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What are your pet peeves re English usage?

 
 
Clary
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 02:09 am
To loose, McT, I would say is now more literary or poetic than archaic - like you. Confused

We use free as a verb more than they used to, and of course loosen which is a different verb with a different meaning (make less tight).

Yes I dislike loose for lose but my own dearest eldest son ALWAYS does it (dyslexic anyway) and I bite my tongue hard nowadays because he hates to be corrected.

Ailsa, I think the confusion about your sentences lies in the definition of 'subject'. Malcolm is definitely the grammatical subject, but if you are asking 'what is the subject of the sentence?' as you might ask 'What is the subject of that book?' then your answer is correct! The sentence is 'about'...
On subjects and objects, what about a pair of sentences like:
John is easy to please.
John is eager to please.

Same shape, but same grammar?
And Walter's nice tagline at the moment:
Time flies like an arrow, while fruit flies like a banana.
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 01:05 pm
Thank you, Clary
Thank you, Clary, for the clarification (no pun intended!). Cool

ailsa
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 01:06 pm
Clary wrote:
To loose, McT, I would say is now more literary or poetic than archaic - like you. Confused


I thought for a moment you meant to say "more literary or poetic- like you" but no. Smile

Quote:
On subjects and objects, what about a pair of sentences like:
John is easy to please.
John is eager to please.
Same shape, but same grammar?


I cannot see a real difference between these two. Could you please explain what you mean, Clazza?
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 01:27 pm
McTag, In the first sentence, the implication is that John doesn't demand much in order to be pleased.

In the second sentence, John wants to please every one; both have to do with semantics

As far as the structure is concerned, "To please" is a verbal and a complement.

I have many pet peeves in usage, but very few in grammar because it's so highly structured.

Nice to see you feeling well and posting, Clary.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 01:35 pm
There is a kind of active/ passive difference too. I just wondered what Clary was driving at.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 01:45 pm
McTag, "is" in this case, functions as a linking verb. I don't believe voice is applicable. "eager to please", and "easy to please" have the same function; both describing John.

Perhaps Clary will enlighten us, as I will defer to her acumen.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 May, 2004 01:12 am
McTag wrote:
Clary wrote:
To loose, McT, I would say is now more literary or poetic than archaic - like you. Confused


I thought for a moment you meant to say "more literary or poetic- like you" but no. Smile

But YES! Forgivve my ungainly English...

That pair of sentences was used to illustrate Chomsky's 'transformational grammar' which looks at the 'deep' grammar underpinning the apparent classification.
That pair look the same but as Letty says, one is passive and one active, so to say
John - subject, easy/eager to please - predicate which is how we tended in the days of grammar lessons to parse it, we should be looking at the real subject (John in the eager sentence, and 'one', an undefined subject in the easy sentence which can be turned round into 'One can please John easily'.

God I'm getting lost in all this, but it's to do with words looking the same, but not being. In Walter's sentence, of course, it is purely superficial that flies noun is the same as flies verb, and that like has two distinct meanings. But we do get trapped in superficialities!

Just thought it would be a bit of fun really.....

Letty, I find this a most refreshing way to banish those early morning or late night blues. Thanks for noticing!
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 May, 2004 07:20 am
Wow, Clary. Do I understand what you're saying! Yikes! Transformational Grammar and those trees of derivation! (as if diagramming wasn't ridiculous enough. Rolling Eyes)

I think I might have used this illustration on Roberta's thread, but it's worth repeating. In doing a bulletin board about grammar, I used the caption, "Let's Grow a Sentence". No matter which approach one uses, transformational--structural--or the old diagramming, it turns out to be a walrus.

McTag, Ain't nobody gonna argue with your feel for the language, 'ceptin' maybe, Robert Burns. Smile
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 04:04 am
I don't think I really understand it, actually, Letty, except in a sort of intuitive way!

Don't a lot of people spell DEFINATELY that way? I try and get them to think of FINITE and INFINITY but it doesn't seem to work.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 08:16 am
I've been constipated for days now, and was hoping to get too loose . . . tmi, i know . . .


What do you say to a diminutive impressionist painter who's had too much to drink?


You're too loose, Lautrec . . .
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 08:20 am
Pirsonily, i luv internet speling. Do u?

Nice one Set...

My preference, grammar-wise, is not transformational, but transcendental. I meditate to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he tells me how to write. Yes, it's a bit of a problem with him being Indian and all, but I have faith.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 08:25 am
Poissonally, i'm a devoté of Mahesh Baba Rum Raisin . . .
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 08:31 am
I used to visit my grammar all the time, until she died.
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 09:53 am
cavfancier wrote:
.........My preference, grammar-wise, is not transformational, but transcendental. I meditate to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he tells me how to write. Yes, it's a bit of a problem with him being Indian and all, but I have faith.


is "Faith" your translator, or your 'grammar'?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 09:57 am
My pet peeve of the English language is its constant changing of the rules in spelling - especialy when to and when not to capitalize.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 10:06 am
Yes, we could be more prescriptive, like the French, to make it easier for people. But as a lexicographer, I was trained to go by democratic principles - if most people do it, go with it!

I long for a return to Shakespearian (or Shaksperian) English which could be spelt any way you liked, and reflected the pronunciation. A whole disease, dyslexia, would then not exist, and people would not be penalised for having it. Apparently the dyslexic brain has just one small sulcus missing, or flat, or something, and in our preliterate state this made no difference to everyday life whatsoever.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 10:08 am
Poof! transformed the court jesters into Le frogs.
Unpoof! Faith has made thee whole again.

Spell cast on ings and angs.

Want some more?

"Noam"

Don't forget to say peeves and tank u's
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 10:10 am
you such a silly girl, Miss Letty . . .


okbye
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 10:14 am
Clary, I agree with you 100 percent; the important thing about language is that we understand what the writer is trying to tell us - everything else is frill.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2004 12:34 pm
Hey it was me what noticed the active/ passive thing.

But I thought it was a red herring, a bum steer, a false dawn, the wrong tree, a horse of a different colour, a nonsequitur, a matter of complete imbuggeration.
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