English has 3 personal pronouns for referring to oneself, and most people can't figure out how to use them properly:
* John and I went out for a drink.
* The waiter served me and John (or John and me) a drink.
* Speaking for myself, I could say it was a good drink.
* To John and me there was little difference between the service at the bars we visited.
* I bought myself a couple of drinks while John was dancing with the girls.
Why is that so hard for so many people to get right? Hearing or reading people's abuse of simple pronouns is like being condemned to an eternity of hearing finger nails scrawling across a thousand blackboards.
"We model the impact of the number of native speakers, the proportion of nonnative speakers, the number of linguistic neighbors, and the status of a language on grammatical complexity while controlling for spatial and phylogenetic autocorrelation."
Olena Shcherbakova et al., Societies of strangers do not speak less complex languages. Sci. Adv. 9, eadf7704 (2023). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adf7704 #OpenAccess #OA #Research #Article #Linguistics #Anthropology #Language #Languages #Culture #Grammar #Academia #Academic #Academics @linguistics @anthropology
This volume is the result of the 2021 session of the Linguistics and the #Biblical Text research group of the Institute for Biblical Research, which addresses the history, relevance, and prospects of broad theoretical linguistic frameworks in the field of #biblicalstudies.
#Cognitive #Linguistics, Functional #Grammar, generative linguistics, historical linguistics, complexity theory, and #computational analysis are each allotted a chapter, outlining the key theoretical commitments of each approach, their major concepts and/or methods, and their important contributions to the contemporary study of the #biblical text.
This #OA title is available at https://openbookpublishers.com/books/10.11647/obp.0358
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This is my second time reading Dreyer’s section on apostrophes, and it still makes me giggle.
There’s something about an accomplished editor using all caps in their book that hits just right. (Side note, see how he set the word “caps lock” in small caps when he referred to key itself.)
Pics are from “Dreyer’s English” by Benjamin Dreyer, pages 36 and 37.
I think the verbs “impact” to mean “affect”, and “revert” to mean “get back (to)” are now well on the way to achieving the same status that “contact” has today. #grammar #englishLanguage https://mastodon.social/@Fritinancy/111060585168569529
… #Holism of #meaning. A #word has meaning only within a #lexicon & a context of #language practices, which are ultimately embedded in a form of life. * * * This insight flows from the recognition of the #linguistic dimension as #Herder formulated it. Once you articulate this bit of our background understanding, an #atomism of meaning becomes as untenable … . To posses a word of human language is to have some sense that it’s the right word … . [p. 93]
This is what the holism of meaning amounts to: individual #words can be words only within the context of an articulated language [a #grammar]. Language is not something can be built up one word at a time. [p. 94]
I can't understand why the malapropism "diffuse [a fraught situation]" has become so common. It seems obvious (to me) that it's supposed to be *defuse*, as in "defuse a bomb". Why would "spread it all around very thinly" make any sense?
Come on, people. You want to DEFUSE a situation.
I don't like the use of “learnings” when there’s a perfectly good word for it already. Just say “teachings” or “lessons”. #Grammar
Japan is a society with many unspoken rules. Are you aware of the norms that govern your place of business? https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2023/09/08/language/living-japan-etiquette-trains/?utm_content=bufferb414f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=mastodon&utm_campaign=bffmstdn #life #language #nihongo #vocabulary #grammar #jlptn5 #jlptn3 #etiquette #livinginjapan
***LAST EDITED*** 2/9/23
Question for #Trans inclusion-minded English language grammarians...
On a wikipedia article I was reading there is a line that reads: "When Shook was 9 years old they taught themselves piano, and in high school they taught themselves acoustic guitar."
Is this correct or would it be better to say "they taught themself"?
Obviously, I have no problem with folks using they as a pronoun --- it is an elegant solution. But I am uncertain about themselves/themself and what is "proper" or even just the consensus of the moment.
Thanks to any with ideas to share!
Beautiful day at Tolt park in Carnation!
My wife is running her first 10k race. They call it Beat the Blerch and it’s organized by The Oatmeal.
The Oatmeal doesn’t print posters anymore, though the manager at the pop up shop told me she’s considering special runs of grammar poster bundles once a year or so.
Maybe dumb question but when we’re talking about a person who uses they/them in the past tense do we use was or were? Like, “they *were* a librarian for awhile” or is it “they *was* a librarian”? Were is plural and unless a person is a system they’re not plural… but “was” doesn’t seem right either. Am I overthinking things? English is weird lol
Mignon, thank you for your podcast "Say hwat?! 'Anxious' versus 'eager.' Pink stein.".
I learned some great tips from your discussion on discourse markers. I will use some in my story where the space pirates use Old English phrases.
1) I presume the rule stands that discourse markers should be used sparingly and probably only in dialogue.
2) Is "Ya Knowin" the Old English "ge witon"?
One small thing that I wish to illuminate for people who may want to have it illuminated:
The possessive pronoun "its" does not have an apostrophe.
Ex: "It has its own special charm."
The contraction "it's" is a shortened version of "it is." The apostrophe stands in for the missing "i."
Ex: "It's a nice day."
Only posting this because I've been seeing people incorrectly using an apostrophe in the possessive "its" a lot lately. I understand that phones may suggest or autocorrect to the wrong spelling. I also saw "their's" this morning when the writer meant "theirs" (third-person plural possessive). This mistake is less understandable, as there's (!) no such word.
A key moment in the TV series The Undeclared War was a grammar mistake - "Different to" vs 'different from" - that proved a video was a deep fake.
That usage mistake is one of many rules long forgotten by me. But when I tested 'to' vs 'from' in Grammarly (free :), 'to' passed the smell test. Wot?
"The phrase 'different from' is considered the most universally accepted form, but 'different to' has centuries of use."
TUW is an English television show, in which the "snoot" (old Yeabsley) insists always and ever on "from" - despite " "'Different to' being as British as tea and crumpets."
Dammit. One step forward, one back, every time. The English language is incredibly hard. Not helped by the prescriptivist vs. descriptivist war.
#writingCommunity The verb 'lay' is particularly challenging. It's an irregular verb where the past tense form is 'laid'. But sometimes, the past tense of 'lay' … is 'lay.' This one word makes me pull my hair out because as I #amEditing I second-guess myself all of the time.
Present: I lay the hose on the ground.
Past: I laid the hose …
Past: There lay a hose.
Present: There lays a hose.
I haven't even gotten into lie and lying.
Why do some languages show more complex #grammar than others?
The evolution of complex grammars: New study measures grammatical complexity of 1,314 languages
One of the most common errors I fix when editing is known as false attraction, a form of subject–verb disagreement
Here's an example of what I mean, in a recent (and well-written) article in The Atlantic: "Research into such conditions are grossly underfunded"
A post on why it happens and some of the forms it takes:
No, Google PR, you don't "take in [...] activities."
"Activities" are active. "Taking in" is fundamentally passive. You "take in a show." You "take in a movie." You don't "take in" a restaurant or a hike.
@being Yes, I know, especially younger people have extremely Americanised ideas of #grammar. I am horrified! My #Dutch teacher told me that the Dutch have also begun simplifying their reflexive pronouns. So they say things like "Ik heb de tafel gekocht. Hij (!) is leuk." Although "tafel" is grammatically feminine. I told a #Flemish friend that I thought this was utter nonsense, and she said that the Belgians would still use "ze" in this case. OK, I have decided to speak Flemish... ;-)
Memory aid: *no* possessive pronoun in English contains an apostrophe. If it has an apostrophe, it's a contraction.
Possessive pronouns: his her/hers its their/theirs whose my/mine
"Her umbrella" vs. “That's hers” (same with their, my).
"It’s” is a contraction: “it is.” "It's a shame.”
"Who’s” is a contraction: “who is.” "Who’s up for pizza?”
Her's and their's are... just wrong.
Hi writers, do you put the punctuation after or before the quotation marks? I have always put it before. However, this old article linked appears to say that the convention has shifted to after.
BTW, are the two different ways of writing it an English vs American thing?
Thanks if anybody here can help to explain it to me.
Not long ago, someone posted a comment about the news reports that say someone was 'fatally killed.'
I can't seem to shake that phrase, esp when it is used so much in the news.
Sure, you can be fatally wounded, fatally shot, fatally stabbed, etc, but 'fatally killed?'
"So and so has been fatally killed by a shark...' Shouldn't it be, "So and so has been killed by a shark..." or 'So and so was killed by a fatal shark bite."
Examples at this Google search:
And in case you are wondering about my use of the present tense to describe something in the past, Neal Whitman wrote about this for me back in 2021.
It's called the historical present, and you can use it to make stories feel more exciting. I did it on purpose. :)
Hi, I'm Kelly! I’m a #GenX #writer, #editor, #quilter, and #feminist. I support #women, #LGBTQIA and #leftwing #politics. I'm interested in #travel, #baking, #cooking, #painting, #DIY, #gardening, #80smusic, #alternativemusic, #movies, #words, #grammar, #editing, #tech, #SciFi, #SecondLife, #LOTR, #feminism, #womensrights, and streaming shows. I currently work in #BusinessContinuity and #DisasterRecovery.
schadenfreude: “Pleasure derived from the misfortune of others”.
I was wondering if there’s a specific word for schadenfreude for code.
“Pleasure derived from reading other people’s bad code”
I’m not a german speaker. In English, there isn’t a single word that captures this. I think the phrase “code shade” gets pretty close. Shade in the cool kids vernacular meaning “a casual or disrepectul manner toward something”
A poll for writers:
What’s your relationship to grammar when you write? I’m curious how the rules of sentence structure inform your process.
Scale-wise, the top selection would be that you know things like when you’re using adverbial clauses, appositives, etc. The bottom selection is you (more or less) write without considering it.
PS: This is not about always sticking to the rules.
Hi Mignon! What is the grammatical, dialect-related "thing" behind pronouncing the word "important" with the first "t" being silent (e.g., "imporant")? I hear this frequently pronounced in this way with roots ending in "t" and suffixes usually ending in a consonant.
In the olden days, I remember teachers saying "annunciate" Is that all it is--poor annunciation?
Little grammar tip for y’all…
Use “furthermore” to add to a point you’re making. Use “moreover” to move on to a new point that’s related.
I love Envy apples because they’re sweet and crispy. Furthermore, they are slightly tart. Moreover, they pair well with peanut butter.
Furthermore adds to the list. Moreover adds a reason of a different kind.
They’re interchangeable as a colloquialism. But formally, this is their difference.
Argh!!!11!!! This will never stop. The infinite repetition of the myth that we can form inifinite sentences. We can not. You may try this at home for yourself. And #Chomsky never claimed this. If you have a phrase structure grammar that has a symbol on the left and a finite number of symbols on the right, you will never get to infinity by replacing symbols.
How do you feel about the "rule" that "only" should go right before the thing it modifies?
For example, the rule would say this is wrong:
➡️ The words are only capitalized if they are part of a name.
The rule says it should be written like this:
➡️ The words are capitalized only if they are part of a name.