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Old 14th July 2010, 10:43   #1306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
... the split infinitive. We should not say "To boldly go". ...
Agreed, the split-infinitive continues to be hotly debated even today.

OT : One of the most famous split-infinitive usages occurs in the opening lines of the (first/original) Star Trek TV series, where it goes '... , to boldy go where no man has gone before.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by tifosikrishna View Post
...The book reads well. - UsingEnglish.com ESL Forum

Some of the regulars in this thread will find it interesting....


I had stumbled upon that forum sometime ago, and found the discussions on the English language very interesting (sometimes bit too technical, yes). One key aspect that I noticed (in the few topics that I went thru) was the pleasing absence of egotist posts.

Last edited by Blue Thunder : 14th July 2010 at 10:44.
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Old 14th July 2010, 14:51   #1307
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Star Wars made the split infinitive famous! That was the source of my example
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Old 14th July 2010, 16:30   #1308
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Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Star Wars made the split infinitive famous! That was the source of my example
Minor nitpick - Star Trek, not Star Wars.
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Old 14th July 2010, 19:07   #1309
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The other day I updated my Facebook status to read as:

German football. Fourth to none.

I was of course assuming everyone would get the joke, but very few did. Needless to say, I was playing on the common phrase "second to none" which generally indicates that some one (or something) is the best in their (or its) class.

Going by that thinking, fourth to none would mean third. Which is logical. The German football team came third to Holland and Spain, but they came fourth to no one. Of course nobody uses it like that, but in a light-hearted way it made sense.

Which is when I was informed by 2 well-travelled Germans (one being my own better half) that they had never heard this phrase in their life.
Impossible, said I, it is a fairly common phrase.

Perhaps in India. In fact maybe it is Indian English. I was told.

I should have stood my ground. Instead I went on to explain how it was perhaps more polite or literate to use the phrase "second to none" to describe something that is indeed first-class.

Why?

Well perhaps when you talk about a person describing him as being "better than everyone else" - you're putting "everyone else" down.
But describing someone as "second to none" perhaps does not directly involve everyone else. I think. I don't know.

Anyway, instead of standing my ground and scoffing at the non native speakers, I searched the internet and discovered that "second to none" was indeed a common phrase around the world and not just Indian-English.

Funnily, the translation of the phrase in German was simply "The best" - a logical and simple German way of looking everything at life.

You are either the best, or not the best.
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Old 14th July 2010, 19:22   #1310
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^^ well I guess they haven't heard of second best, third best etc then. Why do you think we invented zero? Cos 1st was taken
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:15   #1311
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A link that lists a few common spelling errors which I've seen a lot here as well :

10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling - The Oatmeal

Aside : Lots of other hilarious stuff too on that site..
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Old 15th July 2010, 00:25   #1312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
Minor nitpick - Star Trek, not Star Wars.
Not minor at all to real fans of either!

Woops... I hang my head in shame

Thanks for the correction.

Second to none!

Yes, Sam, a common and correct English idiom.

A couple of weeks back i ran out of breath trying to persuade someone, on another forum, that "few" always means more than one, and can never mean none. He would not even accept the Oxford Dictionary definition.

Fourth to none, of course, is an impossibility--- which bends the mind nicely!
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Old 17th July 2010, 12:16   #1313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post

Fourth to none, of course, is an impossibility--- which bends the mind nicely!
Extrapolating fourth to none, i reach at last to none. Well logically this seems the same as second to none, like a mathematical equation, eh?
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Old 17th July 2010, 12:41   #1314
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logically, third, fourth, fifth, etc to none is the same as second to none, because it implies that there is no other 2nd/1st, 3rd/2nd/1st, 4th/3rd/2nd/1st --- which makes it a good joke
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Old 17th July 2010, 13:27   #1315
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I remember a 1000 meter running race in my college sports event. Only 3 people gave their name and all 3 were university level runners, and nobody wanted to look bad running far far behind them. But the college officials didn't want to hold the event unless there was a loser, somebody who doesn't get a podium finish. So the 3 guys found a bakra (sheep) to sign up as the fourth guy. This happened just before the event started. Most of us suddenly found some interest in the event to see how badly he will trail them.

Somewhere around 500m, the guy in third place pulled a hamstring and pulled out of the race. Suddenly we all realised that the Bakra will now get a podium finish, he will be fourth to none. At least half the guys around me started muttering and wishing that they also had signed for the run since they could have easily beaten the Bakra to clinch the third place. Now the bakra had started running with a big smile although other two had a lap over him.

Since the third place was practically decided, the focus shifted to the first two who were battling bitterly for the first place. With 50m to go, one tries to pass the other and things go horribly wrong. They tangle and both go crashing horribly to the ground. While some scurried to take care of the fallen college champs, most turned their eyes in pure envy at the lone warrior who was literally panting and dragging his foot with huge grin on his face. He finally walked into the finishing line barely able to stand, and was announced as the winner. That was probably the only day he was second to none in an athletics event.
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:11   #1316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
.... he will be fourth to none. ....
.....
he was second to none in an athletics event.
Samurai, brilliant!
You do the Yeti proud!
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Old 17th July 2010, 14:31   #1317
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Superb story telling
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Old 17th July 2010, 15:22   #1318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
Samurai, brilliant!
You do the Yeti proud!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Superb story telling
Thanks guys. But when it comes to story telling, Yeti is second to none and I am to many...
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Old 17th July 2010, 19:12   #1319
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The Yeti's post reminded me of my English teacher in college, who said the native English speakers tend to use two negatives to connote a positive, unlike in India where we tend to use the postive directly.

Examples are 'second to none' in place of 'the best', 'it is not uncommon to find beggars all over the streets' in place of 'it is quite common to find beggars all over the streets', 'he likes cakes not so much as cookies' in place of 'he likes cookies more than cakes',' not bad' in place of 'good', etc.

Nice observation, eh?
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Old 17th July 2010, 21:24   #1320
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It is common, but bad style. A good teacher should have knocked the habit on the head!

Worse, of course, is the slang double negative which is not meant to be a positive, ie I ain't got no money!
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