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A reader objects strongly to the expression “get ahold of,” viewing it as an example of “the slang [that is] slowly and insidiously debasing English.”
Commonly seen on the Web is the misspelled phrase “bare with me.” The correct expression is “bear with me.” It means, “be patient with me.”
I started wondering about the use of the word credence when I noticed the following headline on an entertainment news site: Al Pacino gives credence to James Gunn’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.
The modal would has numerous applications. Here are a few. One function is to express the idea of habitual action that took place in the past. For example…
A reader writes: The other day I heard a radio commentator constantly using the phrase “in that calculus”, something I’d never heard before. [The] commentator was using it in a political context, pretty much as a fancy way of saying “in that situation”; I’d be grateful if you could look into it and cover it some time!
A reader asks for clarification regarding the word stalwart: I am confused about the meaning of “stalwart” in the following context: “One of the most influential companies in high technology right now may be a 135-year-old industrial stalwart.”
A reader writes: I propose that “an” was invented to prevent us from having to interrupt the flow of speech. And it still fills that purpose before unaccented first syllables starting with h.
The Google Ngram Viewer indicates that “labor the point,” (“to continue to repeat or explain something that has already been said and understood”) has been around for about 100 years longer than “belabor the point.” A Web search suggests that the two versions are now used interchangeably.
When it comes to nonstandard grammar in the mouths of television characters, I expect the professionals–like FBI agents, medical examiners, and college professors–to model standard English. When they don’t, I always wonder if the scriptwriter or the actor is at fault.
A reader wants to know more about the use of the word versus and its abbreviations.
The English infinitive is the basic form of the verb. It has two parts, the particle to and the present form of the verb. Here are some infinitives.