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Old 09-26-2011, 06:49 PM   #81
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Strunk & White like the Oxford comma, and that's good enough for me...

Now if I can just remember this.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:05 PM   #82
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‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’ .........What Is This Thing Called, Love?’
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:09 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Lynne Truss, author of Eats Shoots & Leaves,
Preceded by the Australian Ocker* who Eats, Roots** & Leaves.


*An unsophisticated lout.

** Oz vernacular for, um, 'sexual activity'.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:16 PM   #84
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With a tip of the cap to a re-nouned moderator:

Grammers is hard.

Actually, the above is correct grammar (I hope), if, in fact, (just love using those commas), we are talking about a guy named Grammers, who just got turned on by his girlfriend.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:02 PM   #85
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Quote:
I dedicate this book to my parents, Ayn Rand and God.
Here, omitting the final comma suggests that the last two items are a special pair (an appositive for parents) So it makes it sound like the parents are Ayn Rand and God. But with the final comma, it's clear that there is a list of three references.
No. If it were an appositive, in writing you'd use a colon or dash, not a comma, and the pronunciation would have a different rhythm and intonation. It can only be a list of three, regardless of whether a comma follows "Rand".
Quote:
The serial comma problem becomes more evident in this example: We have several positions available: copywriter, ad executive, receptionist and typist. How many positions are available? As it is written, it could be either three or four, depending on whether or not the receptionist is also the typist. If there are four open positions, a comma between receptionist and typist makes this clear. Commas are for clarity.
No, because "and" must appear between the last two items of a coordinated list. If "receptionist and typist" were the last item in the list of 3 things (the first being "copywriter" and the second "ad executive"), an "and" would have to appear between "ad executive" and "receptionist and typist". Since there is no "and" in that position, it is not possible to interpret "receptionist and typist" as a single, third item in the list, so the only possible interpretation is that "receptionist" and "typist" are the third and fourth items in the list. The presence or absence of a comma after "receptionist" is irrelevant.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:36 PM   #86
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Quote:
Ayn Rand and God
Quite the pairing...

Ah, the English language:

To, two, too
Sum, some
Home, come
Wash, cash
Tomb, bomb
Freeze, cheese
Dumb, bum
Is that a bass guitar, or a base guitar?
Base, face
...
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:56 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by redduck View Post
Uh, Major Tom...

I think it should be: ...people who make much more money than I have terrible...

(But this is in the spirit of this thread only).
Oh, ha! You got me! I had an odd feeling about that as I was posting it, but have become more and more careless with my posts recently
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:29 PM   #88
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First the grammar guard, now the pronunciation police?
I find English very hard.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:49 PM   #89
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Uh, Major Tom...

I think it should be: ...people who make much more money than I have terrible...

(But this is in the spirit of this thread only).
I would have agreed, but I looked this up recently, and found that it is more complicated. It apparently depends on whether the sentence means:

"People who make much more money than I do."

or

"People who make much more money than the amount of money made by me."

Grammar Girl : "Than I" Versus "Than Me" :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™

----------------------------------

I find it interesting that you'll never hear anyone say "Me is going to the store." but you will hear "Me and Bob are going to the store." Never, "Leave a message for I." and often "Leave a message for Susan or I."

-----------------------------------

Note that I wrote "you will here" above, and almost missed it when proofreading.

Ultimately it is the poor "design" of the language that is to blame. It's stupid to have different words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Stupid to use different words (e.g. "I" and "me") for the same thing. Stupid to have an alphabet with fewer characters (26) than phonemes (about 50 -- if there were one character for each phoneme, no one would ever have to waste time on a spelling test).
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:14 PM   #90
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While we're at it......how about all those people who say 'myself' when they mean 'me'?
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:39 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post

Ultimately it is the poor "design" of the language that is to blame. It's stupid to have different words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Stupid to use different words (e.g. "I" and "me") for the same thing. Stupid to have an alphabet with fewer characters (26) than phonemes (about 50 -- if there were one character for each phoneme, no one would ever have to waste time on a spelling test).
Does Esperanto fix this?

-ERD50
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:49 PM   #92
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I would have agreed, but I looked this up recently, and found that it is more complicated. It apparently depends on whether the sentence means:

"People who make much more money than I do."

or

"People who make much more money than the amount of money made by me."
But there is no difference of meaning there.

For modern informal colloquial English the rule is sometimes formulated: Use objective pronoun forms except for the unconjoined subject of an explicit tensed verb, which has the subjective form. Then the relevant difference between "than I do" and "than me" is the presence of the tensed verb "do". In a slightly more old fashioned style, you'd use "than I", because the "do" is understood, even though not actually present. I really don't see the point to calling "than" a preposition -- it's not much like the real prepositions, and it's not necessary to explain the "than me" form.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:52 PM   #93
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Does Esperanto fix this?

-ERD50
No, but give me a year and I'll fix the language. For example, first, I eliminate apostrophes for possessives. They did that with Swedish, and there are no problems. Next, no more conjugations. "I am, you am, we am, they am." Again, works fine in Swedish. Then I'll add more characters to the alphabet, so that every word can be spelled "the way it sounds." I can do all that in a week.

Quote:
While we're at it......how about all those people who say 'myself' when they mean 'me'?
I think these people do it so that they won't get the "Bob and me" or "Bob and I" thing wrong. They just say "Bob and myself."
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:09 PM   #94
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Can I say how much I loved that Truss book that Gumby mentioned?
Any of you grammar police should ask for it for your birthday if you haven't read it yet.
And I follow the camp that prefers the serial comma.

I consider myself among the spelling police and try to leave the grammar to the more OCD among us. Loose and Loser drive me crazy!
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:23 PM   #95
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I think these people do it so that they won't get the "Bob and me" or "Bob and I" thing wrong. They just say "Bob and myself."
Often, especially it would seem on local radio, some salesperson or 'community events organizer' will say "Call myself at xxx-xxxx"......and it always crosses my mind that he/she will get a busy signal.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:50 PM   #96
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Not gonna name names or give examples (as I don't want Porky Pig coming along), but have noticed when some a recent president or two have used the wrong grammar.

I think the main thing is if someone confuses "spouse" for "louse" then that's really when to worry
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
Does Esperanto fix this?

-ERD50
No, but give me a year and I'll fix the language. For example, first, I eliminate apostrophes for possessives. They did that with Swedish, and there are no problems. Next, no more conjugations. "I am, you am, we am, they am." Again, works fine in Swedish. Then I'll add more characters to the alphabet, so that every word can be spelled "the way it sounds." I can do all that in a week.
From my very limited knowledge of Esperanto ( mostly from: Esperanto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ), I think all those things have been addressed.



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Old 09-28-2011, 09:49 PM   #98
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For your entertainment -- a U.S. Supreme Court opinion based, in large measure, on the existence of a comma.

U.S. V. RON PAIR ENTERPRISES, 489 U. S. 235 :: Volume 489 :: 1989 :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez
It is entertaining. I don't find it persuasive. As I understand it, the grammatical issue concerns the interpretation of
Quote:
"there shall be allowed to the holder of such claim, interest on such claim, and any reasonable fees, costs, or charges provided for under the agreement under which such claim arose"
which might either have the following structure in which "provided for under the agreement ..." modifies the preceding conjunction of "interest ..." and "any reasonable fees ...":
Quote:
(1) there shall be allowed to the holder of such claim, ((interest on such claim, and any reasonable fees, costs, or charges) provided for under the agreement under which such claim arose)
or it might have a structure in which "provided ..." modifies only the second conjunct "any reasonable fees ...":
Quote:
(2) there shall be allowed to the holder of such claim, ((interest on such claim), and (any reasonable fees, costs, or charges provided for under the agreement under which such claim arose)
And under the first interpretation (1), only interest provided under the agreement is allowed, while under the second interpretation (2) it is irrelevant whether interest is provided under the agreement as to whether the interest is allowed.

The presence of the commas after the words "claim" is supposed to show that only the grammatical structure (2) is possible and so the intended interpretation must be that interest is allowed irrespective of whether it is provided under the agreement.

I don't agree. I think it is evident that the first of the two commas in question is there just because the indirect object "to the holder of such claim" comes in an unusual order with respect to the following subject of "be allowed". Ordinarily, the indirect object would come after the subject, but the complexity of the subject in this example makes that difficult, since complex phrases tend not to occur in English embedded within simpler ones.

And I know of no rule against having a comma within a conjunction of phrases (here "(interest on such claim, and any reasonable fees, costs, or charges)") which is modified by a following phrase.

I don't think the commas are relevant to the intended interpretation.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:01 PM   #99
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I find it interesting that you'll never hear anyone say "Me is going to the store." but you will hear "Me and Bob are going to the store." Never, "Leave a message for I." and often "Leave a message for Susan or I."
In the spirit of this thread, I know younger people (>30) who use "Him and me" as a subject in casual speech all the time, as in "Him and me went to the show Saturday night." And also "It's him and my's favorite movie."
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:25 PM   #100
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And also "It's him and my's favorite movie."
The correct form being what?
  • "It's his and my favorite movie."
  • "It's he and I's favorite movie."
  • "It's him and me's favorite movie."
  • "It's the favorite movie of his and mine."
  • "It's the favorite movie of him and me."
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