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Hairy Scot

Joined: January 30, 2011
Comments posted: 569
Votes received: 502

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 26, 2014


April 6, 2014

“admits to”

March 10, 2014

Pronunciation of “gill”

January 19, 2014

“You have two choices”

December 8, 2013


November 23, 2013

Horizontal Stripes?

November 5, 2013

in that regard

October 12, 2013

“deal to”

February 27, 2013

Preferred forms

December 31, 2012

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

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

Hairy Scot June 5, 2014, 10:24pm

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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 5, 2014, 10:21pm

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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, 5:08pm

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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, 4:54pm

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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 25, 2014, 8:34pm

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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, 5:44pm

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My apologies, I failed to notice the typo.

The "to" which precedes recycle is obviously redundant.

Hairy Scot May 22, 2014, 8:37pm

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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, 1:25pm

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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, 11:42am

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One of the advantages of being a Scot transplanted in NZ via South Africa is that I can support multiple teams when the RUWC comes around:-
Scotland, The Springboks, The ABs, any team playing England, and any team playing Australia.



Hairy Scot May 18, 2014, 8:46pm

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Just a thought on the issue of "proof".
Does quoting an opinion that agrees with your opinion constitute proof?
Does quoting possibly isolated usage of certain words and phrases in famous works or by famous authors constitute proof.
Does minority usage, or even majority usage, constitute proof?

The logical answer is of course that none of those constitute proof.
Although it would seem logical that majority usage should carry a greater weight.
But then again it does seem that logic and language make for strange bedfellows, especially where English and the English are concerned.

Ave atque vale.

Hairy Scot May 18, 2014, 7:26pm

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Headline from The Daily Express:-
"European elections are almost here - and Ukip are threatening to rewrite the electoral map"

Hairy Scot May 18, 2014, 7:18pm

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If I have used something that is a rule of AmEnglish it is only because it matches what I believe to be a rule of BrEnglish, or at least what I was taught was a rule of BrEnglish.
I will freely confess that I do tend toward pedantry and that I may have on occasion displayed a smidgeon of prickishness.
However I do try not to give offence and to avoid personal comment as far as possible although I suppose there are times when my "tongue in cheek" comments do appear somewhat provocative.
I'm here for fun not foolishness and for interest not insult.

Hairy Scot May 17, 2014, 8:58pm

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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 17, 2014, 8:51pm

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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, 7:36pm

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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, 6:46pm

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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, 6:42pm

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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, 6:40pm

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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, 3:48pm

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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, 12:03pm

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