This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books. You can browse through the latest questions and comments below. If you have a question of your own, please submit it here.
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I had always believed that saying “thanks for that” without a following noun or phrase was intended as something of a put down.
I’m not referring to its use in the form “Thanks for that information” or “Thanks for that wine you sent”, but to the situation(s) where someone had said something inane or pointless, or had told an uninteresting story or a somewhat obscure joke.
One would then say “Thanks for that” followed by the person’s name.
Tim: “This one time, I broke a pen and then fixed it again.”
Me: “Thanks for that, Tim.”
But now the phrase seems to be in general use with no irony attached.
Instead of just saying “Thank you” some people are now saying “Thanks for that” with no further qualification.
I am a cab driver and pick up people from all over the country/world and take them where they want to go. Boring disclaimer aside; I hope to understand a word used by a southern man that unsurprisingly follows a strong Christian background through his adult life. As mysterious as the story may be if time were allotted to tell it, or was applicable in this forum, he constantly referred to me as “hand.” Not sure if this coincides with his Christian background, i.e. “The hand of God”, or it is a long lost southern slang with a more ambiguous meaning.
Which of the following are okay to you?
a) While roses are red, violets are blue.
b) Whilst roses are red, violets are blue.
c) While some roses are red, many are not.
d) Whilst some roses are red, some are not.
e) Roses are red, whereas violets are blue.
f) Roses are red, while violets are blue.
g) Roses are red, whilst violets are blue.
h) Some roses are red, whilst some are not.
i) Whereas most roses are indeed red, some are not.
j) While I loved my first wife very much, she did in fact become fat.
k) While my first wife did in fact become fat, I still loved her very much.
l) Whilst I loved my first wife very much, she did in fact become fat.
And thus what, to your good mind, is the rule?
And what a pain English is!
I’m trying hard to figure out the differences and proper usages of these three particular words (primarily putative vs. supposed). Can putative (-ly) be used in the same spots supposed (-ly) can? What’s the nuance between them?
“William and Kate had earlier attended a civic reception hosted by Perth and Kinross provost Liz Grant, where they were gifted an ancient map of Strathearn.”
So we are told by the internet news service in Britain today. What is wrong with ‘they were given as a gift’ ... or ‘they were presented with the gift of ...’? “They were gifted [something]...” sounds to me about as attractive an expression as the noise of fingernails scraped down an old-fashioned blackboard. Am I too sensitive? Should I wear earmuffs and eye pads?
Then we are told that ‘they also visited Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, a key venue in this summer’s Commonwealth Games.’
Now, can someone tell me what the difference is between a venue and a key venue? How on earth did this bizarre word ‘key’ come to be bandied about, a meaningless cliche word everywhere? Who thought it up? What is the history of its etymology? What does its inclusion into a sentence add to its meaning? I had a boss once who talked at meetings of his ‘staff’ for weeks in advance about he would give a ‘key speech’ somewhere, and his audience would fall into a state of despond and despair upon hearing of this, for we thought we might have to listen to this ‘key’ speech, or pretend to, when the time came, and we never could understand what was to be ‘key’ about it; neither before nor after its rather hysterical delivery. Can anyone tell me, what does ‘key’ in this context mean? To me it just sounded like a puffed up, self-important and pompous description by a poop of his imaginary high status in the order of things, and I cannot reconcile this notion of what ‘key’ means with its use as a description of a venue in the forthcoming games. Does it mean ‘important’ or ‘main’, for if so, why not say so in the first place?
The English language as it is being published in the press is crumbling around us, and this short glance at the news tonight, one item only, is enough to prompt this contribution to your pages.
The media in English speaking countries seems to be developing a tendency toward using a country’s name as an adjective.
Syria crisis instead of Syrian crisis
France fullback instead of French fullback
Another is the anglicising of some country names and nationalities:-
Argentina becomes Argentine and Argentinians becomes Argentines.
In his entry on ‘try and do’, Fowler calls it “an idiom that should not be discountenanced, but used when it comes natural”.
What interested me was his use of ‘natural’ as an adverb. Oxford Online gives the example ‘keep walking—just act natural’, which sounds OK to me, if idiomatic.
There are examples from Dickens and Walter Scott of ‘comes natural’ in dialogues, where ‘natural’ is being used as an adverb, but Fowler’s use here sounds strange to me. Any thoughts?