This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books.
Do You Have a Question?
Latest Posts : Style
Are adverbs something to be avoided like the plague or an inevitable mutation of the English language that we just have to deal with? I’ve heard it said that they’re the mark of a writer who lacks the vocabulary to use powerful words (for example, “He walked slowly” does not carry the weight of “He plodded” or “He trudged”) and the skill to vary their sentence structure. I’ve seen them used in published in professional work, from George R. R. Martin to J.K. Rowling, so it’s not something authors shy away from and, for the most part, the public accepts it without question.
What would be the preferred form of each of these:-
a) “in hopes of” or “in the hope of”
b) “a change in plans” or “a change of plan”
c) “apprise” or “inform”
d) “envision” or “envisage”
I favour the second of each of the above, but no doubt there will be different opinions.
“What can I do besides complaining” sounds wrong to me but I can’t say why ... I think it should be complain.
“What can I do besides complain?”
“What can I do but complain?”
However, “Besides complaining, what can I do?” sounds ok.
Any thoughts? Or am I completely off base here?
If a semicolon is used to contrast two sentences, we can omit repetitive words by using a comma, as in:
“To err is human; to forgive, divine”
“The cat was orange; the dog, brown.”
However, if no semicolon is used, can we still do the same? For example:
“You’re our son, Heracles, and we, your family.”
“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 Minister, or if he is not sure if he was, or is reluctant to admit it?
“If I were the Prime Minister, ...”, using the subjunctive mood of the verb, would suggest that he is not Prime minister but is about to tell us what he would do if he were the PM. If the subjunctive is now defunct in UK Labour politics, as I suspect, how did he continue to tell us what he would have done, if he were the PM, without using the subjunctive? “if I was the PM, I ~~~~~ ???” It cannot be done.
I never know whether to use “it” in the following sentence: “Just because ___, (it) doesn’t mean ____.” In other words, would you say,
“Just because I was mean to you, it doesn’t mean you should be mean to me.” OR
“Just because I was mean to you, doesn’t mean you should be mean to me.” OR
“Just because I was mean to you, that doesn’t mean you should be mean to me.”
I hear people using the second variation all the time, but it seems that the third is preferable. Thoughts?
I know that the proper order for a nominative series of nouns including the speaker is “John and I,” but what about for the objective? “Mrs. Smith taught me and John,” or, “Mrs. Smith taught John and me”? The same goes for prepositions, “Mrs. Smith taught chemistry to me and John,” vs. “Mrs. Smith taught chemistry to John and me.”
Also, does whether one uses the objective pronoun or the reflexive pronoun affect the order? “I taught John and myself,” vs, “I taught myself and John.”
My teen-age daughter wrote a psychological thriller novella, “Keeping Her in the Light” last summer that Canada-based Eternal Press published last November.
She wants to finish another psychological thriller that she started writing 2 years ago. The setting is during the Victorian Era. She stopped writing this novella because she feels that the conversations in her novella should be in the style of the Victorian Era.
Kindly advise if there is a software or method of converting modern day English to the Victorian Era English.
Jomel Fuentes Manila, Philippines