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 1 
 on: October 16, 2017, 05:01:47 PM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
I received this letter today (October 16, 2017) from Forum contributor Oscar P. Lagman, an MBA professor and businessman who also writes political commentary for a business newspaper:

Joe,

When an OFW recruiter-friend asked me in 2004 to give English lessons to those bound for the US, I got me several handbooks on American idioms, a few written by locals but one by three American PhDs, the Handbook of Commonly Used American Idioms, Fourth Edition. Well, my friend’s business ran into bureaucratic problems and I never got to share with his recruits my knowledge of American expressions.


THE FIFTH EDITION OF THE HANDBOOK BY MAKKAI ET AL


But the handbooks have proved useful to me all these years. There are idioms in the books of locals not found in the PhDs’ book, the cover of which says it has more than 2,500 idioms. Yet I have come across “Americanisms” that I can’t find in any of the books.

By the way, my blog is called “Splitting Hairs,” an idiom I chose from several possibilities found in the PhDs’ handbook. A number of business associates and former students told me that the blog’s name suited me to a T for that’s what I am always doing as a businessman and as an MBA professor and also as a political commentator—splitting hairs.        

Oscar

 2 
 on: October 15, 2017, 05:47:34 PM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
In his recently released book The Visual History of Type, Paul McNeil says five typefaces represent paradigm shifts in how we communicate. First and foremost was Johannes Gutenberg’s Bastarda typeface in 1454 at the dawn of the printing revolution, which was spurred by the need to reproduce the Holy Bible quickly in huge quantities the better to proselytize the world’s heathens.

GUTENBERG'S BASTARDA

McNeil describes the pivotal role of the Bastarda: “Since the 11th century, indulgences had been awarded by the church for the remission of sins. This involved costly, labour-intensive procedures where monastic scribes would write thousands of identical documents by hand. Gutenberg’s decisive contribution to printing – and to the direction of Western culture – was devised to solve this commercial problem. The invention of type in the form of single letters cast on individual bodies allowed the reproduction of uniform documents in huge quantities, rapidly, adaptably, accurately and, above all, cheaply.”

Over the next five centuries, Bastarda was followed by the Aldine Italic (1501), the Romain du Roi (1695), Figgins’s San Serif (1832), and New Alphabet (1967).


ALDINE ITALIC


ROMAIN-DU-ROI


FIGGINS'S SANS SERIF

NEW ALPHABET
 
Read Paul McNeil’s article about his book The Visual History of Type in the October 11, 2017 issue of The Irish Times now!

 3 
 on: October 15, 2017, 09:12:02 AM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
The latest prophetic scuttlebutt is that the world will end today, October 15, 2017, when self-styled Christian prognosticator and “researcher” David Meade says “an as-yet hidden planet named Nibiru or Planet X” makes its appearance. Since time immemorial, mankind has often entertained and terrified itself with such unfounded, often crackpot notions. Indeed, as the late Denis Dutton, professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, pointed out in a cautionary article in the yearend 2009 issue of The New York Times, “Religions from Zoroastrianism to Judaism to Christianity to U.F.O. cults have been built around notions of sin and the world’s end”—only to be consistently rebuffed each time by the reality that the world had endured despite their direst predictions. Even so, he says, such end-time fantasies have retained their huge mass appeal, “as historically they have drawn crowds into churches, year after year.”


Read Erik Mack’s “There Is No Nibiru: Ending The End Of The World Talk” in the October 14, 2017 issue of Forbes.com now!

Read Dennis Dutton’s “It’s Always the End of the World as We Know It” in the December 31, 2009 issue of The New York Times now!

Check my 2009 posting on Dennis Dutton’s piece: “The monstrous folly of “end of the world” prophecies”


 4 
 on: October 13, 2017, 02:47:44 PM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo


To My Facebook Friends and Fans,

For quick access to the Forum’s featured English grammar refreshers and general interest stories, simply click their indicated web links below:

PLAYLIST UPDATE (Oct. 7 - 13, 2017) FOR THE FORUM GATEWAY ON FACEBOOK
(8 new postings, latest down to earlier postings):


1. “The need to know the English idioms” (October 12, 2017)
    



2. Retrospective: “Why is the stand-alone letter ‘I’ always capitalized?” (October 12, 2017)



 
3. “The need to avoid mixed-case usage in English – III” (October 11, 2017)




4. “20 spot-on political quips for our times” (October 10, 2017)




5. “The need to avoid mixed-case usage in English – II” (October 9, 2017)




6. “Some very close encounters with the language barrier” (October 8, 2017)




7. Lookback: “‘Scoring’ with a mate can be so sordid and wasteful but necessary” (October 7, 2017)




8. “The need to avoid mixed-case usage in English – I” (October 7, 2017)




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

GRAMMAR AND MANY EYE-OPENING FEATURES BESIDES!
You thought Jose Carillo’s English Forum is all about grammar? Well, get a delightful
surprise by clicking this link to its Facebook Gateway from July 2017 to date!



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


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)



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!

 5 
 on: October 11, 2017, 08:18:44 PM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
Many people lament that English is so difficult to learn as a second or third language. They complain that although English forces learners to learn so many rules for its grammar, semantics, and structure, these rules are in practice often violated than followed. How come, they ask, that the verb “turn” (to move around an axis) can mean so many things when paired off with different prepositions, such as “turn on” (excite), “turn in” (submit), “turn over” (return or flip over), and “turn out” (happen)? And why do native English speakers say peculiar things that seem to have no logic or sense, like “We’re all ears about what happened to you and Veronica last night” or “The top city official made no bones about being a former number-games operator”?

English is hardly unique in being idiomatic. Like most of the world’s major languages, it unpredictably ignores its own grammar and semantics in actual usage. But the sheer richness and complexity of English idioms—or the way native English speakers actually communicate with one another—makes it much more difficult for nonnative speakers to learn English than most languages. With scant knowledge of the English idioms, nonnative speakers may be able to master the relatively simpler grammar, semantics, and structure of English yet sound like robots when speaking or writing in English.

There are five general categories of English idioms: the prepositional phrases, the prepositional idioms, common idiomatic expressions, figurative or metaphoric language, and euphemisms.

Prepositional phrase idiom. It consists of a verb or adverb form that ends in a preposition. The preposition used often doesn’t have a particular semantic significance or logic but had simply become entrenched through prolonged use, and the literal meaning of the verb or adverb isn’t changed by it. Some examples: “approve of” (not, say, “approve for” or “approve with”), “concerned with” (not “concerned of” or “concerned by”); “except for” (not “except of” or “except with”), and “charge with a crime” (not “charge of a crime” or “charge for a crime”).


Prepositional idiom. Also known as phrasal verb, it is an expression consisting of a verb whose meaning changes depending on the preposition that comes after it. As shown earlier, the verb “turn” can form so many prepositional idioms. Another verb that yields various idioms when paired off with different prepositions is “hand”: “hand in” (submit), “hand out” (to give for free), “hand over” (yield control of), and “hand down” (transmit in succession).


Common idiomatic expressions. They are concise, nonliteral language that native English speakers have grown accustomed to using for convenience. Some examples that also play on the verb “hand”: “to wash one’s hands” (to absolve oneself), “hand to mouth” (having nothing to spare beyond basic necessities), and “out of hand” (beyond control).


Figurative or metaphoric language. It is a form of idiom that compares two things in an evocative, nonliteral sense to suggest the likeness or similarity between them. It uses the so-called figures of speech, such as the simile and metaphor. An example is the expression “the face that launched a thousand ships”—a literary allusion to Helen of Troy—to mean a provocatively beautiful woman.


Euphemism. It is a polite expression that people customarily use for things that they find unpleasant, upsetting, or embarrassing, such as sex, death, bodily functions, and war. Some examples: “to pass away” (die), “to rightsize” (to lay off excess personnel), and “collateral damage” (civilian deaths).


Obviously, the thousands upon thousands of English idioms can only be learned through long and intensive exposure to English as spoken and written by its native speakers. Formal grammar, semantics, and structure can only lay the bare foundations for English proficiency. Only when we have become adequately conversant with its idioms can we really say that we know our English.



This essay appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the Education Section of the October 12, 2017 issue (print edition only) of The Manila Times, © 2017 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

 6 
 on: October 10, 2017, 11:39:14 PM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
We discussed in second part of this series this prescription of the case rule in English: We can’t mix a noun and pronoun—or a pronoun and another pronoun—that are in different cases. This rule is particularly crucial when we combine or mix two or more pronouns to form compound subjects, compound doers of the action, or compound objects (receivers of the action). We have already taken up two typical examples of improper case mixing, and we will now take up just two more examples to emphasize the importance of avoiding mixed-case usage.  


3. Mixing the objective case “you” and the nominative case “I

Wrong: “Our neighbors are nasty to you and I.” (The pronoun “you” is in the objective case while the pronoun “I” is in the subjective case, resulting in case mixing.)

Correct: “Our neighbors are nasty to you and me.” (The pronouns “you” and “me” are now both in the objective case.)

4. Mixing the objective case “me” and the subjective case “they”

Wrong: “I wish they were nicer to me and they.” (The pronoun “me” is in the objective case while the pronoun “they” is in the subjective case, resulting in case mixing.)

Correct: “I wish they were nicer to me and them.” (The pronouns “me” and “them” are now both in the objective case.)

I trust that the four examples of improper case mixing we have taken up have fortified our understanding of case, which is a very important but often poorly understood aspect of English grammar. All we need to do now is to resolve the question raised by Dessang about the usage of “Between you and I…” by her international school colleagues. In keeping with the case rule, shouldn’t it be “between you and me…” instead?

To put our discussions on a surer footing, let’s use that expression in a complete sentence, say, “This secret is just between you and I.” Is that sentence correct, or should it be constructed as “This secret is just between you and me” instead?

That question is rather tricky because the pronoun “you” doesn’t inflect or change whether it’s in the nominative (and subjective) case or objective case. In that sentence, therefore, it’s not that easy to figure out if “you” is functioning as a subject or as an object. But we know that by definition, “me” can only be a pronoun in the objective case, so, following the case rule, it can only be combined or compounded with another objective-case pronoun. That pronoun, obviously, would be the objective case “you” rather than the subjective (or nominative) case “you.”

 
                   CORRECT COMPOUNDING OF PRONOUNS                 WRONG COMPOUNDING OF PRONOUNS

There is actually another way to buttress the argument in favor of “between you and me” as the correct usage. From our basic grammar, we should instantly recognize “between” as a preposition, and we will likely also remember this traditional rule in English grammar: When the pronoun is the object of a preposition, that pronoun should be in the objective case.

We already know that the pronoun “me” is in the objective case, so it is the proper pronoun (not the subjective case “I”) to combine with the objective case “you”—meaning that “between you and me” is indeed the correct form and not “between you and I.” This is admittedly a complicated explanation, but there’s no avoiding it if we are to clearly establish the logic of “between you and me” as the standard accepted usage instead of “between you and I.”


So, to go back to Dessang’s question at the outset, she absolutely didn’t learn something wrong or miss out something in school. It’s her international school colleagues who, even if they are native English speakers, are definitely wrong in their mixed-case constructions. It would be a great idea then to alert them and similarly ill-informed people about this discussion on improper case mixing—the sooner, the better.

This essay, 684th of a series, appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the March 20, 2010 issue of The Manila Times, © 2010 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

 7 
 on: October 09, 2017, 09:43:33 PM 
Started by Gerry T. Galacio - Last post by Gerry T. Galacio
https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2017/02/jumong-synopsis-episodes-1-81-with-recaps.html

“Jumong, Prince of the Legend” is a Korean historical period drama series that aired on MBC network from 2006 to 2007 as its 45th anniversary special. Originally scheduled for 60 episodes, it was extended to 81 episodes because of its popularity. (Wikipedia)

“Jumong” has been broadcast in Iran, Turkey, Romania , Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji, Malaysia, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, United States, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Philippines.

In Korea, “Jumong” had an average viewership rating of 41.83% and ranked 1st from Episode 5 to 81. According to “The Korea Herald,” the most popular episodes of “Jumong” attracted over 90% of the Iranian audience.

For those of you who haven't seen "Jumong" yet, this spoiler-free synopsis will guide you through its 81 episodes.

For those of you who have already seen "Jumong," you will still enjoy this blog post by watching the embedded videos of some of this drama's most-loved scenes.

 8 
 on: October 08, 2017, 11:54:38 PM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
We saw in last week’s discussion that a clear understanding of the three case forms in English is crucial to the proper compounding or combining of nouns and pronouns. We then discussed the nominative or subjective case as well as the objective case. Now we will take up the possessive case.

3.   Possessive case – Nouns or pronouns are in this case when they indicate who or what possesses or owns something.




Examples – “This seat is mine while that one is yours.” “Theirs is the glory while ours is the hard work.” (The pronouns “mine,” “yours,” “theirs,” and “ours” are in the possessive case.)

As we all know, the possessive case is actually the simplest of the three cases. The possessive pronouns are virtually no-brainers so we need not take them up in detail here, except to keep in mind that to indicate ownership, the possessive pronouns have their corresponding adjective form modifiers as shown in the chart below. These adjectives modify a noun to indicate who owns or possesses it, as in “Pardon me, ma'am, but your car is improperly parked.”




There’s just one more very important characteristic of English nouns that we need to know before discussing the case rule for compounding nouns and pronouns. By compounding, of course, we mean using nouns and pronouns in combination as subjects, doers of the action, or direct or indirect objects.

That characteristic of English nouns is this: Even if nouns do take a particular case when used in sentences, they don’t inflect or change form except in the possessive case; in contrast, with the notable exception of “you,” the pronouns inflect in all of the cases. For instance, the noun “Elvira” remains as “Elvira” in the nominative or subjective case and in the objective case; in the possessive case, however, it inflects to “Elvira’s.”




Now we are ready to tackle the case rule in English: A noun and pronoun being used in combination to form a compound subject, a compound doer of the action, or a compound object of the verb should both be in the same case; otherwise, the sentence will be grammatically incorrect.

In practice, there’s no need to consciously apply the case rule in the following situations: (a) when the compound subject consists of both nouns, (b) when the compound doer of the action consists of both nouns, and (c) when the compound receiver of the action consists of both nouns. This is because as explained earlier, nouns don’t inflect or change at all in those situations.

RULE OF THUMB FOR COMPOUNDING A NOUN AND PRONOUN AS SUBJECT

But the case rule becomes crucial when a noun and pronoun—or a pronoun and another pronoun—are combined to form compound subjects, compound doers of the action, or compound objects (receivers of the action). The case rule provides that we can’t mix a noun and pronoun—or a pronoun and another pronoun—that are in different cases. When we do, the resulting sentence will be grammatically incorrect.

Here are typical examples of disallowed case mixing:

1. Mixing a noun and the objective-case pronoun “me”

Wrong: “Jenny and me like each other.” (The noun “Jenny” is in the nominative case but the pronoun “me” is in the objective case, resulting in case mixing.)

Correct: “Jenny and I like each other.” (Both the noun “Jenny” and the pronoun “I” are in the nominative case.)

2. Mixing the nominative-case pronoun “you” with the objective-case pronoun “me”

Wrong: “You and me should travel together sometime.” (The pronoun “you” is in the nominative case and the pronoun “me” is in the objective case, resulting in case mixing.)

Correct: “You and I should travel together sometime.” (Both “you” and “I” are in the nominative case.)

This brings us back to the mixed-case construction of Dessang’s colleagues: “Me and my friend are going to...” (The pronoun “me” is in the objective case while the noun “my friend” is in the nominative case, resulting in case-mixing.)

Correct: “I and my friend are going to…” (Both the pronoun “I” and the noun “my friend” are now in the nominative case.)
  
Better still (as matter of good form): “My friend and I are going to…”

We will conclude this discussion in the third installment.

(Next: The need to avoid mixed-case usage in English – III)  October 11, 2017

 9 
 on: October 07, 2017, 10:47:00 AM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo
Arguably one of the toughest things to learn about English is the matter of case, and I’d go as far as to say that this is why even native English speakers often bungle their pronoun usage without becoming aware of it. The inevitable result is, of course, bad English.

So let me share with you my answer to the following question posed by a new member of Jose Carillo’s English Forum—her user name is Dessang—who works in a Philippine-based international school:   

“My colleagues (teachers) who are English native speakers always say: ‘You and me are...’ or ‘Me and my friend are going to...’ or ‘Between you and I…” This confuses me because I was taught that it should be ‘You and I are…’ or ‘My friend and I are going to…” and ‘Between you and me…’ Did I learn something wrong or miss out something in school? Or is the usage of my colleagues grammatically correct and I’m wrong?”

I told Dessang that even if her international school colleagues are native English speakers, they are grammatically wrong on all three counts—in how they compounded (combined) the subjects in “You and me are...”, in how they compounded the doers of the action in “Me and my friend are going to...”, and in how they compounded the objects in “Between you and I.” The correct way, I reassured her, is the usage she described: “You and I are…”, “My friend and I are going to…”, and “Between you and me…”


But it’s rather complicated to show why her colleagues are wrong, so I told Dessang that it’s very important to be very clear first about what case in English is. Indeed, this is the only way to find out what grammar rules are being violated by her colleagues.

So, to answer Dessang’s question, I made the following extensive discussion of case:

Remember now that in English, case is any of the three forms that a noun, pronoun, or modifier takes to indicate its functional role in a sentence, whether nominative or subjective, objective, or possessive. It cannot be overemphasized that in sentence construction, a clear understanding of these case forms is crucial to the proper compounding of nouns and pronouns.



1. Nominative or subjective case – Nouns or pronouns are in the nominative case when they are the doer of the verb’s action in the sentence, and in the subjective case when they act as its subject.
 
Examples – Noun in nominative case: “The woman slapped him.” (The noun “woman” is in the nominative case because it is the doer of the action).  Pronoun in nominative case:She slapped him.” (The pronoun “she” is in the nominative case because it is the doer of the action).

Noun in subjective case: “The woman is lovely.” (The noun “woman” is in the subjective case because it is the subject of the sentence). Pronoun in subjective case:She is lovely.” (The pronoun “she” is in the subjective case because it is the subject of the sentence).

2. Objective case – Nouns or pronouns are in the objective case when they receive the verb’s action, whether as direct or indirect objects.

Examples – Noun in objective case as direct object: “The woman slapped Mario.” (The noun “Mario” is in the objective case, serving as direct object of the verb “slapped”). Pronoun in objective case: “The woman slapped him.” (The pronoun “him” is in the objective case, serving as direct object of the verb “slapped”).

Noun in objective case as indirect object: “The woman slipped Mario a note.”
(The noun “Mario” is in the objective case, serving as indirect object of the verb “slipped”).
Pronoun in objective as indirect object: “The woman slipped him a note.”
(The pronoun “him” is in the objective case, serving as indirect object of the verb “slipped”).

We’ll continue this discussion in the second of three installments.

(Next: The need to avoid mixed-case usage in English – II)  October 9, 2017

This essay, 682nd of a series, first appeared in the column “English Plain and Simple” by Jose A. Carillo in the March 13, 2010 issue of The Manila Times, © 2010 by the Manila Times Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

 10 
 on: October 06, 2017, 09:26:48 AM 
Started by Joe Carillo - Last post by Joe Carillo


To My Facebook Friends and Fans,

For quick access to the Forum’s featured English grammar refreshers and general interest stories, simply click their indicated web links below:

PLAYLIST UPDATE (Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, 2017) FOR THE FORUM GATEWAY ON FACEBOOK
(7 new postings, latest down to earlier postings):


1. “The nature of true English idioms” (October 5, 2017)




2. “People’s names form a veritable catalogue of very ancient ghosts” (October 5, 2017)




3. Encore: “70 English idiomatic expressions sometimes bungled by Pinoys” (October 4, 2017)




4. “A full-dress review of reported or indirect speech” (October 3, 2017)




5. Retrospective: “The great gobbledygook-generating machine” (October 2, 2017)




6. Reprise three years hence: “A few minutes of undiluted joy” (October 1, 2017)




7. “Excessive Negation and Its Dangers” (October 1, 2017)




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

GRAMMAR AND MANY EYE-OPENING FEATURES BESIDES!
You thought Jose Carillo’s English Forum is all about grammar? Well, get a delightful
surprise by clicking this link to its Facebook Gateway from July 2017 to date!



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


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)



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!

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