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Fine-Tuning 11, Not a Word

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 02:32 pm
At no time and under no circumstances is alot ever a word. It's two words! No matter what! Always two words. A LOT.

Whew. I feel better now.

There are other words that are arguably not words. These include alright and irregardless. Although some sources suggest that these words have established a foothold, IMO they're not acceptable words. The expression all right is two words. And regardless is the word to use.

Can't think of any others that fall into this category. Any contributions will be welcome.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 3,309 • Replies: 22
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 02:44 pm
Isn't irregardless also confused with irrespective?
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 02:46 pm
Oh, one more - dove is not the past participle of dive. Dived is. Dove is a bird.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 03:27 pm
Another is cast not casted.
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 03:30 pm
Roberta, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Ahold is another like this...

But:
From Merriam-Webster online:
Quote:
usage Dive, which was originally a weak verb, developed a past tense dove, probably by analogy with verbs like drive, drove. Dove exists in some British dialects and has become the standard past tense especially in speech in some parts of Canada. In the U.S. dived and dove are both widespread in speech as past tense and past participle, with dove less common than dived in the south Midland area, and dived less common than dove in the Northern and north Midland areas.... Dove seems relatively rare as a past participle in writing.

Dived is preferred, but dove is right there... I go by ear, whichever the sentence and the context ask for...
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 03:42 pm
The Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage says it similar: "dived/dove (Ex: They have dived too deep.)".
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 03:53 pm
similarly

diven

Wink
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 04:00 pm
I must say, I like "They have diven..."
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 04:01 pm
Sorry
Got carried away
Irregular verbs are the very devil
And American English is different in many respects from the English version.
I very much enjoyed Bill Bryson's book "Mother Tongue" which goes into the subject in an amusing and accessible, clear yet not without erudition and rigour, and avoiding long sentences which have an unwieldy conglomeration of subordinate clauses, way.
Smile
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 04:08 pm
Jespah, I don't know where, how, or why irregardless reared it's unwordly head, but it's a good guess that you're right.

As for dive/dove/dived, how's this? He nosedove into the lake.

Wy, You're welcome, you're welcome. And you're welcome. Now get ahold of yourself. Gag.

Butrflynet, Right. And similarly, forcast is the present and past tense of forecast.

Walter, I have on occasion said dove--not the bird. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

McTag, Diven is good. I have diven; you have diven; they have diven. It's got a nice ring to it.

Here's another--deers. Not a word. This is like sheep. Singular and plural are the same. Also not a word--bacterias. Bacteria is the plural.
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2003 04:09 pm
Steven Pinker explains the silly things in one of his books -- Words and Rules, I think. Part of it has to do with how our mind works, and how our mouths fashion the sounds... He's not quite as accessible as Bill Bryson, but if this kind of stuff interests you give him a try.
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2003 12:01 am
People especially in the news meeja are forgetting, if they ever knew, that the singular of criteria is criterion.
You rarely see (hear) it used in the singular, even when the singular is intended.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2003 06:52 am
Ah, I never knew that about dive/dove. Still, it annoys the heck outta me.

Criteria/criterion - yes, similar to:

media/medium
data/datum

A piece of data doesn't exist; it's a datum. A singular news media also doesn't exist; it's a medium.
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2003 01:05 pm
Would anyone like to tackle flammable/inflammable/uninflammable? How did we get three words to represent two ideas?
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2003 01:57 pm
My guess is that somebody confused the prefix "in", and invented the word "flammable". They thought the prefix could mean in "in-flammable" what it means in "in-credible". They forgot, or never knew, the latin ethimology of the prefix.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2003 02:06 pm
Re: Fine-Tuning 11, Not a Word
Roberta wrote:
At no time and under no circumstances is alot ever a word. It's two words! Always two words. A LOT.

The expression all right is two words.


Omigod! Well, Roberta, you could have told me in a PM. Laughing It would have saved me some embarassment. :wink:
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2003 07:00 pm
Mac, If it's all the same to you, I'd just as soon stear clear of flammables.

McTag and Jespah, I totally agree with the problems with the plurals (and singulars) you mention. However, the dictionary (Webster's Tenth Collegiate) takes a less strong stand on data than we might expect. It's now sometimes ok to use data in the singular. Fie, I say.

Piffka, As Joe E. Brown said to Jack Lemmon at the end of Some Like It Hot, "Nobody's perfect."
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 01:17 am
mac11 wrote:
Would anyone like to tackle flammable/inflammable/uninflammable? How did we get three words to represent two ideas?


The way this was taught to me in school, the story I mean, was that it dates back to wartime in Britain, when there were a lot of American servicemen here.
They were unfamiliar with the British use of the word "inflammable", and things had to be labelled FLAM or NON-FLAM to avoid confusion.
I realise that this is in no way an answer to your question, but I thought I'd put it in anyway.
I personally have never much liked the use of "flammable", although I like most Americanisms; they are generally pithy and useful. In fact that's why an expression get's adopted, isn't it? Because it's useful? Or captures the spirit of the moment, or something similar. Zeitgeist.
( Gesundheit! Smile )
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 07:51 am
Thanks, McTag - very interesting! Smile
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2003 08:14 am
According to my pocket Oxford dictionary, the opposite of inflammable (and flammable) is non-inflammable (with the hyphen). They don't list an uninflammable.

And here's more than you probably wanted to know, with some other interesting non-negatives at the end. Smile

from http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxflamma.html
Quote:
People often ask why "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing. The English words come from separate Latin words: inflammare and the rarer flammare, which both meant "to set on fire". Latin had two prefixes in-, one of which
meant "not"; the other, meaning "in", "into", or "upon", was the
one used in inflammare. "Inflammable" dates in English from
1605.

"Flammable" is first attested in an 1813 translation from Latin
It was rare until the 1920s when the U.S. National Fire Protection
Association adopted "flammable" because of concern that the "in-" in "inflammable" might be misconstrued as a negative prefix.
Underwriters and others interested in fire safety followed suit.
Benjamin Whorf (1897-1941), the linguist who shares credit for the
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis that language shapes thought, may have been influential in promoting this change. Merriam-Webster Editorial Department writes: "Though we have been unable to confirm that Benjamin Whorf was responsible for the word's adoption, the theory seems plausible enough: he was, in fact, employed by the Hartford Fire Insurance Company from 1918 to 1940, and was widely recognized for his work in fire prevention."

"Flammable" is still commoner in the U.S. than in the U.K.; in figurative uses, "inflammable" prevails (e.g., "inflammable temper").

Other words where an apparently negative prefix has little
effect on the meaning are: "to (dis)annul", "to (de)bone", "to
(un)bare", "to (un)loose", and "to (un)ravel". "Irregardless"
(which probably arose as a blend of "irrespective" and "regardless";
it was first recorded in western Indiana in 1912), means the same as "regardless", but is not considered acceptable.




Oh, hey, and here's this, as well.

from: http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20000919

Quote:
After World War II, the British Standards Institution took up the campaign: "In order to avoid any possible ambiguity, it is the Institution's policy to encourage the use of the terms 'flammable' and 'non-flammable' rather than 'inflammable' and 'non-inflammable.'"
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