jayles

Joined: August 12, 2010

Number of comments posted: 733

Number of votes received: 74

No user description provided.

Recent Comments

Re: Are proverbs dying?  •  July 3, 2014, 10:50pm  •  0 vote

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=watched+*+never+boils%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cwatched+*+never+boils%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Cwat

Re: Are proverbs dying?  •  July 3, 2014, 7:53pm  •  0 vote

Thanks. I have often wondered whether and what to teach non-native speakers in terms of proverbs. Always seems to me that one needs to understand them, but not to use them. There's a nice one in H

Re: Meaningless Use of “key”  •  June 3, 2014, 8:15pm  •  0 vote

Salve Brus! The key question here is under which key circumstances are we to admit new lexical items into mainstream English. De facto, English has always been changing, and nolens volens we must f

Re: Modal Remoteness & Tense  •  June 3, 2014, 7:47pm  •  0 vote

Dear Jasper If you use "thou" and "thee", please note the correct endings for common verbs: books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=thou+*&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&shar

Re: “Between you and I...”  •  June 2, 2014, 3:36pm  •  0 vote

If one is talking about teaching a foreign language at school, the first question is what is achievable with a largish group in a few hours per week. Some countries also use English as a medium of ins

Re: “Between you and I...”  •  June 1, 2014, 11:34pm  •  0 vote

Shot myself in the foot there: "she had been having affairs for quite some time" is really hard to translate; to me using past perfect continuous here suggests the affairs are mostly sequential not co

Re: “Between you and I...”  •  June 1, 2014, 8:28pm  •  0 vote

I don't recall ever being taught English grammar as such, apart from when to put in an apostrophe before or after an 's', which really is just spelling. Tenses we were never taught. All my grammar

Re: co- = subordinate vs. co = equals  •  May 30, 2014, 1:54pm  •  0 vote

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=co-operate%3Aeng_us_2012%2Ccooperate%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cco-operate%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Ccooperate%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 30, 2014, 1:42pm  •  0 vote

@WW how odd! I had never thought about this before. Looks like it is about 50/50 in books: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=none+of+them+were%2C+none+of+them+was%2C+none+of+them+is%2C+n

Re: “up on top” vs. “up top”  •  May 30, 2014, 12:21am  •  1 vote

The US version "met with" clearly suggests a meeting. The Brit version is not so clear; it could have been a chance encounter: "Hey there Harold!" "Ike! Fancy meeting you here".

Re: “Between you and I...”  •  May 27, 2014, 8:32pm  •  0 vote

And "under four eyes" crops up on google books, sometimes without explanation: "this time Ngabehi Secadirana himself, disguised as a servant came under the cloak of darkness to the resident to tell h

Re: “Between you and I...”  •  May 27, 2014, 8:14pm  •  0 vote

On google books "between you and I" does crop up but much less frequently than "between you and me" For instance: "Morality is a direct encounter between You and I." http://books.google.com/ngrams

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 26, 2014, 2:57pm  •  0 vote

@WW The marking schema for IELTS writing band 8 (page 23) http://ielts.org/PDF/IELTS_Guide_For_Teachers_BritishEnglish_Web.pdf says: "The majority of sentences are error-free" (using a plural

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 26, 2014, 2:16pm  •  0 vote

@WW Thanks. I stumbled on a slip-up re "a number of" - the verb here refers to "increase" not number: "There has been an increase in the number of incidents recently." Unfortunately this type of

Re: “It is I” vs. “It is me”  •  May 26, 2014, 12:15am  •  0 vote

"it is I who", and "it was I who", seem commoner in books than the "me" versions: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=it+is+i+who%2Cit+is+me+who%2C+it+was+I+who%2C+it+was+me+who&case_insen

Re: “It is I” vs. “It is me”  •  May 25, 2014, 9:50pm  •  0 vote

Perhaps it would be more helpful to focus on real life examples. The following come from published books: "It is I, Sea Gull;": Valentina Tereshkova, First Woman in ... It is I who have chosen you:

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 25, 2014, 7:40pm  •  0 vote

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=a+number+of+*+was%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Ca+number+of+*+were%3Aeng_gb_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Ca%20numb

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 25, 2014, 7:40pm  •  0 vote

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=a+number+of+*+was%3Aeng_us_2012%2Ca+number+of+*+were%3Aeng_us_2012%2C&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Ca%20num

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 25, 2014, 7:39pm  •  0 vote

The following illustrate deviant behavior of Brits http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=the+majority+was%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cthe+majority+were%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cthe+majority+was%3Aeng_gb_2012%2

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 25, 2014, 7:31pm  •  0 vote

@WW me too. I was wondering whether it might be a good idea to explore the usage of "quasi-determiners" (like 'the bulk of', "a great number of", and so on) and maybe come up with a list which are mos

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  May 24, 2014, 5:40pm  •  1 vote

In the meantime there seem to be lots more hits on google for phrases like "she texted yesterday" than "she text yesterday"; so at the moment "texted" seems more common.

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  May 24, 2014, 5:33pm  •  0 vote

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/35030/where-did-snuck-come-from It is indeed true that some verbs have changed from the "ablaut" (vowel-change) sytem to the common "regular" inflection s

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  May 24, 2014, 1:57pm  •  0 vote

Well the Latin plural of innuendo might be innuendis; but really best avoided; hints would be a better word-choice.

Re: “advocate for” or just “advocate”?  •  May 23, 2014, 12:16am  •  0 vote

"advocating for" as a phrase has upticked dramatically since 1980 in google books, especially in US English. Whether this is use or misuse, or a shift in the language is debatable.

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 21, 2014, 8:13pm  •  0 vote

Or alternatively one could join the Quakers who might accommodate your thou-ward leanings

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 21, 2014, 8:06pm  •  1 vote

Until at least WWI, thou was widespread across a large expanse of Northern England. It was still used withing the family in Derbyshire in 1970's. For instance, "astha put 'bike in't ginnel?" I think

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  May 21, 2014, 3:39am  •  0 vote

@WW "Slough is a rather characterless town" Surely the train station, the mixed bus/pedestrian high street, the Mars factory, the linked traffic lights, a selection of excellent brothels, and a helpf

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  May 20, 2014, 8:13pm  •  0 vote

wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_on_traditional_and_simplified_Chinese_characters#Pro-Simplified_characters_2 see the section on literacy rates - basically simplification has not improved literacy. The r

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 8:12pm  •  0 vote

books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=My+family+is%3Aeng_us_2012%2CMy+family+is%3Aeng_gb_2012%2CMy+family+are%3Aeng_gb_2012%2CMy+family+are%3Aeng_us_2012&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smooth

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 8:10pm  •  0 vote

Ngram must be a very blunt instrument indeed as I still can't get "My family are" to top "My family is" , just lots of "noise" on the former and seemingly rare true instances of family with a plural v

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 3:22pm  •  0 vote

@WW thank you ; that just about wraps it up as far as I'm concerned. Not surprised results for "Each family are" are spurious ; I really expected zero when I keyed it in.

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 19, 2014, 3:17pm  •  0 vote

Perhaps the bit about sports commentators was not clear: I meant that just because one can point to a few examples or a particular usage does not prove that it is normal or standard; one needs to esta

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 6:19am  •  0 vote

I'm really only interested in what is acceptable in formal writing; specifically for IELTS academic purposes.

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 3:50am  •  0 vote

Well I haven't seen a transatlantic split in usage yet: all I seem to get is a minumum 3:1 ratio in favor of collective noun+singular verb.

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 3:47am  •  0 vote

books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=this+family+is%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cthis+family+are%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cthis+family+is%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Cthis+family+are%3Aeng_gb_2012&case_insensitive=on&year_start=1920&ye

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 3:43am  •  0 vote

books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=each+family+is%3Aeng_us_2012%2Ceach+family+are%3Aeng_us_2012%2Ceach+family+is%3Aeng_gb_2012%2Ceach+family+are%3Aeng_gb_2012&case_insensitive=on&year_start=1920&ye

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 3:39am  •  0 vote

Just looking at the results for "pair of * is,pair of * are" and "pair of * was, pair of * were" on ngrams and there doesn't seem to be a preponderance of either singular or plural, or any marked us/g

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 19, 2014, 12:36am  •  0 vote

"the crowd goes wild" outnumbers "the crowd go wild" 9:1 books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=the+crowd+goes+wild%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cthe+crowd+go+wild%3Aeng_us_2012%2Cthe+crowd+goes+wild%3Aeng_gb_2

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 19, 2014, 12:16am  •  0 vote

@HS you are so right! Often it's a question of what is "standard" or "normally used" in business, professional, academic, published writing, although some magazines are deliberately written for a te

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 18, 2014, 7:52pm  •  0 vote

@Jasper Not really, but one could consider the way one uses "the Court" when addressing the judge, could one not? We tend to do it with length : A) "I was just wondering if you could possibly pass th

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 18, 2014, 2:15pm  •  0 vote

@WW yes ngram is a bit quirky and sometimes misleading: I'm really just interested as to whether there is a cohort (or shortlist) of collectives that are almost always used with a plural verb on both

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 18, 2014, 1:48pm  •  0 vote

@Jasper I love thee/thou/thine but it really does make life complicated for foreigners. I learned Hungarian from girlfriends with the result that the intimate (thou) form of "you" comes most naturally

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 18, 2014, 5:29am  •  0 vote

Just checking on Ngrams it looks as though "police" sometimes takes a singular verb (when meaning police force) : I just tried "is" and "are".

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 18, 2014, 2:59am  •  0 vote

@HS That sounds promising. So (swiftly rearranging the furniture, and sitting down beside you) where do we go from here?

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 18, 2014, 12:29am  •  0 vote

@HS Not aimed at anyone at all; just I get carried away sometimes; you should know that I learned the word "facetious" when it appeared on my school report at age ten..... I agree English does indeed

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 17, 2014, 11:21pm  •  0 vote

@WW I really haven't researched this but I think it would be a good idea to define different categories of collective nouns, so that we are not all at cross-purposes. So off the cuff, "cattle" "staff"

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 17, 2014, 10:59pm  •  0 vote

@HS Far be it from me. Although one should distinguish between "crucifying the opposition" (which involves holding the arms down and bashing a six-inch nail between the radius and the ulna - 'Hold sti

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 17, 2014, 10:24pm  •  0 vote

Which all brings to mind the journey of Saul, later Saint Paul, and the voice from above: "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." I guess that is stage we all go through before we see the

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 17, 2014, 7:19pm  •  0 vote

Many years ago when I began teaching Business English, I had daily sessions with the then director of IBM France to practice business negotiations in English. Frankly I think I learnt more than he did

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  May 17, 2014, 4:13pm  •  0 vote

With "range of colours" (or colors) "is" outnumbers "are" on ngrams by 5:1. I would regard "a pair of", a number of, a couple of - like "lots of" as being so common as to have achieved a status si

Re: Are sports commentators and sports show anchors out to change the language?  •  May 15, 2014, 7:49pm  •  0 vote

My first question would be: English has changed a bit since William the Bastard and his mates landed in 1066 to undertake a social redevelopment program; under what circumstances is it okay to make ch

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 14, 2014, 7:46pm  •  0 vote

Google Books ngram suggests that: "crowd was on its feet" outnumbers the rest by at least 5:1, by far the commonest; "crowd was on their feet" in US books is next, and the rest are also-rans - righ

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 14, 2014, 1:48pm  •  0 vote

synecdoche - totum pro parte - or sometimes pure ellipsis of the word "members".

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 13, 2014, 11:29pm  •  0 vote

@HS I would not doubt your own recollections: frankly what happened to me in those far off days is still clear as a bell - tolling over a fleld in Austria with black-clad peasants scything the wheaten

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 13, 2014, 8:20pm  •  0 vote

@HS It is indeed very hard to escape the outlook that was embedded by our schooling; although by the standards of the time I myself was very fortunate indeed and has some of the very best available. (

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 12, 2014, 4:05am  •  0 vote

@HS Good - it's all about what criteria we are using. By the way, "if it sounds strange" - to whom? To you, to me or to 5000 Man C fans?

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 12, 2014, 1:11am  •  0 vote

@HS Those "harried souls" must be proud to see you have your own well-founded views despite (!) their teachings. Perhaps the real question is why did those "harried souls" teach that collective nouns

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  May 11, 2014, 9:58pm  •  0 vote

"At school I was taught ....." (HS) One should not believe everything one is taught at school. Knowing what is worth knowing and what is bollocks is all that matters. “My education was interrup

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  May 11, 2014, 5:52pm  •  1 vote

So that makes it all pretty easy; all one needs is a sound knowledge of the GVS, a smaltering of Latin-ing, a soupcon of medaeval French and Bob is indeed to goodness your uncle. It is but a small "en

Re: fewer / less  •  May 9, 2014, 4:51am  •  1 vote

@HS "She had less family responsibilities" : one might (with a stretch) construe this as meaning the responsibilities were similar in number but less onerous; it is perhaps just a bit vaguer than "few

Re: fewer / less  •  May 8, 2014, 11:37pm  •  0 vote

My take on it is that "fewer" + uncountable noun is nonsensical, as "fewer" implies countable number.

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  May 8, 2014, 8:53pm  •  1 vote

BTW I suppose you guys realise you can upvote your own comments! ;=))

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  May 8, 2014, 8:52pm  •  1 vote

I would suggest that proficient English readers do not read by sounding out each syllable to understand the word; each word becomes a sort of symbol pretty much like Chinese, so whether it is orthogra

Re: fewer / less  •  May 5, 2014, 6:18pm  •  0 vote

less means smaller (in size or number); fewer = smaller in number. a) Her troubles were fewer than her husband's. b) Her troubles were less than her husband's. Doesn't really come up much though.

Re: fewer / less  •  May 5, 2014, 6:52am  •  0 vote

If "fewer is more" means something other than "less is more", then we have a semantic distinction, but it's very small. Is "few" is the result of Viking "package tours" ?

Re: fewer / less  •  May 5, 2014, 12:33am  •  0 vote

Few is more

Re: fewer / less  •  May 5, 2014, 12:32am  •  0 vote

Never in the history of humane endeavour have so many owed so much to so less. There were, apparently, a less people there

Re: “enamored with” and “enamored by”  •  April 29, 2014, 9:32pm  •  0 vote

I've seen it suggested that the past-simple

Re: “enamored with” and “enamored by”  •  April 29, 2014, 12:25am  •  0 vote

Murphy also notes the well-known Americanism: sentences like: "Did you finish your homework yet?" Is this too an example of something borrowed from some earlier form of English?

Re: “enamored with” and “enamored by”  •  April 28, 2014, 4:55pm  •  0 vote

I do remember the teacher in primary school (England 1950's) forbidding us to use the word 'get' in writing because it was a "horrible" word. Given that kind of indoctrination it is not surprising if

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  April 25, 2014, 4:06pm  •  0 vote

@WW by "practical purposes" I meant outside the classroom, like submitting your CV in English or answering business emails.

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  April 23, 2014, 7:30pm  •  0 vote

I agree that spelling is not the major issue for non-native speakers; after all, the common end-use writing situations (business emails, reports, and academic essays) are all covered by spell-checkers

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  April 22, 2014, 9:59pm  •  0 vote

"daemon" is often used with this spelling when referring to a piece of software that is permanently running on the server, for instance as a channel to a database. Spelt without the lig here: http://

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 20, 2014, 1:22am  •  0 vote

Curious how looker(s)-on was overtaken by onlooker(s) toward the end of 19th year-hundred. Also the difference in meaning between passers-by and by-passers (ie people who take the bypass), and the fo

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 19, 2014, 1:13pm  •  0 vote

dictionary.reference.com/browse/warmerupper dictionary.reference.com/browse/cheererupper

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 19, 2014, 1:02pm  •  0 vote

@WW "putter-onner" , putter-inner, taker-outer, leaver-outer, - all several have hits on google urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=leader-onner urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=picker-onner u

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 19, 2014, 3:09am  •  0 vote

en.wiktionary.org/wiki/washer-upper www.definition-of.com/bad+breaker-upper

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 18, 2014, 10:17pm  •  0 vote

books.google.com/books?isbn=0071428933 books.google.com/books?isbn=1419535722

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 18, 2014, 10:12pm  •  0 vote

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fixer-upper

Re: “it’s the put-er-on-er-er”  •  April 18, 2014, 10:09pm  •  0 vote

More at: literalminded.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/picker-uppers-and-putter-upper-withers/ google "putter-upper" "by-stander" and "passer-by" lack the -er on the adverb. stl.recherche.univ-lille3

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 16, 2014, 9:13pm  •  0 vote

@WW No sweat. I guess, were it not for "The Few", we'd both be German subjunctives.

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 16, 2014, 6:31am  •  0 vote

@WW my view is greatly influenced by German where "could you please" is most definitely subjunctive: http://www.linguee.de/deutsch-englisch/uebersetzung/k%C3%B6nnten+sie+mir+bitte+sagen.html But t

Re: Have diphthongs gone for good?  •  April 15, 2014, 11:20pm  •  0 vote

Is this a question of spelling or ligatures? Ligatures like æ are tricky to get for the uninitiated from a standard keyboard so maybe that is a downer for them. (How do people in Europe get the euro

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 15, 2014, 7:56pm  •  0 vote

@WW German closely follows the English patterns: german.stackexchange.com/questions/2512/does-sollen-imply-an-external-agent

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 15, 2014, 1:52pm  •  0 vote

@WW Sorry I didn't mean to suggest that 'would','could', 'might' etc were always subjunctive; just in polite phrases like: "Would you like to.." "Could you please..." "Might I ask..." Whether or n

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 14, 2014, 6:20pm  •  0 vote

@WW At present my understanding of the history/background here (and I may be wrong) is as follows: in the beginning 'will','can', 'mote', 'shall', 'may' were past forms of prehistoric verbs (thats wh

Re: Mentee?  •  April 14, 2014, 5:57pm  •  0 vote

@HS Sounds like you had fun! My first computer game was on a PDP8 in 1970. The oddest thing about programming languages today is one would have thought after fifty years they'd have business/financia

Re: Mentee?  •  April 14, 2014, 3:12pm  •  0 vote

@HS Strictly speaking, the -ee add-on should only be used on French loan-words as it comes from the French past participle. However it seems to have taken on a life of its own in English and become on

Re: Mentee?  •  April 14, 2014, 7:06am  •  0 vote

glenjplayer.com/2011/01/mentee-mentoree-meant-what/

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 14, 2014, 7:02am  •  0 vote

@WW just to be clear: B or C is not something I would choose to teach; (just grabbed the workbook to cover someone's class.) I think textbooks like to be seen to "cover" every possiblity. I doubt Engl

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 14, 2014, 6:35am  •  0 vote

@WW A and D are both fine and normal; there's no issue about that. Context? well I think not.

Re: Which sound “normal” to you?  •  April 13, 2014, 8:18pm  •  0 vote

@WW cf New Headway Intermediate workbook Unit 4 section 2 Item 9 : answer is given as "will we have to" : why can't we say 'shall we have to' - "because people don't" - and so on...

Re: Pronunciation of indefinite article “a”  •  April 13, 2014, 8:02pm  •  0 vote

@WW I really don't have any special knowledge of ME or OE, just what I have gleaned from the web in dealing with "the Anglish question", which made me broaden my scant understanding. There is much mor

Re: Pronunciation of indefinite article “a”  •  April 13, 2014, 7:48pm  •  0 vote

@WW I would agree.

Re: Mentee?  •  April 7, 2014, 11:09pm  •  0 vote

That's from 1913

Re: Mentee?  •  April 7, 2014, 11:07pm  •  0 vote

@HS Perhaps "The Vocational Guidance Quarterly" vol 32 p196 would serve: "Encourage the mentee to approach life and goals with enthusiasm"

Re: Pronunciation of indefinite article “a”  •  April 7, 2014, 4:37pm  •  0 vote

@WW I must own up, all these years so focussed on when to use an article or not, i've never bothered much with the pron thereof. I often have heftier matters on my mind, like struggling with the audio

Re: Pronunciation of indefinite article “a”  •  April 7, 2014, 2:18pm  •  0 vote

@WW Troilius and Cressida : Oon ere it herde, at tothir out it wente" Book 4, line 434. The parsons tale: Of worldly shame? certes, an horrible homicide The Knight's Tale : With bowe in honde, ri

Re: Pronunciation of indefinite article “a”  •  April 6, 2014, 8:25pm  •  0 vote

As 'a' is but a short form of 'an', itself a variant of 'one', and all one and the same in OE/ME it may not be worthwhile starting WWIII over this.

Re: “Anglish”  •  April 3, 2014, 10:39pm  •  0 vote

@AnWulf Yes, freme. Seems to come up as frame with slight meaning change too : en.wiktionary.org/wiki/frame I just balked at putting "behoof" as a tellable word as in : "the drawbacks outwe

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