goofy

Joined: July 24, 2006  (email not validated)

Number of comments posted: 235

Number of votes received: 282

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Recent Comments

Re: “my bad”  •  June 5, 2013, 10:56am  •  1 vote

Of course "bad" is a noun: 1993 Dog World Nov. 28/1 It is a relatively in-depth look at both the good and the bad in commercial canine nutrition.

Re: intend on doing?  •  December 30, 2012, 9:19pm  •  0 vote

Actually, MWDEU doesn't say it's common, it says "sometimes". But I think it's a normal expression round my way.

Re: intend on doing?  •  December 30, 2012, 2:31pm  •  0 vote

It's common in speech and speechlike writing, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage.

Re: “He gave it to Michelle and I”  •  October 16, 2012, 1:05pm  •  0 vote

Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads, When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I, For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son. Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Third, III ii

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 18, 2012, 6:17pm  •  0 vote

Yes, if you're going to discuss etymology, then yes, knowing some historical linguistics would certainly help. Gallitrot, I'm not sure what you mean about "mother tongue only has worth if viewed th

Re: He was sat  •  August 18, 2012, 3:43pm  •  0 vote

Brus, however past participles might behave in Latin is irrelevant to English. MWDEU on "very" with past participles: http://books.google.ca/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&lpg=PP1&dq=merriam-websters+dicti

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 18, 2012, 12:42pm  •  0 vote

“Yu can't say that belcose is beclysan, influence'd by French, but then say that close has nothing to do with clysan. That's a "non-sequitur".” The way I interpret the OED’s etymology of “beclose”

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 18, 2012, 9:06am  •  0 vote

Yes, the Norman influence respelled a lot of words. "gilt" became "guilt", "mȳs" became "mice". But the respelling never changed the pronunciation. You seem to be suggesting that with "close", the spe

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 17, 2012, 3:45pm  •  0 vote

AnWulf, The Wiktionary entry gives no references for its etymology of "beclose". This is what the OED says: "Originally Old English beclýsan , < be- prefix 1 + clýsan : see cluse n.; subseq. chang

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  August 17, 2012, 3:10pm  •  1 vote

Thanks, porsche, you said it better than I could. I'll add that the test for mass nouns is: can you put a number in front of it? Take "furniture", a textbook mass noun. We don't say "one furniture, tw

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  August 14, 2012, 12:26pm  •  1 vote

“No, the company know how their company name and product should be spoken by us, the consumer. We are under obligation to get the name of the company and the product right.” What obligation is this

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  August 14, 2012, 10:55am  •  2 votes

"What you're essentially saying it, just because Americans use the term "Legos" instead of "LEGO" [...], it's somehow right and anything the company says won't matter, end of discussion." What I'm

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  August 13, 2012, 5:52pm  •  1 vote

Frank35, when it comes to language, we determine what is "right" by looking at how the language is used. If everyone says "Legos" then "Legos" is the plural form. The company's opinion is irrelevant.

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  August 10, 2012, 10:50pm  •  2 votes

Understanding other Indo-European languages give us an idea of what Proto-Indo-European looked like. But the study of the development of a language, its diachronic study, is a very different thing fro

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 8, 2012, 7:35am  •  0 vote

I've read Lieberman's Word Origins And How We Know Them, and he doesn't say what features characterize Germanic languages, besides the sound changes due to Grimm's Law. But I assume he's talking about

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 6, 2012, 7:16pm  •  0 vote

"English is still a Germanic tongue, but many of it's upper-crusty know-it-all's seem to want to keep on shaping it into the new Latin. English will then go the way of Gothic, Langobardic, and Frankis

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 6, 2012, 5:07pm  •  0 vote

The idea that a word has a "true root" seems silly to me. "feud" was borrowed from French, which borrowed it from OHG. Where did it come from before that? Was it borrowed from another unknown source?

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 6, 2012, 4:51pm  •  0 vote

"My whole thought above was about Academia not acknowledging the true roots of "French" words that came into English." I don't know what this means. The etymologies of these words are easy for anyo

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 6, 2012, 8:57am  •  0 vote

Ængelfolc posted this a while ago: * allegiance (from O.E. læt) "allegiance" is derived from Old French "liege", which *might* be a borrowing of Old High German "ledig". * Feudal (from Goth.

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 1, 2012, 10:01pm  •  0 vote

I'm pretty sure it's the etymology. Clark is saying the etymology of "clȳsan" is "clūse" which means "bar, bolt: enclosure: cell, prison", which is borrowed from Latin "clausum". So "clȳsan" is an i-u

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 1, 2012, 8:55pm  •  0 vote

"Further, The Clark Concise A-S Dict. has: -clýsan v. be-c. [clûse] [[under "clûs"]]." I had a look at Clark, and it's not clear to me what the material in the square brackets is supposed to be. Th

Re: “Anglish”  •  August 1, 2012, 5:41pm  •  0 vote

"Most of it is likely right but it would be nuts to say that it's all 100% right." I never said anything was 100% accurate. I just said that there were some things we could be reasonably certain ab

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 31, 2012, 4:51am  •  0 vote

If you believe that "close" is the result of a respelling by someone not familiar with English, then my question is: why did it stick? Most French respellings were just that: changes to spelling, not

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 28, 2012, 12:04pm  •  0 vote

No, I'm wrong. Many spelling conventions were introduced by French scribes not fluent in English (A Biography of the English Language by CM Millward, p. 137). But that still doesn't mean we don't need

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 28, 2012, 11:56am  •  0 vote

"We all know that Old English into Middle English was, after the conquest, ascribed spelling and lettering variants by non-English speakers" We know nothing of the sort. Estimates on how many Norma

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 28, 2012, 9:28am  •  0 vote

Gallitrot: AnWulf thinks the change from "clȳsan" to "close" was merely a spelling change. The sounds /yː/ and /o/ are so similar that people simply respelled the word with the letter "o". Which d

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 6:46pm  •  0 vote

It's certainly fine to speculate when the etymology is unknown. But the etymology of "close" is well understood. If you think you have a better account of its etymology, then you need good evidence.

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 1:31pm  •  0 vote

No, I am not agreeing with AnWulf. There are well-understood sound changes in the history of English. The change that AnWulf proposes is not one of them.

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 12:27pm  •  0 vote

The point is that it's not complete chaos where any guess is as good as another, as AnWulf suggests. We know what the sound and spelling changes were and we can explain them.

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 12:23pm  •  0 vote

It's possible there is "custy" from OE cystig. There certainly are examples of OE "y" becoming something other than Modern "i". Some West Saxon words respelled "y" with "u": crycc - crutch, dystig - d

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 12:17pm  •  0 vote

weorcwryðe = work worthy ...bryce = breach unhydig = un+heedy cystig = 'custy' NE England dialect for nice/ great None of the words on the left, with the possible except of the last one, are the

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 10:42am  •  0 vote

No, I'm not kidding. I'm talking about historical linguistics. Yes, it's complicated but there are some things we can be reasonably certain about. Trevisa probably pronounced "cloos" with a long /o/ (

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 9:57am  •  0 vote

AnWulf, This isn't just about spelling, it's about spelling *and* pronunciation. Simply saying that the two words are not far apart in pronunciation is not enough, you need to provide evidence that a

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 26, 2012, 7:40am  •  0 vote

AnWulf, that etymology of "close" is not wrong. Here is what the OED says about "close": "Middle English close-n (13th cent.), < Old French clos- stem (close present subjunctive) of clore < Latin c

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 25, 2012, 6:51pm  •  0 vote

Hairy Scot, DA Wood said that English does not exist in a vacuum, but that we must look to other languages take input from them on how they do things. This was in response to my question "If the fact

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 25, 2012, 5:27pm  •  0 vote

I have studied linguistics. Not once have I read of linguists appealing to other languages to determine what is prescriptively correct in English. This is not what linguists do.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 24, 2012, 5:08pm  •  0 vote

The idea that we should consider how things work in other languages when we are talking about how English works sounds very much like the etymological fallacy to me.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 24, 2012, 12:56pm  •  0 vote

DA Wood, both "everybody" and "everyone" are syntactically singular but notionally plural. "Did everyone leave early because he wasn't enjoying himself?" might make sense to you, but it is standard

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 24, 2012, 11:03am  •  0 vote

The idea that singular "they" is incorrect is based on the mistaken notion that syntax and semantics must line up exactly. But they don't. Here is an example that shows that semantic number and syn

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 24, 2012, 10:42am  •  0 vote

English grammar was not taught until the 1800s, I think. So the fact that Shakespeare didn't adhere to prescriptive rules is not relevant - there was no such thing as prescriptive grammar at the time.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 24, 2012, 8:27am  •  0 vote

There is a "long-standing custom" to use "they" as a common-gender, common-number pronoun. It's been used for 700 years with antecedents like "everybody", "who", and nouns that can apply to either gen

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 23, 2012, 8:24am  •  0 vote

AnWulf: according to the OED, clýsan is a borrowing from Late Latin clūsa.

Re: repetitive vs. repetitious  •  July 21, 2012, 9:07am  •  0 vote

I think they mean the same thing. The OED says of "repetitive": "Characterized by, or of the nature of, repetition; tedious, repetitious."

Re: From which part of England do people pronounce the vowel “u” in a similar way to the French “u”?  •  July 19, 2012, 6:23am  •  0 vote

People in Yorkshire pronounce the vowel of "luck" with /ʊ/, so it sounds like "look". That's not similar to French "u".

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 14, 2012, 10:33am  •  2 votes

I can't let the claim that language is not always changing pass. English has changed in dramatic ways since Chaucer’s time. For one thing, there’s the great vowel shift, where all the long vowels chan

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 13, 2012, 2:14pm  •  2 votes

Math and physics are irrelevant *to grammar.* Language is not math. http://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/is-changing-language-tantamount-to-changing-math/

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 13, 2012, 1:00pm  •  1 vote

I'm not in high school. I'd like to see a usage book aimed at adult English writers that proscribes things like "very competent" or "more ideal". But I am skeptical that there are grammar books aimed

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 13, 2012, 8:38am  •  0 vote

I'm not familiar with any English usage books that prescribe the uses of perfect, competent, ready, ideal, etc. in the way that D.A.Wood describes.

Re: Pronouncing “gala”  •  July 13, 2012, 7:44am  •  3 votes

I don't think one can argue that a word should be pronounced a certain way on the basis of how similarly spelled words are pronounced. What about "dive" and "give", "food" and "good", "bead" and "head

Re: From which part of England do people pronounce the vowel “u” in a similar way to the French “u”?  •  July 10, 2012, 12:17pm  •  0 vote

Scottish English has a central vowel /ʉ/ for the GOOSE and FOOT vowels, so for instance "food" and "good". This is close to the French front vowel /y/. This is the closest I'm aware of.

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 10, 2012, 12:06pm  •  0 vote

Logic is really irrelevant, since language does not behave logically. "More free from" is certainly part of how English used to work. The OED is full of citations to this effect, for example: 1805

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 10, 2012, 5:43am  •  1 vote

I don't see the problem with this quote, since it is not talking about a single situation, but a trend. If one group has a lower incidence of mishaps than another group, then I don't see why you can't

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 9, 2012, 5:21pm  •  1 vote

Accidence: chance, unforeseen or unexpected eventuality, mishap (OED) I provided this quote to show that the usage is not new.

Re: “Much More Ready”  •  July 9, 2012, 12:24pm  •  0 vote

1910 Times 13 Apr. 14/3 While they did not find that teetotalers were much more free from accidence than other persons, total abstainers recovered more rapidly from the effects of injuries.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 9, 2012, 12:17pm  •  0 vote

D.A. Wood, I agree with you, but it's not really relevant to what I was talking about. Back when Brus and Hairy Scot started complaining about the name Webster, I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that they w

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 8, 2012, 11:50am  •  0 vote

That's why you can't judge one Webster's publication on the basis of another Webster's publication, which was my point. I mentioned Webster's Third because that's the dictionary that got a lot of

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  July 8, 2012, 11:00am  •  0 vote

D.A. Wood: Merriam-Webster is a company, and they publish Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, and Webster's Third New International dictionary.

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  June 28, 2012, 4:30pm  •  0 vote

Does the etymology really matter?? Tsk tsk...

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  June 28, 2012, 4:50am  •  0 vote

OK, I see. But "tip" isn't the backronym, "to insure promptness" is the backronym.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  June 27, 2012, 8:50pm  •  0 vote

My point is don't blame every variant spelling or Americanism on Webster, and don't lump books together just because they're published by the same company.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  June 27, 2012, 8:37pm  •  1 vote

But that doesn't mean "skeptic" was a spelling reform proposed by Noah Webster. I don't think it was; the "sk" spelling predates Webster, it's the only spelling in Johnson's dictionary.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  June 27, 2012, 7:51pm  •  1 vote

I don't know why "scepticism" is flagged but I don't think it has anything to do with Noah Webster.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  June 27, 2012, 5:22pm  •  1 vote

Remember that MWDEU is not the same publication as Webster's Third dictionary.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  June 27, 2012, 10:21am  •  0 vote

If you have other references, link to them. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage is my favourite. MWDEU is not the definitive authority on the English language. There is no such thing.

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  June 27, 2012, 9:26am  •  0 vote

No, it's not a backronym either. The OED says its from thieves cant, ultimate origin unknown.

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  June 27, 2012, 9:26am  •  0 vote

No, it's not a backronym either. The OED says its from thieves cant, ultimate origin unknown.

Re: Use of “their” as a genderless singular?  •  June 25, 2012, 8:03am  •  0 vote

The use of "they" originally had nothing to do with political correctness. "They" has been used as a common-gender common-number pronoun since the 1300s, and this use has continued until today. It is

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  June 19, 2012, 4:20pm  •  1 vote

"A Student's Introduction to English Grammar" by Huddleston and Pullum describes three uses for the past tense: 1 past time: I promised to be back for lunch. 2 modal remoteness: I wish they live

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  May 31, 2012, 7:12pm  •  3 votes

"tip" is not an acronym.

Re: -age words  •  March 14, 2012, 7:45am  •  1 vote

How far will this practice be taken? It's already been taken quite far: language, savage, umbrage, carriage, village, luggage, etc. When will the madness stop??? According to the OED, "signage" dat

Re: Nother  •  March 12, 2012, 6:47pm  •  0 vote

Anwulf: the "nother" from OE "nōhwæðer" isn't the same word as the metanalyzed variant of "another". ppp: The process where "another" became "a nother" is called metanalysis, or recutting. The met

Re: Nother  •  March 12, 2012, 5:18pm  •  2 votes

I have never seen any evidence that English or any language is worse today than it was a thousand years ago. If language has been progressively dumbed down, how can we still communicate? How do we de

Re: Nother  •  March 12, 2012, 4:38pm  •  0 vote

Hairy Scot: It seems that if some changes are detrimental, speakers are compensating somehow. Language has been changing for a very very long time, and presumably we can still communicate as well as p

Re: tailorable  •  March 11, 2012, 7:58am  •  0 vote

It's in the OED: "Suitable for tailoring; able to be altered or adapted." The earliest citation is 1917. And there is these citations: 1987 Lit. & Ling. Computing 2 232/1 The layout of the bi

Re: Nother  •  February 28, 2012, 2:20pm  •  3 votes

If it's good enough for Luke Skywalker...

Re: He was sat  •  February 26, 2012, 2:58pm  •  0 vote

Standard English: what it isn't http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/SEtrudgill.htm

Re: He was sat  •  February 18, 2012, 4:29pm  •  0 vote

Students don't pick up their teacher's accent. It's possible that they might acquire their teacher's grammar, but it's not obvious to me. I could say more but I'd only be repeating the stuff I've

Re: He was sat  •  February 17, 2012, 10:04am  •  1 vote

Complaints about "improper" English seem to ignore register. What is correct in an informal conversation might not be correct in a formal written essay, and vice versa. AnWulf and Brus seem to be sayi

Re: He was sat  •  February 17, 2012, 9:19am  •  2 votes

Hold on... I didn't say "encourage". I simply hold the apparently weird belief that there's nothing wrong with teachers talking to their students in the local idiom. Correctness is not absolute after

Re: He was sat  •  February 17, 2012, 6:50am  •  4 votes

If it is a common part of British English, then I don't see why British English teachers shouldn't use it in a British English classroom.

Re: “Literally” in spoken conversation  •  February 16, 2012, 7:28pm  •  1 vote

Have a look at the MWDEU entry, it says it much better than I could: http://books.google.ca/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&lpg=PA877&vq=subjunctive&dq=merriam%20websters%20dictionary%20of%20english%20usage&

Re: He was sat  •  February 16, 2012, 7:26pm  •  2 votes

It's a common British regionalism.

Re: Interchangeability of possessive “s” and “of”  •  November 24, 2011, 1:26pm  •  0 vote

Actually I meant to write "Caesar's murder"

Re: Interchangeability of possessive “s” and “of”  •  November 24, 2011, 1:06pm  •  0 vote

Apostrophe-s is used for things other than possession. Caesar's murders - object genitive (ie, someone murdered Caesar) men's shirts - genitive of purpose (shirts for men) Terry Pratchett's lates

Re: “My writing books” or “Me writing books”?  •  November 13, 2011, 2:57pm  •  0 vote

porsche, I agree that "writing books" functions as a noun. But "writing" is not a noun. Call it a gerund or "-ing" form or participle, but it's not a noun. But many usage guides say you must use a pos

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 12, 2011, 8:38pm  •  1 vote

According to The American Heritage Book of English Usage, it is standard English. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3038

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 12, 2011, 2:42pm  •  1 vote

I am not the same Goofy as the Goofy who posted those two links. When I say "evidence" I'm talking about how good writers actually write. Anyone can make a website stating their opinion. But how can a

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 12, 2011, 12:27pm  •  2 votes

Perfect Pedant: Which evidence are you referring to? The evidence provided by MWDEU shows that both "was" and "were" are standard English. Lots of people here have stated their opinions, but I haven'

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 9, 2011, 4:30am  •  3 votes

willy wonka: I don't think you'll find any English usage book, no matter how prescriptive, that says "If I lived in Paris, I would visit the Eiffel Tower." is not correct.

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 8, 2011, 5:02pm  •  1 vote

The MWDEU discusses the subjunctive in detail in the entry I linked to way back at the beginning of this thread: http://books.google.ca/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&lpg=PA877&vq=subjunctive&dq=merriam%20web

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 8, 2011, 4:52pm  •  1 vote

I'm wrong; MWDEU does say something about it, although it's nothing conclusive: "It may seem that was is crowding out subjunctive were in informal contexts, such as the letters and journals among o

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 8, 2011, 4:47pm  •  1 vote

Well to be honest I'm not convinced that the difference is one of formality. MWDEU says nothing about a difference in formality. And the englishclub.com site simply asserts that this is so. In the wri

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 8, 2011, 4:30pm  •  2 votes

As I've already said, "informal" does not mean "incorrect".

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 8, 2011, 3:53pm  •  4 votes

I am interested in correct usage, but I find it more useful to take "correct" to mean "how good writers actually write", not "how someone thinks I should write". Good writers use "if I was" and "if I

Re: gifting vs. giving a gift  •  October 17, 2011, 6:31am  •  2 votes

David Teague: The verb "gift" is not a backformation from "gifted". "Gift" was a verb in the 15th century meaning "to endow with some power or attribute" and this is where the past participle "gifted"

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  October 6, 2011, 7:36am  •  2 votes

MWDEU is a dictionary of standard English, from both NA and the UK. I suggest that you read the preface and introduction: http://books.google.com/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&lpg=PA877&vq=subjunctive&dq=mer

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  October 6, 2011, 6:33am  •  3 votes

Perfect Pendant "Unfortunately Merriam-Webster tends to reflect only what is common or acceptable in North America" This is not true. MWDEU quotes equally from NA and UK writers and usage commenta

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  October 5, 2011, 8:19pm  •  3 votes

No, I was sincerely interested in what how you interpret the difference between "was" and "were", since for me, there is no difference. I have heard that for some people, "were" indicates a lower degr

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  September 30, 2011, 2:23pm  •  1 vote

Perfect Pedant It seems to me that "if I was" can only lead to ambiguity if it is used in the same context as "if I were". If my two sentences really do have different meanings, then there is room fo

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  September 29, 2011, 6:12am  •  3 votes

If I was the Prime Minister, I would change the law. If I were the Prime Minister, I would change the law. Don't both of these sentences refer to unreal present events? If I can't remember if I wa

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