Grammar nitpicks, descriptive linguistics, etc

she /pedantry*

*Kidding, I never /pedantry.


All languages are


Hmmm - the Académie Française would like to have un petit mot avec vous.


Does anyone else read this as being ambiguous? If I say “World War 2 and World War 1 were both wars. The former had a lot of trench warfare and the latter included the first use of nuclear weapons.” is this completely wrong or is there a sense in “former” and “latter” that means, temporally earlier/later?

Not knowing what the hell is going on, I can only parse the quoted text as stating that the person used to have a massive crush on Scooby-Doo as a child and as an adult, they now have a massive crush on the Mystery Machine.

Each to their own I suppose.


I should have put the whole quote.

There’s some sense in which Mindy Kaling is “later” than Velma, if not “latter” than her.

Even if we agree that @tachin1 just made an error, it seems like it was cognitively motivated. In mainstream western narrative we usually describe things in the order they happened so that there is iconicity between the order of utterances describing events and the order of the events themselves.

1 “The vase broke into pieces and the cat knocked the vase off the piano.” ?
2. “The cat knocked the vase off the piano and the vase broke into pieces.”

2 is much more natural than 1.

  1. “World War 2 had nuclear weapons. World War 1 had trenches.”

I’m not sure if 3 is actually that weird though?

Me? Make grammatical error? Unpossible.


If you have a problem with the English language, take it up with the partitive genitive.

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English doesn’t have a partitive genitive unless I’m confused about what you mean.


Technically they are correct, it’s just that highway is such a wide term in the UK all it means is that it is a permanent public right of way.


Indeed. I know that to be the case, which makes it even more annoying that they call motorways highways and think we all know what they mean. They don’t realise it also means that track in your posted photo.

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It looks like freeway would be the unambiguous US conversion from motorway.


This seems like an odd thing to quibble about when TFA (and TFA’s linked Manchester News source) both note that the cat’s body was picked up by the “Highways agency.”

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That is almost precisely the point. ALL roads in UK are ‘highways’. The Highways Agency is an agency responsible for highways, whether they are Motorways or A-roads (non-motorway main trunk routes in UK). Even that mud track in the photo earlier is technically a highway (though not the responsibility of the Highways Agency - it would be the responsibility of a local council).
But when Mark/Carla see ‘UK Motorway’, they say ‘highway’ thinking that is a translation of ‘Motorway’. To a UK reader, whether the cat was found on a Motorway or some lesser categorisation of road, makes a difference, even if small. It is probably more common to see a cat run over on an ordinary road (or A-road) than a motorway, and knowing it was a motorway makes it more explicable that it got decapitated.

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Mark and Carla would presumably also not say that a car narrowly avoided hitting a cat with its tyre because the cat escaped to the pavement and the driver stopped and took a drink from a sixpack in the boot and drank it while leaning on the bonnet.

We won the Revolutionary War. We get to have our own version of English now.

Fair enough.

It’s as much a question of courtesy as anything.


How?! Is it discourteous to write an article about China in anything but Chinese?

I’m not going to get (any further) into an argument about it. It does make a difference here, but forgive me for being so rude as to point it out.

That’s fine, but motorways are freeways.