Thursday, February 8, 2007

TOT: At Your Request! LOL

(Update: Well, it appears I scared all of you off with this week's TOT entry. The correct answers for the "pop quiz" are highlighted below. Thanks!)

Cool! The whole five or so of you that comment and/or visit here regularly have been making requests for topics to cover. So, today is an "all-request" Three of Thursday! Thank you Shelagh and Sara! I'll tackle the easiest one first...

GOOD/WELL
Like with most English "rules", there are always exceptions. But, this is another example of "for the majority of cases"! LOL

Background: remember that adjectives describe nouns (the ol' person, place or things routine) while adverbs describe verbs (the action words). So, here it is: "good" is an adjective while "well" is an adverb. You just have to pay attention to what you are describing.

Examples:
He was a good dog. He ran after that ball well.
I think that went well! That was a good idea!

But what generally throws people off is the response to the question: "So, how are you feeling?" Are you describing your physical body so you are in need of a adjective? Or how you mentally feeling so an adverb is appropriate? Ya' see the problem? The trick there is the word "feel". It's a verb. So, technically, the correct response in most cases is, "I feel well."

NAUSEATED/NAUSEOUS
To be honest, I had to look this one up! LOL Had never noticed this as a problem before! LOL

First, "nauseated" is a verb. And, "nauseous" is an adjective.

"Nauseate" means to sicken as in "her behavior on that reality show nauseates me."

Meanwhile, "nauseous" refers to the feeling of something revolting and/or offensive as in "a nauseous display of consumerism." Dictionary.com says this:



"Traditional critics have insisted that nauseous is properly used only to mean "causing nausea" and that it is incorrect to use it to mean "affected with nausea," as in Roller coasters make me nauseous. In this example, nauseated is preferred by 72 percent of the Usage Panel. Curiously, though, 88 percent of the Panelists refer using nauseating in the sentence The children looked a little green from too many candy apples and nauseating (not nauseous) rides. Since there is a lot of evidence to show that nauseous is widely used to mean "feeling sick," it appears that people use nauseous mainly in the sense in which it is considered incorrect. In its "correct" sense it is being supplanted by nauseating."

Hope that wasn't too confusing!


LAY/LIE
Hmmm...I wish I could come up with a cool way to remember this one myself. Had to do some research so I could sum it up well.

LAY: (There are SIXTY. SIX. definitions. Could THAT be why it's confusing? LOL) Its past tense is "laid". It means to place something down. It is a transitive verb - which is fancy Englsh teacher talk for it needs an object to work with it. It needs something to lay down - so to speak. For example, "I can lay down the directory here" or "I laid down my keys somewhere".

LIE: Lie (with 27 definitions for this use) means "to recline" or "be placed." Its past tense is "lay". It does not act on anything or anyone else so it is an intransitive verb. "Lie down on the couch" or "the rug lies on the floor". So, if the subject of the sentence is lying down, then it’s “lie.”

(Side note: a "test" if a verb is intransitive or transitive is to take the sentence down to just the subject and verb and does it still makes sense. An INtransitive verb is INdependent. And, a transitive is dependent on something else to make sense. For instance, using the examples I listed above: "Lie down" and "The rug lies" still make sense without the rest of the sentence while "I can lay down" and "I laid down" give a feeling something is missing because you want to ask "lay down WHAT?")


So, here's a little "open book" pop quiz...which ones are incorrect?

1. I will lay my head on the pillow.
2. Lie down on the couch.
3. My cat likes to lay on my bed.
4. Yesterday I lay on the sofa for a nap.
5. I came home and he was laying on the floor.
6. Let's lie our picnic blanket down here.
7. Yesterday I laid my sweater on the bed.

Extra credit: I could have lain in bed all day

Wow! That got longer than I planned. Thanks for hanging in there! *wink*

4 comments:

lady of value said...

Hmm, let's see if I get it right.
Number 4 should be laid. #5 should be lying. #6 should be lay.
How'd I do? Oh, I think the extra credit is right the way it is.

sara said...

One, two, I think four, and seven are correct???? Oh, wait; maybe four should be in the past tense?

You lost me on nauseous/nauseated. It's not you; it's me - and the fact that there are conflicting opinions about the usage.

How about explaining strange word mutations like normalcy? It's in the dictionary but is it more or less correct than normality? I think there's a little presidential history involved as well. (Politicians seem to love this word.)

While I'm on the subject, why would someone use the word relevancy when relevance means the same thing and is a simpler word? And is conversate even a word?

Thanks for doing all of this.

Unashamed said...

After reading #2 I became nauseated. Or is that nauseous?

Heh heh, just kidding ya...

I often use lay incorrectly. A perfect example is one you gave: "My cat likes to lay on my bed". In my head I hear "my cat likes to lay (himself) on my bed", which seems correct to me.

Speaking English well (or is that good) can be so confusing!! I think I better go lie down now. Or is that lay?

sara said...

I think I lie on my bed but I lay myself (my body) down to sleep. Same with the cat, I think too.