More Grammar Thoughts

I spent a little time in the classroom yesterday, correcting a test. One of the exercises required the students to finish the sentence Is the climate cold, or… with one of three options. One was …is it too hot? and another was …is it multicultural?

Obviously the correct answer was …is it too hot? But one student asked if …is it multicultural? could be right too. And of course it wasn’t, but then I thought: It also kind of is. Continue reading

I Really don’t Care, do U?

Isn’t it great to have a nice little space on the internet where you can avoid all the petty nastiness of current politics, especially all the horrid news that keeps coming from the White House? A place where you can forget about all that, and think about language, without hearing about Donald Trump and his cronies?

By the way, did you see what Melania Trump was wearing today?

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There is or There are?

This isn’t something I’ve ever really wondered. For a native English speaker, which one to use is rarely in doubt. Sure some regional dialects might use is and are in non-standard ways, but if asked, most speakers of these dialects would know the “proper” form of the verb to be to use.

Which is why I was surprised to see the following headline on the BBC website: Continue reading

Spam!

I had a most shocking experience recently. I’m fortunate to be a part of a lovely bloggers’ group, Blogs in Bloom. People share their blog posts, and social-media links, and everyone is invited to read, share, and comment.

Of course you let the people know that you’ve read, or liked, or shared their post, by commenting under their link. Something simple like Commented! or Read and liked! At first, anyway…

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The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Grammar

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it’s cold as hell
And there’s no one there to raise them if you did

– Elton John/Bernie Taupin, “Rocket Man”

I was listening to this song on my way home from work this evening, when those lyrics struck me as somewhat peculiar. You might be able to guess that it’s the cold as hell part in particular that roused my interest. How can something be as cold as hell?

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He Had Had Good Grammar, Had he?

What does it really mean to be grammatically correct? Is it important? People often tell you that you shouldn’t get bogged down in grammar when learning a language, and should aim for real communication. And I agree about that whole communication thing, but you still need good fundamental grammar to do so. Grammar and natural use of English don’t have to be enemies. Continue reading