From "New English Fourth, GCSE Edition" (1987) by Rhodri Jones, published by Heinemann (London)
Being able to express yourself accurately is important. Here are some more solecisms for you to study and avoid.
1. Hanged/hung. Both of these are the past tense and past participle of theverb 'to hang'. 'Hanged' is the form used when referring to capital punishment, e.g. 'The murderer was hanged at dawn.' 'Hung' is used in all other cases, e.g. 'He hung desperately from the ledge.' 'They hung the picture in a place of honour.'
2. Lay/lie. The forms of these verbs are often confused. The verb 'lay' (asin 'lay the table' or 'lay an egg') has present participle 'laying' and past tense and past participle 'laid', e.g. 'She laid the table for supper.' 'The hen has laid an egg.' 'She laid the baby in its cradle.' 'Lie' (meaning 'to be in a horizontal position') has present participle 'lying', past tense 'lay' and past participle 'lain', e.g. 'He lay in bed until midday.' 'The wallet had lain on the pavement all morning unnoticed.'
3. Like/as. 'Like' should not be used as a conjunction. Use 'as' instead.Incorrect use: 'The old man can't cope with the gardening like he used to.' Correct use: 'The old man can't cope with the gardening as he used to.'
4. Of/have. Beware of using 'of' for 'have' in cases where the pronunciationof the two words is similar, eg. 'You should have (not 'of') reported him.' 'I could have (not 'of') claimed the reward.'
5. Off/of. 'Of' is unnecessary in expressions like these: 'She fell off ofthe chair.' 'She took the tin off of the shelf.'
6. The reason why...because. Expressions like 'the reason why' and 'thereason is' should be followed by 'that', not 'because'. 'Because' merely repeats the idea already expressed in 'the reason why'. Incorrect use: 'The reason why he went to the police was because he was afraid.' Correct use: 'The reason why he went to the police was that he was afraid.' 'He went to the police because he was afraid.'
7. So as/so that. 'So as' is followed by the infinitive; 'so that' isfollowed by a clause. Incorrect use: 'The student worked hard so as he could pass his exam.' Correct use: 'The student worked hard so that he could pass his exam.' 'The student worked hard so as to pass his exam.'
8. Than. This is a conjunction, not a preposition. Therefore it does notgovern pronouns in the objective case as this incorrect example would suggest: 'I am faster than him.' It should be: 'I am faster than he.' If you expand the sentence, you will see why the second version is correct: 'I am faster than he (is).'
9. Try and/try to. The form 'try to' followed by a verb is preferable to'try and'. Thus: 'Try to get help.' not 'Try and get help.'
10. Which/who. Use 'who' when you refer to people, not 'which'. Correct:'People who mistreat animals should be put in jail.' Incorrect: 'People which mistreat animals should be put in jail.'
11. Who/whom. 'Who' is the subjective form of the relative pronoun; 'whom'is the objective form. Therefore when we have the word used as the object or governed by a preposition, the form we need is 'whom', e.g. 'There is the girl whom I saw on the station.' 'Tell me to whom I am to give this parcel.'

Some of the (twenty-two) points made ... may be considered pedantic, that is, they may be regarded as requiring too close attention to the formal rules. People in speech often break some of these rules, and you may find some of these rules ignored in what you read. For instance, the use of 'like' as a conjunction and 'try and' instead of 'try to' are both quite common. This raises two important questions: Do the rules really matter? and Can new rules be made according to how words come to be used by more and more people? Think about these questions.

Adrian

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From "New English Fourth, GCSE Edition" (1987) by Rhodri Jones, publishedby Heinemann (London) Being able to express yourself accurately is important. Here are some more solecisms for you to study and avoid.

5. Off/of. 'Of' is unnecessary in expressions like these: 'She fell off of the chair.' 'She took the tin off of the shelf.'

This doesn't qualify as a solecism any more than "can't" or "won't" could be considered solecisms.
8. Than. This is a conjunction, not a preposition. Therefore it does not govern pronouns in the objective case as ... he.' Ifyou expand the sentence, you will see why the second version is correct: 'I am faster than he (is).'

It is difficult to see how the writer could make that assertion if he had consulted any current dictionary. In fact, I had to go back to The Century Dictionary of 1895 before I could find a dictionary which denied that the usage of "than" in a phrase such as "than me" was a preposition: The writers of the Century described such a use as follows:
From the entry for "than" in the Century, at
www.century-dictionary.com
"A noun or a pronoun after than has a show of
analogy with one governed by a preposition, and is some- times blunderingly put in the objective case even when proerly of subjective value : as, non knew better than him. Even Milton says than whom, and this is more usual : for example, than whom there is none better."
The editors of the Century were mistaken here. "Than" did not take on object in analogy to a preposition taking an object, but instead, "than" had been used as a preposition since at least the time of Shakespeare.

A few years after the Century was published, the editors of the 1913 Webster's Unabridged listed "than" as a conjunction, but wrote "Sometimes, however, the object compared is placed in the objective case, and than is then considered by some grammarians as a preposition." Traditional grammarians were giving way to scientific grammarians.

A couple of modern dictionaries consider the prepositional use of "than me" to be informal, but that's not the same as it being a solecism.
Some of the (twenty-two) points made ... may be considered pedantic, that is, they may be regarded as requiring too ... rules be made according to how words come to be used by more and more people? Think about these questions.[/nq]I expect that the author means by "rules" in "Do the rules really matter?" not the ordinary rules of the English language without which there would *be* no English language but about rules which must be learned in school because they are to a certain extent artificial, either because they pertain to the artificial quality of written English or they pertain to a standard dialect of English which differs from the student's regional or class dialect.

In that case, what serious person would question that "the rules really matter"? Even when writing a nonstandard dialect, the artificial rules matter: The word "ain't" could be written many ways, for example, but the standard way to write it is "ain't." And a person who would answer "no" to "Can new rules be made according to how words come to be used by more and more people?" would have to be extraordinarily naive: Language evolves, and trying to limit oneself to the old rules would be worse than trying to herd cats.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Raymond S. Wise wrote on 29 Nov 2004:
From "New English Fourth, GCSE Edition" (1987) by Rhodri Jones, ... are some more solecisms for you to study and avoid.

5. Off/of. 'Of' is unnecessary in expressions like these: 'She fell off of the chair.' 'She took the tin off of the shelf.'

This doesn't qualify as a solecism any more than "can't" or "won't" could be considered solecisms.

Of course it does. To those of us who recognize that there are such things as solecisms, that is. Those to whom there are no solecisms are convinced that every error is an idiom. Et tu, Bruté?

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
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3. Like/as. 'Like' should not be used as a conjunction. Use 'as' instead. Incorrect use: 'The old man can't cope with the gardening like he used to.' Correct use: 'The old man can't cope with the gardening as he used to.'

In practice, far more mistakes are made, at least in writing, by people who have absorbed this only to the extent that they feel that "like" is a bad word, and to be avoided. Hence such atrocities as "He is a generous man, as his father".

Don Aitken
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3. Like/as. 'Like' should not be used as a conjunction. ... man can't cope with the gardening as he used to.'

In practice, far more mistakes are made, at least in writing, by people who have absorbed this only to the ... is a bad word, and to be avoided. Hence such atrocities as "He is a generous man, as his father".

Which should clearly be, "He is a generous man, as, like, y'know, his father".

dg (domain=ccwebster)
Adrian Bailey quotes Rhodri Jones:
Being able to express yourself accurately is important.

Indeed, as we see here:
1. Hanged/hung. Both of these are the past tense and past participle of the verb 'to hang'. 'Hanged' is the form used when referring to capital punishment, e.g. 'The murderer was hanged at dawn.' 'Hung' is used in all other cases ...

So if a man dies by hanging and it isn't an execution, then it's not correct to say he was hanged? Hmm.

Mark Brader, Toronto "I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pedantic and (Email Removed) that's just as good." D Gary Grady
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Raymond S. Wise wrote on 29 Nov 2004:

This doesn't qualify as a solecism any more than "can't" or "won't" could be considered solecisms.

Of course it does. To those of us who recognize that there are such things as solecisms, that is. Those to whom there are no solecisms are convinced that every error is an idiom. Et tu, Bruté?

Is that little scratch over Bruti "e" an idiom?
Raymond S. Wise wrote on 29 Nov 2004:

This doesn't qualify as a solecism any more than "can't" or "won't" could be considered solecisms.

Of course it does. To those of us who recognize that there are such things as solecisms, that is. Those to whom there are no solecisms are convinced that every error is an idiom. Et tu, Bruté?

Possibly there's a Pondian difference. It's wince-makingly sub-standard in BrE, and not at all comparable with the entirely acceptable "can't" or "won't": more culpable than "ain't", too, which was once informal standard. But I hear and see it in AmE often enough to suppose that it's more acceptable in US speech and printed dialogue, and perhaps also in informal writing.
Alan Jones
Raymond S. Wise wrote on 29 Nov 2004:

This doesn't qualify as a solecism any more than "can't" or "won't" could be considered solecisms.

Of course it does. To those of us who recognize that there are such things as solecisms, that is. Those to whom there are no solecisms are convinced that every error is an idiom. Et tu, Bruté?

I double-checked the definition of "solecism" in MWCD11 before I wrote my post, to make sure I understood the meaning of the word and in particular to verify that it was not a term restricted in meaning by the sillier opinions of traditional grammarians. That dictionary defines the word as:
(quote)
*1 :* an ungrammatical combination of words in a sentence; also *:* a minor blunder in speech
*2 :* something deviating from the proper, normal, or accepted order *3 :* a breach of etiquette or decorum
(end quote)
Now, according to that definition, I committed a solecism when I said, on one occasion, "Is this your keys?" to a stranger, when trying to find out who had left some keys behind.
It would also be a solecism to refer to a green pepper as a "mango" in those areas of the English-speaking world where green peppers are not known as mangoes. This despite the fact that I have identified "mango" as a standard usage (that is, belonging to the prestige dialect) of the part of the country in which I grew up.
So I do* recognize that there are such things as "solecism." That does not excuse Jones's (or your) error. Identifying an informal usage such as "off of" or "won't" as a solecism is simply wrong. If it were a regionalism, that might justify calling it one when it was used in speaking Standard American English, but the fact that it is informal is *not sufficient.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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