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August 18, 2011
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"What it is" is a greeting that was used by African Americans/Blacks in the '70s. It is equivalent to "Hi/Hello", "Good evening", "What's up", etc. "It is what it is" is an entirely unrelated expression.
The problem is that scholars used to believe that English should resemble classical languages. In Greek and Latin, a nominative complement is used for their "to be" verbs. If one treats the verb "to be" as transitive (i.e., as if it takes a direct object), then clearly "me" should be used. If, instead, you believe that one should not split infinitives, and that one should not end sentences with prepositions (both of these rules are imported grammatical strictures from Latin and Greek), then you also likely believe that one should say, "It is I." Also, you will likely think that Shakespeare's use of "Woe is me" is incorrect. If you are reasonable, you will make room for both "It is me" and "It is I." Just notice how the latter makes you sound like a gigantic douchebag when you say it out loud ;)
You are wrong about the definition of "to be stood down." In Canada, as in the antipodes, the phrase is most commonly used to mean "to be in a southerly position relative to one's homeland." For a Canadian citizen, this may mean that the person is in the U.S.
The meaning in dispute ("to be suspended") is actually only the second most common usage. Be careful, though, not to split the infinitive: you may say, "to stand down somebody," but never "to stand somebody down."
I'm ready--say something funny, HaryScot. Do not keep us waiting ;)
I think you are correct, Scott. English is far more flexible than most people realize, even those who think of themselves as experts in grammar. Thank you for the breath of fresh air.
And do not worry about the comment from Hairyscot. It is clear that she or he wants to avoid addressing your argument, which I do not understand given the interesting points you raise.
You said the following on another post:"The use of phrases like "in America', or "in the US", or "according to Webster's" tends to destroy the credibility of any argument about spelling or grammar."
Aren't you using a phrase of this kind when you say, "In the antipodes"? Isn't this phrase, as you use it in your post, a way to sound authoritative without giving any actual support? This is what you were criticizing someone else for, and it seems you're doing the same thing here. Moreover, I'm curious to know the source of your information about the antipodes. What is it?
That's interesting. Do you have an authority to cite, hairyscot, or are you just making stuff up so that you don't have to address the substance of my argument? I find it funny that you think a grammar issue can be decided by my use of a single phrase. But for fun I'll go along with your evasion by saying that, in the U.S., hairyscot is good at argumentation. (Also, aren't you really talking about someone who makes a sweeping statement with those phrases, rather than someone who simply designates the location of a space program?) I really only have one question for hairyscot and anyone else who would like to reply: is there something wrong with my explanation of the grammar involved in pluralizing certain terms?
A reformed grammar tyrant myself, I must correct the first line of my previous post. It should read instead, "The justifications of 'passersby' as the proper plural are silly." And I would also like to add the following: should we also be forced to say that a wide receiver scored two "touchesdown" during a football game? When we had a space program in the U.S., I never heard a news reporter say that several attempted "countsdown" were interrupted before the launch was successful.
The justifications of "passersby" as the proper plural is silly. I know the grammar tyrants like to think it's correct, but think about the following: the word "playoff" is made up, like "passerby," of a noun (passer) and an adjective (by). Under the grammar tyrant rule, the plural of "playoff" should actually be "playsoff." The following other terms are also made up of a noun and an adjective, and would also be pluralized in the same silly way if the "passersby" people had their way:
one push up - two pushes up (sits up, pulls up, etc.)one goofoff - two goofsoffone timeout - two timesoutone liftoff - two liftsoffone faceoff - two facesoffone shut in - two shuts inone run in (e.g., with the police) - two runs in
My advice is that you should do it whichever way you want, just be consistent. If you grammar tyrants get your way, and we end up pluralizing the way you suggest we do, don't be surprised when you hear yourselves referred to as "jerksoff."
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