Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
“Says” is the present tense, third person singular, of the verb “to say”.
“Said” is the simple past tense of the verb “to say”.
The words are not interchangeable.
“Says” can only be used with the third person and in the present tense.
“I says to her that I like her.” (WRONG)
“He says that he likes her.” (CORRECT PRESENT TENSE)
“She said that she liked him.” (CORRECT PAST TENSE)
“Definite” in an adjective meaning clear, precise or known with exactness.
“The instructions for latecomers were definite that they had to wait until the end of a scene before entering the theatre.”
“Definitive” is an adjective meaning explicit, sharply defining or conclusive.
“The decision was debated by council and a new definitive bylaw that was enforceable was enacted.”
THIS IS NOT “A TALE OF TWO CITIES”!
Identify and correct the errors in the following opinion piece.
BONUS: Get a Gold Star for correctly relating the above title to the errors.
“The conservatives weren’t my choice, but after seven years of minority governments, there’s something to be said for a solid majority. No more elections costing hundreds of millions of dollars for another four years, no more legislation lost for the second or third time when the writ drops yet again, no more games (well, hopefully fewer) for political gain. Simply government for Canadians.”
The last two groups of words are not complete thoughts; they are not even sentences because there are no verbs. There is a statement given and a list of choices to follow; these cannot be joined together by commas because commas mean pauses, not stops.
The solution is simple: the punctuation must be changed; the commas must be changed to a colon and several semi-colons.
BONUS: The opening paragraph of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens is one long series of statements connected by commas: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of light, it was the age of darkness,…”. It violates the conventional rules of construction but it is accepted because of the poetic beauty of the writing which runs throughout the entire novel.
“The conservatives weren’t my choice, but after seven years of minority governments, there’s something to be said for a solid majority: no more elections costing hundreds of millions of dollars for another four years; no more legislation lost for the second or third time when the writ drops yet again; no more games (well, hopefully fewer) for political gain; simply government for Canadians.”
WORTH A SECOND GLANCE
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.”
William James, an American philosopher and psychologist who lived from 1842 to 1910, wrote this.
“Solid” is an adjective meaning strongly constructed, firm, not liquid or of substantial quality.
“Solid” can refer to something other than character and can also be a noun.
A solid character is one that can be called reliable, dependable or strong.
“The ice was eight inches thick and strong enough to sustain the weight of the fishermen and their makeshift cabin.”
“Stolid” is an adjective meaning dull, unemotional or stoic.
“Stolid” is usually applied to a person’s character.
“John was pillar of the church who worked on his farm six days a week from dawn to dusk and who devoted his seventh day to his family and religion.”
“Turbid” is an adjective meaning muddy, opaque, fogged or hazy.
“The water of the shallow lake was so turbid that the divers had a near impossible task of finding the weapon that was thrown into it.”
“Turgid” is an adjective meaning swollen, overflowing, bombastic or pompous.
“The old preacher was infamous for his turgid sermons that put the fear of God into his congregation.”
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Pedestrian” (adj.) means boring, commonplace, dull, prosaic or tiresome.
“His ideas for revitalization of the city were so pedestrian that they were voted down as regressive rather than progressive.”
“Imbue” (v.) means to fill up, to permeate, to saturate or to suffuse with colour.
“He was passionate about the beauty of the mountains that would imbue him with poetic revery each morning when he woke and looked at them.”
“Noisome” (adj.) means harmful, foul, sickening or obscene.
“The noisome quarrelling of the children was so constant that the old woman had to go to her room for get some peace and quiet.”
“Indubitable” (adj.) means beyond doubt, unquestionable or certain.
“Indubitableness” is the noun form.
“Indubitably” is the adverb form.
“The evidence was clear and indubitable and left no doubt as to the guilt of the murderer.”
“Macerate” (v.) means to break up, to make soft, to separate the parts of or to cause to grow thin.
“Macerator” is the noun form for one who macerates.
“Maceration” is the noun form.
“Some animals macerate their food so thoroughly before swallowing that it is almost completely liquid.”