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Joined: June 9, 2012
Comments posted: 173
Votes received: 53

No user description provided.

Questions Submitted

Modal Remoteness & Tense

November 28, 2013

“as” clause and tense

October 15, 2013

Past vs. past perfect

September 13, 2013


July 5, 2013

Misplaced clauses?

January 1, 2013

Recent Comments

@Warsaw Will,

That debate was very enjoyable. However, I have an issue about what Oliver Kamm said about registers. As I've learned about how British schools don't teach much grammar any more from thee and others, I will say that if a person doesn't know proper grammar, how will he (or she) operate proficiently in each one? It seems absurd to say it's about registers when people aren't taught inadequately.

Another thing with which I have a problem is that a person can a degree in English, or whatever one of the debaters talked about, without knowing correctly spelling, really? Really? It's one thing to be rebellious to Latinate/French spelling, like AnWulf, and then there's a plain lack of sedulity to that person's career.

(Note: let's exclude ESLs from this; I'm mainly focused on people whose first language is English)

Jasper June 1, 2014, 7:05pm

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Okay, I'm back.

@Warsaw Will
"So if you bring it back, you must insist that you is never used as a polite form, only a plural."

My intention is using thou for singular and you for plural. Ye, I couldn't care less about, no use trying to resurrect that. Although it may have been clear, I should probably elucidate that I don't mean to bring any of the Middle English conjugations that accompany thou. So it would simply be a substitution with thou for you (thou=you in singular).

So, "are you going to the mall" would become "are thou going to the mall".

"but has that ever led you to any real confusion in real life?"

I can't think of one off the top of my head, but there may have been times.

When I say right, I typically mean grammatically correct. I do however hold a few prescriptions: who and whom, lie and lay. I also happen to believe that there should be a standard. Without a standard, the worst case scenario is that dialects become so alien from each other that they become distinct languages. I'm skeptical it would happen though. With a standard, the worst case scenario is lack of creativity and distinctive writing styles. These two are mainly because I detest the very thought of losing words. In the case of who and whom, whom is lost, and who subsumes the grammatical function of whom; with lie and lay, the past participle of lie, lain, is lost, and lay follows who's example.

Issues like splitting the infinitive, stranding prepositions, it is I/me, as/than I/me, me/my verb+"ing" etc. aren't that dire. Two are rules based on Latin. Using Latin grammar as precedence for English grammar is absurd.

" many people sounds stilted and pretentious"

Honestly, I couldn't care less whether people think of me as pretentious or not. I like using whom, and it only sounded stilted to me when I first started using it, *shrugs* and now, it isn't a big deal to me.

On which, as an American who learned from an American grammar book, I will say that I primarily use which for nonrestrictive relative clauses while I use that for restrictive relative clauses, but I've noticed that there are times when which doesn't read "right" in a nonrestrictive role. There is nothing tenable about which being strictly in nonrestrictive roles; it is merely a distinction like less and fewer. Distinctions, though, are nice to have. My views on it now are merely: there're a time and place for which to be restrictive.

"I know it's a minority view here, but I think the whole idea of 'correct' lacks nuance"

I agree, but then again I never clearly defined what I meant by correct.

"...but I think that's rather different from your 'right'."

I don't think it's a wise thing to assume thy opposing side's position/views.

"The last thing I want is people laughing at my students because they're being over formal or sounding pretentious."

Someone who laughs at a foreigner who is trying to learn and is learning a new language deserves nothing but contempt; that someone should be helping the foreigner instead of being an ass.

" some cases can lead to a rather unpleasant air of smugness and superiority."

And why should it not? It is not that hard to learn a person's native language's grammar. They have books, from libraries and such, and, with the internet, if they have the internet, an enormous amount of resources. All that it amounts to is an unwillingness to learn it, and the support that linguistics gives only adds another excuse.

These next two paragraphs are intended to clarify the preceding paragraph.

I'm not justifying superciliousness or arrogance. If a person doesn't want to learn grammar, fine, I don't care as long as these people aren't writers or academics in lingual fields. Do I think people should? Yeah. There should be pride (not arrogance) in being able to deduce whether something is an adverb or infinitive.

Now onto linguistics, I respect the field, and their documentation of everything is important, esp. since it's a scientific analysis of language, but their research _can_ be used to pander to those who are too lazy to learn.

Jasper May 21, 2014, 4:39pm

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I'm not advocating to add them to English curriculums/a (per se) nor am going to prescribe or reproach someone for using "you" in singular. I just think it would be preferential/better for clarity's sake. When I was younger, I read some dialogue in a book that used "you" and couldn't figure out if he/she meant one person or more than one person.

I'm starting to use thou/thee/thy/thine/thyself in writing. Haven't had a chance in speech yet though, which will prove to be harder because of my natural flow of speech. It will take time getting used to. I suppose I'm like AnWulf in this regard.

Is there any issue in English that correlates with what you experienced in Hungary, because English doesn't have all these alternatives?

Again, not advocating for snobbery but for clarity.

Jasper May 18, 2014, 2:24pm

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Um, this should make it clearer because PITE comments dislike my table format:
Nominative: You
Objective: You
Genitive: Your, yours
Reflexive/Intensive: Yourself

Nominative: You
Objective: You
Genitive: Your, yours
Reflexive/Intensive: Yourselves

Jasper May 18, 2014, 9:02am

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@Warsaw Will,

"... that's how the rules have been formed over the centuries. "

Yes, first, you have to create a standard out of commonalities before having that standard. The greatest threat that unbridled descriptivism poses is that it can lead to the formations of mountains, or perhaps fissures, between other variants of English. A few differences are not going to eradicate communication outright, but vigilance of both descriptivism and prescriptivism is necessary.

Dialects are fine, so long as the users know what situations in which it is fine to be informal and formal.

"And it's even accepted in 19th century American grammars, such as those by Noah Webster and William Chauncey Fowler"

Yes, I pointed that, if we're talking about the singular vs. plural verb with a collective noun, out in my response to Hairy Scot. I also never said anything about it being incorrect. I was simply stating that a usage isn't right just because it's popular, just as a usage isn't right for being in the minority, and pointing out two fallacies argument from popularity and argument from "minority".

My wish for reviving thou isn't because of snobbery but clarity.

"...I can't think of a single occasion when it has led to any confusion."

If it means thou, then no, you is my problem.

Singular Nom. Obj. Gen. Refl./Intsve.
You You Your, yours Yourself

Plural Nom. Obj. Gen. Refl./Intsve.
You You Your, yours Yourselves

That's my issue.

Jasper May 18, 2014, 7:53am

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@Warsaw Will,

"Basically, what it boils down to is that you don't like it, which is fair enough, nobody's asking you to use it, but that doesn't necessarily make it incorrect."

Yes, but the converse is also true, just because other people like a usage and use it doesn't mean it's correct—it just means that it is popular, and popular opinion doesn't always constitute what's right.

@Hairy Scot,
I, too, must say that I find myself surprised that thou use something typically considered a rule of American English. I've learned that there are times when American English does use the plural verb, and Warsaw Will has already stated reasons why. Those are pretty valid and logical reasons, which I have seen in my own (American) grammar textbook.

"We are often reminded on PITE that in English "common usage" overrides any and all rules and that there are no right and wrong answers."

Is that true on PITE? I've not noticed it. I stick to my moderate stance between prescriptivism and descriptivism. I see a need for a standard, for the sole reason that communication hinges on it, but see nothing wrong with informal language, idioms, dialects, and variants of English (British vs. American vs. Indian etc.). I have grown more descriptivist since I came here though.

Honestly, I would like to see a resurgence in thou/thee/thy/thine/thyself because it distinguishes it from you/you/your/yours/yourselves. Sometimes it's confusing seeing "you" and whether it's singular and plural. Ye, however, is unimportant and unnecessary to revive. I think I'll finally start that revival.

"I'm sure that you are not suggesting that any contributors to PITE should/could be considered pricks. :-))"

I was a prick on here before.

Jasper May 18, 2014, 12:49am

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I can understand your problems with all but "update you". I suppose "give you an update/updates" would be better, but I don't see a big deal with "update you", although it could be construed as if you were a model that needed an upgrade of some kind. What's the context of "welcome along to"?

Jasper May 16, 2014, 6:56am

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*Remove "being"

Jasper May 10, 2014, 6:36am

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As I've told my friend, Lego is a contraction of two Danish words "leg godt (play well)"=>lego. A verb being changed into a proper noun. If the Danes are allowed to contract words and change the lexical category of them, then we have the right to do what we wish with that word.

Jasper May 10, 2014, 6:35am

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D sounds the most natural and followed by A.

B sounds strange with shall, but if I remember correctly, "shall" is the "will" of first person pronouns. I agree that B doesn't sit well on the tongue, but it might just be archaic. C, however, can convey annoyance depending on intonation.

Jasper April 8, 2014, 1:18am

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"Clause; conjunctive adverb, clause" is the formal "correct" way to punctuate it.

Example: "He is the bad guy; therefore, I am the good guy."

Jasper April 7, 2014, 5:14am

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@Warsaw Will,

Funnily enough, I've actually thought of clauses in mathematical terms.

For example, an independent clause would be x; a subordinate clause would be some kind of sinusoidal function. When added together, they make a sentence, a function:

x=I have loved Mary
sin(y)=since (we were young)

Thus, "I have loved Mary since we were young".

Jasper March 20, 2014, 7:03am

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SVO for "Who hit the teacher?" or IsVO

Ips/Is=interrogative pronoun as subject

OxSV/IoxSV for "Who(m) did the teacher hit?"

Ipo/Io=Interrogative pronoun as object

Jasper March 20, 2014, 3:58am

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@Hairy Scot,

Um, yeah, sorry about that. After I had just posted the comment, I reflected on it and realized how much like an ass I sounded. Anyway, I find "on tomorrow" strange sounding.


What is ADP? All I can think of is adpositional phrase or adposition.

Jasper March 14, 2014, 12:14pm

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@Hairy Scot,

Well, Monday is answering the adverbial question of "when". It fits into:

We went shopping today.
I went shopping yesterday.
I went to the story a few days ago (or ereyesterday [the day before yesterday]).

And, like some adverbs, can be relocated to the front of the sentence:

Today, I went shopping.
Yesterday, I went shopping.
A few days ago/ereyesterday, I went shopping.
Next Monday, we will have a meeting.

Jasper March 13, 2014, 7:38am

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@Hairy Scot,

I think the exclusion of the preposition is that Monday can act adverbially (which is what it is doing here).

Jasper March 12, 2014, 9:10pm

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@Hairy Scot,

I used intransigent because you're unwilling to change your mind (the definition) on something that does have usage beside it, and, like you, if something seems illogical, I will examine it before dismiss it. I agree that sometimes usage is sometimes a bad argument (it has a whiff of the appeal to popularity fallacy). Unlike you, I don't see anything wrong with "n choices" (where n is any number [greater than -1]). Ironically, you're not the first person to dislike it; my Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, which, admittedly, I didn't think expect there to be entry for it, states that:

"A correspondent in Safire 1984 says that he often sees, "He has two choices, either A or B." "Of course," the correspondent goes on, "there is only one choice." This correspondent's belief, which seems to rest on the notion that choice has but a single meaning, is of very obscure origin, unless the correspondent himself thought it up. We have unable to find such a concern expressed in our collection of usage books,..."

Sorry for that mouthful.

What is it about "do the math" that you don't like?

As for a hiatus, don't do it. Differing opinions are better than a concord. No debate or disagreement would be a terrible thing. I'm also sorry to hear about Perfect Pedant. I actually wondered where he had gone to myself some time ago. I still haven't gotten those quotes yet; I've been busy.

Jasper March 12, 2014, 9:31am

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@Hairy Scot,

Yes, the way that the syntax, which has forty modifying fabrics, is supposedly supports your claim, but, despite the evidence provided by Warsaw Will, AnWulf, who, although didn't provide any evidence, defined it most eloquently, and others, you remain intransigent. I will take a look in my Second Edition of Oxford English Dictionary for quotations later and then get back to you.

Jasper March 11, 2014, 4:40am

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@Hairy Scot,

But that's the thing two, three, four, etc. are adjectives and thus restricting the meaning of choice because there can be more than two choices. Here is a definition (as a noun):

"an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities"
Example: "the choice between good and evil"


"a range of possibilities from which one or more may be selected:"
Example: "you can have a sofa made to order in a choice of over forty fabrics"

It's just specifying the number of choices.

Jasper March 11, 2014, 2:48am

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@Mrs. Davenport,

Because of your post, I researched the term Ebonics (on wikipedia) and apologize that I may have offended you with its use. I only learned it recently, through this website no less, and use it solely as a quick synonym for African American Vernacular English (AAVE). I was not cognizant of the negative connotation that it held. As for evidence, I found this:

The most excerpt: "To add to what Prof. Stahlke said, this pronunciation is also found in Hawaiian English and in AAVE (African-American Vernacular English). One hears it a lot in New York, which is where a lot of American news organizations are based."

I probably should have said dialects in my last post too. And lastly, I did not claim that it was a mispronunciation, just showing a "possible" origin of it.

Jasper March 10, 2014, 7:32pm

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