Comments for Pain in the English http://painintheenglish.com Forum for the gray areas of the English language Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:26:44 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Why so many different spellings for some Arabic terms? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5324/#comment-26117 jayles the unwoven Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:30:21 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5324/#comment-26117 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_alphabet#Vowel_omission

My understanding is that Arabic is usually written without vowels, rthr lk ths.

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Comment on What words were used to refer specifically to males before “man” did? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5326/#comment-26116 jayles the unwoven Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:25:57 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5326/#comment-26116 'Wer' still survives in 'world':

world (n.)
Old English woruld, worold "human existence, the affairs of life," also "a long period of time," also "the human race, mankind, humanity," a word peculiar to Germanic languages (cognates: Old Saxon werold, Old Frisian warld, Dutch wereld, Old Norse verold, Old High German weralt, German Welt), with a literal sense of "age of man," from Proto-Germanic *wer "man" (Old English wer, still in werewolf; see virile) + *ald "age" (see old).

cf etymonline

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Comment on Why so many different spellings for some Arabic terms? by Hairy Scot http://painintheenglish.com/case/5324/#comment-26115 Hairy Scot Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:25:37 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5324/#comment-26115 Thanks Will. ;)

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Comment on What words were used to refer specifically to males before “man” did? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5326/#comment-26114 Warsaw Will Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:43:48 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5326/#comment-26114 Here's a link to the entry for 'wer' in the Bosworth -Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, which has several definitions:

I. a man, a male person
II. a man, a male that has reached man's estate
III. a being in the form of a man
IV. a married or a betrothed man, a man (as in man and wife), a husband
V. a male

http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/035342

We seem to have two references in Beowulf, written sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries:

'se æt Heorote fand wæccendne wer wiges bidan'

which one website translates as 'he found at Heorot a waking man waiting for war

(http://www.as.wvu.edu/english/oeoe/english311/1398.html)

'wonsæli wer weardode hwile', where 'wer' is variously translated as creature or wight:

the unhappy creature occupied for a while
the hapless wight a while had kept

But while Chaucer uses 'wif' quite a lot to mean a woman, and 'man' to mean a man, there doesn't seem to a single instance of 'wer' in the Canterbury Tales (end of 14th century), so it had presumably died out by then.

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Comment on Why so many different spellings for some Arabic terms? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5324/#comment-26113 Warsaw Will Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:14:12 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5324/#comment-26113 Lets get the easy one out of the way first - Ayatollah is Persian, Ayatullah is Arabic,:

Persian: آيت‌الله‎ ayatollah from Arabic: آية الله‎, āyatu allah (Wikipedia)

As for the Lebanese group, though Wikipedia lists it as Hezbollah, the nearest transliteration would be Hizbullah:

حزب الله‎ Ḥizbu 'llāh

I know nothing about Arabic, but I imagine the o/u sound could be interpreted either way, and we know that S often has a Z sound in English. Also, there are regional variations of Arabic, so pronunciation no doubt differs from place to place, added to the fact that there is probably no official transliteration (as in Chinese) as many countries are involved.

At Ngram, Hezbollah is by far the most common, (but Hizbollah in British books, for some reeason - but I think that might be an aberration), not only in the English collections, but also in French, Spanish and Italian books. In German, however, Hisbollah is the most common.

In English books, Hizbullah and Hizbollah, get less than half of Hezbollah (but see British books, above). Hisbollah and Hesbollah hardly register. Incidentally Firefox red-lines all but Hezbollah.

At the BBC, Hezbollah is by far the most common. (541 -real hits), as it is at the Guardian, Independent, Times. But interestingly, at the Economist, Hizbullah gets 622 to only 237 for Hezbollah.

The next most common at the BBC is for Hizbullah (336),but it's nearly all from the BBC Turkish service, so that looks like the standard Turkish spelling.

Hizbollah gets 157

Hesbollah brings up the BBC Romanian service (63)

Hisbollah gets only 23 - many in Welsh, Portuguese and Spanish.

So if you want to go with the flow it looks like it's Hezbollah, but if you want to be more faithful to the original Arabic - Hizbullah.

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Comment on What words were used to refer specifically to males before “man” did? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5326/#comment-26112 Warsaw Will Sun, 19 Oct 2014 03:23:17 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5326/#comment-26112 From Etymonline -

'Old English man, mann "human being, person (male or female)'

From Oxford Online (usage note)

'Traditionally the word man has been used to refer not only to adult males but also to human beings in general, regardless of sex. There is a historical explanation for this: in Old English the principal sense of man was ‘a human being’, and the words wer and wif were used to refer specifically to ‘a male person’ and ‘a female person’ respectively. Subsequently, man replaced wer as the normal term for ‘a male person’, but at the same time the older sense ‘a human being’ remained in use.'

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/man

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Comment on thus, therefore and hence are different by Woooooooooooooooops http://painintheenglish.com/case/4452/#comment-26111 Woooooooooooooooops Wed, 8 Oct 2014 09:40:42 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4452/#comment-26111 Thanks, guys

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Comment on Selfie by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5193/#comment-26110 Warsaw Will Wed, 8 Oct 2014 06:46:37 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5193/#comment-26110 The day people stop inventing new words: that's the day we should start worrying about the state of English. But of course they won't, because people are creative with language, especially young people. A lecture at Ted Talks to illustrate the point:

http://www.ted.com/talks/anne_curzan_what_makes_a_word_real?language=en

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Comment on that vs. if and whether by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26109 Warsaw Will Sun, 5 Oct 2014 14:17:57 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26109 Re: Banjo's spelling idea -

In most words starting "ec", a single c is followed by a consonant, "eclaire, eclectic, eclipse, ecstatic, ectoderm, ectoplasms, eczema" - all with a short e as in "bed", and "ech" words simply follow the same pattern, as do "ecc" words. (For a list of all words starting "ec" see: http://www.morewords.com/starts-with/ec/)

With a single consonant + single vowel we would normally also have a short e sound. And apart from "ecarte"(from French), the only vowel that follows initial "ec" is "o" - and this is where the only variation I can see comes: in words starting "eco", which all belong to two word families based on "economy" and "ecology" (and related words with the prefix "eco" as in "ecowarrior").

So, as porsche has pointed out, the long "ee" pronunciation many of us use for these words is not down to a standard spelling rule (you can't really make a rule from what are basically two roots).

In dictionaries, the waters are rather muddy. Whereas Oxford Concise lists only /ɪ:/ ( the long ee sound) for "economy, economize , econometrics", it allows both long and short e for "economic, economical". For "ecology, ecologist, ecological" it allows both long and short e. But the /ɪ:/ (long ee) is always listed first. For those with the "eco" prefix "ecofreak, ecosystem, ecoterrorist", only the long /ɪ/ is given.

The American picture is rather different. The Free Dictionary is equally schizophrenic, giving /i/ (more like "ik"than "eek") only for "economy, economize, economist", and both long and short e for "economic" and "economical". They give /i/ for "ecology, ecologist" and long and short e for "ecological". But unlike Oxford, here the short e is listed first. With "ecosystems, ecoterrorism" both long and short e are given, but here long e is listed first.

So, although I agree with porsche that there are several variants - in standard dictionaries alone we can find /i:c/ (eek), /ic/ (ik), /ek/ (as in heck), I don't quite agree that "ee" doesn't get listed very much, although in American English it may not be so long - /i/ rather than /i:/. Where both are possible, recordings sometimes give one, sometimes the other.

One conclusion seems to be that these two dictionaries, one British, one American, list the nouns and verbs - "economy, economist, economize, ecology, ecologist" with "eek" or "ik" (AmE), and the adjectives and adverbs (and nouns based on them) are listed with both long and short e. Somebody who pronounces "economics" with a short e might well pronounce "economy" with a longer one.

And so what about Skeeter Lewis's suggestion about origins - ecology certainly entered the English language as oecology (1873 - from German) and you can find a few examples of oeconomy in eighteenth century books, although I'm not sure how "oe" was pronounced. But the economy family seemed to come to us via French, where they are definitely pronounced with a short 'e'.

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Comment on that vs. if and whether by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26108 Warsaw Will Sun, 5 Oct 2014 12:28:21 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26108 @Olivia Queen - "Using whether is far more common" - Here, Grammar-Monster was only referring to "whether/if ... or ..." constructions, as in "She didn't know whether to stay or go".

In normal indirect questions, "if" is "far more common", even in written English:

Netspeak - "He asked me if" - 78,000, "He asked me whether" - 5000
Ngram - "He asked me if" - 0.0000190%, "He asked me whether" - 0.0000020%
British National Corpus - "He asked me if" - 37, "He asked me whether" - 5

Incidentally, this question wasn't really about using "if" or "whether", but the use of "that" instead of either.

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Comment on that vs. if and whether by Olivia de Leroy http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26107 Olivia de Leroy Sat, 4 Oct 2014 07:40:46 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26107 Whether and if can be used interchangeably when reporting yes/no questions.
eg.
The policeman asked if / whether I had seen the accident.


Use Whether only
eg.
He asked whether I wanted to go by air or by sea.
He asked whether or not I wanted to insure my luggage.
Note: Using whether is far more common. It is certainly more formal.

I think you better check it in http://www.grammar-monster.com/easily_confused/if_and_whether.htm

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Comment on that vs. if and whether by Olivia queen http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26106 Olivia queen Sat, 4 Oct 2014 05:26:11 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4789/#comment-26106 Whether and if can be used interchangeably when reporting yes/no questions.
eg.
The policeman asked if / whether I had seen the accident.


Use Whether only
eg.
He asked whether I wanted to go by air or by sea.
He asked whether or not I wanted to insure my luggage.
Note: Using whether is far more common. It is certainly more formal.

I think you better check it in http://www.grammar-monster.com/easily_confused/if_and_whether.htm

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Comment on Assist in or assist with by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26105 Warsaw Will Fri, 3 Oct 2014 17:54:38 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26105 Incidentally, I somewhat disagree with those earlier commentors who see a difference in meaning between the two, or say that 'in' is followed by a verb, and 'with' by a noun.

Both 'in' and 'with' are prepositions, so the only verb form that can follow either is a gerund (-ing form), which is in fact a verbal noun, rather than a verb per se.

While Ngram certainly shows that before gerunds, 'in' is nearly always used, it also clearly shows that 'in' is preferred before standard nouns as well.

And it also shows that while 'in' before gerunds is still way in the lead, 'with' before gerunds is increasing in use, at the expense of 'in', in American English., at least:

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=assist+in+drafting%2Cassist+with+drafting&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cassist%20in%20drafting%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cassist%20with%20drafting%3B%2Cc0

At Netspeak, the percentage of 'assist' followed by 'in' is 16.3% , compared to 6.7% for 'with':

http://www.netspeak.org/#query=assist+*

And 'assist in the' gets 5.1 % to 1.5% for 'assist with'

At the British National Corpus there are 541 instances of 'assist in', compared with 167 of 'assist in'. While many of those with 'in' are followed by gerunds, many are also followed by standard nouns:

"the civil servants he appointed to assist in the work"
"a suggestion from the Ministry of Supply to assist in the production of railway bridges"
"About the only contribution information technology can make is to assist in the compilation of cricket statistics. "
"Numerous tests are available to assist in the systematic assessment of a wide range of grammatical abilities"

Similarly,while the majority of instances of 'assist with' are followed by nouns, there are also quite a few followed by gerunds:

"Volunteers are welcome to assist with staffing of the City Varieties"
"where one is merely allowed to assist with abseiling a small group down a short drop"
"Guides will assist with the serving of tea or coffee and biscuits"
"a variety of methods have been evolved to assist with coping with them."

Everything points to the same conclusions:

'assist in' is by far the most common when followed by a gerund, but 'with' is also possible.
'assist in' is also more popular when followed by a standard noun, but the difference here is not so large.
All these sources suggest that 'in' is more common in a ratio of about 3.5 to 2

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Comment on Assist in or assist with by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26104 Warsaw Will Fri, 3 Oct 2014 17:06:16 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26104 Sorry, that Ngram address didn't work. Go to http://books.google.com/ngrams and enter:

assist in the *,assist with the *

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Comment on Assist in or assist with by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26103 Warsaw Will Fri, 3 Oct 2014 17:01:53 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26103 @MD - Both are correct, but "assist in" seems to be the most popular. Learner's dictionaries, for example, allow both, but most of the examples they seem to give are with 'assist in'. Incidentally, learner's dictionaries are rather better at giving this sort of information than standard dictionaries:

"assist in/with something" - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
"We are looking for people who would be willing to assist in the group's work."

"assist in/with"- Macmillan's Dictionary
Several top landscape designers assisted in the creation of the garden.

"assist (somebody) with/in something" - Longman's
You will be employed to assist in the development of new equipment.

"assist the police with/in their inquiries (UK)" - Cambridge Dictionary

The American Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary gives these examples:

" Another doctor assisted with the operation."
"Federal agents are assisting with the investigation."
"She assisted in making the decision."
"The cream assists in the prevention of skin cancer."

At Ngram, the ratio of "assist in the project"to "assist with the project" is about 3.5 : 2. In general, it puts "assist in" quite considerably in the lead, and this graph also shows that both 'in' and 'with' can be used with the same words, for example "assist in/with the development", "assist in/with the preparation" (the most common collocations):

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=assist+in+the+*%2Cassist+with+the+*&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=18&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Cassist%20in%20the%20*%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20defence%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20work%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20formation%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20development%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20execution%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20establishment%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20production%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20process%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20maintenance%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20in%20the%20preparation%3B%2Cc0%3B.t2%3B%2Cassist%20with%20the%20*%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20development%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20work%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20preparation%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20other%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20cost%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20provision%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20design%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20harvest%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20construction%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bassist%20with%20the%20implementation%3B%2Cc0

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Comment on Assist in or assist with by MD http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26102 MD Fri, 3 Oct 2014 12:40:09 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/434/#comment-26102 Which sentence is the correct one :
I am glad I could assist in the project.
or
I am glad I could assist with the project.

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26101 Warsaw Will Sun, 28 Sep 2014 04:55:40 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26101 @jayles - Fair enough.

In history classes at university we had a lot of discussion as to whether certain changes that took place in the UK after WWII, such as the rise of consumerism and the new availability of certain household appliances, constituted Americanisation, or whether it was simply modernisation, which had started in America.

I'm sure it's much the same with language: because a lot of social and technological change first appeared in the US, not to mention the whole idea of business as a 'science', and the cultural domination of Hollywood, we are bound to have taken on a lot of words which though they may have originated in America,are simply part of our modern lifestyle.

But then again, we still seem to keep our differences, even for some of these advances, for example hoover, fridge and telly, which are far more prevalent in the UK than in the US. And that that sign in question - "Wait here till the red light shows" - seems to be uniquely British.

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26100 jayles the unwoven Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:03:52 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26100 Bewildered by English mores (or hating the class system), in the early seventies I took a PanAm flight from Heathrow, never to return to Blighty - apart from a brief sojurn there in the early nineties.
So my instincts about Am vs Brit English are often somewhat dated. It all depends on what context one hears or reads them first.

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26099 Warsaw Will Sat, 27 Sep 2014 18:31:23 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26099 According to that Ngram, 'no-show' started to take off in Britain in about 1970, which means it's been around here all of my working life, and about the same time as quite a lot of words that originated in hippie or black American culture around the same period, such as 'hype', 'uptight', 'the munchies', 'laid back' etc, which I wouldn't now regard as particularly American, although their origins undoubtedly are.

And like those other words, its use is now deeply embedded in the British media, so again, despite its origins, I don't really think of it as American. But then again, I spent much of the late sixties and early seventies reading Rolling Stone and American books.

I imagine that what mainly accounts for the difference in usage between AmE and BrE is its use in the former as an adjective, which seems to dominate at Google Books, whereas as far as I know its use in Britain is restricted to it being a noun. The earliest examples at Google Books are of adjectival use, from 1957 and 1958, noun use from 1965 (funnily enough, referring to students).

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26098 jayles the unwoven Sat, 27 Sep 2014 14:57:09 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26098 if one Ngrams the following:

[no - show]:eng_us_2012,[no - show]:eng_gb_2012

it becomes evident that "no-show" was originally a US phrase. It was one of the many phrases I had to get used to whilst working with US multinationals in the early eighties; along with "maintenance and repairs", "miscellaneous", "inventory", "payables" instead of the Brit "R&M","sundry","stock","creditors". And "labor" not "labour".

However my cringe moment came later in the eighties, when in a downunder business meeting I had to ask what "dzarvo" was.
('Strine = this afternoon)

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26097 Warsaw Will Sat, 27 Sep 2014 02:46:56 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26097 @jayles - incidentally, while I agree that 'show' to mean 'show up' is mainly American English (and is shown as such in, for example, the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary), I don't think that there is such a distinction with 'a no-show'.

Unlike the former, OALD lists it without any mention of it being American; in Ngram its use is almost exactly the same in American and British books, and I certainly use it myself when no students turn up for a class (not such an infrequent occurrence when you teach in-company).

Strangely, it seems to be used more in the British media than in some of their American counterparts: The Guardian gets 119 hits whereas The New York Times gets none, although there seem to be plenty at the Washington Post (176) and the LA Times (125); The Daily Mail gets 437, but at the tabloid NY Post it's zilch; at the BBC there are 91, while ABC, NBC and CBS together can only muster 9. As it is seen as informal, it is perhaps not surprising that it crops up a bit more on Fox News - 152 hits.

These site searches don't seem to be 100% accurate, however, as I've found an example at the NY Post - "Super Mario ‘granny groper’ a no-show in court", and being used as an adjective at the NY Times - "No-Show Jobs and Overstaffing Hurt New York Harbor, a Report Says".

Other examples of adjectival use:
"How Restaurants Can Deal With No-Show Diners" - Eater.com
"Hotel's no-show charge" - TripAdvisor
"A $15.00 per player no-show fee will be charged" - NY State Parks

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26096 Warsaw Will Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:24:12 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26096 @jayles - It's a standard road sign in the UK, approved by the Department of Transport, and often used at road works - http://www.google.com/search?q=%22when+red+light+shows%22&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=2gAmVKDAG4fPaJT8gNAM&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAg&biw=1018&bih=616&gws_rd=ssl

The UK press had some fun when a pedestrian stopped at one earlier this year - http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/18/coventry-pedestrian-snapped-waiting-at-red-light-intended-for-traffic-4267836/

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26095 jayles the unwoven Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:36:12 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26095 "WAIT HERE UNTIL RED LIGHT SHOWS." Was this in the USA?

In my experience US usage of "show" differs slightly from UK.
"He never showed" vs "He never showed up"
"The chef was a no-show" vs "The chef went AWOL".

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26094 Warsaw Will Fri, 26 Sep 2014 05:37:16 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26094 And it's not particularly new:

"The rain poured down, and never a light showed" - Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, 1899

"Close to the top of the staircase, however, there opened a door, through which a warm light was showing" - Margaret Oliphant, 1884

"and at night the light shows plain enough to warn vessels that it is time to haul offshore" - US Lighthouse Board 1852

"The fact, however, is that nearly every merchant vessel's side lights show not from right ahead only, but from half a point to a whole point or more across the bow." - The Practical Mechanics Journal 1868

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26093 Warsaw Will Fri, 26 Sep 2014 05:01:16 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26093 @Skeeter Lewis - what's wrong with intransitive 'show'?

From various dictionaries:

Fear showed in his eyes.
She tried not to let her disappointment show.
She's nearly forty now.And it shows.
They managed to fix it so that the break wouldn't show.
Her scar doesn't show, because her hair covers it.
Shirl was four months gone and just starting to show.
Now showing at a cinema near you!

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Skeeter Lewis http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26092 Skeeter Lewis Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:00:10 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26092 WAIT HERE UNTIL RED LIGHT SHOWS.
Shows what?

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Comment on “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5161/#comment-26091 Warsaw Will Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:13:14 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5161/#comment-26091 The only one I can think of is 'breakable' - where the active (ergative) meaning - it can easily break - is just as likely as the passive one - can easily be broken. But I can't find any other ergative verbs apart from 'chang' and 'vary' where the same is true.

I was thinking of flammable, but that's from a noun (although that originally came from a Latin verb).

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Comment on “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5161/#comment-26090 jayles the unwoven Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:18:41 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5161/#comment-26090 When adding -able to a verb, the meaning seems to include a passive element: fixable -> able to be fixed; doable -> able to be done, and so forth.
There are two exceptions : "variable" and "changeable", where the sense is either active OR passive -> the weather is variable = the weather varies vs the outcome is variable, depending on the input -> the outcome may be varied; changeable -> able to change / able to be changed.

Can anyone come up with any other verbs that have an "active" meaning when -able is added?

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Comment on Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26089 Warsaw Will Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:56:52 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26089 @jayles - I think quite a few Brits do it as well. At the British National Corpus it's 159 'an historic' to 126 'a historic', but of course pronunciation doesn't come into play there. Funnily enough I've just been looking at something else in a book called 'An Historical Syntax of the English Language', published in 1963.

Even with a silent H, it seems to me somewhat old-fashioned now, and no doubt it and horrific (50 'a' to 25 'an' at the BNC) will eventually go the way of 'hotel' (754 'a' to 76 'an' at the BNC).

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Comment on “Anglish” by AnWulf http://painintheenglish.com/case/4392/#comment-26088 AnWulf Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:40:35 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4392/#comment-26088 Pith is from OE piþa (þ=th). As for the shape pithy (pith+y), it shows up in ME as pithi (pithier, pithiest) often in the meaning of strong ... and the adv pithili (often in the meaning of thoroly).

a1400 (a1325) Cursor (Vsp A.3) 9384: And al-king thing was þan to trow Wel pithier [Göt: mihtier] þan þai ar now.

Siker ... from OE sicor, from Lat. securus (same as Ger. sicher) ... was both an adj and adv in ME. It was respelt 'secure' in the "back to Latin root spelling" moovment of the 16th yearhund (century). From 'secure (ly)' one can eathly note as 'certain(ly)' and it often was.

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Comment on Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26087 jayles the unwoven Mon, 22 Sep 2014 19:29:48 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26087 I guess it is 'Strine or Kiwi then. They do not seem to say 'an Hotel' here, though; so it's not generalized. And maybe it's just the newsreaders for emphasis in phrases such as 'an HHistoric win for John Key'.

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Comment on Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26086 Warsaw Will Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:42:44 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26086 Couldn't resist it - I wrote this three years or so ago - http://random-idea-english.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-i-ngrammed-historic-occasion.html

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Comment on Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word? by Skeeter Lewis http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26085 Skeeter Lewis Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:37:01 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26085 Saying aN Historic is an absurdity. Until comparatively recently, it was correct not to aspirate such words as hotel. That is why in older novels, one tends to see 'an hotel'. It was, of course, pronounced, by duke and dustman alike, 'an 'otel'.

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Comment on Why ‘an’ in front of an ‘h’-word? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26084 jayles the unwoven Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:27:44 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/330/#comment-26084 Newsreaders where I am at the moment consistently say "an Historic", aspirating the 'H" quite clearly.

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Comment on Computer mouses or computer mice? by Akme_01 http://painintheenglish.com/case/534/#comment-26083 Akme_01 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:41:11 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/534/#comment-26083 To those who think mouse is an acronym, it's not. They are called mouses because they look like a mouse. So I guess more than one should be mice (I prefer mouses for some obscure reason).

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Comment on Pronouncing “str” like “shtr” as in “shtrong” “shtrange” by J. Quinnes http://painintheenglish.com/case/5231/#comment-26082 J. Quinnes Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:06:53 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5231/#comment-26082 I don't necessarily think that these are examples of mispronunciations. As @Roger Stoddard pointed out, the "shtr" pronunciation is probably present in a number of different dialects (and ideolects!). As such, I wouldn't call it a mispronunciation; rather, I see it as an example of dialectal difference, linguistic change, and linguistic variation.

I also see the addition of the "h" to the "str"consonant cluster as just another example of the linguistic devices that we employ all the time to ease pronunciation. My initial reaction is to call "shtr" an example of epenthesis: adding a sound to a word. But I could be wrong...

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Comment on Putative (-ly) vs. Supposed (-ly) vs. Ostensible (-y) by shailluis http://painintheenglish.com/case/5290/#comment-26081 shailluis Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:55:59 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5290/#comment-26081 The oil was then burned to scent the air. Today, most perfume is used to scent bar soaps.
http://www.alatarji.net

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Comment on Putative (-ly) vs. Supposed (-ly) vs. Ostensible (-y) by shailluis http://painintheenglish.com/case/5290/#comment-26080 shailluis Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:54:55 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5290/#comment-26080 Perfume comes from the Latin "per" meaning "through" and "fumum," or "smoke." Many perfumes were made by extracting natural oils from plants through pressing and steaming.
Parfuem

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Comment on Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive by shailluis http://painintheenglish.com/case/5296/#comment-26079 shailluis Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:47:31 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5296/#comment-26079 we are a leader in Perfume products & as a distributor / dealer in Europe .Browse our collection of fragrance best Alatarji products for sales in your perfume shop.
http://www.alatarji.net/

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Comment on Who/whom, copular verbs, and the infinitive by shailluis http://painintheenglish.com/case/5296/#comment-26078 shailluis Mon, 15 Sep 2014 05:44:48 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5296/#comment-26078 we are a leader in Perfume products & as a distributor / dealer in Europe .Browse our collection of fragrance best Alatarji products for sales in your perfume shop.perfume

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Comment on “Anglish” by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/4392/#comment-26077 jayles the unwoven Fri, 12 Sep 2014 20:57:59 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4392/#comment-26077 @AnWulf Thank you for this: it is refreshing to climb out of the latinate ruts of today's English.
That said, my understanding is that "pithy" stems from c 1520 not earlier?
And I seem to recall either Chaucer or Shakespeare using "siker" where we might use "certainly" today?

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Comment on Fora vs Forums by Melategg http://painintheenglish.com/case/627/#comment-26076 Melategg Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:46:05 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/627/#comment-26076 Latin is not a dead language, it is actually the language used in the Vatican City. Language is fluid and morphs all the time, fora will become forums, stadia will become stadiums and the originals will be forgotten. Who says'refrigerator', 'perambulator' or 'influenza' any more?

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Comment on “Anglish” by AnWulf http://painintheenglish.com/case/4392/#comment-26075 AnWulf Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:11:37 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4392/#comment-26075 I saw this in a sci-fi book over the weekend:

"English was the common tongue of the Imperium and seemed likely to remain so. Its flexibility, concision, and adaptability were certainly vastly preferable to Universal.

Throwing out the articles, to, and 'and', there 18 words. Of those, eight (8) or 44%, ar Anglo rooted … English, was, tongue, seemed, likely, so, its, were. The lave … common, imperium, remain, flexibility, concision (yuck … conciseness would hav been a tad better), adaptability, certainly, vastly, preferable, universal are Latinates.

Thankfully he wrote 'tongue' (French rooted spelling), 'seemed' and 'likely' rather than 'language', 'appeared', and 'probably'.

However, we can do better even tho a few of these are tuff words to swap out:

common - widespred, mainstream, main, overall
Imperium - Rike
remain - stay (Skeat has it of Teut. root), blive
flexibility - freedom, bendsumness, bendiness, stretchiness, litheness
concision - shortness, pithiness
adaptability - blendness, fitness, fittingness
certainly - wisly, gewiss, without nay, huru
vastly - greatly
preferable - better lik't
universal - all, overall, broad, everyday mainstream, one-tung … broad-tung

"English was the main tung of the Rike and seem'd likely to blive so. Its litheness, pithiness, and fittingness were without nay the better choosing than Broad-tung."

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Comment on Everybody vs. Everyone by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/1022/#comment-26074 Warsaw Will Tue, 9 Sep 2014 06:49:39 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/1022/#comment-26074 I've just noticed this from dogreed way back in 2010:

' The words "everyone" and "everybody" are not entirely interchangeable. For example, the phrase "God bless us, everyone" is generally taken to mean "God bless us all," while the phrase "God bless us, everybody" might be taken to mean "hey y'all, God bless us." '

Except that the standard phrase isn't "God bless us, everyone", but "God bless us, every one".

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=God+bless+us+everyone%2CGod+bless+us+every+one&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CGod%20bless%20us%20everyone%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CGod%20bless%20us%20every%20one%3B%2Cc0

As has been pointed out by douglas.bryant and others, "everyone" is not the same as "every one".

But this seems to be a common mistake: the best-known instance of the "God bless us" quote is no doubt that from Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol'. If Tiny Tim had indeed said "God bless us, everyone!", as is falsely quoted in Wikipedia and elsewhere, his meaning would in fact have been rather like a southerner's "hey y'all, God bless us." - the one dogreed gives to "everybody".

But in fact, what Tiny Tim actually says was "God bless us, every one!", meaning something like "God bless us all," or "God bless us, each and every one of us" and which is repeated on the last page.

http://books.google.pl/books?id=MlMHAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=a+christmas+carol&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ONkOVIOdI-fnyQO7zYHQCA&redir_esc=y#v=snippet&q=%22god%20bless%20us%20every%20one%22&f=false

There's a discussion about this common misquotation, which goes back at least to the 1870s, here:

http://books.google.pl/books?id=Jldiza39QrcC&pg=PA54&dq=%22god+bless+us+everyone%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cdEOVIXJKMu6ygOB8YDgDw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22god%20bless%20us%20everyone%22&f=false

So it's back to the drawing board for that one. They are interchangeable. From Oxford Online:

Everyone = Every person: "everyone needs time to unwind."
Everybody = Every person: "everybody agrees with his views."

I see absolutely no subtle difference of meaning between those two example sentences.

douglas.bryant has already mentioned Fowler. In the entry on 'everyone, everybody' in The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage, the only discussion is about what pronoun usually follows them - there is absolutely nothing about any possible difference in meaning or shade.

Look up 'everybody' in most dictionaries and usage books and they simply refer you to 'everyone'. If there were these differences people are talking about here, why do no dictionaries or usage books refer to them, I wonder? Why are there no usage notes explaining the difference?

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Comment on Everybody vs. Everyone by onez http://painintheenglish.com/case/1022/#comment-26073 onez Mon, 8 Sep 2014 14:08:58 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/1022/#comment-26073 logically, i would say, 'everyone' can be referred as 'each one of you'(in a group of people) and 'everybody' can be referred as 'all of you'(in a group of people)

both words are synonym. it depends to the people we want it to be pointed to.

sometimes, it is not about what books tell us. but, it is what or how we want it to be..

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Comment on When did contacting someone become reaching out? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5299/#comment-26072 Warsaw Will Wed, 3 Sep 2014 16:37:35 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5299/#comment-26072 @Phil Woodford - that sounds pretty much like this definition from Oxford Dictionaries Online:

"(chiefly North American) Seek to establish communication with someone, with the aim of offering or obtaining assistance or cooperation:

"his style was to reach out all the time, especially to members of his own party anyone in need of assistance should reach out to the authorities as soon as possible" '

Admittedly this is slightly different from the meaning I'm used to, but what both Hairy Scot and I have noticed is that 'reach out' is being used to simply mean 'contact' as in these examples form various tech sites:

‘If you would like any other suggestions or need help with transitioning your current Google Reader RSS feeds, please reach out to a Library’

‘Wired has also reached out to Google for additional comment.’

‘If you want to follow up, feel free to reach out to me by phone.’

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26071 jayles the unwoven Mon, 1 Sep 2014 16:40:46 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26071 Hungarians who learn English "tend to avoid using the English passive voice" : believe me it does NOT make for plain and simple English.

http://www.acta.sapientia.ro/acta-philo/C2-2/philo22-9.pdf

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26070 jayles the unwoven Mon, 1 Sep 2014 15:50:26 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26070 One way of writing simple, plain English is to make the topic of the paragraph the subject of the sentence.

Thus :
Eggs. Eggs are eaten the world over. They are fried, boiled, scrambled, poached and eaten raw. They are considered highly nutritious, although somewhat high in cholesterol.

The above is more coherent and cohesive than the following version which jumps around more:

Eggs. People eat them the world over. They fry, boil, scramble and poach them and eat them raw. They consider them highly nutritious, although eggs are somewhat high in cholesterol.

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Comment on Use my brain or brains? by Phil Woodford http://painintheenglish.com/case/5285/#comment-26069 Phil Woodford Mon, 1 Sep 2014 15:50:20 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5285/#comment-26069 This is the kind of idiomatic quirk which drives no-English speakers crazy. But, yes, it can definitely be pluralised.

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Comment on When did contacting someone become reaching out? by Phil Woodford http://painintheenglish.com/case/5299/#comment-26068 Phil Woodford Mon, 1 Sep 2014 15:44:40 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5299/#comment-26068 I was hearing 'reaching out' on US TV shows such as NYPD Blue 20 years ago. The cops would use it to describe the process of contacting someone with whom they'd previously had no relationship or trying to re-establish a rapport with someone who was now more distant or estranged. It was usually used in the context of getting help or assistance.

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