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If he could only speak English

by James Denison / March 29, 2009 8:22 PM PDT

Obama needs some grammar lessons. I guess they let anyone into Harvard nowadays.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/29950420
Specifically on the use of comparatives.


"We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry. But it's got to be one that's realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge -- at the other end -- much more lean, mean and competitive than it currently is," Obama said.

Everything between { and } should be considered a strikeout text below.

Should be;

"We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry. {But} (never start sentence
with a conjunction) {it's got to} it must be one that's realistically designed to
weather this storm and to emerge -- at the other end -- much {more lean, mean
and competitive} leaner, meaner, and more competitive than it currently is,"

Hmm, must be some new law degree language system we aren't aware of they teach at Harvard now.

Kool-ade anyone?

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I agree, you should never start a sentence with But.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 29, 2009 11:49 PM PDT

But sometimes I do. Happy

I wonder how President Bush, (Jnr), would have said that.

Mark

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I would cut him some slack...
by EdHannigan / March 29, 2009 11:58 PM PDT

These can be chalked up to stylistic or rhetorical variations.

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No one's perfect
by Willy / March 30, 2009 1:05 AM PDT

So far, I've yet to come across a perfect person or one said as so. Maybe, some people can walk on water but most sink. Your attention to the details of the speech, just points yet to another public figure having everything about what they said, done, will do, could possibility do or even suggests, if not on target or presented in some off way. Let's be clear, when under the magnifying glass, some defects appear especially when looking when for them. But, one should at least look at the content of a speech or presentation as a whole and see if the message got across.

"Kool-ade anyone?" Now, what does that say about you? -----Willy Happy

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I remember you complaining about
by Diana Forum moderator / March 31, 2009 1:03 AM PDT

people complaining about Bush's verbal gaffs. Wink

Diana

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They both went to Harvard.
by JP Bill / March 31, 2009 2:22 AM PDT
Wink
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can I have a link?
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 3:36 AM PDT
Shocked
I think I laughed at those too.
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I've noticed that too...
by shmody / March 31, 2009 2:45 AM PDT

It's surprising since he's typically rather eloquent. I guess off the cuff or on short-notice, it's a not quite A/A+ standards...

Also, I've noticed the press secretary (Gibbs?) has been using improper grammar or just incorrect and confusing adjectives or descriptors.

Someone throw the ('The Elements of Style' by Strunk & White or 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves' by Truss) book at'em... Wink

--S

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It's not just him
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 3:44 AM PDT

It's getting terrible on news broadcasts now too. The standard of "excellence" is greatly strained now when it comes to the news reporters. Also whoever puts the text on the bottom for some stories, it's often hilarious some of the spelling or grammatical constructions they use. I've often turned to my wife and remarked it must not be a requirement anymore to pass a basic English course to get hired as a journalist. Blown comparatives, pluralized words that already are plural, (such as seeds instead of seed, or mouses & mices for mice, etc.). Using -er on some words that don't and using "more" on those which do, and the coup de grace is when they combine them such as "much more leaner and more meaner....) At least Obama didn't go THAT far, lol. Of course the worst on TV text is not just the grammar but the spelling. "...the soldier desserted..." leaves you hoping he got the strawberry shortcake before the others showed up "to dessert".

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The verb "is" requires a subjective completion not an object
by Ziks511 / March 31, 2009 5:39 AM PDT
In reply to: It's not just him

You should have written "It's not just he; it's getting terrible on hews broadcsts as well."

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him as pronoun object
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 11:46 AM PDT

You say tomato, I say tomatoe Wink

http://www.eslcafe.com/grammar/pronouns01.html
Special Notes:

1. In traditional, formal grammar, subject
pronouns are used after BE:

This is he.
Was it I?

In conversational grammar, object pronouns
are more common:

This is him.
Was it me?


2. Object pronouns are used for direct objects,
indirect objects, and objects of prepositions:

I saw him / her / it / them / you yesterday.

I gave the message to him / her / them / you (or
I gave him / her / them / you the message).

She bought a gift for him / them / you / me / us
(or She bought him / them / you / me / us a gift).

They were standing near (next to, beside,
behind, near, in front of, etc.) me / us / you /
him / her / it.

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/myself.html
On a related point, those who continue to announce ?It is I? have traditional grammatical correctness on their side, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who proudly boast ?it?s me!? There?s not much that can be done about this now. Similarly, if a caller asks for Susan and Susan answers ?This is she,? her somewhat antiquated correctness is likely to startle the questioner into confusion.

http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.php?id=811
I suppose you could call it an idiom, or more likely, snobbery.

English is a Germanic language, and in general Germanic languages take the nominative case for the object (sometimes called predicate) of the verb "be". Modern German does for all objects of "be", not just pronouns.

Old English did this too, but in the middle ages, English started to change under the influence of French and started using the accusative (me, her, him, us, them) after "be" instead of the nominative (I, she, he, we, they).

If it was true that modern English took the nominative after "be", we would say things like "That's they over there" or "The man who murdered Poirot is he!".

So if anyone tries to tell you that "This is she" is really their natural way of speaking ... they
a) have been dead for several hundred years
b) are a snob
c) have had this rule shoved down their throat by a snob

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some history.
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 11:56 AM PDT
In reply to: him as pronoun object
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I'm surprised you...
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 11:59 AM PDT

...didn't hit me for something more obvious like the use of "just" for "only".

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The answer's simple.
by Paul C / March 31, 2009 9:39 AM PDT

The teleprompter must have been off. Without it, one realizes just how stunningly inarticulate this supposedly intelligent man really is.

Draw your own conclusions. One of mine is that an Ivy League education is no longer what it was once was, and probably no longer worth the enormous price premium that folks pay to put their children in one of those schools. After all, is not George W. Bush a Yale grad? Inarticulation must somehow have become part of the Ivies' curriculum. Another conclusion: Is anyone playing the role of language cop to the President? It seems not...

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at a time when we need stronger teaching of English, most
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 9:46 AM PDT
In reply to: The answer's simple.

...with all the new immigrants coming into the country through every port, across every border river, almost parachuting in at times, it seems even the institutions of higher learning have caved to special interest programs, ethnic based grant money, etc, all while smoothing the requirement to actually pass a basic English grammar test for that degree.

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isn't he speaking English as she is spoken?
by jonah jones / March 31, 2009 11:35 AM PDT

and don't forget, he learned it before he went to college


compare his standard to some of the 18-25 year olds you see on TV
and he sounds like a genius

.,

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I can't disagree with that one
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 12:04 PM PDT

He's certainly not a Noah Webster who, by the way, graduated from Yale.

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another irritant
by James Denison / March 31, 2009 12:12 PM PDT

is current practice in news of using the word "dived" for past tense of "dive" whereas at least in American style of English language the past of "dive" has always been "dove". I read and hear "he dived into the water...." and cringe since I'd have said "He dove into the water..."

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Interesting. Dived or dove.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 31, 2009 7:43 PM PDT
In reply to: another irritant

I can't disagree with you about that, but I would feel unhappy about using the word "dove". It just doesn't sound right to me.

I would be quite happy with "he drove downtown", instead of "he drived downtown", because there the word 'drived' is a nonsense word and doesn't, (or shouldn't), exist.

But I would have preferred the word 'dived'. "He dived to the bottom of the sea where he found the wreck", instead of "He dove to the bottom of the sea where he found the wreck".

Strange. Is there such a word as 'dived'? And if so, is there anywhere it would be used properly?

Mark

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a diva and a dove jumped from a bridge?
by jonah jones / March 31, 2009 8:37 PM PDT

no, the diva dived, the dove dove

the dove dived?, no...the dove dove

Happy

,.

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seems to exist
by James Denison / April 1, 2009 2:06 AM PDT

But where I grew up, anyone who used it got the "hick" treatment, lol. It wasn't taught in English class, was even taught against. I remember a listing of all those verbs that changed like that in 9th grade book. Wish I had it, can't recall the type of verb it was supposed to be, but all of them had letters change to make the past tense. Of course that happened with all those conditionals/subjunctives too, like can and could, will and would, shall and should, etc.

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Sometimes it depends on what part of the country
by Diana Forum moderator / April 1, 2009 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: another irritant
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here's a page on "dive"
by James Denison / April 1, 2009 1:55 AM PDT
http://www.writingenglish.com/cverbs/dive.htm
No "dived" here.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dive
usage Dive, which was originally a weak verb, developed a past tense dove, probably by analogy with verbs like drive, drove. Dove exists in some British dialects and has become the standard past tense especially in speech in some parts of Canada. In the United States dived and dove are both widespread in speech as past tense and past participle, with dove less common than dived in the south Midland area, and dived less common than dove in the Northern and north Midland areas. In writing, the past tense dived is usual in British English and somewhat more common in American English. Dove seems relatively rare as a past participle in writing.


http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dive
Usage Note: Either dove or dived is acceptable as the past tense of dive. Usage preferences show regional distribution, although both forms are heard throughout the United States. According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, in the North, dove is more prevalent; in the South Midland, dived. Dived is actually the earlier form, and the emergence of dove may appear anomalous in light of the general tendencies of change in English verb forms. Old English had two classes of verbs: strong verbs, whose past tense was indicated by a change in their vowel (a process that survives in such present-day English verbs as drive/drove or fling/flung); and weak verbs, whose past was formed with a suffix related to -ed in Modern English (as in present-day English live/lived and move/moved). Since the Old English period, many verbs have changed from the strong pattern to the weak one; for example, the past tense of step, formerly stop, became stepped. Over the years, in fact, the weak pattern has become so prevalent that we use the term regular to refer to verbs that form their past tense by suffixation of -ed. However, there have occasionally been changes in the other direction: the past tense of wear, now wore, was once werede, and that of spit, now spat, was once spitede. The development of dove is an additional example of the small group of verbs that have swum against the historical tide.


LOL, I'm still swimming!
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Loved that one
by Diana Forum moderator / April 1, 2009 3:03 AM PDT

Can you imagine telling the police "I stop over the body"? Wink

Diana

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