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It's "Hey, you," or "Hi, you guys."

speedwell April 5, 2005, 8:50am

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Of course you can possess integrity or loyalty.. That's absolutely correct. Whether you can be "possessed of" them is a little different; strictly speaking you can (it's not absolutely wrong), but as Ed and CQ point out, it sounds strange to the average modern speaker.

You still sometimes see it used in a wry sort of way, though, for instance: "As Mark walked out of his drunk girlfriend's apartment, he slyly possessed himself of her car keys so she wouldn't be able to drive that night." Or, Mom's favorite, "You can't just walk up and possess yourself of anything in the fridge."

Note the use of "himself," "yourself," etc.

The last serious use I saw of this construction was in a Victorian-era novel, in which the hero had befriended a man in trouble, who later turned out to have been a nobleman; upon that nobleman's death, our hero suddenly "found himself possessed of the old gentleman's entire legacy."

speedwell March 31, 2005, 7:45am

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Who, me? Um... yeah, that's how my partner thinks I drive, anyway. LOL

speedwell March 29, 2005, 10:06am

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Sure, as soon as you Brits start to drive on the correct side of the road. :))

speedwell March 28, 2005, 7:10am

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OK, nice to hear from an expert. Got any links to material that supports and enlarges upon the claim, Dennis?

speedwell March 28, 2005, 7:09am

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OK, I'm going to go do actual work now....

speedwell March 24, 2005, 8:07am

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Not to mention what goulash looks like to the people below you when you throw it, lukewarm, over a balcony at a movie theater while making juvenile retching noises....

OK, I swear I've never actually DONE this, so the movie buffs in the group need not crucify me....

speedwell March 24, 2005, 8:07am

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Heretic!! Burn the heretic! Burn the.... waaaaaaait....

speedwell March 24, 2005, 8:02am

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As an ethnic Hungarian who regularly makes goulash (my father insists on "gulyas," its spelling in Hungarian), I guess I'm a cooking expert :) but I have nothing to add to what Persephone said, since I actually had never heard the term before.

But given that goulash is a stew, and Communism presumably follows the marxist doctrine of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," the term makes me think of the fable "Stone Soup." (grin)

speedwell March 23, 2005, 9:38am

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Oh, my, we have a word that isn't in the dictionary. Whatever did the language do before there were dictionaries? Were all the words just wrong?

speedwell March 23, 2005, 9:28am

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Oh, yes, and it happens in Spanish too, with the "familiar" form "tu" and the "formal" form "usted" (plural, "ustedes"). Because the word endings of nouns that agree with "usted" resemble plural endings, I sometimes tease my Hispanic co-workers with this mock-innocent query:

"The Spanish word for 'day' is 'día,' right?"

"Yeah, right."

"And if you wanted to talk about more than one day, you'd say 'días,' right?

"Yeah, that's right."

"So when we tell someone 'Buenos días,' we're actually talking about more than one day, right?"

(Look of utter confusion on my friend's face as they try desperately to articulate a grammatical principle they've taken for granted since they began to talk. Heh.)

speedwell March 18, 2005, 8:14am

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Marta, that would likely be rendered in English as something like "home theater system."

Which gives me an idea; perhaps we could refer to "TV plus stuff" as a "TV system."

speedwell March 16, 2005, 1:44pm

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I'd go with "entertainment center," understood in context as being the TV and related stuff that you have at home.

I am just beginning to see the whole set of "TV plus gadgetry" referred to as just the "TV" unless the speaker really intends to refer to just the VCR or just the DVD, for example. (Recall that even the TV itself used to be referred to as a "TV set.")

speedwell March 16, 2005, 8:31am

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Oh, yeah, "you" and "all of you" is the way I learned it growing up, part of which I actually did in Michigan. I didn't pick up "y'all" until I moved to Texas (the first time) when I was 12.

Since the subject hasn't really been addressed, I'll point out that the word "you," far from having no plural, *is* the plural. The singular form, no longer used in standard English, is "thou" or "thee" (depending on its grammatical function).

I learned from the Quakers that at the time of their founding, around 200 years ago, both "you" and "thou" were used in the singular in standard English. The choice between them was made based on how close or familiar your relationship was with the person you were addressing. Since Quakers wished to emphasize the status of every person as a brother or sister in Christ (as they saw it), they used only the more familiar form. They continued to speak this way even when 'thou" fell out of standard usage. It's rare to find a modern Quaker who still does this, though.

speedwell March 16, 2005, 8:26am

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Hear ye, hear ye.

It hasn't been "completely incorrect" to end a sentence with a preposition since, oh, people stopped speaking actual Latin in colleges.

Come to think of it, it's never been incorrect to end an English sentence with a preposition. Some Victorian busybodies noticed it never happened in Latin, so OBVIOUSLY that meant it should never happen in English.

After all, Latin and English are the same language, right?


speedwell March 14, 2005, 8:23am

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Am I just old, or didn't we used to say "log on" to a network rather than "log in?"

speedwell March 14, 2005, 8:18am

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I suppose I should mention that I was taught to pronounce the extra syllable, contrary to what Brad's teacher held. Maybe it is different in different English-speaking regions. I've never had my pronunciation corrected, though.

speedwell March 11, 2005, 2:44pm

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Yes, "Klosses" is right for more than one family member. But the kitty belonging to the family is "the Klosses' cat." If she was just your kitty, for example, that's when she'd be "Ownie Kloss's cat."

speedwell March 11, 2005, 2:42pm

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You may also choose to simply flip prepositional phrases around in either example I just gave, which would yield:

"The defenders of the Alamo were given no quarter by Santa Ana's forces," and

"Her rude remarks were taken no notice of by them."

speedwell March 11, 2005, 8:16am

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I agree that Dave made the better choice of the two options given. However, there's a third, more complete option.

It's really easy to "lose" pieces of the active sentence when converting to passive, and vice versa. Let's use as an illustration another active sentence similar to your sample sentence:

"Santa Ana's forces gave no quarter to the defenders of the Alamo."

If I was to formulate an "A" and "B" sentence like yours from the example, this is what I'd get:

A) No quarter was given to the defenders of the Alamo.
B) The defenders of the Alamo were given no quarter.

What happened to Santa Ana's forces? (Well, they defeated the defenders of the Alamo, which gave rise to the rallying cry of Texan independence, "Remember the Alamo," but that's a story for another time, kids.)

The passive sentence that truly corresponds with the example would be, "No quarter was given by Santa Ana's forces to the defenders of the Alamo."

Therefore, the passive sentence that corresponds to your example sentence would be more like, "No notice was taken by them of her rude remarks."

speedwell March 11, 2005, 8:09am

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