Nevertheless, it occurs to Mr. Picky that some persons for whom English is not the native language, who might therefore actually care about the propriety of their usage, might be interested in the following:
palate: Technically, the roof of the mouth; figuratively, the faculty of taste, a usage which no doubt annoys Mr. Tongue no end.
pallet: A wooden platform upon which one may stack cases of whisky, enabling the liquor store employee to use a forklift to place said cases in the back of one's truck. Very handy for restocking the bar.
Confusion may ensue if a writer likens the array of taste sensations on the tongue to the colors (i.e. 'colours') spread out on an artist's palette: "MacAskill 42 presents an astonishing palette of colorful flavors ('colourful flavours') to the palate. Stack up a palletload today."
complement: Go well with; a post-prandial dram may be said to complement a fine meal.
compliment: Say nice things about; your guests will no doubt compliment your selection of malts, especially since you bring it in by the palletload.
And finally a nongustatory item, but an old favorite:
it's: A contraction, similar to he's, meaning "it is" or "it has". "Oh, it's you. It's been a long time, eh?" (Overheard at a Canadian whisky tasting.)
its: A possessive pronoun, similar to his. "Glen Googly is famous for its egregious unpalatability, although of course it remains highly palletable (i.e. it stacks up well)."
There you have it. Mr. Picky thanks you for your kind attention and promises to go away for a good little while now.
May I take this opportunity to extend to you, on behalf of all forum participants, our sincere and most heartfelt thanks & gratitude for pointing out the quirky nature of our fine language.
Indeed, the matter of homonyms - both of the homophone, and homograph variety - is a subject all too rarely discussed in today's modern whisky world.
We are both privileged and honoured that one would devote considerable time and effort for such a cause - even if the motive was perhaps born out of inherent pickiness.
Furthermore, your writings have prompted - nay, [i]inspired[/] thoughts of similar affairs.
Afterall, assonance and alliteration also arguably affects anyone's admirable assertions and attempts to accurately air any articles.
May I offer....
"The nose knows......."
"Bottlers bottle their bottlings......."
"A fine malt, made from the finest malt......."
No doubt more will be uncovered in the fullness of time.
I remain yours, sincerely.
Long way 'round to Scotland via Sydney from here, by the way....
(I feel cheap now.....this was an easy post. I do actually endeavour to write something of reasonable length and meaningful or helpful content most of the time).
Incidentally, further to earlier post, here's another one...
"Still, the stills distilled until they were still."
There. Having contributed an example of alliteration and homographs in the one sentence, I don't feel so cheap anymore )
(The above paragraph was checked for spelling, grammar, and viruses by the new Microsoft quality control program, FixIt 1.6)
Hello Mr TattieHeid,
In another thread you asked me, "Since "regardless" is what you mean--or perhaps "irrespective"--why would you want to negate it? " It seems that this thread is a more appropriate place to discuss my love of the much maligned double negative. Basically, there are two types of grammar, prescriptive and descriptive. Prescriptive grammar is the list of rules of what should and shouldn't be done in speaking or writing a language, in this case English. This is what we all grew up with in school. It seems that poor Mr. Picky got it at home as well. Descriptive grammar aims to describe what native speakers do when they speak or write their own language. It is value free in the sense that whatever a group of native speakers consistently do is accepted as 'correct' and described in the grammar. Sentences that are possible in English, for example, "Blends are usually much cheaper than single malts." Satisfies the descriptive rules of the language. "Blends are much usually cheaper than single malts." does not. Multiple negation is forbidden in Standard English, but this is a prescriptive rule rather than a descriptive rule. Shakespeare uses double and triple negatives though I can't say whether any of his noble characters do or not. It may be that only the lower classes use multiple negation. I don't know. I believe that Chaucer used multiple negation as well, but don't quote me on that. And we all know that Rock music thrives on a diet of double negatives.
The fact is that multiple negation is an intensifier of negation in English, as all native speakers know. No native English speaker anywhere in the world misunderstood Mick Jagger when he sang, "I can't get no satisfaction." to mean that he was satisfied because the negatives canceled out. Nor would the standard English sentence "I can't get any satisfaction.", or "I am really dissatisfied." pack the same punch. That isn't to say that many native speakers didn't roll their eyes and groan in dismay. But they understood because it is a possible sentence in English. That doesn't mean it shouldn't set Mr. Picky's teeth on edge. (I believe that last sentence is allowable, though it might be frowned upon.)
So how did it happen that multiple negation was ruled ungrammatical if the sentence structure is naturally present in English? As I understand it, when the rules of grammar were first formulated it was done by men who regarded Latin as the perfect language. They then took rules that were natural to Latin and attempted to impose them on there own vulgar tongue, English. One man of that time said that he always translated his English prose into Latin to see if what he had written was any good. Appeals were also made to mathematical logic, but lets face it, English is not a logical beast.
I once saw a list of rules that had been thus borrowed from Latin in a linguistics textbook. I know that "Thou shallt not use double negatives." was one of them, I am almost certain that think the rule against splitting infinitives comes from Latin as well. In Latin it is literally nonsense to make a sentence with two negatives. It would be like saying, "The sat dog on the floor." That is not an English sentence. I believe that word order was pretty flexible in Latin. Imposing English rules of word order on Latin would make no sense, but the reverse is what happened to English.
Well, I certainly don't expect Mr. Picky to slap his forehead and exclaim, "Of course! Why didn't I see it before! I mean, why didn't I never see it before.." I just wanted to show him that my position on the matter is not one of simple ignorance, but is something I have been pondering and reading about for more than twenty years. And if he still thinks I am ignorant that is fine. Whatever floats his boat!
Lots of smiley faces to all!
Oh, and I hope Mr. Picky enjoys sniggering over all the missing and misplaced commas.
You are obviously ejjicated and I won't give you no more garbage about it. But I have to say that "irregardless" does bug me, because it's not a matter of a simple double negative--rather, it is a confusion of "regardless" and "irrespective". I mean, I just can't hear Mick using it in the way you describe. Some things is just wrong, man!
Grammar and language are indeed mutable, and I like to play with it and make up words and be silly with it myself. Mr. Tattie Heid and Mr. Picky inhabit this space about as easily as Oscar Madison and Felix Unger shared an apartment. I do think the standardization of usage is important in written English, and I think, for example, that anyone who writes about food or drink should know the difference between "compliment" and "complement". At the same time, I think the prohibitions against split infinitives and dangling prepositions are silly, and I think most style experts agree these days. Anyway, I recognize that forums like this are informal places where such matters are not regarded as being very important (at least everyone here uses whole sentences!), so when I just can't help myself, I let the voice of that stuffed shirt, Mr. Picky, speak. Hopefully no one takes him too seriously. Except, of course, when they need correction!
And a special Hello to Mr. Picky.
Mr. Picky, you win. I will remove 'irregardless' from my vocabulary forthwith. Actually, I read that an old radio comedy coined irregardless for one of its characters to make him sound ignorant. Too many people didn't get the joke and it passed into common usage.
I shall raise my glass to you, Mr. Picky, as soon as I get home from work this evening.
As I said above: "At the same time, I think the prohibitions against split infinitives and dangling prepositions are silly, and I think most style experts agree these days."
I'm sure we all know some variation on the joke about the Texan freshman at Harvard who collars a preppie upperclassman and asks, "'Scuse me, where's the library at?" The preppie sneers, "Young fellow, you're at Harvard. At Harvard, one does not end a sentence with a preposition." The Texan replies, "Well excuuuuse me! Where's the library at, a**h***!?!"
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