Comments for Pain in the English Forum for the gray areas of the English language Mon, 6 Jul 2015 21:00:37 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on On Tomorrow by Ash_78 Ash_78 Mon, 6 Jul 2015 14:19:10 +0000 I've lived in Alabama for 20 years and only started noticing it in the past few months from a coworker in Texas. I may have tuned it out before, but I swear I just started hearing it for the first time time my life. 100% of the handful of users who have used it have been African-American, for whatever it's worth. I don't consider this to be any kind of racially-charged Ebonics issues (like "axe" vs "ask"), just a cultural nuance. It's akin to "where do you stay?" for "where do you live?" I have never heard a white person use that expression, but I fully accept it as an alternative and have even used back at people as an alternative term. Language is a rich and living thing, and unless there is a flagrant grammatical issue, I usually adapt more than I try to correct.

Comment on “hand” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 3 Jul 2015 09:53:59 +0000 Third time lucky: this time I couldn't agree with John Thiesmayer more. What's more the link is nothing to do with the question, and looks like spam, pure and simple. In any case I don't think I'd want any of this lot writing an essay for me if their own blurb is anything to go by. Here is a sample:

"A lot of alumni mix graduate essay writing services with high school tasks, still the difference between them is extremely significant, as in colleges UK essay writing service appears for a complete scientific work, that cannot simply repeat information, but also make certain verdict. This kind of task supposes giving out plenty of time. People that mistakenly reckon that the high-class way to do away with the assignment – means downloading it from the web, will be upset concerning the fact that today’s professors widely explore the advantages of modern world, and accordingly are able to detect assignments uploaded from the web considering certain software."

Certainly worth a visit just for the laugh. On the other hand, I cannot recommend too highly my latest ...

Comment on “hand” by John Thiesmeyer John Thiesmeyer Thu, 2 Jul 2015 17:18:18 +0000 I can't imagine why johnrodrigez72 is recommending a plagiarism factory to anyone! Plagiarism, including essays written by someone that another receives credit for, is dishonest and likely to fail in whatever its ambition is.

Comment on How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Thu, 2 Jul 2015 16:26:55 +0000 The important thing to grasp is that punctuation converts to form part of an audio file in your head: listen to the voice in your head as you read this. So the question becomes:
how does one pronounce a comma?
Usually as a small pause with a rising or wavy intonation.

Most text layout affects how the text sounds in your head: consider
poetry and
the effect
of an end-of-line
on intonation
and rhythm.

It is worth noting that graphics such as bar graphs, and pie charts do not produce an audio file in your head; but columns of figures on a spreadsheet or accounting report are usually "read" as audio input.

Comment on Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Thu, 2 Jul 2015 16:00:26 +0000 My understanding is that in the Middle Ages, European people generally read everything aloud; punctuation was introduced to help them do that and we have kept it because we read "aloud" in our head. Not every language is like this - Thai leaves no spaces between the words; older Arabic has no punctuation.

When writing in modern English, the whole layout, including whitespace between words, whitespace between paragraphs, whitespace indentations, and also punctuation in general - this all is used to help the reader. Recent research has shown that a European reader focuses on just a few letters at a time - something like the last letter of the previous word and then the next eight or so letters - apparently this is all the retina can take in at one time. The eye then jumps to the next group of letters. It is this scanning process that limits reading speed, not the conversion from letter symbols to meaning.

Conventionally, a colon marks a longish pause with a flat, wavy, or slightly rising intonation; but definitely without the falling intonation associated with the end of a sentence. If that is how you would say it, then a colon may be the right way to go - there is no particular rule as to how often.

For example: "Roses are red: violets are bluish, and come in three colors: dark blue, violet and indigo."
Note that here we have used a colon in two different situations: between two independent clauses; and to introduce a list.

Comment on Is “leverage” a verb? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Thu, 2 Jul 2015 15:32:22 +0000 "-age" is a "suffix typically forming mass or abstract nouns from various parts of speech, occurring originally in loanwords from French (voyage; courage) and productive in English with the meanings “aggregate” (coinage; peerage; trackage), “process” (coverage; breakage), “the outcome of” as either “the fact of” or “the physical effect or remains of” (seepage; wreckage; spoilage), “place of living or business” (parsonage; brokerage), “social standing or relationship” (bondage; marriage; patronage), and “quantity, measure, or charge” (footage; shortage; tonnage; towage). "

Thus words like leverage using the suffix "-age" are prima facie expected to be nouns, and one would normally use the root as the verb as in "to broker", "to break". That said, "leverage" seems to have developed as special meaning of its own, distinct from "lever", so it becomes meaningful to use "leverage" as a verb.

In some ways this is similar to "influence" which one would expect to be a noun like other words ending in "-ence" or "-ance"; however we did not bring in the root verb "influe" into English so we use "influence" as a verb too.

Comment on Is “leverage” a verb? by BevRowe BevRowe Thu, 2 Jul 2015 09:26:31 +0000 Forget elegance - and I have no actual example to quote - but I can imagine 'information' being used as a verb: supplying with information may not be the same as informing. So I would understand someone who asked 'Has that satellite been informationed yet'.
I suspect there are better counterexamples than this but cannot immediately think of one.

Comment on “hand” by johnrodrigez72 johnrodrigez72 Thu, 2 Jul 2015 08:55:39 +0000 Hello!
I believe it has nothing to do with "The hand of God". It is definetely some kind of slang. You can see such things in different coutries. For example, in my country we call people different names and it has nothing to do with Bible.
By the way, if You need some professional-written assignment, check this site

Comment on Opposition to “pretty” by BevRowe BevRowe Thu, 2 Jul 2015 08:32:31 +0000 The Google ngram for "pretty good" is worth looking at. It seems to be on the increase curtrently

Comment on How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days? by BevRowe BevRowe Thu, 2 Jul 2015 08:23:01 +0000 Obviously beginners need guidance but it would be sad if punctuation was taught as a series of unbreakable rules. It is so much a question of taste and function.

Comment on Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence? by BevRowe BevRowe Thu, 2 Jul 2015 08:17:22 +0000 The only rule I would instinctively follow is that one should not have two colons in the same sentence. Is that generally felt to be the case?

Comment on Let’s you and me/I by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 2 Jul 2015 06:28:19 +0000 Interesting question. Garner has a good explanation of why "me" is the grammatically correct version, but then goes on to show that several good writers have chosen the "I" variant, and he appears to regard this simply as 'an oddity', common in modern speech and writing, something he says Fowler would have called a 'sturdy indefensible'. Fowler seems to have used this term for things that were theoretically incorrect, but so common in normal use as to be, at best idiomatic, at worst, not worth bothering about.

Comment on Let’s you and me/I by BevCharlesRowe BevCharlesRowe Thu, 2 Jul 2015 05:37:01 +0000 It's a bit late to join this thread but I've only just seen it.
There is clearly an ambiguity in the rules . Grammar is partly about the gut reaction of native speakers and the T S Eliot quote has never struck me a wrong.
The trouble partly arises from the fact that writing is not a very exact representation of speech. Let's refer to the I or me element as M. So if we say "Let's-you-and- M go to town" with the hyphenated words all bunched together, they act like a single phrase and I would suggest that M should be me. But if we say something like "Let's, you and M, ..." the "you and M" is more like an independent phrase (in apposition as someone above pointed out), standing outside the syntax of the "Let's" phrase. Here I seems perfectly all right and may even be correct. And by the time the you-and M is separated from the Let's by as much as it is in the Eliot, the fact that you and I are the performers of the verb (go), even if not the grammatical subjects, influences one's choice.

Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by Anon4498 Anon4498 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:11:41 +0000 If you search online for résumé envelopes you will see that manufacturers of these products accent both e's in their products. From the discussion in this thread, you can see that there are mixed thoughts on how to accent e's in résumé; however, it is doubtful that any of the three spellings will be the reason you do not get an interview. At the end of the day though, I prefer to accent both e's to demonstrate my proficiency with Word and I think others should as well if they are listing MS Word as a skill set on their résumé.

Comment on “nervous to perform” or “nervous of performing”? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:21:01 +0000 Both "nervous of" and "nervous about" are common in British English, and both are given at Oxford Dictionaries Online:

"he’s nervous of speaking in public"

"The days are gone when I am going to get nervous about games or worry about whether or not I play well"

This is from a grammar forum:

"Both prepositions are correct. A dictionary search suggests that "nervous about" is more common in the U.S. and that "nervous of" is more common in the U.K., although the two expressions show up in citations on Google from both major linguistic communities."

At the British National Corpus, they're fairly evenly distributed, 113 hits for "about" and 78 for "of". At COCA (the Corpus of Contemporary American English) , on the other hand, "of" gets only six, compared with over a thousand for "about". (from a brief discussion at Stack Exchange - see below)

To me there is a slight difference, in that I think I'd use "nervous of" about things in general, and "nervous about" for more specific events: "He's nervous of flying at the best of times, but he's particularly nervous about tomorrow's flight". But the Oxford examples don't really seem to make this distinction.

@John Thiesmeyer - I'm not quite sure whether you're saying "nervous of" can never be used in "good English", but if that's what you mean, I disagree:

"The prodigal son was evidently nervous of visiting the parental abode"
Charles Dickens - Dombey and Son (narrative not dialogue)

"He did the round of the house every night, for he was nervous of fire. It is the only thing that I have ever known him nervous of." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Valley of Fear

Comment on Opposition to “pretty” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:45:14 +0000 I accept that in certain academic work you might want something more specific, but for most of us, informal speech is what we use English for, the vast majority of the time. And that goes for my students as well, although of course we point out the differences between formal and informal buse.

But need it really be limited to informal conversation (or to fiction)? Some of the greatest 18th and 19th century writers of non-fiction would apparently disagree:

"I may mention that carnivorous animals, even from the tropics, breed in this country pretty freely under confinement," Charles Darwin - The Origin of Species

"His third tier, if not his second, will probably appear a sufficiently secure foundation for finer work; for if the earth yield at all, it will probably yield pretty equally under the great mass of masonry now knit together over it." John Ruskine - The Stones of Venice

"We may observe, that it is universally allowed by philosophers, and is besides pretty obvious of itself, that nothing is ever really present with the mind but its perceptions or impressions and ideas, and that external objects become known to us only by those perceptions they occasion."
David Hume - A Treatise of Human Nature

"The ice was melted for three or four rods from the shore, and there was a smooth and warm sheet of water, with a muddy bottom, such as the ducks love, within, and he thought it likely that some would be along pretty soon." Henry Thoreau - Walden

"Goethe's Tasso is very likely to be a pretty fair historical portrait, and that is true tragedy."
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Essays

I can't think of any word that would be more appropriate in these extracts, where something a bit less than 'very' seems to have been called for. Modifiers don't always have to be exact.

Comment on Over-the-counter by joe 67 joe 67 Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:35:37 +0000 Over the counter has traditionally been referred to as products that are kept behind the counter for various reasons' such as frequency of theft, age related reasons (minors) or because it is felt that counseling is appropriate. For many years products such as prophylactics were sold over the counter to discourage minors and adults from stealing. Many non-prescription cough syrups were sold over the counter to discourage them from being bought and abused by minors. Cigarettes have traditionally been over-the-counter items even though they don't require a prescription.

Comment on “In the long term” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:24:04 +0000 It shouldn't really sound odd, as "in the long term" appears to be more common than "over the long term", both in the US and Britain, but especially in Britain. At Ngram (published books)- "in the long term" figures twice as strongly as "over the long term" (although the difference for American books is markedly smaller). The difference is even greater at Google Books: "in the long term" - 15,000, "over the long term" - 6,000. On general search, ther incidence is about the same.

NY Times "in" - 29,400; "over" - 24,000
Washington Post "in" - 22,700; "over" - 13,700
Times (London) "in" - 22,700; "over" - 770
The Economist "in" - 41,000; "over" - 21,000

There is the proviso noted above, that with the "in" version, it sometimes acts as an adjective, but the majority of cases seem to be the stand -alone expression. (None of the ten most common followers at Ngram are adjectives).

In Britain, at least, I would suggest that the "in" version is more idiomatic than the "over" version.

Comment on What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling? by Literate Girl Literate Girl Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:15:20 +0000 I know this was posted a while back, but for others who are looking for the answer it's 'Satire misspelling'.

Comment on “Rack” or “Wrack”? by John Thiesmeyer John Thiesmeyer Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:45:37 +0000 It may be that people spell it both ways, but that doesn't change the fact that "wrack" is a mistake for the original "rack," i.e. "torture." Racking your brain doesn't mean messing it up or wrecking it.

Comment on First Generation vs. Second Generation by rkish rkish Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:36:52 +0000 I consider myself 2nd generation but it is amusing (and irksome) when I'm corrected all the time by others who have several generations rooted here. I suspect it is partly a sociological phenomenon, especially when asked of Asians-Americans. Asians-Americans are still considered the most "foreign" of any of the ethnicities in the United States, unfortunately, so we are still "new" to the melting pot in many people's eyes. I get asked this on a frequent basis, perhaps it would be less so on the West Coast.

My parents were Chinese immigrants, naturalized citizens of the US now, and have been US citizens longer than they were citizens of their own country. I consider my parents 1st generation, and myself as 2nd generation.

Comment on “nervous to perform” or “nervous of performing”? by John Thiesmeyer John Thiesmeyer Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:54:27 +0000 I don't think "nervous of" can ever substitute for "nervous about" in good English. "She was the most nervous of the three performers" is OK.

Comment on Opposition to “pretty” by John Thiesmeyer John Thiesmeyer Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:49:42 +0000 The only problem with "pretty" in this usage is that it is vague, like "kind of" or "sort of" (kinda, sorta). It's an empty intensifier, and appropriate only in informal speech. "Pretty much" isn't any better. "Somewhat" and "fairly" fall into this category, as well/

Comment on “In the long term” by John Thiesmeyer John Thiesmeyer Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:43:09 +0000 The idiomatic phrases are "in the long run" and "over the long term." "In the long term" isn't wrong, it just sounds odd to the experienced reader. If you care, go with the standard idiom.

Comment on As wet as ? by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Sun, 21 Jun 2015 20:12:34 +0000 As wet as a shag on a rock.

As wet as the end of a burrito.

As wet as Jacques Cousteau.

As wet as they come.

Comment on As wet as ? by piar piar Sat, 20 Jun 2015 04:55:34 +0000 As wet as fish

Comment on Charade you are!! by Lucemferre Lucemferre Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:34:29 +0000 I don't know if Roger Waters would roll his eyes at all this or be humbled by the amount of attention given three words and a double ha. I'm amuzed to death by it though and if in his presence would say to Mr. Waters, "wish you were here" to settle or provide more intrique. In the immortal response given by Neil Young when asked what a certain lyric of his meant; however, I'm concerned that Roger might respond similarly by saying "how the hell would I know?" Long live analogue but say hello to digital. 1990 Lucemism

Comment on When is a bridge not an overbridge? by same again same again Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:57:02 +0000 also 'ambiguity' is the correct word. Sorry, my english is VERY rusty by now.

Comment on When is a bridge not an overbridge? by same me same me Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:54:56 +0000 the 2 last posts have been uploaded in the inverse order: the 1st was the 2nd, so I just corrected that mistake. . .

Comment on When is a bridge not an overbridge? by Just anyone Just anyone Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:52:07 +0000 I think that, from a rigurous logic/semantic point of view, it keeps being a very ambiguous or slippery distinction, and we'll keep getting lost in the ambigüety of the use of concepts or, rather, in the words we use to express these.
the description 'a bridge that passes underneath a railway' can bring to one's mind more than just one picture. 'a bridge that supports a railway line (or railroad track) while crossing over a road or a river or something. . .' would probably evoke fewer pictures, or maybe just one with a bit of luck. If a word or sentence can evoke different pictures in your mind, or in different people's minds, well then it's not very rigurous from the logic/semantic point of view, but the English vocabulary -as well as every other language's vocabulary- has lots of terms that can be judged to (not) be so.
So, we could just conclude that everyone above has been right in their opinions from their own respective standpoints, and that, of course, it is very necessary to establish a fixed glossary of terms (no matter how semantically unsteady) to mean exact different things so to prevent unsafety (for example when handling trains or other vehicles, or machines, etc.) or confusion. So, be it as it may, this is a human society -that's to say, a very imperfect thing- but we just have to do what we can. . .

Comment on When is a bridge not an overbridge? by Martínez again Martínez again Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:49:43 +0000 Just like my mistake: 'everybody have' instead of 'has'. . . for example.

Comment on “It is I” vs. “It is me” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 12 Jun 2015 08:45:02 +0000 @Lance - those of us who put forward usage as the yardstick rarely dictate grammar rules to anyone; you have to look elsewhere for that. What we do say, however, is that there is something called register, which the prescriptivists rarely mention. In these controversial areas there is hardly ever one "correct" answer. For me (BrE language teacher) "It was I" is very formal, but there are no doubt a few contexts where it is appropriate. In what I would call normal, informal conversational English (I take it this is what you mean by unguarded use) "It was me" seems to me much more appropriate and natural, and there is often a third neutral alternative, along the lines of "I did it", or suchlike.

Look at any descriptive grammar book, (i.e. those based on usage), and it will show you these options (unlike prescriptive ones); this is from Practical English Usage (BrE):

"It is possible to use a subject form after be, but this is extremely formal, and is usually considered over-correct (especially in British English)"

Just a litle quibble, while I take your point about "c'est moi", "moi, toi" aren't actually in the objective form, which would be be "me, te" ("je t'aime, elle me regardait"), but are 'pronoms toniques', sometimes called disjunctive pronouns, and have very specific uses, where admittedly objective pronouns are used in English, but they are not usually used as direct objects, for example.

Comment on The 1900s by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 12 Jun 2015 07:55:05 +0000 Some pre-1960 examples of "in the 1800s" at Google Books, (there are less than thirty entries all told) which I presume refer to the century:

"it would triple the former record set in New York during subway construction late in the 1800s" 1958

"The minor force behind output expansion in the 1800s became the major force in the 1900s." 1958

"Most breeds were established in the 1800s by dog fanciers, using a small number of founders that featured traits of particular interest" 1952

"Now, Sir, I would suggest that if that was true in the 1800s, it is probably no less true to-day," 1959

Only a few appear to definitely refer to the decade:

"Land disturbance began again in the 1800s and culminated in the 1880s" 1923

"It appears that a previous pastor of the same church back in the 1800s had a son, Woodrow Wilson, who grew up there" 1944

Though many are admittedly ambiguous without looking at the actual contexts. Going back further we find:

"The Lakota had migrated from Minnesota to the plains in the 1700s. Here they developed the classic plains culture. After the Civil War they fought against the United States to keep their lands but were concentrated on reservations in the West," 1846 (perhaps ambiguous)

In all countries having the social cleavages and the feudal survivals of England in the 1700s and early 1800s, the offenders against the criminal law come in the far greater proportion from what are known as the " lower classes," 1899

" Men and women of both classes flooded the colony in the 1600s and early 1700s and had an enormous impact on both the population of the colony and its laws. U.S.A. " 1895

But there are also examples where no doubt the decade is being referred to.

I imagine that this expression has long been used in both senses, except when talking of the century we're living in. For us oldies, much of our lives was lived in the twentieth century, when naturally the 1900s was used for the decade, but I'm not so convinced about the 1800s. As with much in language, it simply depends on context. And as soon as things like "early, mid, late" are added, it seems more likely that the century is being referred to.

Interestingly Ngram suggests that this expression wasn't much used before the mid twentieth
century, even for the 1700s and 1800s. Incidentally, the written out forms hardly register.

Comment on “In the long term” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 12 Jun 2015 07:01:12 +0000 Sorry, that link won't work. I forgot PITE doesn't like asterisks in web addresses.

Comment on “In the long term” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 12 Jun 2015 06:59:43 +0000 For what it's worth, there's not a lot of difference at the BBC website, 473 for "in the long term", 517 for "in the long run". And at the Economist it's even closer: 480 to 485 respectively. But these are both British, of course, and if you go to jayles's Ngram link and narrow it down to British books and American books, the use of "in the long term" in books seems somewhat more popular in the UK (1/3) than in the US (1/5).

There is a small problem with the figures for "in the long term", however. In two of the first ten entries at the Economist, for example, the expression is being used adjectivally - "in the long term value", "in the long term trend", although there are none like that in the first ten entries at the BBC, nor inthe first ten collocations at Ngram.*%2Cin+the+long+run+*&case_insensitive=on&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=18&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Cin%20the%20long%20term%20*%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20the%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20to%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20it%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20and%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20is%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20by%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20as%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20than%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20if%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20term%20they%3B%2Cc0%3B.t2%3B%2Cin%20the%20long%20run%20*%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20to%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20the%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20it%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20be%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20than%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20by%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20is%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20they%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20a%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bin%20the%20long%20run%20and%3B%2Cc0

Generally, I reckon if something's good enough to be printed in the Economist, it's good enough for the rest of us. Some examples:

"So technological progress squeezes some incomes in the short term before making everyone richer in the long term"

"That could have profound effects, in the long term, on the economy and the markets"

" ... suggest though that economic conditions are not repeatable in the long term."

It seems that "in the long term" is especially used when contrasting with the short term, and it seems to be often used at the end of the sentence.

Comment on “In the long term” by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Thu, 11 Jun 2015 22:56:42 +0000

Comment on “Based out of”: Why? by providencejim providencejim Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:17:03 +0000 Glad to find someone on the same wavelength on these two usages as I, VegasDJ ;-).

Comment on Apostrophes by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Wed, 10 Jun 2015 15:11:36 +0000 I dont see why we need apostrophes at all: after all we manage to understand speech without them - and somehow get by without making making an explicit distinction between genitive singular and plural. "Besides" is historically a genitive form, but we dont mark it with an apostrophe in modern usage. Why do we need apostrophes at all?

Comment on “Based out of”: Why? by VegasDJ VegasDJ Wed, 10 Jun 2015 04:20:33 +0000 As far as the phrase "pre-planning" (planning something before you plan it) goes, it's as ridiculous and rhetorical as two of my other pet peeves, "pre-heat" (heating and oven before you heat the oven) and "pre-authorization" (authorizing something before it's authorized). Whether you plan something before it's considered necessary, it's still planning. If was in 5th grade and planning to go to college, am I actually pre-planning to go to college because I don't have to plan to go until I get into high school?
Obviously another Americanization of a perfectly good "pre-existing" (something that exists before it exists, like a pre-existing condition) word.
We LOVE to complicate things, don't we? LOL

Comment on “Based out of”: Why? by VegasDJ VegasDJ Wed, 10 Jun 2015 04:10:31 +0000 This one has become one of my major pet peeves, as of late. "Based out of" is simply an Americanization of an existing term. We Americans love to change expressions around; it seems to be in our genetic structure, or something. It is definitely grammatically incorrect.
The main justification for its usage seems to be, "...if someone works mostly outside of a location that is his or her base, then he or she is 'based out of' that location".
Tonight I ran across a Wikipedia article about a radio station with the call letters WAYO. The entire article consists of one sentence:
"'WAYO'-FM is a radio station based out of Rochester, New York, broadcasting at 104.3 MHz on the FM band."
There are many people out there with greater knowledge of English than me, but I spent 32 years in broadcasting and I can safely say that there are few, if any people that know more about it than I do, and I can guarantee that it's impossible for a radio station to operate outside of its location for ANY length of time. Obviously it can broadcast beyond city limits, but it can only do that from within the station.
Therefore, the argument I mentioned that attempts to justify the use of the term "based out of" holds no water as far as I'm concerned. It's simply trying to justify the growing misuse of the term "based in".

Comment on “Sic” or “Sick” something on someone? by odiasura odiasura Mon, 8 Jun 2015 03:17:45 +0000 Using "sick" for "sic" isn't slang - it's bad grammar.

Comment on Assist in or assist with by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Sun, 7 Jun 2015 18:29:06 +0000 I'd say that the use of "with" with verbs like assist, speak, meet, is probably more common in the USA than in other English speaking countries.

Comment on “It is I” vs. “It is me” by Lance666 Lance666 Sun, 7 Jun 2015 04:47:31 +0000 Oops... should be "If the French can use the objective, why not English speakers also?"

Comment on “It is I” vs. “It is me” by Lance666 Lance666 Sun, 7 Jun 2015 04:45:50 +0000 It is not necessary to drag other languages into this discussion. English isn't determined based on Danish, Latin, or any other language. The sentence "It is I" does not at all sound stilted, pedantic, and unnatural to me. "It's I" definitely does sound stilted, pedantic, and unnatural to me.

The claim for using the nominative with a copula is from Latin, as is the claim not to split an infinitive, since in Latin an infinitive is one word. We are not bound by Latin, just as we are not bound by German or Danish.

If we are open to dragging another language in, let's note that in French, which much more is related to Latin than is English, the objective comes after the copula, as in "C'est moi." If the French can use the nominative, why not English speakers also? As a matter of fact, I dare say a survey based solely on unguarded usage would show that "It is me" far exceeds "It is I." Even so, I would caution those who claim usage dictates grammar rules. If that were true, we would accept "He drives slow" and "I could care less," each a clear mistake, not correct grammar or formation.

Comment on Assist in or assist with by Dundada87 Dundada87 Fri, 5 Jun 2015 11:20:52 +0000 Which one is correct?

The clinic assists clients with receiving services.

The clinic assist clients in finding new services.

It's a war out here lol

Comment on Is “painstaking” pronounced the same in Britain as here, as “pain-staking”? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 4 Jun 2015 06:48:48 +0000 It's definitely officially with a hard z sound in BrE. Check out (and listen at) Oxford. But after repeating it to my (British) self several times, I think you might well be right that the s sound tends to soften in practice.

Comment on How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 4 Jun 2015 06:30:39 +0000 Sorry about that. I tapped twice.

Comment on How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 4 Jun 2015 06:28:03 +0000 In academic writing (especially, I think, in the US), commas seem to be expected, unless the second clause is very short. But I can't imagine your example occurring in any formal context, so I don't see any problem. In non-academic writing I go with jayles and use a comma when I would pause, rather than worrying about formal rules.

My usage bible, Practical English Usage, and Oxford dictionaries online seem to suggest that commas are only necessary in complex sentences or where clauses are longer:

I came home and the others went dancing.

I decided to come home earlier than I had planned, and the others spent the evening at the local disco.

Comment on How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 4 Jun 2015 06:28:02 +0000 In academic writing (especially, I think, in the US), commas seem to be expected, unless the second clause is very short. But I can't imagine your example occurring in any formal context, so I don't see any problem. In non-academic writing I go with jayles and use a comma when I would pause, rather than worrying about formal rules.

My usage bible, Practical English Usage, and Oxford dictionaries online seem to suggest that commas are only necessary in complex sentences or where clauses are longer:

I came home and the others went dancing.

I decided to come home earlier than I had planned, and the others spent the evening at the local disco.

Comment on Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Thu, 4 Jun 2015 05:49:21 +0000 Just one small point: you should keep the same grammatical form for the listed items after the colon. You have noun, clause, noun; so better would be: study skills etc, counsellors who will give advice etc, and the option etc.

I don't think there is any reason why you can't use both in one sentence, but in this particular case I would probably go for two sentences as your second clause is quite long.