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  1. Anybody who uses the phrase “could not of” has absolutely no business answering questions in this sub.

  2. The rules clearly do and that's all that's relevant.

  3. Yeah, check out the side bar if you're on desktop or the "About" menu if you're on mobile.

  4. No one else pointed out they were incorrect.

  5. Let me remind you, it was you who broke the "personal attack" rule. Don't be a hypocrite now.

  6. While that may be so, in British English at least the flat adverb feels instinctively wrong to many people (notwithstanding the history of why) and will often be considered not only informal but also an Americanism.

  7. What dialect are you using? I am from California and pronounce it with a P sound.

  8. I'm from Texas but you'll hear that pronunciation all over the South.

  9. Sorry, I meant that I've never seen anyone combine two styles of ellipses before like that.

  10. The who/whom distinction is pretty much dead among the vast majority of native English speakers.

  11. Interesting... I'd never heard of this before; it seems it may be fairly common in Southern slang. The actual citation, in Wikipedia, for that leads to nowhere, though.

  12. When written, isn't it improper grammar, regardless? It couldn't be used throughout a research paper; I haven't seen it used in any publication.

  13. As I mentioned above, everyone speaks a dialect of English. In regions where English is spoken natively, there is a "prestige" dialect that is spoken by the wealthy, elite, powerful, well-educated, etc. These prestige dialects are variously called Standard American English, Standard British English, Standard Canadian English, and so on.

  14. I've certainly heard "the woods" used with a singular verb and not thought it sounded wrong, but I can't quite put my finger on what the distinction is. It's certainly

  15. The prestige dialects of English (Standard English and its regional subdivisions like Standard American English, Standard UK English, Standard Australian English) employ a grammatical feature called negative polarity which generally means that negatives cancel each other out.

  16. i think maybe we can say that some negative concord constructions are so widely understood in Standard English that they may as well be part of it, at least in an informal register?

  17. I think this is reasonable and yet we continue to get questions like OP's who isn't so sure of the usage. But for most people perhaps it is an idiom regardless of whatever dialect they speak.

  18. There are plenty of Google hits for it. I don't recall ever having seen it used but I could definitely see it used as a bit of wordplay playing with our expectation that things usually burst into existence, burst into tears, etc.

  19. What you are talking about is called logical or British punctuation. It is standard in the UK and pretty common in the US in contexts like yours. You are fine using it.

  20. I see your (and the FAQ's) point, and I understand there may be situations that call for keeping the Oxford comma out. But in the FAQ's example, I would fault the writer for putting the three objects in that order and/or writing their dedication that way at all. Writing "To my mother, Ayn Rand and God" sounds to me as though there is a number problem and they are saying their mother is both Ayn Rand and God. That's of course a subjective reading—but isn't all reading a process of filtering someone else's words through your own worldview?—nevertheless, to me, it's still unclear. If the author prefers the original order (perhaps because he feels most grateful to his mother), I would suggest (though it's wordier) something like "This [book] is dedicated to the following three people: my mother, Ayn Rand, and God."

  21. Out of curiosity, what's your background in editing/English/writing? I'm always eager to learn why people land where they do and what resources they use/fall back on. A personal favorite is English Stack Exchange.

  22. This is going to be a bit disappointing. I'm a classically trained composer and musician. At some point in my late 20s I developed a hobbyist's interest in linguistics and grammar and writing styles and all the issues surrounding that stuff. So I have no formal education (beyond the normal college requirements) in any of this stuff.

  23. Oh, not this bullshit again. It seems inevitable that in every single

  24. The only mention of "plam" in the OED is this:

  25. I wonder if it'd be useful to be able to point to a sub for those people who refuse to see grammar as anything but black and white. Something like grammarpedant maybe.

  26. There's definitely this sense that it would be better for people to just learn. I'm sure all, or at least a lot, of us were like the grammar pedants at one point in our lives and had our own come-to-jesus moment. While our mod,

  27. That's the only book in our list of resources in the category of "Avoid".

  28. As a question of grammar, no. There is no "more correct" answer. Both words exist. The plural "data" is a form of the singular word "datum". The singular "data" is a strictly uncountable noun.

  29. 'Needs refilling' or 'needs to be refilled' both okay. But 'need refilled' is regional slang not considered correct.

  30. I don't entirely agree with you on this one. It's bad grammar, regardless if it's acceptable in certain regions. Just because it's acceptable doesn't mean it's correct.

  31. Ok, so let's start with grammar. Grammar is the observed patterns of speech of native speakers of a dialect or language. We all speak a dialect of English. Some dialects are held in higher regard than others. These are the prestige dialects and are typically the dialects of the wealthy, powerful and educated. Schools tend to teach prestige dialects.

  32. Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage notes that in American English, most edited (but not all!) prose will use "Did ... use to" and consider "Did ... used to" to be an error.

  33. That's what is called an Oxford comma or a serial comma. Sometimes using it will help clear up an ambiguous sentence but sometimes using it will cause ambiguities. It's best to be aware of the potential problems and use it (or not) aware of these issues and how to deal with them. The vast majority of time it doesn't matter whether you use it or not as there is no confusion as to what is meant.

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