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1  The Latest Buzz! / Site Announcements / Playlist Update (February 17 - 23, 2018) for the Forum Gateway on Facebook on: February 23, 2018, 02:19:19 PM
For quick access to the Forum’s featured English grammar refreshers and general interest stories, simply click their indicated web links below:

PLAYLIST UPDATE (February 17 - 23, 2018) FOR THE FORUM GATEWAY ON FACEBOOK
(15 new postings):

1, 2, 3. An Essays by Jose Carillo Retrospective (3-part series): “Dealing with questionable or downright wrong legalese - I”; “Dealing with questionable or downright wrong legalese - II”; “A devilishly equivocal English grammar question” (February 19, 21, 23, 2018)
  



4. Retrospective on Interacting in English in Polite Society: “The grammar of indirect questions” (February 23, 2018)


 

5. A Media English Watch Retrospective: “The perils of misusing literary allusions in news and feature stories” (February 23, 2018)


 

6. An Essays by Jose Carillo Retrospective: “The grammar of manners” (February 22, 2018)


 

7. The Finest in Language Humor Retrospective: “Piecès de résistance in Hollywood moviemaking” (February 22, 2018)


 

8. Getting To Know English Better: “The subtle job that absolute phrases do” (February 21, 2017)


 

9. Retrospective on Ungrammatical Song Lyrics: “When a tremendously popular song legitimizes a grammatical atrocity” (February 20, 2018)


 

10. A Time Out From Grammar Retrospective: “Shakespeare wasn’t just a literary giant but also a hard-headed businessman” (February 19, 2018)


 

11. A Language Humor At Its Finest Retrospective: "19 Fun Quotable Quotes to Brighten Up Your Day" (February 18, 2018)


 

12. A Time Out From Grammar Retrospective: “Challenging the dogma that our IQ sets a limit on what we can achieve” (February 18, 2018)


 

13. Language Humor At Its Finest: “Societies explained satirically plain and simple” (February 17, 2018)


 

14. A Getting To Know English Retrospective: “Back to basics in English sentence construction” (February 17, 2018)


 

15. A Getting To Know English Retrospective: “A bewildering encounter with an inverted sentence” (February 17, 2018)



 

*******************************************************************


CLASSIC FORUM POSTINGS (8 postings):

1. Two magnificent performances of “The Prayer,” spaced 10 years apart
     (Originally posted January 22, 2017)



2. “The Lovely Clichés Worth Keeping”
     (Originally posted circa 2002   Reposted December 16, 2016)

   

3. Conversations (4): “The real score about Valentine’s Day”
    (Originally posted February 10, 2010   Reposted February 1, 2014)



4. “Did Rizal ever speak and write in English?”
    (Originally posted January 28, 2010, latest update December 30, 2016)



5. “Conversations (2): A serious bad-grammar syndrome”
   (Reposted January 18, 2017)



6. “Anatomy of media stories that Filipina women have the world’s smallest breasts”
    (Posted July 11, 2016)

Playlist Update (Dec. 9 - 15, 2017) for the Forum Gateway on Facebook




7. “Lost in Translation” - 1 and 2
    (Posted December 30, 2016)



8. “Indignities in American minor”
    (Posted October 27, 2016)




Click this link to earlier Playdate features!

Visit the Jose Carillo Forum Homepage!
2  Joe Carillo's Desk / Getting to Know English / The subtle job that absolute phrases do on: February 22, 2018, 12:27:20 AM
Why should we bother using absolute phrases at all?

To answer this question, we made a quick review last week of the five most common types of subordinate phrases, then focused on a sixth type that differs from all of them in one major aspect—it doesn’t modify a specific noun or verb in the main clause but typically modifies the whole main clause instead. This is the nominative absolute or absolute phrase, which some grammarians also call the absolute clause.


We saw that an absolute phrase usually consists of a noun or pronoun followed by a participle and a related modifier, as in “The orchards having been destroyed by the wildfire, the honeybees simply died.” The frontline subordinate phrase has “orchards” as subject noun, “having been destroyed” the participle, and “by the wildfire” the modifier. Unlike the typical subordinate phrase, this phrase modifies neither the noun “honeybees” nor the verb “died” in the main clause. Instead, it modifies the whole main clause, “the honeybees simply died,” to give context to that idea.

We also saw that absolute phrases take a more concise form by shedding off the form of “be” in the participle, as in “Their pollen sources (having been) destroyed by the wildfire, the honeybees simply died.” And, in some cases, the absolute clause drops even the participle itself and just implies its presence: “Their pollen sources (being) no longer there, the honeybees simply died.”

Now, this question comes to mind: In the sentence constructions above, why not just use the usual subordinating phrases to modify the main clause? “Because the orchards have been destroyed by the wildfire, the honeybees simply died.” “Since their pollen sources have been destroyed by the wildfire, the honeybees simply died.” “Due to the fact that their pollen sources are no longer there, the honeybees simply died.” After all, these constructions make the grammatical and logical connection between the main clause and the subordinate phrase clearer, direct, and more emphatic.

When constructing sentences, however, there are situations in which our statements could sound forced, strained, overstated, or simplistic when they categorically state the logical or temporal relationship between the main idea and a subordinate idea. Indeed, this problem can arise when adverbial phrases are introduced by such subordinators as “because,” “since,” and “due to the fact,” as in the three examples given above. The statements can become too didactic and excessively forceful, making us sound like lawyers trying to argue a moot point in court or like a child articulating a newfound idea in minute detail.


In contrast, when those adverbial phrases are turned into absolute phrases, the temporal or logical relationship between the main idea and the subordinate idea becomes implicit, more subtle: “The orchards having been destroyed by the wildfire, the honeybees simply died.” “Their pollen sources destroyed by the wildfire, the honeybees simply died.” “Their pollen sources no longer there, the honeybees simply died.” Not overtly showing the cause-and-effect link between two ideas results in more concise, more elegantly phrased, and better-sounding sentences.

Another important use of the absolute phrase is to describe a detail of a larger situation or scene that has been set forth by a main clause, as in these constructions: “His knees shaking from his upset loss, the tennis champion managed to smile nevertheless.” “Inexperience written all over her face, the new bank teller asked the client several impertinent questions.” “The sea so calm that night, they set sail for Guimaras Island.” No direct cause-and-effect relationship between the main clause and the subordinate clause is shown; instead, the circumstance or qualifying idea is provided simply to give context to the situation.

In sum, absolute phrases are subtler and smoother combiners of ideas than the other types of modifying phrases.

This essay, 1080th in the series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Campus Press section of the February 22, 2018 issue (print edition only) of The Manila Times, © 2018 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.



(Next week: The four forms that absolute phrases take)     March 1, 2018
3  General Category / Language Humor at its Finest / Societies Explained Satirically Plain and Simple on: February 17, 2018, 06:34:56 PM
Societies Explained Satirically Plain and Simple

If you’ve ever wondered what the world’s major ideologies and socio-political movements have really been up to over and above their self-serving slogans, here are most of them satirically stripped down to their utilitarian and often simplistic basics. These humorous, sometimes daffy, yet not-altogether facetious definitions formed part of a humor collection the Forum came across in the Germany-based website of Thomas Bätzler way back in 2010.


FEUDALISM:
You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.




PURE SOCIALISM:
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.


BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM:
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.


FASCISM:
You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.




PURE COMMUNISM:
You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.


RUSSIAN COMMUNISM:
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.


DICTATORSHIP:
You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.




SINGAPORE DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed animals in an apartment.


MILITARIANISM:
You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.


PURE DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.




REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.


AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:
The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate.”




BRITISH DEMOCRACY:
You have two cows. You feed them sheep’s brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.


BUREAUCRACY:
You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.


ANARCHY:
You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors kill you and take the cows.





CAPITALISM:
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.


HONG KONG CAPITALISM*:
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows’ milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the Feng Shui is bad.


ENVIRONMENTALISM:
You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.


FEMINISM:
You have two cows. They get married and adopt a veal calf.


TOTALITARIANISM:
You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.




POLITICAL CORRECTNESS:
You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is a symbol of the phallo-centric, war-mongering, intolerant past) two differently-aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.


COUNTER CULTURE:
Wow, dude, there’s like... these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk. Far out! Awesome!


SURREALISM:
You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.


JAPANESE DEMOCRACY:[
You have two cows. You give the milk to gangsters so they don’t ask any awkward questions about who you’re giving the milk to.




EUROPEAN FEDERALISM:
You have two cows that cost too much money to care for because everybody is buying milk imported from some cheap east-European country and would never pay the fortune you’d have to ask for your cows’ milk. So you apply for financial aid from the European Union to subsidize your cows and are granted enough subsidies. You then sell your milk at the former elevated price to some government-owned distributor which then dumps your milk onto the market at east-European prices to make Europe competitive. You spend the money you got as a subsidy on two new cows and then go on a demonstration to Brussels complaining that the European farm-policy is going drive you out of your job.

—From the website of Thomas Bätzler, Germany, 2010

--------
*Of course, there have been major political changes in Hong Kong since it reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, ending 156 years of British rule. This definition of the former British Crown Colony's socio-political will therefore need some updating.

4  Joe Carillo's Desk / Getting to Know English / A bewildering encounter with an inverted sentence on: February 16, 2018, 11:48:13 PM


To test your grasp of English grammar and syntax, set aside whatever you’re reading or doing now and take this multiple choice sentence completion test:

“In the fine print at the end of the document ________ result from civil unrest.”
(A) “lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that”
(B) “lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses which”
(C) “lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that”
(D) “lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses which”
(E) “lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that”


Forum member Miss Mae, who posted this baffling test in the Forum almost five years ago, said that her answer was (C) “lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that.” Wrong. She was told that the subject of the sentence, “the clauses,” requires the verb to be in the plural form “lie” instead of the singular “lies.”

Even so, she asked, why is it that the correct answer is (E) “lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that,” such that the sentence should read as follows?

“In the fine print at the end of the document lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that result from civil unrest.”

We will recall that the construction above is an inverted sentence, one that deliberately departs from the normal declarative form of this rather structurally unwieldy sentence:

“The clauses that make us liable for any expenses that result from civil unrest lie in the fine print at the end of the document.”

We can see that although that sentence is grammatically correct, its convoluted syntax makes it clunky and difficult to comprehend.

In contrast, the particular form of inversion given in its place puts the prepositional phrase “in the fine print at the end of the document” at the beginning of the sentence, and then positions the intransitive verb “lie” ahead of its subject “the clauses.” The inverted sentence given in the 5th paragraph above is the result.



As we can see, inversion has made the sentence not only much more readable but also highly emphatic. This improvement in syntax comes at a price, though. When we look at the inverted sentence, it strongly appears that the subject of the verb “lie” is the singular noun “document”—not the plural “clauses”—so the reader is apt to be tempted to correct that verb to the singular form “lies.”

When constructing inverted sentences, identifying its true subject correctly isn’t so simple. That true subject is the subject of the main clause of the inverted sentence, and the verb should agree with the number of that subject, not with that of the noun that intervenes or comes before it. Indeed, the singular verb form “lies” for the plural “clauses” is what makes (C) “lies the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that” incorrect.

That, however, still leaves as possible correct answers either (D) “lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses which” and (E) “lie the clauses that make us liable for any expenses that.” So what is it that makes E the only correct answer?

It’s the use in E of the relative pronoun “that” as opposed to the use in D of the relative pronoun “which.”

Remember now that in American English, “that” is used when the relative clause is restrictive or indispensable to the meaning of the sentence, and “which” (preceded by a comma) is used when the relative clause is nonrestrictive or not absolutely necessary to that meaning.

In the inverted sentence in question, the relative clause “that result from civil unrest” is clearly a restrictive relative clause, one strongly bound semantically to the noun “expenses” in that sentence.

This essay first appeared in Jose A. Carillo’s weekly “English Plain and Simple” column in the July 21, 2012 issue of The Manila Times, © 2012 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

IMPORTANT RELATED READINGS:
The emphatic forms and inverted sentences
Guideposts for using “who,” “that,” and “which” to link relative clauses
Why it’s tough choosing between “that” and “which” to link relative clauses
5  The Latest Buzz! / Site Announcements / Playlist Update (February 10 - 16, 2018) for the Forum Gateway on Facebook on: February 16, 2018, 02:19:13 PM
For quick access to the Forum’s featured English grammar refreshers and general interest stories, simply click their indicated web links below:

PLAYLIST UPDATE (February 10 - 16, 2018) FOR THE FORUM GATEWAY ON FACEBOOK
(21 new postings):

1. Use and Misuse of English (3rd of 3-part series): “Strategies for avoiding repetition and abstruse stock phrases – III (February 16, 2018)


 

2. Making Light of What We Do for a Living: “60 really amusing job descriptions” (February 16, 2018)


 

3. Getting To Know English Better: “The baffling thing about absolute phrases” (February 15, 2018)


 

4. A Use and Misuse of English Retrospective: “We shouldn’t mistake mass nouns for collective nouns” (February 15, 2018)


 

5. A Readings in Language Retrospective: “Using big data, research validates Pollyanna ‘Feel Happy’ Hypothesis” (February 15, 2018)


 

6. Just For This Day of the Hearts: “A Dozen Romantic Rhymes with Unromantic Twists” (February 14, 2018)


 

7. A Valentine’s Day Retrospective: “Waltzing on the Web” (February 14, 2018)


 

8. Use and Misuse of English (2nd of 3-part series): “Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of words – II” (February 14, 2018)


 

9. An Advice and Dissent Retrospective: “Research shows responsibility resides in how people interact, not in the brain” (February 13, 2018)


 

10. A Media English Watch Retrospective: “The use of ‘cuddling the enemy’ and other English malapropisms” (February 13, 2018)


 

11. An Essays by Jose Carillo Retrospective: “The real score about Valentine’s Day” (February 13, 2018)


 

12. A Time Out From English Grammar Retrospective: “Alas, some famous philosophers fell ignobly short of living their ideals!” (February 12, 2018)


 

13. Use and Misuse of English (1st of a 3-part series): “Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of words – I”  (February 12, 2018)




14. A Media English Watch Retrospective: “A wily but translucent punctuation play to insult a president” (February 12, 2018)
 



15. Readings in Language: “Self-taught computer-savvy scholar uncovers ‘inspiration’ for 11 Shakespeare plays” (February 10, 2018)




16. A Refresher in English Grammar Basics: “Phrasal verbs are phrases with a figurative meaning” (February 10, 2018)


 

17. A Getting to Know English Retrospective: “An awful and otherworldly use of the possessive form” (February 10, 2018)


 

*******************************************************************


CLASSIC FORUM POSTINGS (8 postings):

1. Two magnificent performances of “The Prayer,” spaced 10 years apart
     (Originally posted January 22, 2017)



2. “The Lovely Clichés Worth Keeping”
     (Originally posted circa 2002   Reposted December 16, 2016)

   

3. Conversations (4): “The real score about Valentine’s Day”
    (Originally posted February 10, 2010   Reposted February 1, 2014)



4. “Did Rizal ever speak and write in English?”
    (Originally posted January 28, 2010, latest update December 30, 2016)



5. “Conversations (2): A serious bad-grammar syndrome”
   (Reposted January 18, 2017)



6. “Anatomy of media stories that Filipina women have the world’s smallest breasts”
    (Posted July 11, 2016)

Playlist Update (Dec. 9 - 15, 2017) for the Forum Gateway on Facebook




7. “Lost in Translation” - 1 and 2
    (Posted December 30, 2016)



8. “Indignities in American minor”
    (Posted October 27, 2016)




Click this link to earlier Playdate features!

Visit the Jose Carillo Forum Homepage!
6  English Grammar and Usage Problems / Use and Misuse / Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of the same words – III on: February 16, 2018, 01:09:16 AM
Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of the same words – III
(Third of a 3-part series)

This is the third of a 3-part series on how to get rid of the repetitive and abstruse stock phrases that seep into our own English after repeated exposure to bureaucratese, legalese, and academese—phrases that soon make us sound like petty bureaucrats, lawyers, and academicians ourselves.

In the second part of this series, I said that writers and speakers in English would be ill-advised to alternate the preposition “about” with the phrases “with regard to,” “with reference to,” or “as regards” in subsequent parts of the same exposition. These phrases certainly can eradicate repetition in your prose, but they will definitely make your language standoffish and thus just get in the way of clear communication.


Along with “about,” these phrases belong to the class of words known as function words. As mentioned in the second part of this series, the function words are the logical operators of the language; as such, they have very specific purposes and roles to play in the creation of meaning. In the particular case of prepositions, there’s a unique word for combining a word or phrase with another noun phrase to express a modification or predication; as a rule, for instance, the prepositions “on,” “in,” “at,” “to,” “toward,” and “after” can’t be substituted with or interchanged with one another.

Although most preposition usage is essentially conventional rather than logical, specific prepositions have become so well-established for evoking particular relationships in space, time, and logic that it would be foolhardy to misuse them or to trifle or tinker with them. To pave the way for good communication, the writer is thus expected to have a healthy respect for conventional preposition usage.


Now, the preposition “about” belongs to the normal, day-to-language register of English. A language register is, by the way, simply a variety of a language that’s used in a particular social, occupational, or professional context. In general, the language of register of English can be classified into six categories in terms of degree of formality: very formal, which is characterized by very rigid, bureaucratic language; formal, characterized by ceremonious, carefully precise language; neutral, characterized by objective, indifferent, uncaring language; informal, characterized by casual or familiar language; very informal, characterized by very casual and familiar language; and intimate, characterized by personal and private language.

It so happens that in the legal profession, a variety of English has developed that’s pejoratively called legalese. Legalese is a stern, officious language that can be roughly classified between very formal and formal. This is the language that lawyers use in making contracts, affidavits, depositions, and pleadings before a court of law. A common feature of legalese is the substitution of the day-to-day, vanilla-type preposition “about” with the ponderous phrases “with regard to,” “with reference to,” and “as regards,” and the substitution of the day-to-day, vanilla-type conjunctions “because,” “so,” and “later” with the longish words “whereas,” “therefore,” and “hereinafter,” respectively.



When legalese stays within legal circles, all’s well with English as we laypeople know it. Unfortunately, legalese has been continually leaching into both written and spoken English over the years, such that a typical memo or business report these days sounds very much like a legal brief meant for lawyers and court magistrates. So, when peppered with legalese such as “attached herewith,” “aforesaid,” “heretofore,” and “for your perusal,” business English becomes very rigid and bureaucratic and, in tone, extremely formal or harsh.

This is the language register and tonality that your English would acquire if, for the purpose of avoiding repetition of the preposition “about,” you get into the habit of routinely alternating it with such legalese as “with regard to,” “with reference to,” and “as regards.” Even worse, your use of these forms of legalese will force you to make unwieldy, complicated sentence constructions to match their ponderousness and severity.    

My general advice to English users then is to fiercely resist the temptation to alternate common prepositions and the function words with their legalistic counterparts. You’ll be much better off as a writer and communicator by using the plain-and-simple English prepositions and conjunctions instead—even repeatedly. You can be sure that your readers or listeners will like your writing much better that way.

This essay, 849th in the series, first appeared in Jose A. Carillo’s weekly “English Plain and Simple” column in the July 13, 2013 issue of The Manila Times, © 2013 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
7  Joe Carillo's Desk / Getting to Know English / The baffling thing about absolute phrases on: February 15, 2018, 11:20:32 AM
To establish context or give texture to a main clause, we normally use a subordinate phrase to directly modify either its operative noun or operative verb. This subordinate phrase is usually a prepositional phrase, an appositive phrase, an infinitive phrase, a gerund phrase, or a participial phrase, and it works in either of two ways: as an adjective modifying a noun in the main clause, or as an adverb modifying a verb in that clause.

THE FIVE TYPES OF SUBORDINATE PHRASES IN A SENTENCE

This functional relationship can be clearly seen in the following examples of subordinate phrases modifying the main clauses:

Prepositional phrase.In their senatorial lineups, both parties offer a generous sprinkling of movie actors or husbands of movie actresses.” Here, the prepositional phrase “in their senatorial lineups” serves as an adjective modifying the noun “parties.”

Appositive phrase. “The tropical island, a favorite summer hideaway of affluent foreign tourists, is sinking due to rising sea levels.” Here, the appositive phrase “a favorite summer hideaway of affluent foreign tourists” serves as an adjective modifying the noun “island.”

Infinitive phrase.To improve their sales, they launched an aggressive marketing campaign.” Here, the infinitive phrase “to improve our sales” serves as an adverb modifying the verb phrase “launched an aggressive marketing campaign.”

Gerund phrase.Winning the national championship being his goal, the chess player spent months of gruelling practice.” Here, the gerund phrase “winning the national championship” forms part of a participial phrase that modifies the noun “player.” Gerund phrases also often form part of prepositional phrases: “The chess player is obsessed with winning the national championship.” By itself, however, a gerund phrase can only function as a noun: “Winning the national championship is his goal.”

Participial phrase.Impressed by her credentials, the recruiter immediately hired the applicant.” Here, the participial phrase “impressed by her credentials” serves as an adjective modifying the noun “recruiter.” Participial phrases can also take the present participle form: “Learning simply from experience, he became one of the company’s ablest managers.”

Keep in mind that all of the subordinate phrases given above directly modify a particular noun or verb in the main clause.

THE COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE OF ABSOLUTE PHRASES


But there’s a sixth type of modifying phrase that differs in form from all of these five types. Called the nominative absolute or absolute clause—others call it absolute phrase—it doesn’t directly modify a specific word in the main clause of the sentence. Instead, it typically modifies the entire main clause, adding information or providing context to it.

Look at the following sentences using absolute clauses as modifiers: “The score sheet having been lost, the release of the game results was delayed.” “Night having fallen, the park filled up with promenaders.” “Her tour of duty in Europe completed, the veteran diplomat took a well-deserved retirement.” “His mind in a daze, the pilot failed to make the scheduled flight.” “The big game over, they immediately went home.”


An absolute clause usually consists of a noun or pronoun followed by a participle—never a finite verb—and a related modifier. For instance, in the first example above, the absolute clause “the score sheet having been lost” uses the present participle “having been,” while the second, “night having fallen,” uses the present participle “having fallen.” In the third example, however, the absolute clause “her tour of duty in Europe (having been) completed” has done away with the form of “be” altogether and just uses the participle “completed.”

In some special cases, the absolute phrase can drop even the participle itself, as in the third and fourth examples above, “his mind (being) in a daze” and “the big game (being) over.” That the construction is an absolute clause can only be inferred from the statement’s context.

We will take up the characteristics and various uses of absolute clauses next.

This essay, 1079th in the series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Campus Press section of the February 15, 2018 issue (print edition only) of The Manila Times, © 2018 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.



(Next week: The subtle job that absolute phrases do)
8  English Grammar and Usage Problems / Use and Misuse / Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of the same words - II on: February 14, 2018, 07:03:42 AM
Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of the same words
(Second of a 3-part series)

This is the second of a three-part series on how to get rid of the repetitive and abstruse stock phrases that seep into our own English after repeated exposure to bureaucratese, legalese, and academese—phrases that soon make us sound like petty bureaucrats, lawyers, and academicians ourselves. The third and concluding part will come out on February 16.


WHICH WORD TO USE AND IS IT DESIRABLE TO USE IT AGAIN?


Let me pick up where I left off last time. I was saying that among the content words, nouns are the most amenable to substitution with other words as a strategy for avoiding tedious repetition. For that purpose, of course, we routinely use pronouns for subsequent mentions of subjects identified by name—“he” or “she” for singular proper names and “they” for one or more of them, and “it” for singular things and concepts and also “they” for one or more of them.

In feature writing and in the more creative forms of expression, however, we can be more liberal by using synonyms or similar words for subsequent mentions of particular nouns. Those synonyms can focus on particular or specific attributes of the subject or key word, thus giving the reader or listener more information about them. We can do this without going into digressions that might just unnecessarily impede the flow of the exposition.

For example, the subject or key word “John Updike” might be later referred to in an exposition generically as “the writer” or more specifically as “a writer of sex-suffused fiction,” “a notable literary realist,” “the prolific American novelist and short-story writer,” “the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist,” and “America’s last true man of letters.” Indeed, by using a synonym or some brief descriptive detail, each subsequent mention of the subject becomes an opportunity for throwing new light on it for the reader’s or listener’s benefit.

As parts of speech in English, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs each have a unique and distinctive meaning or sense. In the case of verbs, there’s a specific verb for every kind of action; for instance, while there are close similarities between “walk,” “stroll,” “saunter,” “amble,” and “jog,” they are by no means perfectly synonymous. Thus, once you have used the verb “walk” the first time around for the action you are describing, it won’t be appropriate or advisable—just for the sake of avoiding repetition—to refer to that action as “stroll” the second time around, “saunter” the third time, “amble” the fourth time, “jog” the fifth time, and so on and so forth. For accuracy and authenticity’s sake, you’ve got to stick to “walk” in all subsequent mentions of that action you described as “walk” at the start.


This strategy should also be applicable to adjectives and adverbs. For instance, you’d be out of line describing a woman as “beautiful” the first time around, then describing her as “pretty,” “comely,” and “fair” in subsequent mentions; you’ve got to stick to “beautiful” or else not use that adjective again in the exposition. The same strategy would also apply to adverbs; once you have described the manner an action is done as “cruelly,” you can’t refer to that same manner as “fiercely” in a subsequent mention. In fact, it is good language policy to avoid repeat usage of adverbs (particularly those than end in “-ly”) or use their synonyms later in an exposition.

Now let’s take up what you describe as your reluctance to use one word more than two times in the same writing and, in particular, your being tempted to sometimes alternate the preposition “about” with such unpleasant bureaucratic phrases as “with regard to,” “with reference to,” “as regards.” Of course it’s a good general approach to avoid using the same word or phrase more than two times in the same exposition, but strategically, I think it’s not advisable at all to alternate “about” with such phrases as “with regard to,” “with reference to,” “as regards” in subsequent parts of the same exposition.

As you yourself have pointed out, these phrases indeed can eliminate repetition in your prose, but they will definitely make your prose sound standoffish. They will thus just get in the way of clear communication, so it will be like jumping from the frying pan to the fire, so to speak.

(Next: Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition - III)   February 16, 2018     

This essay, 848th in the series, first appeared in Jose A. Carillo’s weekly “English Plain and Simple” column in the July 6, 2013 issue of The Manila Times, © 2013 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
9  English Grammar and Usage Problems / Use and Misuse / Strategies for avoiding repetition and abstruse stock phrases on: February 12, 2018, 09:01:53 AM
Strategies for avoiding repetition and abstruse stock phrases
(First of a 3-part series)


This is the first of a 3-part series on how to get rid of the repetitive and abstruse stock phrases that seep into our own English after our repeated exposure to bureaucratese, legalese, and academese—phrases that soon make us sound like petty bureaucrats, lawyers, and academicians ourselves. The second part will come out on Wednesday, February 14, and the third on Friday, February 16.

For those who’d like to get rid of the unpleasant bureaucratic tone of their English, I wrote an essay, “Phrases desirable and phrases abstruse,” in my Manila Times column way back in 2004. I observed in that essay that bureaucrats, lawyers, and not a few academicians use a lot of officious stock phrases such as “by virtue of,” “with reference to,” “in connection with,” “with regard to,” “in order to,” “with respect to,” “in line with,” and—perhaps most irksome of all—“this is to inform you that” for both bad and good news and everything in-between.


I said that those phrases make their English sound so highhanded and even threatening, but we learn to tolerate them because they are ostensibly part and parcel of their professional jargon. The problem though is that through repeated exposure to these stock phrases, we eventually appropriate them in our own writing and speech without even realizing it. Indeed, in time many of us begin to sound like petty bureaucrats, lawyers, and academicians ourselves. Against our better judgment, their jargon permeates not only our conversations with our friends and coworkers but also our own memos, letters, and reports.  

The core of my argument was that we should avoid those officious stock phrases like the plague, and that we shouldn’t allow tradition and peer-group pressure to tyrannize us into using them against our will. I then proposed that in business and in our personal lives, we should aim to write and speak in more concise, more pleasant, and more friendly English.


That essay of mine drew the following interesting response from Tanzania-based Forum member Mwita Chacha:

“I agree that the best way to effectively get our ideas across is by making our sentences as precise as possible. But as a beginning writer, I sometimes feel reluctant to use a word more than two times in the same writing. That’s why I’m sometimes tempted to alternate, say, ‘about’ with unpleasant bureaucratic phrases like ‘with regard to,’ ‘with reference to,’ and ‘as regards.’ Admittedly, they sound standoffish and tend to just get in the way of clear communication, but I think they help in many ways to eradicate repetition in the prose. Is there any better tactic of getting rid of repetition?”

This question gives me a much welcome opportunity to break new ground in my advocacy for plain and simple English. I am therefore sharing my reply to Mwita Chacha with everyone desirous of having a better and more pleasant command of their written and spoken English:

Let me begin by saying that the repeated use of a particular word in writing is not bad per se; what has to be studiously avoided is the dysfunctional overuse of any word. And I wouldn’t use the word “tactic” to describe such studious avoidance, for a tactic seems too fleeting and too short-term an approach for dealing with unpleasant overrepetition. Instead, I’d go for the word “strategy” to describe the more methodical and wide-ranging way for achieving that objective.

To come up with such a strategy, we first need to clearly distinguish between the two general types of words in English, and then to better understand the matter of language register and tonality.


The two general types of words in English are, of course, the content words and the function words. The content words are the carriers of meaning of the language, and they consist of the nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and interjections. The function words are the logical operators of the language, and they consist of the prepositions, the conjunctions (the coordinating conjunctions and the subordinating conjunctions), and the conjunctive adverbs. In a class of their own are the articles “a,” “an,” and “the,” which many grammarians consider as neither content words nor function words.

Among the content words, nouns are the most amenable to substitution with other words as a strategy for avoiding tedious repetition. We will discuss these strategies for using functional alternatives for nouns in the next part of this series.

(Next: Strategies for avoiding tedious repetition of words - II)   February 14, 2018     

This essay, 847th in the series, first appeared in Jose A. Carillo’s weekly “English Plain and Simple” column in the June 29, 2013 issue of The Manila Times, © 2013 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

RELATED READING IN THE FORUM:
Phrases desirable and phrases abstruse (2004)
10  Readings / Readings in Language / Self-taught scholar-researcher uncovers “inspiration” for 11 Shakespeare plays on: February 10, 2018, 07:06:34 PM
Using modern techniques to marshal their evidence, including an open-source plagiarism software called WCopyfind, a self-taught Shakespeare scholar and his associate recently discovered an unpublished manuscript indicating that William Shakespeare had definitely consulted—the discoverers are emphatic in saying “not plagiarized”—in writing King Lear, Macbeth, Richard III, Henry V, and seven other plays.


The findings were made by Dennis McCarthy and June Schlueter, who describe them in a book, A Brief Discourse of Rebellion & Rebels by George North, to be published this mid-February of 2018 by the academic press D.S. Brewer and the British Library. The authors are categorical in concluding that Shakespeare did not plagiarize his plays from North’s heretofore unpublished manuscript; rather, that Shakespeare had read and was inspired by the manuscript that North had written in the late 1500s. North, who was a minor figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth, served as an ambassador to Sweden at that time.




“It’s a source that he keeps coming back to,” McCarthy said in an interview. "It affects the language, it shapes the scenes and it, to a certain extent, really even influences the philosophy of the plays.”

Read Michael Blanding’s “Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays” in the February 7, 2018 issue of The New York Times now!

INTERESTING RELATED READINGS:
“The Shakespeare authorship debate has bubbled to the surface again” (2010)
“Shakespeare wasn’t just a literary giant but also a hard-headed businessman” (2013)
11  The Latest Buzz! / Site Announcements / Playlist Update (February 3 - 9, 2018) for the Forum Gateway on Facebook on: February 09, 2018, 02:00:34 PM
For quick access to the Forum’s featured English grammar refreshers and general interest stories, simply click their indicated web links below:

PLAYLIST UPDATE (February 3 - 9, 2018) FOR THE FORUM GATEWAY ON FACEBOOK
(21 new postings):

1. Getting To Know English Better (6th in the 6-part series): “Distinguishing the subjunctive from the second conditional” (February 9, 2018)


 

2. A Refresher in Punctuating Amplifying Elements: “When using a parenthetical is necessary in a sentence” (February 9, 2018)


 

3. A Getting To Know English Retrospective: “No need to hold ‘celebrant’ in a straightjacket” (February 9, 2018)


 

4. A Time Out From English Grammar Retrospective: “Religious teaching may just make criminals justify their crime, study suggests” (February 8, 2018)


 

5. Getting To Know English Better: “The flexible positions of participial phrases” (February 8, 2018)


 

6. A Language Humor at Its Finest Retrospective: “Memorable quotes from famous celebrities of yesteryears” (February 7, 2018)


 

7. An Advice and Dissent Retrospective: “The need for genuine leisure instead of a mad, unending pursuit of wealth” (February 7, 2018)


 

8. Getting To Know English Better (5th of a 6-part series): “Options for avoiding officious subjunctive sentences” (February 6, 2018)


 

9. Retrospective - Language Humor At Its Finest: “60 wacky but authentic U.S. courtroom quotations” (February 6, 2018)




10. Retrospective - When What’s Meant Isn’t Exactly What’s Said: “The nature of true idioms” (February 5, 2018)




11. A Mind-Blowing Reading You Might Have Missed: “Is it true that we’re just an impurity in an otherwise beautiful universe?” (February 5, 2018)


 

12. Getting To Know English Better (4th of a 6-part series): “Simpler alternatives for the subjunctive” (February 5, 2018)


 
 
13. A Readings in Language Retrospective: “A masterful guide to the craft of modern nonfiction writing” (February 4, 2018)


 

14. A Getting To Know English Retrospective: “Learning the English idioms” (February 3, 2018)




*******************************************************************


CLASSIC FORUM POSTINGS (8 postings):

1. Two magnificent performances of “The Prayer,” spaced 10 years apart
     (Originally posted January 22, 2017)



2. “The Lovely Clichés Worth Keeping”
     (Originally posted circa 2002   Reposted December 16, 2016)

   

3. Conversations (4): “The real score about Valentine’s Day”
    (Originally posted February 10, 2010   Reposted February 1, 2014)



4. “Did Rizal ever speak and write in English?”
    (Originally posted January 28, 2010, latest update December 30, 2016)



5. “Conversations (2): A serious bad-grammar syndrome”
   (Reposted January 18, 2017)



6. “Anatomy of media stories that Filipina women have the world’s smallest breasts”
    (Posted July 11, 2016)

Playlist Update (Dec. 9 - 15, 2017) for the Forum Gateway on Facebook




7. “Lost in Translation” - 1 and 2
    (Posted December 30, 2016)



8. “Indignities in American minor”
    (Posted October 27, 2016)




Click this link to earlier Playdate features!

Visit the Jose Carillo Forum Homepage!
12  Joe Carillo's Desk / Getting to Know English / Distinguishing second conditional sentences from subjunctives on: February 08, 2018, 08:20:04 PM
Distinguishing second conditional sentences from subjunctives
(Sixth and last in a 6-part series on the subjunctive)

This is the sixth and last of a six-part series on the subjunctive form, decidedly the most deviant and most intimidating of the three moods of the English language.  Started last January 29, 2018, it will run every other day (except Sunday) until February 9.

A Tanzania-based Forum member, Mwita Chacha, raised this very interesting question in March of 2013: “Which is correct between 'If you were not my wife, I would say you’re crazy’ and 'If you were not my wife, I would say you were crazy?’”

My reply to Mwita Chacha:

Distinguishing a second conditional sentence from a subjunctive sentence can be tough and tricky, so I can understand why you haven’t been able to classify the following two sentences correctly:

“If you were not my wife, I would say you’re crazy.”

and

“If you were not my wife, I would say you were crazy.”

To begin with, those two sentences are not second conditional sentences. A second conditional or unreal possibility sentence is one that talks about a possible but very unlikely result that the stated future condition will be fulfilled; in short, the stated outcome is an unreal possibility. To denote this situation, the “if” clause of the sentence states the future condition in the simple past tense, is followed by a comma, then is followed by the future result clause in the form “would + the verb’s base form.”


Here’s a correct example of a second conditional: “If I finished medical school, I would be a doctor,” or, alternatively, “I would be a doctor if I finished medical school.” We have an unreal possibility situation here because the speaker didn’t finish medical school and didn’t become a doctor.

Now, of the two sentences you presented, the grammatically and semantically correct form is the first: “If you were not my wife, I would say you’re crazy.” As I have already pointed out, however, the sentence isn’t a second conditional. It’s actually a sentence in the subjunctive mood, a form in English that denotes acts or states that are contingent on possible outcomes of the speaker’s wish, desire, or doubt. This is as opposed to denoting acts and states in real-world situations, which is what the indicative mood does.

SECOND CONDITIONAL SENTENCES COMPARED WITH SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD SENTENCES

One of the functions of the subjunctive is to describe the hypothetical state or outcome of an unreal situation or idea contrary to fact. It has this telltale marker: when the verb “be” is used in the premise or “if”-clause of subjunctive sentences, it exhibits maverick behavior by sticking to the past-tense form “were” regardless of the person and number of its subject, as in these examples: “If I were a billionaire, I would subsidize the college studies of 1,000 bright students from poor families.” “If she were my age when I was in my mid-twenties, I would have married her.” “If you were nothing less than a political genius, you’d be able to solve the awful income-inequality problem in the Philippines.” As we can see, in the subjunctive form, “be” looks and behaves as if it were always in the past-tense plural regardless of the number of the subject.

Interestingly, if constructed in the inverted form, such subjunctive “if”-clause sentences could do away with “if”: “Were I a billionaire, I would subsidize the college studies of 1,000 bright students from poor families.” “Were she my age when I was in my mid-twenties, I would have married her.” “Were you nothing less than a political genius, you’d be able to solve the awful income-inequality problem in the Philippines.”

But what about the other sentence you presented: “If you were not my wife, I would say you were crazy?”? It’s an incorrect construction of the subjunctive. In form, only the premise or “if”-clause can use the subjunctive “were.” The outcome has to be in the conditional form of the appropriate tense of the verb.

The first sentence you presented, “If you were not my wife, I would say you’re crazy,” is in the present-tense subjunctive. If the speaker wants to refer to precisely the same situation in the past, he needs to put the outcome in the past-tense conditional form to make the sentence semantically correct: “If you were not my wife at the time, I would have said you were crazy.”

I hope that this has adequately clarified the distinction between second conditional sentences and subjunctive “if”-clause sentences for you.

RELATED POSTING IN THE FORUM:
The four types of conditional sentences
13  Joe Carillo's Desk / Getting to Know English / Options for avoiding officious subjunctive sentences on: February 08, 2018, 07:39:56 PM
Options for avoiding officious subjunctive sentences
(Fifth of a 6-part series on the subjunctive form)

This is the fifth of a six-part series on the subjunctive form, decidedly the most deviant and most intimidating of the three moods of the English language.  Started last January 29, 2018, it will run every other day (except Sunday) until February 9.

I’d like to take up a very interesting question about subjunctive usage that was posted in the Forum some time ago by a South Korean student who goes by the username Leelee. She said she had just taken the G-TELP*, an English-language proficiency test used by some South Korean schools and companies, and was confused by this multiple-choice grammar question:

1. “S recommended that we __________.” Answer choices: (a) should meet; (b) must meet; (c) meet.

She said that she knows that in such sentences that use “recommended” and similar verbs (“requested,” “ordered,” “asked,” and “commanded”), the auxiliary verb “should” is correct but optional. But then, she asked, which of the remaining two options should she pick—“must meet” or “meet”?

Here’s what I think about Leelee’s question:

That sentence in the multiple-choice test that baffled Leelee is one of the forms that sentences in the subjunctive mood can take. We will recall that the subjunctive mood denotes acts or states that are conditional or contingent on possible outcomes of the speaker’s wish, desire, or doubt, as in “I’ll forgive her if she apologizes.” This is as opposed to denoting acts and states in real-world situations, which is what the indicative mood does (“She just took the risk.”), or to expressing direct commands, which is what the imperative mood does (“Take your time!”).



THE SUBJUNCTIVE’S PARLIAMENTARY MOTION OR JUSSIVE FORM


Now, the form of the sentence in that G-TELP test is what’s called the parliamentary motion or jussive form of the subjunctive. It can denote an indirect demand, strong suggestion, or pointed request, as in “We ask that the Impeachment Court act on this matter without delay.” Take note that here, the main clause states the speaker’s desire (“we ask”) and the subordinate “that”-clause describes the nature of the desired action (“that the Impeachment Court act on this matter without delay”). Also, we must firmly keep in mind that in this form of the subjective sentence, the operative verb in the “that”-clause oddly takes the third-person singular form minus the “-s” or “-es” at the tail end, or what’s known as the base form of the verb (in this particular case, “ask” is used instead of “asks”).

Based on these considerations, it becomes clear that the sentence contemplated by that G-TELP question is a sentence in the subjunctive mood. The correct answer choice is therefore “(a) meet,” so the correct form of that sentence should be this: “S recommended that we meet.” The answer couldn’t be “(b) must meet,” for using the verbal auxiliary “must” in the sentence “S recommended that we must meet” will make it semantically defective. Indeed, the verbal auxiliary “must” is redundant in that sentence because both its sense and purpose are already subsumed by the subjunctive character of the construction itself.      

Having said that, I must say that subjunctive sentences of the form presented by Leelee can sometimes sound very formal and officious. Indeed, the use the subjunctive “that”-clause in that manner can justifiably be used only by individuals who can invoke a vested power to compel other people beholden to them to follow what they say, such as statesmen, legislators, bureaucrats, jurists, lawyers, ideologues, and clerics.


 

GRAMMATICALLY SIMPLER, LESS FORMAL-SOUNDING SUBSTITUTES FOR THE SUBJUNCTIVE


So for laypeople like me, I would recommend a grammatically simpler and less formal-sounding alternative: use the auxiliary verb “should” together with the operative verb in the “that”-clause, as in “S recommended that we should meet.” This, in fact, was what Leelee cited as a grammatically correct alternative to the subjunctive construction, except that “should” is really optional grammatically and can thus be dropped altogether.

So perhaps using plain and unpretentious English would be an even simpler and more forthright alternative: “S says we should meet.” (2012)

This essay, 780th of the series, first appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the February 25, 2012 issue of The Manila Times, © 2012 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

------
*G-TELP is the acronym for General Tests of English Language Proficiency. This test was developed by the International Testing Services Center (ITSC) in the United States and, unlike TOEIC or TOEFL, it has five different test levels ranging from beginner to advanced, with Level 5 (the entry level) the lowest and Level 1 (the professional level), the highest. G-TELP is primarily used for school or job placement tests, achievement tests, diagnostic tests, or enhancement of instruction for English language education at colleges or universities.
14  Joe Carillo's Desk / Getting to Know English / The flexible positions of participial phrases on: February 08, 2018, 06:13:56 AM
In their role as many-worded modifiers, participial phrases enjoy some flexibility in positioning themselves in a sentence. However, they do their job best when placed as close as possible to the noun or pronoun they are meant to modify: “Tired after a long day’s work, the mechanic fell asleep in the bus.” They work equally well as interrupters in a sentence: “The mechanic, tired after a long day’s work, fell asleep in the bus.” Either way, the sentence functions without a hitch because “tired after a long day’s work” is right beside the noun “mechanic.”



But in the end-sentence position, that same participial phrase won’t work properly: “The mechanic fell asleep in the bus, tired after a long day’s work.” This time, “tired after a long day’s work” becomes a dangler, absurdly modifying the noun “bus.”

In certain cases though, a participial phrase can take an end-sentence position without dangling: “The policemen found the suspect shopping at the mall.” (Here, “shopping at the mall” modifies the noun “suspect,” not “policemen.”) “The lawyers glared at the witness, shocked by her self-incriminating testimony.” (Here, “shocked by her self-incriminating testimony” modifies “lawyers,” not “witness.”)

Such end-sentence placements should be approached with caution, however. In the second construction above, in particular, the participial phrase “shocked by his self-incriminating testimony” would have dangled without the pronoun “her”: “The lawyers glared at the witness, shocked by the self-incriminating testimony.” Without “her,” we can’t tell whether it was the witness or the lawyers who were shocked by the testimony! This is because semantically, the pronoun “her” is crucial to establishing “lawyers” as the subject being modified by that participial phrase.

From a structural standpoint, there are three general rules for when a participial phrase should be set off by commas: (1) when it’s positioned at the beginning of a sentence, (2) when it interrupts a sentence as a nonessential modifier, and (3) when it’s positioned at the end of a sentence and is separated from the word it modifies.

PARTICIPIAL PHRASE AS FRONT-END MODIFIER IN A SENTENCE


To correctly apply Rules 2 and 3, we need to clearly distinguish between nonessential modifiers and essential modifiers. Nonessential modifiers are those whose removal won’t profoundly alter the meaning of a sentence, while essential modifiers are those whose removal will do so.

In the following sentences, the participial phrases need to be set off by commas for the statements to make sense: “The cause-oriented groups, spoiling for a showdown with the government, held a massive protest rally.” “Alicia threw a tantrum, angered by the late arrival of her date.” As proof that the participial phrase in each of the two sentences above isn’t essential to the statement, we can drop it without seriously changing the meaning of the sentence: “The cause-oriented groups held a massive protest rally.” “Alicia threw a tantrum.”

In contrast, no commas are needed for the essential participial phrases in these sentences: “A motorist driving with an expired driver’s license faces a heavy fine.” “The necklace bought by the society matron from a respectable jeweler turned out to have fake diamonds.” Dropping the participial phrase profoundly alters the meaning of the statements: “A motorist faces a heavy fine.” “The necklace turned out to have fake diamonds.”

Before ending this discussion of participial phrases, we need to know that certain expressions derived from such participles as “considering,” “concerning,” “granting,” “speaking,” and “judging” can validly modify a clause even if that clause doesn’t have a doer of the action conveyed by the participial phrase. Just two examples: “Considering the bad weather, the open-air concert needs to be canceled.” “Judging by first appearances, she shouldn’t even be considered in cosmetics sales.”

Because they have evolved into prepositional phrases through long usage, such actor-less participial phrases can do their modifying job without dangling.

We are done with our discussion of participial phrases in their role as flexible many-worded modifiers.



This essay, 1078th in the series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Campus Press section of the February 8, 2018 issue (print edition only) of The Manila Times, © 2018 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

(Next: The baffling thing about absolute phrases)      February 15, 2018
15  General Category / Language Humor at its Finest / Memorable Quotes from Famous Celebrities of Yesteryears on: February 07, 2018, 08:08:09 PM
Memorable Quotes from Famous Celebrities of Yesteryears



My philosophy of life

“Between two evils, I always choose the one I never tried before.”
—Mae West

***

“I believe in loyalty. When a woman reaches an age she likes, she should stick with it.”
—Eva Gabor

All about me

“Deep down, I’m pretty superficial.”
—Ava Gardner

***

“God is in my head, but the devil is in my pants.”
—Jonathan Winters

***

“I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.”
—Zsa Zsa Gabor

***

“I feel that there is an angel inside me whom I am constantly shocking.”
—Jean Cocteau

***

“It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”
—Muhammad Ali

“Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.”
—Oscar Levant

***

“I’m not confused, I’m just well mixed.”
—Robert Frost

Why I’m so great

“Filipinos want beauty. I have to look beautiful so that the poor Filipinos will have a star to look at from their slums.”
—Imelda Marcos

***

“I’m not an egomaniac like a lot of people say. But I am the world’s best dancer, that’s for sure.”
—Michael Flatley

***

I’m not conceited. Conceit is a fault and I have no faults.”
—David Lee Roth

***

“I am a great mayor; I am an upstanding Christian man; I am an intelligent man; I am a deeply educated man; I am a humble man.”
—Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC

***

“It was God who made me so beautiful. If I weren’t, then I’d be a teacher.”
—Linda Evangelista, 1997

***

“I’ve been through it all, baby. I’m Mother Courage.”
—Elizabeth Taylor

***

“If I only had a little humility, I’d be perfect.”
—Ted Turner

***

“I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.”
—Marshall McLuhan

***

“I never know how much of what I say is true.”
—Bette Midler

***

“I favor the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and it must be enforced at gunpoint if necessary.”
—Ronald Reagan, October 20, 1965

***

 “I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.”
—Jane Austen

***

“My movies were the kind they show in prisons and airplanes, because nobody can leave.”
—Burt Reynolds

***

“I’m no actor, and I have sixty-four pictures to prove it.”
—Victor Mature

***

“Of all the things I’ve ever lost I miss my mind the most.”
—Steven Tyler

***

“I am not in the closet. I am not coming out of the closet. I am not gay.”
—Oprah Winfrey

***

“I believe I’m a better authority than anybody else in America on my own wife. I have never known a person with a stronger sense of right and wrong in my life—ever.”
—Bill Clinton

***

“I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.”
—David Dinkins

***

“I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.”
—Katherine Hepburn

My philosophy on success

“I don’t meet competition. I crush it.”
—Charles Revson

***

“I'm not the type to get ulcers. I give them.”
—Ed Koch

***

“I don’t want people to know what I’m actually like. It’s not good for an actor.”
—Jack Nicholson, 1993

***

“When I sing, people shut up.”
—Barbra Streisand

What I think about sex

“Women need a reason to have sex—men just need a place.”
—Billy Crystal

***

“Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn.”
—Garrison Keillor

***

“Sex appeal is 50 per cent what you’ve got and 50 per cent what people think you’ve got.”
—Sophia Loren

***

“Everyone probably thinks that I’m a raving nymphomaniac, that I have an insatiable sexual appetite, when the truth is I’d rather read a book.”
—Madonna (1991)

***

“Pursuit and seduction are the essence of sexuality. It’s part of the sizzle.”
—Camille Paglia

My thoughts on people

“I like dogs better [than people]. They give you unconditional love. They either lick your face or bite you, but you always know where they're coming from. With people, you never know which ones will bite. The difference between dogs and men is that you know where dogs sleep at night.”
—Greg Louganis

***

“I love people. And when you love people that much that you’re disappointed in them every day, that love can turn to hate in a flash of a second.”
--Johnny Depp

My thoughts on men and women

“Feminism is just a way for ugly women to get into the mainstream of America.”
—Rush Limbaugh

***

“The movie business divides women into ice queens and sluts, and there have been times I wanted to be a slut more than anything.”
—Sigourney Weaver

***

“I dress for women, and undress for men.”
—Angie Dickinson

***

“I like men to behave like men—strong and childish.”
—Françoise Sagan

***

“I love the male body, it’s better designed than the male mind.”
—Andrea Newman

***

“I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.”
—Zsa Zsa Gabor

***

“I like two kinds of men: domestic and imported.”
—Mae West

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“I require three things in a man: He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.”
—Dorothy Parker

What I want out of life

“If I die before my cat, I want a little of my ashes put in his food so I can live inside him.”
—Drew Barrymore (1998)

“I want to keep fighting because it is the only thing that keeps me out of the hamburger joints. If I don’t fight, I’ll eat this planet.”
—George Foreman

“I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?”
—Zsa Zsa Gabor

Let me explain some of life’s little mysteries

“It’s funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life.”
—Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone, December 2, 1976

***

“Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head.”
—Carole Burnett

***

“If I hadn’t been a woman, I’d have been a drag queen.”
—Dolly Parton

***

“How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?”
—Zsa Zsa Gabor

—These were selected from the collection of Brain Candy Celebrity Quotes

N.B. This collection of quotes from famous celebrities was first featured in the Forum on February 12, 2011 under the title "Memorable Quotes from Famous Celebrities on Sundry Subjects." The composite photos of Hollywood and U.S. celebrities in this posting were recently added to the collection by the Forum.
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