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Grammar Central > Grammar Tip of the Week

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message 1: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
farther = for physical distances

further = for figurative distances


message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Yup.


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
That couldn't be further from the truth! It's a saying that uses the word correctly.

To get downtown from here, you'll have to walk farther. Yup.

I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath for tomorrow's tip (and no, it's not "bated" vs. "baited").


message 4: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
I always wonder if those with baited breath have been eating anchovies.


message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
I'm hooked on your incisive commentary!


message 6: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
:)


message 7: by Ken (last edited Jan 21, 2015 01:55AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Wed., Jan. 21:

egotism -- "an exaggerated sense of self-importance; self-praise; arrogance."

egoism -- philosophical term meaning "a doctrine that self-betterment is the guiding method of existence, or that self-interest is the primary motive in all one's actions."

source: Garner's Modern American Usage


message 8: by Sonali (new)

Sonali V | 182 comments Thank you NE. As a second language speaker, I always find this a bit confusing. Will be easier for me to explain the difference to my students too.


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments Thanks for keeping me on my toes. I have gotten sloppy over the years.


message 10: by Kenneth P. (last edited Jan 21, 2015 08:28PM) (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethp) A pivotal scene in the movie "Finding Forrester" happens when a student (played by Rob Brown) confronts his professor (played by F. Murray Abraham) in the classroom. The kid calls out the professor on the further/farther thing and the prof goes ballistic. He throws him out of the room-- and this is in college!

You all may remember a Saturday Night Live bit with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean pondering Abraham's first name of "F." Who has a name of "F?"

Maybe Abraham never figured out the further/farther dilemma and just settled for F.

Plus the movie title has a conspiratorial alliteration.

Just sayin.


message 11: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Ha! Neat anecdote, Kenneth. Thanks for giving yesterday's tip some color!

Thurs., Jan. 22:

couldn't care less, not could care less

Remember: If you could care less, you would, and this expression is meant to convey complete indifference. Go with couldn't and your feelings will safely be at rock bottom!


message 12: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethp) Too late for this one N.E. The culture is poisoned. Even among "educated" people (T.V., radio, the written word) the correct usage has vanished.

Thankfully, I'm not angry about it. Hell, I could care more!


message 13: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
I couldn't care more vs. I could care more? Hmn. Didn't think of that one!

Fri., Jan. 23:

Cannot is one word, as is percent.


message 14: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Sonali wrote: "Thank you NE. As a second language speaker, I always find this a bit confusing. Will be easier for me to explain the difference to my students too."

Hi, Sonali! It's been a while since I've seen you! Hope all is well.


message 15: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethp) Sonali, as a first language speaker, I never knew the difference between egoism and egotism. So thank you New England.

By these definitions an egoist is a person who is self-aware while an egotist is just an ass. Is that a stretch?


message 16: by Alex (new)

Alex | 8 comments Ruth wrote: "I always wonder if those with baited breath have been eating anchovies."

I have read that "baited" as in "baited breath" is "abated" shortened and misspelled.


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex | 8 comments Newengland wrote: "Ha! Neat anecdote, Kenneth. Thanks for giving yesterday's tip some color!

Thurs., Jan. 22:

couldn't care less, not could care less

Remember: If you could care less, you would, and this expressio..."


It could be argued that using "could care less" extends how little one cares to the very phrase used to describe how little one cares, providing a more potent way of showing one's disdain.


message 18: by Ruth (last edited Jan 23, 2015 07:05PM) (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "Ruth wrote: "I always wonder if those with baited breath have been eating anchovies."

I have read that "baited" as in "baited breath" is "abated" shortened and misspelled."


I know. Thus the wisecrack on my part.


message 19: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "Ruth wrote: "I always wonder if those with baited breath have been eating anchovies."

I have read that "baited" as in "baited breath" is "abated" shortened and misspelled."



It's taken from The Merchant of Venice, I think. Then again, half the things Shakespeare supposedly originated surface before he was born.


message 20: by Ken (last edited Jan 24, 2015 04:26PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Sat., Jan. 24:

gibe -- both noun and verb. As a noun, it means "a caustic remark or taunt."

jibe -- is generally considered a verb only, meaning "to accord with, to be consistent with."

gybe -- a sailing term meaning primarily "to shift a sail from one side of a vessel to the other while sailing before the wind," is so spelled in BrE but is usually spelled jibe in AmE.

jive, like gibe, is both noun and verb. As a noun, it refers either to swing music or to the argot of hipsters. As a verb, it means "to dance to swing music" or "to tease."

-- source Garner's Modern American Usage


message 21: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments I thought it was glib, not gibe. Man I have been getting it wrong all these years.


message 22: by Alex (new)

Alex | 8 comments I'm tempted to make a glib remark, but I won't.


message 23: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments Why not, I can take it.


message 24: by Alex (last edited Jan 25, 2015 08:18AM) (new)

Alex | 8 comments I did. To clarify, I was just playing around with language. Glib doesn't come up very often. Something along the lines of Magritte's "This is Not a Pipe" painting of a pipe.


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Sun., Jan. 25:

formulaic -- of, relating to, following, or constituting a formula.

formulistic -- fond of formulas.

formalistic -- adhering unduly to form without regard to substance.

-- source Garner's Modern American Usage


message 26: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments I really like this new thread, thanks for taking the time NE.


message 27: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
At times it's a learning experience (or often a relearning experience) for me, too. Thus, the decision to give it a go.


message 28: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Mon., Jan. 26

affect (verb) -- to influence; to have an effect on.

effect (noun) -- result; consequence.

effect (verb) -- This verb -- meaning "to bring about, make happen" -- is increasingly rare in English. Besides sounding pretentious, it often spawns wordiness.


-- source Garner's Modern American Usage



message 29: by Kenneth P. (new)

Kenneth P. (kennethp) Today I saw (and heard) two ads. One spoke of making one's money go farther. The other spoke of hitting a golfball further.

No one is listening New England.


message 30: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Kenneth P. wrote: "Today I saw (and heard) two ads. One spoke of making one's money go farther. The other spoke of hitting a golfball further.

No one is listening New England."


Bingo.


message 31: by Ken (last edited Jan 30, 2015 02:50AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Wed., Jan. 28 (sorry, the blizzard seemed to cover yesterday's Tip du Jour)


The ellipsis = three "period dots" signifying "that the writer has omitted something, usually from quoted matter."

If you use an ellipsis at the end of a sentence, a fourth dot is used as the period after the ellipsis -- all equally spaced.

source: Garner's Modern American Usage


message 32: by Ken (last edited Jan 30, 2015 02:50AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Thurs., Jan. 29

When choosing between a and an, let the sound of the following word determine your choice: "a is used before words beginning with a consonant sound, including /y/ and /w/ sounds. The other form, an, is used before words beginning with a vowel sound. Since the sound rather than the letter controls, it's not unusual to find a before a vowel or an before a consonant. Hence a European country, a one-year term, a Ouija board, a uniform, an FBI agent, an MBA degree, an SEC filing.

As for /h/, "the traditional rule is that if the h- is sounded, then a is the proper form. So people who aspirate their h's and follow that rule would say a historian and a historic."

source: Garner's Modern American Usage


message 33: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments What about s usage, I always get confused.


message 34: by MissJessie (new)

MissJessie | 81 comments A seriously enjoyable thread; an educational experience. I am enjoying furthering my grasp of the subtleties of grammar. Back to work....


message 35: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Thank you, Miss J.

Carol wrote: "What about s usage, I always get confused."

Do you mean using s vs. using 's?


message 36: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments Yes,it still confuses me.


message 37: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
OK, I'll do plurals this weekend. Right now I need a quickie because I have to salt the driveway (mood snow falling -- just enough to slick the hill) and (speaking of salt) get out to the mine.

Fri., Jan. 30:

Though alright has breached the wall like Mexicans at the Alamo, it's still not proper English. Two words, my friends: all right.

As for alright, think of it as alwrong.

source: me.


message 38: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments Didn't know that one. Thanks on both accounts. Might eventually become knowledgeable in grammar. That was my worst subject in school, spelling was next. This thread is like having my personal tutor.


message 39: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Alright it right up there with alot. Ain't no sech thing.


message 40: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments I think I finally have that one down , Ruth.


message 41: by Ken (last edited Feb 01, 2015 04:34AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Sun., Feb. 1:

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!


"Most nouns form their plurals simply by adding -s -- thus books, songs, xylophones. But if a word ends with the sound of -s, -sh, -ch, or -z, the plural is formed by adding -es -- thus buses, thrushes, churches, and buzzes. Occasionally, a single final consonant is doubled -- thus fez makes fezzes.

"Several exceptions exist in words derived from Old English, such as child-children, foot-feet, goose-geese, louse-lice, man-men, mouse-mice, ox-oxen, tooth-teeth, woman-women."

source: Garner's Modern American Usage

Additional plural rules this week (their numbers are legion!)


message 42: by Sonali (new)

Sonali V | 182 comments Hello NE. I have been a bit busy, additional responsibility in school etc.I lurk though..( haven't really read all the rules for ellipses) :-)
I was a bit confused about the alright /all right usage because we have always written alright. So I checked the Oxford Dictionary and they say both are right though some people do not like using alright and it should not be written in formal writing. Good for me and my students because otherwise I would mark them for spelling errors but remain confused.


message 43: by Ken (last edited Feb 01, 2015 08:03AM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
As I said, it has broached the ramparts! And your students are lucky ones, having you!


message 44: by Ken (last edited Feb 02, 2015 04:10PM) (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Mon., Feb. 2 (Groundhog Day):

Plurals (cont.)

Exceptions often exist with words that come to English from foreign sources, esp. Greek and Latin. Here are a few:

crises, not crisises

criteria, not criterions

hypotheses, not hypothesises

phenomena, not phenomenons

timpani, not timpanos

bacilli, not bacilluses

fungi, not funguses

ova, not ovums

stimuli, not stimuluses

thalami, not thalamuses


Some close calls:

In common usage: cactuses, but cacti in botanical circles.

formulas is more common than formulae

spectrums is favored over spectra

honorariums is gaining favor over honoraria

millenniums and millennia are neck and neck.


source: Garner's Modern American Usage


message 45: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Hastening to add, media is the plural of medium, which everybody seems to have forgotten.


message 46: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
... which creates all manner of subject-verb agreement issues.


message 47: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments Glad to know that one , Ruth.


message 48: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 15767 comments Mod
Nor does media refer only to journalism.


message 49: by Carol (new)

Carol | 10390 comments That I knew. LOL! I am woefully lacking in grammar and punctuation.


message 50: by Ken (new)

Ken | 18313 comments Mod
Thurs., Feb. 5

Well, no one ever said it would appear every day. Would help if I didn't work, but alas, we work our whole lives, then we die. (Upbeat Thought of the Day!).

neologism -- an invented word. Every end-of-year you see new words that have made it, like salmon upriver, and are going into the dictionary, by God. After awhile, you are amazed that they did not exist forever. For instance, Garner offers these neologisms from the 50s and 60s:

do-it-yourself, glitch, mall, meritocracy, middle management, nitty-gritty, and prime time. I guess that means they're not in Shakespeare.

retronym -- a neologism invented to describe an original type that has become outdated. Examples: push-button phone, rotary telephone, ice skates.

Ice skates? They were called, quite simply, "skates," until the invention of "roller skates." This forced the invention of a retronym for what came before.

Wherever there is a new species, there is often a retronym:

electric guitar/acoustic guitar
diet soda/regular soda
power steering/nonpower steering
electric typewriter/manual typewriter
disposable diaper/cloth diaper
e-mail/snail mail


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