Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

February Links

Posted by Neal on February 13, 2009

A bit late, but funny enough to include — fun with French accents and and holiday greeting cards:

(Hat tip to my Uncle Ricky.)

Have you ever heard someone say, “What are you, crazy?” and wondered if they were actually saying, “What, are you crazy?” So has Michael Covarrubias.

I wondered why I hadn’t seen any new columns from Jan Freeman recently. Now I know: Erin McKean is filling in for her for a few weeks. Check out this column on the proper circumstances in which to correct someone’s grammar. She finishes with a recent example of her own McKean’s Law in action:

And don’t forget that, due to the capricious nature of the universe, corrections of someone else’s speech or writing are more than likely to contain errors themselves — and set you up for others’ glee the next time you make a mistake. Chief Justice John Roberts is known as a stickler for the “rules” of English – and guess who mangled the oath of office with the whole world watching?

Lynne Murphy at Separated by a Common Language discusses some differences between British and American obituary writing styles.

Arnold Zwicky takes up the issue, discussed here on occasion, of constructions involving coordinated verb phrases and quoted material. He gives a neat overview of the factors that come together in various combinations to yield the syntactic variations that are out there.

3 Responses to “February Links”

  1. The Ridger said

    Except that when he repeated it back, he said “much happiness”. How does that work? “Much a”?

  2. The Ridger said

    (not that I mind typing the word, just don’t want to spoil the joke for anyone who’s reading the comments before watching the video)

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