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Joined: July 9, 2011
Comments posted: 18
Votes received: 62

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Recent Comments


We were taught that "o'clock" meant "of the clock," even though that's not a phrase that makes sense to the American ear. So it was an explanation that fell short... but it's a use of "of" in the timely context, like "quarter of."

Your mention of "quarter of" also made me think of "half ten," as opposed to "half past ten." In the US we only hear "half ten" in British TV & movies. (and I'm assuming it means "half past," rather than "half an hour before.")

koam September 21, 2011, 5:22am

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So you're saying a Chav would say "think to," I take it. ("Think to" is something that I'd never heard of until this thread.) But do you think that it pre-dates the Chav? or are Chavs just the newest incarnation of a long-lived subculture?

I never thought much about "quarter of," but I get it. I can't say that I've noticed a class distinction in who uses "quarter of" vs. "quarter to" -- they're used interchangeably.

koam September 21, 2011, 5:14am

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In the US, we said Legos all the time.

koam August 22, 2011, 5:45pm

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So that when a competitor's product in the future is referred to as LEGO by the media or in other contexts, the company has a paper trail showing that it has vigorously defended its mark over time. (Worse yet, a Chinese knock-off uses LEGO or something very close to LEGO in its branding).

That is, the letter is written to the newspaper, but it's not really about the newspaper as much as it it's about the record for the files, in case it's ever needed in the future.

koam August 22, 2011, 9:34am

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The newspaper can do what it wants.

The point of the letter is to be on record in protecting the use of the TM...preventing it from becoming genericized due to lack of policing its use.

koam August 22, 2011, 7:57am

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Searching google for the "to" phrase in quotes along with the word "Usage" yields a few results.

1) In Urban Dictionary, it's used as an example in a decidedly British definition and example dialog

2) Here it's used by SineadTemptation, who also writes British, not American

So it's used in the UK. You'd have to ask a literate Brit what kind of person uses it.

koam August 22, 2011, 6:09am

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GWU: correct.

koam August 22, 2011, 5:59am

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In the example, the date is an adjective describing which "card." Using the ordinal would be the most correct, I think, but it's optional if you're not trying to be formal. I'd have no problem if the community discussing such cards decided to collectively drop the ordinals for simplicity.

koam August 22, 2011, 5:55am

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A google search for the second usage, between quotes, turns up over 2 million results.

In the USA "to" is not right. If you catch someone from the USA and in the USA using it, punish him severely. I cannot speak for whether it's acceptable in the UK. Those Brits say all kinds of things that we don't. And allow for that there are dozens of dialects there, some of them fully based on illiteracy (as is the case here).

I knew a girl from the South of the USA who always said, "Smell of it" as a command. It was wrong, but I figured it was a regional thing.

As for the Google search results, I'm not reading enough of them to figure out if it's regional.

koam August 22, 2011, 5:51am

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Using a brand name as a noun isn't grammatically incorrect. But the company may specify how it likes to see the trade name used in print. So colloquially, "Hand me those LEGOs, please," is probably fine. But if you were writing in a newspaper, "The child threw five LEGOs at his friend's head," you should expect a letter from the company asking for a correction to "threw five LEGO brand bricks," or something similar.

koam August 22, 2011, 4:42am

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essential: nonsense
comma: optional

koam August 19, 2011, 5:19am

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Troll or joking?

koam August 18, 2011, 3:11pm

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IMO "respectively" is not essential, but is used as a formality.

koam August 18, 2011, 6:26am

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The exclamation points are what add "intensity."

koam August 18, 2011, 6:22am

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Cinzia is correct. The original text is ok.

"Within seconds, someone was doing something."
"Within seconds, someone had done something."

Both are possibly true. If the writer wants to convey what was happening as opposed to the results of that thing that was happening, it's the writer's choice.

koam July 10, 2011, 9:13am

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I think that the sticklers for never splitting an infinitive were a few of the very old teachers when I was still very young, and I'm almost 50 now.

My guess is that it's just an old rule that few adhere to now. "To boldly go" sounds better to most people than "To go boldly." And I'd bet you'd find that example all over the Internet if you searched.

koam July 10, 2011, 8:22am

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go to miss manners.

In general, in writing, avoid pronouns when confusion is possible or if the object of the pronoun has not been earlier named in the same paragraph or has not been named recently. Always consider if the reader could incorrectly assume you meant Joe when you really meant Tony or Adam in a context where more than one "he" is possible. Even when which "he" is obvious to you, it may not be to the reader.

koam July 10, 2011, 8:18am

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I disagree with ngmacmillan's take based on reasoning stated by Mike and others.

koam July 9, 2011, 3:03pm

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