Joined: October 20, 2005

Number of comments posted: 670

Number of votes received: 1583

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Recent Comments

Re: Plural s-ending Possessives  •  May 4, 2009, 5:10pm  •  0 vote

Jenny, either pronunciation is correct. Fish, you beat me to the punch, but if it were my last name, I'd probably pluralize it as Fish.

Re: Why Don’t We Abolish Irregular Verbs and Nouns?  •  April 26, 2009, 11:27am  •  1 vote

Dyske, I think you may have misunderstood an important point from the very link you posted: "...I understood that the irregular verbs and nouns came from different linguistic systems within which the

Re: Why Don’t We Abolish Irregular Verbs and Nouns?  •  April 15, 2009, 11:07am  •  0 vote

Scyllacat, a link to the "smart guy's" explanation would have been infinitely more useful than simply putting a link to his site.

Re: Most-Populous vs. Most-Populated  •  April 10, 2009, 2:02pm  •  2 votes

I would think either would work. Note that populated and populous don't mean exactly thie same thing. Any place that has inhabitants at all is populated. Populous means heavily populated. Since yo

Re: Speaking with negations  •  April 3, 2009, 1:44pm  •  0 vote

Tom, you said that you can understand it in situations where a thing is not binary. Well, most situations are not binary. The type of negation you describe softens the claim specifically because it

Re: Over exaggeration  •  March 27, 2009, 9:23am  •  2 votes

Underexageration: I'm so hungry I could eat a pony!

Re: Right Question For this Answer (about count/rank/order)  •  March 21, 2009, 9:40am  •  0 vote

Oops, sorry. That's "Ordinally, which prime minister of India is Manmohan Singh?", "of" not "if".

Re: Right Question For this Answer (about count/rank/order)  •  March 21, 2009, 9:37am  •  5 votes

While some comments are on the right track, I would suggest the somewhat simpler: "Ordinally, which prime minister if India is Manmohan Singh?" As mentioned above, cardinal is incorrect as it does no

Re: Computer mouses or computer mice?  •  March 7, 2009, 6:21pm  •  3 votes

For those of you running Windows XP (possibly other operating systems, too), if you go to "device manager" you will find that your mouse is listed under "Mice and other pointing devices". I guess tha

Re: Sleep / Asleep  •  March 3, 2009, 1:04pm  •  0 vote

I haven't actually heard this speech pattern in my area. I am curious. Do they only do it with a preceding "s" or is it with all other vowel or consonant combinations? I.e., I'm sleep, you're sleep

Re: Sleep / Asleep  •  March 2, 2009, 12:34pm  •  12 votes

AO, I don't think that follows from your analogy. Let me restate the true logical extension of your argument: "If you have a problem with people saying that they are sleep, then you should also have

Re: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News  •  February 24, 2009, 4:11pm  •  0 vote

Oh, and, yes, some sources say that acronyms are pronounced as one word, not a string of letters, but many sources and dictionaries do not have this restriction.

Re: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News  •  February 24, 2009, 3:33pm  •  0 vote

dt, If you want to get technical, initialism is a subset of acronym, i.e., all initialisms are acronyms, but not all acronyms are initialisms. Also, There is some controversy about the exact definiti

Re: How many thats?  •  February 22, 2009, 9:12am  •  0 vote

Carol, I'm not sure I can do this without actually being heard aurally, but I'll try. Does this allow it to make sense? "It remains true for all that, that THAT "that", that that "that" refers to

Re: Using plural in the title  •  February 12, 2009, 9:35am  •  0 vote

Also, if drum tracks is always plural, i.e., you always record two or more, that doesn't matter. It still is singular. Someone who rotates your tires is a tire rotator. The act is tire rotation, no

Re: Using plural in the title  •  February 11, 2009, 9:43pm  •  0 vote

In Drum Track Recording Service, "drum track" is an adjectival phrase. When nouns are used as adjectives, alone or in a phrase, it is normal for them to be singular, not plural. A doctor for horses

Re: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News  •  February 6, 2009, 9:04am  •  0 vote

Jan, re: S Lanka, I am merely conjecturing as to a possible explanation, not a justification. That being said, is such usage really so objectionable? Let's pretend there's an island in the South Pac

Re: Spaces After Period  •  February 6, 2009, 7:28am  •  0 vote

Yes, if you look at it, the base of the r is the same distance from the period as the I is. If I had used a letter wider than l, my point would have been even more obvious.

Re: Spaces After Period  •  February 6, 2009, 7:24am  •  0 vote

Has anyone noticed that on this very website, the absence of doublespacing is occasionally quite jarring? Depending on the exact combination of letters, it sometimes appears as if there's no space at

Re: What’s the difference between “commission” and “committee”  •  February 6, 2009, 7:10am  •  18 votes

The defining difference is that a committee is part of a larger organization. A commission is an independent group. E.g., The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation was formed b

Re: Worst Case or Worse Case  •  February 6, 2009, 6:26am  •  0 vote

UIP, the link you listed is interesting, but everyone should be aware, it is really part of a list of a particular college professor's pet peeves, not an authoritative grammar reference. Yes, he is a

Re: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News  •  February 4, 2009, 2:54pm  •  0 vote

Oh, and as for using S Lanka instead of Sri Lanka (which means "beautiful land"), in Sanskrit, "Sri" is also used as a title with surnames, like Mister, Master, Lord, etc. It's possible that abbrevia

Re: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and BBC News  •  February 4, 2009, 2:40pm  •  3 votes

It is a normal and natural progression that, over time, when an acronym becomes commonplace and simply recognized as a word in its own right, it ceases to be capitalized. Words like radar, laser, scu

Re: Computer Keyboard  •  February 1, 2009, 12:17pm  •  0 vote

Patrick, the tilde is used to mean approximately equal to. So is the wavy equal sign you mentioned (like two tildes one on top of the other). A third way is to write a normal, straight equal sign an

Re: Complete Sentence  •  January 17, 2009, 7:13am  •  9 votes

OK, here's an idea that I'm sure many will disagree with. I'm going to posit that any single letter can be a complete sentence. I'm suggesting that through verbification, with the proper context, an

Re: Please be advised....  •  January 15, 2009, 2:55pm  •  0 vote

Joe, I could be mistaken, but I don't think John needed to have "manglish" defined. When John said "what is manglish?", he didn't mean "what is [the definition of the word] manglish?" I think what h

Re: Complete Sentence  •  January 15, 2009, 2:15pm  •  4 votes

To "conflustered": you said that you could only imagine the command, "go", being written as a quote when said by some character in literature, and, therefore, always needing quotes when written. Her

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  January 15, 2009, 2:01pm  •  0 vote

Andy, I'm not sure what your point is when you said: "The singular of data is datum. I never hear anyone say 'datas'." You don't hear "datas" because data is already plural (although it is often

Re: Charade you are!!  •  January 14, 2009, 9:53am  •  1 vote

Josh, I would disagree with your suggestion that "so right you are" is ungrammatical. I think that turn of phrase is similar to the following. Imagine a child who is a finicky eater. After devourin

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  January 13, 2009, 8:01pm  •  1 vote

furthermore, I would like to propose the following etymology (is this the right word for origin of pronunciation, rather than the origin of the word itself?) Please note, this is pure speculation on

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  January 13, 2009, 7:08pm  •  3 votes

Goofy, I'm afraid your quoting of Merriam-Webster is both incomplete and out of context. First, you left out the part at the very beginning where it says: "Though disapproved of by many...". Next, i

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  January 11, 2009, 8:05am  •  3 votes

Yes, Wittgenstein, and the man with his finger on the trigger of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world can't actually say nu-cle-ar. He says nu-CU-LAR. Nor is he the first president to do so. Wh

Re: Curriculum Vita or Curriculum Vitae  •  December 31, 2008, 5:14pm  •  2 votes

Gee, I'm just full of typos today. ...i... should be ...I... and ...is... should be ...it... Normally I wouldn't bother, but I know how picky some can be out here. I've been corrected out here enou

Re: Curriculum Vita or Curriculum Vitae  •  December 31, 2008, 5:11pm  •  2 votes

gee, i guess i contradicted myself a bit. I originally said is WAS course of ONE'S life. Well, I still stand by general gist of what I just posted.

Re: Curriculum Vita or Curriculum Vitae  •  December 31, 2008, 5:10pm  •  3 votes

oops, that's me above, p

Re: Curriculum Vita or Curriculum Vitae  •  December 21, 2008, 8:28pm  •  27 votes

No, curriculum vitae is singular. It means literally, "the course of one's life" with "vitae" being the genitive of "life". not the plural. The plural would be "curricula vitae".

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  December 21, 2008, 9:19am  •  0 vote

Hey, if I just start collecting old movie posters, but I only have one so far, does that mean that I have memorabilium? No, that can't be right. It should be memorabilis.

Re: Street Address vs. Mailing Address  •  December 21, 2008, 9:05am  •  2 votes

No, "will not" is correct. As long as the package is small enough to fit in the box they "can" deliver it. Come to think of it, even if the package is bigger than the box, the post office will still

Re: “dis” vs “un”  •  December 17, 2008, 8:46pm  •  1 vote

If I am unorganized, it means my desk is a bit messy at this particular moment. If I am disorganized, it means my desk is ALWAYS a bit messy. Note, this is consistent with what I have said above; un

Re: Please be advised....  •  December 4, 2008, 7:27pm  •  1 vote

Of course, another way of looking at it is as an attention-getting device. Something like standing in front of a crowded room shouting "hey everybody, listen up!" Comparatively, "Please be advised"

Re: Please be advised....  •  December 4, 2008, 4:46pm  •  2 votes

Acvtually, the politically correctness of "please be advised..." is even more insidious, which, in a way, makes your compiance irrelevant, or, at least, automatic. I suppose you could call it a fa

Re: Street Address vs. Mailing Address  •  December 1, 2008, 8:59am  •  12 votes

Consider this: UPS and FedEx will not deliver to PO boxes. Sometimes when someone wants your "mailing" address, they really want your actual street address in order to send a package to be delivered

Re: Social vs. Societal  •  November 30, 2008, 6:12pm  •  0 vote

Robert., no matter now mad you may be, you are mistaken. I checked two dictionaries. One had thirty five definitions of "issue" and the other had over fifty. The word can mean much more than just "

Re: What Rhymes?  •  November 26, 2008, 7:46am  •  0 vote

Acually, swans are NOT the only birds that have penises. Many bird species do not have penises, but quite a few do have them. Ducks do. So do geese, chickens, turkeys, ostriches, tinamous (kiwis, e

Re: Evident/Evidenced  •  November 12, 2008, 3:21pm  •  5 votes

First, evident is an adjective. Evidenced is a verb (well, a participle). Evident means clear, plain, understandable. Evidenced (or in the simple present tense, evidence as a verb) means to make so

Re: be of some help / be of any help  •  November 11, 2008, 2:47pm  •  24 votes

While there is some overlap, "any" and "some" don't mean exactly the same thing. They're both indeterminate amounts but any means any at all, even the smallest iota, while some is a more general non-

Re: Plural last name ending in “z”  •  November 11, 2008, 2:28pm  •  7 votes

Oh, silly us, AO. The possessive really should be "the Valdezes' ", shouldn't it? "The Valdez' " or "the Valdez's" only makes sense if there's only one of them. In that case, there would be no "the

Re: Plural last name ending in “z”  •  November 11, 2008, 5:37am  •  3 votes

AO, there is no real consensus on whether the possessive should be Valdez' or Valdez's. I would suggest that either is correct. There are many respected sources that say one, the other, or both.

Re: Pronouns  •  November 10, 2008, 9:47am  •  0 vote

While "the class" is certainly singular, consider the intent. A situation is implied where the teacher is trying in vain to get the students in the class to do something. If you use "it" instead of

Re: Try and  •  November 10, 2008, 9:31am  •  0 vote

Please forgive the bad punctuation/capitalization, above. I have a bad cold.

Re: Try and  •  November 10, 2008, 9:25am  •  0 vote

Potpourri, while I agree with your main point, I think some of your examples are flawed. When replacing "must" with "have to", the "to" is not part of the following infinitive, go. in "I have to go"

Re: Plural last name ending in “z”  •  November 10, 2008, 8:30am  •  15 votes

This is really very simple. "The Valdezes" is the correct plural. "The Valdez's" would be the possessive, not the plural.

Re: “dis” vs “un”  •  November 4, 2008, 10:36am  •  1 vote

In the past, I would have agreed with Janet and have often pointed out this misuse as one of my pet peeves. However, John's earlier post above is really quite compelling. I suggest you all read the

Re: Everybody vs. Everyone  •  November 4, 2008, 10:18am  •  3 votes

Taryn, "everybody" is not plural. It's "Everybody is going to the party", not "Everybody are going to the party", right?

Re: Me Versus I  •  November 2, 2008, 5:51am  •  0 vote

To Anonymous and Bee Tee-Ess, it could just as easily be argued that there is an implicit"...are in this picture." following "Greg and I...". That's the very problem. There's no way to know just wha

Re: beginning a request with “may”  •  October 26, 2008, 7:54am  •  0 vote

I think it's been pretty well covered as to why you normally would not use "may you..." to begin a question. However, in the imperative form, "may you..." followed by a command form (usually a sugge

Re: “dis” vs “un”  •  October 16, 2008, 2:37pm  •  15 votes

David, I think you got that backwards (it's also a bit of an oversimplification). In most cases, "dis" is stronger than "un", not the other way around. It's a "fallacy of the excluded middle" sort

Re: all _____ sudden  •  October 4, 2008, 8:35pm  •  0 vote

Chuck, you have touched on one of my pet peeves, people who criticize "Now I lay me down to sleep...", saying that lay should be lie, when, in fact, "lay" in the little poem is correct. I guess that'

Re: all _____ sudden  •  October 1, 2008, 1:24am  •  0 vote

Hutch, AO, I think you both missed something. The word "sudden' is also a noun. The use is archaic, but means a sudden occurrence. Use this obsolete definition and all of a sudden, the expression ma

Re: Space After Period  •  September 2, 2008, 2:47pm  •  0 vote

Pb, I agree that we read in word "chunks" or "grabs", but doesn't that actually suggest that double-spacing after periods improves readability? Most people absorb maybe two to three, perhaps up to fi

Re: “the below” vs “the following”  •  September 2, 2008, 2:10pm  •  1 vote

Oops, that should be ...[comment]...

Re: “the below” vs “the following”  •  September 1, 2008, 9:00pm  •  1 vote

But, Estragib, when "below" is followed by "changes" it is no longer functioning as a noun. Even the examples you give could be understood as "the [comments] above is Theseus's opinion".

Re: You’re not going to the game, are you?  •  August 31, 2008, 7:42pm  •  0 vote

I'm afraid the exact opposite is true. If you are agreeing with a negative question, you should answer no. If you are agreeing witha positive question, you should answer yes. If you are disagreeing

Re: rogue apostrophe  •  August 23, 2008, 8:23am  •  0 vote

Perhaps a better answer would be to say it's the genitive of measure rather than the possesive. See: http://www.alt-usage-english.org/genitive_and_possessive.html or another posting from this

Re: What’s wrong with this?  •  August 23, 2008, 8:05am  •  0 vote

Adding "that" might make the sentence clearer, but such a "that" is optional. The sentence is correct as is, albeit somewhat colorful. If it's ok (grammatically or logically) for someone to make som

Re: affectatious  •  August 23, 2008, 7:51am  •  1 vote

If affectatious truly means ""of the nature of affectation" then I think that "In my novel, should I use the word 'dahling' for 'darling' when spoken by an affectatious woman?" would be incorrect. On

Re: Usage of ‘I have doubt that’  •  August 23, 2008, 7:30am  •  0 vote

The original phrase in question: "Some people may have doubt that why invest in these sectors during the economy slump?" is a non-sequitor. The problem is that "Some people may have doubt that..." mu

Re: rogue apostrophe  •  August 19, 2008, 8:35am  •  0 vote

Actually, instead of "four day's journey" or "four days journey", I would write "four days' journey", the plural possessive. "Four days' journey" means a "journey of four days". The possessive phrase

Re: There is more than one user  •  August 12, 2008, 4:27pm  •  1 vote

Actually, Super Student, in spite of your sarcasm, Ralph is right, at least, mostly; although, he's referring not to the plural, but to the subjunctive tense, which in the past tense looks the same as

Re: Couldn’t Care Less  •  August 9, 2008, 3:40pm  •  0 vote

The English teacher labelling "couldn't care less" as an incorrect double negative is mistaken. For one thing, If he or she were right, that would not justify saying "could care less". It would just

Re: Space After Period  •  August 9, 2008, 3:15pm  •  0 vote

OK, Lab Rat, I HAVE to ask. You mean to tell me that someone actually did a study where they did brain scans of people while they read text that had two spaces after a period vs. one space? REALLY?

Re: Let’s you and me/I  •  July 24, 2008, 4:48pm  •  1 vote

Come on now, poetic examples are pretty much irrelevant to grammar, usage, etc. ee cummings used weird punctuation and capitalization to create various stream-of-consciousness moods. Does that mean

Re: Announcement  •  July 12, 2008, 1:42pm  •  0 vote

I'm glad I could help. Thanks for the mention. And thanks for creating a great site!

Re: hanged vs. hung  •  July 9, 2008, 5:20pm  •  2 votes

John, when you say "...but some commentators, who apparently haven't done their research, persist in saying it's wrong...", who exactly are you referring to? Since your last two posts, in well over a

Re: hanged vs. hung  •  July 7, 2008, 12:04pm  •  3 votes

by the way, who won the bet?

Re: hanged vs. hung  •  July 7, 2008, 11:48am  •  6 votes

Alla, it doesn't matter if the hanging is self-inflicted. "He hanged himself" would still be correct.

Re: “I haven’t known”  •  July 2, 2008, 5:32pm  •  10 votes

Regarding: "...if it's even correct to say such a thing...", Yes, it's perfectly correct to say "I haven't known." It's an example of the present perfect simple tense. Of course, it's the negation.

Re: Try and  •  June 24, 2008, 10:07pm  •  1 vote

I think the comments about "try and..." implying success for the action of the second verb may be on the right track, but need some clarification. Completion may be implied, but actual successful com

Re: Believe as a noun  •  June 16, 2008, 4:37pm  •  1 vote

Tolken, I think you're presenting a false dichotomy. Nouns are used as adjectives all the time in English. Adjectival phrases including nouns also modify other nouns. Compound words may be made up

Re: Pronunciation: aunt  •  June 13, 2008, 10:13am  •  1 vote

Uncle Ben, I must disagree with some of your points. Aunt is not the only 'au' word that has an 'a' sound. What about 'laugh'? And how about 'draught,' variation of draft' and pronounced the same, o

Re: Plural s-ending Possessives  •  June 7, 2008, 1:33pm  •  0 vote

Hey Grammar Geek, for singular possessives ending in "s", especially names, some add just an apostrophe and others add an apostrophe followed by an "s". Style and grammar guides disagree or list it a

Re: Space After Period  •  June 4, 2008, 5:24am  •  0 vote

This topic has been discussed in much more detail in the following post: http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.php?id=68

Re: “pi the type”  •  May 27, 2008, 2:26pm  •  2 votes

As I'm sure you're aware, pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, 3.14159.... It's a transcendental number, i.e. the sequence of digits after the decimal point is non-termin

Re: Inch vs. Inches  •  April 25, 2008, 8:59am  •  1 vote

And what about adjectives? A ruler can be twelve inches long, but that makes it a twelve inch ruler.

Re: Let’s you and me/I  •  April 23, 2008, 4:09pm  •  0 vote

Natalie, I see that you and Jenna posted at exactly the same time. I think she detailed the reasoning you were seeking. I would take issue with one thing, though. "Let's you and me..." isn't necess

Re: Spelling with mixed cases  •  March 31, 2008, 11:22am  •  1 vote

While I didn't exactly do an exhaustive study, I believe that grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are separate and independent conventions of English usage. Thus, a word that is capita

Re: Spelling with mixed cases  •  March 28, 2008, 6:40am  •  1 vote

In a spelling bee, there is no capitalization or lack thereof. Does that mean that it's impossible to spell a word orally? of course not!

Re: Word for a word with no rhyme?  •  February 7, 2008, 8:24am  •  3 votes

Lottie, "daily" rhymes with Hayley. And to deez simith, the first consonant of the stressed syllable need not be the same for a word to rhyme. only the following consonants, etc. But, even if what

Re: People(s)  •  January 29, 2008, 10:04am  •  0 vote

Most of the previous posts are on the right track, but there's something that no one has explicitly stated. The word "people" meaning more than one person, is a plural noun. The word "people" me

Re: Might could  •  January 22, 2008, 2:40pm  •  1 vote

tjf, what about just saying "Maybe I (he/she/you) could have gotten it cheaper"? I think that's what most people would say (by the way, I'm not saying there's necessarily anything wrong with "might c

Re: When to use verbs with an s or without  •  January 9, 2008, 5:53am  •  2 votes

John is right. "She insists that he take his medicine" is a directive. She is insisting that he should take his medicine. "She insists that he takes his medicine" is a statement of fact. She is

Re: Social vs. Societal  •  November 17, 2007, 9:58am  •  0 vote

Social is a broader word with more definitions. Societal's definition is a subset of social's. There is another post on this here: http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.php?id=977

Re: First Generation vs. Second Generation  •  November 16, 2007, 1:27am  •  2 votes

Sorry Javid, I have to disagree. Certainly your parents can now consider themselves 1st generation Americans according to definition 1. As their child, you can also consider yourself a 2nd generatio

Re: Apostrophes  •  November 8, 2007, 1:02pm  •  0 vote

Earlier, I posted that "...David is right...", but I meant to say "...John is right..." Sorry about that John. Clearly I meant to agree with you, as there is no post by any "David".

Re: Head shot  •  October 20, 2007, 5:13am  •  0 vote

Head shot certainly doesn't work. A head shot is a professional 8 x 10 glossy photograph of an actor or model, sent to prospective employers as part of his or her portfolio.

Re: Do’s and Don’t's  •  October 19, 2007, 9:16pm  •  21 votes

Rincewind, Comrade smack, you are right about not removing any apostrophes from the contraction part. However, using apostrophes to indicate plurality is definitely correct in some circumstances. T

Re: What is this triangular symbol?  •  October 15, 2007, 2:49pm  •  0 vote

Not only were you right "too", John. Your explanation was BETTER, much more specific.

Re: Orally Aural. Oh Really?  •  October 3, 2007, 2:30pm  •  0 vote

Imagine my surprise when I checked the dictionary and found that they are usually pronounced the same. The only difference I found listed was that some pronounce oral as oh-ral (1st syllable rhymes w

Re: Plurals in titles  •  October 3, 2007, 2:18pm  •  0 vote

Cascader, it's not a question of whether it's a book of books. It's a matter of whether "Book of Mormon" is a book, edited by Mormon, or the actual title of said book. Since it could be understood e

Re: Do’s and Don’t's  •  October 3, 2007, 2:10pm  •  8 votes

In spite of what others have posted, I would say ...don't's and ...don'ts are both correct. Do's and don't's is the older, more traditional way. for a more complete discussion of this, see my post

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