Thursday, September 18, 2008

Live vs Stay
Interesting that the same writer uses live and stay interchangeably in the same article, just two lines apart (Straits Times, 16 September 2008).
The correct word in this instance is live, which (among other things) implies a more permanent residence than stay. It should also be noted that even for a semester’s residence in a student hall, the appropriate word is live rather than stay.
In Singapore we overwhelmingly prefer the word stay, and we’re not alone — so do the Scots.

In addition we tend to use the progressive aspect, saying I am staying in Clementi rather than I stay/live in Clementi. In Standard English, stative verbs like live are not usually used in the progressive. Other common stative verbs include have, know, understand and love. However, stative verbs may be used in the progressive to convey the meaning ‘at this very moment’, e.g. I was fine this morning but I’m having a headache right now.
The McDonald’s slogan i’m lovin’ it does not follow the rules of Standard English grammar — would one declare one’s affection with I’m loving you? — but its deviance is perhaps what makes it appeal to its target audience.

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