T Nation

Today's English Lesson

[quote]Hill Top Man wrote:
kung_fu_king wrote:
The internet and cell phone texting and blackberries and the like have really lent themselves to bastardising the way we write.

I try not to get too worked up about it, but people just don’t seem to realise how important it is to be able to communicate effectively and accurately.

Typos and other innocent mistakes aside, people need to sharpen up.

Mart.

Yes, you need to sharpen up also, since your not allowed to use a preposition at the end of a sentence.

If you can’t figure out which word you used incorrectly, it is up, up is one a preposition. So, it is really ironic that you talk about him not using his grammar correctly, when you don’t either.[/quote]

“Sharpen up” is technically what’s called a phrasal verb – a multi-word phrase that syntactically functions as a single verb. And it is grammatically correct.

Were he to follow your suggestion, his sentence would have been, “People need to sharpen.” This would not have conveyed his intended meaning, much less any meaning.

Your post is ironic.

There is no such thing as a “Super Wal-Mart”. It’s a “Wal-Mart Supercenter”.

[quote]TeeVee69 wrote:
“Sharpen up” is technically what’s called a phrasal verb – a multi-word phrase that syntactically functions as a single verb. And it is grammatically correct.

Were he to follow your suggestion, his sentence would have been, “People need to sharpen.” This would not have conveyed his intended meaning, much less any meaning.

Your post is ironic.[/quote]

Nope, it is an idiom, as stated above. But the same rule applies, you can’t separate the preposition from the verb.

From Dicitionary.com:

Idiom: A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements.

Phrasal verb: An English verb complex consisting of a verb and one or more following particles and acting as a complete syntactic and semantic unit, as look up in She looked up the word in the dictionary or She looked the word up in the dictionary.

The difference can be vague, but it’s there. In general, the verb in (a phrasal verb) is related in some (sometimes obscure) way to the meaning of the phrasal verb, as in look up, run into, show up, etc. Obvious exceptions are phrasal verbs with “make.”

In general, an idiom can be interpreted literally, but its meaning is actually something different. For example: break the ice; the party host broke the ice with a spoon trick.

For someone who speaks English as a foreign language, this sentence is perfectly understandable: the party host took a spoon, and using some special movement (trick) broke the ice into small chunks to serve his guests cold drinks.

For a native speaker of English, this sentence is also perfectly understandable: the party host balanced a spoon on his nose (or something equally entertaining) in order for his guests to feel at ease and create a relaxed atmosphere.

Good trolls are flammable.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
Unless we want to consider “sharpen up” as a common idiom. In this case, the word “up” is an integral part of the “sharpen up” idiom, and as such, is not necessarily subject to the tsk-tsking we do when finding a sentence ended with a preposition.

“What do I have to sharpen up for?”

Now that’s ending a sentence with a preposition… and bad form.[/quote]

Ah… You have hit upon one of my pet peeves. Let it break free from it’s frail and fragile cage…

When I get reprimanded for ending a sentence with a preposition (by an American, or my girlfriend) I usually reply: “So I shouldn’t use prepositions to end sentences with. Then tell me, where should I put them in?”

In England, we have no problem ending sentences with prepositions; often, we don’t see any other place to stick them on. Most of the time, the end is simply the best place to put them in. And I admit that many times, I just find it’s a good tactic to annoy the Americans (and my girlfriend) with.

Although wearing pink polo shirts with the collar up is not OK, ending sentences with prepositions is. At some point in time somebody thought English should follow Latin rules, one of which is the no-prepositions-at-the-end rule. English is not Latin, it’s not as rigid, and we should rejoice in this freedom by sticking prepositions at the end of sentences.

Go on, give it a try; once you start, you won’t be able to give it up!

Whoooooosh!

[quote]Vyapada wrote:
Whoooooosh![/quote]

If you’re referring to the sound of that last bit of info going over your head, then I’m with you brother cause I don’t know what the hell any of them are talking about.

[quote]Miserere wrote:

Nope, it is an idiom, as stated above.

[/quote]

I stand corrected. Thank you.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
Ah… You have hit upon one of my pet peeves. Let it break free from it’s frail and fragile cage…

When I get reprimanded for ending a sentence with a preposition (by an American, or my girlfriend) I usually reply: “So I shouldn’t use prepositions to end sentences with. Then tell me, where should I put them in?”

In England, we have no problem ending sentences with prepositions; often, we don’t see any other place to stick them on. Most of the time, the end is simply the best place to put them in. And I admit that many times, I just find it’s a good tactic to annoy the Americans (and my girlfriend) with.

Although wearing pink polo shirts with the collar up is not OK, ending sentences with prepositions is. At some point in time somebody thought English should follow Latin rules, one of which is the no-prepositions-at-the-end rule. English is not Latin, it’s not as rigid, and we should rejoice in this freedom by sticking prepositions at the end of sentences.

Go on, give it a try; once you start, you won’t be able to give it up![/quote]

I agree.

Syntactically, we could move the preposition in your sentence above so that it reads:

“Most of the time, in the end is simply the best place to put them.” (Although here I would prefer to use the preposition “at” instead of “in.”)

In either case, the sentence makes sense and is grammatical. The no-preposition-at-the-end convention is a stylistic (out-of-date) preference and not a grammatical rule.

I think it needs to die.

This thread is getting rediculous.

When I was a TA in grad school I was always taking off points for grammar. The big ones were “there, they’re and their”. The Ornithology professor I worked under also took off points for spelling. It was hell for the students with bird families like the Ptilonorhynchidae and the Threskiornithidae.

I aLwAyS HaTeD iT WeN PeEpZ tYpEd LiKe dIz. iT tAkEZ sOoOoo fRikKiN lOnG. AnD oN ToP oF DaT, DeRe R HeLlA GrAmMeR ErRorZ wIt Da wAy WeRdZ R sPeLt. iT HeRtZ mAi EyEz tO EvEn TrAi 2 rEeD DiZ iSh Yo.

-tOn

He might be referring to the sound of dick swinging.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
Vyapada wrote:
Whoooooosh!

If you’re referring to the sound of that last bit of info going over your head, then I’m with you brother cause I don’t know what the hell any of them are talking about.[/quote]

[quote]TeeVee69 wrote:
The no-preposition-at-the-end convention is a stylistic (out-of-date) preference and not a grammatical rule.

I think it needs to die.[/quote]

Let’s see if we can spread the word! :slight_smile:

[quote]Miserere wrote:
And I admit that many times, I just find it’s a good tactic to annoy the Americans (and my girlfriend) with.
[/quote]

Congratulations, it worked very well. Reading that post with all of those sentences intentionally ended with prepositions made me cringe.

[quote]michael2507 wrote:
Good trolls are flammable. [/quote]

Don’t you mean inflammable?

[quote]BIGRAGOO wrote:
Hill Top Man wrote:
Yes, you need to sharpen up also, since your not allowed to use a preposition at the end of a sentence.

It’s you’re in this case, not your. Your is possessive. [/quote]

I’ve acually thrown chalk at my students when they get this wrong.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
lothario1132 wrote:
Unless we want to consider “sharpen up” as a common idiom. In this case, the word “up” is an integral part of the “sharpen up” idiom, and as such, is not necessarily subject to the tsk-tsking we do when finding a sentence ended with a preposition.

“What do I have to sharpen up for?”

Now that’s ending a sentence with a preposition… and bad form.

Ah… You have hit upon one of my pet peeves. Let it break free from it’s frail and fragile cage…

When I get reprimanded for ending a sentence with a preposition (by an American, or my girlfriend) I usually reply: “So I shouldn’t use prepositions to end sentences with. Then tell me, where should I put them in?”

In England, we have no problem ending sentences with prepositions; often, we don’t see any other place to stick them on. Most of the time, the end is simply the best place to put them in. And I admit that many times, I just find it’s a good tactic to annoy the Americans (and my girlfriend) with.

Although wearing pink polo shirts with the collar up is not OK, ending sentences with prepositions is. At some point in time somebody thought English should follow Latin rules, one of which is the no-prepositions-at-the-end rule. English is not Latin, it’s not as rigid, and we should rejoice in this freedom by sticking prepositions at the end of sentences.

Go on, give it a try; once you start, you won’t be able to give it up![/quote]

This post was classic. Anyone who doesn’t find this humorous is someone whom with up I will not put.

[quote]harris447 wrote:
BIGRAGOO wrote:
Hill Top Man wrote:
Yes, you need to sharpen up also, since your not allowed to use a preposition at the end of a sentence.

It’s you’re in this case, not your. Your is possessive.

I’ve acually thrown chalk at my students when they get this wrong. [/quote]

That’s too funny!

[quote]SWR-1222D wrote:
This thread is getting rediculous.[/quote]

Your misspelling of ridiculous is condemned on this thread…