English language peeves

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Re: English language peeves

Post by randalljazz » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:06 am

"strategery" from saturday night life to the talking heads of cnn...
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:50 am

Rasputin wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:02 am
It's curious that speakers of other languages don't seem to get hung up on I/me in compound subjects and objects, at least as far as I can tell. I don't think 'ma mère et moi sommes allés' is regarded as a mistake (is it regarded as a contraction of 'ma mère et moi, nous sommes allés')? 'Ma mère et je sommes allés' is totally impossible. I do not know about German but I would be willing to bet they don't have a problem either.
French has conjunctive (used in conjunction with a verb, e.g. je) and disjunctive (used without a verb, e.g. moi) pronoun forms. (c'est moi - it's me, "moi, je vois"). And then it has its object forms: "il me voit".

German always uses the pure nominative ich form except when it is the object of a verb (e.g. I who am good - Ich, der ich gut bin; it is I - ich bin es). Ich sehe ihn; er sieht mich. Ich, der ich ihn sehe; er, der mich sieht. Having said that, these things are formal and Germans in speaking may be ceasing to use them - German is relaxing - during the time I have known the language, the genitive has been officially and formally made obsolete in the spoken language. (you use the possessive dative instead)

English has the problem that some of its usage is German and some is French, and there is difficulty in choosing the right model.
Originally "It is I" (originally Germanic) was correct (or "I am he", if you like), but some of these things are becoming very old-fashioned and now we use the French form (I doubt deliberately) - it's me.
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pogmoor
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Re: English language peeves

Post by pogmoor » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:30 am

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:26 am
Why axe such a dumb question?
Isn't 'axe' for 'ask primarily a West Indian usage?
lagartija wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:17 am
...and the use of impact as a verb.
But verbing nouns is something that has gone on for centuries! Shakespeare did it a lot.
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lagartija
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Re: English language peeves

Post by lagartija » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:28 pm

pogmoor wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:30 am
Rick Beauregard wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:26 am
Why axe such a dumb question?
Isn't 'axe' for 'ask primarily a West Indian usage?

In the Eastern US, 'axe' for ask is often heard in inner city communities and not just among West Indian immigrants. It was one of the language idioms listed by those insisting that 'Ebonics' should be considered a special dialect.
pogmoor wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:30 am
lagartija wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:17 am
...and the use of impact as a verb.
But verbing nouns is something that has gone on for centuries! Shakespeare did it a lot.
Yes, I know that! It is that particular word used as a verb that bothers me for some reason .
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Re: English language peeves

Post by Rasputin » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:11 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:50 am
Rasputin wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:02 am
It's curious that speakers of other languages don't seem to get hung up on I/me in compound subjects and objects, at least as far as I can tell. I don't think 'ma mère et moi sommes allés' is regarded as a mistake (is it regarded as a contraction of 'ma mère et moi, nous sommes allés')? 'Ma mère et je sommes allés' is totally impossible. I do not know about German but I would be willing to bet they don't have a problem either.
French has conjunctive (used in conjunction with a verb, e.g. je) and disjunctive (used without a verb, e.g. moi) pronoun forms. (c'est moi - it's me, "moi, je vois"). And then it has its object forms: "il me voit".

German always uses the pure nominative ich form except when it is the object of a verb (e.g. I who am good - Ich, der ich gut bin; it is I - ich bin es). Ich sehe ihn; er sieht mich. Ich, der ich ihn sehe; er, der mich sieht. Having said that, these things are formal and Germans in speaking may be ceasing to use them - German is relaxing - during the time I have known the language, the genitive has been officially and formally made obsolete in the spoken language. (you use the possessive dative instead)

English has the problem that some of its usage is German and some is French, and there is difficulty in choosing the right model.
Originally "It is I" (originally Germanic) was correct (or "I am he", if you like), but some of these things are becoming very old-fashioned and now we use the French form (I doubt deliberately) - it's me.
Yes - probably just a matter of a language that no longer pays much attention to case dropping special case rules like 'to be takes the nominative'.

As long as we go in distinguishing case in pronouns, though, we will have the problem of how to treat the individual pronouns that make up a compound subject - in a sentence like 'she and I are coming', I is not the subject (if it was, the verb form would have to be 'am'). Nor is it one of two subjects, I would suggest - there is only one verb, so only one grammatical subject. If the true rule is 'use object case unless the pronoun is the subject of the sentence', therefore, we should expect 'me and her' - and sure enough that is what is spontaneously produced by many native speakers of English, and seemingly all native speakers of French. I don't know about the Germans. 'She and I' is the result of sloppy thinking by previous generations, if you ask me, so perhaps it is not surprising that people have trouble applying the rule and end up simplifying it to 'never say "such and such and me", always say "and I"'.

All of which is a long way of saying that my pet peeve is the avoidance of perfectly correct words like 'me' or 'what', based on a shaky grasp of grammar and a desire to be very prim.

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Re: English language peeves

Post by kirolak » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:45 pm

What grates on me (a non-English-native speaker) is the accent on wrong words in a sentence, for eg ". . this AS well as that", instead of "This as WELL as that"; & incorrect congruence ("This earrings" instead of "THESE earrings", or "This PAIR of earrings" )

And in Spanish, the loss of the use of the subjunctive form upsets me ;) Yet all of this is only words, that we are attached to for some reason!

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Re: English language peeves

Post by slidika » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:24 pm

Pronunciation peeves: 'wash' pronounced like 'warsh', 'idea' pronounced like 'ideer'.

English usage peeve: 'I am going to try and do this' instead should be 'I am going to try to do this' -- the erroneous 'try and' construct is quite common.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:20 pm

kirolak wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:45 pm
in Spanish, the loss of the use of the subjunctive form upsets me
Interesting. A French university lecturer told me only a month ago that French has lost the subjunctive too. Although in conditional sentences it already traditionally used the imperfect and conditional tenses, perhaps unusually (given the Latin syntax that it emerged from). German mainly uses the imperfect subjunctive - the present subjunctive is very restricted. These things became restricted in English long ago. Although I'd say the English present subjunctive is less rare than the German, if used correctly.
Rasputin wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:11 pm
in a sentence like 'she and I are coming', I is not the subject (if it was, the verb form would have to be 'am'). Nor is it one of two subjects, I would suggest - there is only one verb, so only one grammatical subject.
I'm not sure what you're thinking there - the subject of the verb is "we". "She and I" is an expansion of it for added detail.
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guitareleven
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Re: English language peeves

Post by guitareleven » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:03 pm

slidika wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:24 pm

...English usage peeve: 'I am going to try and do this' instead should be 'I am going to try to do this' -- the erroneous 'try and' construct is quite common.
I sympathize with your complaint. Just to split hairs, though, one might argue that "I am going to try and do..." bespeaks of a heightened degree of optimism on part of the speaker as to the success of the intended enterprise, which mitigates against the connotation of doubt thereof conveyed by "try..." In this case, the quibble becomes one less of grammatical construction, and more one of the issue of redundancy. The more it is undoubted that one will, in fact, do something, the less point there is in the inclusion of "try". The error could be also be one of omission; perhaps that meaning could be clarified by the inclusion of a comma after "try". There- have I wrung that observation dry?

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:15 pm

Something that is becoming tricky is the correct use of "used". And in general it is not enough simply to be correct - one also has to match one's register to that of the person one is talking to. I have a friend who is not only a grammar Nazi, but also went to public school and even he says and writes things like "I didn't use to do". The correct form "I used not to do" is pretty formal stuff, though, and might get you knifed in the wrong pub.
Then there are the future and conditional tenses: -
I shall, you will, he will, we shall, you will, they will. With all their negative and inverse forms, etc. I don't even bother to try to get them right.
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Re: English language peeves

Post by Rasputin » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:50 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:20 pm
Rasputin wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:11 pm
in a sentence like 'she and I are coming', I is not the subject (if it was, the verb form would have to be 'am'). Nor is it one of two subjects, I would suggest - there is only one verb, so only one grammatical subject.
I'm not sure what you're thinking there - the subject of the verb is "we". "She and I" is an expansion of it for added detail.
The argument behind the traditional rule that it should be I rather than me in sentences like Jane and X went down to Kew is that X represents the subject, but it doesn't - as you say, the grammatical subject is we. X is one element in the subject, but it doesn't follow logically that it must have subject case. That's not just pedantry, bearing in mind that 'Jane and me' is what comes naturally to many many people, and that the equivalent is regarded as perfectly grammatical in French (the French can be real sticklers, too). You have to wonder whether the English rule is working with or against the true (underlying, tacitly understood) rules of grammar - the ones that grammarians are supposed to work out. It's obvious where I stand on that question...

For me there is a parallel with the Alexander Technique - there the idea is that the parts of the brain that control the body know exactly what they are doing and our thinking minds have an unfortunate habit of getting in the way. Here the idea is that the parts of the brain that formulate sentences know exactly what they are doing, and getting your thinking mind to correct their output, based on some learned theory of grammar, is like sending Dave the decorator in to touch up the Sistine Chapel.
slidika wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:24 pm
...English usage peeve: 'I am going to try and do this' instead should be 'I am going to try to do this' -- the erroneous 'try and' construct is quite common.
I don't think that construction is erroneous at all - probably more to the point, the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary don't either.

I don't mean to be antagonistic but it seems that what is behind a lot of these peeves is irritation at the fact that other people don't follow made-up rules.

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Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:42 pm

stevel wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:40 pm
... I like other peculiarities like those words you rarely hear without part of a phrase or companion word, especially more archaic ones, like "flotsam and jetsam". Rarely do you get one or the other, they usually come together, if used at all...
How about "unrequited love"? Is there anything else on our planet that is "unrequited" ?
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Re: English language peeves

Post by LBrandt » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:56 pm

Regime. We're imposing a sanctions "regime" on North Korea. Or we had an inspections "regime" in Iraq. It's a sanctions REGIMEN, or an inspections REGIMEN, not a regime!

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Re: English language peeves

Post by randalljazz » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:56 am

"disinterested" does not mean "uninterested", and vice versa.
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Fryer » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:37 am

Rasputin wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:50 pm
X is one element in the subject, but it doesn't follow logically that it must have subject case
So, is that not an argument that "her and me went to the mall" is correct too?

I think perhaps the word "logically" is not appropriate. Languages have rules, not logic. (please let us not get into an argument about description versus prescription). And I would assume that you will find it stated as a rule in an English grammar that all parts of a subject must be in the subject case.

In fact, "Me and him went down the pub" or "Me and her went down the pub" is the uneducated way to say it. When attempts were made to make people say "she and I" or "he and I" instead, the two expressions were accidentally merged and expanded into use as the objects of verbs as well. (but I don't think I've ever seen "he and I" used as an object - usually a person's name is one of the parts of the object, obscuring the wrongness of it).

(I was taught grammar patchily at school. Most of my English grammar was learnt from Studying German, French, Greek and Latin. As a result, my terminology may be in need of improvement here and there. For example I can't remember if Peter is a real noun or a proper noun. I'm also wary about using words like nominative and accusative - I have no idea if they exist in English grammar!)
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