providencejim

Joined: June 17, 2010

Number of comments posted: 53

Number of votes received: 13

Retired, did some college English teaching and some other things. Live in a state often used as a comparison in discussing a rather large but not gigantic entity, e.g.: The oil spill now covers an area the size of Rhode Island.

Questions Submitted

“Based out of”: Why?

“Over-simplistic”

Recent Comments

Re: “graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”?  •  May 7, 2014, 10:54pm  •  0 vote

I'm glad we all agree that it should be "graduate from," at least if one is graduating at all ;-). I'm curious, though, about the relation of finishing a secondary school to gaining employment without

Re: “graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”?  •  May 7, 2014, 1:24pm  •  0 vote

I guess then, Mr. H. Scot, that here in the colonies we're just not living in the real world (I refer to the USA and Canada). If Scots do not choose to graduate students from high school or college, s

Re: “Based out of”: Why?  •  December 12, 2013, 5:11pm  •  0 vote

Will, the use of "like" as a "postponed filler," as per your example, I don't think I've ever encountered in American English. I checked your apparent source for the 1778 finding and was disappointed

Re: “Based out of”: Why?  •  December 11, 2013, 5:46pm  •  0 vote

I share Buzzbuzz10's occasional confusion when seeing "sick" used online. I've come to the conclusion that if you know the poster is under 30, it almost certainly has a positive meaning (really cool);

Re: “Based out of”: Why?  •  December 6, 2013, 5:41pm  •  0 vote

Will, with imply/infer you have hit on probably my longest-held pet peeve. If infer is simply going to mean imply, then what shall we use to mean infer? To me this is absolutely foolish. I can't blame

Re: “Based out of”: Why?  •  December 4, 2013, 5:43pm  •  0 vote

Well put, as usual, Warsaw Will. I agree that dictionaries have as a primary responsibility to provide meanings for words we use, regardless of acceptance levels. But I do like to see them tell us if

Re: “Based out of”: Why?  •  December 4, 2013, 11:47am  •  0 vote

@Skeeter Lewis: The nautical use of "out of" makes perfect sense, given that ships doing business would be away from their home ports. Getting rid of the redundant "based" is a fine thing! Thanks for

Re: “Based out of”: Why?  •  December 3, 2013, 10:06pm  •  0 vote

Warsaw Will, thanks for your response (quite informative as usual). Actually I'd say the Small Business Administration _is_ discussing businesses conducted in homes. In the section on "Before You Begi

Re: Tell About  •  November 21, 2013, 8:17pm  •  0 vote

@Warsaw Will: Ironic that the one novel I chose to try out the search function in Google Books turns out to be some kind of anomaly. At least we know Faulkner did not avoid using "he told about" ;-).

Re: Tell About  •  November 20, 2013, 6:21pm  •  0 vote

Warsaw Will, I was curious why A Giant's Strength, a play of just 52 pages, would have such a large number of "tell about" usages. I looked at your link and also did my own Google search in the text o

Re: Tell About  •  November 19, 2013, 10:16pm  •  0 vote

At first as an American of some years I thought, Why, that's awful! I never say that. But then after seeing some examples I realized I have been hearing and reading "tell about" all along, although no

Re: Misuse of “lay”  •  October 9, 2013, 5:23pm  •  1 vote

As usual, Warsaw Will lends to the topic his deep knowledge of English usage and his affirmation of the value of letting go of prescriptivist dicta. I agree with him as far as informal contexts go, bu

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 24, 2013, 3:16pm  •  0 vote

For JJMBallantyne and jayles the unwise: First, after reviewing the categories available at this site, I see now that Pet Peeves would have been the proper place for my initial post. I'm so used to lo

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 22, 2013, 5:37pm  •  0 vote

Aha, Will, as an American I have indeed been influenced to believe that "importantly" (and its kin) is not proper to start a sentence with (also influenced not to end a sentence with a preposition, bu

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 22, 2013, 12:44pm  •  0 vote

Hello Will (yes, it's Jim): My nighttime mind must have been groggy, as I wouldn't ordinarily mistake a simple use of the past tense of "be" as passive voice. And unlike what I believe is now an old-s

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 21, 2013, 9:25pm  •  0 vote

Will, you mean your example begs the question of whether a predicative adjective needs an intensifier? ;-) To me no intensifier is needed, technically--but the second version is definitely weakened by

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 21, 2013, 1:57pm  •  0 vote

WWill, your sentence sounds as natural and idiomatic to me as would "His explanation was too simple." I really think that your example might sound bare to some is because we have become accustomed

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 20, 2013, 11:29pm  •  0 vote

Thanks for joining the discussion, JJMB and Grammarnut, but I really have no problem with the use of "over" as a modifier. Look at the online Oxford Dictionary definition of "over-simplistic" I cite a

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 16, 2013, 10:09pm  •  0 vote

As always, Warsaw Will, quite helpful and well-documented comments. I would never in a conversation, oral or written (oops, that reminds me of "oral/verbal"), get exercised about or mention someone's

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 15, 2013, 11:39pm  •  0 vote

I hadn't come across the Fry video before, Warsaw Will, so thanks for posting that. I agree with him and with you that taking a kind of snob approach to a changing language is not admirable. There are

Re: “Over-simplistic”  •  September 14, 2013, 12:16am  •  0 vote

I appreciate your research, Warsaw Will, but "over-simplistic" has sounded silly to me since I first ran across it years ago, and it still does. I can accept "quite simplistic" or "really simplistic,"

Re: I’ve vs I’ve got  •  June 25, 2013, 5:30pm  •  1 vote

Excellent comment by Warsaw Will. As an English-speaking American, though, I think I see a contrast with one example WW uses. I agree "I've to go" sounds odd, but to me so does "I've to be there at ei

Re: “graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”?  •  May 26, 2013, 5:21pm  •  3 votes

For what it's worth, it's nice to see that Grammar Girl agrees with those of us who see "from" as essential for good English: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/graduated-from.aspx (" If you go arou

Re: “graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”?  •  May 26, 2013, 10:31am  •  1 vote

As an update on this topic, at today's NBC News site I found these two headlines on the front page: "As their children graduate college...." and "Teen who lost mom in tornado graduates from high schoo

Re: “in regards to”  •  April 4, 2013, 9:21am  •  0 vote

"in regards to" and "with regards to" has always grated on my ear, as I've always thought of "regards" as something you give (as per George M. Cohan's song, "Give My Regards to Broadway"). So I'm glad

Re: “It is what it is”  •  January 30, 2013, 8:52pm  •  0 vote

RGB, I think your second post about Lennon lyrics is a good find, as it seems to fit perfectly the sense of the expression we've been discussing. But that website's attribution to "an Austrian poet in

Re: “It is what it is”  •  December 8, 2012, 7:28pm  •  0 vote

@Warsaw Will: Thank you for your contributions here, which are a hell of a lot more helpful than those of HDD, who is probably, as my son suggests, just a troll, and as you guess also a follower of Br

Re: “It is what it is”  •  December 7, 2012, 9:32pm  •  1 vote

We owe a debt of gratitude to hot diggedy dayum for bringing a refined British perspective to the discussion. If I might though, as a mere American, register a couple of quibbles about his erudite com

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  September 17, 2012, 11:44am  •  0 vote

@Cymrie: According to what I learned in numerous English classes and what I see at online grammar sites, a sentence like my "The team are running around and falling all over themselves" IS correct gr

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  September 8, 2012, 3:48pm  •  0 vote

JohnsonJackson: I agree it doesn't "sound right," even though it's perfectly correct English, probably because we'd rather hear "The guys on the team are running around and falling all over themselves

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  September 6, 2012, 9:05pm  •  0 vote

Thredder and id: I guess if you've always heard something said one way, it'll sound OK. I was taught that collective nouns (like team, and by extension I think, a team known by its city's name) take e

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  September 4, 2012, 8:46pm  •  0 vote

Oh, Welid, the Brits! Here in the US we try to avoid comma splices but they (you?) just keep using them ;-). If one checks the Wikipedia entry on the comma splice, one finds this: "Although acceptable

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  August 30, 2012, 8:36pm  •  0 vote

Julia S. U., concerning your final observation, I learned (and one still sees the rule, as here: http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/semicolons_before_transitional_phrases.htm) that "therefore" and

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  August 15, 2012, 10:24am  •  0 vote

Oops, how embarrassing--I left out the comma in the title of Lynne Truss's book, _Eats, Shoots & Leaves_ (and the ampersand).

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  August 15, 2012, 10:18am  •  0 vote

porsche, I can agree that getting rid of a rule that mandates a semicolon before "but" and then a comma has been a good thing (and as a retired guy I have to say I never ran into that rule myself). I

Re: “and” or “but” followed by a comma  •  August 14, 2012, 7:32pm  •  0 vote

Actually, bubbha, I don't like what's become typical of writers today, using "therefore" after a comma rather than after a semicolon (and then omitting the comma after "therefore"). E.g., "I don't lik

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  July 24, 2012, 7:17am  •  0 vote

nuffsaid, did you bother to read the comments above, especially Warsaw Will's? We are dealing with an idiomatic expression that now appears well ensconced in American English, after being so in Britis

Re: Referent of “one”  •  July 4, 2012, 12:16pm  •  1 vote

Although I agree generally with dave's response, to be more accurate I would say "form of melody" is a noun (not prepositional) phrase to which "one" refers.

Re: “It is what it is”  •  June 30, 2012, 2:12pm  •  0 vote

jonthecelt, I know someone with Crohn's and sympathize. And I can readily see how appropriate "it is what it is" can be for your condition. I cannot understand why some posters have such a negative re

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  February 25, 2012, 10:38am  •  0 vote

dot, please don't SHOUT. Now try to apply your view to the quote in my Dec. 17 post, "...a New Jersey woman who went missing in May 2010." How would you do that? At any rate, there is simply no argume

Re: “It is what it is”  •  February 4, 2012, 9:29am  •  1 vote

Well, william2010bc, I'm not sure we should be getting back to "basics" with someone who omits necessary punctuation in his post (should be "let's" and "basics, please" and "conditions are," or has is

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  December 17, 2011, 4:28pm  •  0 vote

We need to put this issue to rest. Again today I find the idiom used on a US news site, msnbc.msn.com: "By NBC New York Police have identified the remains found on Monday in a Long Island marsh as th

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  November 25, 2011, 8:28am  •  0 vote

Well, Nancy, I'm sorry the idiom so upsets you, but like many idioms it appears to have ensconced itself in the English language (but in no other I'm aware of), so we might as well get used to it. I c

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  November 9, 2011, 9:49pm  •  0 vote

Yes, Jimmy, they could have said that, but your version leaves open the possibility the two people took a hiking trip and later became missing. The "went missing during a hiking trip" leaves no doubt

Re: “It is what it is”  •  October 19, 2011, 4:11pm  •  1 vote

haston, your query about "Butter Face" intrigued me, as I'd never heard it before. So I checked UrbanDictionary dot com and found it's spelled there as one word, "butterface," and is indeed something

Re: “It is what it is”  •  August 25, 2011, 10:48am  •  0 vote

Matt P: Interesting observation, raising for me two questions: 1) As Sartre wrote in French, what exactly were his original words for "It is what it is," and 2) where in "Being and Nothingness does t

Re: “It is what it is”  •  August 9, 2011, 9:17am  •  0 vote

Thanks for your input, itiswhatitis. It's clear this expression means different things to different people, but your take is closer to what I've thought about its use than some of the other interpreta

Re: “went missing/gone missing”?  •  July 1, 2011, 2:28pm  •  0 vote

I think "went missing" is now common in reporting (print and other media) because it serves a purpose not easily fulfilled by other means. Consider this news item I found today at MSNBC.com: "Mystery

Re: “It is what it is”  •  May 1, 2011, 9:48pm  •  0 vote

Darn, Red, I was going to say that Patriots coach Bill Belichick was definitely the originator of the phrase, and I see you've already done that. My tongue would be in cheek, but it is quite possible

Re: Team names — singular or plural  •  July 22, 2010, 6:36pm  •  0 vote

I agree with Steve - Kestrel Aerie. I started watching more soccer/football this year, and it really perplexed me to hear constantly the singular team names followed by plural verbs. Last night I watc

Re: There was/were a pen and three pencils...  •  June 19, 2010, 1:53pm  •  1 vote

Scyllacat, have you seen using sound as an aid to subject-verb agreement in any guide? I will admit "There is a pencil and three pens" sounds right, but then a lot of things that might sound right can

Re: There was/were a pen and three pencils...  •  June 17, 2010, 12:29pm  •  0 vote

Oops: my reply above contains an error. The third sentence should read, "Or 'Three pencils and a pen were on the table.'" Got my "there"s and "three"s mixed up.

Re: There was/were a pen and three pencils...  •  June 17, 2010, 11:40am  •  2 votes

When a sentence begins with "There" and the choice of verb is "is/was" or "are/were," you simply restate the sentence with the actual subject(s) at the beginning. In this case, you would then say, "A