Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Username

douglas.bryant

Member Since

August 11, 2009

Total number of comments

142

Total number of votes received

807

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Latest Comments

I have long written "email" un-hyphenated, but the website Future Perfect makes a strong argument for the hyphenated form:

"Remember, if your organisation has ‘chosen’ to use a certain spelling, without looking at the derivation, and ‘decided’ on no hyphen, then you are going to run into trouble when trying to write ‘eeconomy’; ‘eenvironment’."

The full article can be found here:

http://www.future-perfect.co.uk/grammartips/grammar-tip-e-mail.asp

What a lot of fuss over perfectly proper prepositional usage. And kudos to Peter J for "cringeworthy."

Both phrases are acceptable uses of "on." That there is idiomatic variety in English does not mean that it's collapsing. On the contrary—or "to the contrary"—it means it's expanding. English has been diagnosed as dying by self-appointed keepers-of-the-flame for centuries. English isn't dying; it's not even ill. Its greatest suffering stems from cringing grammar-cops who poke it with a stick each time it evolves. They say an asteroid killed the dinosaurs. I think it was grammarians.

In your sentence "is" would be proper. "Was" implies "no longer is," and Mr Smith remains the previous owner always, or more accurately a previous owner, as there may have been others.

Chris B is right on acquire—etymology bears him out. But "mnemonic" looks good for "M," as does "phoenix" for "O."

Who's keeping score?

Sorry: "Where does it end?"

But BQ, "acquisition" is itself a Latin borrowing, via French. And if you deny "Sioux" you must deny also "platypus" and "octopus" along with "original" and "poster," the last two both from Latin. Where does i end?

Can every letter be used as a silent letter?

  • September 21, 2010, 12:53pm

I like rendezvous for Z, but without the space. (For you Anglishers: the word has been in Our Language for five hundred years: it's English.) Counts for "S" too.

I agree with PEA on bourgeois, but not February. A few still pronounce the "R." Sorry.

Goofy is correct–scratch "Y."

If proper names apply, then Sioux may represent "X." And one might argue "acquaint" and "acquire" for "Q"—is the "C" or the "Q" the voiced consonant?

A quick (if incomplete) list:

A aisle
B numb, thumb, debt, crumb, subtle
C muscle, scent
D ridge, bridge, Wednesday
E giraffe, carafe, vogue, mumble, epistle (and lots more)
F
G light, haughty, foriegn
H white, light, ghost, haughty, rhinoceros
I
J
K knee, knowledge, knife, knot
L talk, walk, yolk, folk
M
N autumn, hymn, damn
O
P psychology, pneumonia
Q
R
S island, aisle
T listen, hasten, glisten, thistle, epistle
U court, vogue, guard, building
V
W answer, write, wrist, wrestle
X
Y yclept (admittedly rare), coccyx
Z

I haven't found examples for F, I, J, O, Q, R, V, X or Z. (Perhaps others can supply examples.) But clearly two thirds of the letters used in English are sometimes silent.

as best he can

  • September 16, 2010, 10:39pm

I think Goofy got it right back in April, 2009. His citation of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage demonstrates that the idiom "as best" is well established. Dave's complaint that "there was no attempt to define what it means" misses the point of that publication. It is not a dictionary.
The phrase "as best he can" is idiomatic. And idioms are by definition anti-grammatical:

idiom: [A]n expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically (as no, it wasn't me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (as Monday week for “the Monday a week after next Monday”).

(From m-w.com)

Idioms are like sun-dried tomatoes, or raisins: they appear in the salad of daily speech whether you like them or not. Some may not suit your taste, but they do not damage the salad—or the speech.