Comments for Pain in the English http://painintheenglish.com Forum for the gray areas of the English language Wed, 1 Oct 2014 13:14:32 +0000 hourly 1 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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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26067 Warsaw Will Mon, 1 Sep 2014 14:31:15 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26067 @Sophie - I'm all for simpler English, but the passive should be regarded in the same way as any other construction - not get the blanket (and unthinking) disapproval it does in certain quarters.

It is very easy to be long-winded using only the active voice, and it is equally possible to be informal using the passive. Which is the more long-winded here, I wonder:

The company have dismissed him.
He's been sacked.

The passive is especially useful in English, where we don't have reflexive verbs, and for information packaging - starting a sentence with given, known information and putting important new information to the end (end weighting). This is what might happen if we couldn't use the passive:


"This is a picture of Canterbury Cathedral. Augustine founded it in 597 and various people rebuilt it between 1070 and 1077 after a fire destroyed it in 1067, the year after William of Normandy conquered England. Builders greatly enlarged the east end of the cathedral at the beginning of the twelfth century, and others largely rebuilt it in the Gothic style following another fire in 1174.

The cathedral is especially famous for the story of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who two knights murdered in the cathedral in 1170. Pilgrims used to visit his shrine, which builders placed in the Trinity Chapel, above his grave. Somebody removed the shrine in 1538, when Henry VIII summoned the dead saint to court to face charges of treason. Having failed to appear, they found him guilty in his absence and they confiscated the treasures of his shrine , and carried them away in two coffers and twenty-six carts"

(Adapted from Wikipedia with all passive verbs changed to active. - check the original to see how useful the passive is) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral


Here are some non-formal (and easy to understand, plain English) examples of the passive (from a blog post I wrote some time ago):

Apparently he was born in Hungary.
They were married in the local church.
It's supposed to be a genuine Rolex, but I have my doubts.
Do you know his first book was published when he was only 15. Amazing!
Peter's flight has been delayed because of some strike or other.
It's a shame the youth club was so badly damaged in last year's fire.
We came by bus because the car's being serviced today.
The report? The final version is being typed up as we speak.
He was had up for speeding twice last year.

And some even less formal examples:

Three quid for a coffee! You've been done there, mate!
Would you believe it! I've just been given the heave-ho. Again!
Late again! You're fired!
I've had enough of being screwed around like this.
Some ref he is! We were robbed!
Don't tell me you fell for that email scam. You're so easily had!
I've been tweeted three times this week. And 'liked' on Facebook.
Like I was so not taken in by his smarmy charm!
So I use the Passive sometimes! Am I bothered?

And then there's the 'get' passive:

She got caught cheating.
We got soaked in the rain yesterday.
He got arrested for fraud.

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Comment on What’s happening to the Passive? by AmberC http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26066 AmberC Mon, 1 Sep 2014 07:08:06 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5302/#comment-26066 In the UK there is a Plain English Campaign (www.plainenglish.co.uk/) which promotes the use of plain English, as opposed to awkward, long, inefficient or jargon-filled sentences that are difficult to understand, in public communications. Many public organisations such as local government and councils have adopted Plain English for their public and internal communications. Some private enterprises have also followed suit. One of the outcomes is that they avoid the passive tense where possible as the active tone is easier to understand and also makes the communication more immediately relevant. So, that could partly explain why the passive tense is not used as much in official communications.

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26065 jayles the unwoven Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:03:59 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26065 @WW well-done! It is of necessity long and detailed because the usage is

Whilst Euro-languages are often similar to English, a common error for Chinese speakers is to insert "but" at the start of the main clause (where we might insert "still" somewhere).

http://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/%22Although%22_with_%22suiran%22_and_%22danshi%22


I might also confess my French doesn't run to "quoique+subj" either!

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26064 Warsaw Will Sun, 31 Aug 2014 07:24:47 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26064 @jayles - I've finally finished my (rather long and detailed) take on 'while' and 'whereas', and concession in general:

http://random-idea-english.blogspot.com/2014/08/exploring-concession-and-contrast.html

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Comment on On Tomorrow by Perplexed Dallas http://painintheenglish.com/case/3919/#comment-26063 Perplexed Dallas Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:45:58 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/3919/#comment-26063 I have lived in Texas for 38 years, about half of that time in South Texas and half in Dallas. It's been only during the past several years that I have been hearing/reading "on" attached to "yesterday", "today", "tomorrow", "last month", "next week", etc. It seems to be only African-American individuals, regardless of educational level, who present this usage. I am annoyed by what I consider poor use of the English language and wonder why some people resort to it.

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Comment on P & K by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/182/#comment-26062 jayles the unwoven Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:20:24 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/182/#comment-26062 @red Unfortunately you are a thousand years too late my friend. In those days English was pronounced pretty much as spelt; however around the time when printing began, spellings fossilized but pronunciation continued to change. So today's spellings of older English words usually reflect an older pronunciation.

As for foreign words brought into in English, we tend to keep the foreign spelling too, although again we pronounce them our way.

Oddly, the spelling of pronunciation and pronounce do in fact reflect current pronunciation.
Spellings of words derived from Latin tend to vary according to whether they came via French or were borrowed direct.

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Comment on P & K by red!john http://painintheenglish.com/case/182/#comment-26061 red!john Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:49:33 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/182/#comment-26061 As a German native speaker I have always wondered about the English pronunciation with its many silent “ps”, “ks” and “cs” like in psychology, knight and science. Germans usually have no problems with pronouncing (by the way, why is it spelled “pronUnciation” but “pronOUncing”?) this couples of consonants after another. While it is really hard for us to get rid of our habit of pronunciation, it leads to amusement on the side of English speakers (and especially my girlfriend) every time.

So I wondered if anybody can tell me if pronouncing the consonants our loud is legit in any case (lieke a dialect or social circle, etc.), so I would be able to refer to this special case to have a legitimation of my flaw.

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Comment on P & K by red!john http://painintheenglish.com/case/182/#comment-26060 red!john Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:49:32 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/182/#comment-26060 As a German native speaker I have always wondered about the English pronunciation with its many silent “ps”, “ks” and “cs” like in psychology, knight and science. Germans usually have no problems with pronouncing (by the way, why is it spelled “pronUnciation” but “pronOUncing”?) this couples of consonants after another. While it is really hard for us to get rid of our habit of pronunciation, it leads to amusement on the side of English speakers (and especially my girlfriend) every time.

So I wondered if anybody can tell me if pronouncing the consonants our loud is legit in any case (lieke a dialect or social circle, etc.), so I would be able to refer to this special case to have a legitimation of my flaw.

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26059 jayles the unwoven Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:31:38 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26059 @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.

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26058 Warsaw Will Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:37:01 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26058 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:

CEF C1, CAE, IELTS 7.5
CEF C2, CPE, IELTS 9

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)

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

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/28894-cae-comparing-scores.pdf

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.

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Comment on Can every letter be used as a silent letter? by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/4441/#comment-26057 Warsaw Will Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:04:33 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4441/#comment-26057 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.

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Comment on Can every letter be used as a silent letter? by 1Goosequillian http://painintheenglish.com/case/4441/#comment-26056 1Goosequillian Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:30:42 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/4441/#comment-26056 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.

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26055 jayles the unwoven Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:33:14 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26055 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.

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Comment on One Love by ccurtissdean http://painintheenglish.com/case/308/#comment-26054 ccurtissdean Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:19:04 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/308/#comment-26054 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!!

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26053 Warsaw Will Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:42:27 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26053 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.

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Comment on While vs Whilst vs Whereas by Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26052 Warsaw Will Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:12:53 +0000 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5304/#comment-26052 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.

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