Author Topic: Cato's Grammar Grumble  (Read 554989 times)

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MN Dave

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #900 on: December 11, 2009, 07:49:47 AM »
It's the Internet's fault. With the ? ? ?.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #901 on: December 11, 2009, 08:23:02 AM »
Three punctuation marks does usually look better, though a friend of mine insists on using three question marks even when the question isn't in exclamation. E.g.

Do you want Italian for lunch???

Let's see...

Do you want Italian for lunch? No, thank you.
Do you want Italian for lunch?? I don't think so...
Do you want Italian for lunch??? MAMA MIA! OK ALREADY!

I think it adds a hint of aggression. One question mark establishes that it's a question; adding more should not make for a more probing question.  :P

Interesting: the problem of conveying tone of voice and implied meanings through orthography.  Using three question marks would seem to indicate great puzzlement:

"You think two and two equal five???"
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Offline Benji

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #902 on: December 11, 2009, 09:00:33 AM »
''Perhaps we need not more people looking round more corners but the same people looking round more corners more thoroughly to avoid the small things detracting from the big things the Prime Minister is getting right.''

Lord Mandelson, winner of the 2009 foot-in-mouth award from the Plain English Campaign.

Not a grammar thing, but it's a corker!

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #903 on: December 19, 2009, 08:46:31 AM »
While there is nothing wrong with the quote, I like these kind of sentences (the merging of the final two "aims") which can be read by different people to mean opposite things...

Quote
Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is affiliated with the Conservative Party and states on its website that it is “one of the fastest growing political lobby groups.” It lists its objectives as supporting Israel, promoting conservatism, fighting terrorism, combating antisemitism and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #904 on: December 19, 2009, 08:58:11 AM »
So many political groups dedicate themselves to combating peaceful co-existence . . . .

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #905 on: December 19, 2009, 05:20:30 PM »
So many political groups dedicate themselves to combating peaceful co-existence . . . .

And what would Herr Doktor Freud     0:)    say about such a mistake?   :o

Today I was involved in answering a question about "between...or..." and "between...and..."    $:)

"Between" needs two objects: therefore, choose "between...and..."

Example: "I have to choose between Suzy and Zoe for my prom date."

To say "or Zoe" would mean that you have two first choices, and no second choice for the "between."

My inquisitor was unfortunately unpersuaded.   :o
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Spotswood

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #906 on: December 19, 2009, 08:27:51 PM »
"Between" needs two objects: therefore, choose "between...and..."

Example: "I have to choose between Suzy and Zoe for my prom date."

To say "or Zoe" would mean that you have two first choices, and no second choice for the "between."

My inquisitor was unfortunately unpersuaded.   :o

Good point. I hadn't considered this before.

And of course, it's between you and me, not between you and I. The latter is an affectation designed to make the speaker appear educated, and is grammatically wrong.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #907 on: December 20, 2009, 04:48:25 AM »
Good point. I hadn't considered this before.

And of course, it's between you and me, not between you and I. The latter is an affectation designed to make the speaker appear educated, and is grammatically wrong.

Amen!   0:)

What is disconcerting is to hear such a monstrosity (along with similar ones e.g. "for my husband and I") coming from English teachers!!!  :o
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline Ten thumbs

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #908 on: December 21, 2009, 05:30:33 AM »

And of course, it's between you and me, not between you and I. The latter is an affectation designed to make the speaker appear educated, and is grammatically wrong.
Maybe this is because we are no longer spoken of as individuals but as though constituting collectively a bowl of soup. How often do we hear that dreadful expression 'the amount of people' nowadays?
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.

Spotswood

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #909 on: December 21, 2009, 10:07:05 AM »
Maybe this is because we are no longer spoken of as individuals but as though constituting collectively a bowl of soup. How often do we hear that dreadful expression 'the amount of people' nowadays?

As a sidebar, the AMA manual of style has a neat way of remembering when to use a plural and when to use signular after a collective noun like "number" --- so neat that I've remembered it for years.

When you say "a number," the verb is plural, but when you say "the number," its singular.

For example: A number of patients have died of swine flu. BUT The number of deaths has decreased.

In the first instance, you're talking about the patients (numbers don't die), who are plural. In the second, you're talking about the number itself, which is singular.

Spotswood

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #910 on: December 21, 2009, 10:21:06 AM »
Quote
Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is affiliated with the Conservative Party and states on its website that it is “one of the fastest growing political lobby groups.” It lists its objectives as supporting Israel, promoting conservatism, fighting terrorism, combating antisemitism and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.

Problem with this sentence is that they got tired in the end and dropped the parallel construction. The last phrase needs a particple in font of it like all the rest, such as "supporting Israel, promoting conservatism, fighting terrorism, combating antisemitism, and achieving peaceful co-existence in the Middle East."

A serial comma would have helped, too, as shown.

On the other hand, if you do in fact want to  comabat peaceful co-existence, you need an "and" before the last pair:  "promoting conservatism, fighting terrorism, and combating antisemitism and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East."

Either way you want to read it, though, its ambiguous as it now stands and something needs to be done. Semantically, I mean. What really needs to be done is to combat conservatism.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #911 on: December 22, 2009, 03:52:38 PM »
Question #3854: Is it okay to use two hyphens to make a triple-barelled word such as "anti-avant-garde"?
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Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #912 on: December 22, 2009, 05:56:57 PM »
Question #3854: Is it okay to use two hyphens to make a triple-barelled word such as "anti-avant-garde"?

Yes!  You can also use hyphens to turn phrases into adjectives, e.g: "He is a 'not-in-my-backyard' environmentalist."
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Spotswood

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #913 on: December 22, 2009, 07:00:24 PM »
Yes!  You can also use hyphens to turn phrases into adjectives, e.g: "He is a 'not-in-my-backyard' environmentalist."

At the paper, we reguarly use multiple hyphens in measurements, as in "a 3-foot-long fence" and in ages, as in "a 12-year-old girl."

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #914 on: December 22, 2009, 07:04:01 PM »
Danke!
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Egebedieff

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #915 on: December 23, 2009, 09:24:36 AM »
Question #3854: Is it okay to use two hyphens to make a triple-barelled word such as "anti-avant-garde"?

Although, in the form you have given it, you wouldn't put the hyphen between avant and garde, unless the whole chain is intended to stand as an adjective: "anti-avant-garde programming policy." There are varying opinions about whether this hyphen is necessary in more familiar expressions or whether it is always necessary to string all of what amounts to a long group modifier together with hyphens.

There are also some formations for which some guidelines would have you use an endash: "pre–Civil War politics." (Acc to Chicago Manual of Style) and this example from Wikipedia: "High-priority–high-pressure tasks (tasks that are both high-priority and high-pressure)."
'

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #916 on: December 23, 2009, 06:59:16 PM »
Although, in the form you have given it, you wouldn't put the hyphen between avant and garde, unless the whole chain is intended to stand as an adjective: "anti-avant-garde programming policy." There are varying opinions about whether this hyphen is necessary in more familiar expressions or whether it is always necessary to string all of what amounts to a long group modifier together with hyphens.

There are also some formations for which some guidelines would have you use an endash: "pre–Civil War politics." (Acc to Chicago Manual of Style) and this example from Wikipedia: "High-priority–high-pressure tasks (tasks that are both high-priority and high-pressure)."
'

Interesting: similar to the "big hamburger sale" at White Castle.   ???

Is it a big hamburger...sale?  Or is it a BIG...hamburger sale?   $:)

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

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Egebedieff

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #917 on: December 24, 2009, 04:19:17 AM »
Interesting: similar to the "big hamburger sale" at White Castle.   ???

Is it a big hamburger...sale?  Or is it a BIG...hamburger sale?   $:)

Maybe. Not sure what you were referring to as being similar to the White Castle example, but sometimes the hyphen clarifies such things, as in "I saw a man eating shark" versus  "I saw a man-eating shark."

[edit: or "I saw a man-eating White Castle hamburger."]

But some guidelines would say that avant garde stands alone as an expression well enough to not need the hyphen: "anti-avant garde policy."

And, to be complete, "anti-" as a prefix doesn't automatically take the hyphen as a prefix to a single term: antipersonnel and antiboysenberry, but anti-American, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hero.
'

And, in time, sometimes anti loses its i: antacid.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 04:33:43 AM by ' »

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble: Churchillian Christmas Present
« Reply #918 on: December 24, 2009, 04:35:56 AM »
Maybe. Not sure what you were referring to as being similar to the White Castle example, but sometimes the hyphen clarifies such things, as in "I saw a man eating shark" versus  "I saw a man-eating shark."


Precisely!  Many thanks!

And as a little Christmas present:

Quote
The saying attributed to Winston Churchill rejecting the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition must be among the most frequently mutated witticisms ever. I have received many notes from correspondents claiming to know what the “original saying” was, but none of them cites an authoritative source.
The alt.english.usage FAQ states that the story originated with an anecdote in Sir Ernest Gowers’ Plain Words (1948). Supposedly an editor had clumsily rearranged one of Churchill’s sentences to avoid ending it in a preposition, and the Prime Minister, very proud of his style, scribbled this note in reply: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” The American Heritage Book of English Usage agrees.
The FAQ goes on to say that the Oxford Companion to the English Language (no edition cited) states that the original was “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.” To me this sounds more likely, and eagerness to avoid the offensive word “bloody” would help to explain the proliferation of variations.

See:

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html

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

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

Egebedieff

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble: Churchillian Christmas Present
« Reply #919 on: December 24, 2009, 04:44:27 AM »
Nice! Whenever I hear this, I always think of the extreme example:

"What did you bring the book that I did not want to be read to out of up for?

Another Churchill quote where he wasn't quite so conscientious:

http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/pages/history/story0039.htm

'