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Quote:

I could care less that my wife is Asian American.

Couldn't.

What does this mean?

I could care?

I could not care?

I could care less?

I could not care less?

I am confused...

Some more questions.

What is "overkill"?

What is "Paging doctor Jones."?

Grammar question:

What pronoun shall I use in these two sentence structures?

I am taller than (him).

He is taller than (them).

She is taller than (him).

It is (me).

It is (him).

There is (her).

There are (them).

In class I learnt that we should use disjunctive pronouns in these two cases. But an online friend who was a native English speaker, told me that I should use the nominative pronouns.

I am taller than (he).

He is taller than (they).

She is taller than (he).

It is (I).

It is (he).

There is (she).

There are (they).

Last question:

What is/are the difference(s) between "the other" and "another"?

I ask these questions because I do not have English classes anymore, so my only English input would be from you.

Thanks in advance!

-Shibo :help

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I will have a go at some of the answers... hope it helps...

I could care less that my wife is Asian American.

= I don't care that/its not important that/it makes no difference that my wife is Asian American. 'I couldn't care less that...' means the same thing.

What is "overkill"? = doing something to an excessive degree.

What is "Paging doctor Jones."? = Calling doctor Jones on his pager (eg if there is an emergency)

I am taller than (him).

He is taller than (them).

She is taller than (him).

It is (me).

It is (him).

= all correct

There is (her).

There are (them).

= There she is.

= There they are.

I am taller than (he).

He is taller than (they).

She is taller than (he).

= I think maybe it is short for 'I am taller than he is', 'He is taller than they are' etc

Jo ; )

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xuechengfeng

I think the difference between things like "It is I" and "It is me" is the first is more of a formal response, and the second is more informal, I don't think it's incorrect, however.

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"the other" refers to something specific. "another" is non-specific.

Like you could say "pass me the other book" which implies there is only one other book. (Note: you already have a book)

If you said "pass me another book" there would be a whole pile of books and you want any one of them... (Note: you already have a book)

Jr

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This is why idomatic language is often difficult.

"I could care less" - this is a quirk of American English (I don't believe they have this in other English speaking countries - maybe Canada)

It means, funny enough, I couldn't care less. Yes, us silly Americans. I couldn't care less - meaning I don't care.

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I agree with the responses above, but wanted to add a little.

"I could(n't) care less" means: "I care so little that it would be impossible for me to care any less."

I think that "I could care less" may have acquired a negative meaning by its similarity to expressions like: "He can/could go hang, for all I care." This expression also has very challenging grammar. It means that "I care so little that, even with the full extent of my caring, it would not matter if he went so far as dying by hanging."

Chinese has the opposite phenomenon in sentences like 他还没到以前, where the negative adds nothing to the meaning.

What is "overkill"? = doing something to an excessive degree.

Even more specifically, "overkill" refers to "taking care of or handling something by using an unnecessarily wasteful amount of effort or resources. Like trying to kill something that is already dead. Despite the element of "kill," it does not imply that the circumstances themselves are necessarily negative. For instance, "Hurray!" is an appropriate use of an exclamation mark. "Hurray!!" might be a permissible exaggeration for comic effect. "Hurray!!!!!!!!!" is just "overkill."

Grammar question:

What pronoun shall I use in these two sentence structures?

I am taller than (him).

He is taller than (them).

She is taller than (him).

This is a hotly dispute area of for English grammarians, but not really for English linguists. The English grammatical tradition has prided itself on logic rooted mostly in the grammar of Latin. Linguists recognize that language is often not "logical" and that Latin grammatical principles are not necessarily valid for English.

The conservative view is that "than" is a conjunction and that any following pronoun must take the case of the noun or pronoun it is paired with. (E.g., I am taller than he. I recognize none taller than him.)

Colloquial English treats "than" as a preposition. As a preposition, it will always require pronouns in the objective case. (E.g., I am taller than him.)

It is (me).

It is (him).

There is (her).

There are (them).

In class I learnt that we should use disjunctive pronouns in these two cases. But an online friend who was a native English speaker, told me that I should use the nominative pronouns.

I do not believe that English grammarians would accept that the concept of disjunctive pronouns applies to English. The choice is always determined by the required case, in the same way as is done in Latin or German. In these cases, the pronoun has to be in the nominative case. (E.g., it is I.)

As an amateur linguist, I would say that colloquial English absolutely requires the concept of disjunctive pronouns, almost exactly as in French. (E.g., it's me.) To my ears, "it is me" is a strange mix of formal and informal. While not ungrammatical, I do not think a native speaker would ever utter this except as an unsuccessful attempt to talk "properly."

By the way, "disjunctive pronouns" is not, to my knowledge, a term used in native English grammar.

Another fact you may be interested in is that "disjunctive pronouns" are so heavily criticised in early schooling that many, if not most, "educated" speakers hyper-correct in many constructions, at least in the U.S. For instance, I would say that most educated speakers "incorrectly" say things like "between you and I" when trying to speak in anything other than casual settings.

What is/are the difference(s) between "the other" and "another"?

This is directly analogous to the difference between "the apple" and "an apple." The only difference is that "another" is written as a single word for some inexplicable historical reason. One tricky aspect of this word, that you probably know, is that "another" can mean "a different one" or "an additional one just like the previous one(s)." (别的 versus 另 一个?)

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"I could care less" - this is a quirk of American English (I don't believe they have this in other English speaking countries - maybe Canada)

Yeah, as an Australian English speaker, when I read "I could care less" in the first post I didn't even know what it meant. We only say "I couldn't care less".

It's funny though, I still would have expected to understand - we still know the meaning of ketchup, diaper, cab, doing laundry, hood (as in hood of the car), trunk etc. Even though we would never think of saying it that way (we would say tomato sauce, nappy, taxi, doing washing, bonnet, boot, etc...)

Junior

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Thanks for the explanations!

I guess, if one tries to say "an other", because it is a consonant followed by a vowel, it automatically become "another"...

bonnet and boot of a car, haha cute...

-Shibo :mrgreen:

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I disagree that using nominative case for the object, in sentences like "I am taller than he" demonstrates the difference in formal and informal English. I say it is archaic, just like "you and I" (although this to a lesser degree). We no longer talk like that, languages evolve over time so it is correct to say "I am taller than him" and "me and you". Of course you'll be understood either way but it's best to "talk proper!" :lol:

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Okay, I am not a native English speaker, nor an English linguist, but this is what I think. I think the Germanic influence/nature of English compels one to say "taller than I, it is I...", but from 1066 onwards, English received influence from an Italic language, Norman French, which would compel one to say "taller than me, it is me(it's me)..."

Like German(not sure about the German): "großer als ich, es ist ich..."

Like French: "plus grand que moi, c'est moi..."

These two main groups clash, and boom, you have English!

Which one should you use? Well, do you want to stress the Germanic nature of English or the French influences of English?

Just my thought.

-Shibo :mrgreen:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to bother again! I have a few more questions...

1) How do I use "either" and "neither"?

Basically, are "either", "neither", when used as pronouns, singular or plural?

I would eat either the apple or the orange.

I would not eat neither the apple nor the orange.

Either the cat or the dogs eat (eats)?

Neither the cat or the dogs eat (eats)?

Either paintings (is) are finished?

Neither paintings (is)are finished?

Either I or you (am, is)are going? Either (am, is) are going?

Neither I nor you (am, is)are going? > Neither (am, is) are going?

2) How do I use "everyone", "none", "no one"?

Basically, is "everyone", when used as a pronoun, singular or plural?

Everyone (am, are) is going to the festival? > None (am, are) is going?

None (am, are) is going to the festival? > None (am, are) is going?

No one (am, are) is going to the festival? > No one (am, are) is going?

No one is used for human?

None is used for non-human, or may it be used for all?

3) What is IMHO?

4) I had thought that "paging Doctor Jones" is an idiom?

-Shibo :mrgreen:

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I would eat either the apple or the orange.

Correct

I would not eat neither the apple nor the orange.

The using "not" and "neither" together is a double negative... choose one or the other. It should be:

I would eat neither the apple nor the orange.

or:

I would not eat either the apple or the orange.

or you can leave out "either" and "neither":

I would not eat the apple nor the orange. (You can use "or" instead of "nor," though it's technically not correct according to the grammar books. In American English at least, I think the use of "nor" is beginning to disappear unless it appears with "neither.")

Either the cat or the dogs eat (eats)?

Neither the cat or the dogs eat (eats)?

Eat ("either" and "neither" are plural pronouns)

Either paintings (is) are finished?

Neither paintings (is)are finished?

Are (same reason)

Either I or you (am, is)are going? Either (am, is) are going?

Neither I nor you (am, is)are going? > Neither (am, is) are going?

In the cases on the left, "either" and "neither" are not acting as nouns and thus not the subjects. The subjects are "I" and "you," in which case you use the one closest to the verb:

Either I or you are going.

Either you or I am going.

Either are going. (here since "either" is the subject, the verb is plural)

Neither I nor you are going.

Neither you nor I am going.

Neither are going. (again "neither" is the subject, so it's plural)

Everyone (am, are) is going to the festival?

Is ("everyone" is singular)

None (am, are) is going?

None (am, are) is going to the festival? > None (am, are) is going?

Are ("none" is plural)

No one (am, are) is going to the festival? > No one (am, are) is going?

Is ("no one" is singular - the same applies for the word "nothing")

No one is used for human?

None is used for non-human, or may it be used for all?

When "no one" is used as a pronoun, then it only applies to humans. "None" can be used for anybody and anything.

What is IMHO?

It stands for "In my humble opinion"

I had thought that "paging Doctor Jones" is an idiom?

No... what did you think it meant?

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Actually I just looked it up and "either" and "neither" are supposed to be singular pronouns, not plural. However, it is becoming more and more common to use them as plural pronouns. In fact for me, using them as singular pronouns sounds strange (and I am a native English speaker). It may be an American English phenomenon; I'm not quite sure... are there any other native English speakers that would like to comment?

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You are quite correct that either/neither singular vs. plural is a VERY tricky one. I've seen it on TOEFL tests.. hehe the buggers.

Anyhoo my Oxford Advanced Learners has a boxed text on this:

1. after 'either' or 'neither' you use a singular verb:

Neither candidate was suitable for the job.

2. Neither of and either of are followed by a plural noun or pronoun and a singular OR plural verb. A plural verb is more informal.

Neither of my parents speak/speaks a Foreign language.

3. When 'neither .. nor' or 'either .. or' are used with two singular nouns, the verb can be singular or plural. A plural verb is more informal.

(btw this dictionary does include American usage).

Most native speakers will not be able to explain their choices here, it's just too complex and subtle.

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