6 Mar 2010

Predictably

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I just got a new laptop (oh frabjuous day!) to replace my 4-year-old antique, which was on its last legs. It's a very slick Asus model and so far I'm very happy with it, but while creating a recovery DVD, I encountered a very interesting usage of predictably to mean "it is predicted that": "Predictably, four blank writable DVDs are needed to create the recovery DVD." When I first saw this, I did a double-take, since as a sentence adverb, I take "predictably" to mean "as could be/have been predicted." It sounded like the computer was expressing frustration: I should have known!
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16 Feb 2010
Many people are deeply insecure about the difference between who and whom, resulting in hypercorrect insertions of whom where it doesn't belong. So it's interesting to find a writer using whom in the correct case while simultaneously falling into a different error, one that my intuition tells me should be much easier for native speakers to spot.
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19 Sep 2009

Avast

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Arrrh, me hearies! Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day, on which day I be wantin' to answer a question that gentlemen o' fortune all o'er the briny blue ha' been askin' theyselves: what be the part of speech of avast?
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30 Jul 2009

WTF?

Submitted by Karl Hagen
So the Top 100 Language Blog list done by Lexiophiles and bab.la came out today. Alas, I didn't make the cut, but there were some more surprising omissions, especially Language Log. Who in their right mind leaves Language Log off a list of 100 top language blogs? Or even a list of the top 10. Give me a break! Did everyone think that LL was a sure bet and so gave their vote elsewhere?
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9 Jul 2009
I've written before about how preparation material for the SAT writing section sometimes presents an over-simplified view of grammar that can get you into linguistic trouble. Here's another case in point: The following question appears in a Kaplan practice SAT (12 Practice Tests for the SAT 2009 Edition, p. 589):
Although talent may be a crucial element on the road to fame, it is difficult to succeed without a highly developed work ethic.
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