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Messages - maxsims

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Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 23, 2010, 06:53:27 PM »
My dear Joe,

It is enormously difficult to remain polite in the face of your continuing refusal to answer a simple question.

Which, Forum members will again note, you have done again!   

Neither have you refuted my claim that your statement in the Times is wrong, incorrect, false, in error, misleading etc.(take your pick).

By the way, where did "blind" (as in blind bull in a china shop) come from?   The only time I've encountered this expression was in a rather course rock song.   

Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 23, 2010, 04:49:02 PM »
My beef, to use your quaint Americanism, is simply this:  the statement is a lie!

As you well know, I have no quarrel with you over the singular vs plural argument; I agree with you.  (By the way, the shortened statement you used in the Times is not mine, as you allege; it is a quote that I merely provided for discussion.   You are well aware of that fact.)

As all Forum readers know by now, my "beef" is your refusal to acknowledge that you gave the tick of approval to Glensky's nomination of the subject in the sentence we were discussing, a nomination at odds with your own earlier nomination.  "Many gallons" vs "petrol", to refresh your memory.

My word!   You've learned a lot since last year when you answered my question:

What about the "rule" that states that it is "shall" for the first person and "will" for the second and third persons when intention is expressed, but "will" for the first person and "shall" for the second and third persons when determination is expressed...?


I'm not aware that such rules exist--not in the American English standard anyway. All that was taught to me in grammar school and was later fortified by continuing usage over the years is that "shall" indicates a more determined desire to do something than "will." I haven't come across an English grammar book that specifically prescribes person-based usage for these modals. 

Do you now think that your explanations of "shall" and "will" in "The Grammar of Doubt and Uncertainty" ("English Plain and Simple) match those of the AHD?

Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 23, 2010, 08:25:41 AM »
Now he is taking issue with me again. He adamantly disagrees with my conclusion that in sentences like this one of his, “Five gallons of petrol (is, are) not enough to get you to Sydney,” the verb could either be singular or plural depending on the speaker’s or the writer’s point of view. “You can’t have it both ways,” he insists.

Carillo, just how long do you intend to continue with this fiction?

She shall answer my question.
She will answer my question.

The second sentence is American English; the first, a British English construction. Both are grammatically correct.

Are you sure about this Anglo-American difference, Joe?   I can find no web resource to back it up, and four major dictionaries make no mention of an international difference.   And, the dictionaries confirm that there is (or should be) a difference in meaning between these two sentences.

  • modal verb (3rd sing. present shall) 1 (in the first person) expressing the future tense. 2 expressing a strong assertion or intention. 3 expressing an instruction or command. 4 used in questions indicating offers or suggestions.
  — USAGE Strictly speaking shall should be used with I and we to form the future tense, as in I shall be late, while will should be used with you, he, she, it, and they, as in she will not be there. This, however, is reversed when strong determination is being expressed, as in I will not tolerate this , and you shall go to school. In speech the distinction tends to be obscured, through the use of the contracted forms I’ll, she’ll, etc.

modal verb ( CERTAINLY WILL )
  strong form /ʃæl/weak form /ʃəl/ mv
used to say that something certainly will or must happen, or that you are determined that something will happen
Don't worry, I shall be there to meet the train.
formal The school rules state that no child shall be allowed out of the school during the day, unless accompanied by an adult.
You shall go to the ball, Cinderella

F & W
More or less follows the Oxford and Cambridge definitions, with the addendum:
*shall, will:  the formal view on he use of shall and will is that to indicate simple futurity, shall is used in the first person, will in the second and third; their roles are reversed to express determination, command, inevitability etc., while in questions, the choice depends on the form expected in the answer.   These rules apply to American usage only at the most formal level.

Merriam-Webster is of much the same view.

Today, the vision continues to light the way  for the lives of 777 scholars, and still counting.

Who, or what, is doing the counting?

Based on my experience as editor, this grammar error can be easily avoided if not for the journalist’s traditional distaste for using the adjective “last” to modify the names of the days in their stories.

Could be...?

Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 22, 2010, 07:40:35 AM »
Err, Joe Carillo, kindly show me where I "insisted" on the use of "by your own lights".    Did I not merely point out what I believe to be the common expression?   I do wish you would refrain from putting words into my mouth.

As for me trying to keep English in a straitjacket, was it not you who complained bitterly when I inadvertently altered "piece" of rope to "length" of rope?   (Your Merriam-Webster makes little, if any, distinction.)

Your advice to me was "lighten up".    Perhaps you should take it, too.   :)

I do not sneer at other people's perspectives.   I question them when they appear to be erroneous.   I also respond in kind when my perspectives are attacked, as you have discovered.   Your gracious apology is accepted. 

My word but there is a deafening silence in The Lounge!

I see that Mrs Roberts has conceded that 100,000 schools "could be" an exaggeration or even a typo. 
It would be one hell of an exaggeration, and it's too nicely-rounded a figure to be a typo, don't you think?   

I agree that the responsible reporter should own up.    And apologize.    Just as the person who accused me of making "sweeping statements", who found the press release to be "positive news and should be embraced", who said I was in "sheer contempt" and who claimed that I "can't stand prosperity being distributed to a far-flung area" and like Joe Farillo, carelessly assumed that I found the release to be offensive, should also apologize.

I repeat - I did not find the release to be offensive.   Were I a Filipino, I would have.

I did find it odd that Joe Carillo disagreed that the material was rubbish.   Perhaps it was a different Joe Carillo who, only recently, berated those journalists who publish press releases without first checking the grammar and, most importantly, checking the veracity.

Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 21, 2010, 04:07:02 PM »
"by his own lights"....196,000,000 entries
"by your own lights"..396,000,000 entries

I suppose it all depends on what you mean.   In those English-speaking countries that I've visited (and I've visited quite a few), "by your own lights" is idiomatic for "in your own opinion".   If, as you imply, "to the best of your own lights" is synonymous with "by your own lights", one is moved to ask, "Why do we need a second idiom.?   If the two terms are not synonymous, what does "to the best of your own lights" mean?

Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 21, 2010, 08:13:15 AM »
"Just go on with what you think to the best of your lights."

The usual English idiom is "by your (his, her etc) own lights".

My dear Hill,

My reading of "Facts and Figures" (note the and) from the Education Department website is somewhat different to yours.

In 2004-2005, there were 42,362 schools existing in the country.    Not built, existing.

By 2008-2009, there were 44,691.   Again, not built but existing.

This gives net gain of 2329 schools.

(The front page of the website gives a current total of 44,304, which is a reduction from the 2008-2009 total, but this is neither here nor there in the big picture.)

If we consider these figures (in concert with the increase in school enrolments over this four-year period), I believe it can be safely said that the claim of having built 100,000 schools ( more than twice as many as actually exist) is neither plausible nor believable.   It is palpable nonsense.

Or, in other words, a load of rubbish.

As for the government's commitment to the spread of information technology, where were you in 2007 when the National Broadband Network project (read "scandal") fell on its head?

H'mmm...still no report.    I wonder why?

Use and Misuse / Re: Subject-Verb Agreement?
« on: May 20, 2010, 08:12:45 AM »
Suits me, Joe Carillo.

The Forum members will have learned a lot, principally that the sentence, "He discovered that those many gallons of petrol was not enough to get him to Sydney", has two subjects: "petrol" and "many gallons".

The Forum members will also have learned a lot about us!    :D

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