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Joined: November 2, 2011  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 29
Votes received: 36

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Recent Comments

Wilkie Collins uses "all on a sudden" in The Woman in White. Check it out on Google. Use Google and search "books" using the term "all on a sudden". Google will correct your search to "all of a sudden", but click on the tab that says, "search instead for all on a sudden" and you'll get it.

I've seen this elsewhere, but I can't remember exactly where.

Haff December 19, 2011, 6:50pm

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People take grammar too seriously. I've heard the following comments from want-to-be experts recently: "and" should never be used after a colon; "but" is a word that should never follow a semicolon; and finally, any conjunction following a semicolon, with the caveat that I am speaking only of English conjunctions, will not be understood as well as a conjunction following a comma. Period.

Haff December 1, 2011, 4:22pm

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tmesis is correct. it is a type of pleonasm.

Haff November 27, 2011, 11:21am

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how about abandoning the accent thing and spell it with English phonetics--rayzoomay, or perhaps, rezoomay

Haff November 27, 2011, 11:15am

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It's actually spelled "egg".

Haff November 19, 2011, 7:10pm

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I can't believe that no one has mentioned the fact that the subjunctive is only a mood. It is a matter of whether one would like to sound sophisticated or not. If you want to sound classy, you say "if I were", but if you want to sound artless, you say "if I was". It's as simple as that! It's like choosing between the words "career" and "vocation".

Haff November 11, 2011, 4:23pm

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AnWulf, one of the model questions you use is the following: "What is the distance between two points in inches?" Margaret's dilemma may be solved by giving one of the following responses: 1) "The distance is eight inches" or 2) "The distance are eight inches."

If "distance" is conceived, like "team", as a collective composed of discrete units, then it takes a 3rd person plural verb, and we should use #2 (cf. "The team are taking the field"). If on the other hand, distance is treated like "team", as it is used in the US, taking a singular verb, then we should use #1 (cf. "The team is taking the field").

Haff November 2, 2011, 5:06pm

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If you want to be sensitive to the PC police among us who believe that someone is offended every time a person uses "American" to refer to a resident of the US, then by all means, please, say "United States of American". You should also stop referring to the English as British--after all, there are other British people who also call themselves British.

Haff November 1, 2011, 8:59pm

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Yes, the context is extremely important. It's the same thing with the word "team". When you are talking about the individual players, you say, "The team are each putting on their cleats". When you are talking about the singular entity, you say, "That team is winning the game".

Haff November 1, 2011, 8:51pm

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That's true, it is Irish. I looked it up on a site this morning that said it was Irish. Thanks for the vivid dialogue, Adam.

Haff October 27, 2011, 5:09pm

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That's a classic comment, Adw! People have been saying that about the younger generation for centuries! Haha! You're a living illustration of the fact that things never change.

Haff October 26, 2011, 4:35pm

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correction--should read "...with an adjective (general)."

Haff October 25, 2011, 4:04pm

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Actually, it's Majors General. It's the same as attorneys general. Both are pluralized nouns (attorneys/majors) with adjectives (major/general).

Haff October 24, 2011, 6:33pm

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Correct, a conjunction is not needed, as you say, dogreed, but it may be used WITH a conjunction.

Haff October 24, 2011, 6:29pm

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It is I who eats ...; it is they who drink ...; it is we who am.

Haff October 20, 2011, 3:43pm

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It is we who am ...; it is you who art ...; it is she who am ...

Haff October 20, 2011, 3:42pm

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It is you who am ...; it is I who are ...; It is he who art

Haff October 20, 2011, 3:41pm

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It seems, dogreed, that sigurd got the info from a website, and not from a book; and, therefore, there will be no role for a receipt.

The information on the website is absolutely correct. Like all punctuation, it's a way guiding the reader through the sentence. The reason we punctuate in the first place is so that the reader knows what to expect, which clauses are subordinate to others, and how to take in the information expressed in the words. If we didn't have these rules, it would be much more difficult to read texts, as we would not have the signposts of punctuation.

We could surely use a different system of punctuation--like a comma could be used where periods currently are used--and, as long as we agreed on the rules, there would be no problem.

So, rules are there for a reason. Just because someone is not aware of the conventions doesn't make them incorrect--just ignorant. I wish that all would be vigilant about making sure they punctuated correctly.

Haff October 20, 2011, 3:39pm

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providencejim is right. It comes from the eastern coast of the U.S. The origin is seen in the following typical exchange:

Guy #1: Damn, dat girl's got a bangin' body!
Guy #2: But 'er face!

Someone took Guy #2's statement and modified it so we can now say that a girl is a butterface. Very sexist, yet oh so funny!

Haff October 20, 2011, 3:28pm

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I would be concerned about the legality of posting something from the New York Times here without permission. I think that could lead to trouble for both the blog owner and the poster--be careful!

Haff October 16, 2011, 6:13am

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