Come With

“I’m going to the movies. Do you want to come with?” A reader in England has noticed that this elliptical use of “come with” on British television and doesn’t care for it: I find it to be an expression I prefer not to use, as it sounds grammatically wrong and very odd, even though, were … Read more

Chapels and Chaplains

Because I think of chapel as word with distinctly Christian connotations, I was startled to hear a radio spot announcement for a “Jewish Funeral Chapel.” Naturally I headed straight for the OED. Chapel has an interesting history and several meanings, including one that can mean “any place set aside for private worship or meditation.” Chapel … Read more

Has vs. Had

I received this note from a reader: My friends and I consider ourselves to be pretty good English speakers. But, when and where to use has and had has us beat. Can you assist? The verb to have ranks right up there with be and do as far as the variety of ways in which it … Read more

Email Matters

The ease of dashing off an email is both a convenience and a deadly snare. Emails are not as public as a Twitter tweet, but can lead to grief for the unwary. We’ve all heard the horror stories of the jokester who says something outrageous intended for the eyes of a friend, and then hits … Read more

The New, Delightful Use of Because

The headline over a recent article (Nov. 19, 2013) by Megan Garber in The Atlantic announces, “English Has a New Preposition.” The subhead expresses implied approval: Linguists are recognizing the delightful evolution of the word “because.” Linguists may be recognizing the jocular elliptical use of because as a “delightful evolution,” but I have my suspicions … Read more

Prepositions with Enamored

A reader is troubled by the use of enamored by instead of enamored of. (British enamoured). It may be because I read a lot of British literature, but the only usage with enamored that sounds “right” to me is “enamored of,” as in Titania’s remark when waking from the spell in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: … Read more

Four Kinds of Morpheme

A useful definition of morpheme–good enough for most purposes–is “a minimal and indivisible morphological unit that cannot be analyzed into smaller units.” This broad definition is adequate for most general discussions, but it’s possible to get more specific. Just for fun, here are four different kinds of morpheme. allomorph or morph: any part of a … Read more