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TIL

TIL Grammar Glossary

N01.htm

Compiled from various sources by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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Grammar Glossary - N

narrationnarratornegativenegative pronounneologismnetiquettenewsgroupnominalnominalizationnominative casenon-action verbnoncount nounnon-defining relative clausenon-errornonessential elementnonfinite verbnonrestrictive elementnonstandardnounnoun as adjectivenoun clausenoun phrasenumbernumeral

UKT Notes
non-errorsNominalizers in BurmeseNoun phrase Unnecessary uses of verb "to Be"

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narration 

From: LBH
Recounting a sequence of events, usually in the order of their occurrence. (See pp. 26–27 and 95.)
Literary narration tells a story. (See Chapter 49.)

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narrator 

From: LBH
The speaker in a poem or the voice who tells a story. (See p. 797.)

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negative

From: UseE
A negative structure can show the absence of a noun or any other substantive, the non-performance of the action described by a verb, or the non-existence in the case of a stative verb. An adverb or adjective can equally be negated so that it expresses the absence of the quality or characteristic described. Negation can be used to break the linking function of a preposition so that the items governed by it are shown to be separate.
     Unless it is tied to something quantifiable, the number zero or nought simply implies an absence of anything numerically quantifiable. In contrast, negation in language functions in a contradictory way; it invokes a connection, action, modification, etc., only to then deny it. However, a negative nearly always creates a ghostly presence of the very thing it is saying is absent. Something may well not be green, but in learning that our image and understanding of whatever it is coloured by the green whose absence is a characteristic.
     This ingenious mechanism common to all languages is one of the driving forces of creativity and generators of meaning. Through it we have access to one of the primary and most fundamental of all tools for creating shades of meaning.

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negative pronoun

From: UseE
A negative pronoun refers to a negative noun phrase; no-one, nobody, neither, none and nothing are the negative pronouns used in English.

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neologism 

From: LBH
A word coined recently and not in established use. (See p. 562.)

From: UseE
A neologism is a new word that comes into use. Technology is an area particularly rich in them; CD, Internet, information superhighway, etc.

Excerpt from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neologism 090103
A neologism (from Greek neo = "new" + logos = "word") is a word that, devised relatively recently in a specific time period, has not been accepted into a mainstream language. By definition, neologisms are "new", and as such are often directly attributable to a specific individual, publication, period, or event. The term "neologism" was coined in 1803.

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netiquette 

From: LBH
Conventions and courtesies for Internet communication. (See pp. 195–97.)

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newsgroup 

From: LBH
An Internet discussion group with a common site where all postings are recorded. (See p. 661.)

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nominal 

From LBH
A noun, a pronoun, or a word or word group used as a noun:

Joan and I talked.
The rich owe a debt to the poor

   (adjectives acting as subject and object).

Baby-sitting can be exhausting
   (gerund acting as subject).

I like to play with children
   (infinitive phrase acting as object).

UKT: Compare each pair:
   noun  –>  nominal
   verb   –>  verbal

From AHTD
adj. 1. a. Of, resembling, relating to, or consisting of a name or names. b. Assigned to or bearing a person's name: nominal shares. 2. Existing in name only. 4. Insignificantly small; trifling: a nominal sum. 6. Grammar Of or relating to a noun or word group that functions as a noun. n. Grammar 1. A word or group of words functioning as a noun.

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nominalization

From AHTD
nominal adj. 1. a. Of, resembling, relating to, or consisting of a name or names. b. Assigned to or bearing a person's name: nominal shares. 2. Existing in name only. ... 6. Grammar Of or relating to a noun or word group that functions as a noun.
n. Grammar
1. A word or group of words functioning as a noun. [Middle English nominalle of nouns from Latin nōminālis of names from nōmen nōmin-name.]

From The Grammaticalization of Nominalizers in Burmese by Andrew Simpson
Definition: A nominalizer: a morpheme whose primary function is to convert a non-nominal input form into a nominal category.
See summary of the complete paper in my notes under Nominalizers in Burmese . The whole paper with my additions in Burmese-Myanmar and in Romabama is in Simpson-normalize.htm .

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nominative case

See nominative case in my notes.

From: LBH
Another term for subjective case. See • case.

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non-action verb

From: Linn-Benton - Linn-Benton Community College. http://www.linnbenton.edu/
(also called helping verbs or linking verbs)
The following verbs are linking verbs when used alone. Many of the following verbs can act as helping verbs when paired with an action verb.

• am • appear, appeared • appearing, appears • are • become (ing), became (s) • been (never used alone) • being (never used alone) • can, could • did, does, do, doing, done • feel, feels • feeling, felt • has, had • have, having • is, be (rarely alone) • look, looking, looked, looks • may, might • seem, seemed • seeming, seems • shall, should • was, were • will, willing • would

Linking verbs link the subject of the sentence to words that describe or rename that subject.

A helping verb is often added to the action verb to show tense.
1. Linking verbs can be used singly.

Mustafa is forty today.
Larry and Sharon are accounts.

2. Linking verbs can be used with other linking verbs.

Ruth should have been here by now.

3. Helping verbs can be used with an action verb. In fact, verbs that end in -ed or -ing must have a helping verb to be the verb in a clause.

The team captain had noticed the player limping.
The players were running toward the ball.

4. Be, been, being are almost always used with another helping verb.

June will be out of the hospital tomorrow.
Dad has been asleep for an hour.
That driver is being reckless by speeding.

5. The verbs can/could, may/might, must, shall/should, will/would are always followed by another verb to form the verb in a clause.

I should study tonight.
Will I see you at the Timber Carnival?

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noncount noun 

See • noun • mass noun

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non-defining relative clause

From: UseE
This gives extra information about a noun or noun phrase and has commas at both ends:

My sister, who lives in France, is coming to stay with me next week.
('who lives in France' is not essential, which means that I only have one sister and she does not need to be defined by the relative clause)

• 'Who' and 'whose' are used for people.
• 'Which' and 'whose' are used for things.
• 'That' cannot be used in a non-defining relative clause.
See also: { Defining Relative Clause}; { Relative Pronoun}
Related Article: Relative Clauses - Learn about Relative Pronouns in Non-Restrictive Clauses (Non-Defining clauses) and Restrictive Clauses (Defining clauses).

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non-error

See non-errors in my notes.

Excerpt from Paul Brians Non-Errors http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/nonerrors.html 080718

Those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English.

 

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nonessential element 

From: LBH
A word or word group that does not limit the term or construction it refers to and thus is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Also called a nonrestrictive element, a nonessential element is set off by punctuation, usually commas:

The new apartment building, in shades of tan and gray, will house fifty people.
(nonessential adjective phrase).

Sleep, which we all need, occupies a third of our lives.
(nonessential adjective clause).

His wife, Patricia, is a chemist
(nonessential appositive).

Contrast • essential element. (See pp. 473–77.)

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nonfinite verb 

See • verbal • verbal phrase

From: UseE
The non-finite forms of a verb have no tense, person or singular / plural. The infinitive and present- and past-participles are the non-finite parts of a verb:  to do; doing; done

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nonrestrictive element 

See • nonessential element.

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nonstandard 

From: LBH
Words and grammatical forms not conforming to standard English. (See p. 559.)

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noun 

See • substantive

From: LBH
A word that names a person, place, thing, quality, or idea:
[e.g.] • Maggie  • Alabama  • clarinet  • satisfaction  • socialism  
Nouns normally form the possessive case by adding -'s (Maggie's) and the plural by adding -s or -es (clarinets, messes), although there are exceptions (men, women, children).

The forms of nouns depend partly on where they fit in certain overlapping groups:

• Common nouns name general classes and are not capitalized:
     book / government / music
 

• Proper nouns name specific people, places, and things and are capitalized:
     Susan / Athens / Candlestick Park
 

• Count nouns name things considered countable in English (they form plurals):
     ounce –> ounces 
     camera –> cameras
     person –> people
 

• Noncount nouns name things not considered countable in English (they don't form plurals):
     chaos / fortitude / silver / earth / information
 

• Collective nouns are singular in form but name groups:
     team / class / family
 

From: UseE
A noun is a word used to refer to people, animals, objects, substances, states, events and feelings. Nouns can be a subject (S) or an object (O) of a verb (V) [in a sentence of form SVO]. [Nouns as S and O], can be modified by an adjective and can take an article or determiner. Nouns may be divided into two groups:
     Countable Nouns have plural forms and Uncountable Nouns do not.

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noun as adjective

From: UseE
We can use a noun as an adjective when it precedes a noun that it modifies:
     a mountain bike
is a bike designed for riding up mountains. 'Mountain' functions as an adjective modifying the noun 'bike'. The second noun takes the plural form, while the first behaves like an adjective and consequently does not, unless the word is normally used in the plural (sports hall) or refers to people (women footballers).
     We use these for well-known things, some can be hyphenated and some are written as one word.

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noun clause 

From: LBH
A word group containing a subject and a verb and functioning as a subject, object, or complement:

Everyone wondered how the door opened.
Whoever opened it had left.

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noun phrase

See • Noun phrase in my notes

From: UseE
A noun phrase is either a single noun or pronoun or a group of words containing a noun or a pronoun that function together as a noun or pronoun, as the subject (S) or object (O) of a verb (V) [in a sentence].
[UKT: It is best to always look from the point of view of syntax of a sentence.]

 John was late.
'John' is the noun phrase [containing only a single word] functioning as the subject (S) of the verb (V).)

The people that I saw coming in the building at nine o'clock have just left.
('The people ... nine o'clock' is a lengthy noun phrase, but it functions as the subject (S) of the main verb 'have just left'.)
[UKT: I would analyse the sentence as: S = people, V = left. The phrase containing people is a noun phrase.]

UKT note: The word "that" in the noun phrase " The people that I saw coming in the building at nine o'clock" the word "that" is not necessary. See Unnecessary Uses of “To Be” in my notes.

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number 

From: LBH
number
grammar
The form of a noun, pronoun, demonstrative adjective, or verb that indicates whether it is singular or plural:
[e.g.] • woman, women  •  I, we  •  this, these  • runs, run

From: UseE
In grammar, number is whether a word is singular or plural, especially nouns and demonstratives.
[UKT: "The use of the word "word" is too general to be misleading. It should have been "subject" or "verb" in a sentence of form SVO (subject-verb-object). ]

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numeral

From: UseE 
A numeral is a word or phrase used for numbers; 'one' and 'first', etc.

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UKT notes

non-errors

From http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/nonerrors.html 090103
UKT: Some of the subheadings in the original article are bookmarked for some unknown reason. I have increased their font-size.

Split infinitives

For the hyper-critical, “to boldly go where no man has gone before” should be “to go boldly. . . .” It is good to be aware that inserting one or more words between “to” and a verb is not strictly speaking an error, and is often more expressive and graceful than moving the intervening words elsewhere; but so many people are offended by split infinitives that it is better to avoid them except when the alternatives sound strained and awkward.

Ending a sentence with a preposition

A fine example of an artificial “rule” which ignores standard usage. The famous witticism usually attributed to Winston Churchill makes the point well: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.” see The American Heritage Book of English Usage. Jack Lynch has some sensible comments on this issue. If you think you know the original version of this saying, click here.

Beginning a sentence with a conjunction

It offends those who wish to confine English usage in a logical straitjacket that writers often begin sentences with “and” or “but.” True, one should be aware that many such sentences would be improved by becoming clauses in compound sentences; but there are many effective and traditional uses for beginning sentences thus. One example is the reply to a previous assertion in a dialogue: “But, my dear Watson, the criminal obviously wore expensive boots or he would not have taken such pains to scrape them clean.” Make it a rule to consider whether your conjunction would repose more naturally within the previous sentence or would lose in useful emphasis by being demoted from its position at the head of a new sentence.

Using “between” for only two, “among” for more

The “-tween” in “between” is clearly linked to the number two; but, as the Oxford English Dictionary notes, “In all senses, between has, from its earliest appearance, been extended to more than two.” We’re talking about Anglo-Saxon here — early. Pedants have labored to enforce “among” when there are three or more objects under discussion, but largely in vain. Even the pickiest speaker does not naturally say, “A treaty has been negotiated among England, France, and Germany.”

Over vs. more than

Some people claim that “over” cannot be used to signify “more than,” as in “Over a thousand baton-twirlers marched in the parade.” “Over,” they insist, always refers to something physically higher: say, the blimp hovering over the parade route. This absurd distinction ignores the role metaphor plays in language. If I write 1 on the blackboard and 10 beside it, 10 is still the “higher” number. “Over” has been used in the sense of “more than” for over a thousand years.

Gender vs. sex

Feminists eager to remove references to sexuality from discussions of females and males not involving mating or reproduction revived an older meaning of “gender,” which had come to refer in modern times chiefly to language, as a synonym for “sex” in phrases such as “Our goal is to achieve gender equality.” Americans, always nervous about sex, eagerly embraced this usage, which is now standard. In some scholarly fields, “sex” is now used to label biologically determined aspects of maleness and femaleness (reproduction, etc.) while “gender” refers to their socially determined aspects (behavior, attitudes, etc.); but in ordinary speech this distinction is not always maintained. It is disingenuous to pretend that people who use “gender” in the new senses are making an error, just as it is disingenuous to maintain that “Ms.” means “manuscript” (that’s “MS”). Nevertheless, I must admit I was startled to discover that the tag on my new trousers describes not only their size and color, but their “gender.”

Using “who” for people, “that” for animals and inanimate objects

In fact there are many instances in which the most conservative usage is to refer to a person using “that”: “All the politicians that were at the party later denied even knowing the host” is actually somewhat more traditional than the more popular “politicians who.” An aversion to “that” referring to human beings as somehow diminishing their humanity may be praiseworthily sensitive, but it cannot claim the authority of tradition. In some sentences, “that” is clearly preferable to “who”: “She is the only person I know of that prefers whipped cream on her granola.” In the following example, to exchange “that” for “who” would be absurd: “Who was it that said, ‘A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle’?”*

*Commonly attributed to Gloria Steinem, but she attributes it to Irina Dunn.

“Since” cannot mean “because”

“Since” need not always refer to time. Since the 14th century, when it was often spelled “syn,” it has also meant “seeing that” or “because.”

Hopefully

This word has meant “it is to be hoped” for a very long time, and those who insist it can only mean “in a hopeful fashion” display more hopefulness than realism.

Momentarily

“The plane will be landing momentarily” says the flight attendant, and the grumpy grammarian in seat 36B thinks to himself, “So we’re going to touch down for just a moment?” Everyone else thinks, “Just a moment now before we land.” Back in the 1920s when this use of “momentarily” was first spreading on both sides of the Atlantic, one might have been accused of misusing the word; but by now it’s listed without comment as one of the standard definitions in most dictionaries.

Lend vs. loan

“Loan me your hat” was just as correct everywhere as “lend me your ears” until the British made “lend” the preferred verb, relegating “loan” to the thing being lent. However, as in so many cases, Americans kept the older pattern, which in its turn has influenced modern British usage so that those insisting that “loan” can only be a noun are in the minority.

Regime vs. regimen

Some people insist that “regime” should be used only in reference to governments, and that people who say they are following a dietary regime should instead use “regimen”; but “regime” has been a synonym of “regimen” for over a century, and is widely accepted in that sense.

Near miss

It is futile to protest that “near miss” should be “near collision.” This expression is a condensed version of something like “a miss that came very near to being a collision” and is similar to “narrow escape.” Everyone knows what is meant by it and almost everyone uses it. It should be noted that the expression can also be used in the sense of almost succeeding in striking a desired target: “His Cointreau soufflé was a near miss.”

“None” singular vs. plural

Some people insist that since “none” is derived from “no one” it should always be singular: “none of us is having dessert.” However, in standard usage, the word is most often treated as a plural. “None of us are having dessert” will do just fine.

Scan vs. skim

Those who insist that “scan” can never be a synonym of “skim” have lost the battle. It is true that the word originally meant “to scrutinize,” but it has now evolved into one of those unfortunate words with two opposite meanings: to examine closely (now rare) and to glance at quickly (much more common). It would be difficult to say which of these two meanings is more prominent in the computer-related usage, to “scan a document.”

Off of

For most Americans, the natural thing to say is “Climb down off of [pronounced “offa”] that horse, Tex, with your hands in the air”; but many UK authorities urge that the “of” should be omitted as redundant. Where British English reigns you may want to omit the “of” as superfluous, but common usage in the US has rendered “off of” so standard as to generally pass unnoticed, though some American authorities also discourage it in formal writing. But if “onto” makes sense, so does “off of.” However, “off of” meaning “from” in phrases like “borrow five dollars off of Clarice” is definitely nonstandard.

Till vs. ’til.

Since it looks like an abbreviation for “until,” some people argue that this word should always be spelled “’til” (though not all insist on the apostrophe). However, “till” has regularly occurred as a spelling of this word for over 800 years and it’s actually older than “until.” It is perfectly good English.

Teenage vs. teenaged.

Some people object that the word should be “teenaged,” but unlike the still nonstandard “ice tea” and “stain glass,” “teenage” is almost universally accepted now.

Don’t use “reference” to mean “cite.”

Nouns are often turned into verbs in English, and “reference” in the sense “to provide references or citations” has become so widespread that it’s generally acceptable, though some teachers and editors still object.

Feeling bad

“I feel bad” is standard English, as in “This t-shirt smells bad” (not “badly”). “I feel badly” is an incorrect hyper-correction by people who think they know better than the masses. People who are happy can correctly say they feel good, but if they say they feel well, we know they mean to say they’re healthy.

Unquote vs. endquote

Some people get upset at the common pattern by which speakers frame a quotation by saying “quote . . . unquote,” insisting that the latter word should logically be “endquote”; but illogical as it may be, “unquote” has been used in this way for about a century, and “endquote” is nonstandard.

Persuade vs. convince

Some people like to distinguish between these two words by insisting that you persuade people until you have convinced them; but “persuade” as a synonym for “convince” goes back at least to the 16th century. It can mean both to attempt to convince and to succeed. It is no longer common to say things like “I am persuaded that you are an illiterate fool,” but even this usage is not in itself wrong.

Normalcy vs. normality

The word “normalcy” had been around for more than half a century when President Warren G. Harding was assailed in the newspapers for having used it in a 1921 speech. Some folks are still upset; but in the US “normalcy” is a perfectly normal — if uncommon — synonym for “normality.”

Aggravate vs. irritate

Some people claim that “aggravate” can only mean “make worse” and should not be used to mean “irritate”; but the latter has been a valid use of the word for four centuries, and “aggravation” means almost exclusively “irritation.”

You shouldn’t pronounce the “e” in “not my forte.”

Some people insist that it’s an error to pronounce the word “forte” in the expression “not my forte” as if French-derived “forte” were the same as the Italian musical term for “loud”: “for-tay.” But the original French expression is pas mon fort, which not only has no “e” on the end to pronounce — it has a silent “t” as well. It’s too bad that when we imported this phrase we mangled it so badly, but it’s too late to do anything about it now. If you go around saying what sounds like ”that’s not my fort,” people won’t understand what you mean.
   However, those who use the phrase to mean “not to my taste” (“Wagnerian opera is not my forte”) are definitely mistaken. Your forte is what you’re good at, not just stuff you like.

“Preventive” is the adjective, “preventative” the noun.

I must say I like the sound of this distinction, but in fact the two are interchangeable as both nouns and adjective, though many prefer “preventive” as being shorter and simpler. “Preventative” used as an adjective dates back to the 17th century, as does “preventive” as a noun.

People should say a book is titled such-and-such rather than entitled.

No less a writer than Chaucer is cited by the Oxford English Dictionary as having used “entitled” in this sense, the very first meaning of the word listed by the OED. It may be a touch pretentious, but it’s not wrong.

People are healthy; vegetables are healthful.

Logic and tradition are on the side of those who make this distinction, but I’m afraid phrases like “part of a healthy breakfast” have become so widespread that they are rarely perceived as erroneous except by the hyper-correct. On a related though slightly different subject, it is interesting to note that in English adjectives connected to sensations in the perceiver of an object or event are often transferred to the object or event itself. In the 19th century it was not uncommon to refer, for instance, to a “grateful shower of rain,” and we still say “a gloomy landscape,” “a cheerful sight” and “a happy coincidence.”

Female vs. woman

Some people argue that since we say — for instance — “male doctor” we should always say “female doctor” rather than “woman doctor.” It may be inconsistent, but the pattern of referring to females as women performers, professionals, etc. is very traditional, dating back at least to the 14th century. People who do this cannot be accused of committing an error.

Dinner is done; people are finished.

I pronounce this an antiquated distinction rarely observed in modern speech. Nobody really supposes the speaker is saying he or she has been roasted to a turn. In older usage people said, “I have done” to indicate they had completed an action. “I am done” is not really so very different.

Crops are raised; children are reared.

Old-fashioned writers insist that you raise crops and rear children; but in modern American English children are usually “raised.”

“You’ve got mail” should be “you have mail.”

The “have” contracted in phrases like this is merely an auxiliary verb, not an expression of possession. It is not a redundancy. Compare: “You’ve sent the mail.”

It’s “cut the muster,” not “cut the mustard.”

This etymology seems plausible at first. Its proponents often trace it to the American Civil War. We do have the analogous expression “to pass muster,” which probably first suggested this alternative; but although the origins of “cut the mustard” are somewhat obscure, the latter is definitely the form used in all sorts of writing throughout the twentieth century. Common sense would suggest that a person cutting a muster is not someone being selected as fit, but someone eliminating the unfit. See the alt.usage.english faq explanation of this term.

It’s “carrot on a stick,” not “carrot or stick.”

Authoritative dictionaries agree, the original expression refers to offering to reward a stubborn mule or donkey with a carrot or threatening to beat it with a stick and not to a carrot being dangled from a stick. Further discussion. This and other popular etymologies fit under the heading aptly called by the English “too clever by half."

“Spitting image” should be “spit and image.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earlier form was “spitten image,” which may indeed have evolved from “spit and image.” It’s a crude figure of speech: someone else is enough like you to have been spat out by you, made of the very stuff of your body. In the early 20th century the spelling and pronunciation gradually shifted to the less logical “spitting image,” which is now standard. It’s too late to go back. There is no historical basis for the claim sometimes made that the original expression was “spirit and image.”

“Lion’s share” means all of something, not the larger part of something.

Even though the original meaning of this phrase reflected the idea that the lion can take whatever he wants — typically all of the slaughtered game, leaving nothing for anyone else — in modern usage the meaning has shifted to “the largest share.” This makes great sense if you consider the way hyenas and vultures swarm over the leftovers from a typical lion’s kill.

“Connoisseur” should be spelled “connaisseur.”

When we borrowed this word from the French in the 18th century, it was spelled “connoisseur.” Is it our fault the French later decided to shift the spelling of many OI words to the more phonetically accurate AI? Of those Francophone purists who insist we should follow their example I say, let ’em eat bifteck.

See also Commonly Made Suggestions

List of errors

Go back non-errors-note-b

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Nominalizers in Burmese

UKT: See  The Grammaticalization of Nominalizers in Burmese by Andrew Simpson, Professor of Linguistics & East Asian Languages and Cultures,  http://victoria.linguistlist.org/~lapolla/nw/Simpson.doc 080622 ,
http://www.benjamins.nl/cgi-bin/t_articles.cgi?bookid=TSL%2076&artid=186116180 080627
UKT 151101 : The Grammaticalization of Nominalizers in Burmese in Word & PDF have been removed. My presentation in HTML format is in preparation stage. It can be navigated to from main bk-cndl-index:
- index.htm > BurMyan-indx.htm > BO-MLC-indx.htm > Normalizer.htm (link chk 151031)

This paper is concerned with the grammaticalization of clausal nominalizers in two different but closely-related forms of Burmese, Colloquial Burmese and Literary Burmese. A contrastive overview of the morphosyntactic properties of the nominalizers thii {thæÑ} and mii {mæÑ} of Literary Burmese and their Colloquial Burmese counterparts te {tèý} and me {tèý}, together with the application of a number of tests for the identification of nominalized constructions, reveal that grammaticalization is more advanced in the colloquial language than in the literary variety: te and me have lost their nominal specifications and been reanalysed as grammatical elements of a different categorial type, instantiating verb-related mood and realis–irrealis distinctions. The comparison of the system of nominalization in the two complementary varieties of Burmese allows for insights into the evolution, spread and reinterpretation of nominalization structures within a language.

Go back normaliz-Burm-note-b

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nominative case

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative 080710

The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun, which generally marks the subject of a verb, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. (Basically, it is a noun that is doing something, usually joined (such as in Latin) with the accusative case.)

Explanation
The nominative case is the usual, natural form (more technically, the least marked) of certain parts of speech, such as nouns, adjectives, pronouns and less frequently numerals and participles, and sometimes does not indicate any special relationship with other parts of speech. Therefore, in some languages the nominative case is unmarked, that is, the form or stem, with no inflection; alternatively, it may said to be marked by a zero morpheme. Moreover, in most languages with a nominative case, the nominative form is the lemma; that is, it is the one used to cite a word, to list it as a dictionary entry, etc.

Nominative cases are found in German, Latin, Icelandic, Old English, Polish, and Russian, among other languages. English still retains some nominative pronouns, as opposed to the accusative case or oblique case: I (accusative, me), we (accusative, us), he (accusative, him), she (accusative, her) and they (accusative, them). An archaic usage is the singular second-person pronoun thou (accusative thee). A special case is the word you: Originally ye was its nominative form and you the accusative, but over time you has come to be used for the nominative as well.

The term "nominative case" is most properly used in the discussion of nominative-accusative languages, such as Latin, Greek, and most modern Western European languages.

In active-stative languages there is a case sometimes called nominative which is the most marked case, and is used for the subject of a transitive verb or a voluntary subject of an intransitive verb, but not for an involuntary subject of an intransitive verb; since such languages are a relatively new field of study, there is no standard name for this case.

Subjective Case
Some writers of English employ the term subjective case instead of nominative, in order to draw attention to the differences between the "standard" generic nominative and the way it is used in English.

Generally, when the term subjective case is used, the accusative and dative are collectively labelled as the objective case. This is possible in English because the two have merged; there are no surviving examples where the accusative and the dative are distinct in form, though their functions are still distinct. The genitive case is then usually called the possessive form and often is not considered as a noun case per se; English is then said to have two cases, the subjective and the objective. This view is an oversimplification, but it is didactically useful.

End of Wiki article.
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Noun phrase

From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun_phrase 080524
In grammatical theory, a noun phrase (abbreviated NP)* is a phrase whose head is a noun or a pronoun, optionally accompanied by a set of modifiers.

* "Noun Phrases - Glossary Definition - UsingEnglish.com" (with examples), UsingEnglish.com, 21 August 2006, UsingEnglish.com/glossary webpage: UEng-noun-phrase.

Form
Noun phrases normally consist of a head noun, which is optionally modified ("premodified" If the modifier is placed before the noun; "postmodified" if the modifier is placed after the noun). Possible modifiers include:

determiners: articles (the, a), demonstratives (this, that), numerals (two, five, etc.), possessives (my, their, etc.), and quantifiers (some, many, etc.). In English, determiners are usually placed before the noun.
UKT: Compare "a dog" (English) to {hkwé: tic kaung} (Burmese).

adjectives (the red ball); or

complements, in the form of a prepositional phrase (such as: the student of physics), or a That-clause (the claim that the earth is round);

modifiers; premodifiers if placed before the noun and usually either as nouns (the university student) or adjectives (the beautiful lady), or postmodifiers if placed after the noun. A postmodifier may be either a prepositional phrase (the man with long hair) or a relative clause (the house where I live). The difference between modifiers and complements is that complements complete the meaning of the noun; complements are necessary, whereas modifiers are optional because they just give additional information about the noun.

That noun phrases can be headed by elements other than nouns — for instance, pronouns (They came) or determiners (I'll take these) — has given rise to the postulation of a Determiner phrase instead of a noun phrase. The English language is not as permissive as some other languages, with regard to possible heads of noun phrases. German, for instance, allows adjectives as heads of noun phrases, as in Gib mir die alten: Give me the olds (= old ones).

Noun phrases can make use of an apposition structure. This means that the elements in the noun phrase are not in a head-modifier relationship, but in a relation of equality. An example of this is I, Caesar, declare ..., where "Caesar" and "I" do not modify each other.

Noun-phrase as a grammatical unit
In English, for some purposes, noun phrases can be treated as single grammatical units. This is most noticeable in the syntax of the English genitive case. In a phrase such as The king of Sparta's wife, the possessive clitic "-'s" is not added to the king who actually has the wife, but instead to Sparta, as the end of the whole phrase. The clitic modifies the entire phrase the king of Sparta.

Grammatical function
Noun phrases are prototypically used for acts of reference as in "The blonde girl shouts" or "She kissed the man". Also possible, but found less often, is the use of noun phrases for predication, as in "Suzy is a blonde girl". Note that in English the use of the copula is indicates the use of a noun phrase as predicate, but other languages may not require the use of the copula. Finally, noun phrases are used for identifications like "The murderer was the butler", where no ascription is talking place. The possibility for a noun phrase to play the role of subject and predicate leads to the constructions of syllogisms.

Cross linguistic observation
Noun phrases are very common cross-linguistically, but some languages like Tuscarora and Cayuga have been argued to lack this category.

References used by Wikipedia
• Giorgi, A. - Longobardi, G. (1991) The syntax of noun phrases, Cambridge University Press, England.
• Moro, A. (1997) The raising of predicates. Predicative noun phrases and the theory of clause structure, Cambridge University Press, England.

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Unnecessary uses of verb "to Be"

Excerpt from Verb "to Be" in • Commnet http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/to_be.htm 080615

Unnecessary Uses of “To Be”
Even a casual review of your writing can reveal uses of the verb “To be” that are unnecessary and that can be removed to good effect. In a way, the “To be” verb doesn't do much for you — it just sits there — and text that is too heavily sprinkled with “To be” verbs can feel sodden, static. This is especially true of “To be” verbs tucked into dependent clauses (particularly dependent clauses using a passive construction) and expletive constructions (“There is,” “There were,” “it is,” etc.). Note that the relative pronoun frequently disappears as well when we revise these sentences.

• He wanted a medication that was prescribed by a physician.
• She recognized the officer who was chasing the crook.
• Anyone who is willing to work hard will succeed in this program.
It was Alberto who told the principal about the students' prank. (Notice that the “it was” brought special emphasis to “Alberto,” an emphasis that is somewhat lost by this change.)
• A customer who is pleased is sure to return. A pleased customer is sure to return. (When we eliminate the “To be” and the relative pronoun, we will also have to reposition the predicate adjective to a pre-noun position.)

An expletive construction, along with its attendant “To be” verb, can often be eliminated to good effect. Simply omit the construction, find the real subject of the sentence, and allow it to do some real work with a real verb.

There were some excellent results to this experiment in social work.
(Change to . . . .) This experiment in social work resulted in . . . .

There is one explanation for this story's ending in Faulkner's diary.
(Change to . . . .) Faulkner's diary gives us one explanation for this story's ending.

On the other hand, expletive constructions do give us an interesting means of setting out or organizing the work of a subsequent paragraph:

• There were four underlying causes of World War I. First, . . . .

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