July 8, 2012  •  D. A. Wood

“Much More Ready”

I just heard a British announcer say “much more ready” on TV. Whatever happened to the word “readier” and the phrase “much readier”. Also, is the source of the phrase “much more X”, where X is a simple one or two syllable adjective, in British English -- and Americans are now slavishly imitating it? Now we hear such wretched phrases as “much more free”, “much more grave”, and “much more simple”, when we already had simple comparatives like “freer”, “graver”, and “simpler”.

July 5, 2012  •  sefardi

From which part of England do people pronounce the vowel “u” in a similar way to the French “u”?

They pronounce words such as success, luck, but et al with a closed “ooh”: “sook-cess”, “look”, “boot”

July 2, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

Pronouncing “mandatory”

Pet Peeve 2. People pronouncing “mandatory” as “mandaytory”. Just sounds pretentious.

July 2, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

Pronouncing “début”

Pet Peeve 1. Lots of antipodeans (particularly sports commentators) persist in pronouncing “début” as “dayboo” yet they pronounce “débutante” correctly. Occurs 2 or 3 times in every broadcast on Sky TV. I now mute the sound otherwise my teeth would be ground to dust.

June 29, 2012  •  rmberwin

Referent of “one”

In the sentence “It is a highly unusual form of melody, one that occurs only in this composer’s work”, what is the referent of the pronoun ‘one’? Is it ‘melody’ or the entire prepositional phrase ‘form of melody’? Or, perhaps the referent is the subject of the sentence, ‘it’? I frequently hear the rule that the referent has to be the prior proximate noun.

June 22, 2012  •  rmberwin

Repeated

In a work by a major scholar, about a piece of music, he wrote that a passage was ‘repeated’ 7 times, when actually it occurs 7 times (stated once and repeated 6 times). Is his usage idiomatic?

June 14, 2012  •  harigramvym

“We will have ... tomorrow” or “We have ... tomorrow”

‘we have a cricket tournament tomorrow.’ or ‘we will have a cricket tournament tomorrow.’ -which is more correct?

June 10, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

Use of “their” as a genderless singular?

We often hear sentences like:- “Your teen is more at risk while on their restricted licence” where “their” appears as a means of combining “his” and “her”. Although there may be nothing wrong in this, it does sound a bit strange.

June 5, 2012  •  Belinda Mellor

Terms of endearment - would it be correct/incorrect to use a capital letter?

For example, ‘Hello, dear, how are you?’ or ‘Hello, Dear, how are you?’ (Darling, Sweetheart, etc.) Is either absolutely correct/incorrect. I have tended to favour the capitalised form (though not if using the term ‘my dear’, ‘my love’, or whatever) until now but it has recently been questioned and I cannot fully justify my usage. Thank you all, in anticipation.

June 4, 2012  •  Make Your English Work

in other words

It seems to be common for writers to use “in other words” in their writing, which seems to be mostly done as a rhetorical technique. I can see no reason to use this phrase in writing, except perhaps in the case of explaining complex technical information or visual content to a general audience. This is a pet peeve of mine but others seem to have no problem with it. I feel that if something can be said more effectively in other words, those words should be used instead of the less effective ones. Your thoughts on the matter?

May 31, 2012  •  Inovatia

“Live local.” Is it a complete sentence?

Is the following a complete sentence? Live local.

May 21, 2012  •  lycen

Adverbial scope of ‘tomorrow’

For the following sentence; I suppose the adverbial scope of ‘tomorrow’ only covers the verb ‘work’ ie. I have to (work tomorrow). Where ‘have to’ refers to present obligation. What about this: Tomorrow I have to work. Here it ‘tomorrow’ is emphatic and ‘have to work’ seems to be within its adverbial scope. Thus ‘have to’ here appears to mean a future obligation - of tomorrow. I think there’s a difference between both sentences. Any opinions?

May 12, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

“As per ....”?

I have noticed that here in NZ a lot of people use the phrases “as per usual” and “as per normal” in everyday speech. In the UK I only ever heard these phrases used as a form of sarcastic emphasis. I am sure there are a number of “as per ..” phrases in which the “per” does not seem redundant, such as “as per instructions”, but even that seems cumbersome when copmared with “as instructed”.

May 10, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

Difference between acronyms and initials?

I have always believed that an acronym had to be a pronouncable word, like RADAR or LASER, not just a set of initials like IBM or CIA, but I see more and more references that suggest that this is not a generally held belief. Even the OED seems confused:- 1. A group of initial letters used as an abbreviation for a name or expression, each letter or part being pronounced separately; an initialism (such as ATM, TLS). 2. A word formed from the initial letters of other words or (occas.) from the initial parts of syllables taken from other words, the whole being pronounced as a single word (such as NATO, RADA). Although Chambers states: acronym (noun) a word made from the first letters or syllables of other words, and usually pronounced as a word in its own right, eg NATO. Compare abbreviation, contraction, initialism. Let the games begin! :-)

April 30, 2012  •  Dyske

“hack” in “hackathon”

The word “hack” has two distinct definitions. One means “to cut or sever with repeated irregular or unskillful blows.” This must be the origin of the word “hack” as used in the world of computers, i.e., to “hack into” a computer. You keep trying different tactics and passwords until you succeed. But the word “hack” also means to cope with something, to make do with what you have and forget about the details, even if it’s not the proper way to do it, as in a “hack job”. This is a very different definition from the first but the two are often used interchangeably in a confusing way. “Hackathon” for instance does not mean what many people assume it does. It’s not an event where a bunch of computer hackers try to hack into a system. The term “codefest” better describes what “hackathon” really is, where a bunch of computer programmers get together and collaborate on software applications. They are using the second definition, not the first. I’m wondering which definition came first. And, where did the second definition come from? Did it exist before the days of computers?

April 19, 2012  •  Dyske

It had impacts on...

Is it grammatically correct to say “It had impacts on...”? If the singular form is correct (it had an impact on), I would imagine that the plural form would have to be also correct.

April 18, 2012  •  Hacovo

watch much stuff?

Alright, this has me stumped for some reason. I believe that saying “I don’t watch much stuff.” is incorrect, but I can’t articulate why. At first, I thought the problem was with [action verb] + stuff, but I realize that you can ask someone to please watch your stuff, so that’s not it. And the problem isn’t simply ‘much stuff’ because someone can have too much stuff. In any case, I was hoping for a definitive reason why (or why not, if I am wrong) it is improper to say ‘watch much stuff’.

April 10, 2012  •  Ramon

I’ve no idea

Is it a correct syntax to say: “I’ve no idea” to shortcut “I have no idea”? I see alot of people doing this and I feel that it is wrong.

March 11, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

-age words

New Age Words? Just how far will the practice of adding “age” to existing words be taken. To date we have:- signage being used instead of signs, sewerage being used instead of sewage, reportage being used instead of reporting. I am sure there are many other examples of this particular fad. The media, of course, have adopted the fad with enthusiasm.

March 6, 2012  •  Hairy Scot

How to use floccinaucinihilipilification

I recently stumbled across the word “floccinaucinihilipilification” and have been struggling to find ways of using it in polite conversation. :-) Any suggestions?

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