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BS: Sloppy use of language

EBarnacle 09 Jul 11 - 10:41 AM
Lighter 09 Jul 11 - 11:24 AM
artbrooks 09 Jul 11 - 11:31 AM
autolycus 09 Jul 11 - 11:33 AM
Ebbie 09 Jul 11 - 11:36 AM
Jim Dixon 09 Jul 11 - 11:53 AM
Jim Dixon 09 Jul 11 - 11:57 AM
Ebbie 09 Jul 11 - 11:58 AM
Jack the Sailor 09 Jul 11 - 11:59 AM
Jim Dixon 09 Jul 11 - 12:02 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Jul 11 - 12:04 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Jul 11 - 12:10 PM
Lighter 09 Jul 11 - 12:39 PM
GUEST, topsie 09 Jul 11 - 12:49 PM
saulgoldie 09 Jul 11 - 01:01 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Jul 11 - 01:06 PM
GUEST, topsie 09 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM
Noreen 09 Jul 11 - 01:20 PM
DMcG 09 Jul 11 - 01:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jul 11 - 02:13 PM
Ebbie 09 Jul 11 - 02:13 PM
GUEST, topsie 09 Jul 11 - 02:35 PM
Leadfingers 09 Jul 11 - 02:51 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Jul 11 - 03:33 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM
artbrooks 09 Jul 11 - 04:18 PM
artbrooks 09 Jul 11 - 04:21 PM
Noreen 09 Jul 11 - 04:46 PM
gnomad 09 Jul 11 - 05:05 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Jul 11 - 05:18 PM
GUEST, topsie 09 Jul 11 - 05:34 PM
John P 09 Jul 11 - 05:43 PM
John P 09 Jul 11 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,BobL 09 Jul 11 - 06:12 PM
Gurney 09 Jul 11 - 06:32 PM
Lighter 09 Jul 11 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,skivee-eating cookies, but cookieless 09 Jul 11 - 08:14 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jul 11 - 08:32 PM
Bobert 09 Jul 11 - 08:35 PM
DMcG 10 Jul 11 - 04:46 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jul 11 - 06:41 AM
saulgoldie 10 Jul 11 - 11:08 AM
Ebbie 10 Jul 11 - 11:41 AM
John P 10 Jul 11 - 12:34 PM
Uncle_DaveO 10 Jul 11 - 12:49 PM
Dave MacKenzie 10 Jul 11 - 01:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jul 11 - 01:53 PM
bubblyrat 10 Jul 11 - 02:12 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jul 11 - 02:53 PM
Chip2447 10 Jul 11 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: EBarnacle
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 10:41 AM

I have been annoyed over the years by the choices that authors and their ignorant editors make. [Yes, I have earned money as an editor.]

Clavell was exceptional in this. On the first page of Shogun, he has the mate telling the captain that their ship was going to "flounder." Others have committed this same error publicly. In Tai-Pan, he refers to one vessel as a sloop, gunboat, ship of the line and a flagship, which combination is clearly impossible. This all occurs within the space of two pages. Her captain is referred by several titles, clearly as a statement of contempt.

I am sure there are many others. Here's your chance to chime in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:24 AM

I don't know what Clavell had in mind, but it's cvertainly possible for a ship to "flounder," at least *through* waves if not *under* them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:31 AM

My personal bete noire..."decimate", which literally means reduce by ten percent, used as a synonym for "devastate".


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: autolycus
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:33 AM

Defoe did have Crusoe swim out to the wreck of his ship naked, climb aboard and put some biscuits he found in his pocket.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:36 AM

Happens all the time. Sometimes it's a good giggle "on-sight manager", for instance, but in a book or a 'permanent' presentation it is an irritant. I have seen numerous ones but the only one I can think of at the moment is where I read that the Hereford bull bellowed, "his black hide glistening in the sun".

Hereford cattle are red.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:53 AM

I am often annoyed by the overuse of "incredible" as a term of praise. People have gotten so used to hyperbole that they seem to have forgotten that the word has a literal meaning as well.

If you tell me an incredible story, I won't believe it. I will conclude that you are either lying, joking, or sadly deceived, and rather gullible to boot.

If a movie is advertised as incredible, I would expect some sort of fantasy or at least a comedy, with deliberately unrealistic plot elements. If an allegedly non-fiction book were termed incredible, I probably wouldn't want to read it; I would expect it to be full of cockeyed conspiracy theories and the like.

Most of the time, it is better to be credible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:57 AM

At least half the time that people say "literally," they mean the exact opposite.

"This movie will literally knock your socks off!" I wonder what happens if you're not wearing socks?


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:58 AM

Oh, yes, the use of 'literal' to mean just the opposite. (Jim Dixon, of course, uses it correctly)

Songs do it too. In The New Tennessee Waltz, the writer says they were "literally dancing on air." Unless they were being hanged, 'tisn't likely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:59 AM

"Oh My Cod! Captain! The sloop is beginning to flounder! Skipper, Ship's Master, Commander, Pilot, Watch Officer, what are we gonna do?"

"Quit carping Mr. Cheney. The tide is ebbing higher, we will be         ebullient in no time!"

"Captain Bush! You are the best!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:02 PM

"Exceptional"

If you say, "Most geniuses are somewhat eccentric, but Einstein was exceptional," I would take you to mean Einstein was not eccentric, that is, he was an exception to the rule.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:04 PM

We were waltzing up on my air hockey table.
So don't tell me that we were not able,
To be literally dancing on air!

One in ten grapes I ate
Oh how I love to decimate!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:10 PM

Jim, Its hard to say where the writer was going with that without full context, but I would take that to mean that Einstein was eccentric as compared to other geniuses.

Kind of like,

Most basketball players are tall, but Shaq, at 7'2", was exceptional.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:39 PM

In the US, "exceptional" children are now those with learning disabilities, who were formerly described by the now forbidden "R-word," which originally meant only that their learning was extraordinarily slow compared to that of others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:49 PM

Some writers now seem afraid of using the word "difficult", so that every difficulty has to be described as "challenging". While some difficulties can, of course, be regarded as a challenge, it would usually be more helpful and honest to admit that they are a challenge BECAUSE they are DIFFICULT.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: saulgoldie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:01 PM

OK, then. Here we go! I'll add some of my own after I go for a bike ride on this splendid day. I'll give this thread 200, easy. And it'll go on for weeks, or more.

Yeah, sloppy language. Too many folks either never learned in the first place, or learned but don't GAS. Or they are taking too many of their cues from whatever we call "the news" and other widely disseminated forms of communication. Ohboy!

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:06 PM

May I register my objection to the unnecessary and invasive neologism "horrendous"? The person who coined it was a wit: the next person to say it, a half-wit; and so on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:14 PM

. . .. and 'humungous'


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Noreen
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:20 PM

Glossy posters at a special event locally last weekend, advertised a peel of bells from St Stephen's church, and later on a display of Appellation dancing...


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: DMcG
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:33 PM

Last night at our (UK) folk club the MC said that in honour of our US guest spot the wine for the raffle was Appalachian Controlleé which I thought quite witty


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 02:13 PM

Ok, lets stop all alterations to grammar and definitions as of July 11, 2011 at 6:00 UTC

Decimate? Lets confine it to exactly one-tenth. Any variance is incorrect usage.

And we all know that December is the tenth month.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 02:13 PM

Oh- and 110 percent! A case of people giving more than they can.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 02:35 PM

At the Notting Hill Carnival one year the police were reported to have been 'bending over backwards to maintain a low profile' - it must have been really uncomfortable for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 02:51 PM

Legendary when applied to a living Musician or singer !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 03:33 PM

"One pence"! Lord George-Brown used to say it when presenting hus budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer. What happened to a penny?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM

I only ever use "decimate" to refer to the removal of one in ten.

"Regular" refers to something that recurs with fixed periodicity.

And "verbal" does not mean "oral".


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:18 PM

Actually, if I recall Lord Peter correctly, an organized ringing of church bells IS called a "peel".


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:21 PM

Oops - my error...peal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Noreen
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:46 PM

:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: gnomad
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:05 PM

"There's now 300% less of X" Unless you mean that in place of one X, there are now minus two X, this is an incorrect way of viewing the percentage reduction. If I cannot trust your use of a percentage, why should I believe the statistic you are failing to express?

Don't get me going on "fewer/less".

Saulgoldie is quite right, this one could run on until even the MOAB thread is looking to her laurels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:18 PM

A plenitude of parsimonious pedantry!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:34 PM

A young lad who had been given a ride in a helicopter announced eagerly, "It was a once in a life time opportunity. I'm ready to go up again!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: John P
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:43 PM

I used to have a gas stove with a setting on the dial that would cause the burner to light. It was labelled "Lite".


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: John P
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:46 PM

Virtual.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 06:12 PM

"Quantum leap" used to mean a major change - it is actually, by definition, the smallest change possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Gurney
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 06:32 PM

To quote Spike, "Always wear a contraceptive on every conceivable occasion!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 07:43 PM

"Horrendous" was a neologism in the 17th century.

But not since then.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: GUEST,skivee-eating cookies, but cookieless
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 08:14 PM

Sarah Palin proclaiming herself a maverick.
Rather like someone proclaiming themselves to be a hero. Those who are don't proclaim themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 08:32 PM

And those who avoid publicity and don't proclaim themselves are forgotten.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 08:35 PM

Language, as well as every thing else, is evolutionary... Get over it...

I mean, folks get stuck with what the rules "used to be" and keeps them from appreciating the evolutionary aspects...

Ya' gotta get up to speed, EBarn, or go a lap or two down... You want that??? Hell no, you don't...

So here's what I need you to do... Say "ain't" 5 times real fast every mornin' for a week and see if you ain't feelin' better, ya' hear???

B;~)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:46 AM

Language, as well as every thing else, is evolutionary... Get over it...

Something that will only concern the Roman Catholic members here but there is a new English translation of the service coming into play in a few months. There's a whole set of reasons I think it is naïve, and that's one of 'em


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:41 AM

We flounder- full speed ahead-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: saulgoldie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 11:08 AM

Well, a problem for those of us who care more deeply is that language is dynamic. We start with the "dictionary definition" or some sort of definition from a well-regarded reference, perhaps going back dozens or hundreds of years, and we go from there. But in any given conversation, the meaning of (whatever) is ultimately what all the involved conversants agree upon. Researching word routes is a fascinating study in the evolution of social culture. It is dynamic. Having said that...

Of course, the boat (or whatever) "founders" on rocks or some other obstacle.

The BIG question is the "$64,000 question" coming from the quiz show of the 1950s, not the "$1MIL question" or any other amount.

The opposite of "pro-choice" is "anti-choice," which is accurate, and NOT "pro-life" for which the opposite is "anti-life," which is NOT an accurate characterization of those who support reproductive choice for women. This misnomer has very far-reaching social and political implications.

We are ignoring "the elephant in the room," NOT the "800 LB gorilla," who "sits wherever it wants to." (G-d help us with the myriad abused metaphors!)

I looked up "decimate" on several sites. And yes, it does mean "to reduce by one tenth." But "common usage" has forced it to mean "to devastate." I am sorry about this one. But there you have it.

Of course, "new-clee-ur." DUH!

"Three times 'more than.'" "Three times 'more than"'" actually means three times as many as the original PLUS ONE. "Three times 'as many as'" means what I think most speakers are trying to indicate, which is three times the original. Of course, one can never know. In the case of "a thousand times more than" the difference is insignificant. But in my original case, it is a significant difference. The difference is between an indicated total of 300% versus 400%. Which did the speaker or writer actually mean? Depending on what is being talked about and what the context is, it could make a lot of difference to the people involved in terms of people, or money or material.

Yes, too, "fewer/less than." Fewer refers to countable quantities, like gallons, people, houses, items at the checkout counter, or dollars/pounds/lira/drachmas/rupees. "Less than" refers to fluid quantities, like air or water that is not measurable in gallons or liters, or "money in general but not a specified amount."

Language usage requires thought on the part of the speaker or writer. Unfortunately, it seems to me that people are less inclined to put out the effort these days or to be open to learning the proper use.

You know, I think I am obliged to dig out those old style and grammar books and make sure I know what I am conveying when I utter or write! Words and phrases definitely have meaning. And it is important to say what I mean and mean what I say.

Oh, hey. Just one more. And this is another big one. "Can't." As in "I can't do 'X.'" To say that I "can't" actually means that I am physically or emotionally incapable. But the way most people use it most of the time actually indicates a CHOICE. "I can't go to the show?" No, I CHOOSE not to go to the show. The reasons I CHOOSE not to go may be very compelling. However, I DO make a CHOICE not to go. Perhaps I have no transportation to the show, in which case I physically cannot go. Or I may be in traction. But for most circumstances I CAN go, but CHOOSE not to. Even if the cost is more than I CHOOSE to pay, I CAN go, if I CHOOSE to forgo food this week. Similarly, the store "can't" take back that item. No. The store may have a "policy" to not take it back. But that policy is a CHOICE made by some PERSON. If someone has turret's syndrome, they may not be able to avoid saying certain things. But for most people, most of the time, they CHOOSE to say or not to say (whatever).

Saul


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 11:41 AM

Saul, you were going great until you got here: "If someone has turret's syndrome..."

lol


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: John P
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 12:34 PM

Bobert, of course language evolves. That's one of the great things in life for me. However, using the wrong word is not the same as evolution. "Flounder" is not an example of evolving language -- it's someone not knowing the difference between "flounder" and "founder". Sort of like if I were to say its someone not knowing the difference between "flounder" and "founder".


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 12:49 PM

All my life (and I say it to my shame) I have been an underachiever. That is, I've not performed as well as I had the underlying talent or ability to do.

But some individuals are described as "overachievers", which is clearly impossible. They don't do more than is in their power. As Ebbie pointed out, they cannot "give 110%".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 01:29 PM

Using flounder when you mean founder is of course a malapropism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 01:53 PM

Be proactive, not active! I firmly agree.

And for heaven's sake, folks, a ship may flounder (plunge and toss, struggle, etc.) in high seas, as well as founder (plunge to the
bottom, etc.)
The first usage has been common since the 16th c., and the second from the 15th c.

(Like Lighter, I don't know what Clavell had in mind; I read it years ago and don't remember.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: bubblyrat
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:12 PM

Getting back to Defoe ; A TV adaptation of "Moll Flanders " had actress Alex Kingston as the eponymous heroine saying to the captain of the ship that she had just boarded in order to take passage to the New World in the 17th century " Aren't you wanted on the bridge ?"

       Seen recently in some Estate Agents' advertisements ;

    " Principle Bedroom" and " Garden mainly laid to flower boarders "

also recently in "The Times" , an article about soldiers in Afghanistan " diffusing" bombs ; naturally , I sent them an E-mail !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:53 PM

The Flanders quote is surely more an anachronism than a semantic solecism?

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Sloppy use of language
From: Chip2447
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:21 PM

There is a television commercial, I believe for hair transplant in which the talking head says;

"People don't believe how unbelievable it is."

Would someone please translate for me...


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