Friday, 25 July 2014

Is there fewer rain at the moment?


Sort of. But that's not what you'd say, is it? But in the last week, I've heard several people on the radio taking about "less people", and I'm afraid it drives me mad.

I know, I know. It's too hot for pedantry, but surely there are some things that sound so plain wrong that I can't understand why people persist in saying them.

That's all. For now. But I'm afraid this pedant will be back

(However, if you're in the mood, do let me know which grammatical errors bother you. Only pedants need apply.)

32 comments:

  1. People who say "then" when they should say "than."

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    1. I don't thnik I've heard that one, Jill.

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    2. It is primarily an American mis-use.

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  2. All of Jeffrey Archers. I only tried to read one book of his and have never finished it nor can I recall it's title. I did sciences at school. It is bad as it teaches you to skim read. We had one half of an hour a week with a grand lass who used to say.
    " I know you don't want to be here. Try and remember though that you will be judged on what you have writ."
    I thought she was old but met her five years later and fell in love. Pedant didn't do her justice, she was doing a PH d in medieval languages. She didn't last long as a teacher. She was lovely though. I hate folk adding 'Though'; even though I do it, I'm trying to stop myself though.

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    1. I know what you mean, Adrian, but that last "though" was perfectly apropriate, wasn't it?

      I don't like Jeffrey Archer, either.

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    2. Law of averages dictates if one scatters enough about then one will be in the right place.That is probability. It has nothing to do with my comprehension of English Grammar.

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  3. They don't talk 'proper' on the radio anymore! . . . sad that continuity announcers are not grammatically correct always ~ Eddie :)

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    1. Eddie, I think what bothers me the most is that a lot of this is scripted, and has therefore been both written and read without anyone noticing the errors.

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    2. Editors are not as they used to be . .

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  4. I hate 'the reason why' instead of 'the reason'. Eg The reason why it's hot is that it's summer.

    'Less people' doesn't worry me though. (sorry Adrian) Actually there are times when less people seems a very good idea!

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    1. I quite agree about 'the reason why' thing, Patsy. Too many words.

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  5. Come to America. Your head will explode!
    While I'm at it...The French news reports now perpetually use the word "CRASH" in place of the French word. It is pronounced with a guttural "CRrrr", followed by the rest of the word, in a way that makes it sound as though they are about to illustrate the French verb, to spit. Every news report makes me cringe and reach for an umbrella!

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    1. I didnt' know about "crash", ER, but I think my bank balance woudl explode as well as my head if I went to the US (though I'd like to).

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  6. He was sat instead of sitting. Seems so obvious to me but everyone says it.

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    1. I hate that too. You are sitting unless you were sat there by a third person. Maybe a second person but I can't recall grammarians having second persons.

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    2. Maggie, I wrote a whole post about that one some time back. It drives me mad, too.

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  7. America is full of word confusion. There is the common misuse of objective case (Him and me went to dinner) and nominative case (between you and I). Fewer and fewer people seem to understand the difference between sit and set, lie and lay, its and it's, your and you're, who and whom -- you know, the usual indicators of one's not having paid attention in school. In the last couple of years, however, I have seen more and more confusion in written English in America (okay, Facebook and emails) involving the words where and were. I think it has something to do with slovenly -- I do not call it regional -- pronunciation.

    Adrian, you are not a pedant.

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    1. I think a lot of it comes from America. The confusing of nominative and accusative cases has been going on for years, hasn't it. As for the rest of your comment, I think "Eats Shoots and Leaves" (Lynne Truss's brilliant book) should be prescribed reading for all children.

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    2. What? nomintivy ....accusativy. You are starting to use words I don't understand, I'll get my own back and do some posh algorithms.

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    3. You understand them perfectly, Adrian. You just don't want anyone to know.

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  8. Too many to mention, but top of the list must be all those imported (from the USA) verbs that have been created from nouns.

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    1. Yes, those are infuriating, CM. Especially as there's nearly always a perfectly acceptable and correct alternative.

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  9. I agree with all of the above - less & fewer, sat & sitting etc.
    One that particularly annoys me is when people write 'would of' instead of 'would have'.

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  10. All grammatical errors make me shudder, but my current pet-hate is 'for free'.

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    1. Oh yes! That reminds me of another one: "nought percent interest". What's wrong with "interest-free"?

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  11. I was going to say " of" instead of " have" but Keith has beaten me to it! Also, local people in this area seem to say " I done it" rather than " I did it", and I have to try very hard not to correct them.

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  12. I don't think we'll win this battle, Frances, but we can keep trying! I detest 'floor' being used instead of 'ground' (when it's outside) - makes me cringe every time!

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    1. I heard someone saying that just today, Rosemary. We may lose little battles, but maybe we might win the war?? No. Probably not.

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  13. The term 'fewer rain' is so alien to any grammatical rule that I decided to think about your post. Because rain is, in effect a plural or collective noun (it is a collection of raindrops) and as one should never use fewer with a plural noun I think that is why it sound so strange.

    Fewer and less are less obvious than many other grammatical misuses. I think that I instinctively know that which is correct (I have a number of grammar Nazi friends who would quickly correct any transgressions) but I decided to Partridge them. [To Partridge: v.i. to check in Usage and Abusage 1947] I was less wise after I'd read it than before. I think that I will stop thinking about it and just hope that my instinct is serves me well.

    It's strange how we accept some things and hardly give them a second thought. A one-time partner used to say 'amn't I?' whereas most of us are used to 'aren't I'. In fact she was the only person I have ever heard use the expression.

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    1. I just thought it was odd that it seems ok to say "less people", but no one would say "fewer rain", which is a similar misuse. I find "less people". The trouble is that there are som many grammatical errors in common usage now, that it really is a losing battle. But then it was probably ever thus...

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