Tag Archives: grammar

Hardcore Arabic: ‘Treble Formation’

The language has astonishing sweep and granularity that are explicit and penetrative to a degree redolent of lore and legend. The open-sesame to Arabic’s magic for this English speaker is Wright’s majestic grammar. (1) Here, of an early morning on … Continue reading

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When Is a Viper Just a Snake?

I share my neck of the world with rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads, coral snakes (red-on-yellow, kill a fellow) and cottonmouths. I can’t tell a moccasin from a cottonmouth — they frequent water, and I don’t. When I see one of … Continue reading

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‘Because You See His Teeth, Don’t Assume the Lion Is Smiling’

The comment about the unsmiling lion is attributed to the 10th-century Arabic poet al-Mutanabbi (915 – 965). I heard it on a podcast called “Arabic Qahwa.” The line has a zesty zing to it that marks it as an old … Continue reading

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The ‘He-She —> They’ Transformation (2)

(Continued from https://ethicaldative.com/2022/07/26/the-he-she-they-transformation-1/) A pronoun is only as stable as the noun it stands for. If Niamh does not always, or ever, identify-reveal as she, nor Oisín as he, their customary pronouns aren’t fit for purpose. At the same time, … Continue reading

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The ‘He-She—>They’ Transformation (1)

In respect of gender, Arabic nouns are divisible into three classes; (a) those which are only masculine [muḏakkar-un]; (b) those which are only feminine [mu’annaṯ-un]; (c) those which are both masc. and fem., or, as it is usually phrased, of … Continue reading

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Which One Is ‘They’? A Way Almost to Tell

Let’s work together, good citizens: Go ahead and write they instead of he or she if you must, but keep the -s ending on the verb. It will result in phrases such as they wants. People will want to amend … Continue reading

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Which One Is ‘They’? A Way Almost to Tell

Let’s work together, good citizens: Go ahead and write they instead of he or she if you must, but keep the -s ending on the verb. It will result in phrases such as they wants. People will want to amend … Continue reading

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‘Little Fat, Lazy, Old Woman’

I have a cartoon figure on each shoulder; one whispers “you aren’t” in my ear and the other whispers “you’re not” in my ear. I don’t know which is the devil. If you aren’t swayed by this contrived tease, you’re … Continue reading

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Lone Star Statecraft in Action

The scaffolding that supports the letter of the edifice of the law erected for the citizenry by the solons of the state of the land of the brave in which we live is the prepositional phrase. In May, 2022, Texans … Continue reading

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Is There an Exception Rule for ‘a Anti-abortion’?

The pro-life movement is inevitably bound to some kind of conservatism, insofar as a anti-abortion ethic is hard to separate from a conservative ethic around sex, monogamy and marriage. [The bolding is mine. —JMN] (Ross Douthat, “The End of Roe … Continue reading

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