Grammar nitpicks, descriptive linguistics, etc

A thread for off-topic discussions of grammar things that come up.

Both are perfectly grammatical in my dialect. Are you also unable to say “That was too much of a good thing.”?

OK, see my much later reply in the other thread (or move it here if that’s something you can do). As stated in detail there, you are confusing adjectives of quantity with adjectives of degree

ETA the key section is this
Adjectives of quantity such as ‘much’, ‘more’, ‘less’, ‘enough’ and so on do use ‘of’ - e.g. ‘enough of a problem’ and ‘too much of a stretch’.

But with adjectives of degree such as ‘good/bad’, ‘big/small’, ‘long/short’, ‘little/large’ and so on, ‘of’ is not used in standard English. E.g. ‘too large a box’, ‘not that big an issue’.


Discussion of a similar construction:

It is beyond bizarre, to me, that they are arguing about whether singular or plural makes a difference to whether ‘of’ is ok or not. How anyone can say that ‘as high grades as her’ but ‘as high of a grade as her’ are both correct (or vice versa - both alternative cases seem to be argued for) is just mind-boggling.

Everyone seems just to focus on how it sounds. Well, if you’ve been exposed to influential speakers like Larry King getting it wrong, then how it sounds is going play more of a role than how much of a grammatical error it is. That’s my point about the internet. At one time it was an odd regional USAnian idiom, and now everyone thinks it is grammatically correct merely because too many people have mistakenly used the wrong form in highly visible public forums.

And as other commenters put it
Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 12.08.49

Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 12.13.39

Which is why I have such a visceral negative reaction to it. It is NEVER used here. Though that may now be a historical statement, as the exposure of our badly educated youth to USAnian language habits via the internet/social media means it is making detrimental inroads.

As others noted:

Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 12.14.35

And on the wider topic of the general American war on prepositions, this commenter rang a bell with me.

Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 12.16.42

English, eh? How the fuck does it work? By lending itself to infinite manglement by all those foreigners we forcibly exported it to. I guess it serves us right. :wink:


I’d like to know if there’s a a name for “The…, the…” sentences. For example,

The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

The slower I walk, the better I think.

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

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No problem. The English language sure is fun, isn’t it?


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.