Correcting grammar strikes a chord

more cheesier

correcting grammarMy recent post on correcting grammar has struck a chord.

My friend and former editor Alan got me thinking:

How do you feel about Positive Anymore, Roger?

I had not heard the term before, to be honest. But I have heard this construction. From the Wikipedia article, it “is the use of the adverb anymore in an affirmative context. While any more (also spelled anymore) is typically a negative/interrogative polarity item used in negative, interrogative, or hypothetical contexts, speakers of some dialects of English use it in positive or affirmative contexts, with a meaning similar to nowadays or from now on.”

I’d better show some of their examples.

1 “A servant being instructed how to act, will answer ‘I will do it any more‘.” (Northern Ireland, c. 1898)
2 “Any more, the difference between a white-collar worker and a blue-collar worker is simply a matter of shirt preference.” (Madison, Wisconsin, 1973)
3 “Everything we do anymore seems to have been done in a big hurry.” (Kingston, Ontario, 1979)
4 “I’ll be getting six or seven days’ holiday anymore.” (Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981)
5 “Anymore we watch videos rather than go to the movies.” (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1991)

Its use as from now on in the first and fourth sentence sounds wrong, as though the word not was left out in error. The usage in sentence three, as nowadays (or these days), sounds oddly familiar and colloquially acceptable to me. Yet the same word in the beginning (sentences 2 and 5) bugs me. Maybe it suggests that the sentence is going in another direction, such as “Any more, do you have bread?”

More Adverbs

Then Alan requested:

Can the other part [of my post] be people who say “whenever” when they mean when?

This one I had not heard at all. Its usage suggests an indefinite time, but they’re talking about a specific timeframe. A regional variation, apparently, but I don’t much like it. It’s two extra syllables that do not convey any more or different information. But it’s all I have to say about that.

Tim, who I remember from back in the days (March 2020) we used to sing in the choir together, quips:

I prefer the brand of macaroni and cheese that is more cheesier. Then there is the -ly being chopped off most adverbs these days.

As I noted way back here: There are rules for forming comparative and superlative adjectives. One-syllable adjectives generally add -er or -est. “For adjectives with three syllables or more, you form the comparative with more and the superlative with most.”

The adjectives with two syllables are… complicated.” The ones ending with -y, -er, -le, or -ow generally use -er and -est, though one changes the -y to -i.

But cutting off the -ly sounds more informal than wrong. “I’m gonna come back real quick.” “She steered that boat real smooth.” The meaning is clear. Incidentally, I came across an article Errors in the use of adverbs. For at least two of the examples, I shrugged, “Whatever.”
Incorrect: She angrily spoke.
Correct: She spoke angrily.
Adverbs of manner usually go in the end-position.
Not really something to concern me.

Descriptive versus prescriptive

My ferocious hearts competitor friend Janna indicates:

I tend to think corrections on my grammar pet peeves rather than pointing them out (except to my kids LOL). In this age of e-communication, I think many are the result of bad autocorrect.

Well, yes, some software corrections are overly zealous. I’ve used Grammarly for years, but I have vigorously disagreed with supposed errors of mine. I’m very forgiving of mistakes in contemporaneous speaking, particularly with noun/verb agreement. On the other hand, I’m much fussier over a formal address.

Alison, who I was once related to – or to whom I was…, if you insist – correctly notes:

Well, there’s descriptive grammar and prescriptive grammar and some of the latter was imposed on the language by a dude who thought English should follow Latin grammar. It’s class-related also so my opinion is that prescriptive grammar is only necessary for formal or academic settings- except for “normalcy.” That’s an abomination.

Agreed. I noted here that the creative use of y’all, et al. for the second person plural you “is not the failure of the speakers, it’s the failure of the language.

Essentially v. for all intents and purposes

lie/lay/lain; lay/laid/laid

For All IntentsOne of my Facebook friends, a guy in my neighborhood, posted the graphic above. I’d never seen “supposably,” though I suppose I might have heard it.

But I’m fascinated by “for all intents and purposes.” Why would one say that at all these days, when you could use “essentially” or “in effect”? Let’s go to the dictionary.

“In a 1546 Act of Parliament, the phrase ‘to all intents, constructions, and purposes’ was used to convey that King Henry VIII had unlimited power to interpret laws. Apparently, the people of England took a liking to the phrase—just not the ‘constructions’ part.

“Thereafter, the phrase began appearing in legal documents and other writings in forms such as ‘to all intents’ and ‘to all intents and purposes.’ Nowadays, the latter phrase has survived—chiefly in British English—and ‘for all intents and purposes’ was popularized in American English.”

So it’s an American variation on a British Parliament concession to a monarch’s overreach of power. Got it.

“It is often mistaken as ‘for all intensive purposes’ because when spoken aloud these two phrases sound very similar. These mistakes, where incorrect words and phrases are replaced but the meaning remains the same, are known as eggcorns.”

I’d come up with my own intentional eggcorns for this phrase, just for fun. “For all in tents and porpoises,”, e.g.

As for the others

Regardless Of What You Think, ‘Irregardless’ Is A Word. That was the title of an article just this month. So irregardless, something I say intentionally as a joke to my wife, is a word. Even before the designation, it was always “a word.” Just not a very good one.

Certain phrases I just avoid. “I could care less” is one. This and the “expresso/espresso” bit both show up in Weird Al’s Word Crimes.

Googling pacifically, I found I Love My 30s, a bit from Gina Brillon: Pacifically Speaking. My spellcheck doesn’t even complain.

“I seen it” is something that I usually hear in extemporaneous speech, and it doesn’t distress me. “I’ve seen it” is what they meant, right?

Did you know that upmost is a variant of uppermost, meaning “highest in location, farthest up”? “My office is on the upmost/uppermost floor of the building.” Whereas of upmost importance suggests “highest” in a non-physical sense.

Finally, the lie/lay thing is nuts. The past tense of lie is lay. The past tense of lay is laid, which is also its past participle. Now the past participle of lie is lain, which almost no one uses at all. Let’s call the whole thing off.

August rambling: Porn stars, Playmates, prayer

A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Trump crossing the swamp
After this


Why Fascism Has the Power to Seduce the Broken

John Oliver Confronts Fake Grassroots Movements

In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream

When That “Feel-Good” Story Really Ought To Make You Throw Up

Who Chooses Abortion?

Ken Screven – The Conscience of the Newsroom

The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period

On Prepositions

Joe Biden’s LGBTQ acceptance initiative

Walter Ayres: Pope Francis and the death penalty

Vlogbrothers: How Do Adults Make Friends? and How I Made Friends

Terry Crews Made A PSA With Samantha Bee To Illustrate Why Sexual Assault Jokes Really Aren’t Funny

Treating Golfer’s Elbow And How To Prevent It

The seven original cast members of Saturday Night Live inducted into the Television Hall of Fame

Dick Cavett in the digital age

Alan Alda (and Leonard Maltin) Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

Amy Meselson, Lawyer Who Defended Young Immigrants, Dies at 46

Charlotte Rae, R.I.P.

Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan were 23 when their daughter, Lisa, was born

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

The end of Campbell’s Soup?

Embracing päntsdrunk, the Finnish way of drinking alone in your underwear

The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained

Now I Know: Who You Gonna Call? Not This Ghostbuster and The Blood*, Sweat, and Tears of English Rugby Players and Why You Can’t Visit Liberty’s Torch and Why the National Animal of Scotland is… Wait, Really?

Players from Sesame Street read great lines from the movies

Christopher Lee and Jane Seymour

THE SWAMP

A Sinkhole of Sleaze

Week of Corruption Scandals: A Closer Look

Why Betsy DeVos shuns the American flag on her 40-foot yacht

PORN STARS, PLAYMATES, AND PRAYER CIRCLES

Mike Pence – Holy Terror and has drastically lowered his moral standard for a President

John Oliver: the next issue of Stupid Watergate

How ICE was radicalized

How the regime misled the public on poverty

EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing

The Quislings of American Collapse

The Constitutional Con

His Foreign Policy Held Back by Struggle to Grasp Time Zones, Maps

Boston Globe Calls For A Nationwide Response To Attacks On The Press

MUSIC

The anthem of the Republic of Tyva in the Russian Federation

Ohio – John Batiste, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr

Vasily Kalinnikov – Bylina, an overture

“Africa” le Toto as Gaeilge

Summer Wind- Willie Nelson

I greet my country -Ahoulaguine Akaline featuring Bombino

Feel The Love – Rudimental, featuring John Newman

In the Mood – Glenn Miller (see Sonja Henie!)

Stand By Me – Bootstraps

Fur Elise – pianist Lola Astanova

The Place Where Dreams Come True and End Credits – James Horner, scoring Field of Dreams

Coverville 1227: Cover Stories for Kate Bush and Rush and 1228: Cover Stories for Whitney Houston, A Flock of Seagulls and The Go-Go’s

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly); Cover by Sina

1-2-3 – The Electric Indian

My Dearest Ruth – Patrice Michaels (from Notorious RBG in Song)

The niece Rebecca Jade will be singing at five Sheila E shows this month, in Michigan and the Northeast

How the Beatles unravelled: Hunter Davies, the band’s official biographer, recalls the tensions that led the Fab Four to split

The Top 60 Female Artists of All Time

Grammar nerd, moi?

I HATE it when “they” misspell Binghamton, my hometown.

I’ve been called worse things than a grammar nerd. One of my sisters posted on Facebook, “This is you dear brother.”
grammar nerd
But am I, REALLY?

1. The little I text I’m willing to use “2” for “to” or “too,” mostly because I’m a worse typist on that device than on a computer. My fingers cramp up, which is one reason I HATE texting.

2. I suppose I am an “honorary proofreader” for AmeriNZ and Jaquandor and SamuraiFrog, and they do the same for me.

3. It is true that I know the difference between affect and effect.

4. I DON’T correct public signs, but I’m sorely tempted. Also, and I’ve done this since I was a kid, I find “End Work Zone” signs uproariously funny. I visualize people picketing the fact that people are working. Now “end of work zone” wouldn’t have that affect, I mean effect.

5. I’m mortified by typos, yet it happens often enough that I just grind my teeth and move on. This, I will attest, is likewise true of some of my blogging colleagues.

6. Oxford comma: generally unnecessary, unless it is. But speaking of commas, I would have put one between “you” and “dear” in the sentence at the top of the page.

7. I’ve been to Grammarly, but don’t follow it.

8. I don’t do a lot of hashtags on social media, and the ones I do are work-related.

9. I find double negatives less cringe worthy and more confusing, especially as an interrogative.

10. I DO edit magazines and newspapers I read. Oh, and when I see one of those funny things on Facebook, and something is misspelled – it’s usually “weird” – it takes me out of it. And I almost never SHARE it, for that reason alone, even when I would otherwise re-send.

Worst problem, of course, is its/it’s. Apostrophes in general are misused.

And I HATE it when “they” misspell Binghamton, my hometown, as Binghampton. I remember seeing that on a map of Pennsylvania, which the city is near. It was spelled CORRECTLY on the New York State map.

Are YOU a grammar nerd?

A is for Apostrophes

I DO use the apostrophe when it would be otherwise confusing, such as with plural letters.

greedy3-330Recently, I was watching this news show on ABC-TV (US) featuring a bunch of talking heads. A feature has a couple of Picks of the Week from each participant, a noteworthy story. That week included Democratic strategist James Carville; the overlay showed JAME’S PICK.

I wanted to scream. The one thing you NEVER do with an apostrophe is break up someone’s name ending in S just before that letter.

One doesn’t visit the JONE’S house, one visits the JONES’ house, or the JONES’S house, depending on your school of thought on this. If you’re unclear, you visit the JONES family and avoid the apostrophe altogether.

I’m convinced that it is the use of the apostrophe that creates the bulk of spelling errors in the United States. There are road signs with ONION’S FOR SALE, when the plural doesn’t need an apostrophe at all.

Here’s an interesting bit from WikiHow:

Know how to use apostrophes for acronyms and years. Say you use an acronym for a noun, like CD. To make CD plural, use “CDs,” not CD’s.” The same logic goes for years — instead of writing “Spandex was popular in the 1980’s,” use “1980s.”

I totally agree, but my spellcheck doesn’t like CDs or 1980s; it prefers CD’s and 1980’s! Oy.

Moreover, I DO use the apostrophe when it would be otherwise confusing, such as with plural letters: “I got 4 A’s and two B’s on my report card.” Sans apostrophe, A’s looks like the word As.

A lot of confusion comes from the recognition of a possessive. There are lots of websites that explain this better than I, such as The Oatmeal and Scribendi.

THE most common error, of course, involves it’s and its, and it’s somewhat understandable. Possessive nouns take an apostrophe: THE GOAT’S FUR; possessive pronouns do not: ITS FUR. The word IT’S is a contraction, meaning IT IS. I see this particular error SO often, even in newspapers and magazines, that I despair of it ever being truly understood.

And I know why, per Henry Hitchings, though disputed by HistoriAnn:

[H]ere’s the rub: say any of these names aloud and you’ll be struck by the fact that the apostrophe works on the eye rather than the ear. Simply put, we don’t hear apostrophes, and this is a significant factor accounting for the inconsistency with which they are used.

You grammar buffs, and I count myself in your number: IS it a lost cause?

ABC Wednesday – Round 16