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Monday, January 19, 2009

"Why can't Americans learn to speak???"


My Mom and I are always annoyed when we see a specific commercial. It's one from one of those scooter companies, the ones that help people who are unable to walk on their own. This one talks about a woman who is, "limited by (sic) her mobility".

Every time we hear this commercial we yell at the screen, "you can be 'limited in your mobility' or you can be 'limited by you lack of mobility' but you can't be limited 'by your mobility'."

This is not the only problem I have with Americans and their grammar, usage and general speech. One of the phrasings that bothers me the most is misuse of the word lay. Lay means put. If you can't say "put" you can't say "lay". For example, since you can't say "I'm going to put down" you can't say "I'm going to lay down". What you probably mean in this case is lie down. Lie means recline.

I suppose the tripping point in this word maze is that the past tense of lay is laid (as is the past participle) but the past tense of lie is lay (and the past participle is lain). In other words, while you ought not to say "I'm going to lay down now" you would be correct to say "yesterday, I lay in my bed" (just as you could say "yesterday, I reclined in my bed").

Lay does have a use (in the present tense). You should, for example, say "I'm going to lay my coat down on that chair" (just as you could say "I'm going to put that coat down on that chair").

Yes, I understand that an awful lot of people misuse lay. And I really don't know why it bothers me so much. It shouldn't annoy me so much, nor should it bother me when people say, "between you and I" instead of "between you and me". Yes, Virginia, there is a use for objective case pronouns (me, him, her, us, them).

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Strong Biblical Women Part 3
About the Jewish Calendar
Witches and Morality
Presidential Trivia Quiz
Christmas and the Jewish Single
Math Hints 1 -- Adding Fractions
Presidents1: George Washington
Passover: Holiday of Freedom
Ruth and Naomi
John and John Quincy Adams
Television Trivia Quiz
Tamar -- Mother of Kings
Jewish Perspective of G-d
Why I'm a Red Sox Fan

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