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Grammar Rules: How to Sound Smarter

Switch Blayde
Updated:

These were taken from a Readers Digest article (http://www.rd.com/advice/grammar-rules-how-to-sound-smarter/). To get the specifics, you'll have to read the article:

You never mean: preventative
You always mean: preventive

You almost never mean: infamous
You almost always mean: famous

You might say: evoke
You might mean: invoke

You might say: denounce
You might mean: renounce

You might say: uninterested
You might mean: disinterested

You never mean: "Jane, Andrew, and myself are going…"
You always mean: "Jane, Andrew, and I are going…"

You might say: former
You might mean: latter

You almost never mean: neither/either are
You almost always mean: neither/either is

You never mean: fall between the cracks
You always mean: fall through the cracks

You might say: mute
You might mean: moot

You almost never mean: just desserts
You almost always mean: just deserts

You never mean: modern-day
You always mean: modern

You might write: so-called "good grammar"
You mean to write: so-called good grammar

[not sure I understand the above one]

You might say: exuberant
You might mean: exorbitant

You might say: come
You might mean: go

You might say: jealous
You might mean: envious

Replies:   Ross at Play  Zom
Crumbly Writer

You might give: terrible grammar advice

You might mean: repeated tautologies

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

You might write: so-called "good grammar"
You mean to write: so-called good grammar
[not sure I understand the above one]

They mean it is redundant to write: so-called "anything".
You don't need quote marks to indicate an ironic interpretation is required if 'so-called' already implies the expression does not reflect reality.

Zom

@Switch Blayde

[not sure I understand the above one]

It wasn't said, so it shouldn't be quoted.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
awnlee jawking

"the cat wast to blame" - what does wast mean? If it makes me sound smarter, perhaps I should consider using it.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@Zom

It wasn't said, so it shouldn't be quoted.


No, it has something to do with the meaning of "so-called."

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Switch Blayde

something to do with the meaning of "so-called."

Don't see how you come to that. The 'might' and 'mean' both have 'so-called' unchanged. The only change is the loss of quotes.

Dominions Son

@Zom

Don't see how you come to that. The 'might' and 'mean' both have 'so-called' unchanged. The only change is the loss of quotes.


The quotes in the might have nothing to do with something said or being quoted. It's scare quotes indicating sarcasm and / or doubt about the validity of the term as applied.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes

The issue is that using so-called has basically the same meaning as scare quotes so it's redundant to use both.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Zom


The only change is the loss of quotes.


The Wiki entry for 'Quotation Marks', in the section 'Quotation Marks in English' has this definition for one of the ways they are used:

'Scare quotes used to mean "so-called" or to express irony'.

The quotation marks are redundant if you have already said 'so-called'.

EDIT TO ADD- I identified the problem as redundancy first, many hours ago.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

The issue is that using so-called has basically the same meaning as scare quotes so it's redundant to use both.


That makes sense. Thanks.

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