Are adverbs something to be avoided like the plague or an inevitable mutation of the English language that we just have to deal with? I’ve heard it said that they’re the mark of a writer who lacks the vocabulary to use powerful words (for example, “He walked slowly” does not carry the weight of “He plodded” or “He trudged”) and the skill to vary their sentence structure. I’ve seen them used in published in professional work, from George R. R. Martin to J.K. Rowling, so it’s not something authors shy away from and, for the most part, the public accepts it without question.
Discussion on appropriate use of these two phrases came up on another forum. I believe it depends on context. Would be interested in hearing other views.
Do excuse the purposeful misspelling in my name. It comes from a time where I thought doing such was what the “cool” kids did. Anyways, I have a question, which just so happens to concern the word I used to start this sentence. I find myself using “anyways” instead of “anyway”, despite it not being “correct”. It’s more a matter of it feeling like it rolls off of the tongue better than any hard reason. If someone can offer their thoughts on its use (or misuse) I would be most appreciative.
Is there a difference between “further” and “farther”? David Attenborough (age 86, I think) says “farther”. I have never, ever, used that word. What’s the difference, if there is one? My dictionary does not say they are synonyms, but their definitions are identical. “Nothing could be farther from my mind” sounds to me a bit over the top, like saying ‘looking glass’ when you mean ‘mirror’. Views?
I love to read Victorian era mysteries and novels. Can you tell me the meaning of “ton” as used in that era? By context it appears to refer to members of high society. Is this accurate? What is the origin of the term? Thanks for your help.
Is there any difference between “bad” and “poor.” I always thought that bad implied a moral tone whereas poor simply implied low quality. Has this ever been true? I now look both words up in the dictionary (AHD and Merriam-Webster) and they are synonyms of one another and carry very similar meanings. Have these two words always been essentially the same in their meaning? Or has popular usage of “bad” made them converge toward one another?
In the third conditional, the structure uses the past perfect with the if clause (e.g. “If I had studied...” and the conditional modal + present perfect in the second clause (...I would have gotten a good grade.”) When and why is it also acceptable to say “If I had studied, I would have a good grade,” where “have” is used as a possessive auxiliary instead of a conditional modal?
Another oddity from my favourite source, The New Zealand Herald: “Perhaps it’s time to deal to the ads that are just plain downers?” It may be an undetected error or a misprint, but knowing the Herald, I’m sure the author, the proof readers, and the editors, all thought that “deal to” made perfect sense in the given context.
Is “no end” as acceptable as “to no end”, as in “This amuses me no end.”?
What is a correct... “A gift of John Doe” or “A gift from John Doe” when referring to a large charitable donation? I like the sound of “of” but not sure which one is right.
Is there any defense of capitalizing after a semicolon? This reads well to me: We do not sell tricycles; We sell velocipedes. Learn the difference. Not capitalizing the first word of the second clause diminishes the perceived parallelism: We do not sell tricycles; we sell velocipedes. The store around the corner sells bicycles. With a period between them, the first two clauses read like the premises of a syllogism: We do not sell tricycles. We sell velocipedes. Do we sell unicycles? I will continue, of course, to pen as I please, but, in this instance, wonder if I can confidently publish as I please.
My evening of horror transpired as follows: While sharing a bottle of wine with my girlfriend I was stupid enough to posit why it was that I had taken such a huge interest in blues music. “Why, because it’s accessible to your mediocre guitar skills,” she said, “and when your skills improve you switch to real music, like classical guitar”. “Well then, I hope, once your skills improve in belly dance you’ll switch to real dance,” I responded, “besides it is a misnomer that blues is ‘simple music’!” Now, my meaning here was that blues music has been historically labeled and designated as “simple music” in order to mislead people into thinking that African-Americans, from whom the music generated, are not capable of anything complex and so somebody will say, “I love blacks because they play ‘simple music’!” My girlfriend claims English superiority because she went to college and has been told she has a greater grasp on the language than it’s inventors, so she informed me that I had incorrectly used the word “misnomer”. According to her, what I should have said was that ‘simple music’ was a ‘misconception’ and not a ‘misnomer’. I can see the angle she is coming from and, in all honesty, I barely graduated high school, but I am sure that in this instance I am correct. My point was that blues was “misnamed” or “mislabeled” in order to mislead and not if it is actually simple music (I obviously believe that it is not and I am improving at guitar, so hopefully one day I will be able to tell). In any case, I am currently sleeping on the couch. Is she correct or is it my “belly dance isn’t real dance” that has me on the couch? Please help me. Mr. On the Couch Blues I beg you not to yell at me about any grammar mistake I may have just made. I finished the bottle of wine by myself and I really just want to be right about this one thing.
Is this correct? “I so appreciate you taking mine and Gregg’s child to school today.” Is it correct to use “mine” or should I say “my”?
Can clauses be misplaced because I always thought that they were superordinate of that. While searching for math accuplacer questions, I was given a set of problems, which I did not want, and, in boredom, did the first one and was wrong. The question was this: Select the best substitute for the parenthesized parts of the following ten sentences. The first answer [choice A] is identical to the original sentence. If you think the original sentence is best, then choose A as your answer. Question 1: Although she was only sixteen years old, (the university accepted her application because of her outstanding grades). A. the university accepted her application because of her outstanding grades. B. her application was accepted by the university because of her outstanding grades. C. her outstanding grades resulted in her application being accepted by the university. D. she was accepted to study at the university after applying because of her outstanding grades. I chose A, but it said D was the correct answer on these grounds: The clause Although she was only sixteen years old describes the characteristics of the female student. Remember that clauses always need to be followed by the name of the person or thing they are describing. Therefore, “she” needs to come after this clause. So, to reiterate, is there such a thing as misplaced clauses?
What would be the preferred form of each of these:- a) “in hopes of” or “in the hope of” b) “a change in plans” or “a change of plan” c) “apprise” or “inform” d) “envision” or “envisage” I favour the second of each of the above, but no doubt there will be different opinions.
“I intend on doing something about that” Just came across this in the latest Baldacci novel. First time I’ve seen this particular form so I’m not sure if it was a slip by author, editor, proof-reader, typesetter, or all of the above; or is it common in some parts of the English speaking world? I’d think that “I intend to do ...........” or “I am intent on doing .........” would be the normal form.
I’d like to go back to an old question which was discussed here in 2011. What is the correct preposition to use with “different?” Every time I hear the BBC’s “different to” it grates on me. I distinctly remember my 6th Grade teacher, Mrs. Murphy, explaining to us that “different” takes “from” because in arithmetic, when you subtract one number from another you obtain a difference. Her analogy was faulty, of course; but her grammar was correct. The abuse she was trying to correct was “different than.” I never heard “different to” until relatively recently, on the BBC World Service. The consensus of the 2011 discussion seemed to be that “different to” is British usage and “different from” is American. Well – yes and no. I’ve gone through some quotation websites looking for 19th and early 20th century British examples and could find not one “different to.” They all use “different from.” I did also find this, however, from the 1908 edition of Fowler’s “The King’s English.” “. . .’different to’ is regarded by many newspaper editors and others in authority as a solecism, and is therefore better avoided by those to whom the approval of such authorities is important. It is undoubtedly gaining ground, and will probably displace ‘different from’ in no long time; perhaps, however, the conservatism that still prefers from is not yet to be named pedantry. Well, that was prescient – if you concede that 100 years counts as “no long time” when it comes to the English language. (In response to some of those 2011 posts which mentioned “more different than” as an acceptable use of “different than”: in that case “than” refers to “more” not “different.”)
Since when did “concerning” become an adjective meaning “causing concern?” I first noticed it in the New York Times sometime earlier this year. Now it’s being used both in the media and in everyday conversation as if it had been around forever. Yet the usage is not mentioned in either my 1971 abridged edition of the OED or my trusty 1980 New World Dictionary. Should we just accept this new word as an example of the English language moving on? Or is it concerning?
Why, in English, do we say ‘hey’ as a conversation starter? Why not hello? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, hey is “used especially to call attention or to express interrogation, surprise, or exultation”. It does not mention any connection to the word hello. Why then, do we so often hear hey substituted for hello? Whether talking on the phone, texting, or just trying to make small talk in person, everyone always seems to begin with hey, even when you are already talking to the person and you don’t need their attention. My best guess is that is probably another development in our ever-changing language that came about over time, but does anyone know how this connotation came to be?
I watched some movies over the weekend, and by doing so some questions arose regarding the use of who and whom. In the movie “Prometheus” one of the main characters is describing the reason of traveling to a planet so far away from earth, and a suporting character says: “We are here because of a map you two kids found in a cave?” - “Not a map, an invitation” - “From who?” Now, I think the guy is asking for the object. Is he not? Also, I understand that whom must be used after a preposition. Then shouldn’t it be “from whom”? In the movie “X-Men: First Class” two CIA agents are conversing and the following dialogue takes place: “A war is about to begin.” - “I know. But a war with who?” Same as the other one: Shouldn’t “whom” be used here? “with” is also a preposition, and he is also asking for the object.