Comments for Pain in the English Forum for the gray areas of the English language Fri, 12 Feb 2016 16:18:07 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Is the following sentence using the word “yet” correctly? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Tue, 9 Feb 2016 11:39:39 +0000 yet ‎(not comparable)
1) (usually with negative) Thus far; up to the present; up to some specified time.
He has never yet been late for an appointment; I’m not yet wise enough to answer that; Have you finished yet?‎
2) Continuously up to the current time; still.
The workers went to the factory early and are striking yet.‎
facts they had heard while they were yet heathens
3) At some future time; eventually.
The riddle will be solved yet.‎
He'll be hanged yet.

your example seems to be a less common usage these days

Comment on It is you who are/is ... by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Fri, 5 Feb 2016 13:11:27 +0000 a) "you're" is short for "you are" - "I hope you are well " sounds ok so the answere is "you're".
"Your" sounds the same but indicates possession (compare we - our / you - your) ; "I hope your health is ok" is correct.

b) Who is seeking? Answer: "our client"; singular or plural? = singular; therefore "is" is correct. Thus either: "Our client is seeking" or "Our clients are seeking".

c) "Our client seeks" is fine, just perhaps a little more formal in this context.

Comment on Quotation marks for repeated items by Dyske Dyske Fri, 5 Feb 2016 10:58:01 +0000 I think you are referring to "ditto mark". See this Wikipedia entry:

Comment on It is you who are/is ... by Brianna Time Brianna Time Fri, 5 Feb 2016 10:24:51 +0000 I hope you're well? or I hope your well?

Comment on It is you who are/is ... by Brianna Green Brianna Green Fri, 5 Feb 2016 09:43:51 +0000 Our client is seeking individuals or our client are seeking individuals or Our client seeks individuals?

Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by steven1 steven1 Fri, 5 Feb 2016 02:29:24 +0000 Resumé would be the international spelling for a document known in America as a CV. This is pronounced the same as café which is also a French word adopted worldwide for a coffee shop. Apparently the English language is spoken in the US also.

Comment on “Me neither.” or “Me either” by Tiago Newton Tiago Newton Mon, 1 Feb 2016 07:43:00 +0000 Neither do I or me neither are just like informal expressions, actually when someone say like " Me neither " it's the opposit of " Me either " just like that "n" means NOT, but it isn't right to say, " Me not either " Haha, please don't do that! Actually I think that neither do I is a little bit ugly to say, I don't like to use it...

Comment on Predilection with “get” or “got” by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sat, 30 Jan 2016 13:20:54 +0000 Some people of a certain generation and background (like me) can recall being told at school NEVER to use this so-called "ugly" (ie lower-class) word.
Quite why the word "get" was deemed bad was never explained, and that indeed is the question.
'Get' has been in English an awful long time and is widely used:

Nonetheless, for examinations/academic writing I do still teach my students to consider using a more precise word such as "obtain/receive/become", if only to demonstrate a wider lexis.

However there are phrases where "get" is the only natural choice:
"They became married" would sound quite odd.

I would suggest there is little wrong with sentences like "The hard disk got erased by mistake" either, where get=become befits the situation.

As to why "people" use "get" so widely, well I think it might have something to do with it being somehow harder to formulate the sentence without "get" in some situations. But who are these people? Be not peeved, life is too short.

Comment on Subjunctive? Yoda speak? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sat, 30 Jan 2016 12:54:27 +0000 Subjunctive with inversion tends to mean "if" or "though" or "whether" as in:
"Yes, dearest, it is an awful moment to have to give up one's innocent child to a man, be he ever so kind and good..."
"As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, ... " (12th night)

see also :

Comment on Subjunctive? Yoda speak? by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Fri, 29 Jan 2016 17:14:14 +0000 I'd say that your "easy" explanation is more than adequate.

Comment on Omitting the “I” by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Fri, 29 Jan 2016 17:11:26 +0000 I'd say it's acceptable in all but the "most formal" communications.

Comment on my same school by kate kate Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:03:11 +0000 "she is in the same school as me" may be colloquially accepted, but should be avoided in formal writing.
"She goes to the same school as I do" and
"She is in the same school as I am"
are grammatically correct and are preferred, to my humble opinion.
More grammar-related subject matter is available here:

Comment on Question mark placement for a quote within a quote by Dyske Dyske Fri, 29 Jan 2016 15:03:47 +0000 If the question mark is inside of the inner quote, 'no substitutions?', it would imply that the menu itself was asking the question. (As if the menu is asking the customers if they want substitutions or not.)

So the right answer is b.

Comment on gifting vs. giving a gift by Karl Karl Fri, 22 Jan 2016 14:46:43 +0000 I gifted him the penny.
I gave him the penny.
They don't convey the same concept. One is more likely to be spent.

Comment on Screw The Pooch by Bryan Geer Bryan Geer Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:49:13 +0000 Anyone who thinks Tom Wolf would change an expression like "fuck the dog" to "screw the pooch" out of sensitivity and delicacy doesn't know shit about Tom Wolf!

Comment on Pronunciation of the letter “H” by charles2 charles2 Mon, 18 Jan 2016 07:02:18 +0000 I've never heard the "H" pronounced with the hard, apirated 'h' sound. But then, I'm from the USA.

Comment on mixing semicolon and em dash by Kevin44 Kevin44 Fri, 15 Jan 2016 07:53:04 +0000 Another complex subject matter and regional differences may lead to confusion, misinterpretation, or misunderstandings. I found a pretty nice piece of instruction, again at GED It's on semicolon usage in American English, and may be of some help. Take a look here: Also in American English the double dash to provide additional information, in the same way we use brackets.

Comment on Is the suffix “ly” in danger of being lost forever? by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Wed, 13 Jan 2016 16:17:40 +0000 Kevin44
I have no problem with the language being alive and subject to change, but not all changes are an improvement, and some definitely diminish the language.
A pox upon "accepted language", "common usage", and all supporters of such nonsense.

Comment on Is the suffix “ly” in danger of being lost forever? by Kevin44 Kevin44 Tue, 12 Jan 2016 08:59:38 +0000 No, you are definitely alone. However, this is a phenomenon found in practically all modern languages. Languages are "alive" and subject to change. Just wait and see how quickly new texting language will be embedded in our "accepted language". Let's cherish the correct use of the rules of our languages and enjoy that for as long as it lasts.

Comment on Should a rhetorical question end with a question mark? by Kevin44 Kevin44 Tue, 12 Jan 2016 08:41:19 +0000 In general, yes. But it is a little more complicated. If a question (also a rhetorical question) is an "indirect question", you can not use a question mark. Example: “The officer asked why I was speeding.” The sentence refers to a time that someone was asked a question. This sentence not a question, and a period is used.

Now look at this sentence: “We will leave at 7 p.m., won’t we?”
“We will leave at 7 p.m.” is a declarative sentence, that would end in a period. But, “won’t we?” makes it a question, and the use of a question is needed. This also applies to rhetorical questions.

Another example: “Will everyone please give their full attention to the speaker.” This sentence ends in a period, though technically this sentence is a question, but the speaker is actually saying “please give your attention to the speaker“. The request is formal, and the speaker is not looking to get a response. It's not like “Will you please be quiet?”, and the answer could be “Yes, we will.” It is a formal way of saying: Be quiet, the speaker is talking.” In formal requests (also rhetorical ones), we use a period at the end of a sentence rather than a question mark.

So, question marks are used at the end of sentence that are questions. More information can be found here:

Comment on Comma in long date format by Kevin44 Kevin44 Tue, 12 Jan 2016 08:19:56 +0000 Jayles the unwoven and Hairy Scot are right, the comma must be placed after 16th. For more understanding of the use of commas there is an interesting post here:

Comment on Is the confusion of certain words a regional issue? by Doreen Finkelstein Doreen Finkelstein Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:31:56 +0000 Absolutely one of my greatest bugbears. I am at pains to tell everyone (or at least those closest to me) that this is one of the points of the grammar wars that we are losing. Hate it when I hear people saying 'the amount of people'. NO,NO,NO!

Comment on Past tense of “text” by gabriele gabriele Sun, 10 Jan 2016 16:46:46 +0000 How about matching/comparing it with the word CAST. We don't say the director casted the movie, we say "He cast the movie". How about just saying "I text you, I will text you, I have text you" as in I have cast the movie/ I cast the movie (I'm being redundant).

Yes, it iS a quandary. At least its not has hideous as: "I aksed /AXED my mom what time it was". GEEZ! How can that poor word be butchered (axed) so badly- talk about lazy speak (oh-oh, I verbed a noun- eeeeee!). Is it an Ebonic thing, a south thing?A race thing?(can't be, lots of different races use that particular way of saying "ASK". Sigh....sooooo sad. Another one I've heard recently in the north east (NY) area is "Expecially" instead of especially - How the HAY does THAT happen? OUCH!

People that don't talk good are so laxidazy! - How's that one for ya?!!

Comment on Is the suffix “ly” in danger of being lost forever? by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Sat, 9 Jan 2016 23:42:27 +0000 @jtu


Comment on Is the suffix “ly” in danger of being lost forever? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Sat, 9 Jan 2016 03:18:23 +0000 @HS Doubtless you are not alone. I must say I despair of modern English - I notice people no longer pray like they used to - whatever happened to :
"Oure fadir that art in heuenes, halewid be thi name; thi kyndoom come to; be thi wille don in erthe as in heuene: gyue to us this dai oure breed ouer othir substaunce; and forgyue to us oure dettis, as we forgyuen to oure gettouris; and lede us not in to temptacioun, but delyuere us fro yuel."

How times have changed!

Comment on Comma in long date format by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Thu, 7 Jan 2016 21:35:09 +0000 comman format would be: January 16th, 2016
see date formats at:

Comment on Comma in long date format by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Wed, 6 Jan 2016 22:20:22 +0000 I would omit the comma and put a period after 16th.

Comment on thus, therefore and hence are different by Lukas Lukas Wed, 6 Jan 2016 12:17:47 +0000 This example 1 does not explain at all the use of Thus as an alternative to Therefore. It is a completely different use of Thus.
I think the example is deeply confusing.

Comment on mines by Mikecdog Mikecdog Sat, 2 Jan 2016 15:51:02 +0000 Ebonics ?

Comment on Pronunciation: aunt by kay kay Fri, 1 Jan 2016 15:39:30 +0000 In Ohio we say "ant".

Comment on therefore, thus as conjunctions by Dean M. Dean M. Mon, 28 Dec 2015 19:42:50 +0000 They are considered to be final conjunctions.


Comment on Difference between “lying” and “misleading” by brenden208 brenden208 Fri, 25 Dec 2015 00:43:39 +0000 Being that I came across this forum while trying to do a quick search on the definition of lying, not intending to commit a great deal of time (I obviously failed at this goal), I will try to keep this take on the question short, if possible. For an even shorter version, look at the last paragraph/conclusion.

The way I take the meaning of the question, it could also be re-phrased as "is it possible to lie without misleading?" or "is misleading an intrinsic characteristic of lying?" My answer to this is: no, for at least two reasons.

1. To mislead someone means that you have to convince them of something that is not true. Thus, if you were to lie to someone, even if with the intention to mislead, and they did not believe your lie, then you would not have misled them. We could compare this (in a literal sense) to heading down a well-known road to a major city, and, at a fork in the road, finding someone who tells you that the city is down the left path, when you know through experience that it is down the right one--the person is certainly lying to you, but they have failed to mislead you i.e. lead you down the wrong path.

2. In some cases, what might be a lie to one person is a truth to another (this can happen with opinions). To go off of the example Vince used, if someone asked "does my hair look good?" and you replied that it does, when you actually believed that it did not, you would certainly be lying to the other person; however, if the other person believed that their hair actually did look good before asking, then your statement would not have affected their stance on it, and you would not have 'led' them anywhere. Moreover, being that aesthetic opinions are very hard, if not impossible, to universalize, even if you did convince the other person that their hair looked good, if they genuinely believed that it did, then they would not be misled.

This example can also be expanded to more than two people. To make this clearer, let's give the other person (whose hair-style is the topic of debate) a name: how about Bróg (those who know a bit of Irish may be giggling). Now, for instance, if you were to go to a party with Bróg whereupon someone asked you what you thought of their hair-style, and you again lied, saying something like "it looks good," and this other person also genuinely believed that Bróg's hair-style was aesthetically pleasing (as established above, it does not matter if they had this opinion prior, or if you convinced them of it, only the authenticity of the belief being important), then you would be lying, but, again, not misleading.

In conclusion, one can lie without misleading for at least two reasons: (a) people do not always believes one another's lies and (b) sometimes (as with opinions) what counts as untruthful to one may be truthful to another. Hopefully that was not too long--I really was trying to refrain from writing an essay.

Comment on Should a rhetorical question end with a question mark? by Mmm Mmm Thu, 24 Dec 2015 17:15:32 +0000 There was at least one attempt to introduce a special typographical symbol for this case but it did not succeed. See

Comment on Pronunciation: aunt by J. Gail Avery J. Gail Avery Tue, 22 Dec 2015 18:45:36 +0000 Just to contribute to the confusion, many Black Americans also use "ain'." As far as I can tell, an ain'ie is a grand aunt or an aunt who cared for nieces and nephews and/or who pass down family traditions. When my niece was born, I made sure that I was not "auntie" but ain' J because I have a lot to pass down!! I was born and raised in California, but my family is from East Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Because it is a title of honor, I do not view it as slang. Ain' is simply an offshoot of the beautiful, colorful foilage that is SAEE!
For the record, I pronounce aunt phonetically.

Comment on Is the confusion of certain words a regional issue? by zac zac Sun, 20 Dec 2015 21:42:21 +0000 These errors are also very commonly found in the US (grew up in New Jersey). I'll admit that I've probably used "amount" for "number" a few times, but supermarkets are massive offenders of the less/fewer rule. ("10 items or less!")

Comment on Pronunciation of the letter “H” by zac zac Sun, 20 Dec 2015 21:39:22 +0000 American here: I have no earthly idea. To me it sounds more grating than adding an "h" sound to the beginning of words that start with "w" (e.g. pronouncing "whip" as "h-whip").

Comment on Pronouncing “str” like “shtr” as in “shtrong” “shtrange” by katey katey Fri, 18 Dec 2015 06:44:21 +0000 Whoa, people are actually talking about this! I noticed myself at some point pronouncing words this way..then my partner, also my best friend does it too. I honesly dont know when it began and find it so weird lol, i thought it was maybe just a Sydney thing i had developed but maybe it has more to do with tv/film/media

Comment on Is the confusion of certain words a regional issue? by Reb Reb Wed, 16 Dec 2015 01:23:54 +0000 My wife always uses "yet" at the end of a sentence instead of the word "still". "We have to go to the store yet." She is from Nebraska.

Comment on Can every letter be used as a silent letter? by gwistix_again gwistix_again Sun, 6 Dec 2015 10:29:36 +0000 Here's my list:
A cocoa, diamond, diaper, elementary, artistically, equivalent, aesthetic, carafe
B debt, subtle, subpoena, lamb, comb, thumb, plumber, etc.
C muscle, antarctic, acquire, blackguard, czar, victuals, Antarctica
D handkerchief, sandwich, Wednesday, handsome, and (pronounced without the 'd' in casual speech)
E vineyard, vegetable, stopped
F fifths, halfpenny (obviously obsolete, but hey)
G assignment, campaign, gnostic, cologne, gnarl, gnome, gnat, sign, reign, foreign, phlegm, impugn
H honest, hour, honor, rhythm, rhinoceros, ghost, what, why, when, herb (U.S. pronunciation), thyme, Thailand, Thames, him, her (as in "get him", "get her", etc.), chihuahua, John
I family, business, parliament, Salisbury [steak], lieu, lieutenant
J marijuana, Juan*
K know, knee, knob, knife, knight, knot
L half, calf, talk, walk, should, could, salmon, yolk, chalk, folk
M mnemonic
N damn, column, autumn, hymn
O chocolate, people, leopard, jeopardy, subpoena, phoenix
P pneumonia, psychology, pterodactyl, receipt, cupboard, coup, corps
Q lacquer
R surprise, February, chitterlings
S island, debris, apropos, bourgeois, rendezvous
T soften, Christmas, castle, fasten, listen, mustn't, ballet, gourmet, tsunami
U building, circuit, guard, rogue, physique, tongue
V fivepence ("fippence"), have (in "could have" [coulda], "would have" [woulda], etc.),
W answer, sword, two, write, wrist, wrestle, wry, who, whole, Greenwich
X faux pas, [grand] prix
Y prayer, says
Z rendezvous, laissez-faire, oyez

* Yes, Juan should be [hwan] (or better yet, [xwan]), but just like many English speakers pronounce 'wh' as [w] instead of [hw], we pronounce Juan as [wan].

CH yacht, chthonic
GH night, light, etc.
PH phthalate
TH asthma, clothes, sixths

Comment on Can every letter be used as a silent letter? by gwistix gwistix Sun, 6 Dec 2015 10:28:26 +0000 I agree that double letters (like the 'ff' in 'cliff' or the 'zz' in 'jazz') don't really count—they're both part of the same pronunciation.

As far as foreign words, if any monolingual native English speaker would use it as an English word, it definitely counts. So, for example, my semi-literate monolingual English speaking neighbor might talks about a "midnight rendezvous" without even knowing how it's spelled, and no one gives a second thought to the term 'grand prix' when they're at the racetrack, even if they do recognise it as French. Also, words like 'tsunami' are clearly foreign, but the fact that it has a separate pronunciation in English (without the 't') makes it count.

For the sake of interest, I'm going to exclude place names altogether unless they're common international place names like Antarctica.

For those saying that words like 'talk' and 'walk' don't count because they change the pronunciation, maybe a better way to think of it is like this: If someone (a child learning to read or a non-native speaker, for example) pronounces the letter and it sounds wrong, it counts as a silent letter.

And yes, obviously it all depends on your dialect. The best responses are words with letters that are never pronounced by native speakers in casual conversation.

Comment on Someone else’s by Laurie Laurie Thu, 3 Dec 2015 00:43:16 +0000 What a horror of incorrect usage of the English language. My comment isn't a comment on the writer, but rather my reaction to sheer number of incorrect usages of the English language, and the educational system that allows a person to pass a class while not grasping the material.

There's no such thing as, 'more correct', there is correct and incorrect, and in some cases, preferred or non-preferred.

It is, passersby, not passerbys. The plural of the word is used on the root or main word, in this case, passer. It's like using the plural of attorney general, which is attorneys general, not attorney generals. It's the word attorney that is plural, not the word general.

And there is no such thing as a general concensus. By definition a concensus is a general, or majority opinion or agreement.

I hoping that you're very young. I suspect not though, as these words are generally not used by very young people. What concerns me is that I hear people say, or read comments where they think that if they are, "...not in English class, what difference does it make?" as to whether their use of English is utterly garbled. If you don't understand the correct use of English, you'll not be able to fully comprehend any reading that you may undertake (and reading is fun), or may need to do. You will not understand the world around you nearly as well as someone who knows and understands the correct usage of the language. I see some words so rarely used outside of good literature these days, and these are not obscure words, that if I use such a word in my writing, autocorrect or whichever grammar or spell-check program is functioning, will try to change my word to an incorrect form of the word for the context in which I'm using it.

Failing to understand the correct usage of English, makes the same difference as using math incorrectly. Incorrect English is propagated by its incorrect usage. Allowing our language or the knowledge of it to degenerate will continue a spiral, resulting in people struggling to understand each other. There's little in life more important than the ability to communicate with others effectively.

Comment on “go figure” by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Sun, 29 Nov 2015 19:49:33 +0000 IMHO "go figure" is right up there with "do the math" on the list of sayings to be avoided at all times.


Comment on “Can I get” vs. “May I have” by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Thu, 26 Nov 2015 19:01:56 +0000 Overhead yesterday in a coffee shop:
Customer: Excuse me; I was wondering if I could trouble you for a side salad.
Waitress: Side salad?

Slight mismatch of styles!

Comment on “Can I get” vs. “May I have” by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:24:50 +0000 How should a waiter or bartender address a customer?
"Do you want .........................?"
"Would you like.....................?"

Comment on “Can I get” vs. “May I have” by Dave Jenkins Dave Jenkins Thu, 26 Nov 2015 06:48:56 +0000 When you say, "Can I get..?" in the UK, it's generally considered a f**king rude Americanism. Happy Thanksgiving, though.

Comment on “This is she” vs. “This is her” by Mellinda Mellinda Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:35:04 +0000 She and her father look alike
Her and her father look alike

Comment on age vs. aged by Linda Westhar Linda Westhar Mon, 23 Nov 2015 13:58:09 +0000 Which is correct? aged 45 years or over OR aged 45 years or more

Comment on What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling? by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Mon, 23 Nov 2015 04:20:40 +0000 @jtu

Your apology is noted.


Comment on “I’ve got” vs. “I have” by Mark Bolles Mark Bolles Sun, 22 Nov 2015 03:30:24 +0000 Although the addition of "got" may not follow the strictest syntax rules I believe it's use can be justified here because it serves as an intensifier that emphasizes the need to act is greater than the use of "have" alone connotes.
Also, when the contraction "I've" is used then the addition of "got" improves the word structure sonically by preserving the normal rhythm of a sentence because the contraction works as a single word that serves as the noun, or rather, pronoun of the sentence and leaves a need for another verb.

Comment on What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling? by jayles the unwoven jayles the unwoven Fri, 20 Nov 2015 13:09:33 +0000 @WW Sorry, I assumed 'cacography' was just a made-up word - it's all Greek to me ;}