Sunday, March 28, 2010

Subject–Verb Agreement

The highlighted verb is wrong (Sunday Times Lifestyle, 14 March 2010).  Make it is, because the subject of the sentence is making reservations at high-end restaurants, a non-finite clause and hence grammatically singular.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


An interesting typo that gives a clue to the caption writer’s pronunciation (Straits Times online, 1 March 2010). 

Obviously the writer meant former’s, but the fact that he typed formal’s suggests that both words are homophones for him.

One might surmise that he pronounces /l/ and /r/ alike, but this would be wrong.  Rather, the phenomenon that is relevant here is /l/-vocalization (or ‘vowelization’ of /l/), which means that dark /l/ either becomes a vowel, or is deleted — in other words, /l/ disappears.  And since Singapore English is non-rhotic, /r/ is not pronounced after vowels; in other words, is it not even present.  Hence, /l, r/ confusion does not arise.