While we are at this racial slur thing: I was told that “He is a Jew” sounds offensive, but “He is Jewish” does not, because the former sounds like a Nazi trying to identify Jews from the rest, which is odd because he would not be speaking English in the first place. To make the matter more confusing, I was told that “They are Jews” is not offensive. Singular is offensive but plural isn’t? You would probably say, “He is American” instead of “He is an American”, but either way it does not sound offensive.
Although my husband, who is French, has spent more than twenty years in the U.S., he still sometimes asks for clarification of obscure linguistic issues. One that I have found to be especially elusive is “doofus.” What is the exact difference, my husband wondered, between a doofus and an idiot? It seems to me that “idiot” can be used to describe any old bonehead, but that a doofus is always male, white, fat, AND stupid. I would be interested in others’ points of view on this topic.
Webster defines “chink” as “narrow opening”.
However in California people seem to only think about its derogatory (bigotry) meaning, and only after you press them they recall that “Oh yeah, we actually say ‘chink in the fence’ so that probably makes sense”.
Just curious, how widespread is its original meaning - is it only in the Golden State people react like that?
A pet peeve of mine is people incorrectly using the expression “I could care less”. I’m no grammar nazi as you can tell from this email, but it doesn’t make sense to say. Here is an example.
Rooomate 1: “You suck at this video game. I always kick your butt in it.” Roomate 2: “I could care less.” Roomate 1: “Haha.”
If you say you COULD care less then that means you care to some degree. However, if you COULDN’T care less (the proper way of saying the expression) then it means you absolutely don’t care at all, therefore properly expressing your apathy.
From Brad Davis
In the following sentence, which is correct: has or have.
The ranks of the liberal weblog community (has or have) increased by one.
When is “trouble” a countable noun? In what context, would you say “a trouble” or “troubles”?
“He is trouble.” “He gave me a lot of trouble.”
In both cases above, I’m tempted to say:
“He is a trouble.” “He gave me a lot of troubles.”
Every media organization had its pick. The implication for each is quite interesting.
1. War in Iraq: This implies that it is a war that is happening in Iraq, almost as though it just happens to be happening IN Iraq. It manages to stay neutral on the political and ideological stance of the war.
2. War on Iraq: This sounds strong. It is almost equivalent to saying “war against Iraq.” It implies either that the enemy is Iraq as a nation or Iraq as the regime. The latter being the preferred implication of the Bush administration.
3. War with Iraq: Now, what does this imply? “With” is a funny preposition to use, because it makes it sounds friendly, like, “We are doing this together.”
Journalists are now either “embedded with...” or “embedded”. Shouldn’t it be “embedded in a troop?” Not quite sure how this phrase should be used -- it is indeed a terrible replacement for simply saying: “so-and-so is with the 3rd Cavalry division.”
I was under the impression that “20 something” meant someone in his/her early 20s. Would a 29 year old be still considered “20 something”? When did this expression start?
What is the difference between:
“It has a value.” and “It has value.”
The newspaper headlines read:
“Dell Dude Arrested with Pot ON the Lower East Side”
“The Lower East Side” is a name of the neighborhood. You would not say he was arrested ON Chelsea. Why would you use “ON”?
“I argued that McDonald’s is good for you.”
Should it be:
“I argued that McDonald’s was good for you.”
Do I need to match the tense between “argued” and “Is” or “was”?
It seems odd that you say, “take sides”. Wouldn’t it make more sense to say “take a side”? Why plural?
60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s, and now what? 00′s? What do you call the current decade?
What is the difference? How would you use them differently?
What does “and of” add to this phrase? That is, what is the difference between:
“I agree. Islam isn’t evil in and of itself.” and “I agree. Islam isn’t evil in itself.”
If over-the-counter drugs mean drugs that you can buy off the shelf, then why is it called over the counter? Prescription drugs are the ones that you purchase over the counter literally. It should be “off-the-shelf” not over-the-counter. Don’t you think?
If you say “five of ten” in the context of time, you mean 5 minutes to 10 o’clock. But, why is this? “of” is a possessive preposition, so one would think that “five of ten” would be 5 minutes that belong to 10 o’clock. That is: 5 after 10.