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Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

... and I

Robin Pentecost

I am so frustrated with the thoughtless use of '... and I'. So many authors use this form with no concern of how it works. All you need do is read the phrase without the preceeding name or pronoun. If the combination is the subject, '... and I' works. If the combination is the object, '... and me' is correct. How hard is that? I suspect these writers just don't read their own words. Editors editors, editors.

Switch Blayde

@Robin Pentecost

It's a common mistake. I even hear it said wrong in movies.

Ernest Bywater

@Robin Pentecost

suspect these writers just don't read their own words. Editors editors, editors.


and sometimes even the editors get it wrong. In the past I've had such an error pass three editors to have the fourth catch it, while sometimes the first catches it, and sometimes I catch it. A lot depends on how the mind is processing the words.

Dominions Son

@Robin Pentecost

Language is defined descriptively, not prescriptively. If enough people make the same mistake over enough time, it becomes correct.

Language evolves, it changes over time.

You are fighting a war you can not hope to win.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

You are fighting a war you can not hope to win.

You WILL be assimilated by incorrect grammar!

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


You WILL be assimilated by incorrect grammar!


Nah, we'll search for and find Grammar Nazi Land then devastate it before they decimate us. hehehehehe

edit to add:

Here in Australia we're experienced at avoiding assimilation - we've Borg Cubes running around all over the place, and haven't been assimilated yet.

http://borgs.com.au/

Their shipping containers are marked as Borg Cubes

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play
Updated:

Your post includes a valid point, but subject or object is not all that authors need to consider.

Firstly, correct grammar is almost irrelevant in dialogue. Grammatical errors in dialogue may be part of an author's portrayal of a character, at least for the kinds of errors commonly heard in real speech.
Among the most difficult problems for editors to find are those when a noun phrase includes a personal pronoun and something else joined with 'and'. Similar constructions with 'or' instead of 'and' can be an absolute nightmare!

The valid point you make is that some problems are very easy for editors to detect even when those constructions are used. It is often simply a matter of testing the sentence using just the pronoun instead of the noun phrase.
I understand your frustration when authors do not use that simple test to catch some types of common errors.

However, there are times when correct grammar sounds so strange it authors of fiction should prefer incorrect grammar!?

This is what the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) states in paragraph 5.43 - Pronoun Case after Linking Verb:

Strictly speaking, a pronoun serving as the complement of a be-verb or other linking verb should be in the nominative case {it was she who asked for a meeting}. In formal writing, some fastidious readers will consider the objective case to be incorrect in every instance. But in many sentences, the nominative pronoun sounds pedantic or eccentric to the modern ear {Was that he on the phone?}.


CMOS is universally despised by the authors and editors who frequent these forums - even those who attempt to follow its recommendations as they can find no suitable alternative - because its tone is generally dictatorial, and its insistence upon what it would call "standards" is often a futile denial of the fact that everyday usage evolved long ago into something they declare is wrong. It sees itself largely as the last defender of correct language against the illiteracy of the masses - but in many respects it is totally unsuitable for modern-day fiction.

If even CMOS can accept that correct grammar sounds so weird at times it should not be used, it is time for some readers to accept what they've always known to be correct is, in fact, no longer so.

Still, I totally agree with you that authors and editors here should at least check whether noun phrases including personal pronouns and conjunctions still sound natural if tested with just the pronoun.

That should be enough to stop causing avoidable irritations for third person pronouns, but there is a bit more to it with first person pronouns. There are times that 'and I' can sound correct, but still sound too damn pretentious. This is especially so with questions when the subject of the sentence is shifted to end of a clause. I can only suggest you accept that the new version of "correct" includes allowing 'me' in the subject of sentences when it appears late in the sentence.

I would be interested in the opinions of other editors about this. I am pretty confident my opinions are not unreasonable, but I expect there are some other subtleties I have not yet discovered.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

You WILL be assimilated by incorrect grammar!


It seems like being incorrect is taking over everywhere as being the 'new correct'.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


But in many sentences, the nominative pronoun sounds pedantic or eccentric to the modern ear {Was that he on the phone?}


I ran into that situation with "than her" that should have been "than she." I was corrected by a beta reader but decided to leave it as "her" even if it was wrong because it sounded too formal to me (this was in narrative, not dialogue).

I might write it correctly as "He was bigger than I" (but I still might use the incorrect "me") but can't write "He was bigger than she" (I'd write "than her").

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Nah, we'll search for and find Grammar Nazi Land then devastate it before they decimate us. hehehehehe


You really dove into that one.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

I might write it correctly as "He was bigger than I"


The CMOS convention seems to require the nominative case when the apparent object is in fact the same as the subject. I would argue that 'He' and 'I' are different so in this situation the object case is better: "He was bigger than me".

AJ

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

I might write it correctly as "He was bigger than I"

I'm going to get that one wrong every time. I struggle to find any explanation for why 'I' is correct.
I guess I am not as "pedantic and eccentric" as I imagined I was.
My brain wants to explode right now after I noticed I used 'I' four times in that previous sentence.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


The CMOS convention seems to require the nominative case when the apparent object is in fact the same as the subject. I would argue that 'He' and 'I' are different so in this situation the object case is better: "He was bigger than me".


EDIT TO ADD

I have concluded this entire post is complete crap after seeing SB's explanation below.

CMOS (spit!) ... No make that (puke!) ... is such an awfully written monster. The word 'complement' is only used once in the entire chapter on grammar. Somehow users of the damn thing must figure what the term means from the example I have quoted above.

I think AJ is right in stating, "the nominative case when the apparent object is in fact the same as the subject".

I think he was wrong in stating, "I would argue that 'He' and 'I' are different".

I think this is correct:

He/She/It was bigger than him/her/it.

I think their point is technically correct is:

It was he/she/it ...

... because the subject and object of the clause are the same!

I think I've finally discovered a "Rule" of writing that should be obeyed 100% of the time ...

NEVER write something that makes you sound like a complete prat because of some effing rule of grammar!

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


I'm going to get that one wrong every time. I struggle to find any explanation for why 'I' is correct.


When you see "than" it's usually "I" after it (I don't understand the technical grammar rules as to why, though). And "she/he = I" while "her/him = me".

Returning to the OP, I think this is why people say/write "and I" when it should be "and me." They get the "than I" wrong (saying "than me") so after being told they do it wrong so many times they automatically think "me" is always wrong.

ETA: If "Taller than I" sounds weird, just finish the sentence with the assumed word, as in. "Taller than I am." It's clear "Taller than me am" is wrong.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

just finish the sentence with the assumed word, as in. "Taller than I am." It's clear "Taller than me am" is wrong.

Thanks, I cannot argue with that.
My last post was complete crap.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

"Taller than I am." It's clear "Taller than me am" is wrong.


I've never understood that. It seems to be comparing apples and oranges.

He 'is taller than' me
and
'He is' taller than 'I am'
are subtly different constructs despite having the same meaning.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

There's a write-up on Grammar Girl's site. Unfortunately, it's not as clear as what's usually there. Maybe it's because it wasn't written by her or maybe it's just damn confusing.

If "than" is used as a conjunction, then it's "I". If used as a preposition, then it's "me". The article says it's been argued since the 18th century. Read the article if you like (http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/than-i-versus-than-me), but this is the part that made me go OMG!

Conjunctionists would argue that the sentences "Aardvark likes Squiggly more than I" and "Aardvark likes Squiggly more than me" are both correct but have entirely different meanings. Both use than as a conjunction, but when you use the subject pronoun I, you're saying Aardvark likes Squiggly more than I [like Squiggly], and when you use the object pronoun me, you're saying Aardvark likes Squiggly more than [Aardvark likes] me. If than is a preposition, however, you would always use the objective pronoun me and then the same sentence would mean both things--you don't care for Squiggly as much as Aardvark does AND Aardvark prefers Squiggly to you. It would be unclear which of the two meanings were intended. Avoiding ambiguity awards a point to the conjunctionists.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

When you see "than" it's usually "I" after it (I don't understand the technical grammar rules as to why, though).

YOU ARE ALMOST THERE.
It is the case of the target of comparison clauses ('than' or 'as ... as') that technically must match whatever it is being compared to - usually, but not always, that is a subject.

CMOS (puke!), in its typically almost incomprehensible style, explains how rules of grammar apply to an example sentence, and then advises sentences with similar constructions should be avoided! (a mere puke! is too good for this one)

This is CMOS paragraph 5.44 - Pronoun case after "than" or "as . . . as"

The case of a pronoun following this kind of comparative structure, typically at the end of a sentence, depends on who or what is being compared. In my sister looks more like our father than I [or me], for example, if the point is whether the sister or the speaker looks more like their father, the pronoun should be nominative because it is the subject of an understood verb: my sister looks more like our father than I do. But if the point is whether the sister looks more like the father or the speaker, the pronoun should be objective because it is the object of a preposition in an understood sentence: my sister looks more like our father than she looks like me. Whatever the writer's intent, the reader can't be certain about the meaning. It would be better to reword the sentence and avoid the elliptical construction.

So, for the example we've been looking at, this is technically correct:
She is taller than he.

... But even CMOS says that will make you sound like a complete prat, so instead use the technically incorrect:
She is taller than him.

Ross at Play
Updated:

I can see why some might prefer to pretend they made a simple typo that resulted in a 'that' instead of a 'than'. ;)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

So, for the example we've been looking at, this is technically correct:
She is taller than he.


I disagree.

Compare
They 'have more than' us
(forget the interpretation that they have us and eg the neighbours as hostages)
and
'They have' more than 'we have'.

I accept that the verb 'to be' can be a special case when it's used to express identity, but 'is taller than' isn't expressing identity.

I don't think we're going to agree on this :(

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Playing Devil's advocate, I don't think 'looks more like' is secretly harbouring the verb to be, which is a cornerstone of CMOS's diktat.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I don't think we're going to agree on this :(

According to what SB found by Grammar Girl, greater minds than we have been debating this one for centuries.
Can agree that whatever is technically correct is completely irrelevant, and we should write what sounds natural?

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I don't think 'looks more like' is secretly harbouring the verb to be, which is a cornerstone of CMOS's diktat.

Not just the verb to be!
The Nazi's diktat (5.43) began with ...

Strictly speaking, a pronoun serving as the complement of a be-verb or other linking verb

Replies:   awnlee jawking
richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

My brain wants to explode right now after I noticed I used 'I' four times in that previous sentence.

You didn't type Mississippi once.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

My understanding is that a linking verb is a verb that reflects back to the subject back to itself.

'Sue looks happy' is an example of a linking verb.

'Sue looks like a potato' isn't.

I may well be wrong though :(

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I may well be wrong though :(

I may well be wrong in thinking you are wrong.

'Sue looks happy' certainly is an example of a linking verb.
'Sue looks like a potato' is I think another example.
'Sue looks at a potato' certainly is not.

These are the only entries in CMOS (puke!) which describe what they are (which I've reformatted a bit for the purposes of clarity). Typically, it is an entry describing a condition when a verb is not a linking verb that provides the only comprehensible clues about what linking verbs are. :(

5.99 - Linking Verbs
A linking verb (also called a copula or connecting verb) is one that links the subject to an equivalent word in the sentence—a predicate pronoun, predicate noun, or predicate adjective. The linking verb itself does not take an object.
There are two kinds of linking verbs: be-verbs and intransitive verbs that are used in a weakened sense, such as seem, smell, appear, feel, and look.
When used as a link, the weakened intransitive verb often has a figurative sense akin to that of became, as in:
'he fell heir to a large fortune' (he didn't physically fall on or into anything); or
'the river ran dry' (a waterless river doesn't run—it just dries up).
See also 5.167.

5.167 - Adverbs and Linking Verbs
Adverbs do not generally modify linking verbs, such as: be-verbs, appear, seem, become, look, smell, taste, hear, and feel.
These verbs connect a descriptive word with the clause's subject; the descriptive word applies to the subject, not the verb.
For example, 'he seems modest'.

To determine whether a verb is a linking verb, the writer must consider whether the descriptive word describes the action or condition, or the subject.
For example, 'the sculptor feels badly' literally describes the act of feeling or touching as not done well.
Compared to, 'the sculptor feels bad' which describes the sculptor as unwell or perhaps experiencing guilt.


Please don't shoot the messenger. ;)

Ross at Play

Based on the CMOS (puke!) entries above, I think it is saying this is technically correct: 'He is her brother. He looks like she.'
However, it says that "sounds pedantic or eccentric to the modern ear", and recommends using: 'He is her brother. He looks like her.'

I repeat, please don't shoot the messenger!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

and recommends using: 'He is her brother. He looks like her.'


That's exactly what I told the person who corrected my grammar.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Thanks for your help, SB. ;)

May I ask what you would do to convey the two meanings of the sample sentence in the example Grammar Girl used:

Conjunctionists would argue that the sentences "Aardvark likes Squiggly more than I" and "Aardvark likes Squiggly more than me" are both correct but have entirely different meanings.

Replies:   Zom  Switch Blayde
Zom

@Ross at Play

are both correct but have entirely different meanings

Precisely! So much Fake Grammar going around these days …

awnlee jawking

@Zom

Grammar is based on historical precedent. The problems arise when people take it upon themselves to prescribe their preferred subset as being correct, as with CMOS.

I would hazard a guess that none of the contributors to CMOS have ever designed a language from scratch eg for computers, so it's a case of the blind leading the blind.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Zom

Precisely! So much Fake Grammar going around these days …

Yes ... BUT ... the problem with the Real Grammar is, how many readers can interpret it correctly?

Let's consider the best way to convey the two possible meanings of, 'She likes him more than me.'

Apparently, 'Conjunctionists' would say that correct grammar requires:
(A) She likes him more than me. (i.e. She likes him more than she likes me)
(B) She likes him more than I. (i.e. She likes him more than I like him)
This does have an elegant kind of logic to it ... but, really? How many readers are going to interpret that as the author intends - when only one or the other appears somewhere in a story?
I, for one, have no intention of adding conjunctivitis to my existing list of mental health problems! ;)

In modern speech there is no problem here with ambiguity. I expect most speakers would, without even realising they were doing so, resolve the potential ambiguity by saying:
(A) She likes him more than me.
(B) She likes him more than me.
The previous context would usually help clarify the meaning, and speakers would monitor listeners' reactions to check it was interpreted correctly.

Careful writers should not rely on readers interpreting something with a potential ambiguity correctly; they should find a wording that is unambiguous. The way I would convey these two meanings is (but I am open for discussion of any alternatives):
(A) She likes him more than me.
(B) She likes him more than I do.

My reasoning is that for (A) readers would naturally apply the "proximity rule" for pronouns. With more than one possibility for what a pronoun is substituting for, they select the closer one. In this case, substituting 'him' (the closer) with 'me', instead of 'she'.
Readers would interpret 'me' as an abbreviated form of 'she likes me'.

For (B), readers must find where to substitute 'I do'. It can only substitute for 'she likes'.
Readers would interpret 'I do' as an abbreviated form of 'I like him'.

BTW, in my preferred form of (B), the pronoun, 'I', substitutes for another pronoun, 'She'; and the verb, 'do', substitutes for another verb, 'likes'. What term would you use to describe what 'do' is doing? A "proverb"? ;)
... Whoops! Better make that "pro-verb"; we wouldn't want to create yet another ambiguous term. ;)

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Grammar is based on historical precedent.

Make that ... Grammar is based on historical precedent and current usage.
This does appear to an instance where CMOS (puke!) has at least decided to update its prescriptions to those relevant in the last century.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

First known use of the term 'linking verb' - 1923.

How on earth did all the writers before then manage without knowing what a linking verb was!

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

First known use of the term 'linking verb' - 1923.
How on earth did all the writers before then manage without knowing what a linking verb was!

With no CMOS (puke!), and no hordes of internet trolls harassing them, I expect very well indeed!

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I ran into that situation with "than her" that should have been "than she." I was corrected by a beta reader but decided to leave it as "her" even if it was wrong because it sounded too formal to me (this was in narrative, not dialogue).

That's why I keep stressing for authors to identify (in their own minds) exactly who their 3rd party Omni narrators are (God, or some lowly character or fireside storyteller), as that helps identify what they're likely to know, and how they're likely to communicate. Understanding your narrator helps you construct your story.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

"He was bigger than me".

When in doubt: "He was bigger than me, myself and I."

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

If "Taller than I" sounds weird, just finish the sentence with the assumed word, as in. "Taller than I am." It's clear "Taller than me am" is wrong.

I prefer "Taller than me is." ;) It provides better character detail.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

She is taller than him.

Or me preferred: "She be 'effin' tall!"

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I prefer "Taller than me is." ;) It provides better character detail.


Do you write for I R Baboon?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

May I ask what you would do to convey the two meanings of the sample sentence in the example Grammar Girl used:


I probably wouldn't even realize it when I write it. In fact, that was why I said it was an "OMG!" I never would have realized it.

I do what sounds right to "my" ear. We're talking narrative, of course. In dialogue, it's how the character would say it.

richardshagrin

Its ok to say "and I" when listing vowels. A, E, O, U, sometimes Y, and I.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Do you write for I R Baboon?

@Switch
I do what sounds right to "my" ear. We're talking narrative, of course. In dialogue, it's how the character would say it.

I was teasing (partially), but also making the point that it's sometimes helpful to view the narrator as 'another character'. In those cases, giving the narrator their own 'voice' can help the story, even if it defies traditional grammar rules (P.S. I'm not suggesting you break ALL the rules, just a couple to establish the character, narrator or not).

Ross at Play

@Robin Pentecost

Often these things cannot be decided based on any rules or principles.
I was just editing this sentence:
(A) I couldn't help but notice my daughter kept looking at me.

I decided to change 'my daughter' to 'she', giving:
(B) I couldn't help but notice she kept looking at me

I decided to cut out 'kept', giving:
(C) I couldn't help but notice she looking at me

YUCK! The only way that sounds natural is changing 'she' to 'her', giving:
(D) I couldn't help but notice her looking at me

So, to Robin, as an editor, I have some questions.
1. Do you agree B and D above both sound right?
2. Do you agree it is not possible for both to be grammatically correct?
3. Do you have any advice for how we can get these "simple" things right?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

1. Do you agree B and D above both sound right?


Yes.

2. Do you agree it is not possible for both to be grammatically correct?


No.

3. Do you have any advice for how we can get these "simple" things right?


Grammar isn't simple!

I notice you used 'kept' instead of 'keeped' - are you poking fun at the barbarians? ;)

Consider also:
I couldn't help but notice she is looking at me.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Grammar isn't simple!

Isn't it obvious that's the conclusion my list of questions was supposed to demonstrate?

* * *
So, okay smarty-pants, what about this one?
Would you use 'slow' or 'slowly' in this sentence?
My mind was foggy, moving as slow/slowly as a worm crawling through mud.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

as a worm crawling through mud.


That's a metaphor for moving slow I've never heard before.

Personally, I would just use the base word. A common saying around my part for the same idea is "as slow as molasses in January."

Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

That's a metaphor for moving slow I've never heard before.

Personally, I would just use the base word. A common saying around my part for the same idea is "as slow as molasses in January."

My suggested metaphor was "sloth in wet tar". It has ilitteration with 'slow', and with a sloth you don't even need to provide a verb for what it was attempting to do.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Personally, I would just use the base word.

Interesting.

My gut instinct was the only thing that could sound right was "moving as slowly as".
My look at the dictionary revealed that 'slow' is one of those rare base adjectives that has two synonymous adverb forms - both 'slow' and 'slowly' have various senses where they are used as adverbs.
* * *
'Slow' is beginning to sound more acceptable - and my education is beginning to look more suspect. :-)

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Would you use 'slow' or 'slowly' in this sentence?


"Slowly" because it's an adverb modifying the verb "moving."

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Me : Would you use 'slow' or 'slowly' in this sentence?
You: "Slowly" because it's an adverb modifying the verb "moving."

That was my instinctive reaction. I made that change myself when I found this sentence in a story I was editing.
* * *
The author questioned me change and we discussed the grammar of the sentence. The parts of speech the sentence contains are:
Moving - acts a NOUN!? It is called a "gerund"
as slowly as - acts as a conjunction
a worm crawling through mud - is a clause acting as a noun.
* * *
This is not an April Fool's Day joke. That is the actual grammar of this sentence - to be grammatically correct, it requires an adjective "slow" as the central word of the conjunction.
* * *
At this moment I am awaiting copies of some diagrams to be sent to me. A professor of linguistics in Canada has looked at this sentence and apparently concluded there are two valid ways to look at its actual structure. His handwritten notes need to be transcribed to a digital format and that process is not elementary. You may email me asking for copies if you wish.
* * *
I have accepted the academic analysis of what this sentence really contains.
* * *
My amended advice to the author was this. Fuck the grammar! Outside of school, you are an author of fiction, so ask what do real people say? My guess is "moving" sounds so much like a verb that the vast majority of native speakers would choose as adverb as the central word of the conjunction. I recommend you use slowly on the grounds that is what the vast majority of native speakers would say.
* * *
My latest news is I've discovered that both "slowly" and "slow" are used as adverbs. That is very rare - for one base word to have two forms of the word as the same part of speech and no distinction between the meanings. When I tested the sound of the sentence using "slow", through open ears to an open mind, it did not sound off.
* * *
So my final recommendation, for now, to the author is to use whichever they prefer. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

No need for me to iterate what others have said.

But with your new-found love of minimalism, why not just say, "She looked at me."

The author is the narrator, so of course they noticed the daughter looking since they're informing the reader. :)

AJ

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Moving - acts a NOUN!?


The 'was' applies both to the 'foggy' and the 'moving'. It has to otherwise you imply 'My mind was foggy and is moving' which is nonsensical.

If you think 'was moving' is a noun, then go ahead and use 'slow'. But if I were editing/proofreading, I'd change it to 'slowly'.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

new-found love of minimalism

NEW-FOUND ???
Please apologise for that vicious libel or I many consider taking legal action against you. :-)

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

why not just say, "She looked at me."

That would alter the meaning the author wants to convey.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I thought minimalists didn't care about conveying subtle nuances, they only cared about removing words to make their stories 'stronger'. :)

AJ

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

The 'was' applies both to the 'foggy' and the 'moving'.

I AM NOT THIS MAKES SENSE TO ANYONE WHO HAS NOT STUDIED WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON IN SENTENCES PEOPLE INTUITIVELY UNDERSTAND.
I'M SAYING THAT 'MOVING' IS TRULY ACTING AS A NOUN.
Well, I'm still waiting ... it might be an adjective ... it's DEFINITELY NOT a verb.
* * *
The 'was' does not apply to the 'moving'. The entire phrase beginning with 'moving' is describing 'mind'.
* * *
I am definitely NOT saying I would make any decision about what I consider best for this sentence based on the grammar.
This thread was started with a suggestion that editors could do better in getting the grammar correct for things like 'and I'.
My point is that applying the rules of grammar is nowhere near as easy as most as would imagine.
There are some cases where people know they often prefer to say that that is technically incorrect, but sounds right. Using the wrong case is an example where many people know they do not follow the rules of grammar.
I raised this as an example of how impossible it would be for editors if they did attempt to get the grammar in sentences right. This is an example where almost everybody would make the same grammatical error, and they'd all think their grammar was correct!
* * *
I see value in editors knowing grammar, but the best readers can hope for is we find things that sound natural. That is often so subjective there is no hope of amateurs getting it right all the time.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I thought minimalists didn't care about conveying subtle nuances, they only cared about removing words to make their stories 'stronger'. :)

You would need to define what you mean by 'minimalism'.
My philosophy has always been to usually use the least number of words required to convey the precise meaning and nuance you want.
If that is not what you meant, please apologise for the vicious libel that I am a "minimalist", or I many consider taking legal action against you. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I'M SAYING THAT 'MOVING' IS TRULY ACTING AS A NOUN.


If 'moving' is a noun, is it a subject or an object? And which verb services it in order to make a proper sentence?

AJ

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Moving - acts a NOUN!? It is called a "gerund"


No, it should be an adverb which is "slowly."


Gerund (/ˈdʒɛrənd/ or /ˈdʒɛrʌnd/; abbreviated GER) is a term for a verb form that functions as a noun. Although similar in usage to verbal noun, the two terms are not synonymous as gerund retains properties of a verb while verbal noun does not; in English this is most evident in the fact that a gerund can be modified by an adverb and can take a direct object.


If you break down the meaning of the sentence, it's

My mind was foggy and my mind was moving as slowly as a worm crawling through mud.

ETA: see next post for an explanation.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Moving - acts a NOUN!? It is called a "gerund"


Maybe this will help:

Every gerund, without exception, ends in ing. Gerunds are not, however, all that easy to identify. The problem is that all present participles also end in ing. What is the difference?

Gerunds function as nouns. Thus, gerunds will be subjects, subject complements, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.

Present participles, on the other hand, complete progressive verbs or act as modifiers.


and

The progressive form is a verb tense used to show an ongoing action in progress at some point in time. It shows an action still in progress.

The verbs in the progressive form use a form of "to be" + the present participle (an -ing verb). (It is the form of the helping verb that indicates the tense.)

Present Progressive: The cake is baking slowly.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

This is an example where almost everybody would make the same grammatical error, and they'd all think their grammar was correct!


In which case, they are correct and what ever grammar reference you are using is wrong.

Why? Because that's how language works. The grammar rules are descriptive not prescriptive.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

I'M STARTING AGAIN - WITH A SENTENCE EVEN YOU DULLARDS MAY BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND IF YOU ARE WILLING TO OPEN YOUR EYES.
* * *
Which of these two sentences do you prefer?
(A) His strength was awesome, lifting as powerful as Superman.
(B) His strength was awesome, lifting as powerfully as Superman.
* * *
You would all say, "Obviously, an author must use B."
That is precisely what I would say.
* * *
Look at what comes after the comma. It is a phrase, not a clause. It does not have a verb; it does not need one.
The entire phrase acts to provide extra information about 'His strength'.
* * *
That phrase has the form:
X as whatever as Superman.
Does anyone think 'Superman' is a verb? I think it is a noun.
Does anyone think what comes before the 'as whatever as' can be anything except a noun if what comes after is a noun?
X IS A NOUN! The 'lifting' is the present participle of a verb and being used as a noun. That is what is known as a gerund.
So, if you want to be technically correct, you would need to use an adjective for 'whatever', i.e. 'powerful' is technically correct???
I DO NOT WANT TO USE WHAT IS TECHNICALLY CORRECT HERE.
* * *
Don't you find this just a bit curious? This is a common enough type of construction that everybody gets wrong?
Everybody assumes they use 'powerfully' to obey one of the most basic rules of grammar: Use adverbs to modify verbs (exceptions are allowed if doing that would sound weird).
They are, in fact, applying one of the exceptions to an equally basic rule of grammar: Use adjectives to modify nouns (exceptions are allowed if doing that would sound weird).
* * *
I do not care whether care any of you believe this or not, but it is a fact. If you try to debate this I will probably not respond. If I choose to respond, I promise at least 50% of my words will be Australian's favourite adjectives.
I thought it was an interesting example of where authors must simply ignore the basic rules of grammar and use what sounds natural. I thought it interesting because most people know they often prefer the technically incorrect choice between 'I' and 'me', and other pronouns. How many would believe you if you told them this is a sentence in which they routine use incorrect grammar. Given the utterly incredulous responses from you lot, who think you know a lot about grammar, I think it would be almost none.
* * *
AND I REITERATE. I WOULD TELL THE AUTHOR TO USE 'POWERFULLY' - NOT THE GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT 'POWERFUL'.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Gerund (/ˈdʒɛrənd/ or /ˈdʒɛrʌnd/; abbreviated GER) is a term for a verb form that functions as a noun. Although similar in usage to verbal noun, the two terms are not synonymous as gerund retains properties of a verb while verbal noun does not; in English this is most evident in the fact that a gerund can be modified by an adverb and can take a direct object.

Thanks for trying to introduce some facts into this farce.
* * *
I did not know there was such as thing as a 'verbal noun' which was different to a 'gerund'.
I have no idea which my sample sentence is using. All I know is that the present participle is being used as a noun in my sample sentences.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

(A) His strength was awesome, lifting as powerful as Superman.
(B) His strength was awesome, lifting as powerfully as Superman.


Is that a trick question? They're both awful. I suppose you could make a weak case for (A), assuming the meaning to be 'His lifting was as powerful as Superman's.'

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

If you break down the meaning of the sentence, it's
My mind was foggy and my mind was moving as slowly as a worm crawling through mud.

Your assumption is if you can add words to a sentence without changing the meaning in any way, and I agree that is so here, then the parts of speech of words will be the same before and afterwards.
That assumption is false.
Test what happens if you try that with my new, very simple sample sentence. The result does not make sense.

Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

In which case, they are correct and what ever grammar reference you are using is wrong.
Why? Because that's how language works. The grammar rules are descriptive not prescriptive.

That's just a cop out for those unwilling to learn grammar.
* * *
Has this very basic rule of grammar changed at any time in recent centuries?
Use adjectives to modify nouns (but exceptions are allowed if the result would sound weird).
* * *
Have any of these very basic rules of grammar changed at any time in recent centuries?
Use adverbs to modify verbs (but exceptions are allowed if the result would sound weird).
Use the nominative case for pronouns that are the subjects of a clause, or represent a subject of a clause (but exceptions are allowed if the result would sound weird).
Use the objective case for pronouns that are objects within a clause, or represent objects within a clause (but exceptions are allowed if the result would sound weird).
* * *
Let me save you the trouble of responding. No! Those very basic rules have not changed in a very long time.
* * *
There have certainly been changes over time in those things that would be considered as sounding so weird an exception would be applied. There level of acceptance for 'I' vs 'me' has changed over time. Words are constantly acquiring new parts of speech that they may be used as.
BUT, it has not suddenly become acceptable to use adverbs to modify nouns.
AND, the 'moving' in my first sentence has been a noun, I suspect, since the time my ancestors, living in Britain at the time, spoke something similar to modern day German.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Is that a trick question? They're both awful. I suppose you could make a weak case for (A), assuming the meaning to be 'His lifting was as powerful as Superman's.'

I fucking give the bloody fucking hell bloody fucking up.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

Has this very basic rule of grammar changed at any time in recent centuries?


If the vast majority of people are following a different rule, then yes it has, whether you are willing to admit that it has or not.

You were the one who posited that everyone does something all the same way in a way that academics say is technically wrong.

Sorry, but if everyone is doing it technically wrong in exactly the same way then the rule has changed and the academics just haven't caught up yet.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

FUCK OFF!

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

as a worm crawling through mud.

That's a metaphor for moving slow I've never heard before.

Not to mention, it's not particularly apt, as worms travel quite swiftly through mud, loving it as a medium.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I thought minimalists didn't care about conveying subtle nuances, they only cared about removing words to make their stories 'stronger'. :)

As one of the aforementioned 'minimalists', I resemble that remark. But no, we want to prefer whatever the sentence said before, we just want to trim out any unnecessary punctuation or 'filler words', choosing simpler phrasing when possible (it often isn't, though).

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I resemble that remark.

HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA!

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

choosing simpler phrasing when possible ...

... unless there is some rhetorical need to include more words than essential.
If that's the definition of a 'Minimalist', then I'm one of them, and I bitterly resemble AJ's insinuation of any "new found" enlightenment.

Ross at Play

After notice in A and B insert "that"
C: Yeuch!!!
D: colloquial: OK as often spoken. An alternative is I couldn't but help noticing her looking ........... though I'm not keen on too many ings

If A and B need 'that' to sound okay I was correct in assessing those versions were in desperate need of revision.
C was merely testing an interim step. You assess 'Yeuch!'; I assessed 'Yuck!' You say tomayto, and I say tomarto.
I'm inclined to prefer 'noticing' to 'notice' too, but probably not when followed by another -ing word.
If you find a suitable word to replace 'looking' that does not end in -ing, I'll probably recommend the author changes 'notice' to 'noticing'.

Ross at Play

This was MERELY an example I used to demonstrate that in virtually identical sentences (one has an extra 'kept') it was necessary to change a 'she' to a 'her' to get something that did not sound obviously wrong. There's no grammatical reason why that was so.

Actually, I'm talking complete shit there. There is a grammar rule for this one. The same on it's always been: nominative case for subjects and objective case for objects.
I edited a sentence changing 'notice she kept looking at me' to 'notice she looking at me'.
When I did that 'she' changed from the subject of 'kept' to the object of 'notice'. Thus requiring a change from 'she' to 'her'.
As a volunteer editor, I would drive myself mad if I attempted to analyse after every word I find to cut whether a pronoun has changed from the subject of one verb to the object of another - knowing there are many times I will still assess common usage requiring the grammatically incorrect choice to be made.
I note the original poster does list themselves as an editor available for 4 to 6 hours, and you state you are, "Very picky about word usage, spelling and punctuation." With complete sincerity, good on you! I'm sure there are some authors who value your efforts on their behalf.
As someone averaging over 50 hours per week, I say I don't have the time to bothered with stuff like that (EXCEPT for the valid point you made of testing with a pronoun alone, instead of a pronoun and other(s) joined by conjunctions). I pick what sounds natural almost always the time, and the authors I work with prefer me to devote my energies to things they consider far more important.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Slow-worms are a type of lizard and don't like mud ;)

AJ

awnlee jawking

After notice in A and B insert "that"


An editor obsessed with minimalism will unthinkingly change 'The house that Jack built' to 'The house Jack built, claiming it's stronger (less susceptible to lupine blowjobs?).

Yet that removes a nuance caused by the author choosing to write 'The house that Jack built' rather than 'The house which Jack built'.

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

An editor obsessed with minimalism will unthinkingly change 'The house that Jack built' to 'The house Jack built' ... That removes a nuance caused by the author choosing to write 'The house that Jack built' rather than 'The house which Jack built'.

So then, the author rejects the editor's suggestion.
You are the one assuming 'minimalism' implies "obsession" and "unthinking". That appears to be your obsession. :-)

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Yet that removes a nuance caused by the author choosing to write 'The house that Jack built' rather than 'The house which Jack built'.


What's the difference between those two?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

What's the difference between those two?

My feeling is the 'that' sentence emphasises the house, while the 'which' sentence emphasises Jack was its builder.
It's subtle, but there is a difference between them.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

It's subtle, but there is a difference between them.


I just looked it up. "Which" is incorrect in that sentence. From Writer's Digest:

If the sentence doesn't need the clause that the word in question is connecting, use which. If it does, use that. (Pretty easy to remember, isn't it?) Let me explain with a couple of examples.

Our office, which has two lunchrooms, is located in Cincinnati.
Our office that has two lunchrooms is located in Cincinnati.

These sentences are not the same. The first sentence tells us that you have just one office, and it's located in Cincinnati. The clause which has two lunchrooms gives us additional information, but it doesn't change the meaning of the sentence. Remove the clause and the location of our one office would still be clear: Our office is located in Cincinnati.

The second sentence suggests that we have multiple offices, but the office with two lunchrooms is located in Cincinnati. The phrase that has two lunchrooms is known as a restrictive clause because another part of the sentence (our office) depends on it. You can't remove that clause without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

I just looked it up. "Which" is incorrect in that sentence. From Writer's Digest:

What you have looked up the pronoun to be preferred when introducing a clause which interrupts the main clause of a sentence.
AJ's examples use them as relative pronoun within the main clause of a sentence.
Both are valid in this example. 'That' stresses the one that has already been mentioned, 'which' stresses there is important new information and identifies what is being further described.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Both are valid in this example.


not according to Writer's Digest

If the sentence doesn't need the clause that the word in question is connecting, use which. If it does, use that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

My apology for misunderstanding you

I have just deleted my post objecting to one of your posts.
I will be quite content if you delete both the post I objected to, and your recent explanation.

I would like it to appear, as I now feel, that it never happened. :-)

Ross at Play

After notice in A and B insert "that"

The point you were trying to make finally dawned on me, and I agree.
'That' was very many uses. My dictionary lists two as a determinator, four as a pronoun, and three as a conjunction and as an adverb.
Adding 'that' into my original sentence feels right to me because it would be acting like a preposition. WFT? A preposition? Yes!
Many verbs have special affinities for specific prepositions, they 'take them', in specific situations. For example, sit at a table, on a chair, and in a lounge.
I think the verb 'notice' has a similar affinity to expressions beginning with 'that', which is then in a position usually occupied by prepositions, even if it is actually ... an adverb, presumably?
So what this "minimalist" is about to do is suggest the author inserts a nonessential 'that' they hadn't thought of using!
I will also reverse my previous suggestion to replace 'kept looking' with 'looking'. What they had before has a more specific meaning which precisely describes what is happening in their story. That means going back from 'her' to 'she' as well.
My new recommendation tp the author is:
I couldn't help but notice that she kept looking at me.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I will also reverse my previous suggestion to replace 'kept looking' with 'looking'.


They imply different things.

"Kept looking" means she looked at him, looked away, and kept looking back at him.

"Looking" means she's staring at him without looking away.

Replies:   Ross at Play  sejintenej
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

That's why I reversed my opinion.
My point was that even as a "minimalist", I will select a form with more words to get the best meaning.
That's what some people here cannot get into their heads: believing in minimising word counts does not imply a belief it is the most/only important thing.

sejintenej

@Switch Blayde


They imply different things.

"Kept looking" means she looked at him, looked away, and kept looking back at him.

"Looking" means she's staring at him without looking away.

My brand of English says otherwise. "Kept looking" indicates a continued action but could suggest that there was an extraneous factor which could have broken the continuity but didn't:
"She kept looking at the picture despite the argument behind her"
It would be a parallel to "continued to look" which I think is a bit clumsy

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

My brand of English says otherwise.

I'm with SB on this one.
Look is the action of turning or starting to watch.
Thus 'kept looking' becomes continual glances.
Continuous tenses of starting something don't really make sense. On its own, 'looking' sort of morphs into a synonym of watch.
PS. It never happened. :-)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I think it's ambiguous because either interpretation could be right, and there's no context to help the reader differentiate.

If the author intends the SB interpretation, 'glancing' could be substituted for 'looking'. For the alternative interpretation, how about 'staring'? Or its de facto US spelling, 'starring' :)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play  Capt. Zapp
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I think it's ambiguous because either interpretation could be right, and there's no context to help the reader differentiate.

If the author intends the SB interpretation, 'glancing' could be substituted for 'looking'. For the alternative interpretation, how about 'staring'? Or its de facto US spelling, 'starring' :)

The context is an extremely awkward family dinner with not a word being said. The father has just caught his teenage daughter about to have sex when he came home early from work. She's not 'staring' at him. 'Glancing' suggests a desire to look at him. I think 'kept looking' suggests constantly checking for signals while wanting to avoid eye contact.
I've looked at synonyms.com and cannot see anything else that comes close.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

'Glancing' suggests a desire to look at him.


That's not a connotation present in the version of English English that I know: 'a brief or hurried look'.

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej  Ross at Play
sejintenej

glancing, looking, staring (starring - USA)

This whole question sent me to the books because I think I saw different differences.
My immediate reaction was that the three words suggest different times of the action; a glance being a microsecond (OK so I exaggerate) to staring being almost minutes.
My dictionary shows:

glancing; take a quick look

to look; to direct ones eyes in order to see

to stare; to look with a steady fixed gaze, eyes wide open, as in wonder, curiosity, dullness. Later in the definition; pressing or inescapable, obvious.

As to Ross At Play's context I agree that he could use either glance/ing or look/ing depending on how he wants the dinner to pan out though I suspect that she would look carefully at her father several times

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

believing in minimising word counts does not imply a belief it is the most/only important thing.


Eliminating words isn't about word count. It's to make the prose more powerful by eliminating the unnecessary words that don't add anything. You did the right thing to use the right words to convey what was meant.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@sejintenej


"She kept looking at the picture despite the argument behind her"


By adding "despite the argument behind her" you added significance to "kept." It means there was a disturbance that she ignored because she couldn't keep her eyes off the picture.

Okay, it's a subtle difference, but isn't that what choosing the right word and phrase is all about for a writer?

Just selecting "gaunt" over "thin" makes a world of difference.

Capt. Zapp

@awnlee jawking

If the author intends the SB interpretation, 'glancing' could be substituted for 'looking'. For the alternative interpretation, how about 'staring'? Or its de facto US spelling, 'starring' :)


Staring and Starring are two different things.

Staring - to gaze fixedly and intently, especially with the eyes wide open.

Starring - an adjective that's used when someone's at the center of things, like a concert starring a famous cellist.

sejintenej

@awnlee jawking

'Glancing' suggests a desire to look at him.

That's not a connotation present in the version of English English that I know: 'a brief or hurried look'.

I can go with Ross at Play. She does not wish to be seen doing it but something makes her want to look at him, hence a (hurried) glance

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Me : 'Glancing' suggests a desire to look at him.
You: That's not a connotation present in the version of English English that I know: 'a brief or hurried look'.

I am prepared to change my previous comment about 'glance' to:

I don't give a rat's arse what anyone thinks about 'glance'. The author selected 'kept looking', and upon close inspection that appears to mean precisely what they were looking for. Approved!

sejintenej

@Switch Blayde


Okay, it's a subtle difference, but isn't that what choosing the right word and phrase is all about for a writer?

Agreed entirely. A lot of what I read on the Forum relates to those subtle differences which can clarify a sentence but still keep it short and thus help Switch Blayde in

Eliminating words isn't about word count. It's to make the prose more powerful by eliminating the unnecessary words that don't add anything. You did the right thing to use the right words to convey what was meant.

A problem seems to be that different cultures can read a word/phrase in different ways - a paradox

awnlee jawking

@Capt. Zapp

Staring and Starring are two different things.


Did I omit the smiley?

I was making fun of the number of authors (and editors) who get it wrong. A similar mistake is gaped/gapped :(

AJ

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Ross at Play

I never expected I would need to look up the meaning of 'look', but I did, and I learned something new. :-)

Capt. Zapp

@awnlee jawking

Did I omit the smiley?


I had to go back and look. You didn't, I just missed it. 8)

sejintenej

@Capt. Zapp

Staring and Starring are two different things.

I'm not sure where the "starring" part of my quote came from. I had copied from the dictionary by hand before typing but seeing the reference here I went back and couldn't find the USA reference.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@sejintenej

I'm not sure where the "starring" part of my quote came from.


I think AJ put it in as a joke since there has been so much discussion about the many variations of the English language.

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

not according to Writer's Digest

Not being a regular reader of Writer's Digest (I doubt I've ever read a single thing from that source), I'd hardly quote it as an unerring reference without some supporting documentation (say, a secondary source). For all we know, that might be one, of several, interpretations, but their style guide insists it's the only one they are allowed to use.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

That's what some people here cannot get into their heads: believing in minimising word counts does not imply a belief it is the most/only important thing.

The perfect story:

Once upon a time, there was a happy ending!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

"She kept looking at the picture despite the argument behind her"
It would be a parallel to "continued to look" which I think is a bit clumsy

How about: "kept glancing"?

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Just selecting "gaunt" over "thin" makes a world of difference.

Does that mean you prefer gaunt sentences? 'D

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

The perfect story:
Once upon a time, there was a happy ending!

One upon a time, it all ended happily!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Not being a regular reader of Writer's Digest (I doubt I've ever read a single thing from that source), I'd hardly quote it as an unerring reference without some supporting documentation (say, a secondary source).


How about Grammar Girl http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0

She says the same thing:

If removing the words that follow would change the meaning of the sentence, use "that." Otherwise, "which" is fine.

Here's the deal: some people will argue that the rules are more complex and flexible than this, but I like to make things as simple as possible, so I say that you use that before a restrictive clause and which before everything else.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

This is a point I tried to make a long time ago when I stated:

What you have looked up the pronoun to be preferred when introducing a clause which interrupts the main clause of a sentence.
AJ's examples use them as relative pronoun within the main clause of a sentence.

I accept your quote from Grammar Girl above. This choice is so ill-defined/complex that most writers would improve their writing by consistently employing this advice from her:

use 'that' before a restrictive clause and 'which' before everything else.

But AJ's sentence 'The house ... Jack built' there is no restrictive clause and no nonrestrictive clause either.
The clause 'Jack Built' cannot be cut out without alerting meaning (nonrestrictive clause).
It cannot be cut out in a way way which alters the meaning (restrictive clause).
It cannot be cut out at all without leaving a sentence that has no meaning at all, 'The house.'
* * *
I would be very interested in knowing what the Writer's Digest says about making choices between the relative pronouns, 'that' and 'which', and 'this' and 'it' for that matter.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Capt. Zapp


I'm not sure where the "starring" part of my quote came from.

I think AJ put it in as a joke since there has been so much discussion about the many variations of the English language.


Honesty; don't be shocked :-)

It was I who originally wrote it. I knew about starring as in films etc. but reckoned at the time that it was also another sign of USA mangling the spelling of a perfectly good word.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

sejintenej

"She kept looking at the picture despite the argument behind her"

It would be a parallel to "continued to look" which I think is a bit clumsy

How about: "kept glancing"?

Certainly IF she was looking / engaged elsewhere at the same time. The context might state or imply that - it's up to the author

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

One upon a time, it all ended happily!

One upon the other, the orgy ended happily for all.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

How about Grammar Girl

Yep. That's a more reliable source.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Certainly IF she was looking / engaged elsewhere at the same time. The context might state or imply that - it's up to the author

"Studied their body language, rather than looking at them" works well to (given the context), though it's hardly brief.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

@SB : How about Grammar Girl

@CW : Yep. That's a more reliable source.

They lock people up, literally, where I now live in for heresies such as this ... but I'll say it anyway.

I have quite often found Grammar Girl's explanations to be well researched to the extent they go, but they leave out essential details - with nothing to indicate there is anything more to the answer than what she has provided. I think she often gives "quick and dirty" advice which I am not prepared to rely upon.

Nonetheless, I find her blog worthwhile reading, if only for the proof she constantly provides that technical writing on boring subjects can be made interesting as well as illuminating, a joy just to read, by a very skillful writer.

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