Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whom

Nice to know that good the object pronoun whom is still going strong in some quarters!
Weasel Words
The Land Transport Authority and Nets claimed (Today, 1 November 2008) that problems with cashcards were due to ‘incompatibility’.

They must think Singaporeans are fools. If the faulty cashcards were indeed ‘incompatible’ with in-vehicle units, then what exactly were they compatible with?

Gone are the days when things just worked.
Punctuation Matters

It does. Not sure about you, but I had to read this two or three times to understand it. Hyphenating the adjectival would have made things a lot clearer and helped the reader to parse the sentence:

I have that just-devoured-a-polluted-city taste in my mouth.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Live vs Life

I don’t think Mrs Ann Wee is going to be very thrilled to see this!

In the poster, she is referred to as a live member of the Singapore Children’s Society (opposite: dead member). In this noun phrase, the premodifier live is an adjective, e.g. live prawns, live wire, live connection.

Mrs Wee is in fact a life member, where the premodifier is the noun life and the expression means ‘member for life’.

When we have an adjective+head noun combination (here, live + member), it is usually possible to reverse the order and insert a linking verb: the member is (a)live. But when we have a noun+head noun combination (here, life + member), we can very often reverse the order and insert a preposition: member for life.
More ST Fluff

Since fluff is an uncountable/uncount/non-count/mass noun, another fluff in the headline is wrong: make it more fluff, perhaps.

Contrast this with the letter writer’s own expression: another piece of fluff. Unlike the ST sub-editor, the writer knows that fluff is uncountable and so needs a partitive, piece.

More ST Fluff


Since fluff is an uncountable/uncount/non-count/mass noun, another fluff in the headline is wrong.