Comments for Pain in the English Forum for the gray areas of the English language Mon, 29 Aug 2016 06:23:26 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Pronouncing “str” like “shtr” as in “shtrong” “shtrange” by Paisley Paisley Sat, 27 Aug 2016 06:17:45 +0000 This mispronounciation of the words like strong, and destroyed, by Michelle Obama has been so annoying and distracting and in my opinion really so unbecoming of a first lady. It also seems to me, that other words, like America, for example, are said with a tone of complaint or disdain. It is so distracting that I have trouble following the context of her remarks on a given occasion. As a role model for the youth of this nation, and speaking publicly as the First Lady, it surprises me no one ever counseled her on the inappropriateness of mispronounciation of these words that in my opinion, diminishes what she was trying to say in any given speech.

Comment on Past tense of “text” by Garuda Garuda Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:59:28 +0000 I was just looking this up, but have not found anything "conclusive". I prefer to use "text" for present and past tense though most of my friends use "texted". To me "texted" sounds ignorant and childish. I was hoping to find support for my view, but so far have not.

Comment on “I’ve got” vs. “I have” by jayles the uncle jayles the uncle Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:04:15 +0000 @gary Curiously, translating English into French usually makes the text at least fifteen percent longer:

Comment on “I’ve got” vs. “I have” by Gary NICHOLLS Gary NICHOLLS Thu, 25 Aug 2016 04:29:31 +0000 The use of 'got' in a clause describing possession of something, such as 'I have got a pen', is superfluous. 'I have a pen' is just fine and indicates a brevity and clarity of thought that eludes many people. It may also indicate the influence of other languages. In French 'I have' is normal. I'm not sure how you would say 'I have got' in French. In fact in French you don't need the addition of 'got' to convey meaning or emphasis. French does seem to have a brevity that English has lost over the years. Around 60% of the English vocabulary originates from French. The Norman invasion of 1066 established French as the language of nobility and government, Latin was the language of the Church and Anglo-Saxon was for the commoners. 
I am an Englishman who has spent many years learning English so I feel I am entitled to criticise the language and especially those who use it badly. Perhaps it's the Germanic influence on English that has caused the gradual creep of 'got'. American English has certainly been a big influence  on the language. A good example of how American English has been a positive influence eludes me at the moment but I do know they exist. The German language had a big influence on American English and in my opinion this comes through in expressions such as 'gotten'. It's a natural progression on the word got but it definitely grates on the British ear. 
The next time I watch a British movie of the 1930s or 1940s I will note the use of the word 'got', although the scripted dialogue may not be a good indicator of common usage. 
Grammar is the set of rules used to govern the use of spoken and written words. As with all rules, some are so rarely enforced that they wither on the vine of principles until extinct. 

Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by Nana2 Nana2 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:46:38 +0000 The accent is called an accent aigu and is usually put on both e's so the reader does not confuse résumé with resume - meaning to start working again on what you were doing previsously

Comment on The fact of the matter is is that by jayles the unthreaped jayles the unthreaped Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:58:50 +0000 I would call it "native speaker error"

Comment on Writing out percentages correctly by jayles the threaper jayles the threaper Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:57:15 +0000 It seems to me that the natural way to write figures as words would be the same way as we say them. So 65.25476% would be sixty-five point two five four seven six percent. If the decimals only go to two or three places then we might talk about hundredths or thousandths but rarely beyond that.

Comment on Writing out percentages correctly by M. Daly M. Daly Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:47:07 +0000 10% or ten percent (in a legal contractor)? Not at the beginning of a sentence.

Comment on Over exaggeration by Charles Gray Charles Gray Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:46:23 +0000 Over-exaggeration sounds like taking a sweet cute dump in the deep end of the pool or something. Seems to much like not manning up to your sins or errors.

Comment on The fact of the matter is is that by JLC JLC Mon, 22 Aug 2016 04:14:05 +0000 is is simply redundant

Comment on Over exaggeration by Spamman Spamman Sun, 21 Aug 2016 10:21:04 +0000 This is as egregious as "exactly right." It's either right or wrong with no gray area.

Comment on Past tense of “text” by Debe Debe Thu, 18 Aug 2016 18:42:16 +0000 I used to use "texted" but it sounds all wrong, so I went to "text", and i do believe for me the explanation from Tranaut suits me just fine.

Comment on people like she/he are... by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:18:21 +0000 I don't think so.

Comment on Gone to Seed by Sashi Kiran Sashi Kiran Tue, 16 Aug 2016 02:14:55 +0000 What do we mean by IGNORANCE GONE TO SEED MEAN? Please explain.

Comment on What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling? by Jax W Jax W Tue, 16 Aug 2016 01:31:02 +0000 When spelling something incorrectly but intentionally, you would use [sic]. See here for full info:

Hope that helps!

Comment on Oral vs. Aural by Imralu Imralu Sat, 13 Aug 2016 09:12:32 +0000 For all (or most?) British, Australian, New Zealand, South African speakers, they are pronounced differently, like this:

Oral: /ˈɒrəl/
Aural: /ˈɔːrəl/

Which in my Australian accent come out something like:

Oral: [ˈɔɹəɫ]
Aural: [ˈoːɹəɫ]

The American descriptions of how to pronounce these make no sense to me. All of these "o", "a" and "au/aw" sounds are handled very differently by Americans/Canadians.

For us, "oral" does not begin with the same sound as "or". It begins with the same first sound as "octopus" /ˈɒktəˌpʊs/ ... the "short o" sound, the vowel sound in "cot".

"Aural" DOES begin with the sound of "or", which is also the sound of "awe" and the first sound of "audible", "awesome", "awful". For us, the letter combinations "or", "au" and "aw" are usually pronounced the same way, the vowel sound in "caught".

For some in the US, who pronounce "cot" and "caught" the same way, this is not going to make any sense.

Comment on couple vs couple of by James Wood James Wood Sat, 13 Aug 2016 03:01:00 +0000 Can't help comparing "couple" with "dozen," as in "I bought a dozen eggs and used a couple of eggs to make an omelet." I've learned that in very old English the usage was "a dozen of eggs," plain weird since the "of" was long ago dropped. "Couple of" is compulsive for me, though some argue "couple" can be a noun (pair) or an adjective (approximately two).

Comment on Amount of people by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Thu, 11 Aug 2016 21:11:49 +0000 @jtu
I do not dispute that there is a place for both words.
I'd just prefer to see and hear them used properly.

Comment on troops vs soldiers by David Higgens David Higgens Thu, 11 Aug 2016 19:07:34 +0000 A "troop" more 3 or more soldiers.

Comment on Right Question For this Answer (about count/rank/order) by shameer shameer Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:01:36 +0000 Question: What is the chronological order of Manmohan Singh as Prime minister of India ?

Answer: 14th

Comment on Amount of people by jayles the unforgiven jayles the unforgiven Wed, 10 Aug 2016 22:33:10 +0000 @HS "I'd submit that there is a place for both words" if I may quote your good self from the less/fewer thread.

Comment on On Tomorrow by Nancy Tuten Nancy Tuten Wed, 10 Aug 2016 22:06:47 +0000 We may not be used to hearing it, and we may not like the way it sounds, but grammatically there is nothing wrong with it. "Tomorrow" is a noun, the object of the prepositional phrase "on tomorrow." The entire prepositional phrase is adverbial, but the word "tomorrow" by itself is a noun. Whether we say or write "on" or not, structurally it is there.

Comment on Text, A Text, Texts by Eugenson Dennis Eugenson Dennis Wed, 10 Aug 2016 20:29:57 +0000 Hi, I know you mean well. But that little inscription atop your website that reads, "Your pain is our pleasure" could easily be misunderstood to mean it gives you pleasure to see people in pain.

Have you considered rewriting it to read something like, "it's our pleasure to ease your pain"?

Comment on as best he can by Trunkenstiel Trunkenstiel Wed, 10 Aug 2016 05:31:14 +0000 "...suggest that the reorter will do the best they can..."

That was meant to read "reporter", yes?

And no, you may not proofread my document.

Comment on Amount of people by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Tue, 9 Aug 2016 21:38:06 +0000 Oops.
Forgive the superfluous "I" in my previous entry.
Finger trouble.

Comment on Amount of people by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Tue, 9 Aug 2016 21:35:20 +0000 @jayles

Surely you do not mean that its is acceptable to say "fewer money" instead of "less money" or "less dollars" instead of "fewer dollars"?
Or are you referring to the less/fewer debate as it affect the signs at supermarket checkouts?
As for depredation; when I read items on internet forums (fora) I have I to think my use of the word is justified.
I have no doubt that there are many high school English teachers who, thanks to common usage, have been turning in their graves with increasing regularity over the last 30 for 40 years.

Comment on As wet as ? by grundy grundy Tue, 9 Aug 2016 11:22:22 +0000 Its as wet as your wife on her wedding night

Comment on Amount of people by jayles the unsmitten jayles the unsmitten Mon, 8 Aug 2016 22:25:16 +0000 @Hairy If one looks up "less" on, one can see that "less" has been used to mean "fewer" from its earliest appearance in OE.
"Amount" is a quite different kettle of fish, I agree, and goes with uncountable nouns.
Bonus points for "depredation" of the language though, quite a picture. "Proper" usage has however changed since Dickens

Comment on Hi all vs. Hi everybody by jayles the unriven jayles the unriven Mon, 8 Aug 2016 19:49:18 +0000 @georgina I haven't heard 'onboard' as a verb, so perhaps "...schedules to welcome me onboard."
However, the Brits often understate things, so the following might be quite enough:
Just a note to say thank you for having me.
You could add: "and making me feel welcome/at home" but there again Brits stereotypically do not mention "feelings"....
Try googling "very British problems" such as:
A: Sorry, did you say something?
B: Sorry, did I?
A: Sorry, I thought you did.
B: Sorry, I really didn't mean to.
A: That's okay, no need to apologize.
B: Sorry, won't happen again.

Comment on “ask the gays” by Devansell89 Devansell89 Mon, 8 Aug 2016 19:01:10 +0000 It's like saying, "Ask the blacks" or "Ask the whites". Not everyone think alike.

Comment on Amount of people by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Mon, 8 Aug 2016 17:33:51 +0000 @Vinck7

I'm with you 100%.
Unfortunately there are even well educated people, some of whom post on this forum, who maintain that we need not differentiate between countable and uncountable nouns and that there is therefore no difference between less/fewer, much/many, amount/number, etc.
Those of us who insist on proper usage are all pedants.

A pox on common usage and its depredation of the language.

Comment on Hi all vs. Hi everybody by georgina georgina Mon, 8 Aug 2016 04:30:48 +0000 is this sentence correct by UK English standards - I just wanted to drop a note to say a big 'Thank You' for having me in the London office the last two weeks and for taking time out of all your busy schedules to onboard me and make me feel welcomed.

Comment on “all but” - I hate that expression! by jayles the unworthy jayles the unworthy Sat, 6 Aug 2016 17:34:23 +0000 @Berend "but" comes from the same word-root as "buitan" (outside) in Dutch; and in English (and Frisian) also means "apart from". So "she all but died" really means "she did everything (all) apart from dying.

Comment on “all but” - I hate that expression! by Berend Berend Thu, 4 Aug 2016 05:08:41 +0000 This is actually the one expression in English that - even after decades of using the language - my Dutch-language brain still has to actively translate. I'm always aware of this rapid 'no, hang on, this means the opposite of what you think it means', and then it makes sense again.
I just ran into it in an article just now, and for some reason decided to Google if I'm really the only one.
I'm really glad to have found this forum as a result, as it confirms I'm not alone in this. You can argue the meaning of the phrase in both directions, but the wrong interpretation comes closest to the Dutch expression 'allesbehalve', meaning 'anything but', which sounds like it should have the same meaning as 'all but'. I guess my confusion comes from that.

Comment on “provide” vs “give” information by Vinck8 Vinck8 Wed, 3 Aug 2016 15:32:04 +0000 In my opinion the difference in your example amounts to little more than personal preference, and is too subtle to mark down a writer. I too prefer 'provide' although I can't provide a good reason.

Comment on “I’m just saying” by Vinck8 Vinck8 Wed, 3 Aug 2016 14:51:53 +0000 This is a phrase I've often seen in comment sections of blogs and videos. Those comment sections frequently degenerate into hothouses of abuse, in which a poster is likely to receive a venomous reply. I imagine that by concluding a comment with "I'm just saying" anticipates such a response and attempts to allay it. Which is to say, the phrase may be used to try to soften remarks that might be construed as criticism.

Comment on Amount of people by Vinck7 Vinck7 Wed, 3 Aug 2016 14:19:17 +0000 10 years on, and it's been getting steadily worse. Possible major contributing factor: the overwhelming exposure of vast numbers of internet users who lack basic English language proficiency to the comments and blogs of equally vast numbers internet users who also lack basic English language proficiency. In other words, a self-propagating culture of ever degenerating English language. This culture, owing to it's internet dominance, has come to define new norms via 'common usage'. To an old timer like me, the corruption is abominable; but I suppose I'm out-numbered - or should that be 'out-amounted'?

Comment on couple vs couple of by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Tue, 2 Aug 2016 20:55:43 +0000 This little gem from AP:-
"The Democratic governor said Friday Van Houten's "inability to explain her willing participation in such horrific violence" leads him to believe she remains an unreasonable risk to society."
is a fine example of how the omission of punctuation, prepositions, and conjunctions, can lead to confusion.
Another downside to Mercan English.

Comment on couple vs couple of by Sean Salvador Sean Salvador Tue, 2 Aug 2016 04:34:02 +0000 They also omit the word on in lots of situations.
"I went to the bank Wednesday..."
"The incident happened last week Tuesday... " (pronounced "toozday" if course).
The only version I've ever heard in Britain would be along the lines of
"let's meet up Thursday" instead of "let's meet up on Thursday"

Comment on couple vs couple of by Q Q Sun, 31 Jul 2016 16:19:59 +0000 It just plain grates on my brain to hear or see "a couple ______". Come on. Using "of" is no formality -- it is just good basic sense.

"I went to the store and bought a couple apples."

Really? I know Gala apples, and Fuji apples . . . Never heard of Couple Apples -- and do you buy just one, I am unclear.

"I want to clear up a couple things."

Hm. I'm not your significant -- in fact, I hardly know you -- isn't it premature to start discussing "couple things"?

Comment on “Me neither.” or “Me either” by Hairy Scot Hairy Scot Sun, 31 Jul 2016 06:30:10 +0000 “I don’t like whole-wheat pie crust.”
“Nor do I.”

Comment on your call will be answered in the order it was received by Howars Howars Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:01:34 +0000 What bothered the original poster is whether calls are received an order (with no acknowledgement order is something calls rest IN).
Sounds stupid, right? You are being reassured - the calls in queue will be answered in an order - however, is their present order not indeed "the order IN which they were received"? We think of them being IN an order. Think about whether you would puzzle with other tourists over a sign reading, "We ask that you return to the hotel in the bus you arrived. (end of sentence)"? We are accustomed to thinking about order in terms of a set, "into" which things come and "out of" which they go, and our ears expect the relationship to be stated as of one thing "IN WHICH" another thing resides. The examples here seem missing something.
No opinion though, personally, as to whether one is entitled to hear about calls being received "IN order".

Comment on “Anglish” by BryanAJParry BryanAJParry Wed, 27 Jul 2016 04:07:29 +0000 I've been writing about Anglish for years. My latest website is All comments are welcome. By the way, I set the Anglish Moot up with a likemind, but we've both forsaken it as we do not agree with the direction of most users there.

Comment on Resume, resumé, or résumé? by SKS SKS Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:45:03 +0000 I live in Canada and we would be appalled to see "resume" (pronounced here as "re-zoom") as the spelling for something we pronounce as "reh-zoom-ay". Either "resumé" or more correctly "résumé" works for us, and we don't consider the accent(s) poncey or pretentious. Then again, the majority of us also speak French, so accents are pretty normal up here. Perhaps just use "CV" and spare us trying to figure out if you're wanting to begin again or seeking a job. But please don't call us pretentious for using correct spelling. :) While we're at it , what's up with "story" to indicate the number of floors in a building? I guess there really are many stories in the Naked City. But clearly no storeys. I'm American-born but it still drives me nuts to see letters dropped for no discernible reason.

Comment on “Me neither.” or “Me either” by CC CC Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:44:31 +0000 Found this on this website:

...Inside a longer sentence, “me either” can be perfectly legitimate: “whole-wheat pie crust doesn’t appeal to me either.” But by itself, meaning “neither do I,” in reply to previous negative statement, it has to be “me neither”: “I don’t like whole-wheat pie crust.” “Me neither.”

Comment on “graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”? by merrie bailey merrie bailey Tue, 26 Jul 2016 06:37:53 +0000 what is best for a resume?
Graduate from _______________
High School Diploma from________________

Comment on Someone else’s by cosmic.revision cosmic.revision Mon, 25 Jul 2016 04:24:49 +0000 "Else" can be an adjective or adverb, we can agree. But would it be improper to recognize certain usages as being an indefinite noun, or as a compound noun as in "somewhere" (both an adverb and a noun) as it relates to "somewhere else"? Both are indefinite places, only "somewhere else" is an indefinite place other than the indefinite place referred to as "somewhere". Is one of those more definite than the other? A mathematician using logic and set theory might give a different answer than a grammarian. But either way it seems like a trivial question of no substantive import.
Maybe we can accept variations of syntax and spelling as having a preferred status (according to the source) without the requirement that one form be labeled incorrect from a literary or scholarly perspective. Sure makes life a little easier and less contentious, unless one is obsessively compelled to accept only black-and-white, all-or-nothing single versions, which gets really complicated since most words have more than one definition. The bottom line is whether the message is easily understood by all or most readers, (and whether there are any penalties or adverse consequences which an administrative authority may impose). And if it has the additional factors of consistency and commonly accepted versions, so much the better. Eventually, most languages undergo changes in some way or else another. (I refuse to even try to analyze that usage.)

Comment on “I’m just saying” by jayles the unmeted jayles the unmeted Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:34:56 +0000 In 1826 it occurs in print here:
Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 3 of TheCommittee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Eighty-first Congress,

as "I'm just saying that this is ridiculous and unfair".

As a stand-alone sentence, possibly about 1936.

Comment on “identical to” and “identical with” by Neige Neige Sun, 24 Jul 2016 04:36:43 +0000
identical adjective
BrE /aɪˈdentɪkl/ ; NAmE /aɪˈdentɪkl/

*similar in every detail
*a row of identical houses
*The two pictures are similar, although not identical.
*identical to somebody/something: Her dress is almost identical to mine.
*identical with somebody/something: The number on the card should be identical with the one on the chequebook.
Cheerio! :)

Comment on “ask the gays” by jayles the unread jayles the unread Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:31:16 +0000 Technically the grammar is ok; it is just that by using "the" one almost tends to suggest that all gays are one homogenous group who think alike. There is a discussion about this here: