Linguistic Tips

How can a comma remove a parking ticket?

Punctuation is very important, as we have seen in our post on punctuation fails. When it comes to writing legislation, contracts, or patents, it's even more important, as a single extra comma or missing comma can completely alter the underlying meaning. For example, the Second Amendment of the US Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the [...]

By |2015-07-05T14:46:51-07:00July 5th, 2015|Culture Studies, Daily Questions, Linguistic Tips|

Who was the first dude?

Since the opening of the Big Lebowski movie in 1998, there can only be one Dude with a capital D, but the word dude has been around for much longer.It is actually believed to come from an Old German word Dude (fool) or from the old Scottish word duddies (clothes). In any case, it started getting used in the late 1800s [...]

By |2015-06-24T14:54:30-07:00June 24th, 2015|Culture Studies, Linguistic Tips|

Using onomatopoeia in Japanese

One of the characteristics of Japanese language is its abundant variety of onomatopoeia. It’s a group of adjectives and adverbs used to describe the state or sound of something, typically with the same syllable repeated (among other formations).In many languages, words are created by imitating the sound of animals, but you can express more than [...]

By |2015-06-05T10:03:04-07:00June 5th, 2015|Culture Studies, Linguistic Tips|

Informations or Renseignements

In Canadian French, the word informations in its plural form had always been considered an anglicism and as such banished by Canadian language purists.However, as it is becoming increasingly used, the official reference website Termium tells us that it is finally acceptable to use it, whereas only the word renseignements was permitted until now!This of course invalidates our previous post on the same [...]

By |2015-05-25T14:50:44-07:00May 25th, 2015|Linguistic Tips|

Brown is the new green

Recently I have noticed a sign saying “Brown is the new green” in the front yard of a house that I pass by every morning. This is the movement to encourage people to save water for the severe drought in California. Keeping your lawn green takes a lot of money, so it looks like an [...]

By |2015-05-22T14:15:53-07:00May 22nd, 2015|Culture Studies, Linguistic Tips|

“quitter” and “partir”

Les verbes quitter et partir ont en commun le sens de s’en aller. Toutefois, ils se construisent différemment.Le verbe quitter est transitif et pronominal Exemples :Elle a quitté son pays. (transitif direct.)Ils se sont finalement quittés à l'aurore. (forme pronominale, le pronom réfléchi tient lieu de complément.)Toutefois, nous ne pouvons dire ni écrire :Ils ont quitté il y a dix minutes. (La phrase est fautive parce qu'aucun [...]

By |2015-05-15T14:47:35-07:00May 15th, 2015|Linguistic Tips|

“à nouveau” and “de nouveau”

There is a distinction between those two expressions.“de nouveau” has the meaning of “one more time” (e.g. On l’a emprisonné de nouveau) whereas “à nouveau” has the meaning of “one more time and differently” (e.g. L’enseignante a dû formuler à nouveau sa question pour que les élèves comprennent). See also this post on the same topic.

By |2015-05-15T14:38:04-07:00May 15th, 2015|Linguistic Tips|
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