Joined: August 11, 2009  (email not validated)

Number of comments posted: 142

Number of votes received: 701

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Recent Comments

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  October 1, 2009, 5:00pm  •  3 votes

Mark, half a wit is better than none. Mike is correct, but only as far as the spoken word is concerned. The written form should, by the rules of Standard English, be 'texted'. But Merriam-Webster,

Re: Pronunciation: aunt  •  September 30, 2009, 8:38pm  •  4 votes

The pronounciation of ‘aunt’ as ‘ant’ or ‘ahnt’ is not a function of accent. We can see from the comments posted here that there are regional, cultural, and even ethnic factors involved. Each version

Re: Friendly - adjective and adverb?  •  September 28, 2009, 11:31pm  •  5 votes

Most dictionaries I have consulted list 'friendly' as a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. It is not listed as a noun in my older Merriam-Webster. The noun usage I suspect is most recent, as in: "The

Re: Texted  •  September 27, 2009, 11:44pm  •  15 votes

An episode of 'Flight of the Conchords' juxtaposes two possible past tense forms of the verb 'text' in a dialog between a New yorker and one of the New Zealand band's members. The New Yorker says "he

Re: obliged or obligated?  •  September 25, 2009, 6:44pm  •  20 votes

‘Obligate’ is not an Americanism, nor is it a recent coinage or an unnecessary variant of ‘oblige.’ Merriam-Webster gives the derivation of ‘obligate’ as: Latin ‘obligatus,’ past participle of ‘obl

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 24, 2009, 5:22pm  •  0 vote

Name (supplied), that is a very informative link. Here is another with the etymologies of each meaning of 'stamina' together: I

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 24, 2009, 1:07pm  •  0 vote

Name (supplied), For one so admittedly fond of the sarcastic you are surprisingly blind to the sardonic.

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 24, 2009, 12:26am  •  0 vote

goofy: I think we are in agreement: I favor anglicized plurals of borrowed nouns with the exception of long-established usages or specialized domains of discourse.

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 24, 2009, 12:19am  •  2 votes

hot4teacher: I sense from your remarks that you misunderstand the concept of the “etymological fallacy.” In any event, simply citing an example–stamina–does not an argument make. Moreover, to a

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 23, 2009, 11:14pm  •  1 vote

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 etymology.” I don

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 23, 2009, 7:33am  •  0 vote

"Etymological fallacy" is an important concept, but it has little relevence to the issue of the correct pluralization of imported nouns. Wikipedia describes the term “etymological fallacy” thus:

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 22, 2009, 1:41am  •  1 vote

Goofy’s list of words borrowed from plural Latin nouns is an interesting one. Set aside ‘graffiti.’ which is not, indeed, from Latin but Italian; its singular, ‘graffito,’ remains an Italian word, eve

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 19, 2009, 12:14pm  •  0 vote

hot4teacher, Thanks for the kind words. I have enjoyed our discussion; you also make a strong case. Go on using those latinate plurals. As you say, someone has to preserve them. They may often be m

Re: Capitalizing After the Colon  •  September 17, 2009, 8:17pm  •  14 votes

Rhen's question was whether to capitalize after a colon when, as in the example given, the colon is being used to link two separate clauses. The short answer, as Scott Connery has recently noted, is n

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 17, 2009, 8:50am  •  0 vote

hot4teacher: I ruffled your feathers, which was not my intent. Clearly, we share a passion for English, but we disagree on (at least) one point. The question we are discussing here is whether–and

Re: Loose = Lose?  •  September 16, 2009, 6:34pm  •  14 votes

I agree with a lot of what has been written here. The problem lies, in part, with the basic inconsistency between spelling and pronunciation in English. In general, an "e" at the end of a word after a

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 16, 2009, 12:06pm  •  4 votes

Hot4teacher asserts: "Either all words or only words of English origin should use the plural system." That's a sweeping statement, and at odds with H4T's previous declaration: "There is something very

Re: One of the most...  •  September 12, 2009, 10:05am  •  1 vote

This has been most interesting. I think the problem stems from in the fact that "most" may be used in either a singular or a plural sense: Jane has the most friends. Most people like Jane. T

Re: Fetch Referring to People?  •  September 11, 2009, 6:21am  •  2 votes

There is nothing inherently canine in the word "fetch." Jack and Jill certainly had no problem with it (the word itself wasn't the cause of their clumsiness). Yes, you can tell a dog to fetch, and als

Re: Don’t mind if I do  •  September 8, 2009, 3:49pm  •  3 votes

What is being missed in this discussion is that "don't mind if I do" is idiomatic speech, and therefore beyond the strictures of standard grammar. The phrase is generally used in response to an offer

Re: Fora vs Forums  •  September 8, 2009, 12:30am  •  2 votes

Merriam-Webster dates the use of "forum" in English to the 15th century. When a word borrowed from another language has been part of English for a long time it is proper to use the "English-based plur

Re: Pronunciation: aunt  •  September 6, 2009, 7:54pm  •  2 votes

It's interesting to see how passionate some get over the pronunciation of this one word. For the record, I pronounce it like want, though I can't be certain how anyone pronounces that word, either.

Re: Why have media changed our words?  •  August 31, 2009, 11:05pm  •  0 vote

Good one, Ron. I caught on to your game a bit late, just after reading John's and Porsches's earnest responses. You should have "drug it out" longer. We all enjoy a good grammatical battle, however sp

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 29, 2009, 2:06am  •  2 votes

John, It's amazing how closely we agree, yet still we debate. I never said that easily confused or misused words were the same as nonstandard ones. They ain't. But I see that you see my point, and so

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 29, 2009, 1:32am  •  2 votes

John, I gave not examples of misspellings, but of easily confused or misused words: comminate: to denounce comminute: to pulverize impartable: able to be imparted impartible: indivisib

Re: ab  •  August 26, 2009, 9:00pm  •  0 vote

Good point, Porsche, many responders didn't really address the question. However, Abbie was also correct. The prefix "ab" does not negate the root word it is attached to. It means "from," "away,"

Re: On Tomorrow  •  August 25, 2009, 2:02am  •  5 votes

I like Angela G's answer. She is correct: "tomorrow" descends from "on the morrow." As such, "on tomorrow" is grammatically redundant. I'd like to think "on tomorrow" means "on t'morrow," but that usa

Re: Word for a word with no rhyme?  •  August 22, 2009, 6:44pm  •  0 vote

The question was: is there a term to denote (that is to say, a noun) a rhyme-less word? I think it's fair to turn it around: is there a noun meaning "a word which has a rhyme?" I'm pretty sure the an

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 21, 2009, 6:18am  •  3 votes

We don't disagree, entirely, on "obstinancy." You say it is a word, I say it is "is not properly a word," which leaves a little wiggle-room. Let's just agree that it's not standard English. But I d

Re: Hi all vs. Hi everybody  •  August 19, 2009, 10:39pm  •  0 vote

Porsche, Your elided gaffe eluded me. I'm far from the original question, but what is a better salutation? Business email ping-pongs between the poles of ALL-CAPS YELLING and "hi guys." There ought

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 19, 2009, 10:31pm  •  4 votes

John, My point about clarity is simple. Those who understand that "obstinacy" is the standard word will rankle at "obstinancy." Whatever follows will be greeted with skepticism. Others will be unaf

Re: Hi all vs. Hi everybody  •  August 19, 2009, 8:25pm  •  1 vote

Dear Porsche, You make a good point. Dear has become somewhat archaic in business communication. Perhaps it should be retired. I still think that "Hi" is a poor substitute.

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 19, 2009, 8:19pm  •  2 votes

John, You are correct that "obstinancy" is used in 811 "Google Books." However, "obstinacy" is used in 19,500 of them. That others have used a word does not prove it to be correct. Millions use "ir

Re: reported speech  •  August 19, 2009, 7:05pm  •  0 vote

English teacher is correct. I would only add that you are not required to repeat John's idiom if you aren't quoting him. In this case the idiom "fell on" is awkward. To say "my birthday fell on last F

Re: obstinacy vs. obstinancy  •  August 19, 2009, 6:42pm  •  3 votes

Whether Dickens used "obstinacy" or "obstinancy" is immaterial. "Obstinate" is an adjective derived from the Latin "obstinatus," which is the past participle of "obstinare," meaning "to be resolved."

Re: Hi all vs. Hi everybody  •  August 19, 2009, 5:53pm  •  5 votes

Dear Anette: It is never improper to use "Dear" in a salutation. It may seem old-fashioned, but it is standard. "Hi" is too informal for business correspondence. There is no reason email should be

Re: Texted  •  August 13, 2009, 8:15pm  •  17 votes

Elsewhere on this blog there is a lively debate of whether irregular verbs should be "regularized" or not. There are fewer than 200 irregular English verbs, and the trend is towards fewer. For example

Re: “The next stop will be...”  •  August 12, 2009, 11:26am  •  1 vote

A case could be made for either construction, but I think context trumps syntax in this instance. That context is the subway. The phrase "the next stop will be" is more likely to be understood in a cr

Re: “pi the type”  •  August 12, 2009, 10:39am  •  4 votes

To add to porche's comment, here is a definition from pi  also pie, Printing n. pl. pis also pies An amount of type that has been jumbled or thrown together at random. v.

Re: Plural proper nouns ending in consonant-y  •  August 12, 2009, 9:16am  •  5 votes

The correct plural of "grizzly" is "grizzlies." The rule for plural nouns ending in "y" is this: If the "y" is preceded by a vowel the plural is formed by adding an "s." If the "y" is preced

Re: Most-Populous vs. Most-Populated  •  August 11, 2009, 10:55pm  •  4 votes

Populous is the correct word. "Populous" is an adjective meaning "having a large population." In your sentence it modifies the noun "county." "Populated" is an inflected form of the transitive

Re: Pled versus pleaded  •  August 11, 2009, 10:17pm  •  18 votes

I don't agree that "pled" is less emotional than "pleaded." I think they carry equal "emotional" weight, if any. Only context can increase or decrease the emotional impact of either, as in your on-his

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