Saturday, June 14, 2014

Definitely Defiant

I am definitely irritated by the frequent replacement of definitely with defiantly. As far as I can tell, this is simply a matter of people not paying attention when they're typing. I would hope that people know the difference, though that may be asking too much. It's one of those errors that is easy to make if you don't pay attention to what you're writing or typing.

Another common error in both speaking and writing is the use of the incorrect past participle form of certain verbs, those used with have. There are many verbs that have unusual forms for the past participle. For example: have sung, have swung, have come, have begun, have done, have drunk, have eaten, have gone, have swum, and many more.*
These are verbs that just have to be memorized because there is not necessarily a logical or consistent means of figuring out what the past and past participles should be. Many people, however, just use the regular past form with have, rather than the correct past participle. They say: I have sang a song; I have swang a bat; I have came to school; I have began a book; I have did this; I have drank pop; I have ate pizza; I have went to the store; I have swam in the pool.

Actually with swang and swung, more commonly it's actually the past pariciple used in place of the past tense: I swung the bat.

These are further confused by those that don't follow the pattern. It is drink, drank, drunk; but not think, thank, thunk. Sing, sang, sung; but not bring, brang, brung. That one IS frequently used by people trying to genralize the rule, but failing miserably.

English is a difficult language and it is distressing that more and more Americans don't even know how to speak or write it correctly. Or they don't care, which is almost as bad. 



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's the principal/principle

I was reading a book today. I know, shocker! I won't write the name of the book, but it is a fairly well know children's series. I found a grammatical error. Horrors! This makes me sad. I expect to find errors in self-published e-books; but not in an edited, printed, professionally-published book! The author used the word principal when he meant principle.

A principal is the person who runs a school.
A principle is a tenet or rule that one follows.

The principal is your pal (a person), as someone once taught me.

I have frequently seen these words mixed up by people writing comments on the internet. It's just another one of those stupid homonyms that people don't know how to use, or don't pay attention to. Why do we have so many of those (homonyms, not people)?

Leave/Let it be

I know it's been a while since I posted. I'm going to try to write more often from now on.

This afternoon, I was pondering the words leave and let. They are frequently used interchangeably, as in my title.

Leave it be.
Let it be.

Leave it alone.
Let it alone.

However, the interchangeability breaks down quickly.

Let it go.
Leave it go.

I have heard many people use the latter, unfortunately. I don't know the origins of the usages of these phrases. It makes me wonder if leave it be used to be non-standard and has been integrated and accepted over time. I hope leave it go doesn't do that. It sounds so wrong! Actually, the more I say leave it be, the more wrong it sounds, too!

This one just confuses me. Is it regional? I don't know what to do with it. All I can say is, as usual: think before you speak!