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Thread: English Corner

  1. #91
    Courtesy and Goodwill Mantenna's Avatar
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    Bumpkin,

    An infinitive is, simply, a verb with a "to" preceding it. To bellow, to whine, to connive, and to go are all examples of infinitives. A split infinitive means to put some word (usually an adverb) between the "to" and the verb. To loudly bellow, to annoyingly whine, to cunningly connive, and to swiftly go are examples of split infinitives.

    It's kind of an archaic rule, but editors tend to follow the older and conservative grammar rules. It really does no harm, but grammar elites might view it as ignorance.

  2. #92
    Princess
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    To loudly bellow, to annoyingly whine, to cunningly connive, and to swiftly go are examples of split infinitives.
    And the "proper" way would be "to bellow loudly", etc?

    to boldly go where no man has been before...

    To me it just seem like different styles. Split infinitives can be good when you write something humourous for example, but can look a bit awkward in a newspaper text.

  3. #93
    eternal optimist Shazzer's Avatar
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    Someone sent this little piece to me today and I thought of this thread right away.

    ************If you've learned to speak fluent English, you must be a genius!

    This little treatise on the lovely language we share is only for
    the brave.

    Peruse at your leisure, English lovers.

    Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

    1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

    2) The farm was used to produce produce.

    3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

    4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

    5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

    6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

    7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was
    time to present the present.

    8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

    9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

    10) I did not object to the object.

    11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

    12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

    13) They were too close to the door to close it.

    14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

    15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

    16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

    17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail

    18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

    19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

    20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

    21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
    There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither
    apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented
    in England or French fries in France (Surprise!). Sweetmeats
    are candies while sweetbreads,which aren't sweet, are meat.

    Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is
    neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but
    fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

    If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?

    One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd, or an end?

    If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian
    eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do
    people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and
    send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

    How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man
    and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique
    lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns
    down in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

    English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

    P.S. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?**********
    "If you're like me, you have a 'been there, done that' attitude when it comes to paleolithic paleontology." - Jon Stewart

    "I swear, you are the ho-ho ho." - OTS

  4. #94
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    That's really cool Shazzer. I kept reading the sentences and mentally 'correcting' myself as I saw the context. I think I will go allow my head to explode now
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

  5. #95
    Princess
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    Funny ones Shazzer!

    They missed one on #12, I'll add: "While standing in a row, there was a row among the oarsmen about how to row."

    You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down..
    Actually, it does in Swedish too!

  6. #96
    FORT Fogey
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    This has been a fascinating thread! I just wanted to add something I learned in logic class...apparently there is no such thing as and/or. It's either and, or it's or. Not both. So now, whenever I see and/or, I think about that!

    I guess the biggest thing that bugs me is when people use an apostrophe to make a word plural--for example, "I have ten cat's."

  7. #97
    Princess
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    scarlett, while it's true that and/or is not really possible logically (with the exception of photons and probably some other obscure quantum entities ), I see the use of it as something you say when you are uncertain about how things will be. I.e. you use it when you talk about something that will happen in the future/things that could be either way: "She will be wearing a hat and/or a shawl", meaning that you know she will wear either, and maybe she will wear both. "You can use hat and/or shawl with this dress", meaning that it's up to you to decide if you want to use just one of those choises or both of them.

    Glad you enjoyed the thread, btw - I think it's rather nice.

    Something that just came into my mind while correcting some grammar flaw in another post: A British friend of mine once told me that a sure sign of someone not having English as their first language is that they will always say "there are many xxx", instead of "there is many xxx"!
    Last edited by Modesty; 11-05-2003 at 08:25 PM.

  8. #98
    FORT Fogey nausicaa's Avatar
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    We must polish the Polish furniture.
    And on that note - if people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes? (Sounds nasty, doesn't it? )

    [Stage whisper]ETA: Modesty, shouldn't that be the other way around?[/Stage whisper]
    Last edited by nausicaa; 11-05-2003 at 10:08 PM.

  9. #99
    Princess
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    "Holes"!!

    [Stage whisper]ETA: Modesty, shouldn't that be the other way around?[/Stage whisper]
    His point was that native English speaking people make this mistake while non native don't. Sorry I didn't make it clear .

  10. #100
    Embracing the Inner Geek museumguy's Avatar
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    I just read the posts about James Joyce,who is an author I freely admit I can not read. When I watched the History of the English Language series on PBS, I was surprised to hear his words from his least intelligible novels read by Dubliners, and suddenly the gibberish became words. We are seperated by a common language.

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