Author Topic: Cato's Grammar Grumble  (Read 555663 times)

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Offline Ten thumbs

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #260 on: February 25, 2009, 12:36:42 PM »
Here's one of my favorites:

"I replied back to them."
Yes, and  the following are also cringeworthy:
At this moment in time
From here on in

Of course it could be (?)
At this moment in space, or
From here on out

Writing is a good method for removing tautologies. It teaches you to eliminate all unnecessary words.
A day may be a destiny; for life
Lives in but little—but that little teems
With some one chance, the balance of all time:
A look—a word—and we are wholly changed.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #261 on: February 25, 2009, 12:46:19 PM »
No, I explained, for the father, complete with a Scottish last name, is from Australia!  aka "OWSTRIYA!"
But France???    :o

Ah, that can be tricky, trying to guess nationality from the name (not the accent). I've been reading a book on the Franco-Prussian War; the French Marshall, commanding the Army of Alsace, was named Pat MacMahon.  ;D

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

nut-job

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #262 on: February 25, 2009, 12:53:25 PM »
Yes, and  the following are also cringeworthy:
At this moment in time
From here on in

Of course it could be (?)
At this moment in space, or
From here on out

"At this moment in time" is a variant of "at this point in time," which may not be high poetry, but which has some descriptive value since a "point" in time suggests a more sharply defined moment, equivalent to "at this precise moment."  I have no idea what "from here on in" means or whether it is better or worse than "from here on out."

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #263 on: February 25, 2009, 01:26:09 PM »
"At this moment in time" is a variant of "at this point in time," which may not be high poetry, but which has some descriptive value since a "point" in time suggests a more sharply defined moment, equivalent to "at this precise moment."  I have no idea what "from here on in" means or whether it is better or worse than "from here on out."


At this point in time = Now.  "Right now" could also be used.  "At that moment" could be used to emphasize a past event: using "precise" seems like overkill.

It has been a bureaucratic tic to use 4 and 5 words, rather than one, either to sound important or to send up a smoke-screen.

One should always eschew obfuscation!   8)
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Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #264 on: February 25, 2009, 02:21:08 PM »
Not a grammar grumble but something I hear more and more often in common speech:

Prefacing remarks with the qualifier "honestly" always sets my BS detector off, i.e. "I honestly don't know what happened to the petty cash."  Using it implies that one's other statements are not honest, thus it's an admission that the speaker is a liar, and thus nothing they say should be trusted--especially the things they want you to believe so badly that they'll risk complete loss of all credibility by qualifying their statement with "honestly."
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Offline Benji

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #265 on: February 25, 2009, 02:27:31 PM »
Shampoo and hair colour are my personal pet peeves!

Firstly, I am not surprised that other brands do not contain Polyceramitium or [insert your own made-up compound here] as they did not invent it and could not add it to their own product even if they wanted to! I'm looking at you Pantenne!

And here's a wonderfully ill-conceived sentence from another shampoo advertisement:

"Unlike other brands shampoo x holds in the colour for longer"

Ok then! So other brands don't hold in the colour....for longer. Longer than? I think we need to refer to the international standardised measure of hair-colour-keeping-in, perhaps  ::)

[Sorry - I just had to vent somewhere!]

Offline Benji

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #266 on: February 25, 2009, 02:28:31 PM »
Not a grammar grumble but something I hear more and more often in common speech:

Prefacing remarks with the qualifier "honestly" always sets my BS detector off, i.e. "I honestly don't know what happened to the petty cash."  Using it implies that one's other statements are not honest, thus it's an admission that the speaker is a liar, and thus nothing they say should be trusted--especially the things they want you to believe so badly that they'll risk complete loss of all credibility by qualifying their statement with "honestly."

OK David, you can breath now!  ;)

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #267 on: February 25, 2009, 03:02:33 PM »
Shampoo and hair colour are my personal pet peeves!

Firstly, I am not surprised that other brands do not contain Polyceramitium or [insert your own made-up compound here] as they did not invent it and could not add it to their own product even if they wanted to! I'm looking at you Pantenne!

And here's a wonderfully ill-conceived sentence from another shampoo advertisement:

"Unlike other brands shampoo x holds in the colour for longer"

Ok then! So other brands don't hold in the colour....for longer. Longer than? I think we need to refer to the international standardised measure of hair-colour-keeping-in, perhaps  ::)

[Sorry - I just had to vent somewhere!]

The comparative degree without a comparison is always the province of scalawags and carpetbaggers!

Private schools are notorious in this: e.g. a school which shall remain nameless states: "Our students have higher academic achievements in all subject areas!"

First, "subject area" is another example of educationalese using two words for one ("subjects").

But "higher" than whose achievements?  The word has no comparison: higher than that of public schools, or other private schools, or LaVerne and Shirley's Basement Kiddie Care?   8)


"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #268 on: February 27, 2009, 06:27:04 AM »
Not strictly a grammatical grumble, I suppose . . . from "The Cage":

Quote from: Peter Gabriel
And I cry out, 'John, please help me!'
But he does not even want to try to speak.

". . . does not even want to try to" . . . has always sounded clunky to these ol' ears.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #269 on: February 27, 2009, 06:36:10 AM »
Orwellian Language Alert: The FedGov announces it will not "nationalize" banks.

It then buys controlling shares in CitiBank, c. 40%   :o

Maybe "nationalization" is defined as 50.1%!!!   0:)

Speaking of politicians and trite phrases, I am truly tired of all the "fighting" going on!

"Fighting for Working Families"  "Fighting for Better Jobs"  blah blah blah

Exactly how are you "fighting" when you are eating at 5-star restaurants at the udders of taxpayers, when you ride around D.C. in limos, etc. etc. etc.?

Show me the bruises at least!

Trite Phrase from Sports: "He stepped up and did a really great job in the second inning/second half/second quarter etc."
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #270 on: February 27, 2009, 10:58:32 AM »
English question! A friend asked me this and I didn't know the answer. Can "it scarcely matches" mean both of the following, or just one?

It rarely matches (acknowledging positives)
It hardly matches (dismissive, implying it never matches)
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #271 on: February 27, 2009, 11:02:48 AM »
English question! A friend asked me this and I didn't know the answer. Can "it scarcely matches" mean both of the following, or just one?

It rarely matches (acknowledging positives)
It hardly matches (dismissive, implying it never matches)

I would go with the second meaning: "scarcely" as a synonym for "rarely" is a real stretch.

e.g. "He scarcely attends concerts."   ???

No, better would be: "He rarely/ hardly ever/practically never attends concerts."
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #272 on: February 27, 2009, 11:04:56 AM »
I would go with the second meaning: "scarcely" as a synonym for "rarely" is a real stretch.

e.g. "He scarcely attends concerts."   ???

No, better would be: "He rarely/ hardly ever/practically never attends concerts."

Agreed.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #273 on: February 27, 2009, 11:07:33 AM »
Better yet:  seldom.
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #274 on: February 27, 2009, 11:08:31 AM »
I would go with the second meaning: "scarcely" as a synonym for "rarely" is a real stretch.

e.g. "He scarcely attends concerts."   ???

No, better would be: "He rarely/ hardly ever/practically never attends concerts."

Thanks! I guess I got confused by the different meaning when used in phrases like "the items were scarce"...
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #275 on: February 27, 2009, 11:11:33 AM »

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #276 on: February 27, 2009, 12:02:52 PM »
Thanks! I guess I got confused by the different meaning when used in phrases like "the items were scarce"...

Yes, in that case "rare" would be a synonym.

Seldom reminds me of the monstrosity "seldomly."

I once saw in a novel by late American writer John Gardner the word "sillily" which was one of the silliest things I had ever read!   8)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #277 on: February 27, 2009, 12:10:08 PM »
Yes, in that case "rare" would be a synonym.

Seldom reminds me of the monstrosity "seldomly."

I once saw in a novel by late American writer John Gardner the word "sillily" which was one of the silliest things I had ever read!   8)

I don't think there's such a thing as a perfect writer, is there?

Offline knight66

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #278 on: February 28, 2009, 01:01:46 AM »
I will join in; but you need to hold onto the fact that I am fairly badly dyslexic. Despite it however, I have my standards.

Not grammar, but an abuse of language and concepts.

Phineas Fogg exotically flavoured crisps; these have a strapline of, 'Just arrived'.

Just arrived into the shop? Just arrived into my shopping basket?

What phooey; as though, because they may have such far flung flavours as cummin in them, they are somehow journeying further than the standard flavour Milton Keynes products.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #279 on: February 28, 2009, 05:40:05 AM »
I will join in; but you need to hold onto the fact that I am fairly badly dyslexic. Despite it however, I have my standards.

Not grammar, but an abuse of language and concepts.

Phineas Fogg exotically flavoured crisps; these have a strapline of, 'Just arrived'.

Just arrived into the shop? Just arrived into my shopping basket?

What phooey; as though, because they may have such far flung flavours as cummin in them, they are somehow journeying further than the standard flavour Milton Keynes products.

Mike

They could always have used: "New!"  "Improved!"

But everyone uses those words for ancient brands trying to seem 21st century!  So the marketing geniuses making $75,000 a year come up with "Just Arrived!"

My 7th Graders have more creativity!   :o    And they will work for free samples of any food product!   0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)