JJMBallantyne

Joined: December 30, 2006  (email not validated)

Number of comments posted: 142

Number of votes received: 167

No user description provided.

Recent Comments

Re: “Between you and I...”  •  May 27, 2014, 8:39pm  •  0 vote

"Hypercorrection" it is. Or at least, was. The hypercorrection originally came about because speakers were vaguely aware that at some point their teachers had hammered something into their heads a

Re: fewer / less  •  May 7, 2014, 2:35pm  •  0 vote

Just by discussing the (entirely unfounded) grammatical relationship of "less" to "fewer", we are playing into the hands of the language pedants.

Re: fewer / less  •  May 5, 2014, 3:51pm  •  0 vote

Mea culpa! Make that "just another way" not "just an another way".

Re: fewer / less  •  May 5, 2014, 3:47pm  •  0 vote

Until the late 18th Century, "less" was simply the opposite of "more" and "fewer" (the comparative of "few") was just an another way of expressing a similar meaning to "less" but with countable nouns.

Re: Selfie  •  May 3, 2014, 3:08pm  •  0 vote

And now there's "dronie": http://kottke.org/14/04/drone-selfies

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 24, 2013, 10:23am  •  0 vote

"There is a distinct difference between emphasizing something and over-emphasizing, for example. Or working and over-working. Is there a distinct difference between simplistic and over-simplistic? No,

Re: He and I, me and him  •  September 18, 2013, 5:28am  •  0 vote

"It's sad to see you've slipped into the same insulting mode as Over50guy" Yes, people's interest in language generally takes one of two paths, as you know: those interested in learning how languag

Re: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?  •  September 18, 2013, 5:21am  •  0 vote

"@JJM - It doesn't matter for native speakers in the course of normal conversation or writing. But it might matter to jayles and I as EFL teachers if one of our students asked us to explain. It would

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 18, 2013, 5:07am  •  0 vote

"I think sometimes people can get a bit too het up about things like tautology and redundancy." This sort of thing is an age-old* characteristic of language. Speakers double up on words as a means

Re: If ... were/was  •  August 30, 2013, 11:26am  •  0 vote

Good to be back.

Re: Five eggs is too many  •  August 30, 2013, 11:25am  •  1 vote

"Five eggs is too much" is fine. These sorts of arguments about language always remind me of that old army staff college line: "That's all very well in practice but how would it work in theory?"

Re: You’ve got another think/thing coming  •  August 30, 2013, 9:44am  •  0 vote

"So I'm pretty big on correcting other people's grammar when they misspeak." You must be real fun at parties.

Re: You’ve got another think/thing coming  •  August 30, 2013, 9:42am  •  1 vote

"@I'm - of course, they're both idioms, so I don't think the verb / noun thing is that important, really." In a nutshell. Language logic tends to be holistic in nature; the logic of the express

Re: “The plants were withered” Adjective or passive?  •  August 30, 2013, 9:32am  •  0 vote

"'The plants were withered' Adjective or passive?" Let me be the devil's advocate: does it actually matter here? Does it change the meaning?

Re: Hyphen, N-dash, M-dash  •  August 30, 2013, 9:30am  •  0 vote

For what it's worth, I stopped wasting time on the differences between hyphens and dashes some years ago. I just use the hyphen ("-") for everything. My two cents, anyway.

Re: If ... were/was  •  August 28, 2013, 7:31am  •  0 vote

"I am questioning whether Owner should be with WERE or Owner should be with WAS?" The answer is "yes". In other words, either one. The use of the subjunctive "were" has been giving way to "was" as

Re: “I says”  •  May 9, 2013, 9:11am  •  0 vote

Yes, in fact the verb form "I says/I knows/I sits" etc. is actually quite particular for those dialects that use it and is confined to situations where a personal narrative is being provided.

Re: When did we start pluralizing prepositions?  •  May 9, 2013, 9:03am  •  0 vote

"Backwards and forwards are standard in British English, though not in American English (Webster thought 'forwards' a corruption)," Webster was out to lunch on this one. That final s isn't just an

Re: Adverbial scope of ‘tomorrow’  •  May 28, 2012, 6:32am  •  0 vote

"So basically what you are saying is that both are grammatically sound then but 'I have to work tomorrow' is more commonly used?" Both are grammatically correct. Although I presume "I have to work

Re: Adverbial scope of ‘tomorrow’  •  May 25, 2012, 8:00am  •  0 vote

If you'll permit me, I think you're a bit guilty of overanalyzing here. First, there is a clear difference between both sentences: one begins with "tomorrow", the other ends with it. Yes, this mig

Re: optimiSe or optimiZe ?  •  May 16, 2012, 7:16am  •  0 vote

"I have found both terminations in verbs like optimiz(s)e, prioritiz(s)e, criticis(z)e. Which (or when, or where) is the academically correct form ?" The answer is yes.

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  May 16, 2012, 7:13am  •  0 vote

There is no accusative form in English; you meant "objective". Not the same thing. And the only "true" nominative forms occur only as a tiny corpus of pronouns: I, he, she, we, they and who - if

Re: “Literally” in spoken conversation  •  May 14, 2012, 7:20am  •  0 vote

"I would certainly say something like, 'Boy, was I mad. I really went through the roof'. However, it's my biggest pet peeve to hear somebody say, 'Boy, was I mad. I literally went through the roof'."

Re: “Literally” in spoken conversation  •  May 2, 2012, 10:49am  •  1 vote

BJONES: "Fine, let's just change all the meanings of words to whatever we like..." Well, in a sense, that's what does happen in language anyway. Why don't you explain how the word "fine" took o

Re: I’ve no idea  •  April 21, 2012, 7:43am  •  1 vote

"I live in a country where English isn't the primary language so if these usages sound weird to you, they sound even weirder to me." Not a problem, Ramon. Many constructions that native speakers t

Re: “Literally” in spoken conversation  •  April 21, 2012, 7:36am  •  1 vote

I must side with Hamish here. The adverb "literally" is (and has been) commonly used in English for emphasis and hyperbole. Quite obviously, no one hearing a statement like "I'm so hungry I coul

Re: It had impacts on...  •  April 21, 2012, 7:17am  •  1 vote

"Is it grammatically correct to say 'It had impacts on...'?" Yes. (Sounds pretty leaden though.)

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  April 16, 2012, 12:57pm  •  0 vote

Still at it, eh?

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  April 16, 2012, 12:57pm  •  1 vote

Still at it, eh?

Re: mines  •  April 16, 2012, 12:56pm  •  0 vote

It's clearly a regionalism/dialect form. It actually makes some sense too. It seems to simply follow the pattern of all the other personal possessive pronouns: yours, his, hers, its, ours and theirs

Re: I’ve no idea  •  April 16, 2012, 12:49pm  •  1 vote

1. "Is it a correct syntax to say: 'I’ve no idea' to shortcut 'I have no idea? I see alot of people doing this and I feel that it is wrong." I've no idea why you'd have trouble with it. It is per

Re: make it work  •  March 29, 2012, 4:44pm  •  0 vote

Well, "work" is the infinitive. The fact that it often requires the prepositional marker "to" doesn't change that. By the way, my preference would be to use the term "base verb" as well.

Re: Complete Sentence  •  March 29, 2012, 4:37pm  •  0 vote

"if in sentence hasn`t subject or oredicated it is fragment.excample: yes. no. go." Wrong.

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  March 29, 2012, 4:35pm  •  8 votes

"I cannot stand how people in the USA say 'legos'. drives me nuts. it hurts my ears like say 'sheeps'." You must live in an odd place if you're hearing "legos" and "sheeps" all the time...

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  March 27, 2012, 5:05am  •  6 votes

If LEGO wishes me to "protect its brand name" in my private correspondence and speech, no problem: I'm willing to accept payment to do so! Otherwise I'll use "LEGOs" or "legos" for a plural when

Re: Pronunciation of “Nova Scotia”  •  March 18, 2012, 2:15pm  •  0 vote

Typo: make that "weren't".

Re: Pronunciation of “Nova Scotia”  •  March 18, 2012, 2:14pm  •  0 vote

"but I speak as a Scot when I say that the Scottish version is as I described: Scoh-shia. What you say in the new Canadian one I leave for you to report." We were'nt discussing the Latin name for S

Re: “American”  •  March 16, 2012, 7:05pm  •  0 vote

"I'm argentinian and I actually think it IS offensive." Stop - you're breaking my heart! You folks also believe the Falklands are the Malvinas. But you lost that argument too. Life isn't fai

Re: Pronunciation of “Nova Scotia”  •  March 16, 2012, 4:47pm  •  0 vote

Well, as one who has lived "Down East", I agree with "dougincanada" here: I've only ever heard NOE-vuh SKOE-shuh. Nova Scotia is Latin, of course. If it were pronounced in that language it would b

Re: of a  •  March 15, 2012, 7:26am  •  0 vote

As for a "lucid argument", there's none to be made because no argument is necessary. Clearly some dialects use "of" here and some don't. End of story.

Re: of a  •  March 15, 2012, 7:22am  •  0 vote

"I have oft admitted that I am a pedantic old curmudgeon and as such I reserve the right to express my opinions." No one is suggesting you don't have the right to express your opinions. However,

Re: of a  •  March 14, 2012, 5:59am  •  0 vote

"The former is perfectly good english. The latter is not, and is, I suspect, something of an Americanism." Ah yes, the usual fall-back position of all grammar pedants: when the facts fail you, reso

Re: -age words  •  March 14, 2012, 5:54am  •  1 vote

We've been coining "-age" words in English pretty well since words bearing that suffix came into the language (ha!) courtesy of Norman French. I suspect we'll still be cheerfully coining new "-age"

Re: “It is I” vs. “It is me”  •  March 8, 2012, 9:57am  •  0 vote

Gosh, I would have thought this old argument had been flogged to death long ago. We say "it's me"; end of story. Oh, and perhaps it would help if we tried to avoid terms like "nominative" when dis

Re: I’m home  •  March 8, 2012, 9:51am  •  0 vote

“'I am home.' Does 'home' function here as a noun or an adverb?" Does it matter?

Re: O’clock  •  March 4, 2012, 12:07pm  •  0 vote

Some interesting comments spanning almost seven years. The etymology of "o'clock" is intriguing but here's the reality: the "o'" in "o'clock" no longer really stands for anything in itself. The whol

Re: “hone in” vs. “home in”  •  February 29, 2012, 4:09am  •  0 vote

Surely the reason for this fairly humble mistake is obvious? It's pronunciation. It is based entirely on the phonetic proximity of the "m" in "home" with the "n" in "in". Hardly catastrophic.

Re: Try and  •  February 27, 2012, 12:58pm  •  0 vote

Such substitution exercises are silly. They do not account for particular idioms and constructions like "try and". It isn't possible to use it in the past tense? So what? All this proves is that E

Re: Verb, the process of being  •  February 24, 2012, 5:38am  •  0 vote

"This is very interesting! keep it up" I think you are just about three years too late, my friend.

Re: He was sat  •  February 24, 2012, 5:22am  •  0 vote

In the spoken language, "Standard English" is a useful fiction; in the written language, it's a useful semi-fiction. If most English speakers spoke like a BBC announcer, you might have a case for s

Re: He was sat  •  February 22, 2012, 7:18am  •  1 vote

"Try watching or preferably listening to the BBC. They do it." No they don't. Or are you suggesting American, Canadian Australian and even Indian news readers don't use "Standard English"? If

Re: He was sat  •  February 21, 2012, 4:58am  •  0 vote

If you ever find someone who speaks so-called "Standard English", do let us all know. I've never met such a person.

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  February 14, 2012, 11:20am  •  1 vote

"This does not tell me anything at all out of context..." And just what does the following sentence tell you out of context? "There will be another one along in a moment." Another what?

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  February 14, 2012, 11:17am  •  1 vote

Ah yes, dear old Noam Chomsky. "There are three things in life you must never run after: a bus, a woman and a theory of transformational grammar. There will be another one along in a moment."

Re: “I says”  •  February 6, 2012, 5:33am  •  1 vote

First, let me commend Eduardo for attempting to bring a bit of objectivity to the subject. For some reason, language seems to be the one area where it is still socially permissible to make prejudiced

Re: why does english have capital letters?  •  February 2, 2012, 6:15am  •  0 vote

"English does not have capital letters. The script it uses has. And the reason is tradition." There you have it in a nutshell.

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  February 2, 2012, 6:11am  •  1 vote

dougincanada: Ah, I see that you're falling back on an ad hominem argument; a sign of desperation? Anyway, I rather suspect that my level of language is at the very least quite the equal of yours.

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  January 30, 2012, 8:33am  •  2 votes

Oops! Looks like I had more than a couple of typos up there. Mea culpa! It's Monday morning. Let me try again. --- "A sentence needs a subject and predicate." Not so. You have decide

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  January 30, 2012, 8:29am  •  4 votes

"A sentence needs a subject and predicate." Not so. You have decided to fall back on that old crutch: the because-I-say-so-school of grammar. That approach is fine at the very basic level o

Re: make it work  •  January 27, 2012, 10:38am  •  0 vote

"As a follow-up, why don’t we conjugate 'work' or keep it in the infinitive?" And as a postscript, "work" is just that - an infinitive verb - in this example. What some would call the "bare in

Re: that vs. if and whether  •  January 26, 2012, 10:41am  •  0 vote

"From my experience, about 95% of english speaking people (even educated people) employ this grammar" Ninety-five percent, eh? Then perhaps it's correct.

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  January 25, 2012, 7:39am  •  7 votes

Surely not. Doesn't a sentence require a subject and a verb? Then how do you explain your "Surely not." above?

Re: “Fine” as a complete sentence  •  January 24, 2012, 6:44am  •  12 votes

Sure.

Re: “would of” instead of “would have” or “would’ve”  •  January 11, 2012, 7:32am  •  4 votes

"I think this goes right along with improper uses of 'your' and 'there.' It boils down to laziness of children in school." Nonsense. When someone writes "your" for "you're", it's simply a spellin

Re: Plural s-ending Possessives  •  November 22, 2011, 11:51am  •  1 vote

"I am making our x-mas cards and our last name is Gonzalez. How do I write it - Gonzalez' or Gonzalez's?" You could write "The Gonzalezs" but that would look odd. Avoid this mess by writing "T

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 12, 2011, 5:19pm  •  2 votes

"We have already established what is correct." Quite the contrary. We have established no such thing.

Re: “American”  •  November 12, 2011, 9:59am  •  2 votes

Speaking as a Canadian, I do not wish to be referred to as an American. But I am also not bothered in the least that term is used by folks in the US to describe themselves.

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 12, 2011, 7:28am  •  1 vote

"Correct use of the language has nothing to do with any kind of "prescriptivist bible'." Of course, that would depend on what you mean by "correct".

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 11, 2011, 11:06am  •  2 votes

"I revel in the fact that English is governed by 'Common Usage'" Well of course, the truth is that all languages are - no matter what some august member of the Académie française or the Asociación

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 10, 2011, 9:03am  •  2 votes

"Every verb in Engish has a subjunctive tense." The subjunctive is a mood, not a tense. And while most English verbs have at least one distinctly subjunctive verb form (the uninflected base fo

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 9, 2011, 6:21am  •  0 vote

"The verb 'to be' is, I think, the only verb in English that retains a subjunctive, and that subjunctive is 'were' not 'was'." No. When it is used, the subjunctive verb form shows up in three plac

Re: “If I was” vs. “If I were”  •  November 8, 2011, 3:22pm  •  2 votes

"'If I was the Prime Minister. ...' said Ed Miliband, British Labour party leader, today, Sunday 24th September 2011. Is this not how to phrase it if it remains a possibility that he was once Prime Mi

Re: “would of” instead of “would have” or “would’ve”  •  November 8, 2011, 10:37am  •  0 vote

"Never seen the 'ov' form, but 'would ov' is no more correct than 'would of'." I should've (ha!) pointed out that "ov" is not meant to be used as a substitute word for either "'ve" or "of" in writt

Re: “would of” instead of “would have” or “would’ve”  •  November 7, 2011, 3:44pm  •  6 votes

The "ov" form has been around for quite a while. It's actually a fairly natural phonetic evolution of the truncated "uhv" sound you get in (for example) "would've". I wouldn't worry about it mysel

Re: “think of” vs. “think to”  •  August 29, 2011, 2:14pm  •  0 vote

"How much French is in him?" As a French speaker, I immediately had the same thought: the different nuances in meaning between "penser à" and "penser de".

Re: LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?  •  August 29, 2011, 2:03pm  •  2 votes

The use of "LEGOs" (or, for that matter, "Legos") to describe more than one piece of LEGO is fine.

Re: “This is she” vs. “This is her”  •  July 29, 2011, 9:58am  •  0 vote

"Wow, I wonder if the original poster ever thought their question would trigger a five year debate of the topic." You've got that right! My suggestion to all? "This is her" is fine. Now,

Re: Impact as a noun  •  July 29, 2011, 9:47am  •  0 vote

Oops! I meant "instance".

Re: Impact as a noun  •  July 29, 2011, 9:47am  •  0 vote

Impact can be both a noun and a verb. However, at the risk of sounding cynical, I suggest you humour your professor in this instant. After you've finished the course, you can ignore him.

Re: “council” vs. “board”  •  July 29, 2011, 9:44am  •  0 vote

One is spelled c-o-u-n-c-i-l and the other is spelled b-o-a-r-d. Seriously though, the answer probably depends on the circumstances. What some organization might label a board, another might call

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  April 27, 2011, 9:55am  •  0 vote

Jim: "I’m mainly suggesting the words are interchanged so often (by those that don’t seem to know the definitions) that their distinction is lost." Presumably by "interchanged" you simply meant mis

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  April 4, 2011, 10:42am  •  0 vote

"And please don’t use the excuse that it’s normal communication, with that reasoning 'they’re' and 'there' will soon be synonymous. They'll never be synonymous no matter how you spell them. Pe

Re: “I’ve got” vs. “I have”  •  April 4, 2011, 10:35am  •  0 vote

"Is there not a redundancy in the use of 'got' with 'have'?" No. Otherwise the speaker would not have used it.

Re: gifting vs. giving a gift  •  March 3, 2011, 5:17pm  •  1 vote

And, regarding "gift" as a verb, I agree with a few other commentators here: it quite clearly means something different from plain old "give".

Re: gifting vs. giving a gift  •  March 3, 2011, 4:50pm  •  5 votes

Obviously "seldomly" is a word; if it were not, it wouldn't exist.

Re: to-day, to-night  •  March 3, 2011, 4:46pm  •  1 vote

My guess is that sometime in the 20s-30s the hyphen was viewed more and more as a cumbersome and superfluous fillip and thus dispensed with. We're seeing a similar to-and-fro with "e-mail" and "e

Re: Whom are you?  •  October 14, 2010, 2:59pm  •  2 votes

Use "who". "Whom" smacks of overcorrection (the tendency to overcompensate when a speaker is unsure of a grammatical concept)..

Re: Accepted spellings, punctuation, and capitalization of email  •  October 14, 2010, 2:56pm  •  4 votes

I use "email". On those occasions where this word starts a sentence, I write "Email".

Re: Can every letter be used as a silent letter?  •  September 23, 2010, 11:41am  •  4 votes

Dare I risk the label of being a pedant and propose that all 26 letters in English are silent? After all, they are simply a means to represent the language in writing.

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 28, 2010, 11:38am  •  4 votes

"Perhaps instead of being rude and insulting you could explain your point of view. A good English word is 'prat'." Now who's being insulting? The idea of a "pure" English language is silly and, as

Re: “she” vs “her”  •  July 25, 2010, 4:01pm  •  0 vote

"I was speaking to my administrator and explaining how I met another person in our company. I said “her and I traveled to Kansas together”. She stopped me and said it should be “she and I traveled to

Re: Really happy or real happy  •  July 25, 2010, 3:54pm  •  2 votes

The idea that that "real" as an adverb might have a certain nuanced difference in meaning from "really" hadn't occurred to me before. Interesting; I'll have to think about that. If you're looking

Re: “Anglish”  •  July 25, 2010, 3:44pm  •  10 votes

"Does anybody have an opinion or thoughts on “Anglish”…" Yes, it's a ridiculous idea. "Samebloodedness"? Get a life.

Re: “and yet”  •  February 28, 2010, 2:29pm  •  4 votes

If it were redundant, it wouldn't be there, would it?

Re: 46 year old heated Caribbean debate  •  September 22, 2009, 9:06am  •  0 vote

Life must be pretty good in Trinidad and Tobago if this is all you have to argue about down there! How soon can I move to Palo Seco?

Re: Loose = Lose?  •  September 22, 2009, 9:01am  •  0 vote

In summary then: it's simply a spelling mistake. Given the vast numbers of folks who can now write directly onto the Web without having to be vetted by any editor or proofreader, you should not be

Re: Try and  •  June 17, 2008, 10:11am  •  0 vote

"I shall never accept that simple prevailing usage makes erroneous grammar somehow magically correct." Then why is Modern English so different from Old English? Who made the lack of noun inflect

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  June 9, 2008, 3:36pm  •  2 votes

What does need have to do with anything?

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  June 5, 2008, 4:17am  •  3 votes

Correction: my last should have been: I suggest that the past form is pronounced "texd."

Re: Past tense of “text”  •  June 5, 2008, 4:15am  •  6 votes

I suggest that the past form is pronounced "text'd". It should thus likely be written as "texted". This would be in line with similar verbs like "work" and "mix".

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