Your Pain Is Our Pleasure
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December 16, 2008
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I'm fascinated by the idea that came to me that this person was expressing a peeve about a completely legitimate English construction and implying that it should not ever be there.
Admittedly, we all feel that way about some NEW construction, but new constructions are admittedly in the gray area.
I'm obviously having some sort of hormonally imbalanced day, but what it translated into was "Let's get rid of these complicated English forms that I can't understand." Yeah, that'll fix it.
I was going to leave what would probably become an increasingly nonsensical bluster of why this idea challenges base assumptions I have about language, but it turned out this smart guy http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/ has already explained it in great detail. In short, language isn't arbitrary, so you can't just make a rule and thus it's so.
Sorry. Hopeless American, I don't know these names you're talking about. :) But it sounds like you understood what I was saying.
I would so not write that sentence, but if it were necessary to have it composed in that way, I would say "there is." Of course, that's because, if I'm forced into an awkward sentence, I want the reader to move over it as quickly as possible, and I perceive "there is" would cause less stumbling, not because I'm convinced it's grammatically exact. I can't find the reference right now, but I was looking this up recently and found that the rule is tending toward making the verb match the closer word. "There are improvements and progress" versus "There is progress and improvements."
Some examples, perhaps more obvious, that we expect "There is":
There is such love and joy in my heart.
There is enough time and money to go on vacation.
There is cheese and meat for sandwiches.
The source I was looking at said these were becoming correct because that's what we're coming to expect. Officially, the construction is still "informal," which brings me back to the idea that if that sentence is to be used in formal writing, I just would not use that construction. Others have made useful suggestions for the restructuring that I'll not repeat.
It seems to me that anything COULD be defined as a proper noun, but that there should be documentation of such a thing. If there's a form that says at the top "Teaching Feedback Form," then referring to that form with its formal name would be a case for capitalization. Likewise, if someone is having an observed teaching session as opposed to those other, unobserved teaching sessions, no capitalization would be needed. However, if documentation of the process states that there is a specific step that is the "Observed Teaching Session," officially, I think it would be capitalized.
I have this trouble all the time at my job. My doctors have a "Heart Function Clinic," where patients check medications, vitals, pacemakers, etc. However, whatever the doctor calls it-- "pacemaker clinic," for example--they want me to capitalize it, even though, IMNSHO, there's no WAY it should be capitalized as a proper noun unless they're using the proper name.
Sounds like it's just an old-fashioned way of saying things that got stuck in some crevices. I like old-fashioned verbiage, idiom, regional dialect... but I find Brooklyn accents odious to the point of occasionally switching off the radio in horror, so I can't tell other people what to dislike about a switch in regional style.
Also what Nigel said. I can imagine the exasperated parent saying, "I don't care what's ON the TV. I care that it is NOT OFF!"
But also that what others said. Litotes for emphasis, possibly hedging or opening up a broader meaning.... sometimes overused and pretentious. :) Broad agreement for everybody.
Agreed. "Whet" is correct. An appetite is an intangible and, therefore, cannot be "wet." :D
"Team" is a Collective Noun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_noun and team names should, therefore, receive a singular verb if they are not specifically plural. Thus, I think "Manchester United is" is correct. Similarly, although you would say "The New Orleans Saints are" or "The Atlanta Falcons are," you would say, "The Orlando Magic IS."
That's curious. I don't know why. Have you only ever heard people say "turn it on" or "turn it off"? I've heard it all my life and never thought of it.
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