Infer or Imply?

They covered this mistake rather regularly in English class, but I don’t see it very often in real life. Perhaps the latter is because of the former, eh?

Here are the definitions:

  • Imply—to suggest something without saying it explicitly
  • Infer—a type of logic when you look at a bunch of examples and detect a pattern

I think this guy means “imply.”

Pros & Cons - 02/09/2019

Enough said. Use “infer” and “imply” correctly.

A Comic Curmudgeon

I like it when a comic has a character who’s a compulsive grammar corrector. Saves me having to do it.

The comic says it all; she’s right. (In other strips, though, she’s a terrible driver.)

Antecedents Matter

Let’s start with some rules

  • An antecedent is a word toward the front of a sentence that a word farther along in the sentence (called the proform) refers to.
  • Antecedents and proforms have to agree, which means they have the same grammatical form (both have to be singular or both plural, for example.)
  • “Who” refers to people, “that” refers to non-people

Here are two examples, both from this article:

This news organization sat down with Crandall at Attivo’s headquarters to discuss the company’s work for customers, which include consumer-goods companies, tech firms, law offices, and government agencies.

Okay, is it the comany’s work or the company’s customers that’s included? It’s the customers! Even besides the list making sense as a list of customers, both “customers” and the proform, “include” are plural. So the grammar tells you, too.

There is this very advanced set of attackers that will use all sorts of social engineering to figure out how to get around the security systems.

“That” goes with non-humans, right? And attackers are human, right? So it should be “who will use etc.” right? But “set” is a math term, right? Non-human, right? Well… the context indicates that this is a set of humans, so I think “who” is still appropriate. (And “will use” can be either singular or plural, so that’s no help.) But that’s the editor in me.

What does the editor in you say?

When “You” Means “Me”

The dinosaur is talking about himself the whole time, even though he switches from first person (me) in his first sentence, to second person (you) in the second sentence. He uses “you” in a generic sense, which I mentioned a while back.

What the dinosaur is saying would be smoother if he had stuck with either first person or second person the whole time. Try reading it to yourself each way. Which do you like better?

A Correct “Only”

People commonly put “only” at the beginning of a clause when the word actually modifies a word within the clause. The rule is that adjectives (such as “only”) modify the word following. Putting that “only” too early can lead to nonsense.

This guy gets it right. Third panel. Think what he’d be saying if he had placed the “only” one word earlier, in front of “helps.” In this case still true, perhaps, but not his point.

By the way, in the next panel, that’s a rectangular prism, not a cube. But I digress.

PS—Here’s a typical incorrect “only.” Second word balloon. It should be “only last week.” (Ignore the “only” in the first word balloon. It shouldn’t even be there.)

Someone Gets It! All Right!

I’ve been seeing “alright” used so often lately, that I figured I had too many to choose from if I pointed out this mistake. Besides, I wrote about it at least once before. It’s two words, folks, “all right.” I’ve been discouraged about seeing this solecism so often, so having found someone who got it right, I have to celebrate:

If you want one word, maybe spell it “arright.”

Typographic Temperature Technicality

Did you know that you don’t use the degree sign when you write the wind chill?

Here’s the whole paragraph:

With the new [as of 2001] formula, Environment Canada began reporting wind chill as an index stripped of units, so that a calculated wind chill of, say, -30°C is communicated simply as -30. “The current index is expressed in temperature-like units because it is the format that was preferred by most Canadians,” says the agency. “However, since the wind chill index is not actually a real temperature but, rather, represents the feeling of cold on your skin, it is reported without the degree sign.”

So there you have it.

To make the degree sign, by the way, hold down the Alt key while you type 0176 on the numeric keypad. So 40° below, for example. On a Mac, it’s Option-Shift 8.

How Do You Spell “Resumay”?

I wrote about this back in 2012, but I repeat myself occasionally, so here’s the lesson again, particularly since I have a comic for it:

Maybe that’s what happens when you and your résumé don’t match…

(ahem) Anyway, how do you get that accented “e”?

On a Windows computer, hold down the Alt key while you type 0233 on the numeric keypad, then release the Alt key.

On a Mac, Hold down the Option key while you type an e, then release both keys, and then type “e” again.

May you and your résumé always match, and may the résumé be outstanding.

Grammar Comic

Lightweight post today. I kind of wish that first panel were true, though…

I think it would be funnier if the last panel had “yr” instead of “your.”

Affect and Effect

I don’t run into this error very often, except in places that want to correct your grammar. And sometimes in a high school student’s homework.

It’s in the middle panel in the second line. (Little bit of cynicism in the title panel…)

I don’t need to tell you how to do it right, do I?