Pain in the English http://painintheenglish.com Forum for the gray areas of the English language Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:10:53 +0000 daily 1 Unusual use of “infringed”? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5484 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5484/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 18:20:06 +0000 Hairy Scot http://painintheenglish.com/case/5484 From my local medical centre’s web page:-

“The carpark at xxxxxx Health & Wellness Centre is now limited to 180 minutes. Cars parked longer than this and not displaying an exemption permit will be infringed with a $65 parking fine. This is intended to keep the carpark free for patients and customers of the building only. Unauthorised parkers leaving their vehicles in our carpark all day will be infringed.”

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“I’ve lived many years in Kentucky.” http://painintheenglish.com/case/5482 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5482/#comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 18:09:31 +0000 jayles the unwoven http://painintheenglish.com/case/5482 “I’ve lived many years in Kentucky.”

How comfortable are you with this grammar in writing?

Would you prefer “I’ve lived in Kentucky for many years” ?

Is this just an Americanism?

How widespread is this pattern?

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The 1900s http://painintheenglish.com/case/5470 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5470/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 05:31:55 +0000 Skeeter Lewis http://painintheenglish.com/case/5470 A change that has happened in my lifetime is the use of ‘1800s’, ‘1900s’ and so on. When I was young they referred to the first decade of the century. They would be followed by the ‘1910s’, ‘1920s’ et al. Now they’re used to mean the whole century. I’m not whinging - just noting the changes that happen with the years.

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“In the long term” http://painintheenglish.com/case/5461 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5461/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 08:43:49 +0000 Anne Daarbech http://painintheenglish.com/case/5461 A colleague of mine claimed that you can say “In the long term” instead of “In the long run”. Is that correct?

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Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5448 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5448/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:02:26 +0000 Pamela http://painintheenglish.com/case/5448 Could I use both a colon and semicolon in a sentence?

A college will provide help for students who are struggling in homework; the resources are: study skills that help students to be on top of coursework, counselors will give advices dealing with the workload, and the option to drop a class early.

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Keep from catching it http://painintheenglish.com/case/5434 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5434/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 02:55:41 +0000 Dudefulla http://painintheenglish.com/case/5434 Does this
“The flu is going around. In order to keep from catching it, you should gargle and wash your hands regularly”
Make sense? I’ve never heard. “In order to keep from catching it.” used in a sentence before.

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Is “painstaking” pronounced the same in Britain as here, as “pain-staking”? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5418 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5418/#comments Sat, 4 Apr 2015 02:12:09 +0000 Manetfan http://painintheenglish.com/case/5418 I was in empty space in an elevator one day when it occurred to me that it’s actually “pains-taking”, the taking of pains to do something thoroughly. I’d never thought about it before.

But it’s too hard to pronounce “painz-taking”, because the “z” sound must be voiced; whereas the unvoiced “s” combines easily with the “t” to make “-staking”, so that’s what we say. That’s my theory, but BrE might be different. Is it?

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How important is it to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in writing these days? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5415 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5415/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 20:51:34 +0000 Jennifer Sidwell http://painintheenglish.com/case/5415 For example, “Every morning, I wake up at 6:00 am and then I make a cup of coffee.”

As a writing teacher for international students, I see this kind of sentence all the time. I know it is technically correct to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction, but I have found that so many Americans omit this comma that it has become extremely commonplace even among native English speakers. Is it socially acceptable in writing to omit the comma? How serious is it to mandate that my international include this comma?

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being used http://painintheenglish.com/case/5410 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5410/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 13:20:35 +0000 Anton Ivanov http://painintheenglish.com/case/5410 Could you please explain the difference in the following sentences?

1. The instruments used are very reliable.

2. The instruments being used are very reliable.

Are participle 2 “used” and passive participle 1 “being used” interchangeable in this context?

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Opposition to “pretty” http://painintheenglish.com/case/5405 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5405/#comments Sat, 7 Mar 2015 13:30:29 +0000 Warsaw Will http://painintheenglish.com/case/5405 I seem to be pretty fond of the adverb ‘pretty’ used as a modifier, so was rather surprised when one of my young Polish students told me that his teacher at school had said that this use was ‘OK with his mates’ (his words), but inappropriate in the classroom. Looking around I see that this is not an isolated objection, although people didn’t seem to complain about it much before 1900.

Why has this word, much used by eighteenth and nineteenth century writers, writers of prescriptive grammar included, attracted this opposition in more recent times?

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Why do sports teams take a definite article? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5402 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5402/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 00:37:22 +0000 dwishiren http://painintheenglish.com/case/5402 The New York Yankees

The Utah Jazz

The Orlando Magic

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Is “leverage” a verb? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5392 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5392/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 06:29:35 +0000 DaveBoltman http://painintheenglish.com/case/5392 I’m new here, and am wondering what all you experts think about the use of the word “leverage” as a verb. It seems it’s being used more often recently. Personally I feel that “leverage” is a noun, as defined by Merriam-Webster’s as “the action of a lever or the mechanical advantage gained by it”. However it seems that mainly financial and managerial types seem to like using is as a verb - “Hey, let’s leverage the unfortunate circumstances of these people that can’t pay their bonds, and get their homes for free”.

What does it mean? Although MW does give it as a verb as well, it’s interesting that investopedia.com gives it as “1 The use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital, such as margin, to increase the potential return of an investment.”, i.e. it lists the verb first. Other sources give different meanings, suggesting that the meaning of “leverage” as a verb is not very clear. I wonder what these people do when their roof leakages, or the engines of their cars failure?

Just for interest, over the years I’ve bookmarked the following in my web browser (under info / language / English):

(please excuse the language there where not appropriate :)

Oh yes, and a quote from Seth Godin’s blog (although I’m not sure who he is quoting):

“leveraging” , - comment: i asked everyone on my team not to use those words. the frequency of use of words like “leverage” is inversely proportionate to the amount of original thought. the more you say “leverage”, the less you’ve probably thought about what you’re saying.

(Seth is an American marketer, motivational speaker and author)

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“nervous to perform” or “nervous of performing”? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5388 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5388/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:17:23 +0000 Hairy Scot http://painintheenglish.com/case/5388 Recently saw this headline in Time:- 

“Katy Perry Admits She’s Nervous to Perform at the Super Bowl”. 

To me “nervous to perform” sounds a bit strange. 

My feeling is that “nervous of performing” sounds better.

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“Thanks for that” http://painintheenglish.com/case/5378 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5378/#comments Wed, 7 Jan 2015 22:37:46 +0000 Hairy Scot http://painintheenglish.com/case/5378 I had always believed that saying “thanks for that” without a following noun or phrase was intended as something of a put down.

I’m not referring to its use in the form “Thanks for that information” or “Thanks for that wine you sent”, but to the situation(s) where someone had said something inane or pointless, or had told an uninteresting story or a somewhat obscure joke.

One would then say “Thanks for that” followed by the person’s name.

eg:  

Tim: “This one time, I broke a pen and then fixed it again.”

Me: “Thanks for that, Tim.”

But now the phrase seems to be in general use with no irony attached.

Instead of just saying “Thank you” some people are now saying “Thanks for that” with no further qualification.

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“Rack” or “Wrack”? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5371 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5371/#comments Fri, 2 Jan 2015 15:43:26 +0000 Hairy Scot http://painintheenglish.com/case/5371 I read recently that there are those who feel that the word “rack” in the phrases “rack one’s brain” and “rack and ruin” should perhaps be spelled “wrack”, while others maintain that either spelling is acceptable.

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“Thank you for reverting to us” http://painintheenglish.com/case/5370 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5370/#comments Fri, 2 Jan 2015 04:15:48 +0000 Percy http://painintheenglish.com/case/5370 I replied to a letter from a solicitor and in return got a letter beginning “Thank you for reverting to us so promptly”. I have never seen “revert” used in this way. Is it a legal usage (in any sense)?

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issue as problem http://painintheenglish.com/case/5355 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5355/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 11:51:52 +0000 Dave Nichols http://painintheenglish.com/case/5355 When did “issue” come to mean “problem” ?

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3 Laning? http://painintheenglish.com/case/5352 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5352/#comments Mon, 8 Dec 2014 23:13:39 +0000 Hairy Scot http://painintheenglish.com/case/5352 Not content with using “roading” as a noun meaning “the provision and building of roads” the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has now introduced another example of why suits should not be allowed to write signs.

A stretch of motorway on the north side of Auckland is being widened and there is a forest of signs proclaiming “3 laning project in progress”!

GRRRR GNASH GNASH!!                              :)

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deliberately mispelled (sp!) http://painintheenglish.com/case/5347 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5347/#comments Wed, 3 Dec 2014 21:30:25 +0000 HungryByteman http://painintheenglish.com/case/5347 In this question, I deliberately misspelled “mispelling.” 

Is (sp!) an appropriate abbreviation to stand for “deliberately misspelled?”

Many people use

(sp?) for (I don’t know how to spell that word)

Julie Andrews sang Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (sp?) with great gusto.

(sic) or [sic] is not appropriate here. I understand that [sic] is used to indicate that the word was spelled that way in document that is being quoted or cited.

The new commander consumed [sic] control of the military base.

(illustration modified from an actual case of using the wrong word)

So, it seems to me that we can use

(sp!) for (I am deliberately mispelling (sp!) this word

QUESTION: Is there a better abbreviation, or a well-known abbreviation for this usage?

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“hand” http://painintheenglish.com/case/5345 http://painintheenglish.com/case/5345/#comments Mon, 1 Dec 2014 09:57:30 +0000 Nik H. http://painintheenglish.com/case/5345 I am a cab driver and pick up people from all over the country/world and take them where they want to go. Boring disclaimer aside; I hope to understand a word used by a southern man that unsurprisingly follows a strong Christian background through his adult life. As mysterious as the story may be if time were allotted to tell it, or was applicable in this forum, he constantly referred to me as “hand.” Not sure if this coincides with his Christian background, i.e. “The hand of God”, or it is a long lost southern slang with a more ambiguous meaning.

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