Grammar Check! Churchill’s Speech, or Shall I or Will I Use the Right Auxiliary Verb?

Today’s Grammarbook.com email had an important quote and an important grammar lesson. The quote is from a famous speech of Winston Churchill (cf. box above and the article below), and the grammar lesson is on the proper use of “shall” and “will” as auxiliary verbs.

Here is the first part of the lesson; find the rest at the link below. As you will see, once again there has been a change in language use when it comes to these verbs too – and not always with increased clarity. Yet, while there is some flexibility according to the experts (and maybe some confusion!), we can still follow proper grammar in our use of “shall” and “will.”

Few will ever forget the words spoken by Winston Churchill in June 1940 under the thickening shadow of Nazi aggression:

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

In a moment of such immortal conviction, none would have thought to question whether Churchill was using the correct auxiliary verb to express his nation’s resolve. His words are as powerful and inspiring today as they were almost 80 years ago.

Notwithstanding, if English teachers of the day had reviewed Churchill’s speech before he gave it, they would have alerted the leader to the usage of shall versus will:

• To express a belief regarding a future action or state, use shall. To express determination or promise (as Churchill was), use will. As a further example, a man who slips from a roof with no one around and hangs on to it by his fingers will cry, “I shall fall!” A man who climbs to a roof in order to fall from it will cry, “I will fall!”

• To simply communicate the future tense (without emphasis on determinationpromise, or belief) in formal writing, use shall for the first person (Iwe) and will for the second and third persons (you, he, she, they): I shall go to the store tomorrow. They will go to the store tomorrow.

Such established grammatical strictures once made discerning shall from will easy for English users. Through the years, however, the words’ functions have blurred; in common writing and speech, they are often interchangeable and seldom precise.

Adding to the matter, style and grammar sources offer differing views on when to use shall or will. The Harbrace College Handbook asserts the auxiliaries are transposable for the first, second, andthird person. It also declares will is more common than shallshall is used mainly in questions (Shall we eat?) and might also be used in emphatic statements (We shall overcome.).

It further upholds the teaching of Churchill’s day to use shall in the first person and will in the second and third to express the simple future tense or an expectation: I shall stay to eat. He will stay to chat with us.

To communicate determination or promise, however, it slightly departs from the Queen’s classic English. Rather than always use will, it flips its order for the future tense or an expectation (i.e., will in the first person; shall in the second and third). Grammatical form for those intent on falling from a roof would thus be “I will fall!” (first person) or “You shall fall!” (second person).

Source: Shall I or Will I Use the Right Auxiliary Verb? – Grammar and Punctuation

Published in: on May 2, 2018 at 10:41 PM  Leave a Comment  

Word Wednesday: A Friendly One

amiable-amicable

Our featured word for our “Word Wednesday” post this month is a friendly one – amicus, friend, with a common base form of AMI.

In the Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classical Origins of English Words (Barnes & Noble, 2000 –  co-authored by Bob Moore and Maxine Moore) we find this entry (as given above), along with this description and explanation of the word:

We all know that an enemy is not a friend; what we may not know is that the literal meaning of the word is ‘not (a) friend’; en-, not + emy, friend.

…So it is with inimical, its literal meaning being ‘not friendly,’ hence harmful and unfavorable. …It also means hostile and unfriendly. ‘There was an inimical atmosphere about the castle, the source of which I could never pinpoint.’

At the other end of the field are the friendly folk. An AMIable chap is genial, warm, kind, and sociable. ‘Helen’s such a wonderful neighbor, so amiable and gracious.’ …That is generally true of AMIty as well, i.e, cooperation, friendship, good will, understanding, or brotherhood. ‘The Secretary General said he hoped the accord between the two governments would result in lasting amity.’

Some usage books also make the claim that in Spanish only a male friend is an AMIgo and a female is an AMIga, but recent studies reveal that the vast majority of senoritas have no objection to being called an amigo. The same is rumored to be true in France, although the rules state that it’s AMI for a male friend and AMIe for a female.

In court an AMIcus brief may be filed by a person or a party not involved in the case who wants to offer relevant advice; it is a called ‘Friend of the Court’ or, officially, amicus curiae.

You may remember this verse in Proverbs that relates to this Latin word: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Prov.18:24).

Now here it is in the Latin Vulgate: vir amicalis ad societatem magis amicus erit quam frater

Can you find the “friendly” words?:)

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 10:30 PM  Leave a Comment  

Constructive Conjunctions: “As”, “since”, and”because”

grammar-I-and-meToday’s Wednesday email from GrammarBook.com contained a profitable lesson in the proper use of some familiar conjunctions – “as,” “since,” and “because” – showing the importance of stressing the reason for something and the result of something in our sentence structure.

Here’s today’s grammar lesson (our second this month!) – read and learn!

 

Tackling More Tricky Word Choices:
As, Because, and Since

American English is a rich, expressive language. At the same time, it includes words that sometimes appear to be alike but have slight distinctions. Without recognizing those subtleties, we might use one word when we mean another.

As, because, and since are three conjunctions that introduce subordinate clauses (those that cannot stand alone in sentences) connecting a result and a reason. A closer understanding of these words helps us write with greater clarity and emphasis in achieving this.

We use because when we want to focus more on the reason. We use as and since when we wish to center on the result.

Most commonly, the because clause emphasizing the reason ends the sentence; the as or since clause stressing the result starts the sentence. 

Examples 

Result: She got the promotion over four other candidates.
Reason: She knew the system best.

Sentence emphasizing the reason with because clause: She got the promotion over four other candidates because she knew the system best.

Sentence emphasizing the result with as clause: As she knew the system best, she got the promotion over four other candidates.

Sentence emphasizing the result with since clause: Since she knew the system best, she got the promotion over four other candidates.

The placement of the because, as, or since clause can be changed in the sentences above. Some writers might contend that only the shifted because clause maintains effective fluency while the repositioned as and since clauses sound more stilted. Moving the clauses will also change the emphasis by switching the order of the result and the reason.

Because she knew the system best, she got the promotion over four other candidates.

She got the promotion over four other candidates, as she knew the system best.

She got the promotion over four other candidates, since she knew the system best.

Because is more common than as or since in both writing and speaking, suggesting we typically emphasize reasons more than results. As and since also are considered more formal in usage.

Looking at the details of these conjunctions polishes another tool in our quest to be writers of precision and eloquence.

Published in: on February 21, 2018 at 10:31 PM  Comments (1)  

A Valentine Word Wednesday: Amare, to love

Amo-LatinOn this Valentine’s Day 2018, let’s use it for a “Word Wednesday” and consider the Latin word for love, amare, with its common base forms ama and amo.

In the Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classical Origins of English Words (Barnes & Noble, 2000 –  co-authored by Bob Moore and Maxine Moore) we find this entry, along with this description and explanation of the word:

An AMAteur is one who plays for the love of the game rather than for money. When something is said to be AMAteurish, however, it is considered not only unprofessional but inept, inexpert, and inadequate as well.

…An AMOrous person is one who tends to fall in love; amorous or AMAtory literature is concerned with love. An AMOur is a love affair; to be enAMOred is to be inflamed with love. “We were enamored of the the colorful countryside.”

An AMOretto is a cherub or cupid. An inAMOrata is a female lover. An inAMOrato is a male lover [that is, in licit relationships]; if it is an illicit affair, he or she is a parAMOur [from the Greek preposition meaning one “beside or along side of” your true love].

We remember, of course, that God has the first, the last, and the best word on love, as revealed in His holy Word. Because He IS love, and manifested His love for us in Jesus Christ. Dwell on this love.

“O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.” Ps.31:23

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Songs 2:4

“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” Song of Songs 8:6,7

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jer.31:3

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” Hos.14:4

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” Jn.15:9

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom.5:8

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.’ Eph.5:2

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” Eph.5:25

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” I Thess.3:12

“Let brotherly love continue.” Heb.13:1

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” I Jn.3:18

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev.3:19

 

Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 11:05 PM  Leave a Comment  

Word Wednesday: “Annus, year”

Anno Domini

I have already told you about my late 2017 word-book find – Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classical Origins of English Words (Barnes & Noble, 2000 –  co-authored by Bob Moore and Maxine Moore).

For our first “Word Wednesday” feature of 2018, we return to this dictionary, where we find this appropriate Latin root for the word “year” – annus, along with its common base forms – anni, annu, enni.

This is how the Dictionary lays it out:

An ANNUal event happens once a year, a semiANNUal report is published twice a year; a biENNIal plant such as parsley lives for two years, and a biennial meeting is scheduled to be held every second year. Anything that is perENNIal is supposed to be everlasting, continuous, ongoing, and enduring.

A biANNUal event occurs twice a year (or semiANNUally) or every two years is biENNially), depending on who makes up the schedule.

An ANNIversary is the annual return of the date of an event. A cent is a 100th part of a dollar; hence a centENNIal is a 100th anniversary.

Although a semicentENNIal is a 50th anniversary, a bicentENNIal occurs every two hundred years. The combining form sesqui means one and a half; therefore, a sesquicentENNIal is a 150th anniversary. The Columbus quincentENNIal was celebrated in 1992: 500 years had passed.

As a mill is a 1,000th part of a dollar, so a millENNIum is a period of one thousand years, although the word is often used to mean any lengthy period of time. “Your long absence has seemed like a millennium to me.”

An ANNUity is an annual payment, often made following one’s retirement. Annals are yearly records kept by an annalist or historian. A.D. stands for [you’d better know this one!] ANNO DOMINI, meaning ‘in the year of our Lord,’ and referring to all the years since the birth of Jesus Christ.

And so we have entered A.D. 2018. May our thought and talk, desires and decisions, plans and purposes, actions and anticipations show that we live consciously “in the year of our Lord.”

Published in: on January 3, 2018 at 10:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

Word Wednesday: “Aedes, EDIF”

Dictionary-latin-greek-originsThis past weekend in a local thrift store I discovered and picked up a new word book – Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classical Origins of English Words (Barnes & Noble, 2000), co-authored by Bob Moore and Maxine Moore.

Perhaps that title does not strike you as enticing and exciting, but let me tell you that it is a great book with marvelous content! As the title reveals, this special dictionary gives the user the Latin and Greek roots of many common English words. And once you get to that radical word (as in “root”), a whole world of vocabulary opens up to you.

The first listing in this dictionary is a case in point. I’ve given you the Latin root (“aedes”) and the common base form (“EDIF) in the heading to this past, just as the authors do with each listing. In addition, and in between those two words, they give the “core meaning,” in this case “a building, temple.” Now here is the rest of the information on this important Latin word:

The original meaning of aedes was ‘building a hearth,’ the fire in the hearth being the center of the home in early times, furnishing both heat and light. For centuries poets, among others, have spoken of the joys of family and hearth. Over time, its meaning expanded from the hearth itself to the home and building that enclosed it.

It is from this root that our EDIFice derives, usually used in reference to a large and imposing building, often a temple. [Then follows a sample sentence.] “The Greeks worshiped their gods in imposing edifices.”

Eventually EDIFy came to mean instruct, educate, and enlighten, especially morally or spiritually. [Another sample sentence follows.] “The sight of Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome edified all of us. We had never experienced such an edifying moment.” Thus EDIFication is enlightenment, education, instruction, guidance, improvement, and schooling. “For my edification, would you kindly tell me how this fender bender came about?” The apostle Paul wrote in Corinthians, ‘Knowledge puffeth up, but charity EDIFieth.” {Yes, the KJV is referenced!]

An “aedile” (also edile) in ancient Rome was an official in charge of buildings, sports, roads, sanitation services, and other public projects.

Now, you can’t tell me that that isn’t useful verbal information! Look how many words come from that one Latin root! See what knowing a little classical language will do for you? 🙂

Let’s do this again sometime, shall we? Have any common words you want to know the root to? I can guess it has a Latin or Greek origin!

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 6:16 AM  Comments (3)  

The Biblical Idea of “Cover” – Rev. W. Langerak, Nov.15, 2017 “Standard Bearer”

After two special Reformation issues, the Nov.15, 2017 issue of the Standard Bearer returns to its regular rubrics and content.

SB-cover-Nov15-2017

One of the regular features is the condensed articles on biblical subjects that fall under the column “A Word Fitly Spoken.” In this issue, Rev. Bill Langerak treats for the first time the word “cover.” And, as you may guess, this simple word is also rich in meaning as it is found in God’s Word.

Here’s a taste of it:

With regard to us, the Lord covers us even in our mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13). He covers us in the shadow of His hand and says, “Thou art my people” (Isa. 51:16). He covers us with robes of righteousness as a bridegroom adorns himself with ornaments and a bride with her jewels (Isa. 61:10). He covers our head in the day of battle (Ps. 140:7). He covers us with His feathers so that under His wings we trust (Ps. 91:4).

Most blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven; whose sins the Lord covers (Rom. 4:7). He that covers his own sins shall not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy (Prov. 28:13). Mercy through Christ our Mediator. With His innocence and perfect holiness, He covers in the sight of God our sins wherein we are conceived and brought forth, and covers all our remaining infirmities as well (Heid. Cat., Q&A 36 and 81). Faith relies and rests upon the obedience of Christ crucified alone, which becomes ours when we believe in Him, and which is sufficient to cover all our iniquities and gives us confidence in approaching to God without fear, terror, and dread, and without following the example of our first father, Adam, who trembling, attempted to cover himself with fig leaves (Belg. Conf., Art. 23). And in the day of His coming, Christ will destroy the covering cast over all peoples and nations for He will swallow up death in victory (Isa. 25:8).

Long ago, the Lord promised that although darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people, “He shall arise upon thee and His glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isa. 60:2). We, upon whom this light of God’s love has now shined, cannot and may not cover it up with a bushel (Luke 8:16). So when shamed (insulted), the wise man will cover it while the fool is quickly angry (Prov. 12:16). When told the transgression of others, the man who loves God’s church will cover it, while the schismatic repeats it (Prov. 17:9). And although we must be sober and watchful in prayer for the end of all things is at hand, we are told that above all things, we must have fervent love among ourselves, for love covers the multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8-9).

If you would like to explore other such biblical word studies, you may find past ones on this page on the PRC website.

Word Wednesday: Effect and Affect

effect-affectLet’s do a Word Wednesday feature this week, and use one of the GrammarBook.com’s recent featured lesson on the proper use of “effect” and “affect.”

This is one of those combinations that often give readers and writers trouble. This short and succinct lesson will help you to keep them straight.

Effect vs. Affect

Knowing whether to use effect or affect may not qualify you as a genius, but you will be demonstrating an understanding about a grammar issue most people find perplexing. We trust that the strategies offered here will clear up any confusion you have had.

Rule: Use the verb effect when you mean “bring about” or “brought about,” “cause” or “caused.”
Example: He effected a commotion in the crowd.
Meaning: He caused a commotion in the crowd.
Example: She effected a change in procedure.
Meaning: She brought about a change in procedure.

Rule: Use the noun effect when you mean “result.”
Example: What effect did that speech have?

Rule: Use the verb affect when you mean “to influence” rather than “to cause.”
Example: How do the budget cuts affect your staffing?

Rule: Affect is also used as a noun to mean “emotional expression.”
Example: She showed little affect when told she had won the lottery.

Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 10:35 PM  Leave a Comment  

How Are You—Good, Well, or Fine?

As we start a new month, it’s time for our latest grammar check item, compliments of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. This time it revolves around the words “good, well, and fine.”

How are you doing anyway? Well, read on and find out how you should answer.

Periodically we still receive inquiries about when we should use the adjectives good, well, and fine. We, perhaps as you do, also still hear and read these words used incorrectly.

We addressed the subject of Good vs. Well in 2007. We thought now would be a good time to review the state of these words, especially now that fine has joined the group.

We’ll first address what each word is made to convey.

Good is an adjective meaning “pious or virtuous” (a good person); “satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree” (a good baseball player); “excellent, proper, or fit” (a good professional background for the job); “well-behaved” (a good child in regard to manners); “kind or beneficent” (a good thing to do); and “worthy or honorable” (of good standing in the community).

Well is most often regarded as an adverb modifying an action. Meanings can include “in a good or satisfactory manner” (He does his job well); “thoroughly or carefully” (We listened to her well); “in a moral or proper manner” (She conducts herself well); “commendably or excellently” (I’d refer to your job as one well done); “with justice or reason” (I couldn’t well turn away the child in need); “adequately and sufficiently” (Prepare well before your exam); and “to a considerable extent or degree” (They spent well over the budget).

However, well can also serve as an adjective: “in good health; sound in body and mind” (He is a well man because of his exercise); “pleasing or good” (All is well with her); “fitting or gratifying” (I think it’s all the more well he didn’t join the debate); “in a satisfactory position; well-off” (He is well as he is). 

Fine likewise can function as either an adverb or an adjective.

As an adjective, it can mean “of high or superior quality” (a fine wine); “excellent or admirable” (a fine song); “consisting of minute particles” (fine grains of sand); “very thin or slender” (fine hair); “keen or sharp, as a tool” (a fine knife for carving); and “delicate in texture” (fine bed and bath linens).

As an adverb, fine can mean “in an excellent manner” (She performed fine on the test) and “very small” (He writes so fine I need glasses to read his letters).

Note that current usage and dictionaries allow fine to serve as finely; as adverbs, they are synonymous and interchangeable (He writes so fine/finely I need glasses to read his letters).

That’s a lot of ways we can go with three short, simple words. So which is (or are) correct in answering a basic question such as “How are you?”

This inquiry typically aims at our sense of physical or emotional well-being (i.e., our general condition). We’ll address it according to our definitions in context.

If we say “I am good,” we are conveying we are virtuous, satisfactory, proper, kind, worthy, or well behaved.

If we respond “I am well,” we are often saying we are in good health, of sound body and mind, or well-off in general. If we slightly adjust our response to “I am doing well,” we can also mean we are conducting ourselves in a good or proper manner; thoroughly, carefully, adequately, or commendably; or with justice or reason.

How about if we say “I am fine”? The dictionary dictates we’re communicating we are excellent, admirable, or of high quality if answering in adjective form. If responding adverbially, we’re saying we are existing in an excellent manner.

Interpreting the original question as applying to our general condition, we can deduce that “I am well” and “I am fine” would be suitable, accurate answers by their definitions.

The same would apply if the question were cast as “How are you doing?” If we respond “I am doing good,” in spoken language, many people will understand what we mean. However, technically, we also could be implying we’re doing something beneficial. This is where writing allows us to be even more precise by using “I am fine” or “I am well.”

The debate will carry on in common usage and stylebooks. The AP Stylebook, for example, advises that good should not be used as an adverb except in a sentence such as “I am [or feel] good,” in which case we can be saying we are in good health. It also explains that using the adverb well in “I feel well” could mean either “I feel in good health” or “My sense of touch is good,” in essence suggesting feel can muddy meaning. 

Goodwell, and fine will remain interchanging parts in language—especially spoken—including as answers to “How are you?” For the careful writer and astute grammarian, however, we champion using the words as the dictionary designs them to be.

Source: How Are You—Good, Well, or Fine? – Grammar & Punctuation | The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Published in: on October 3, 2017 at 10:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

Patrolling for Verbal Pretenders

This Tuesday night post is going to be for our occasional “Word Wednesday” feature, something I’d like to get back into from time to time. This one comes from Grammar.com (dated August 1, 2017) and gets at those “words” that people use that masquerade as real ones.

When you see the chart below and look at those imposters, I think we may have to confess that some of these may have worked their way into our vocabulary.

So now, being armed with good grammatical and verbal knowledge, we can “get real” and use the proper word in the right way at the right time.

Ready for your word patrol? Here we go!

Putting Out the Patrol for Made-Up Words

Estimates of English’s total word count vary, but linguists agree the number ranks near the top of the world’s vocabularies. A May GrammarBook newsletter article cited English as having as many as 300,000 distinctly usable words.

With so many residents in a vernacular, impostors posing as real words are bound to slip in. They start as mistakes but last long enough to wiggle into pockets of speech. Before long, they spread out, gaining confidence and popularity until they set their sights on the real prize: placement in a dictionary.

While casual conversation provides the most refuge for these con artists, their common usage still often lets them cross into composition’s more-managed domain.

Here are but a few made-up words we and our readers have singled out as guilty from the line-up of suspects:

 

Imposter: administrate (v)
Real Word: administer
Imposter: participator (n)
Real Word: participant
Imposter: commentate (v)
Real Word: comment
Imposter: preventative (adj)
Real Word: preventive
Imposter: orientate (v)
Real Word: orient
Imposter: supposably (adj, adv)
Real Word: supposedly
Imposter: conversate (v)
Real Word: converse
Imposter: undoutably (adj, adv)
Real Word: undoubtedly
Imposter: irregardless (adj, adv)
Real Word: regardless
Imposter: vice-a-versa (adv)
Real Word: vice versa
Imposter: exploitive (adj)
Real Word: exploitative
Imposter: whole nother (adj)
Real Words: another, whole other
Imposter: firstly (secondly, thirdly, etc.) (adv)
Real Word: first (second, third, etc.)
Imposter: incentivize (v)
Real Words: encourage, motivate, reward


A few of these invaders, such as irregardless and preventative, have already cleared the fence, crossed their covert tunnels, and arrived safely in dictionaries. That alone does not validate them, nor does it mean we should permit them into our writing.

You also probably noted several made-up words in the list include the suffix -ate. This is a common ploy some words will use to create more versions of themselves.

The suffix -ize operates much the same way. In addition to incentivize, keep an eye on words such as actualize, collectivize, intellectualize, and normalize. Some words, such as finalize, prioritize, memorize, and ostracize, need their three-letter caboose to deliver their meaning, but most -ize words are pitching tents where houses are built.

Made-up words present another call for us to lead the way in upholding concise, grammatical writing. By remaining vigilant, we can help halt the advance of the pretenders.

Source: Putting Out the Patrol for Made-Up Words – Grammar & Punctuation | The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Published in: on September 12, 2017 at 11:06 PM  Leave a Comment