Friday, August 18, 2006

Antiperistalsis and the Subjunctive

Ed Brill makes a good point in his comment to this article. He hints, humorously, that the quality of the writing in an article can compensate for any deficiencies in the content.

In his example, he uses the subjunctive as a signalling mechanism for a well-written post.

I find that Americans "get" the subjunctive. Were I to live there, I am sure I would also start to use it more.

However, it's a form of speech that very few Brits seem to use. I am indebted to my friends Henry and Polly for teaching me about it (and shaming me into using it correctly).


LeeChee said...

You talk about the importance of the subjunctive in British English, and then in the very next (previous) post use the terms "washroom" and "restroom" - tsk tsk!

If I were you, I'd stick to toilet, loo, gents, p*sser, cr*pper, sh*tter, smallest room in the house etc. etc. :)

Henry said...

If you're going to complain about bad idiom, I'd start with the pleonasm of "a telco in East Anglia".

Richard Brown said...

Lee: you will not believe how long I spent trying to choose the right wording for my toilet post... I'll add your suggestions to my thesaurus for next time :-)

Henry: Now, now... I'm sure there's more than one (surely? East Anglia can't really be as godforsakenly desolate as it looks. Can it?!)