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August 19, 2011
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I whole heartedly agree with the comment about Two slices of toast, not two toasts. Two pieces of LEGO, not two LEGOs.Nevertheless, there is a contingent in the United States who will say, "I picked up two cottage cheeses" rather than "I picked up two packages of cottage cheese," and who will not be bothered by "two toasts". It's annoying but I bite my tongue, and rant here.
I think you should say, "a LEGO piece". There is something that makes me uncomfortable about "a piece of LEGO" but I have not been able to define exactly what.Further, "BMW's" is possessive. The plural form that you correctly used in another place is "BMWs".I agree with your analysis is otherwise.
Goofy,If you require it, I will coin the term, neo-backform. "Gift" as a verb assuredly came from a neo-backforming of "gift" (verb tense) from the existing past participle "gifted". I would bet that few persons who use "gift" as a verb are aware of its 17th century roots. The use of "gift" as a verb is nonstandard, remains nonstandard, and as I pointed out, the English language is poorer for this use. BTW, I would like to read the article you reference, but your link takes me to an advertisement and reviews for the Merriam Webster Dictionary, but no article.
Goofy: The vestigial existence of the past participle, "gifted", is not a reason to back-form a verb, " to gift" from it. This use is not standard, in spite of the abusive use it receives. The standard is "GIVE, GAVE, GIVEN" not "GIFT, GIFTED, GIFTED" I can only guess at the past participle. I am acutely aware of the early use of this word in this way. I refer you to my diatribe above on this too cute use. If this (ab)use continues, in my not so humble opinion, the English Language will be the poorer for it.
kellyjohnj wrote:> begs the question "Begs the question" doesn't mean "to raise a question" or to "beg a question to be asked" rather it is a logical fallacy, petitio principii where the argument assumes the premise.
In symbolic logic, one might "beg the question" by writing:
P and Q imply Pwhere P and Q are symbols for propositions.
Here the conclusion is explicit in the premise.
Wikipedia says, "The fallacy of petitio principii, or "begging the question", is committed "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof", or more generally denotes when an assumption is used, "in some form of the very proposition to be proved, as a premise from which to deduce it".
I have a pet peeve about the use of email, which like cattle and mail is a collective noun. One neither speaks of cattles or of mails, but we regularly speak of emails. Somehow this annoys me but I haven't figured out why. I always try to say, "email MESSAGE" and "email messages". ... I wonder whether this should be a submission to this list or a comment in this place.
I prefer August 1st, but I have seen the other use. I can't cite any authority.
"Gift" in its verb tense is an abuse of the language. I don't care if it has 17th Century roots. There are many words used commonly in the 17th Century that we don't use today, indeed we would consider them archaic or in some cases, scatalogical. The legal profession chooses words for different reasons, their use is not common and does not justify common use. It it unfortunate that iTunes and Apple chose that ugly and nonstandard use of a word that should be "GIVE". GIVE, GAVE, GIVEN. GIFT is a NOUN. Not that most people even can distinguish a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb, which is the real reason this use has flourished. Our schools stopped teaching English grammar.
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