This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books. You can browse through the latest questions and comments below. If you have a question of your own, please submit it here.
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Has someone decided that some prepositions and conjunctions are no longer required, and that dates shall no longer be denoted by using words like first second and third?
Is this just another step toward abbreviating speech and writing to the level of English used on mobile phone text messages?
Is there something wrong in saying, or writing, the following:-
‘December the third (or 3rd.)’ as opposed to ‘December three (3).’
‘The third (3rd) of December.’ » ‘Three (3) December’
‘I’ll see you on Wednesday’ » ‘ I’ll see you Wednesday’
‘In a conference on Monday..’ » ‘In a conference Monday...’
‘One hundred and twenty’ » ‘One hundred twenty’
Dear Sirs, I read your post on “I was/ I were”. I found it very helpful, resuscitating memories of English classes. I’m still not sure if I should use “was” or “were” in this sentence, below.
“And if anyone else were to peek, they would see the bear cubs looking fast asleep, dreaming of all the things they loved.”
The “anyone else” might be peeking and might not be peeking. We don’t know. “were” sounds better to my ear, but my MS Word has it underlined in green. Who is correct? Me or the machine?
Is it really correct to say such a thing as, “We are waiting on your mother,” when referring to the anticipation of the arrival of someone’s mother? It would seem to me that it would be more appropriate, if not more comfortable (at least for the lady), to “wait for your mother.”
One can wait on the corner, and one can wait on a table (if that is his profession), but does one really want to wait on his dinner?
It seems to me that the preposition “from” has been replaced by “on” when used in conjunction with the word “wait.”
It makes me cringe! Lately, I’ve heard it so often, I must look like a victim of St. Vitus Dance!
For instance: “We need to do everything we can prevention-wise.”
Other similar words: taxwise, money-wise, property-wise, food-wise
I realise there has been resistance to indiscriminate usage; the question is really about what constitutes “indiscriminate”?
Secondly, why the prejudice against what is a productive and concise suffix, when the alternative phrases are cumbersome and pretentious.
Can anyone tell me why the second ‘a’ in Canada and Canadian is pronounced differently?
I’m English/British and I and from England/Britain.
Surely it should either be Can-a-da & Can-a-dian or Can-ay-da & Can-ay-dian...
My guess is it has something to do with the French influence, but I would love to know for sure.
Here in the UK our language has been heavily influenced over the years, including by the French and it has always interested where these things start or change.
In my opinion, the greatest pain in the English language is the so-called Tenses.
Generation after generation, grammarians and linguists have been trying to use the term for describing how English Verb System works writing more and more wise books on the subject, without any visible results.
Millions of ESL/EFL learners find Tenses to be hopelessly tangled, confusing and totally incomprehensible. So do a great number of ESL/EFL teachers.
And it is no wonder, because describing English grammar as having only past and present is like trying to describe a car as having three wheels.
I think that English can do perfectly well without “Tenses” because it is a meaningless and therefore useless term.