Your Pain Is Our Pleasure
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February 3, 2004
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*Did* you have a baby? If so, congratulations :)
I'd like to point out the utterly obvious, which is that your usage depends on context. You can easily see which to use in the following sentences:
____ had a baby, and we're both tired from getting up all night.
____ had a baby, and her obstetrician made her stay one extra day in the hospital.
____ had a baby, but now I have a teenager.
The proper spelling of the word, to the extent there is a proper spelling, is "y'all." "Y'all" is a contraction, like "don't" and "isn't." The apostrophe stands for the dropped letters "O" and "U."
"You" is either singular or plural, or usable when you don't know or don't want to specify singular or plural.
"Y'all" can sometimes be used in the singular, but I rarely hear the singular usage anymore, and I never hear it in Texas. It means the same thing as, and is interchangeable with, "you all" (depending on how slow your drawl is). It is plausible to me that sometimes "you all" in modern speech is actually a re-expanded "y'all."
"All y'all" is a "superplural" that you hear used in contexts like the following: "I can go with y'all in the car, or with y'all in the truck, but I can't go with all y'all at the same time." "All y'all kids get out of the mud and get some ice cream--it ain't waitin' on all y'all."
Actually Naeboo's first example is incorrect, but his second example is correct.
Because the "doing" of a meal is something you must do on a prearranged basis and in company.
When the Hollywood producer tells the star, "Have your girl call my girl and we'll do lunch," he's speaking Los Angeles slang for something a Houston oil executive might render as "Tell your gal to call mine and we'll meet for a steak," or an Atlanta office manager, "Have your secretary schedule us a time for a lunch meeting downtown."
I am a woman, and my partner of seven years (a professional animator who goes by "Phaedrus" online) is a man. We are in a permanent committed relationship. We are not married, but our families say we might as well be. We use the word "partner" only when the person we are speaking to is aware that we are a man and a woman.
A columnist for the Atlanta Journal, if I recall correctly, is a lovely older fellow who calls his wife his "partner" because he sees his long, happy marriage as a full partnership. To him, the word "wife" implies an outdated and demeaning property status.
I have a gay friend who is in a permanent relationship with another man. They call each other "husband." A woman I know who is in an analogous situation calls the woman with whom she shares the relationship her "companion." With legal marriage becoming increasingly available to homosexuals in this country, most people I know, whether gay or straight, want to call the person to whom they are married their "spouse," "wife," or "husband."
I remember when it was in vogue to refer to your partner to whom you were not married as a "significant other." (Phooey. Nobody uses that anymore except to get a laugh.) The government currently uses "domestic partner" to refer to the person and "domestic partnership" to refer to the relationship itself, I believe.
In short, it is really the responsibility of the individuals in a given relationship to clarify what they mean when they use the word "partner" (romantic, business, etc.).
It does make the range cowboys in Texas sound kind of funny when they go around calling each other "Pardner," though. :)
When speaking English, rather than French, the accent is optional. Use it or don't use it, but pick one and be consistent throughout your document.
It may help to experimentally substitute "better" and "best" into the sentence to see which makes more sense. If "better" sounds better, then you would use "worse;" if "best" sounds like the right fit, then use "worst."
What Nigel is suggesting by the use of "some thing" is close to and may be clarified by this example: "This is neither the beginning nor the end of a thing."
For the record, I disagree; I think "some thing" in this context is awkward and unusual and obsolete. I definitely prefer "something."
A little pathos to enliven your morning:
"Travis looked at me with a drawn face across the top of his cup of tea. With a sigh, he said, 'Amanda, I really do not wish to abuse your trust in me, nor do I take lightly that which you have confessed you feel for me. But I am simply too attached to you to risk losing you to romantic complications.' As I began to cry silently behind the cover of my lace napkin, I felt his arm slip around me. With his cheek pressed against my hair, he murmured, 'Don't cry, sweetheart. This is neither the beginning nor the end of something. Our relationship hasn't really changed.'"
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