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    • Former MSE Rebecca
    • By Former MSE Rebecca 11th Nov 14, 11:48 AM
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    Former MSE Rebecca
    It's aitch not haitch
    • #1
    • 11th Nov 14, 11:48 AM
    It's aitch not haitch 11th Nov 14 at 11:48 AM
    Does it drive you up the wall when people 'literally' die laughing? Or how about those who give 110%? Check out Martin's top 10 list for word pedants' and let us know if you've got any to add.


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    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 12-11-2014 at 12:39 PM.
Page 29
    • Cloth of Gold
    • By Cloth of Gold 12th May 17, 2:06 PM
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    Cloth of Gold
    As regards the Rag, Tag and Bobtail thing, my first thought was whether 'neither....nor' could be used with more than two things. I think that these days you can do that, but then there should possibly be an extra 'nor', i.e. 'Neither Rag, nor Tag, nor Bobtail'.

    I'd probably use 'were happy'.

    Mind you, I've changed my mind a couple of times while typing this!

    If it were 'neither the twins, nor Rag, nor Bobtail' I'd definitely use 'were happy', just because it sounds better to me, there being a plural noun.

    This is the opposite of what I felt in the 'curtains' and 'wallpaper' sentence!

    Analysing it further, I think this might be because with either..... or, the implication is that just one thing is the end result, but with neither......nor there is more than one thing affected.

    Either Rag or Tag = only one of them is affected.

    Neither Rag nor Tag = both of them are affected.

    IYSWIM.
    Originally posted by Pyxis
    I also thought that 'neither' couldn't be used for more than two but I looked it up and evidently nowadays, as you say, it can. It's not something you would say very often though so I shan't worry about it.
    • coffeehound
    • By coffeehound 19th May 17, 9:41 PM
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    coffeehound
    Just seen an ad for Alpro ice cream.

    Apparently it's more healthy as it has 'less sugars'!

    Now if only they'd stuck to 'sugar' .
    Originally posted by pollypenny
    Is this necessarily wrong? If there were three types of sugar in the ice-cream and there were less of them than in xyz ice-cream, then I think that's okay isn't it?
    • Mandelbrot
    • By Mandelbrot 19th May 17, 11:19 PM
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    Mandelbrot
    I suppose so. Maybe. Perhaps.

    Compare it to the statement that something contains "less fats" i.e. less 'fat' overall, composed of a number of different types of fats (fat?).

    "Fewer sugars" (or "fewer fats") obviously would refer to a smaller number of those things.
    • Pyxis
    • By Pyxis 20th May 17, 7:37 AM
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    Pyxis
    It should be 'fewer sugars'.

    'Less sugar'........'Fewer sugars'



    'Less' refers to a general quantity and goes with a singular noun, but 'fewer' refers to a number and goes with a plural noun.


    So you would have 'less jelly' in your trifle, but 'fewer jellies' in the fridge.
    (I just lurve spiders! )
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    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 20th May 17, 9:59 AM
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    pollypenny
    Is this necessarily wrong? If there were three types of sugar in the ice-cream and there were less of them than in xyz ice-cream, then I think that's okay isn't it?
    Originally posted by coffeehound


    Less sugar. Fewer sugar.

    Less sand. Fewer pebbles.

    Oops, Pyxis, I didn't read your post, the next one. Sorry!
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • coffeehound
    • By coffeehound 20th May 17, 10:11 AM
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    coffeehound
    Compare it to the statement that something contains "less fats" i.e. less 'fat' overall, composed of a number of different types of fats (fat?).

    "Fewer sugars" (or "fewer fats") obviously would refer to a smaller number of those things.
    Originally posted by Mandelbrot
    It should be 'fewer sugars'.

    'Less sugar'........'Fewer sugars'

    'Less' refers to a general quantity and goes with a singular noun, but 'fewer' refers to a number and goes with a plural noun.
    Originally posted by Pyxis
    Yes I'd interpret 'fewer sugars' to mean fewer types of sugar, whereas I bet Alpro intend to mean that there is less sugar of any type overall. Sticky one
    • Mandelbrot
    • By Mandelbrot 20th May 17, 1:42 PM
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    Mandelbrot
    So you would have 'less jelly' in your trifle, but 'fewer jellies' in the fridge.
    Originally posted by Pyxis
    Yes but if you only had 2 layers of jelly in your trifle (say, a raspberry jelly and a lime jelly), whereas your friend had 3 layers of jelly in theirs (raspberry, lime, and orange), would you say you have less jelly or less jellies or fewer jellies in your trifle?

    Or less jelly, and fewer jellies in your trifle?

    What if you had more jelly overall in total?
    Then you would have more jelly and fewer jellies than your friend.
    And he/she would have less jelly and more jellies than you.
    (OK, a greater number of jellies, if you want to be finicky - but it spoils the effect ... )
    • Pyxis
    • By Pyxis 20th May 17, 6:53 PM
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    Pyxis
    Yes but if you only had 2 layers of jelly in your trifle (say, a raspberry jelly and a lime jelly), whereas your friend had 3 layers of jelly in theirs (raspberry, lime, and orange), would you say you have less jelly or less jellies or fewer jellies in your trifle?

    Or less jelly, and fewer jellies in your trifle?

    What if you had more jelly overall in total?
    Then you would have more jelly and fewer jellies than your friend.
    And he/she would have less jelly and more jellies than you.
    (OK, a greater number of jellies, if you want to be finicky - but it spoils the effect ... )
    Originally posted by Mandelbrot
    I'm having jellucinations now!





    You could have less jelly and fewer jellies, but you couldn't have less jellies.
    On a jellometer, you could register the absolute amount of jelly or the absolute number of jellies.
    Unless it was percentage swing jellometer, in which case it would only register the percentage increase of jelly over jellies or vice versa, although, again, that doesn't take into account the density of the jelly or jellies, so that might make a difference.

    Maybe a mathematician could shed some jellumination on this?

    Or failing jellumination, some cream on the jelly/jellies would be nice.
    Last edited by Pyxis; 20-05-2017 at 7:00 PM.
    (I just lurve spiders! )
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    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 20th May 17, 8:01 PM
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    pollypenny
    I'm hoping for less rain and fewer showers.

    I should also try for less wine, so fewer calories.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • Cloth of Gold
    • By Cloth of Gold 22nd May 17, 12:04 AM
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    Cloth of Gold
    I'm having jellucinations now!





    You could have less jelly and fewer jellies, but you couldn't have less jellies.
    On a jellometer, you could register the absolute amount of jelly or the absolute number of jellies.
    Unless it was percentage swing jellometer, in which case it would only register the percentage increase of jelly over jellies or vice versa, although, again, that doesn't take into account the density of the jelly or jellies, so that might make a difference.

    Maybe a mathematician could shed some jellumination on this?

    Or failing jellumination, some cream on the jelly/jellies would be nice.
    Originally posted by Pyxis
    Very good.
    • NBLondon
    • By NBLondon 22nd May 17, 2:17 PM
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    NBLondon
    Either Rag or Tag = only one of them is affected.
    Originally posted by Pyxis
    Tangenting again... The computing world makes a difference between Inclusive OR (where both is also an option) and Exclusive OR (XOR) (where both is not an option) - so does the" Either" imply Exclusive?


    Rag or Tag has fleas or possibly both...
    Either Rag or Tag has fleas but not both and I don't know which one...
    Neither Rag nor Tag has fleas (so it must be Bobtail that does)....
    One day I'll think of something witty - Apparently I have!
    • Pyxis
    • By Pyxis 22nd May 17, 3:33 PM
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    Pyxis
    Tangenting again... The computing world makes a difference between Inclusive OR (where both is also an option) and Exclusive OR (XOR) (where both is not an option) - so does the" Either" imply Exclusive?


    Rag or Tag has fleas or possibly both...
    Either Rag or Tag has fleas but not both and I don't know which one...
    Neither Rag nor Tag has fleas (so it must be Bobtail that does)....
    Originally posted by NBLondon
    Personally, I would say Rag and/or Tag has fleas, as that includes both possibilities.

    "Rag or Tag" even without the "either" to my mind implies an exclusive situation. You might then, on thinking about it, go on to say "On the other hand, perhaps they both have fleas".


    So maybe your inclusive "or" in computing is covered by the expression and /or?
    (I just lurve spiders! )
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    • Spidernick
    • By Spidernick 24th May 17, 4:24 PM
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    Spidernick
    The presenter on You and Yours on Radio 4 yesterday kept saying 'arena' as a plural, rather than 'arenas'. I must admit to having not heard that before, but it seems it is acceptable.
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    • Pyxis
    • By Pyxis 24th May 17, 6:46 PM
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    Pyxis
    The presenter on You and Yours on Radio 4 yesterday kept saying 'arena' as a plural, rather than 'arenas'. I must admit to having not heard that before, but it seems it is acceptable.
    Originally posted by Spidernick
    I'm not so sure that's right, unless he was mispronouncing 'arenae'.

    I've looked it up, and the word arena comes from the Latin 'harena'/'arena', meaning sand, after the sand used to cover the area used for combat games etc., so the feminine plural would be arenae.

    It would appear that 'arenas' is the accepted English form. I don't think I've ever seen arenae used, though it is technically correct.

    Does anyone have a source for 'arena' as a plural?
    (I just lurve spiders! )
    INFJ(Turbulent).

    Her Greenliness Baroness Pyxis of the Alphabetty, P.P..
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    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 25th May 17, 9:04 AM
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    pollypenny
    I think we have to accept simple 's' plurals in normal speech.

    It's a bit pretentious to order two 'capuccini.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • Cloth of Gold
    • By Cloth of Gold 25th May 17, 9:14 AM
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    Cloth of Gold
    I think we have to accept simple 's' plurals in normal speech.

    It's a bit pretentious to order two 'capuccini.
    Originally posted by pollypenny
    When using a word form another language, the distinction for me is is whether it is being used as a 'foreign' word or whether, through usage, it has been absorbed in to the English lexicon. I would say that 'cappuccino' is now part of the English language and so 'cappuccinos' is fine. The same with 'arena/s'. Using 'arena' as both singular and plural seems wrong though.

    What about 'forum' and 'fora' though? Most people say 'forums', which is now acceptable through usage, but I think that 'fora' is fine too, as that was used long after the word had become part of the english language. You don't hear it much though and I except its days are numbered.
    • Pyxis
    • By Pyxis 25th May 17, 12:01 PM
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    Pyxis
    When using a word form another language, the distinction for me is is whether it is being used as a 'foreign' word or whether, through usage, it has been absorbed in to the English lexicon. I would say that 'cappuccino' is now part of the English language and so 'cappuccinos' is fine. The same with 'arena/s'. Using 'arena' as both singular and plural seems wrong though.

    What about 'forum' and 'fora' though? Most people say 'forums', which is now acceptable through usage, but I think that 'fora' is fine too, as that was used long after the word had become part of the english language. You don't hear it much though and I except its days are numbered.
    Originally posted by Cloth of Gold
    Yes, I agree. Like the 'one panino' thing! Panini doesn't sound like a plural to the English ear, so we say one panini, two paninis, much to the amusement of Italians!

    Yes, both forum and fora are in general use. Much as I like Latin, I prefer forums, if only because some people might not understand fora. I still say addenda though, rather than addendums, probably because the word isn't used as much in general speech.

    And yes, I agree that 'two cappuccini' would sound odd in a British coffee bar!

    I agree that sticking an s on the end is the way to go for these common words, PROVIDING that the s isn't preceded by a wretched apostrophe!
    (I just lurve spiders! )
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    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 25th May 17, 5:52 PM
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    pollypenny
    When using a word form another language, the distinction for me is is whether it is being used as a 'foreign' word or whether, through usage, it has been absorbed in to the English lexicon. I would say that 'cappuccino' is now part of the English language and so 'cappuccinos' is fine. The same with 'arena/s'. Using 'arena' as both singular and plural seems wrong though.

    What about 'forum' and 'fora' though? Most people say 'forums', which is now acceptable through usage, but I think that 'fora' is fine too, as that was used long after the word had become part of the english language. You don't hear it much though and I except its days are numbered.
    Originally posted by Cloth of Gold

    Well indeed. I thought my meaning was clear enough.

    Ever listened to a performance on two piani?
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • Pyxis
    • By Pyxis 25th May 17, 5:59 PM
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    Pyxis
    Well indeed. I thought my meaning was clear enough.

    Ever listened to a performance on two piani?
    Originally posted by pollypenny
    I suspect that Italians might call them pianoforti.
    (Piani means the floors of a house, ground, first, second etc.)

    Foreign words are a minefield!



    Interestingly, would we say two bureaux as in bur-oh, or bureaux as in bur-rohs? The latter would be like paninis, the former would be like addenda.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Pyxis; 25-05-2017 at 6:05 PM.
    (I just lurve spiders! )
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    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 25th May 17, 6:20 PM
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    pollypenny
    I suspect that Italians might call them pianoforti.
    (Piani means the floors of a house, ground, first, second etc.)

    Foreign words are a minefield!



    Interestingly, would we say two bureaux as in bur-oh, or bureaux as in bur-rohs? The latter would be like paninis, the former would be like addenda.

    What do you think?
    Originally posted by Pyxis

    I know that, my lovely Pyxis. As to your second point, I might find myself, saying bur-oughs.

    Another Debenhams mistake; their bureau de exchange advertises their bureaus.

    I have mentioned it. . Perhaps it's just our local branch. The polo's ad is still obvious, there as well.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
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