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Hairy Scot

Joined: January 31, 2011
Comments posted: 515
Votes received: 341

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

“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

I have used Ngram on occasion and have found that the percentage usage shown for UK English is pretty much on the side of the angels. :-))
In fact it is on Ngram graphs that I have based my conclusion that my views and opinions are in agreement with what is shown as majority usage.

Hairy Scot May 18, 2014, 12:51am

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Lost me there I'm afraid, or are you saying that I am intent on "crucifying the opposition"?
I assure you that is not the case.
However I will stick to my opinions, and if subjected to personal comments then I will respond in kind.
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. Therefore we have grey areas.
However it does seem that those criteria may be applied selectively.
My contemporaries and I were taught and used a certain type of English in our Scottish primary and secondary schools and universities.
A type of English which seems to differ from that learned or later adopted by WW and some others and which apparently is also at odds with that advocated by certain luminaries.
Yet I am almost certain that advocates and users of the type of English that I learned far outnumber the others.
Hence my point about our common usage being the more common and perhaps then the more acceptable.

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 11:36pm

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A pride of lion was seen in the clearing.

A murder of crows was seen in the field.

A covey of pheasant was raised by the dogs.

Or should all of those be were?

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 10:46pm

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

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 10:42pm

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At the risk of being thought facetious; your last post reminded me of a quip made when Barclay's Bank in South Africa became First National Bank of South Africa and chose a thorn tree as its emblem.

I'm sure you can work it out.

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 10:40pm

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If the sole point of debate on grey areas is victory, then OK, you win.
I very much doubt we shall have many more debates, for me the fun is in the chase not in the kill.

Perhaps you should ponder why it is that so many of the positions and opinions that you uphold are so often in the minority, and if common usage is a proper criterion, why it is that the common usage which I favour appears to be more common than that favoured by you and your illustrious luminaries?

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 7:48pm

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"I do find this attitude that you are right and that just about everyone who has written about British English is wrong exasperating"
I do not maintain that they are wrong, I merely question their opinions.
As I have said before, there are many people who share my views, and as you yourself have pointed out on many occasions "there are many grey areas in the English language".
However one has to wonder why so many people seem to have been taught the same "rules of English" as I have been.
I doubt very much if I will take up your invitation to discuss this further in another thread. Since I consider the game no longer worth the candle, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 4:03pm

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May I use "advocating" without "for"?
You not only may, you must.

The government has been advocating that the community to recycle more.

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 1:07am

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I see that WW was holding forth the same theories last year:-

Hairy Scot May 14, 2014, 11:36pm

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England invades Scotland once again, or is it England invade Scotland once again?
Very confusing.

Hairy Scot May 14, 2014, 11:34pm

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Scotland are playing England?? Taking things a bit far there methinks.
Falling into the commentators' trap.
Does that mean that Scotland are a nice country?

Hairy Scot May 14, 2014, 11:32pm

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Thanks for your insight. :)

Hairy Scot May 14, 2014, 1:54am

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I attended school in Scotland from 1951 until 1963.
From 1968 till 1981 I worked for an international company and during that period I had a lot of interaction with with Americans and Europeans and spent a fair bit of time in France, Italy, and Germany.
I am sure if I had the inclination I could dig up the type of proof demanded by WW but since most of the documents are actually based on the opinions of various luminaries one could argue that rather than definitive proof what has been written or said is merely opinion.
I am sure we all know the old saw about opinions being like haemorrhoids. :-))

Hairy Scot May 13, 2014, 9:50pm

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It would seem that things have changed since I attended school.
One of those shifts or phases of evolution which are used to justify the adoption of changes to the language.
Either that or my memory has completely deserted me.
If I see something that is contrary to what I was taught then I do tend to view it as erroneous.
There are a lot of things which you class as standard or idiomatic which in my view are non-standard and erroneous and which fly in the face of logic.
As for my methods of debate; I was taught that being condescending and patronising was definitely bad form.
It would seem that there has also been a sea change in that area.
My last comment was a summing up of my position on this and many other topics.
While I do enjoy debating and sometimes playing devil's advocate there comes a time when the game is just not worth the candle.

Hairy Scot May 13, 2014, 5:02pm

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As the title of this topic states "I couldn't care less."

Hairy Scot May 13, 2014, 4:20am

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Some interesting distinctions there, and some a bit difficult to swallow.
With all due respect to yourself and the luminaries you quote, I'd favour the simple approach and go one way or the other so my choice would be to stick with a singular verb for collective nouns regardless of any niceties or nuances regarding individual or collective action.
But, as they say, one is never to old to learn. So who knows. :-))

Would one treat choir in the same way as herd or team?
Does the team think that a choir sings or does a choir sing?

Hairy Scot May 13, 2014, 4:19am

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So you're telling me that the following are correct?
"The crowd are on their feet"
"The government are convinced"
"The herd are lowing"
"The RBS are closed"
"The East India Company were a famous organisation"

Hairy Scot May 12, 2014, 3:47pm

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I suppose the reason they taught that collective nouns take a singular verb was because that was what they had been taught and what the text books said.
To be honest, does "that herd of cows are restless", or "the Royal Bank of Scotland are closed" not sound just a little bit strange?
"If it sounds strange then it's probably wrong" is, I think, a reasonable tenet.

Hairy Scot May 12, 2014, 2:18am

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A somewhat cynical view which I may well have adopted at various points during my education.
However, in the long run, I can only express gratitude to the many harried souls who strove to pound understanding into my thick skull.
I'd like to believe that they did not do so in vain.

Hairy Scot May 11, 2014, 11:16pm

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I was shot in the leg, hence my limp.

I think therefore I am, I think.

Thus was the wrath of the lord visited upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

Hairy Scot May 11, 2014, 8:50pm

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