General grammar thread (was Re: Checking in)

Roger Burton West roger at
Sat Jan 24 16:32:25 EST 2004

On Sat, Jan 24, 2004 at 09:20:28PM +0000, minnow at wrote:
>No, actually I think that sucks too, on stylistic
>grounds, I hate the construction "This makes the book feel so [anything]",
>"so" is a woolliness, a filler-word, either the thing is right or it isn't,
>if it's right and it's good what does "so" add?  No, I'm being unfair.  I
>have too much to do with adolescents.

It seems sloppy to me on entirely other grounds. "The book feels right"
is the wrong way round - like the entirely more justifiable "this coat
feels warm", it _really_ means "I get this feeling, but I think you will
too". Is that something a reviewer should be saying? Would "I enjoyed
reading this book, in part because of this sort of attention to detail"
be any worse? (OK, he may have been constrained by word-count.)

>"shall" versus "will"
>in every possible situation,

I have a version of that which I've never heard anywhere else. Roughly
formulated, it is something like this:

For first person, "shall" indicates intention and is for normal use ("I 
shall go to the cinema tomorrow"), while "will" indicates an emphatic 
intention or perhaps a serious undertaking ("I will have vengeance"). 
For second and third persons, this is reversed ("He will go with you", 
"They shall pursue you to the ends of the Earth").

Has anyone else met this?

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