[DWJ] What are you reading?

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Nov 5 11:26:48 EST 2009

On Thu, 5 Nov 2009 08:25:34 +0000, Roger Burton West wrote:

>On Wed, Nov 04, 2009 at 10:00:13AM -0700, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
>>My little pile of notebooks is very useful for just that reason...I figured
>>that when I couldn't remember what year I'd read a book, I needed an
>>auxiliary memory.  A few years after I began the log, I started keeping
>>Excel files just listing the books with no comments to help with that end of
>>year list.  *That* showed me that I was still missing books--of course I
>>read _Anansi Boys_, so why isn't it in the record?  Or _The Game_, which is
>>just embarrassing.
>I manage this mostly by putting a book in the list the moment I finish
>it - even if that means getting out of bed to make the note...

And this is where we notice that Melissa is Lazy.  :)

>>(See how I said "different from"?  I know all-y'all on the other side of the
>>Atlantic say "different to" and I am always conscious of the difference when
>>I say or write it.)
>Hang on, I thought you were in the USA? "Different to" in BrE is
>generally a sign of an uneducated or careless writer, or at least
>someone deliberately trying for that voice.

Whether or not it's *acceptable* in British English, Americans just don't
use that construction ever.  It's true, I don't recall seeing it in print
nearly so often as hearing it (and I was talking about speech, not writing,
but I realize now that wasn't very clear in the first post).  This
particular phrase was pointed out to my college linguistics class by the
professor (who was Australian and a wealth of information about how
Australians and New Zealanders really have very different accents) as part
of a discussion on regional variants.  I don't remember that he ever talked
about where that divergence happened, unfortunately.  It's stuck with me all
these years.  Not that I'm trying to tell the English how they speak, of
course, so I'm glad to have more specific input from you.

Otter, we also talked about "different than" and concluded that it must be
some localized phenomenon.  I say that all the time and I don't know where I
picked it up, because I lived all over the US while I was growing up (but
never in New England).


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