goofy

Joined: July 24, 2006  (email not validated)

Number of comments posted: 235

Number of votes received: 280

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Recent Comments

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  September 26, 2011, 2:43pm  •  4 votes

Neither "idiolect" nor "counterfactual" are neologisms. They are common words round my way. Anyway, please read the MWDEU entry I linked to.

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  September 26, 2011, 9:08am  •  6 votes

My idiolect doesn't make any difference in meaning between If I was the Prime Minister, I would change the law. If I were the Prime Minister, I would change the law. I know that both sentences

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  September 25, 2011, 12:18pm  •  0 vote

Brus, you cannot assistance something because "assistance" is not a verb, it's a noun. A gerund is not a noun, because you can't replace it with a real noun, like "assistance".

Re: What happened to who, whom and whose?  •  September 19, 2011, 12:59pm  •  0 vote

As AnWulf has said and everyone seems to have ignored, "that" and "who" used interchangeably isn't the fault of Americans, or young people, or lack of education. Using the word "that" refer to people

Re: Oblige to mean “force”  •  September 12, 2011, 10:41am  •  0 vote

"You must look at the root of the word." That's the etymological fallacy. Etymologies aren't definitions.

Re: Oblige to mean “force”  •  September 12, 2011, 8:51am  •  0 vote

AnWulf, replacing one word with a completely different word doesn't prove anything. However, "oblige" does mean "To constrain, influence; to force, compel (a person)" (OED sense V.12). Merriam-

Re: What happened to who, whom and whose?  •  September 8, 2011, 11:55am  •  3 votes

Americans? Shakespeare couldn't get who/whom straight. Albany. Run, run, O, run! Edgar. To who, my lord? - King Lear Elbow. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour - Escalus

Re: Really happy or real happy  •  September 6, 2011, 4:47pm  •  1 vote

MDWEU on "real" as an adverb: http://books.google.com/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&lpg=PP1&dq=merriam-websters%20dictionary%20of%20english%20usage&pg=PA799#v=onepage&q&f=false

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  September 6, 2011, 11:14am  •  0 vote

From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage: This construction, both with and without the possessive, has been used in writing for about 300 years. Both forms have been used by standard auth

Re: “for long”  •  September 3, 2011, 11:41am  •  0 vote

There is a set of words that is usually only used in questions and negatives. For instance "any" and its derivatives. I didn't see anyone. Do you want any eggs? *I saw anyone. *I want any eggs.

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  August 27, 2011, 10:15pm  •  1 vote

Hannah, I see your point. However, that is not the rule. There is nothing incorrect about not using a possessive in front of a gerund - at least according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English U

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  August 22, 2011, 6:56am  •  4 votes

I agree, the use of a word is not determined by the person who coined it. The company could write a letter asking a newspaper to change "LEGOs" to "LEGO bricks". But I don't see any reason why the new

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  August 22, 2011, 6:32am  •  1 vote

A gerund (or "ing" form if you prefer) doesn't take the syntactic place usually occupied by a noun. When I say that a gerund doesn't function as a noun, I mean that you can't replace the gerund with a

Re: gifting vs. giving a gift  •  August 19, 2011, 1:59pm  •  1 vote

David Teague: You're right that just because something was used in the 17th century, it doesn't make it correct. I cited the quote with "gift" from the 17th century because I was responding to someone

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  August 19, 2011, 9:52am  •  1 vote

My car proves that I am a fast driver. *Me car proves that I am a fast driver. The second sentence is wrong, because "car" is a noun. But a gerund like "driving" or "writing" is not a noun. So you

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  August 13, 2011, 2:32pm  •  1 vote

@scyllacat I think you're missing my point. The usual argument goes something like this: "Gerunds function as nouns, therefore they must be proceeded by possessive pronouns, because nouns are proceede

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  August 12, 2011, 7:56am  •  2 votes

According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, both "me writing books" and "my writing books" are correct. Both have been used in standard English writing for 300 years. http://books.g

Re: Stood down  •  August 5, 2011, 6:26am  •  1 vote

It's in the OED, with citations from The Daily Telegraph and The Times (London).

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  April 5, 2011, 2:47pm  •  0 vote

First of all: I made a mistake in my earlier post. "Have got" denotes possession, but "have gotten" denotes obtaining (for many Americans). Next, Jim, I did give you a "legitimate references that g

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  March 30, 2011, 4:52pm  •  1 vote

Jim, of course "have" and "got" belong next to each other. "got" is the past tense, but it's also a past participle. About the meaning difference between "have" and "have got", Merriam-Webster's Di

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  March 24, 2011, 6:51pm  •  8 votes

"redundant" does not mean "incorrect". Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says "Have will do perfectly well in writing that avoids the natural rhythms of speech. But in speech, or prose

Re: to-day, to-night  •  February 23, 2011, 3:15pm  •  0 vote

The OED has the spelling "to-day" up to 1912. But it was also spelled without the hyphen as early as the 1700s.

Re: Use of “Referenced”  •  February 23, 2011, 3:10pm  •  0 vote

The first citation in the OED is 1957.

Re: gifting vs. giving a gift  •  February 23, 2011, 3:06pm  •  2 votes

"gift" has been a verb since at least the 1600s. Which means we've been in the end times for... 400 years. How will English survive? "The recovery of a parcel of ground which the Queen had gifted t

Re: Can every letter be used as a silent letter?  •  February 4, 2011, 1:56am  •  1 vote

Er, of course the L in "walk" and "talk" is silent. Who pronounces these words with the sound /l/? No one.

Re: Correct preposition following different?  •  February 1, 2011, 5:54pm  •  0 vote

http://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/different-than-analogy-fallacies/

Re: Canadian pronunciation of “out and about”  •  November 6, 2010, 8:08pm  •  1 vote

I meant "voiceless", not "voiced". The raising occurs before a voiceless consonant.

Re: Canadian pronunciation of “out and about”  •  November 4, 2010, 6:00pm  •  2 votes

porsche, I think canconned's point is the same as mine: Canadian raising happens in words where the vowel is followed by a voiced consonant. So the vowels in knife/knives and lout/loud are different,

Re: Can every letter be used as a silent letter?  •  September 21, 2010, 9:47pm  •  4 votes

james, you're assuming that spelling determines pronunciation, and it doesn't, otherwise "give" and "dive" would rhyme. The T in "listen" is unetymological - the Old English word was "lysna", and the

Re: Can every letter be used as a silent letter?  •  September 21, 2010, 7:35am  •  3 votes

Y is not silent in "yclept" or "coccyx".

Re: Canadian pronunciation of “out and about”  •  August 15, 2010, 11:36pm  •  7 votes

It's called Canadian raising, where the diphthong /aw/ is raised to /?w/ and /aj/ to /?j/. It occurs before a voiceless consonant - so the vowel in "out" isn't the same as in "loud", and the vowel in

Re: all _____ sudden  •  July 29, 2010, 7:03pm  •  0 vote

I'm sorry to inform Patricia that the English languages has been destroyed for a long time: the noun "reveal" means "that part of the side of a doorway or window opening between the frame and the arri

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 28, 2010, 6:53am  •  4 votes

"But then, what’s so bad with proposing a little change?, after all that’s how the english you and I know came about: through radical change." The difference is that Old English didn't become Middl

Re: He and I, me and him  •  July 23, 2010, 2:57pm  •  3 votes

I don't think there is a proper order. I've heard some people say that you should put "I/me" last to be polite, but that has nothing to do with grammar.

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 15, 2010, 12:02pm  •  2 votes

Actually "wrong" was borrowed from Old Norse. I don't think there's such a thing as a "pure" language. Even Anglo-Saxon isn't pure. Anglo-Saxon is descended from Proto-Germanic, and many Proto-Germ

Re: “she” vs “her”  •  June 20, 2010, 9:31am  •  0 vote

http://www.stanford.edu/~zwicky/Grano.finalthesis.pdf

Re: spay, not spade  •  June 10, 2010, 2:10pm  •  0 vote

"spade" is an obsolete form of "spay" according to the OED. Perhaps it survived.

Re: “Zen” as an Adjective  •  May 26, 2010, 9:44am  •  0 vote

It's listed as an adjective in the OED.

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  May 11, 2010, 9:08am  •  1 vote

Dave Johnson: It's the "the true scholars of English, the writers and the poets" who are using the words you're complaining about. Well, maybe not the poets, but good writers of all kinds use "forums"

Re: A piece of irony  •  May 8, 2010, 7:43am  •  4 votes

One of the entries in the OED for "ignorant" is "5. dial. and colloq. Ill-mannered, uncouth."

Re: why does english have capital letters?  •  April 6, 2010, 6:42pm  •  2 votes

I'm not convinced that the reason English has capital letters is for legibility. Most alphabets don't make a distinction between miniscule and capital letters - in fact the only alphabets that do are

Re: mines  •  March 17, 2010, 10:29pm  •  1 vote

According to the OED, it's "regional (chiefly Scottish)".

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 20, 2010, 10:20am  •  0 vote

I'd be wary of trusting Elements of Style. The books written as advice for college students in writing essays. Nowadays it is marketed to all writers, but the content hasn't been updated consistently.

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 19, 2010, 11:03pm  •  0 vote

“Lay” has been used intransitively to mean “lie” since 1300. No one really cared about it until Baker in 1770, who decided that this was wrong, and who formulated the modern prescriptive judgments abo

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 18, 2010, 10:49pm  •  0 vote

"Lay" has been used intransitively to mean "lie" since 1300. No one really cared about it until Baker in 1770, who decided that this was wrong, and who formulated the modern prescriptive judgments abo

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 18, 2010, 8:30am  •  0 vote

I looked up "gay" in the OED. Here is a selection of meanings that the word has had at one time or another: Noble; beautiful; excellent, fine. Bright or lively-looking, esp. in colour; brilliant, s

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 14, 2010, 2:19pm  •  0 vote

Yes the Biblical quote is a translation, but that's not really relevant. The point is that the translators apparently chose the word "mad" to mean "angry".

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 14, 2010, 1:48pm  •  0 vote

Well here are some citations to demonstrate how old the "angry, irate, cross" meaning of "mad" is: c1425 (?a1400) Arthur 234 Whan þis lettre was open & rad, þe Bretons & all men were mad And wolde

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 14, 2010, 11:51am  •  0 vote

"Yes, but the rage that accompanies madness." The entry in the OED is "Angry, irate, cross. Also, in weakened sense: annoyed, exasperated". Citations are provided from 1400. I don't see a connectio

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 14, 2010, 10:36am  •  0 vote

Then I'm not sure what your point is. As for "mad"... there is nothing to give up. "Mad" has meant "angry" for 400 years.

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 14, 2010, 10:00am  •  0 vote

"irritate vs aggravate, uninterested vs disinterested, and farther vs further" These examples are all problematic. The complaints about these words are at best oversimplifications and at worst inac

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 14, 2010, 9:20am  •  0 vote

"Beat" has two forms for the past participle: "beat" and "beaten". Both are standard. "Beat" is always used in the expression "cannot be beat"; "beaten" does not seem to be used in this phrase. (Accor

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 13, 2010, 5:46pm  •  0 vote

Yes, "this is she" is standard, and "this is her" is also standard. Even in grammar books you will find the opinion that "this is her" is correct.

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  January 13, 2010, 4:57pm  •  1 vote

Marilyn Rowan: "Why must a triangle be a figure three sides and three angles? The answer is the same as to why it’s, “This is she.” The answer is because, just that — because. At some point the power

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  January 11, 2010, 11:26am  •  1 vote

The OED has, under "go": 44. To pass into a certain condition. Chiefly implying deterioration. [...] to go missing: to get lost

Re: “Verbiage” used instead of wordiness or excessively long writing  •  January 8, 2010, 4:49pm  •  1 vote

There is no misuse of "verbiage" here. The word has been used to mean "Diction, wording, verbal expression" since 1804. The OED: 1804 WELLINGTON in Gurw. Desp. (1835) III. 193 All that is nothing;

Re: me vs. myself  •  January 8, 2010, 4:43pm  •  0 vote

I agree with Merriam-Webster’s “Dictionary of English Usage: "-self" pronouns without a same-clause antecedent are standard English. They're only "technically ungrammatical" if by "technically ungramm

Re: Twenty-ten vs Two thousand-ten  •  December 15, 2009, 4:18pm  •  2 votes

Are we going to run out of syllables if we don't start saving them?

Re: all _____ sudden  •  November 20, 2009, 10:50pm  •  0 vote

Sorry Pat, you're 400 years too late to save English. The OED has a citation for "reveal" as a noun meaning "revelation" from 1629.

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 23, 2009, 11:50pm  •  1 vote

Douglas wrote "In ‘The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics,’ P. H. Matthews defines the etymological fallacy as “The notion that the ‘true’ meaning of a word is the one to be expected from its e

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 23, 2009, 9:51am  •  2 votes

"I agree with you 100%, as shown in my previous posts." Except that you presumably don't agree that the etymological fallacy is a fallacy, while I do. Language change is an observed fact of all lan

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 23, 2009, 9:24am  •  1 vote

Douglas wrote: “The etymological fallacy holds, erroneously, that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning.” I would interpre

Re: Loose = Lose?  •  September 22, 2009, 1:41pm  •  1 vote

It's much older than the past year. 1598 SHAKES. Merry W. V. v. 239 This deceit looses the name of craft. 1667 MILTON P.L. II. 607 To loose In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe.

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 22, 2009, 9:41am  •  0 vote

"I am forgetting why we are arguing about “stamina”. It seems as though we both agree that using stamina as a singular form is incorrect." No we don't. "Stamina" is commonly singular, as in “The st

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 22, 2009, 8:22am  •  0 vote

Douglas wrote: "I’m not sure why these are even mentioned. What is the controversy?" I mentioned all these words to show that their etymology as plurals in Latin or Italian or whatever is irreleva

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 21, 2009, 10:47pm  •  0 vote

"I would say that treating those words as singular would be wrong, especially considering that most of their singular forms are still used in modern English." So you'd say that usage is irrelevant,

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 21, 2009, 9:21am  •  0 vote

"Cactus" is of Greek origin, but it was borrowed into English from Latin, just like "octopus" and "platypus" were. But "cactus" is different in that it would be pluralized "cacti" in Latin. In any

Re: Why have media changed our words?  •  September 1, 2009, 12:38am  •  0 vote

Oh yes, it's Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage that tells me that "pled" is common in US and Scottish English.

Re: Why have media changed our words?  •  September 1, 2009, 12:36am  •  2 votes

1662 FULLER Worthies (1840) I. 276 He efforted his spirits with the remembrance..of what formerly he had been. 1892 Whitby Gaz. 26 Aug. 4 A grand total of 4794 persons were detrained at the Town St

Re: Why have media changed our words?  •  August 31, 2009, 2:11pm  •  0 vote

Wait, I got that backwards. Ron isn't complaining about "pled", he's complaining that no one uses "pled" any more. This is false; "pled" is a common past tense of "plead", used in US and Scottish Engl

Re: Why have media changed our words?  •  August 31, 2009, 12:47pm  •  0 vote

"pled" is a standard past tense form of "plead"; it's been around for a while, as in this cite from the OED: 1892 ‘D. DONOVAN’ In Grip of Law 58 When called upon to plead, she pled not guilty in a

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 29, 2009, 1:53am  •  0 vote

I guess I wasn't clear enough. Easily confused or misused words are not the same as nonstandard English. Nonstandard English is a dialect of English that is not the standard. Using one word when you s

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 28, 2009, 10:33am  •  0 vote

Douglas, the examples you give are spelling errors, not examples of nonstandard English. Sure, a spelling mistake could lead to ambiguity in some cases. But how does nonstandard English lead to ambigu

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 19, 2009, 10:45pm  •  0 vote

You haven't really demonstrated that using "obstinancy" will cause people to not understand you. A common argument is that using nonstandard English leads to a lack of clarity, but I don't see it. The

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 19, 2009, 9:23pm  •  1 vote

You might be right that some people don't like the word, but that's irrelevant to whether or not it's a word. Of course "irregardless" is also a word. It's in more dictionaries that "obstinancy"!

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 19, 2009, 7:16pm  •  0 vote

douglas, I've provided evidence that "obstinancy" is a word. Where is your evidence that it is not a word?

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 6, 2009, 4:53pm  •  2 votes

Of course "obstinancy" is a word. Dickens used it, and it has 3 cites in the OED, and it's in 811 books on Google Books.

Re: Texted  •  August 5, 2009, 8:41pm  •  0 vote

Texted everything is changing from kindle to none use while driving and so on, to much!

Re: Plural of “insurance”?  •  June 29, 2009, 11:47pm  •  0 vote

French is not a Germanic language that crossbred with Latin. My point was that the word "French" comes from "Frank", and the Franks didn't speak French or a language that later became French. It's sil

Re: Plural of “insurance”?  •  June 29, 2009, 9:33am  •  1 vote

Peter: by that logic, English doesn't belong to English speakers, it belongs to the descendents of the people who live in Schleswig-Holstein, the *angle* of land that the Angles and Saxons came from,

Re: Plural of “insurance”?  •  June 11, 2009, 12:05pm  •  0 vote

The OED has cites for "insurances" from the 1800s. There are cites for "damanges" meaning "injury" up until 1771. So neither seems to be a modern use.

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  May 29, 2009, 10:58pm  •  2 votes

I agree that "I" is nominative and "me" is accusative. What I don't agree with is that the nominative must follow the verb "be". What is the evidence for this? Accusative pronouns have been used after

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  May 28, 2009, 6:21pm  •  3 votes

Again, you haven't provided any evidence that "it is me" is improper. I've cited a usage book (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage) saying that it is correct in informal English. If you have

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  May 28, 2009, 4:47pm  •  0 vote

Of course there are situations where the proper answer to "who is this?" is "it is me." Both "it is I" and "it is me" are in reputable use. "It is me" is found in writing from the 1600s. "It is I" ten

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  May 28, 2009, 12:12am  •  2 votes

"Language is a representation of thought. Poorly formed language indicates poorly formed thought." Depends what you mean by poorly formed language. If "it is me" is poorly formed, and if poorly fo

Re: My mother wishes my child be like me.  •  May 27, 2009, 1:19pm  •  0 vote

Porsche, yes. But "be" after "wish" or "if" (where we'd use "were/was" nowadays) sounds archaic to me. For instance: "If music be the food of love, play on."

Re: My mother wishes my child be like me.  •  May 27, 2009, 12:05pm  •  0 vote

"like" used as a conjunction (that is, used to introduce a clause as in "like I am") is seen by some (like Strunk & White) as illiterate. It isn't, tho, it's standard English. But, "like I" sounds wei

Re: My mother wishes my child be like me.  •  May 26, 2009, 9:34am  •  0 vote

It sounds extremely archaic to me.

Re: Infinitive without “to”  •  May 22, 2009, 8:22am  •  0 vote

...except for "ought". Other auxiliaries are "can", "will", "should", "would", "might".

Re: Infinitive without “to”  •  May 21, 2009, 5:06pm  •  0 vote

This is the use of "need" as an auxiliary, like "ought" or "must". Auxiliaries are followed by the plain form of the verb without "to".

Re: One of the most...  •  May 15, 2009, 10:51pm  •  1 vote

So you're saying that "one of the tallest" is ambiguous between "the tallest of the 5 shortest people" and "the tallest of all 100 people"? Sure, but language is full of ambiguity. "I read the book on

Re: One of the most...  •  May 15, 2009, 5:39pm  •  0 vote

You still have not provided any evidence to support your assertion that "one of the most" is incorrect. "This is true in some cases, but not in all. That means that it is relevant evidence in the a

Re: One of the most...  •  May 15, 2009, 3:01pm  •  5 votes

How do we determine what the rules are? As with any other field of study, we determine what the rules are by looking at the relevant evidence. Part of the relevant evidence has to be usage. Below I ha

Re: One of the most...  •  May 15, 2009, 12:41pm  •  3 votes

"comprehensibility is not remotely associated with assessing the accuracy of syntax or word meaning" This sounds like the "nothing is relevant" theory of grammar. Comprehensibility has to have some

Re: One of the most...  •  May 14, 2009, 10:45pm  •  1 vote

This issue isn't in MWDEU and I can't find any online grammar sites that discuss it. In my opinion "one of the most" is completely comprehensible and there's nothing wrong with it.

Re: Why Don’t We Abolish Irregular Verbs and Nouns?  •  April 26, 2009, 10:37pm  •  1 vote

Some English verbs have become irregular when they didn't used to be irregular... many verbs, for instance "sing/sang/sung", developed from the Proto-Indo-European system of regular ablaut. "sneak/snu

Re: as best he can  •  April 23, 2009, 9:15am  •  0 vote

Dave, it's meaning is clear. According to MWDEU some usage commentators don't like it, but no one is confused about the meaning. http://www.bartleby.com/68/37/537.html http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/err

Re: as best he can  •  April 22, 2009, 10:50am  •  3 votes

This issue is discussed in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (page 126). They provide 11 examples from literature, dating from 1807 to the present, and conclude "It looks like a perfectly

Re: On Tomorrow  •  March 12, 2009, 7:28am  •  3 votes

Let me revise: "on" is used with other expressions of time: I work on weekends. I work weekends. Let's get together Thursday. Let's get together on Thursday.

Re: On Tomorrow  •  March 12, 2009, 6:59am  •  12 votes

We are in God's hand, brother, not in theirs. March to the bridge; it now draws toward night: Beyond the river we'll encamp ourselves, And on to-morrow, bid them march away. - Henry V, act III sce

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