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Pedants' corner

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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Alan C.
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Re: Pedants' corner

#61 Post by Alan C. » February 17th, 2013, 3:19 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

A H.
But what do they say in Shetland?
They don't fish for sardines, bigger fish to fry :D
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Pedants' corner

#62 Post by Alan H » February 17th, 2013, 3:28 pm

:hilarity:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: Pedants' corner

#63 Post by jaywhat » February 17th, 2013, 3:29 pm

All this plural talk is a can of worm.

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Alan H
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Re: Pedants' corner

#64 Post by Alan H » February 17th, 2013, 3:30 pm

What a load of bollock.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Tetenterre
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Re: Pedants' corner

#65 Post by Tetenterre » February 17th, 2013, 4:08 pm

animist wrote:TT, I accepted your reason for opting out of Henny Penny because of some deadline or other, but you appear to have time to waste on less important things like this! :wink:
Finished the manuscript yesterday! Will exercise brain on Henny Penny when it's recovered! :D
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: Pedants' corner

#66 Post by Dave B » February 17th, 2013, 6:11 pm

Alan H wrote:
Dave B wrote:
Alan H wrote:One sardine. Two sardines. A can of sardines. :D
I did say, "Come to think of it many plural fish . . ." :D
But what do they say in Shetland?
Ah, local usage is local usage - not necessarily correct English but legitimate in that instance I think.

Hmm, is that an important factor? Does the intended audience justify the "modification" of the language = I think it does. BBC "received English" (not that one hears that so much these days, even on the BBC!) is one thing, 'ow they speaks in other parts is diffrent.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Pedants' corner

#67 Post by Nick » February 20th, 2013, 11:53 am

Alan C. wrote:
A H.
But what do they say in Shetland?
They don't fish for sardines, bigger fish to fry :D
I've just seen an old Jack Hargreaves clip about fishing for 100lb skate in Shetland waters. It would have to be a pretty big pan to fry one of those, let alone several!

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Alan C.
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Re: Pedants' corner

#68 Post by Alan C. » February 20th, 2013, 3:18 pm

You'd need a big pan for this one as well :D
Image
Shetland angler smashes record for heaviest turbot
September 27th, 2012

A Shetland fisherman has broken the record for the heaviest turbot caught in Scottish waters – the second time the record has been broken in the isles.
Sorry for the off topic folks.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Pedants' corner

#69 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » February 20th, 2013, 6:24 pm

To return to the singular/plural thing about words like data and media, I've had the plural usage drummed into me, but I don't think it really matters. The word "agenda" used to be plural: a list of items, each of which is, archaically, an agendum. But surely none of us is pedantic enough to say something like: "You will notice that the agenda are rather numerous," rather than "You will notice that the agenda is rather long!" We even talk about agendas in the plural (although I have come across agendae, which does make me wince).

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Dave B
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Re: Pedants' corner

#70 Post by Dave B » February 20th, 2013, 6:36 pm

But I have happily used "addendum" and "addenda", when adding bits to reports say, without thinking about it. Is this mostly a "received" thing, we find it easy to pick up the habit in common usage (socially) or the usage in specific (study/job) situations without really considering the differences?

As I think others have said before, the way I write in a "formal" situation may be quite different to how I speak when talking to my friends. There may be a grey border between the two, one that gets more blurry the less formal writing and more social chatting I indulge in (and the older I get!)
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Pedants' corner

#71 Post by Nick » February 21st, 2013, 2:50 pm

I don't like referendums: it should be referenda, but language evolves, I suppose, like everything else. One erroneous phrase which I continue to use is this:

"I wanted to book a table, but none were available."


Strictly, apparantly, it should be :"I wanted to book a table, but none was available."

It make sense if you think that "none" is a contraction of "not one" but it still sounds wrong....

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Tetenterre
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Re: Pedants' corner

#72 Post by Tetenterre » February 21st, 2013, 3:04 pm

Nick wrote:Strictly, apparantly, it should be :"I wanted to book a table, but none was available."

It make sense if you think that "none" is a contraction of "not one" but it still sounds wrong....
Interesting; to me, it sounds right.

Another one that makes me wince when it is used as a singular is "criteria".
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: Pedants' corner

#73 Post by Dave B » February 21st, 2013, 4:21 pm

Nick wrote:I don't like referendums: it should be referenda, but language evolves, I suppose, like everything else. One erroneous phrase which I continue to use is this:

"I wanted to book a table, but none were available."


Strictly, apparantly, it should be :"I wanted to book a table, but none was available."

It make sense if you think that "none" is a contraction of "not one" but it still sounds wrong....
Where did you get that from, Nick? I would have said "none were available", but then, I know my English is not brilliant! My old college tutor would have given you a [-X for putting a comma before "but"!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan C.
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Re: Pedants' corner

#74 Post by Alan C. » February 21st, 2013, 6:40 pm

I had a piss poor secondary modern education and have learned more since the the internet became available than I ever did at school.
One thing puzzles me (well more than one but this thing for now :) )
I can understand the apostrophe in can't as it's replacing another n and an o.
I don't understand how will not can be replaced with won't that is, discarding some letters altogether and moving others around.
Is it just there to distinguish wont from Won't?
The written English language is shit, no wonder folk have trouble with it.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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animist
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Re: Pedants' corner

#75 Post by animist » February 21st, 2013, 6:41 pm

Nick wrote:I don't like referendums: it should be referenda, but language evolves, I suppose, like everything else.
it should strictly be "referendums" not "referenda", as the Latin word is a gerund which has no plural
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendum

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Dave B
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Re: Pedants' corner

#76 Post by Dave B » February 21st, 2013, 8:02 pm

Alan C. wrote: . . .
I don't understand how will not can be replaced with won't that is, discarding some letters altogether and moving others around.
Is it just there to distinguish wont from Won't?

won't: contraction of will not, first recorded mid-15c. as wynnot, later wonnot (1580s) before the modern form emerged 1660s. See will.

Looks like another hanger on from Middle/Early Modern English then.

Yup, terrible language to learn, English, but one of the easiest to pick up as you go along - none of those genders etc. many other languages suffer from. That could be one of the reasons the the English find foreign languages so difficult, it's not the words it's the grammar!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Pedants' corner

#77 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » February 22nd, 2013, 10:29 pm

I've seen it suggested on another board that Oscar Pistorius unintentionally shot his girlfriend dead.

[J L Austin] Unintentionally? By mistake, surely? [/J L Austin]
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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imaginaryfriend
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Re: Pedants' corner

#78 Post by imaginaryfriend » February 22nd, 2013, 10:54 pm

animist wrote:
imaginaryfriend wrote:While I'm on my ranting vehicle, I wish to express my frustration at the misuse of the word "surreal" which according to my dictionary refers to "having the qualities of surrealism/bizarre" and "the irrational juxtaposition (of images)". I have heard 2 occasions on which this word was misused:
1) When a Paralympian was interviewed on Radio 4 on receiving an OBE for her efforts she described the experience as 'surreal'. Not really, you overcame your disability to achieve incredible success in your particular sport so it's no surprise that you would receive further recognition of this.
2) When Justin Welby was named the new Archbishop of Canterbury, one of his daughters described his appointment as 'surreal'. Assuming that Mr Welby has spent most of his working life within the clergy and was also shortlisted for the post, this is nothing more than expected, perhaps unexpected, or a pleasant surprise, it is far from 'surreal'.

For fear that anyone should think me snobbish or excessively pedantic, I did find one situation in modern popular culture in which the term was correctly used, when Rylan Clark, the current winner of Celebrity Big Brother labelled his experience in the Big Brother house 'surreal', I thought that it was correctly applied, as the 'celebrity' contestants in the Big Brother house were separated from their families, all media and any contact with the outside world. This I believe does concur with the notion of surrealism as it is an "irrational juxtaposition".
this one does not bother me, I suppose because the word "surreal" would otherwise scarcely ever be used; I think it is strictly a particular movement in art and literature. But this reminds me of why words like this do get used in new ways: it is because they sound good. In the case of "surreal", what people really mean is "unreal", but "surreal" sounds better - so what? BUT one other case that is similar and does annoy me is the use of "disinterested" when what is meant is "uninterested"; the former word used to have a clearly different meaning, which was roughly "impartial", and it is a pity that the two meanings are now confused
I accept your argument animist, I'm open to the new usage and interpretation of words, especially having raised 3 teenagers and therefore having to accept all sorts of new versions of words (I grew up in the 1980s when words such as "wicked" and "bad" were given new definitions). I love many words in the contemporary teenage lexicon, "switching" meaning expressing anger is one of my current favourites ("I missed the bus and I was switching"). I guess I will just have to abandon my pedantic adherence to the dictionary definition and just get used to it. I can do that.
"We all have imaginary friends. I've just grown out of mine". Jimmy Carr.

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imaginaryfriend
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Re: Pedants' corner

#79 Post by imaginaryfriend » February 22nd, 2013, 10:57 pm

Nick wrote:I don't like referendums: it should be referenda, but language evolves, I suppose, like everything else. One erroneous phrase which I continue to use is this:




Strictly, apparantly, it should be :"I wanted to book a table, but none was available."

It make sense if you think that "none" is a contraction of "not one" but it still sounds wrong....
I say "fora" (plural of forum) and "stadia" (plural of stadium). My youngest daughter is doing GCSE Latin and gets it, but my eldest daughter still looks at me quizzically when I use these plurals.

In reference to "none", my mum recently did an English course and quizzed me on the word "staff". She said that her tutor said that "the staff was reliable" and asked me whether that was correct. It's an awkward one as words like "none", "staff" and "group" refer to more than one but are collective nouns and treated as singular. I tend to be fairly relaxed about people's treatment of these words and don't feel particularly aggrieved if people use third person plural verbs in relation to these terms.
"We all have imaginary friends. I've just grown out of mine". Jimmy Carr.

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Pedants' corner

#80 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » February 23rd, 2013, 12:12 am

animist wrote:
Nick wrote:I don't like referendums: it should be referenda, but language evolves, I suppose, like everything else.
it should strictly be "referendums" not "referenda", as the Latin word is a gerund which has no plural
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendum
Well, I've always said referendums; the word has long since gone native, so it can happily take an English plural.

However, the argument from the Latin gerund puzzles me. Wrapping a wet towel around my head, I recall that the gerund has no plural, of course, but it also has no nominative form; we must use the infinitive referre ( active) or referri ( passive). Think of Errare ( not errandum) est humanum.

Oh, to hell with it. :) Can't we just say plebiscite?
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

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imaginaryfriend
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Re: Pedants' corner

#81 Post by imaginaryfriend » February 23rd, 2013, 12:19 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21549731

Now this is surreal! Bob Godfrey, animator and creator of the cartoons "Roobarb and Custard", "Henry's Cat" (who the hell was Henry anyway?), and "Noah and Nelly in the Skylark" died yesterday, 2 (or so) days after Richard Briers, the voice of "Noah and Nelly" and "Roobarb and Custard"!
"We all have imaginary friends. I've just grown out of mine". Jimmy Carr.

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