Grammar Guru: You’ll want to turn left at the light

You’ll want to… The pragmatics of this phrase is interesting: Driver: How do I get to the lake? Pedestrian: You’ll want to turn left at the light up there and then just go straight til you hit Shore Drive. Why do we consider it acceptable and polite to predict what the person we are talking […]

A documentary about grammar

David and Elisabeth O’Brien, former English teachers, have raised over 22,000 dollars through Kickstarter to make a film about grammar. Talk about geeky – but they say their film is for everyone. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @GrammarRocks. Their blog, Grammar Revolution, features diagramming, which I would find too complicated for my German students. But maybe […]

Grammar Guru: is to or has to?

Newspapers like the New York Times are reporting that Obama wants to introduce $1.5 trillion in new taxes to help reduce the country’s debt. Combined with his new $450 billion stimulus plan, he is taking a more populist approach to confronting the nation’s economic problems. He wants to call it the “Buffett Rule” for Warren […]

Samuel L. Jackson reads “Go the F*ck to Sleep”

Samuel L. Jackson reads the book “Go the F*ck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach. Not in my parents’ generation, and not among some of my brothers’ families, but I do think “what the f*ck” and other similar phrases using “the fuck” as an intensifier are very prevalent indeed even in everyday family talk. I had […]

Grammar Guru: for or since?

I’ve known Theo _______ 5 years.  Is it for or since? Easy: I’ve known him for a long time, it seems. I’ve known him since he showed me his collection of old records and we discovered that we share a hobby. Incorrect: I know him for a long time -> I’ve known him for a […]

Grammar Guru: until or by?

You’re going camping and want to borrow a friend’s tent over the weekend. So you say: “Could I have it ______ Friday afternoon? We’re leaving on Friday after work.” Until or by? Until means from now until then. By, used for deadlines, means not later than then. By… at the latest! Imagine: If you said […]

Grammar Guru: Nice meeting you/ Nice to meet you

Which of these two is correct? We say “Nice to meet you” when we meet someone for the first time, and “Nice meeting you” when we then say goodbye. “Nice meeting you” when we meet someone for the first time, and “Nice to meet you” when we then say goodbye. ˙noʎ ʇǝǝɯ oʇ ǝɔıu (s,ʇı) […]