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All the English You Will Ever Need


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 why we're not even trying anymore.



Hey!  What happened to the Guide?

To both of you who have noticed the difference, yes, the Incomplete Guide has changed... just a little bit.  The Incomplete Guide to American English was originally designed as a support site for college classes.  Since I am no longer teaching those classes, then nobody is routinely coming to this site, so it seems rather pointless to keep updating it.   Therefore, I've kept my favourite parts and mothballed the rest.  For instance, you can still find the list of Words That Will Make You Smarter here, but if you want to find The Word of the Every So Often, you'll have to go to The Holy Grail Press's main site.  You're only a click away:  Click.

Until I find something better to do with this site... yeah.  This is it. 


Or, If You're Still Jonesin' For The Guide.... 

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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


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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