Comments for Pain in the English Forum for the gray areas of the English language Sat, 23 Aug 2014 10:26:41 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:31:38 +0000 @WW Thanks, that's better.
An "A" pass in CAE was/is equivalent to "C" in CPE (and FCE-A = CAE-C), but I haven't checked this recently.
Indeed parts of CAE are very useful for IELTS too.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:37:01 +0000 Yes, I'd go along with your first paragraph. I think the 'inasmuch as' meaning of 'whereas' is specific to legal English, and I've ignored it. It seems that 'whereas' is the most restricted, and should always express some sort of contrast, but that can sometimes include an element of concession:

'Whereas the city spent over $1 billion on its museums and stadium, it failed to look after its schools. ' - A city that spends a lot on its museums might be expected to look after its schools

My info about exams is slightly different:


Another way to look at it: Cambridge say that 'Holders of Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
display similar language ability to candidates who have an IELTS score of 6.5 to 8.0, and they give these equivalents for CAE (not CPE)

7.0 - 67% - Grade C
7.5 - 74% - Grade B
8.0 - 80% - Grade A
8.5 - 87%
9.0 - 93%

And Academic IELTS is only 'Academic' in two of the papers, Reading and Writing. I don't think Speaking and Listening are that dissimilar from CAE and CPE. And now that CAE is amalgamating Use of English with Reading, I think they'll be even closer. I'm using IELTS materials with some students, and I don't see a huge difference.

Comment on Can every letter be used as a silent letter? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:04:33 +0000 You were doing so well until you got to Q - Colquhoun Ok, but Mosquito and Tequila? I don't think a K sound quite counts as silent. But you know what they say about pride!

As for your Vs, do family names (however noble) and Slavic first names really count?

And if you can count Milngavie, we could probably do the whole alphabet with Scottish place names (I know, double consonants and dipthongs probably don't count):

A - RaAsay, BreAkish, MurrAyfield, AVoch ( /ˈɔːx/ - Highland)
B - St Combs (Fraserburgh), TomB of the Eagles (Orkney), LamB Island (Forth)
C - GreenoCk, BuCkie, LossiEmouth, WiCk, BallaChulish (pronounced h, not Scottish ch)
CK - CoCKburnspath
D - FinDochty (/ˈfɪnɛxti/), KirKcuDbriGHT ( /kərˈkuːbri/)
E - IrvinE, KintyrE, PeeblEs, DrymEn, FrEuchie
F - MacdufF, CriefF, HaLFpenny cottage (Invermoriston), Ha'penny bridge, Kelvin (cheating)
G - ?
GH - Bight of Mousland (Orkney), Broughty Ferry, GiGHa ( /ˈɡiːə/)
H -EaglesHam, Lairig GHru, Orchid Place (Uddingston)
I - EdInburgh (local pronunciation - Ed'nbru), GlamIs, InglIston, EIlEan Donan, PennycuIck
J - ?
K - KirKcuDbriGHT ( /kərˈkuːbri/)
L - KirkcaLdy, ( /kərˈkɔːdi/), KilmalcoLm, PetercuLter, GlenaLmond, KilmalcoLm, TillicouLtry
M - KildrumMy
N - KilNcadzow ( /kɪlˈkeɪɡeɪ/), MilNgaVie ( /məlˈɡaɪ/)
O - Castle DOuglas, CarnOustie
P - CamPbeltown
Q - CoLQUhoun Park (Bearsden) (thanks for that one)
R - CambusbarRon, RAVenstruTHER (/ˈrɛnstri/) - otherwise Rs very much not silent in Scottish
S - WemysS, ISle of Skye, ISlay, hundreds of iSlands
T - ShotTs, Port CharlotTe
TH - StraTHaven ( /ˈstreɪvən/ ), MeTHven, RuthVen ( /ˈrɪvən/)
U - GlenmUick
V - MilNgaVie ( /məlˈɡaɪ/), AVoch ( /ˈɔːx/ Highland), RAVenstruTHER (/ˈrɛnstri/)
W - HaWick (/ˈhɔɪk/)
X -
Y - WemYsS Bay (/ˈwiːmz/), ISlaY ( /ˈaɪlə/)
Z - Culzean, Dalrulzian

Well, near as damn it.

Comment on Can every letter be used as a silent letter? by 1Goosequillian 1Goosequillian Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:30:42 +0000 With all due respect, this is quite pathetic. It has been four years and you lot have not even been able to write down a full list with each of the silent letters. AYE, silent letters may occur literally from A to Z, ye have been just too clumsy to prove the theory.

A - bargAin, heAlth, dictionAry (British English), practicALly
B - bomB, deBt
C - indiCt, viCtUals, sCissors
CH - yaCHt
D - WeDnesday, hanDsome, anD (unaccented), WinDsor, briDge
DH - ceiliDH
E- Europe, bluE
F - haLFpenny (also written as ha'penny)
G - siGn
GH - liGHT
GN - GNash
H - Hour, JoHn, wHale
I - fruit, said, air
J - mariJuana, Don Juan, riJsttafel
K - Kneel, blaCKguard
L - taLk, aLmond, Sherlock HoLmes
M - Mnemonic, Mnemonics, Mnemonise
N - solemN, soi-disant
O - jeOpardy, peOple, chocOlate
P - Psychoogy, Ptolemy, receiPt, couP, toPgallant
Q - mosQUito, Tequila, CoLQUhoun
R - , foyeR, bustieR, atelieR, hotelieR, sommelieR, foRecAsTle (sailor's use = fo'c'sle)
S - iSle,debriS
T - lisTen, mustn't, asTHma, sacheT,
U - bUild, tongUE, beautifULly
V - fiVEpence (= fippence), MilNgaVie,DaVEntry,LeVeson-Gower, Vsevolod
W - ansWer, Wrist, GreenQich
X - fauX paS, billet-douX, SiouX, BordeauX
Y - praYer, maYor, saYs, Samuel PepYs
Z - rendeZvous, laisseZ-faire, cheZ

There, I won and I didn't even break sweat. Those of you who say foreign words are not allowed: are you brainless? English has been forged from many a tongue, moreover this is the very reason why it has manifold spelling in the first place! O, poverty in wit! Anywise it be, I hereby accept the gold medal.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:33:14 +0000 So, as a rule of thumb, we can safely use "whereas/while" to begin a trailing contrast clause;
and "while" at the beginning of a sentence instead of "although".

But "whereas" at the start of a sentence might signal contrast, concession, or something like "inasmuch as".

CPE pass is about IELTS 7.5 : an A-pass would be more 8.5.
However CPE is much broader in scope, in terms of genre and register: the focus of academic IELTS is much narrower, so not a true equivalent.

Comment on One Love by ccurtissdean ccurtissdean Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:19:04 +0000 Bob Marley used words as if he was writing and singing a gospel hymn!! How can he write and sing about praising the Lord, about worshiping the Lord of Creation and about Hopeless Sinners unless he believed that. Some can say he was not a 'Christian' but so what. Jesus never used the word 'Christian' as if those who accepted him should have a group name. He brought what the Father desired, to redeem all people who make the choice to accept that he sent Jesus to give us compete forgiveness and allow us access to the Heavenly Father and His Kingdom. If anyone acknowledges who Jesus was they will be in Heaven when they die. One can disagree with that but look at what the Bible clearly says ... and I say "Praise the Lord for that!!" Bob Marley's songs talk about that and the ONE LOVE of the Father. He doesn't mix words!!

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:42:27 +0000 At last I've found at least one source that suggests that 'while' can be used in either position for contrast, but only in first position when used concessively : the OALD:

used to contrast two things
While Tom's very good at science, his brother is absolutely hopeless.
Some people work better to music while others do not.

(used at the beginning of a sentence) although; despite the fact that…
While I am willing to help, I do not have much time available.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:12:53 +0000 So it didn't really work - but you can get the gist - Contrast in first position - Dictionaries 2, The Guardian 6, The Telegraph 0 etc

So for example, at the Guardian there were 31 definite contrasts, 26 of them in 'trailing' clauses, as opposed to 8 ambiguous, all in leading position, and 5 definite concessives, 4 of them in leading position.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:06:26 +0000 OK, thanks. As I understand it, IELTS Level 7 is about the same as CAE, so 8.5 must be pretty well Proficiency.

Incidentally, although there's quite a bit on while / whereas in Quirk et al - The Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, I can't find anything on order - leading or trailing. Nor is there anything in the more recent Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Hiuddleston, Pullum et al. And these are THE two most important reference grammars of the last half century or so.

However I did a bit of research on 'whereas' myself and came up with the following. With the ambiguous ones I lean more towards concession. What seems clear is that whereas is used more for direct contrast than concession, usually comparing the same feature of two different people, things or situations, etc: 'Italy is in the south of Europe whereas Sweden is in the north'. In this meaning it usually starts the second clause, whereas when it is used to signify concession, the concession clause usually comes first. The reason more examples are from the Guardian is simply that it has no limits; I now have to wait a month before I can look at anything at the Telegraph! I hope this table works.

Dictionaries Guardian Telegraph
Contrast 1st 2 6 0
Contrast 2nd 14 25 11

Ambiguous 1st 13 8 2
Ambiguous 2nd 1 0 1

Concessive 1st 1 4 0
Concessive 2nd 1 1 0

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sun, 17 Aug 2014 15:45:38 +0000 Perhaps I should add: typical requirement to work as a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, radiographer, engineer, teacher , and other professionals is IELTS 7.5, mininum 7.0 in any one exam. Big accounting firms require IELTS 8.0 minimum.
Writing is often a huge barrier - I have had students with Reading / Listening /Speaking 8.5+ and writing 6.5, thus unable to register with their professional body and get a job.
Hence the enormous pressure to score high on writing and the need to produce accurate , complex sentences at speed which include "whereas/while/whilst/although/inasmuch as/ in that/even though/ much as", rather than "and/but/so".

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sun, 17 Aug 2014 15:26:11 +0000 @WW Apologies, local jargon I guess.

By "trailing contrast clauses" I meant sentences with while/whereas between two clauses:
Roses are red, whereas violets are blue.

EAP = English for Academic Purposes eg

IELTS writing is marked into 0-9 bands but the assessment is scored on four criteria (which are then averaged)

Task achievement/Task response (TR/TA)
Coherence and Cohesion (CC)
Lexical Resource (LR)
GRA = Grammar Range and Accuracy

I was referring to GRA Band 8 :
"uses a wide range of structures
the majority of sentences are error-free"

Band 7:
"uses a variety of complex structures
produces frequent error-free sentences"

Band 6:
"uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms"

Band 5:
"uses only a limited range of structures
attempts complex sentences but these tend to be less accurate than simple sentences"

The point here is that simple sentences are not mentioned above band 6, suggesting that one should make all sentences complex to score band 7 and above.

Comment on Plaque for family home by providencejim providencejim Sun, 17 Aug 2014 00:35:53 +0000 As a North American I concur with Warsaw Will's response. I also have to admit that sadly in this country one often sees signs, usually for seasonal residences (cottages, camps, cabins), indicating that "The Smith's" or "The Adams'" abide there. I've never understood this misplaced affection for the apostrophe.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Sat, 16 Aug 2014 17:09:12 +0000 @jayles - sorry, you've lost me there. What are EAP and GRA? And trailing (contrast) clauses? I've tried googling all three, but without any success.

Comment on “This is she” vs. “This is her” by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:03:31 +0000 A bit off topic, but never mind. The literal translation of 'soy yo' may well be 'I am I', but that is meaningless in English and an idiomatic translation would be something more like 'it's me'. From various songs, with my efforts at translation:

Soy yo quien mira la lluvia - It's me who's looking at the rain / I'm the one looking at the rain
Alguien te amó y alguien soy yo - Someone loved you and that someone is me.
Y esta soy yo - And this is me
Soy yo, te lo digo a ti. - It's me, I'm telling you

Comment on “This is she” vs. “This is her” by CP9 CP9 Thu, 14 Aug 2014 18:04:23 +0000 In Spanish, "soy yo" does not mean "I am me." It means "I am I." The translation for "I am me" is "soy mi," which is grammatically incorrect under Spanish grammar.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:19:22 +0000 @WW Yes they do act more like coordinators in trailing contrast clauses cf Hewins unit 82

Of course this stuff is sine qua non for EAP/IELTS , esp as IELTS marking schema says "uses a variety of complex sentences" (GRA level 7) above "uses a mix of simple and complex sentences" (GRA level 6), which prima facie implies one should not include any simple sentence at all.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:04:37 +0000 @jayles - and I thank you. Sometime ago I started a post on contrast and concession. This might just goad me into doing a bit more research and finishing it.

Just a thought, but it occurs to me that while and whereas are acting as subordinators in concession clauses, but are more like coordinators in contrast clauses.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Tue, 12 Aug 2014 00:42:57 +0000 @WW Thanks. I think I've got the weft of it now.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:16:17 +0000 Let's agree on that. I've looked at example sentences from a dozen or so dictionaries, and I can't find much in the way of 'whereas' with a concessionary meaning starting a main clause either, although there are a couple of possibilities. Here are my suggested meanings:

1. whereas starting the second clause

= but/on the other hand:
Some of the studies show positive results, whereas others do not.
Nanjing has also in the past been the capital of China, whereas now Beijing has that role.
I like to go swimming whereas Sheila likes to sail.

=while on the contrary:
Doctors' salaries have risen substantially, whereas nurses' pay has actually fallen.
The old system was fairly complicated whereas the new system is really very simple.
You eat a massive plate of food for lunch, whereas I have just a sandwich.
Alma was always nice to people on the phone, whereas Kevin could be cheerfully impatient.
you treat the matter lightly, whereas I myself was never more serious
She's the one who is moving on whereas her parents are stuck with the story, are stuck in the past.
Negligence depends on a breach of duty, whereas contributory negligence does not.
One came forward immediately, whereas the others hung back.

Thus Mr Smith is now the respondent to this appeal, whereas Mr Clark was the claimant below.
He lived through his era, whereas so many of his friends died in racing accidents.

=although (?) / while on the contrary:
The desks have damaged the walls, whereas a more appropriate choice could have prevented such damage.

We thought she was arrogant, whereas in fact she was just very shy.

2. whereas starting the first clause:

= although
Whereas knowledge can be acquired from books, skills must be learned through practice.
Whereas the city spent over $1 billion on its museums and stadium, it failed to look after its schools.

So in the dictionary examples, whereas seems to more commonly start the second clause, but with usually a meaning of simple contrast rather than concession. I don't think concession impossible, but it seems quite rare.

The Teacher's Grammar of English has the first (concession) clause starting with while or whereas, but nothing about the main clause. So until I can find where it was that suggested that whereas could start the main clause with the meaning of concession, I'll more or less go along with your idea that it works like while. In other words that they can both start the first clause, for both contrast or concession, but they usually only have the meaning of contrast when starting the main clause (I still think that Loch Ness example is OK - but it's hard to find evidence):

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sun, 10 Aug 2014 19:41:59 +0000 I must be thick or something but I'm having trouble getting example sentences where "whereas" corresponds to "although".

As in:

"Many people believe in the Loch Ness Monster, whereas it is probably a myth."

Well that just doesn't work for me I'm afraid.

I do agree that "whereas" roughly means "but" here. However "but" joins two ideas of roughly equal note or weight - it's a 50/50 weighting between each clause.

"Although" is different in so far as the writer acknowledges the idea in the "although" clause, but considers the main idea (in the main clause) of overriding weight - a 20/80 or 80/20 situation depending on clause order.

I just can't get "whereas" to do that where it trails the main clause.

Comment on attorneys general vs. attorney generals by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Sat, 9 Aug 2014 20:05:32 +0000 @Hairy - I've only just seen your comment, and sorry, only three years late, but I have to disagree - It's major generals, not majors general, and general is a noun here, it's not an adjective - if anything it's major that is (a noun) acting as an adjective. Like a lieutenant general or a brigadier general, a major general is a class of general, so it's general that takes the plural.

"The four will be commissioned as Army major generals for an approximate two-year term while serving intermittently in this role." - Oxford Online

"Cromwell's Major-Generals: Godly Government During the English Revolution" - Christopher Durston

On the other hand, an attorney general is a grade of attorney, just as an adjutant general is a grade of adjutant. In these cases 'general' is indeed an adjective. So here it's the first word that takes the plural:

"These guidelines explain the general enforcement policy of the state and territorial attorneys general who comprise the National Association of Attorneys General. " - State antitrust practice and statutes

"that all the other adjutants general shall have the brevet" - US Congress 1839

It's easiest to see when you compare a major general and a sergeant major. The first is a kind of general (not a kind of major) and so it's general that is pluralised. The latter is a type of sergeant (also not a kind of major), so it's sergeant that takes the plural s. Major generals, but sergeants major.

"Uncommon Men: The Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps" - John C. Chapin - 2007
"United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas"

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sat, 9 Aug 2014 19:47:34 +0000 @WW damn! I thought I had this all sussed.

So you mean it's not my fault she put on weight? ;=)))

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Sat, 9 Aug 2014 19:34:03 +0000 @jayles:

I don't quite agree:

1. Not necessarily - "While roses are red, violets are blue" expresses a simple contrast, and could just as well be written "Roses are red, but violets are blue." There is no necessary idea of concession here that needs 'although'. But 'whereas' would fit.

"While my neighbour has a red car, I have a blue one" - 'Although' would be strange here, as just because my neighbour has a red car, there is no reason to expect that I would have a blue one too. So there is no element of expectations not being met, and so none of concession. A better comparison would be with "one the one hand ..., on the other ..." or a simple "but". Again 'whereas' would also fit. On the other hand, "My neighbour has a red car, while I have a blue one" is probably a more common construction (see dictionary examples below).


"While we usually buy red cars, this time we've gone for a purple one" does express concession, and both 'although' and 'whereas'would fit here.

But I see now that you're discounting this type from 'best usage', although I'm not quite sure why. This is from Practical English Usage:

"While/whereas some languages have 30 or more different vowel sounds, others have five or less".

One thing however. When 'while' expresses simple contrast rather than concession, it does seem to come more often at the beginning of the second clause, at least if dictionary examples are anything to go by:

"Spain is increasing the size of its fishing fleet while ours is contracting." - Oxford Online
"He likes camping, while she prefers sailing." - Chambers
"The south of the country grows richer, while the north grows poorer." - Macmillan
"Schools in the north tend to be better equipped, while those in the south are relatively poor." - Longman
"Some people work better to music while others do not." - OALD
"He gets £50,000 a year while I get a meagre £20,000!" - Cambridge

Interestingly, Cambridge has three entries for 'while' as a conjunction: the usual time meaning, contrast (="but)", and concession (="although"). And in all those examples, 'while' could be replaced by 'but'. So I'm not sure why you discount f and g, as this seems to be the most common way of using 'while' to express contrast.

2. Granted

3. Granted - but that is simply my hunch.

4. I'm afraid I don't see much difference between 'where' and 'whereas' in clauses of contrast or concession, except for the proviso that 'where' is not used to start the second clause when expressing concession, and that 'whereas' is more formal.

5. No. 'Whereas' can come in the middle of a sentence to indicate concession, not only contrast.

"Some of the studies show positive results, whereas others do not." (OALD) - contrast = 'but'

"We thought she was arrogant, whereas in fact she was just very shy." (OALD) - concession = 'although'

I'm sure there are lots of women whose husbands love them who nevertheless put on weight. Concession suggests that the second fact should come as something of a surprise, given the earlier information - I just don't see that direct correlation between being loved and putting on weight. Sorry. But I'm not married, so perhaps I'm missing something.

As for 'best usage' I'm not so sure. I think it's more likely a matter of personal preference and perhaps of register, especially in the case of 'whereas'. But, as Garner points out, you have to be a bit careful with 'while' that it does not get confused with a temporal meaning, giving the example:

"Len Hickman delivered the opening statement, while Jim Bethell made the closing statement".

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sat, 9 Aug 2014 16:35:12 +0000 @WW Whilst understanding your comments (and indeed I would have agreed wholeheartedly a few months ago), now I am not so sure. It is simply a matter of "best usage" rather than a near miss.

The following guidelines are for consideration:

1) "While" coming first in the sentence means "although".

2) "While" coming after the main clause signifies contrast.

3) "While" for contrast is better used when the contrasted item(s) is the same or closely related.

4) "Whereas" at the beginning of a sentence means "inasmuch as", or "Forasmuch as" ie the meaning in legal documents.

5) "Whereas" in the middle of a sentence betokens contrast and is better used where the item(s) contrasted are disparate.

All of which is hard to prove/disprove either way: hence the question.

Applying the above, only c,d,e,h,j,k,l represent best usage.

So loving your wife won't keep her weight down? Wow, news to me!

Comment on attorneys general vs. attorney generals by Greg Robert Greg Robert Sat, 9 Aug 2014 10:37:35 +0000 So it's a bit like adding a comma: Attorneys, General.

With the class first and the subclass second, as in:

Meals, Ready to Eat

Comment on attorneys general vs. attorney generals by Greg Robert Greg Robert Sat, 9 Aug 2014 10:36:54 +0000 So it's a bit like adding a comma: Attorneys, General.

With the class first and the subclass second, as in:

Meals, Ready to Eat

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Sat, 9 Aug 2014 09:29:24 +0000 As regards 'whilst', in British English it is just a substitute for 'while', so is always possible instead of 'while', although sometimes seen as a bit formal or literary. It is hardly ever used, however, in American English.

As far as I can see, sentences a-i are fine. Here 'while' is used to express a simple contrast between two things - roses are red and violets are blue. When we are talking about simple contrast, either clause can begin with 'while' or 'whereas'.

Sentences j, k and l are about concession rather than simple contrast, and here we can only use 'while' at the beginning of the first clause (although 'whereas' can still be used in both positions), which is what you've in fact done. And although I'd probably use 'although', I think k, at least, is grammatical. I do have a logical problem with j and l, however.

j (l)- While (Whilst) I loved my first wife very much, she did in fact become fat. - I don't see the connection here - her becoming fat has nothing to do with my loving her - there is no concession that I can see.

On the other hand, put the other way round, as in k, the result is more logical.

I think we are more likely to use 'while/whereas' for concession when the two points are more closely related than in your example, although I can find nothing in usage books to back up that hunch:

"While/Whereas the Loch Ness Monster is probably a myth, many people believe in it."
"Although my wife became rather fat, I love her all the same."

And then of course there are also 'despite' and 'in spite of', when the grammatical construction is appropriate.

In A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Bryan Garner reckons 'while' a more 'relaxed and conversational term than "although" or "whereas" ', but thinks it's fine in formal contexts as well.

'Although, though', are by far the more common ways of expressing concession, with 'even though' also apparently beating 'while'.

And this is even when 'while' includes examples meaning 'at the same time as', in these for example, where I don't think 'although' would work:

"She'd lied, she'd cheated, while he loved her with all his heart."

"While he loved her, there was no hope of loving anyone else"

Some examples from the first page of Google Books, where I think 'although' could be substituted for 'while' with no change in meaning, but where there is a strong relationship between the two statements:

"she wanted children and he didn't, plus, while he loved her, he also loved himself."

"... felt how much she needed him, and, while he loved her, he resented this. "

"Finally, he sat down and told her that, while he loved her deeply and regretted that they would not be able to play on the physical plane any more, he could not have her hanging around his apartment"

"While he loved her a great deal, Jane's husband found her more and more difficult to live"

"he made it clear that while he loved her and was deeply committed to her, he also knew how to get along without her."

"while he loved her dearly, he knew of or at least suspected, most of her problems—real—imagined—or pharmaceutically induced."

Incidentally, there has apparently been some resistance to 'while' being used with a non-temporal sense like this, but I think objections to this are few and far between nowadays. You can read a bit about it at GrammarGirl:

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Fri, 8 Aug 2014 20:13:15 +0000 @HS Yes exactly: which has the sense of concession like 'although' as opposed to contrast?
It is about when and how to use while/whilst/whereas and what they convey as nuance.

Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Fri, 8 Aug 2014 19:58:50 +0000 What about although?

Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 8 Aug 2014 14:27:19 +0000 @looloo - there was a type of cheap café in Britain in the fifties and sixties, serving things like fried food more than coffee, as far as I remenber, which were indeed known by many people as 'kayfs'.

Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by layloo layloo Fri, 8 Aug 2014 11:16:31 +0000 @ Pdaines " From a linguistic perspective, resumé seems the most rational. Résumé would imply the French pronunciation ray-zu-may, which is clearly incorrect as well as awkward"

Actually it is not. You are assuming that the French pronounce the last é like an American. It would sound stupid to apply the same sound to both e's the way we say it: rAy-zu-mAy. However, when broken down, most French native speakers would pronounce the é as reyh-zu-meyh...with less of an emphasis on the "Ay" sound. It sounds better when you say it like that, and not awkward at all: reyh-zu-meyh

My personal taste is that we compromise and spell it the way we say it as Americans, which is "resumé". We pronounce the initial 'e' with an eh sound, not 'ay', but we do pronounce the second 'e' with an "ay" sound; the spelling of "resumé" reflects the American pronunciation of this french word. Personally I HATE when café is spelled cafe because my mind can't help but turn the pronunciation into something that sounds like "kayf"

source: my entire family speaks French and my mother's native language is French

Comment on Hi all vs. Hi everybody by Donny_D Donny_D Wed, 6 Aug 2014 01:40:04 +0000 What if I'm writting a letter to some dogs (I'm inviting them to my puppy 1st b-day)? Can I start with "Hi all" or it's better to start with: "Dear Dogs"? Thanks

Comment on “would of” instead of “would have” or “would’ve” by Nelson S Nelson S Tue, 5 Aug 2014 10:29:27 +0000 Yeah, saying would've sounds like "would of", but when people TYPE "would of", it drives me nuts. Are our schools not teaching English basics anymore?

Comment on Pronouncing “str” like “shtr” as in “shtrong” “shtrange” by John Stoddard John Stoddard Mon, 4 Aug 2014 20:37:05 +0000 Just to negate the argument that it is a northeast U S or African-American phenomenon...former president George W Bush does it but his father does not. And so does Michelle Dube, co-anchor on CFTO News in Toronto.

Comment on troops vs soldiers by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Mon, 4 Aug 2014 14:59:10 +0000 "a great number of the troops were killed and wounded"
"The militia hung upon their rear; and many of the regular troops were killed and wounded."
"in which many of the provincials, and more of the regular troops were killed and wounded"
"About two thousand of the British troops were killed ..."
" In this assault about 60 of our troops were killed"
"and great numbers of the American troops were killed or taken ..."

These all come from American books. And they are all from the first half of the nineteenth century! In fact, judging by Ngram, the expression "troops were killed" appears less frequently in twenty-first century books than in early nineteenth century ones. On the other hand, the use of "soldiers were killed" (in those books included at Ngram) increased at about double the rate of "troops were killed" during the 2000s.

This does not cover media use, of course, but it does show that the use of the word "troops" to mean "soldiers", rather than a specific group of soldiers, is nothing new, and while I can see that "collateral damage"really is a euphemism, I can't really see how "troops" would be seen as a euphemism for "soldiers", anymore than "soldiers" is a euphemism for "men".

I wonder if there's any proof Bush asked the US media to use "troops" instead of "soldiers", or whether this is just another of those internet myths. And I also wonder how real this perceived change actually is.

At the NYT, a site search brings up 108 hits for "soldiers were killed in Iraq" as opposed to 56 for "troops were killed in Iraq". At CNN, it's 89 for soldiers, 49 for troops. At Fox News, which might have been expected to be more sympathetic to Bush's alleged request, it's 68 for soldiers as opposed to 36 for troops, and at the New York Post, it's 14 to 10. Hardly overwhelming evidence.

Comment on troops vs soldiers by buy the truth and sell it not buy the truth and sell it not Sun, 3 Aug 2014 23:24:00 +0000 I believe the media uses the word Troops for drama effect. I picked that up during the first Gulf War -- I felt is was incorrect, but for media propaganda it was easy to get away with. I knew what they were doing from the very early reports of the war; when they had their first reports of U.S. casualties. They would say or write something like "..several troops have been reported killed or wounded.."

I remember sitting their thinking "several troops??!! man their wiping us out what's going on?" come to find out it is 1 soldier killed and 3 others wounded. Of course just 1 lost life is terrible, that is bad enough, but when you use the word Troops in place of Solider it delivers real drama to the effect.

It goes back to the old headline attention game.

I still cant stand to the media's use of the word, to me its not right.

Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sun, 3 Aug 2014 15:58:02 +0000 Incidentally we are not simply limited to active or passive; in classical Greek there was a 'middle' voice too, meaning to do something 'for one's own behoof'; in Latin there are 'deponent' verbs - passive in form but corresponding to an active form in English.
In English we but seldom change distinguish some of these changes in meaning; 'The concert began' and "He began his homework" show no change in the form of the verb; however in other languages this might be two different verbs each with more specific meaning.

Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sun, 3 Aug 2014 15:43:51 +0000 Nothing to stop a verb having more than one meaning, or the meaning changing slightly according to context, and varying between transitive/causative and intransitive:

Children grow quickly.
Flowers grew on the trees as summer approached.
He grows peppers and squash.
The boy grew wise as he matured.
Peppers and squash were grown in the allotment.
The trees grew flowers as summer approached.

Secondly, an idea may be typed as passive in one language but typed as active in another:

Opening of the Knight's Tale:
" Whilom, as olde stories tellen us
Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;"

"highte" is active in form but means "to be called" (cf heissen in German)

"I miss you" in English is expressed in some other languages as "You are missing for me".

So one cannot make rules about what should be passive or not.

Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Sun, 3 Aug 2014 04:42:17 +0000 Just to clarify something - not all these verbs are ergative verbs, one test for which is to interpose 'and so' between the transitive version and the intransitive one:

'Little Johnny broke the window, and so the window broke'
'The sun melted the ice, and so the ice melted'
'The government increased taxes, and so taxes increased'

This is obviously not the case with 'translates (as)', 'reads' and 'says' - where something else is happening.

Comment on Are proverbs dying? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Fri, 1 Aug 2014 23:26:14 +0000 "It's /It was pouring" seems to outtick "raining cats and dogs".

Comment on Are proverbs dying? by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Fri, 1 Aug 2014 22:18:15 +0000 @WW
On a lighter note; if it were not for the phrase "raining cats and dogs" we would not have the glorious shaggy dog story about spare parts for Datsuns.


Comment on Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 1 Aug 2014 14:47:45 +0000 @Jasper - I'm sorry about your name ; I think I also confused you with jayles once - I get a bit muddled with all these Js (That's no excuse, though!).

Incidentally, the whole book is online, illegally I presume, so I won't link to it. I take it you mean Chapter 8 - 'The semantics and grammar of adverbials' - a mere seventy pages or so - I'll try and give it a whirl sometime.

@jayles the unwoven - "Where is your evidence for this? ;=))" - virtually every post. I would suggest that a majority of the few remaining regular posters consider formal grammar 'more correct' than actual spoken Standard English (although I don't include you in this). That is not a criticism, just a statement of the position as I see it. Jasper himself says that that his 'focus is always on the grammar and not so much on spoken language and the idiomaticity of the sentence'. Whereas my focus (and interest in English) is exactly the opposite.

At the risk of being accused of banging on about descriptivism yet again (sorry, Jasper), as far as I'm concerned (and I think as far as many linguists are concerned, including the aforementioned Quirk et al), grammar derives from the language as it is used, not from a canon of old grammar books, many aspects of which, such as their attitudes to preposition stranding and split infinitives, are now largely discredited. I believe that 'grammar' should reflect the language as it is actually used by educated speakers, and I also think we should think more about register and 'appropriateness' than 'correctness' as dictated by the writers of formal grammar.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that this is currently a minority view on this forum, in contrast to forums such as StackExchange and WordReference, where discussion is based more on usage. Hence my statement.

I confess I do have a thing about 'whom', which is where I think traditional grammar departs most from reality, and I have written a series of posts under the rubric of 'Whom Watch'. My problem with examples like "Whom did you meet last night?", and the far worse "With whom did you eat the pizza?", which comes from a so-called 'grammar infographic' reposted on a couple of ESL sites by teachers who should have known better, is that these are very obviously from contexts where they would be spoken, and unlikely to crop up in formal texts. And in informal spoken language almost nobody would use 'whom' in these contexts (and nowadays it's not so common in books either).

Even back in 1772, in the third edition of 'The Rudiments of English Grammar',polymath Joseph Priestley wrote "As, 'Who is this for?' 'Who should I meet the other day but my old friend' . This form of speaking is so familiar that I question whether grammarians should admit it as an exception to the general rule."

His next bit might be of more interest to Jasper, as it involves the infinitive of 'be' - "Dr Lowth says that grammar requires us to say 'Whom do you think me to be'. But in conversation we always hear 'Who do you think me to be'. "

Comment on Are proverbs dying? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 1 Aug 2014 13:11:09 +0000 @Rdavis202 - 'Cats and dogs' - that surprises me too. It's in lots of EFL course books, but I've always found it a bit artificial, and tell my students we're probably more likely to say something like 'It's bucketing down' (BrE) - although Ngram suggests I'm wrong.

Comment on obstinacy vs. obstinancy by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 1 Aug 2014 13:03:31 +0000 "Obstinancy"is certainly in the OED, at least according to Wiktionary, but is listed as 'rare', and it is not listed in Oxford Online. In fact it is only listed in two of the many online dictionaries searched at 'OneLook'.

Incidentally it is very unlikely Dickens did use it, and especially not in "Oliver Twist" - in the First Edition of 1838, it reads -

"Come; you should know her better than me - wot does it mean ?” “ Obstinacy—woman's obstinacy, I suppose, my dear,” replied the Jew shrugging his shoulders."

Searching 19th century books at Google for "obstinancy" "Dickens" brings up only one result - "and little by little to make common cause on the one subject of Martin Chuzzlewit's obstinancy.". But it's not by Dickens, but by a pair of literary critics, the Littels.

Its use was always infinitesimal compared to that of its n-less cousin and seems to have peaked in the late eighteenth century. So, the word exists,yes, but its use is virtually non-existent.

But, remember this next time you're at pub quiz - skaddoura might be right about buffalo (and also bison). This is from 'The Smooth Guide to Animals and the English Language' - 'A gang, a herd, an obstinancy, a troop of bison' and the same for buffalo (but without 'gang'). This idea is repeated quite a lot round the web, but I can't find any reputable source for this.

Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 1 Aug 2014 12:19:49 +0000 "The situation was transformed into something quite different." - this is fine when we know that there was an agent who/which transformed the situation, but situations have a habit of changing under their own steam: here are a few intransitive examples:

"The situation turned nasty"
"The situation improved"
"The situation worsened"
"As the situation darkened on the Northern Plains, Sheridan was pulled away"

Incidentally, Skeeter, I much prefer your first choice of "the sentences should read this way" to "The sentences should run this way". After all, we can say "It says here ..." when nobody is saying anything. And we also say things like "This reads more like an advertisement than a review", so what's wrong with "the sentences should read this way". This is from "All About Grammar", by Rosemary Allen (2007):

"James ran in the house to tell Mum." This should read:

"James ran into the house to tell Mum."

I can't see any problems there. Trust your instinct!

Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 1 Aug 2014 11:51:55 +0000 "Now we all know who is the agent that increases taxes" - something not quite right there: "Now we all know who it is that increases taxes, who the agent is"

Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will Warsaw Will Fri, 1 Aug 2014 11:48:35 +0000 First, jayles is right that there is a lot of antipathy to the passive from people who really should know better, especially in American writing schools - their reason being that they see it as 'wimpy' and avoiding responsibility. One striking aspect of this criticism, is that many of these critics routinely misidentify the passive. Linguist Geoffrey Pullum has collected many of these examples at Language Log, and I've written about it here (with links to Pullum):

Funnily enough, I've also written about ergative verbs on my blog, and I gave this example of one, which is where the object of a transitive can also be used as the subject of the same verb used intransitively:

"Little Johnny broke the window when playing with his ball." - transitive active
"The window was broken when little Johnny was playing with his ball." -transitive passive
"The window broke when little Johnny was playing with his ball."- intransitive use

Naturally, the window didn't break of its own accord, but I think most of us would accept the third variation as being OK. Of course children use this as a way of trying to avoid blame - "Mummy! My toy broke!" Most ergative verbs are related to cooking - "the pasta was simmering away", changes of state - "the door opened", general movement and the movement of vehicles - "the plane circled overhead".

I notice that under the heading "Verbs expressing change" I've included a section on "Beginning and ending, increasing and decreasing", including such verbs as "begin, finish, decrease, grow, fade" - "The sun had faded the colours / The colours had faded in the sun."

Ngram graphs would suggest be true that the intransitive use of some of these verbs has increasing in the last forty years or so:

It seems to me that this intransitive use is more common with some of these verbs than others, and I can see no reason to object to the intransitive use with "increase", for example. And I would argue, that this is really more about transitive vs intransitive use, than active vs passive. Take, for example:

"The government have increased taxes again!"
"Taxes have been increased again!"
"Taxes have increased again"

Now we all know who is the agent that increases taxes, and so a passive example is very unlikely to mention the agent - so I can't see any great improvement in using the passive here. But perhaps that's because I'm so used to teaching students that "increase" and "decrease" can be both transitive and intransitive.

Although the growth in the use of "translates as" seems fairly recent, it seems perfectly idiomatic to me, and this use is listed in Oxford Online. It goes back at least a century: this is from 1911 - "In the second volume of the historical annals of Korea is found a reference to rain gauges which translates as follows: "In the 24th year ..."

The lack of any mention in either Fowler (3rd ed) or MWDEU would suggest that this has not been considered problematic by commentators. I would also suggest that your passive example - "That is translated as 'Beware Greeks bearing gifts.'" sounds as though it has been translated like this on a particular occasion, by a particular translator, not simply that that is its meaning in English.

I agree that the "situation transformed" example sounds a bit odd at first, and at a cursory glance at Google Books I can't find any examples of this use much before 1980. But Oxford Online has this example:

"a wry cynicism rapidly transforms into an overwhelming sense of sourness" - I don't suppose cynicism has volition either. The definition given here being "Undergo a marked change".

(Incidentally, I don't think volition has a lot to do with it - "It was an event that would transform my life.". Events don't have volition either. And even when chrysalises transform into butterflies, I don't suppose there's much volition involved there either. The question for me, is whether a verb that is normally used transitively sounds natural when used intransitively.)

I doubt there would be any objection to “The situation changed into something quite different.” , so I can't really see any logical reason why transform shouldn't be used in a similar way.

Comment on obstinacy vs. obstinancy by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:26:53 +0000 If it's in the OED then that's enough for me!

Comment on Are proverbs dying? by Rdavis202 Rdavis202 Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:20:57 +0000 I don't think English proverbs or idioms are dying. I teach in Korea and always recommend that students watch TV shows and movies in order to study in their free time. A popular show for Korean ESL students is friends. There are a lot of idioms, proverbs, and slang used so they always need to look up the meanings on the internet. The other day I had students tell me it sure is raining "cats and dogs" which really surprised me. I asked where he heard it and he said he heard it on an episode of the show. To mix in some fun with their uses I use this site to teach some of the meanings. There are some great examples and questions to check the correct uses.

Comment on obstinacy vs. obstinancy by Casper45 Casper45 Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:02:39 +0000 Both words have near exact meanings; however, Obstinacy is a noun and Obstinate is an adjective, so the way you use these 2 words will differ.

Example #1: Obstinate

Obstinate and unyielding, the judge refused to give the defendant credit for time served. (Obstinate is an adjective. Adjectives describe nouns. Obstinate clearly describes the judge's unwillingness to give the defendant credit for time served.)

Example #2: Obstinacy

No matter what logic or rationale I used, nothing I came up with could break through her obstinacy. (You can see how obstinacy isn't an adjective. Simply replace Obstinate in the first example with Obstinacy and notice how off the sentence reads.

Obstinacy is a quality or trait, and we know a noun is a person, place, or thing. Well, a quality is a thing, making Obstinacy a noun.

P.S. I didn't write the sentences myself. I got them from this site. However, I did write the explanations. :)