stood waiting for the bus for half an hour in the freezing cold.

I was finished cleaning when the kids come in and messed the room up again.

Technically, in writing, this combination of verb forms would be incorrect, and if children wrote in this way at school, their teacher would correct the form of the second verb (as you’ve done in your examples) or cross out the be participle to change the verb to the simple past:

I sat waiting for an hour.

I stood in the rain.

The teacher corrects written English so that the child is aware of ‘conventional’ or ‘standard’ usage, which a child needs to become literate. Even as children, we’re able to modify our language depending on the formality of a situation and adult speakers who use a lot of non-standard grammatical forms are probably unlikely to do so in formal situations - for example, if they were asked to give a speech in public.

So, while a teacher might correct a child’s written English, I think we’re more tolerant of spoken variations, and these days, we use the term ‘non-standard’ to describe such features. I think it’s better than describing such variations as being wrong or incorrect, because these non-standard grammatical patterns are used consistently by millions of speakers every day! So, I really approve of your phrase ‘seemingly incorrect’, Cynthia, to describe this usage, because I think that sums it up perfectly!

And Cynthia, I just want to finish by mentioning that there are some regional variations in non-standard grammar. I thought I’d tell you about some features of non-standard grammar from the regional accent, Geordie, where I live. (In fact, rather than being an accent, it’s a dialect, but that’s another story!). OK…

The first example I’m going to tell you about is I’ve went or She’s went or He’s went home, which is used instead of gone.
Another example is the use of the simple present instead of the simple past - I says to my husband - which uses the third person singular form of the verb.
There’s also a non-standard conditional form used: If I had’ve went meaning ‘If I had gone’ to express an unfulfilled condition.
Another example is that the past tense of irregular verbs becomes inflected: I catched it; I telled him.
And finally, double negatives are common: You didn’t want it, didn’t you not?
So, just before I go, or ‘gan’, you might be intrigued to learn that regional accents (although not dialects) have become very fashionable in broadcasting, but the announcers do read scripts written in standard English grammar! So good-bye and thank you for the question Cynthia!

About Samantha Hague
Samantha Hague has been a teacher of English language and communication skills for the past sixteen years. She taught in Japan for many years, but is now based at Newcastle University, where she teaches on an MA in Translating and Interpreting, as well as preparatory EFL programmes. MORE ON THIS TOPIC
Ask about English - Non-standard English

Learn It - double negatives

The Road Trip - featuring examples of UK regional accents

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McTag
 
  3  
Reply Wed 16 Feb, 2011 03:09 am
@talk72000,

Thank you for the lesson, although I am familiar with colloquial usage (and mis-usage) in Britain, since I live here.

It is common, especially in the north of England, to hear things said such as "I was stood over there" (which sounds like a passive when an active is intended) but to say, as you did

Quote:
His deal was blew up. It is colloquial English i.e. spoken English. It may not be grammatically right but it is spoken that way especially with the Brits


is not correct.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 16 Feb, 2011 03:52 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
Thank you for the lesson, although I am familiar with colloquial usage (and mis-usage) in Britain, since I live here.


You've been wrong more than once before, McTag and you may be wrong this time.

If a dialect of BrE uses "was blew up" then it is both grammatical and correct. What it may accurately be described as is Nonstandard BrE.
McTag
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 05:30 am
@JTT,

Quote:
If a dialect of BrE uses "was blew up" then it is both grammatical and correct


But it doesn't. So, as you were.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 11:12 am
@McTag,
Quote:
But it doesn't. So, as you were.


Google Exact phrase search for "was blew up", UK region only yielded
About 1,230 results, McTag, which is not a small number for such a phrase.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 11:27 am
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Google Exact phrase search for "was blew up", UK region only yielded
About 1,230 results, McTag, which is not a small number for such a phrase.


I tried to duplicate that and got 41 results, including "Yeh but i heard it was blew up by the america goverment. " (a board abut 9/11), and "So that means when he was blew up as it were he wouldn't feel the explotion he would feel the dalek." (a Torchwood (Doctor Who) forum)

Those seem more like errors than variant usages.

I searched the exact phrase "was blew up" and restricted the search to .uk domains.

I would hesitate to draw many conclusions about spoken UK regional dialect usage from a Google search of written material on the web. Having said that I have a feeling that it might possibly be a (becoming obsolete) spoken variant in Northern Ireland.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 11:33 am
Google search results are essentially meaningless. There is no way to determine the provenance, to know if the author can be considered a reliable reflection of common usage. Additionally, any number of the results could be iterations of a single source. Finally, there is no way to know how many results are produced by people who are not either native English speakers, or decently educated.

I can think of few things more stupid than relying on a search engine to determine the reliability of language usage.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 12:06 pm
It's lonely out tonight
And the feelin' just got right for a brand new love song
Somebody done somebody wrong song

Hey, wontcha play another somebody done somebody wrong song
And make me feel at home while I miss my baby, while I miss my baby

So please play for me a sad melody
So sad that it makes everybody cry-y-y-y
A real hurtin' song about a love that's gone wrong
'cause I don't want to cry all alone

Hey, wontcha play another somebody done somebody wrong song
And make me feel at home while I miss my baby, while I miss my baby

So please play for me a sad melody
So sad that it makes everybody cry-y-y-y
A real hurtin' song about a love that's gone wrong
'cause I don't want to cry all alone

Hey, wontcha play another somebody done somebody wrong song
And make me feel at home while I miss my baby, while I miss my baby

(Hey) wontcha play (wontcha play) another somebody done somebody wrong song
And make me feel at home while I miss my baby, while I miss my baby

(Hey) wontcha play (wontcha play) another somebody done

0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 12:20 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
I can think of few things more stupid than relying on a search engine to determine the reliability of language usage.


Me too (or do I mean neither?).

 

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