Michelle Finlay

Everyday English for Grown-ups

    Varvara Kuzminahas quoted2 years ago
    English is one of the richest, most colourful and most subtle languages in the world. To speak or write good English – plain, lucid, jargon-free English – to have mastery of the language, is to have style.
    hkjggjhas quotedlast year
    Here are some examples (well there’s one already):
    Sofiya Aleksandrovichhas quoted2 months ago
    The Romans, under the command of Julius Caesar, invaded in AD 43, and brought with them their alphabet, formed from those of the Semitic, Egyptian Phoenician and Greek civilizations. The Latin alphabet consisted of twenty-three letters – our contemporary alphabet without the j (Julius was Iulius, and so on), u (the v – easier to carve in stone – was used for that sound) and w (see later).
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    Or to put two ideas in opposition: ‘Finders keepers: losers weepers’
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    Compare: ‘I picked all the flowers, which were growing over the path.’
    With: ‘I picked all the flowers which were growing over the path.’
    In the first sentence, all the flowers were growing over the path. In the second, I picked only those that were growing over the path; I left the rest unpicked.
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    In the US, the prevailing tendency is to use double quotation marks, thus: “…”, while in the UK the single mark ‘…’ is favoured
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    UK usage: ‘I heard a voice call to me. “Mary, look out,” it said.’
    US usage: “My father told me his life story. ‘Son, I want you to remember me’, he began.”
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    Granny gave the Christmas present to me
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    Granny gave me the Christmas present
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    This should be ‘We should go to buy a new alarm clock.’
    Why one simple word has been replaced by another is uncertain – perhaps because it was felt that the two verbs (in this case go and buy) had to be joined by a conjunction. It is a construction that is common in colloquial speech but should be avoided in formal writing
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    But it is sometimes used in place of the word to in an infinitive, as in ‘We should go and buy a new alarm clock.’
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    Both a and the can occasionally be lengthened (to ay and thee) for the purposes of emphasis. ‘No, not your car – ay car’; ‘It is thee finest wine
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    at the weekend’? (Indeed there is an increasing tendency – possibly under the influence of US English – to say ‘on the weekend’
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    It has been a matter of controversy for some time whether or not it is permissible to end a sentence with a preposition. Winston Churchill, whose mastery of the language was undeniable, demonstrated how clumsy that could make the language seem: ‘This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.’
    However, it is now generally considered that if you need to put a preposition at the end of a sentence, then go ahead and do so. If you apply common sense and your inner ear, you should not go wrong
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    Do not over-use them – a good rule in writing or speaking English is to keep it clear and simple first and foremost – add the extras, such as adjectives and adverbs, only where they serve to enhance what you have said or written
    b2544840794has quoted5 months ago
    have inflections – changes to their form – that do not conform. Two
    Сафира Тайhas quoted5 months ago
    Workers today are tasked to do something instead of being given a task (or even asked to do it). We now chair (or table something at) a meeting, torch a building or plate a meal. This usage can add colour or humour to what a person is saying – but it has to be deliberate and discerning.
    b2544840794has quoted6 months ago
    Indiscriminate use smacks of idleness
    b2544840794has quoted6 months ago
    Paparazzi is already a plural in Italian (the singular would be paparazzo) so we should avoid the temptation to refer to paparazzis. On
    b2544840794has quoted6 months ago
    deer, fish, jeans, scissors, sheep, species, wheat
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