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Hairy Scot

Joined: January 31, 2011
Comments posted: 539
Votes received: 378

Expat Scot now living in NZ. Home town was Greenock. Achieved SCE(H) levels in a number of subjects. Was employed by a multi-national company so spent a fair bit of time in other parts of Europe. Moved to South Africa in 1981 and then to NZ in 2007.

Questions Submitted

Indirect Speech?

June 15, 2016

“Defeat to”

November 2, 2015

“Thanks for that”

January 7, 2015

“Rack” or “Wrack”?

January 2, 2015

3 Laning?

December 8, 2014

“Watching on”?

November 23, 2014

Alternate Prepositions?

April 27, 2014


April 7, 2014

“admits to”

March 11, 2014

Pronunciation of “gill”

January 20, 2014

“You have two choices”

December 9, 2013


November 23, 2013

Horizontal Stripes?

November 6, 2013

in that regard

October 12, 2013

“deal to”

February 27, 2013

Preferred forms

January 1, 2013

intend on doing?

December 29, 2012

“in regards to”

October 17, 2012

“it caught on fire”

October 16, 2012

“Liquid water”?

October 12, 2012

“get in contact”

July 11, 2012

“As per ....”?

May 12, 2012

-age words

March 11, 2012


November 29, 2011

Stood down

August 1, 2011


February 8, 2011

Recent Comments

Grammar, like so much in the English language, is very often more about opinions than rules.
I am sure that even noted grammarians differ on many aspects of it.
That being so, it is no surprise that mere mortals like us differ on so many points.

Hairy Scot July 20, 2014, 5:38pm

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Apologies for the errant apostrophe in my previous post.

Dyske, can we please have an edit function?

Hairy Scot July 20, 2014, 5:18pm

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"Beat you to it HS"
I should have performed a more diligent search.

I never heard that particular phrase during my time in the IT business, although I do agree that area of business has always been a wellspring of management speak.
The phrase in question first assaulted my ears during an episode of a TV series entitled "Crisis" where it was used in the context of FBI personnel requesting information from various parties.
However it was it's appearance in the recent emails which drove me to raise the issue on PITE.

Hairy Scot July 20, 2014, 5:16pm

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To paraphrase a much misquoted line:-
"I don't know much about grammar, but I know what I like".


Hairy Scot July 18, 2014, 1:08am

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I would have thought that "A watched kettle never boils" would have been more common than the "pot" version.
Perhaps "Watched pot never gets smoked" would be more appropriate today.


As for different versions with the same meaning; there is one that I find somewhat annoying and that is "The best defence is a good offence" which seems to be a favourite with Grid Iron commentators.
IMHO "Attack is the best means of defence", or "The best means of defence is attack" sound much more natural.

Hairy Scot July 3, 2014, 10:04pm

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Thank you.


Hairy Scot June 23, 2014, 9:18pm

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@Chris B

Apparently FIFA issued a directive that commentators should use Côte d'Ivoire, but I too prefer Ivory Coast.
Then we can call the people Ivory Coasters. :)

Hairy Scot June 21, 2014, 10:38pm

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I would think that "use your head" would be more commonly used than either of the brain versions.
But maybe that's a Scottish thing.


Hairy Scot June 17, 2014, 12:44am

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Listening to antipodean sports commentators and sport show anchors is very often like hearing fingernails on a blackboard.
At least the utterances of David Coleman, Eddie Waring, and Sid Waddell had a saving grace;
they were/are amusing!

Hairy Scot June 12, 2014, 1:04am

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"[English] gets you ahead."
should perhaps be
"[English] gets you head."

Hairy Scot June 12, 2014, 12:59am

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Thanks for the interesting and informative post. :)

Hairy Scot June 9, 2014, 7:43pm

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My favourite Colemanball is "And Coe just opened his legs and showed his class!"

Hairy Scot June 6, 2014, 2:24am

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I am pleased to be for once in line with a "noted luminary". :)

It just seems to me that we are seeing more and more of this kind of verbal shorthand and there are also signs of it creeping into to the written language.
Some may see this as evolutionary or even beneficial; I have my doubts.

Hairy Scot June 6, 2014, 2:21am

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One that I find irksome is coleader(s) or even co-leader(s).
To me joint leader seems more natural but perhaps to some it may conjure up a somewhat different image.

Hairy Scot June 4, 2014, 9:08pm

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No problems with the use of key as an adjective preceding a noun in phrases such as "a key component" or even "a key venue".
Where it is annoying is in phrases like "that is key" or "stamina is key".

Hairy Scot June 4, 2014, 8:54pm

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" jayles the ungreedy
May 26, 2014, 12:31am
@HS Yes indeed. I am mighty curious as to how you arrive at your own point of view"

Just one of life's little mysteries I suppose. :-))

Hairy Scot May 26, 2014, 12:34am

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There is change and there is bastardisation.
Just depends on one's point of view I suppose.

"Welcome along to match of the day" is one that springs to mind.

Just heard a couple of others earlier today:-
The expected penalty did not eventuate. :-))
Another was the use of allude instead of mention.
It seems that commentators believe the two are synonymous.

Hairy Scot May 25, 2014, 9:44pm

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My apologies, I failed to notice the typo.

The "to" which precedes recycle is obviously redundant.

Hairy Scot May 23, 2014, 12:37am

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Quoting examples like these:-
"Nigel Farage's UKIP are on the verge of winning a Scottish seat" - The Daily Record
"Ukip are the pro-Europeans' most dangerous weapon"- The Telegraph
"Ukip are true libertarians" - The Guardian
"Eric Pickles: Nigel Farage's Ukip are 'xenophobic' but not racist" - The Standard
"Ukip are a racist, anti-white party encouraging the genocide of British people, the British National Party have said." Huffington Post (UK)
"UKIP are very adept at ignoring the (generally accepted scientific) truth" - The Economist
"But that could all soon change, as UKIP are now a serious electoral force in Essex." - BBC
"UKIP are desperate to make waves in the European elections" - Sky News

Only reinforces the view that the media is at the forefront of many of the problems in BrEnglish.
(Or would you say the media are?)

A political party contains many members certainly makes more sense than a political party contain many members. Or don't you agree with that either?

Hairy Scot May 19, 2014, 5:25pm

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I would draw your attention to this statement from a previous post:-
"What I do question, however, is when somebody repeatedly calls something which is absolutely standard in British English, copiously covered in grammar books and usage guides, a 'misuse' or 'incorrect', against all the evidence provided, without themselves offering a shred of evidence to support this position."

Perhaps I confuse evidence with proof, but I did think the two were synonymous.
I'd also venture the opinion that usage by an average of ten to fifteen percent of British English speakers hardly makes something standard.

But once again I make the mistake of bringing logic into the equation.

Best we agree to disagree.

Hairy Scot May 19, 2014, 3:42pm

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