Joined: October 20, 2005

Number of comments posted: 670

Number of votes received: 1580

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Recent Comments

Re: silent autumn  •  February 2, 2006, 11:20pm  •  0 vote

Ok, now that I think about it, I will soften my view just a little, as I think I may have contradicted myself. I did say it is possible to make a different sound for mmm and nnn, although only slight

Re: silent autumn  •  February 2, 2006, 6:25pm  •  1 vote

now I KNOW this will start an argument, but I am going to posit that it is IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to say autumn or column in such a way as to pronounce the "n" at the end. In fact, I would claim the so

Re: As wet as ?  •  February 2, 2006, 1:58pm  •  1 vote

hi Zoltar, Are you familiar with Warner Brothers cartoons? (Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, etc.) The phrase was originally used in one of their cartoons featuring the giant rooster character, Foghorn Leghorn

Re: First Generation vs. Second Generation  •  January 31, 2006, 11:53pm  •  3 votes

Molly, check out dyske's posting below. According to the dictionary, both your grandfather and great-grandfather could be considered 1st generation. The expression is ambiguous. Now, let's have some

Re: The use of “hey” in place of “hello”.  •  January 31, 2006, 1:23pm  •  8 votes

Jon, oi in England? Thanks for the info. My Mother-in-law is English and I hear an occasional "oi" out of her. I would always think to myself, "How odd. Why is my Episcopal Mother-in-law speaking Yidd

Re: Five by Five  •  January 31, 2006, 1:20pm  •  4 votes

Brian and Michael have pretty much hit it on the head. Do note, however that I don't think it's necessarily military. It applies in all forms of radio communication. It is actually an officially do

Re: Where are the commas?  •  January 31, 2006, 1:00am  •  0 vote

I know some will agree with me and some won't, but I was taught in school (some time ago, I might add) that the comma in question was optional. This is what I was taught and what appeared in print in

Re: As wet as ?  •  January 24, 2006, 5:44pm  •  1 vote

I think I have to take back my suggestion for "as wet as rain." The common expression that i was thinking about is "right as rain." Sorry, wrong dead metaphor, er, simile.

Re: Have/halve  •  January 24, 2006, 1:02pm  •  0 vote

oops, I meant "having" not "have"

Re: Have/halve  •  January 24, 2006, 1:01pm  •  0 vote

You certainly ask an interesting question, but I have to disagree that "...in this case both correct." In the example you gave, if you substitute the word "have", then the sentence becomes nonsensica

Re: Pronunciation: aunt  •  January 19, 2006, 3:23pm  •  1 vote

Bigjock, I have heard audi pronounced as you said, but I have also heard it pronounced awdi, as in "audio" or "Claude."

Re: Pronunciation: aunt  •  January 18, 2006, 5:21pm  •  6 votes

Using that logic, Arfon, shouln't you say "awnt", rhyming with haunt or taunt?

Re: As wet as ?  •  January 12, 2006, 3:27pm  •  3 votes

Ok, I think I have the definitive answer: "as wet as rain."

Re: your call will be answered in the order it was received  •  January 10, 2006, 5:58pm  •  0 vote

I think I know what bothers me about this. It's that passive third person thing, You know, when someone says "the problem will be resolved by Thursday" instead of saying "I will resolve the problem by

Re: As wet as ?  •  January 10, 2006, 5:54pm  •  1 vote

"as sharp as a sack of wet mice." Ok, it doesn't start with "wet" but it does have "wet" in it.

Re: your call will be answered in the order it was received  •  January 9, 2006, 6:13pm  •  0 vote

This has always bothered me too, although I could never quite put my finger on why. Another one that strikes me as similarly odd is "objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

Re: Shame on You!  •  January 9, 2006, 6:08pm  •  0 vote

I have seen both gestures, but, Liz, I would ask the same question. What does the "shaking the single index finger" gesture mean then? Is that supposed to be using the switch that was fashioned with t

Re: I/Me function in brackets.  •  January 3, 2006, 4:57pm  •  0 vote

I don't know why "even me" would mean the same as "you and me", but even if it did, it would be irrelevant because "you and I" would be the correct usage here. I agree with Helena; I not me.

Re: Afraid not  •  January 2, 2006, 2:06pm  •  1 vote

Actually, your analysis about dropping the "can" is correct, although I would think of it as dropping the following: "I'm afraid (that you may) not (have the newspaper)." Why do you think this doesn

Re: Might could  •  December 20, 2005, 5:58pm  •  3 votes

It gets even more complicated when you consider that "could" can function as more than one part of speech, i.e. is somewhat ambiguous. It could be a past tense, a subjunctive, etc. With this in mi

Re: First Generation vs. Second Generation  •  December 20, 2005, 5:45pm  •  9 votes

99% you say? According to the US department of homeland security office of immigration statistics, the number of non-naturalized permanent residents (green card) in the US is almost twice as many as n

Re: Live or Living  •  December 19, 2005, 4:38pm  •  1 vote

While "I am living in B" does suggest something temporary, do note that "I live in B" does not preclude a temporary arrangement. Thus, in the example you gave, either would be acceptable unless you in

Re: First Generation vs. Second Generation  •  December 19, 2005, 4:31pm  •  11 votes

dyske, I think you missed the point a bit. The parents aren't zero generation Americans. They're not natural born Americans at all. "generations" doesn't refer to everyone in the family tree. It refe

Re: X and S  •  December 19, 2005, 4:11pm  •  0 vote

gee confused, is that a trick question? When would you use the plural possessive form of autumn? If you were to say "Autumn's change in temperature...", that would still be the singular possessive, ev

Re: ____ and he?  •  December 15, 2005, 2:35pm  •  0 vote

I don't know if this is a rule or not, but if it were the subject of the sentence, I would use "he and Ariel...", not "Ariel and he...", that is, I would not try to parallel the "I comes last" rule.

Re: you all  •  December 15, 2005, 2:29pm  •  0 vote

"Hi, you" sounds like something you'd say awkwardly when you've forgotton someone's name. I think I've heard it used that way on some sitcom as a joke. Usually, when used in the singular, it's qui

Re: Charade you are!!  •  December 12, 2005, 7:04pm  •  15 votes

Churba may be correct as for as is goes, but it doesn't answer gargeug's question. Gareug already knows what "touche" means. I believe "Ha Ha, charade you are" doesn't mean "touche" per se, but ac

Re: Might could  •  December 8, 2005, 1:31pm  •  3 votes

A possible reply that I think means the same thing is "I'm not sure, but maybe I could." or, alternatively, "I'm not sure, but I might be able to." You could simply say, "I'm not sure, but I might",

Re: Plural form of anonymous  •  November 24, 2005, 4:09pm  •  13 votes

While I agree that anonymous is an adjective, don't just dismiss the plural issue as a dumb question. I think it's quite an interesting one. Why, isn't the very example of "posted by anonymous" worth

Re: Login into or log in to  •  November 24, 2005, 4:00pm  •  0 vote

When you log on you are on the system. When you log in you are in; inside a particular area.

Re: Login into or log in to  •  November 24, 2005, 3:58pm  •  1 vote

RE: log on vs. log in, I couldn't begin to say why, but I tend to think of logging on as establishing an actual network or internet connection, e.g. dialup, or, as was mentioned in the old days, conn

Re: Capitalizing After the Colon  •  November 21, 2005, 7:02pm  •  2 votes

Voltaire, are you implying that a colon cannot be used to join what would normally be two sentences? I vaguely recall such a joining as correct and proper as long as the colon is demonstrating some r

Re: “Tilting at Windmills”  •  November 21, 2005, 6:57pm  •  0 vote

I would agree with much of what was said below, except that I think that Speedwell's metaphor is too narrow. It is used to describe any attempt or planned attempt at something that is clearly unattai

Re: Spaces After Period  •  November 10, 2005, 6:36pm  •  2 votes

I thought you'd all find this interesting. I saw a little dig against Microsoft below, but the truth is that when using Microsoft Word, you can set the grammar checker to use either one or two spaces

Re: ‘...’?  •  October 31, 2005, 2:09pm  •  0 vote

You can also use an ellipsis to signify the passage of time, or a delay. The ellipsis was discussed at length on this previous posting: http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.asp?id=482

Re: How many thats?  •  October 27, 2005, 7:19pm  •  0 vote

Ok, now I can use three "that"s: "Now that I consider that, that that is important suddenly becomes obvious." Maybe not the best sentence, but it works.

Re: Assist in or assist with  •  October 27, 2005, 6:26pm  •  63 votes

I agree but would like to be more specific. "assists in" is followed by a verb. "assists with" is followed by a noun. It just so happens that drafting can be a verb or a noun, so both sentences mak

Re: Present adverbs in past narrative  •  October 27, 2005, 6:14pm  •  0 vote

I would agree with Matt. The "now", resolves a potential ambiguity. Compare it to "Three months after his father’s death, Dave was still running the shop."

Re: How many thats?  •  October 27, 2005, 5:59pm  •  0 vote

I noticed that everyone's examples are relying not on the grammatical use of "that" as a part of speech, but simply as a word. If I say, "where should I place that "that" in the sentence?", clearly t

Re: off the mark  •  October 27, 2005, 5:36pm  •  0 vote

Or, also may be from archery; missed the bullseye is off the mark.

Re: Eels’ or Eels’s?  •  October 27, 2005, 4:47pm  •  0 vote

Oops. Sorry, that last "Anonymous" was me, Porsche.

Re: Riot act  •  October 27, 2005, 3:19pm  •  0 vote

Wow, thanks! Another dead metaphor to add to my collection.

Re: Tsunami  •  October 26, 2005, 7:53pm  •  0 vote

Actually, susan, me, a tidal wave IS a tsunami, at least one of the definitions. It may be a misnomer, but that is the definition. Yes, a tidal wave may have nothing to do with tides.

Re: you all  •  October 26, 2005, 7:36pm  •  0 vote

All sounds interesting, but I have to take issue with your basic premise. Most Americans do NOT say you all, or y'all. It is specifically a southern regionalism.

Re: “by” vs. “of”  •  October 26, 2005, 7:30pm  •  0 vote

Of couse it is of, not by. You're the one who possesses the qualities. The qualities aren't possessing YOU. Unless, like Charlie says, it's something scary, like in the amityville horror or something

Re: percentages  •  October 26, 2005, 7:00pm  •  0 vote

For those who don't like "two-thirds percent", what are you talking about??? People talk like that all the time. My bank account yields four and a half percent, or three and a quarter, not 4.5 or 3.2

Re: Left and Right?  •  October 26, 2005, 5:38pm  •  0 vote

In French, left is gauche, also meaning awkward or lacking social polish. Personally, I like Ralph and Louie, as in "hang a louie ovuh dere"

Re: Odd sentence?  •  October 26, 2005, 5:31pm  •  0 vote

Wait a minute, now. While it is certainly likely the the true intent was to use "broke", it is not ungrammatical with "breaking". Consider this scenario: The bottle was sitting on a table for years a

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  October 26, 2005, 5:22pm  •  9 votes

I'm with you, Slemmet, but this happens to be one of my wife's pet peeves. She hates hearing that olympic atheletes "medal" in a particular sport. In fact, when a noun is made into a verb, she says t

Re: The double “to”  •  October 26, 2005, 4:48pm  •  0 vote

Edward, Jamaal, David, you have all hit on one of my pet peeves. You are all incorrect. Ending a sentence with a preposition is completely 100% grammatically correct. Every single grammar book in Am

Re: How many “ands” in a row  •  October 26, 2005, 3:28pm  •  1 vote

Oh, come on now, everyone. I don't think Martin is asking for any advice. I think he's just being provocative or trying to be clever. Personally, I think he succeeded. By the way, a small thing.

Re: Regardless  •  October 26, 2005, 3:15pm  •  0 vote

When I was in grade school, some 35 or 40 years ago, the word irregardless was not in the dictionary. At the time, it was not considered a word. Today, it is listed in the dictionary. While it might

Re: off the mark  •  October 26, 2005, 2:57pm  •  0 vote

It's simply a metaphor, perhaps a dead one. Imagine measuring and marking a piece of wood, cutting it, then measuring it again, discovering that it was cut to the wrong size.

Re: Farther/Further?  •  October 26, 2005, 2:53pm  •  0 vote

In most (not all) cases, further can be used in place of farther, but there are more cases where farther can not be used in place of further.

Re: Wanna know what it coulda be...  •  October 26, 2005, 2:33pm  •  0 vote

Yes, fowlerfan, I stand corrected. In any case, I think you would agree though, coulda is not a clitic, just the -a is the clitic.

Re: Eels’ or Eels’s?  •  October 26, 2005, 2:18pm  •  0 vote

I'm a little confused, Fowlerfan. Dickens and Eels DO end in an "-iz" sound, so why did you add the 's?

Re: According to ME, you, him....  •  October 26, 2005, 2:06pm  •  1 vote

As was said, one use of "according to so and so..." is to lend authority to the rest of the statement. I think that often when you hear "according to me..." the speaker is not so subtly suggesting th

Re: Use of multiple periods  •  October 26, 2005, 1:58pm  •  1 vote

I would have to agree with many of the comments below. Certainly ellipses are not exactly equivalent to commas, but they do have more uses besides signifying omitted text in a quote. In particular,

Re: Do not induce vomiting  •  October 21, 2005, 1:18am  •  0 vote

remember, there was a time when syrup of epicac was kept in every medicine cabinet, especially if one had children.

Re: Idea Vs. Ideal  •  October 21, 2005, 1:13am  •  2 votes

I, too, have never heard ideal in place of idea. I can tell you that as a striving and moral person I do have ideals, and in some contexts might stress one particular one by saying I have an ideal.

Re: O’clock  •  October 21, 2005, 1:09am  •  1 vote

Actually, it's funny you should say that, Julia. The English word clock and the German Glocke are cognates. More precisely, clock is from the French cloche which means bell also, and is a cognate with

Re: OK vs Okay  •  October 21, 2005, 12:52am  •  10 votes

I have heard these histories and others, but all sources I have seen also say that the history is obscure. No one really knows for sure. PS - have you ever noticed that when you make the "OK" sign

Re: Spell checkers  •  October 21, 2005, 12:48am  •  0 vote

Ok, I'm sure you've all seen this, but I just couldn't resist: Owed to a Spell Chequer I halve a spelling chequer It came with my pea sea It plane lee marques four my revue Miss steaks aye ke

Re: Wanna know what it coulda be...  •  October 21, 2005, 12:29am  •  0 vote

While very similar, these are not clitics. Clitics are words that can only be used in conjunction with other words. the word 'em, as in I can see 'em now. or in French, the article l' as in l'amour

Re: S  •  October 21, 2005, 12:04am  •  0 vote

Actually, a or an is usually optional before a word beginning in 'H'. a halibut or an halibut are equally correct, although an halibut is mcuh less common, at least in the USA. and for acronyms, t

Re: “my tire flattened”  •  October 20, 2005, 6:32pm  •  0 vote

then, MPT, could a nail flatten my tire?

Re: Computer mouses or computer mice?  •  October 20, 2005, 6:28pm  •  15 votes

I'm sorry. I'm afraid I have to agree with Bubba. From now on, I'm going to refer to it as a computer MOOSE. and when I have TWO computers, I'm gonna have TWO computer MOOSE!!!! After all, the MOOSE

Re: Worst Case or Worse Case  •  October 20, 2005, 6:07pm  •  3 votes

Persephone, if there were only two cases, the worse of the two would still be the worst-case scenario. However, if there were THREE, then I suppose the middle one would be the worse-case, but not the

Re: “I am so not XYZ”  •  October 20, 2005, 5:11pm  •  0 vote

Oh, come on now. look at these: I am happy. I am so happy. I am unhappy. I am so unhappy. I am not happy. I am so not happy. Clearly, ...so not.... is very awkward, but just as clearly, gramma

Re: “gain by”  •  October 20, 2005, 4:55pm  •  0 vote

I think you included the seeds of your own answer. as you suggested, "...you could really gain "by" something" does sound awkward. but: "...you could really gain "from" something" sounds ok. Wel

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