Comments on my posting on penultimate (in penultimate Frisbee) took three directions: a comic association with antepenultimate; complaints about a relatively recent non-standard use of penultimate (to mean ‘absolutely final, absolutely the best’); and complaints about using ultimate and unique and other so-called “non-gradable” adjectives as gradables (modifiable by degree adverbials).
Archive for the ‘Semantics’ Category
Wally is conflating passion ‘enthusiasm, zeal’ (as in “passion is necessary for success”) and passion ‘love or desire’ — probably with malice aforethought.
Yesterday’s Dilbert, in which Dilbert confronts his pointy-headed boss:
I’m sorry to say that gamification (a verbing in -ify from the noun game) is not some twisted invention of Scott Adams’s. And then there’s the question of what counts as garbage.
Lane Greene, on the Economist blog:
Ben Yagoda at Lingua Franca doesn’t like the “historical present”: the tendency to use the present tense to describe past (and literary) events
… Mr Yagoda concludes that describing the past this way is a crutch: “it’s essentially a novelty item. It’s tacky. Give it a rest.” I don’t quite agree, but his description of the historical present prompted this digression on another use of the present tense that he points out: jokes. (More specifically, jokes in the form of a funny story.)
… But that’s not how all languages work. In looking around at joke websites, I found that conventions vary a bit.
Among today’s cartoons, a Zippy on manliness and a Bizarro on slang for money:
A flood of synonyms: mundane, quotidian, ordinary, normal, neutral, commonplace, typical, middling, average, and in the title, okay (conveying ‘just okay, nothing special’). You can only get so much into a three-panel strip, but there are a number of other possibilities.
Back in January I looked at a racy dangler in final position in its clause, where the referent for the missing subject was picked up from a combination of the subject of the clause and an oblique object in the clause; the antecedent was split between two different elements in the clause. Now this morning in a KQED Perspectives column by Steven Moss (“Transformation”), another split-antecedent dangler, less racy and now in clause-initial position.