Pet Peeves

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Tom K.
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Postby Tom K. » 2005-07-27, 3:24

And no, I don't say "dyeetyet". Sorry, but what the hell is that?


It's "did you eat yet" said really fast. I keep seeing it associated with various regions, but it's not regional. It's just a consequence of rapid speech. In fact, I'm not the only one who's bothered by this. This is from Jim Quinn's "Phillyspeak" article (http://www.citypaper.net/articles/08149 ... e008.shtml):

But, sadly, articles about our weird and wonderful dialect always stick to old jokes like:

"Jeet yet?"

"No. Jew?"

That's not Philadelphia dialect. That's just plain old American Slur Colloquial. Philadelphians talk that way when they're in a hurry, sure. But so does everybody else in the Northern United States. Concentrating on "Jeet" and"Jew" is like describing the hot dog as Philadelphia food. We do eat hot dogs. But if you want to know Philly, you have to try thatgreat, gooey watch-your-shirt midnight dripper, the cheesesteak.

Si hoc legere scis, nimium eruditionis habes.

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-27, 3:42

Tom K. wrote:
And no, I don't say "dyeetyet". Sorry, but what the hell is that?


It's "did you eat yet" said really fast. I keep seeing it associated with various regions, but it's not regional. It's just a consequence of rapid speech. In fact, I'm not the only one who's bothered by this. This is from Jim Quinn's "Phillyspeak" article (http://www.citypaper.net/articles/08149 ... e008.shtml):

But, sadly, articles about our weird and wonderful dialect always stick to old jokes like:

"Jeet yet?"

"No. Jew?"

That's not Philadelphia dialect. That's just plain old American Slur Colloquial. Philadelphians talk that way when they're in a hurry, sure. But so does everybody else in the Northern United States. Concentrating on "Jeet" and"Jew" is like describing the hot dog as Philadelphia food. We do eat hot dogs. But if you want to know Philly, you have to try thatgreat, gooey watch-your-shirt midnight dripper, the cheesesteak.



Tom K., I hadn't even thought about it but that also does kind of annoy me when people say things that they think are unique about their speech habits that everyone else does too. Like I've seen several folkish "dialect" guides from places like Michigan or Washington and they invariably list things like "in Michigan we don't say 'city'...we say 'ciddy'...we also often say 'cenner' instead of 'center'...how crazy is that?!" when of course those are characteristics of most if not all North American English dialects (even if some people don't realize it...some people insist they don't do these things but they just don't realize it. I have a friend named Britta who claimed she always pronounced her name [ˈbɹɪtʰə] and didn't believe me when I told her I'd only ever heard her say [ˈbɹɪɾʰə]--well of course about 60 seconds later we were off the topic and she said [ˈbɹɪɾʰə] so I pointed it out to her and she just couldn't believe it but acknowledged she had said it).
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Postby Gormur » 2005-07-27, 6:31

svenska84 wrote:Tom K., I hadn't even thought about it but that also does kind of annoy me when people say things that they think are unique about their speech habits that everyone else does too.

I doubt it. I have several dialect features, depending on who I'm talking to. I adjust to the speaker of that region, more or less. I have analysed recording after recording. I even have a mic on the back of my phone to tape the conversations. And I hardly think that Americans, "in general", pronounce 't' in two to three-syllable words very often, unless speaking formally. In Manitoba, this speech is normal/informal. However, even in a "domestic setting" in California, I would not say this phrase that quickly. If you like, I can submit some informal (recorded) conversations with examples. :wink:

Like I've seen several folkish "dialect" guides from places like Michigan or Washington and they invariably list things like "in Michigan we don't say 'city'...we say 'ciddy'...we also often say 'cenner' instead of 'center'...how crazy is that?!" when of course those are characteristics of most if not all North American English dialects

Sure, the first one is pure ignorance, though I do know quite a few Canadian professors who speak in this enunciated fashion (similar to RP, actually). Regarding centre, ask your Canadian relatives and I would bet they pronounce the 't' - "sen-ter". I have never heard a Canadian use "senner", or many other examples of American speech. Having lived in Canada for 4 yrs, I would like to think that I have a fairly good idea of the differences between the two major varieties of English (American and Canadian), to speak generally.

(even if some people don't realize it...some people insist they don't do these things but they just don't realize it. I have a friend named Britta who claimed she always pronounced her name [ˈbɹɪtʰə] and didn't believe me when I told her I'd only ever heard her say [ˈbɹɪɾʰə]--well of course about 60 seconds later we were off the topic and she said [ˈbɹɪɾʰə] so I pointed it out to her and she just couldn't believe it but acknowledged she had said it).


Wow, she sounds really thick, no offense. Having studied languages the greater part of my life, I can't say I've never been unconsious of the way that I speak. In fact, when I was starting out in elementary school, I had been mostly speaking Norwegian at home, so my accent was quite thick and kids used to tease me. Now I've adjusted, and so I retain several dialects - my mom's ND dialect, Norwegian dialect, a Californian dialect, and now I'm developing a markedly more enunciated speech habit which is unquestionably Canadian (I pronounce the 't' in about, and I've caught myself pronouncing it in a similar fashion to Manitobans). Many features which are beyond my grasp of explanation, but well within my consiousness (being a musician, I am used to instensive ear training, and also have perfect pitch).

Well anyway, that's it for now. Just comfirming that I don't use this form. Rather I am a heap of conglomerated sounds from various nations. :)

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-27, 6:44

Gormur wrote:
svenska84 wrote:Tom K., I hadn't even thought about it but that also does kind of annoy me when people say things that they think are unique about their speech habits that everyone else does too.

I doubt it. I have several dialect features, depending on who I'm talking to. I adjust to the speaker of that region, more or less. I have analysed recording after recording. I even have a mic on the back of my phone to tape the conversations. And I hardly think that Americans, "in general", pronounce 't' in two to three-syllable words very often, unless speaking formally. In Manitoba, this speech is normal/informal. However, even in a "domestic setting" in California, I would not say this phrase that quickly. If you like, I can submit some informal (recorded) conversations with examples. :wink:

Like I've seen several folkish "dialect" guides from places like Michigan or Washington and they invariably list things like "in Michigan we don't say 'city'...we say 'ciddy'...we also often say 'cenner' instead of 'center'...how crazy is that?!" when of course those are characteristics of most if not all North American English dialects

Sure, the first one is pure ignorance, though I do know quite a few Canadian professors who speak in this enunciated fashion (similar to RP, actually). Regarding centre, ask your Canadian relatives and I would bet they pronounce the 't' - "sen-ter". I have never heard a Canadian use "senner", or many other examples of American speech. Having lived in Canada for 4 yrs, I would like to think that I have a fairly good idea of the differences between the two major varieties of English (American and Canadian), to speak generally.

(even if some people don't realize it...some people insist they don't do these things but they just don't realize it. I have a friend named Britta who claimed she always pronounced her name [ˈbɹɪtʰə] and didn't believe me when I told her I'd only ever heard her say [ˈbɹɪɾʰə]--well of course about 60 seconds later we were off the topic and she said [ˈbɹɪɾʰə] so I pointed it out to her and she just couldn't believe it but acknowledged she had said it).


Wow, she sounds really thick, no offense. Having studied languages the greater part of my life, I can't say I've never been unconsious of the way that I speak.


Yeah she can definitely have her thick moments (any others mentioned here would be way off-topic so I won't go there), so no offense taken :) Of course she really has no interest in matters on language (besides the fact that she happens to be part Swedish-American like me and she does share the interest in learning Swedish) so it probably never occurred to her.

Gormur wrote:In fact, when I was starting out in elementary school, I had been mostly speaking Norwegian at home, so my accent was quite thick and kids used to tease me. Now I've adjusted, and so I retain several dialects - my mom's ND dialect, Norwegian dialect, a Californian dialect, and now I'm developing a markedly more enunciated speech habit which is unquestionably Canadian (I pronounce the 't' in about, and I've caught myself pronouncing it in a similar fashion to Manitobans). Many features which are beyond my grasp of explanation, but well within my consiousness (being a musician, I am used to instensive ear training, and also have perfect pitch).

Well anyway, that's it for now. Just comfirming that I don't use this form. Rather I am a heap of conglomerated sounds from various nations. :)


Cool. I think it would be interesting to hear some audio samples of your speech. Of course I realize that since your speech habits may change depending on who you're talking to, I still think it would be cool--that is, if you happen to have a microphone and the will to do so.
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Postby Babelfish » 2005-07-28, 21:42

Wow, this "innocent" thread about pet peeves seems to have become a heated discussion about whether or not to follow grammar rules! And I'm afraid I'm on the minority side here... I'm pretty much a "purist", maybe it's just a pet peeve but it really annoys me when people speak - and even more so, write - with incorrect grammar. Mainly in my native language, Hebrew, although it's so damn complicated that I can't totally blame people...

Now I'll probably be attacked by the many people here who don't agree that there's such a thing as "correct" or "incorrect" grammar. I guess it's sort of an ideological issue - some would like those grammarians to get off our backs! while others want to preserve the language. I think preserving the language does have its merits - for instance, modern written Arabic is pretty much the same around the Arab world, but spoken Arabic has dozens of dialects which are not even mutually intelligible! And as far as I know, French speakers can't readily understand Spanish or Romanian, or vice-versa, although all of them have evolved from Latin (with local influences). Language is for communication, isn't it? So while some grammar rules may be obsolete (e.g. in English "If I were..." instead of "was", the only case of subjunctive), letting the language change freely without keeping and teaching some (written) standard will make communication impossible over time.

But I guess there's also tradition into it. I still would say "If I were", even in speech, and wouldn't like to be "forced" to stop it b/c people would look at me funny. I'm used to it. I've read that in Germany there was recently a suggestion to formally get rid of some irregular plural forms (Funny no one here mentioned the irregular verbs in English...), and many people object to it, not based on any kind of logic but simply a will to keep language and tradition. I think that might be what makes me peeved when I hear Hebrew speakers mess it up...

Back to pet peeves, I also don't like it when people write without capitalisation and without any punctuation marks. Just a stream of words which I am somehow supposed to follow.

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-28, 22:30

Babelfish wrote:Wow, this "innocent" thread about pet peeves seems to have become a heated discussion about whether or not to follow grammar rules! And I'm afraid I'm on the minority side here... I'm pretty much a "purist", maybe it's just a pet peeve but it really annoys me when people speak - and even more so, write - with incorrect grammar. Mainly in my native language, Hebrew, although it's so damn complicated that I can't totally blame people...

Now I'll probably be attacked by the many people here who don't agree that there's such a thing as "correct" or "incorrect" grammar. I guess it's sort of an ideological issue - some would like those grammarians to get off our backs! while others want to preserve the language.


But the important thing to remember is no language is being destroyed or decaying simply by changing, so the attempt to "preserve" any language (in the sense of insisting that people use older forms) is unncessary.

Babelfish wrote:I think preserving the language does have its merits - for instance, modern written Arabic is pretty much the same around the Arab world, but spoken Arabic has dozens of dialects which are not even mutually intelligible! And as far as I know, French speakers can't readily understand Spanish or Romanian, or vice-versa, although all of them have evolved from Latin (with local influences). Language is for communication, isn't it? So while some grammar rules may be obsolete (e.g. in English "If I were..." instead of "was", the only case of subjunctive), letting the language change freely without keeping and teaching some (written) standard will make communication impossible over time.

But I guess there's also tradition into it. I still would say "If I were", even in speech, and wouldn't like to be "forced" to stop it b/c people would look at me funny. I'm used to it. I've read that in Germany there was recently a suggestion to formally get rid of some irregular plural forms (Funny no one here mentioned the irregular verbs in English...), and many people object to it, not based on any kind of logic but simply a will to keep language and tradition. I think that might be what makes me peeved when I hear Hebrew speakers mess it up...


Yeah, but no matter what the official sources say, people will speak as is natural to them, so "deciding" to "get rid" of certain irregular plurals is pretty much irrelevant. The only place that may be relevant is in the arbitrary written language. The fact that Arabic differs widely around the Arabic world and that Spanish and French speakers largely can't understand each other doesn't have much to do with people "allowing" the language to change--that's something that's inevitable and expected over centuries and millennia as language changes. There's no way to stop it. Some people (many prescriptivists included) have tried. It doesn't work.
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'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

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Postby Travis B. » 2005-07-29, 0:54

Babelfish wrote:Wow, this "innocent" thread about pet peeves seems to have become a heated discussion about whether or not to follow grammar rules! And I'm afraid I'm on the minority side here... I'm pretty much a "purist", maybe it's just a pet peeve but it really annoys me when people speak - and even more so, write - with incorrect grammar. Mainly in my native language, Hebrew, although it's so damn complicated that I can't totally blame people...

Now I'll probably be attacked by the many people here who don't agree that there's such a thing as "correct" or "incorrect" grammar. I guess it's sort of an ideological issue - some would like those grammarians to get off our backs! while others want to preserve the language. I think preserving the language does have its merits - for instance, modern written Arabic is pretty much the same around the Arab world, but spoken Arabic has dozens of dialects which are not even mutually intelligible!


Actually, this probably is a good reason to preserve the literary language, in the case of English, as-is, because it is practically inevitable that spoken English dialects will significantly diverge like those of Arabic or Vulgar Latin, to the point where they are effectively separate languages altogether. Due to such, it would actually be a good idea to try to keep the literary language as one monolithic construct, to help enable communication in writing even when the individuals in question can't necessarily communicate well in speech in the future.

[/quote="Babelfish"]And as far as I know, French speakers can't readily understand Spanish or Romanian, or vice-versa, although all of them have evolved from Latin (with local influences). Language is for communication, isn't it? So while some grammar rules may be obsolete (e.g. in English "If I were..." instead of "was", the only case of subjunctive), letting the language change freely without keeping and teaching some (written) standard will make communication impossible over time.

But I guess there's also tradition into it. I still would say "If I were", even in speech, and wouldn't like to be "forced" to stop it b/c people would look at me funny. I'm used to it. I've read that in Germany there was recently a suggestion to formally get rid of some irregular plural forms (Funny no one here mentioned the irregular verbs in English...), and many people object to it, not based on any kind of logic but simply a will to keep language and tradition. I think that might be what makes me peeved when I hear Hebrew speakers mess it up...[/quote]

One problem with such potential "reforms" is when there still exists dialects which still native do things "the old way". For example, in the case of "if I were" versus "if I was", in the dialect here, the subjunctive in its classical English sense is still productive, and also "were" as the past subjunctive of "to be" has not changed to "was". Hence, to somehow legislate changing the past subjunctive of "to be" from "were" to "was" was be quite, well, annoying for individuals like myself, simply because at least here, trying to use "was" as the past subjunctive of "to be" just doesn't sound right, so to speak. Even if they did somehow do that, I probably would still use "were" in said place rather than "was", as at least in my dialect, using "was" in such places would still not be exactly grammatical.

Babelfish wrote:Back to pet peeves, I also don't like it when people write without capitalisation and without any punctuation marks. Just a stream of words which I am somehow supposed to follow.


Agreed most definitely.
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Postby Psi-Lord » 2005-07-29, 1:30

Travis B. wrote:
Babelfish wrote:Back to pet peeves, I also don't like it when people write without capitalisation and without any punctuation marks. Just a stream of words which I am somehow supposed to follow.

Agreed most definitely.

Amazing the number of people who seem to get surprised at my always using proper capitalisation and punctuation even in messengers and chat rooms, like it was some sort of sin to do that. :P
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Postby Travis B. » 2005-07-29, 2:16

Psi-Lord wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
Babelfish wrote:Back to pet peeves, I also don't like it when people write without capitalisation and without any punctuation marks. Just a stream of words which I am somehow supposed to follow.

Agreed most definitely.

Amazing the number of people who seem to get surprised at my always using proper capitalisation and punctuation even in messengers and chat rooms, like it was some sort of sin to do that. :P

One note is that my above comment was about more formal sorts of writing, which does include things like writing in forums and like. However, when chatting in IRC channels, I normally don't capitalize things other than proper names (except when writing in German, where I'll capitalize things far more stringently, just because I find German hard to read when things aren't capitalized carefully). On the other hand, though, I also use large quantities of nonstandard spellings, not with the purpose of abbreviating things, which to me just looks plain stupid, but rather for the sake of trying to more closely represent the spoken language, as chatting is supposed to be closer to the spoken language overall than, say, writing in forums.
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Rather "var" is a gateway drug toward "real" type inferencing, of which var is but a tiny cigarette to the greater crack mountain!

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-29, 5:29

Yeah--when I'm chatting I hardly ever use punctuation and capitalization as I find it cumbersome for the purposes of chatting. However, anytime I'm not chatting I obviously conform to more traditional standards of the written language, as seen here. I wouldn't think of not capitalizing something in this kind of context. Also, I do use a few variant spellings such as "tho" and "altho," which have been around awhile as accepted variants at least in American English (and not just in informal usage but often so), so I will use them in semi-formal contexts such as here. When I'm being graded on something like an essay or some research project I've written my writing becomes the most traditional within the bounds that I use it.
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Postby Babelfish » 2005-07-29, 11:14

I think we could all (or most:)) agree that there different levels of language strictness - there's probably a better term but I hope you understand what I mean - when I write a long text, such as this one, I tend to follow grammar/syntax/spelling rules quite strictly. Some people would be more lax, following such rules only if they have to submit a formal essay or something. In chats (e.g. MSN) I do use shortcuts such as I c u instead of I see you, and of course in speech we all make mistakes and use simpler sentences - no way usually to backspace ;) or take a moment to phrase the sentence or look something up in the dictionary.

So the written language is relatively strict and therefore more easily preserved. What I do find somewhat troubling is allowing spoken language to diverge freely - evetually it can reach the level of Latin in the medievals or written Arabic today, and I don't find it very comfortable to communicate with other people in writing when we're in the same room... Some people from my workplace had to use MSN in China for that purpose exactly, b/c Chinese and English are so differently pronounced that even if both sides know English well enough, they can't understand each other in speech!

As for "enforcing" the preservation of language - that's for you Svenska ;) - I guess it's a matter of attitude. Schools may force pupils to write and even speak correct English in exams, but I doubt the effect of that would be lasting. The question is how people regard it when I use incorrect English - in the sense that it "doesn't sound right", like "If I was instead of "If I were". Some people might frown at me for speaking incorrectly, and even correct me, which can be quite annoying! On the other hand, some people might frown at me for speaking correctly, like when using "whom". This is a kind of scorn for knowledge and education, which I really dislike. I don't correct people when they're speaking wrong, let them not correct me when I'm speaking right! :P

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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-29, 11:26

Babelfish wrote:Some people might frown at me for speaking incorrectly, and even correct me, which can be quite annoying! On the other hand, some people might frown at me for speaking correctly, like when using "whom". This is a kind of scorn for knowledge and education, which I really dislike. I don't correct people when they're speaking wrong, let them not correct me when I'm speaking right! :P


Hehe. Yes, but the important thing to realize and remember is that native speakers absolutely do not make mistakes in their language so the whole issue of native speakers making "mistakes" is irrelevant anyway. I completely agree they may use constructions and lexical items that are stigmatized (usually for entirely arbitrary reasons historically, as it turns out) in some social contexts but if a native speaker is saying something, thankfully mother English is far more permissive than what the prescriptivists would allow for. Read more on this on my most recent post here as I don't feel like writing all the same facts linguistics has to offer on this subject over again.
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Postby Pips » 2005-07-29, 12:43

Babelfish wrote:So while some grammar rules may be obsolete (e.g. in English "If I were..." instead of "was", the only case of subjunctive)


Reports on the death of the subjunctive in English are greatly exaggerated.

Look at the sentences:
Her parents insist that she be home by ten o'clock.
I recommended that he study Japanese.
It is essential that he arrive on time.

Why not she is, he studies, or he arrives? Because it's the subjunctive form. Of course, in English, this is only noticeable in the third person singular (unless it's the verb "to be").
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Postby Zoroa » 2005-07-29, 12:51

Pips, do you know if British English would rather use modals in this context ?

Zoroa ;)
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Postby Pips » 2005-07-29, 14:38

Zoroa wrote:Pips, do you know if British English would rather use modals in this context ?

Zoroa ;)


Certainly, for the third sentence, it would probably be more natural - regardless of which variety of English you speak - to say something like "He needs to arrive on time" or "He has to arrive on time."

Maybe my brain isn't firing on all cylinders this morning, but I can't seem to think of a way to reformulate the other two sentences without a subjunctive, while keeping the verbs "insist" and "recommend". :?
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Postby Babelfish » 2005-07-29, 17:31

Hmmm, didn't think of that as subjunctive... But I've studied those forms in school, and was just told that this is how it should be. In fact, I only knew that "were" is subjunctive in the above case b/c I've read about Latin and this was given as an example.
BTW the other two sentences could maybe be rephrased as "Her parents insist on her being at home by 10 o'clock" and "I recommended for him to study Japanese", but this subjunctive construction is in fact more comfortable, b/c it makes minimal changes to the - what d'you call it, clause?

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Postby Travis B. » 2005-07-29, 19:28

Pips wrote:
Babelfish wrote:So while some grammar rules may be obsolete (e.g. in English "If I were..." instead of "was", the only case of subjunctive)


Reports on the death of the subjunctive in English are greatly exaggerated.

Look at the sentences:
Her parents insist that she be home by ten o'clock.
I recommended that he study Japanese.
It is essential that he arrive on time.

Why not she is, he studies, or he arrives? Because it's the subjunctive form. Of course, in English, this is only noticeable in the third person singular (unless it's the verb "to be").

Agreed completely. It annoys me to no end when people act as if the subjunctive had died out in at least spoken English, as at least here, it most certainly hasn't. People who do think that it has either seem to ignore all of English outside of English English, or simply aren't paying attention to how it still is most definitely used in spoken NAE today.
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Rather "var" is a gateway drug toward "real" type inferencing, of which var is but a tiny cigarette to the greater crack mountain!

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Gormur
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Postby Gormur » 2005-07-29, 20:30

Another pet peeve of mine is when people use misplaced modifiers, so what they say contradicts the meaning the speaker is trying to express:

Incorrect: I had to take down the shutters painting the house yesterday.

Correct: Painting the house yesterday, I had to take down the shutters.


I can't think of a decent example, but I trust all of you know what I'm talking about. In the above case (at least) I would say: I had to take down the shutters yesterday because/since I was painting the house; well, there are other examples, but my mind is a bit foggy at the moment. :evil:

And here is another question: is the following sentence grammatically-correct in American English?

The tusk of a mastodon is bigger than an elephant's.

...or is it...

The tusk of a mastodon is bigger than that of an elephant. [?]

...or are both grammatically correct?


Being a bit out of it at the moment, my memory fails me, so I want to ask what the following example is called in Engilsh grammar;

I've lent my vehicle to a friend.
I lent my vehicle to a friend.

I know that both sentences would be correct in American English, and that only the first sentence would be acceptable in British English. I would just like to point out that I use the former more frequently than the latter. Does anyone know whether or not this is a regionalism in American English? I know it is a popular form here, and especially on the Canadian west coast.

I'm also curious as to the "grammatical logic" behind using such forms as "I was in hospital", "He's studying at university". These are the predominant (or only) forms used in Canadian English, and I'm just curious about them. I know they come directly from British English, but that's it.

Thanks,

Gormur

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Kirk
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Postby Kirk » 2005-07-29, 22:21

Pips wrote:
Babelfish wrote:So while some grammar rules may be obsolete (e.g. in English "If I were..." instead of "was", the only case of subjunctive)


Reports on the death of the subjunctive in English are greatly exaggerated.

Look at the sentences:
Her parents insist that she be home by ten o'clock.
I recommended that he study Japanese.
It is essential that he arrive on time.

Why not she is, he studies, or he arrives? Because it's the subjunctive form. Of course, in English, this is only noticeable in the third person singular (unless it's the verb "to be").


Yes, and as Travis said, those forms are present in speech (and certainly writing) in much of North American English, so claims of their death are inaccurate and may only be focusing on British English where the traditional subjunctive has mostly died out.
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Re: Pet Peeves

Postby pierrick18 » 2005-07-29, 23:20

Gormur wrote:The usage of stupid as a comparative, e.g. "How stupid is that?", "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard".

I hate it. :P


OMG like how stupid is that?!?!


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