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The English language is constantly evolving, both the words we use and the rules that control the usage of those words.  Therefore, it is impossible to ever have a definitive grammar guide, or, if you will, a Complete Guide of American English.  And that’s our excuse.

 

 

Word of the Every So Often

August 17, 2019

leman:  (noun)  (pronounced like the fruit)  a lover or a sweetheart.  His leman left him sour.

 

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hark! From the Tomb

"A newspaper has its faults, and plenty of them, but no matter, it's hark from the tomb for a dead nation, and don't you forget it."  (Mark Twain, in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)

"Hark from the tomb" is a phrase originally from the hymn "Hark! from the Tombs a Doleful Sound" by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), first published in 1707.  It was sung at the funeral of George Washington.

"Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound; / My ears, attend the cry; / 'Ye living men, come view the ground / Where you must shortly lie.'"  (Watts)

Twain was fond of this term, using it several novels.  Basically, it means "to scold vigorously."  (Delmobile)  Here, to paraphrase Twain, even though the media has its faults, without it, we're screwed... and don't you forget it.

 

Work Cited

Delmobile.  "Hark from the Tomb."  UE.  UsingEnglish.Com  (30 Dec. 2007):  n. pag.  Web.  30 Jan. 2019  https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/56902-Hark-from-the-tomb

Watts, Isaac.  "Hark! from the Tombs a Doleful Sound."  Music by William Tans'ur.  Hymn Time.  Hymtime.com. (2019):  n. pag.  Web.  30 Jan. 2019  http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/f/t/hfttados.htm

 

10:04 am pst 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

110%

Oh, sure.  We've all heard people say they're going to give "110% percent."  But why stop there?  It's a nonsense number to begin with.  The most anybody can give is 100%, so any amount over that is just... silly.  You go ahead and give 110%, but we're going to give 115%, and if that's not good enough, we'll give 120!

7:40 am pst 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ending a Sentence with a Preposition

Yes, we here at HGP have heard that a sentence shouldn't end in a preposition, and we even know some folks who are passionate about it, which could explain why nobody likes to hangout with Mrs. Vula Bimbaum.  Here's the thing:  It's not a real rule.  Never has been.  Sure, it's a rule in Latin, but not even priests speak Latin anymore.  It seems that at one time some English teacher who also taught Latin (not to name anybody in particular) thought because it was a rule in Latin then it should also be a rule in English.  And then it just sort of... transmogrified.  Mostly now, people who care about such things say that sentences ending in prepositions are more informal, and therefore shouldn't be used in formal writing.  Good for them!  But here's the thing:  Formal or informal, if you can't end a sentence in a preposition, how are you going to be able to tell somebody to bugger off?

1:09 pm pst 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

"'Each person has something he can do easily and can't imagine why everybody else is having so much trouble doing it.  In my case it was writing.'"  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., quoted by Charles J. Shields in And So it Goes (2011, St. Martin's Griffen)
8:25 am pst 


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