Author Topic: Cato's Grammar Grumble  (Read 554999 times)

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Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #360 on: March 12, 2009, 05:24:36 AM »
My son the mathematician asked me yesterday if "exponent" could be a verb!   ??? 

With the accent on the "-nent" !   :o

The answer is no, but he explained that while on a flight from the West Coast, the stewardess announced: "We can exponent our departure if you stay seated..."

She repeated the mistake later: "You can exponent your deplaning by not standing in the aisle until..."

She of course meant the airline-jargon word "expedite."   $:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #361 on: March 12, 2009, 05:56:22 AM »
Malapropisms certainly are exponing these days!

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #362 on: March 12, 2009, 06:01:00 AM »
Here at work, some people say, "You minus this and plus that."

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #363 on: March 12, 2009, 08:09:24 AM »
Here at work, some people say, "You minus this and plus that."

Oy!  We hear that from younger kids in the Fifth Grade and below: do you have 10-year olds working there?  Child labor used to be banned!
"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 #364 on: March 12, 2009, 08:17:22 AM »
Oy!  We hear that from younger kids in the Fifth Grade and below: do you have 10-year olds working there?  Child labor used to be banned!

Ha. No these are adults.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #365 on: March 12, 2009, 08:25:55 AM »
That's all happening because our children isn't learning anymore and are being taken hostile by illiterates posing as teachers, professors or presidents.  ;D
"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part."

 --- Claude Debussy

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #366 on: March 12, 2009, 08:34:19 AM »
I wonder what it's doing to me, being around all this "dumb".  :'(

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #367 on: March 12, 2009, 08:47:50 AM »
I wonder what it's doing to me, being around all this "dumb".  :'(

It takes strength to swim against the current: one would hope that the civilized would raise the uncivilized (not to imply that people who use bad grammar are grutning, rug-wearing, Goths, but...) to a higher level.  That has always been the hope.  And it has worked in some cases throughout History.

Unfortunately, History also shows the opposite: witness the decline of civilization after 400 A.D. in Western Europe with the barbarian invasions.

Or the chaos occurring in certain areas today, where civilization is on the run, and the barbarians are in charge.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #368 on: March 13, 2009, 04:41:22 AM »
At a craft store where my wife has deposited our life's savings...
Love it!

...the chaos occurring in certain areas today, where civilization is on the run, and the barbarians are in charge.
Business as usual?  Not sure that civilization is much of a blessing.  Arts aside I favor agrarian societies.
"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 Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #369 on: March 13, 2009, 05:26:46 AM »
Love it!
Business as usual?  Not sure that civilization is much of a blessing.  Arts aside I favor agrarian societies.

You are a true Jeffersonian!

Today our English teacher came to me in a quandary, complete with mag wheels and a 7-speed transmission!   :o

Here is the sentence she was asking about:

"The student wrote an essay about England during Victorian times."

The question: What does the prepositional phrase "during Victorian times" modify?

She said: "essay."  Some of our best students were insisting: "England."

Cato was called upon to settle the matter!   $:)

Point: Students!  The essay is not written during Victorian times.  The best I could do for the teacher was to say that in one sense, both prepositional phrases in a diagram would appear under "essay," so that in a very indirect fashion it modified "essay."  Otherwise, no.

But it was nice to see everyone worrying about such details of grammar!   0:)

"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 #370 on: March 13, 2009, 05:41:05 AM »
It can be such a wholesome worry  8)

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #371 on: March 13, 2009, 05:45:39 AM »
I like a good essay.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #372 on: March 13, 2009, 06:16:57 AM »
You are a true Jeffersonian!
Yes, in many respects.  I live in farm country by choice.  Common sense is relatively plentiful here, but catastrophically scarce in the predominantly artificial environments where most are born and bred these days. 

 
"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 Jay F

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #373 on: March 13, 2009, 07:35:14 AM »
She said: "essay."  Some of our best students were insisting: "England."

Diagram this sentence: "She's an English teacher?"

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #374 on: March 13, 2009, 08:25:07 AM »
Diagram this sentence: "She's an English teacher?"

Yes, I know, but at least she asked!   8).

I have known worse ones!  One was a very nice lady at a high school, who gave me the blankest of expressions, when I asked her whether she taught the subjunctive in first or second semester to sophomores, since I would be dealing with the subjunctive in German II.

"Do you mean 'subjects'?"
"No, the subjunctive, the mood for contrary-to-fact conditions."

(Crickets, crickets, crickets)

"We do not use that term in English."
"Well, subjunctive is an English word," I said tactfully.  "Maybe your text calls it the 'conditional' or something similar."

(Crickets, crickets, crickets)

"Some other terms are 'optative' and 'conjunctive.'  For example, 'I wish he would go away'  or 'If he went away, I would be happy.'  The verbs 'went' and 'would' are subjunctive."
"Hmm.  In English we say 'went' is past tense.  And 'would' is future tense."

This was pronounced with an air of authority.  I explained that I was a born American, and not a Kraut who was misunderstanding English.  Then I added:

"No, actually 'went' is a present subjunctive, and so is 'would be'.  Or at least some books might call 'would be' a future subjunctive, but it is not the same as the indicative 'will.' "

(Crickets, crickets, crickets)

"No, that is not in our curriculum," she said finally, ending the conversation, and for years afterward she avoided any contact with me.
 $:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #375 on: March 13, 2009, 08:54:52 AM »
Cato--I admire your service as a teacher in public K-12 education.  I believe our nation is in desperate need of competent teachers qualified both by mastery of subject matter and by pedagogical aptitude.  My experience, however, indicates that conditions in most districts discourage the best candidates from pursuing teaching careers and encourage those who at best aspire to mediocrity.  The story you just related seems not at all surprising but rather sadly normal in the public schools.
"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 Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #376 on: March 13, 2009, 09:26:40 AM »
Cato--I admire your service as a teacher in public K-12 education.  I believe our nation is in desperate need of competent teachers qualified both by mastery of subject matter and by pedagogical aptitude.  My experience, however, indicates that conditions in most districts discourage the best candidates from pursuing teaching careers and encourage those who at best aspire to mediocrity.  The story you just related seems not at all surprising but rather sadly normal in the public schools.

Well, the above incident happened in a Catholic high school, a supposedly "high-powered" one!   8)

I have taught in public schools for several years, and your comments are on target for the places I experienced, even going back to the 70's!  Corruption was also a problem in one public school and in one Catholic 7-12 school: grades were fixed in the main offices in both, fraudulent claims were made to the College Board in the latter, pupil-teacher ratios were rigged by adding in non-teaching personnel in both, etc.
"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 #377 on: March 13, 2009, 09:47:08 AM »
Okay Master Cato,

When does the comma go inside the quotation mark and when does it not?

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #378 on: March 13, 2009, 11:28:24 AM »
(* shudders *)

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #379 on: March 13, 2009, 11:40:31 AM »