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Jun. 13th, 2011 04:04 pm

I've just come across a fairly important question, with intense, considered, and intelligent debate in the comments, and it seems like just the kind of thing y'all might want to weigh in on.

So: Would you call the man "Doctor Who" or "Doctor Whom"?

I'm disabling comments here because I think comments ought to be left there.

May. 31st, 2011 02:39 am Does "apply" apply?

Hi All.

I am preparing a presentation on a theoretical model used to represent behavior change over time. It is a stage-based model of behavior change called the transtheoretical model (TTM) that first appeared in peer-reviewed health journals and textbooks in 1979. (You can read more about it at http://www.prochange.com [EDIT: .com, not .org], where you can find a lay-reader's description of the model, as well as lists of scholarly references.)

The details of the model are irrelevant to this post, however, so it is not necessary to be familiar with the model for the sake of the question I am posting to the group.

My question relates to how to phrase statements meaning, basically "The model was used/found to accurately/validly/reliably represent such-and-such behavior in terms of how people change that behavior over time", and also "The TTM has been found to accurately/validly/reliably represent how people change behaviors over time", and so on. I also want to say that "Interventions for behavior change have been created/developed based on the model for such-and-such behaviors" and I want to say something about the effectiveness of the interventions. ("Reliably" and "validly" refer to findings of actual studies that have been conducted and published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.)

I also want to talk about specific interventions that were developed to facilitate/assist in behavior change--i.e., movement through the stages. I am trying to differentiate betwene interventions based on the model from behaviors whose change processes are validly/reliably represented/described by the model. In terms of the interventions versus representation, before an intervention can even be developed for a certain behavior, the model must  first be shown to represent that particular behavior's change process.

It would be no problem phrasing things this this way, except for the fact that it is far too wordy, convoluted, and complex. I want to convey the same basic idea, but concisely and succinctly, to six people most of whom have never even heard of the TTM. I have a LOT of information to convey in only 10-15 minutes (I could no more difficultly prepare a 30 minute presentation on the same topic). I need to phrase this in a way that takes as litte time as possible, is simple and easy for them to understand, and that actually says exactly what it is I am trying to say.

Now referring back to the basic subject of my message, I want to know, can I use the phrase "The TTM has been applied to such-and-such behavior" or "The TTM has been found to apply to such-and-such behavior" interchangeably with the phrases I quoted above?? Just saying them to myself, it feels off; they don't seem to mean the same thing as I quoted above. Note that I am aware that the phrases "has been applied to" and "has been found/shown toa apply to" mean totally different things. I think that I want to say them both, but I am having a little trouble distinguishing when I want to say one versus the other, probably due to sleep deprivation (it is 2:30am and I have been up since 11am) and stress.

This is quite frustrating not being able to think of a way to boil down what I want to say to a short, simple (i.e., concise, succinct) statement that means EXACTLY what I am trying to say.

Please ask questions and feel free to correct me if anything I have attempted to phrase originally does not quite make sense.

Thanks in advance for help and replies.


Current Mood: confusedconfused

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May. 12th, 2011 03:05 pm *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

I just recently ran across this blog that tells the stories behind punctuation marks: Shady Characters.

This week's entry is all about the octothorpe (or the pound sign, or the number sign, or the hash sign, or whatever you want to call it.) #

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Dec. 14th, 2010 10:59 am Is or are?

"Only about one in four doctors, mostly in large group practices, is using
the electronic record system." [from Panel Set to Study Safety of
Electronic Patient Data]

This is a quote from the New York Times. The argument is whether "about one in four doctors," which refers to approximately a quarter of all doctors, is plural or singular. Opinions?

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Nov. 17th, 2010 11:58 pm "that" vs. "which"

Okay, so I know there are certain accepted rules about when to use the word 'that' versus the word 'which'--rules with which I mostly disagree. I would like some feedback on some of the rules which I believe should be followed, versus the (outdated, imho) rules which are/tend to be followed.

If I remember from my university English 101 course correctly, then the 'that vs. which' rule states, basically: "Use the word 'which' if the clause follows a comma, and use the word 'that' if the clause does not follow a comma."

I, however, believe that the word 'that' is overused. 'That' has come to precede most, if not all clauses not following commas, instead of much more appropriate and relevant words preceding the clauses.

Specifically, instead of using the word "that" to precede clauses which could be considered answers to the questions "Who?", "When?", "Where?", "Why?", "What?", and "How?", the specific words used to precede the clauses should be, respectively, "who(m)", "when", "where", "why", "which", and "how" or "by/in/through/etc which".


The people who [or, 'with whom we'] went to the movie...

The time when [also, 'at which'] we saw the movie...

The place where [also, 'in which'] we saw the movie...

The reason why [also, 'for which'] we were late to the movie...

The movie which we saw..


The way how [also, 'by which'] we traveled to the theatre...

There is more to the complex process which I use to determine which word to use besides the above heuristic, but it is difficult to describe, because I don't fully understand it myself; it usually just comes naturally to me as to which one to use. However, in general, the above heuristic is usually helpful in situations where it is easy to determine whether to use "that" versus "which".

Now, I am inquiring as to your opinions on this partly because I continue to get marked off points on papers I turn in for my (university) courses, for which, in instances such as these, my usage of "which" instead of "that" strikes the graders as incorrect. I want to know if I have any valid basis for arguing with my professors to get those points back...

However, I am inquiring mostly because my usage of "that" vs. "which" differs from the norm very distinctly, and I am curious as to whether my usage is simply archaic and outdated, or if it is still common. For example, I've seen my usage in some Isaac Asimov novels circa 1940s-1980s, as well as in articles from peer-reviewed psychology journals and monographs circa the same time period...but I haven't encountered my usage in any publications from more recent times. It may be that, because I've read so much of the above material, and have been reading it for such a long time (I've been reading it since January 2006), I simply picked up the usage from the literature and forgot that I did so--but this is not necessarily the case.

My questions for you are: 1) Have you ever encountered usage of 'that' vs. 'which' in the same/similar way as/to which I use them; and 2) How do you, personally, determine whether to use one or the other of the two words; and 3) If you see no problem with the way I use the word 'which' in place of 'that', then (how) do you suggest I go about arguing for the points back?

Current Mood: curiouscurious

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Oct. 27th, 2010 12:42 pm

Current Mood: happyhappy

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May. 10th, 2010 06:24 pm And a cat has only nine lives

"A single wolf has been been seen to kill a moose 11 times by itself."
--from http://www.squidoo.com/wolf-facts

That poor moose!

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Apr. 3rd, 2010 11:26 pm Weird Al

Weird Al's Mission of Mercy.


Grammar Girl posted about less versus fewer on her site.


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Mar. 25th, 2010 09:07 pm Logied?

I need some help. I came across the word 'logied' at work, but I'm convinced this isn't a real word - yet at the same time I can't help but think it might be a past tense of logy. I've been checking my dictionaries here at home with no luck.

Logied. Is this a real word?

Current Mood: curiouscurious

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Oct. 24th, 2009 12:18 pm One more reason to love her

We’ve had a few odd requests lately. And it’s not so much the cookie designs that have been odd, but it’s the actual communication. I’m guessing that texting and tweeting are really taking a toll on society. I wish people could write coherent emails that didn’t sound like they were written by cro magnon man. --A Dozen Eggs Bake Shoppe owner, from her blog


I'm probably part of the minority, but I don't care. People that refuse to churn out an intelligible sentence bother me. One of our interns uses IDK incessantly, during face-to-face conversation. It always reminds me of these Cingulair spots:

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Aug. 23rd, 2009 01:19 pm Question

I'm in the middle of beta-reading someone's work and I've come across this:

"He won't let it show but I know that you leaving is eating him alive."

My question concerns the you leaving part. I know the current construction is very common in dialogue but I'm not sure as to how grammatically correct it is by more formal standards (and the speaker in this context is pretty formal). I would personally be inclined to use your leaving instead.

I've found this Wiki entry on the subject, which suggests that both constructions are sound, but I'd like to hear some other opinions. All comments are appreciated.

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Aug. 22nd, 2009 06:37 pm razzle dazzle 'em and they'll beg you for more

a _____ of mime artists, an epic of fail, a curse of internet explorers, a conspiracy of theorists

This is the coolest thing I've seen in awhile. "All Sorts is a collection of collective nouns that may or may not have found their way into the Oxford English Dictionary. If you think that a charismatic collective is far superior to a dullard ‘bunch’ or ‘flock’ then this is the place for you."

Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Chicago (Richard Gere) - Razzle Dazzle

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Aug. 18th, 2009 07:44 pm grammatical dilemma

Usually, I pride myself on being a grammarian. Still, I am a product of the environment in which I was raised.

My family on my father's side hails historically from South Carolina. Over the years, I'd conformed much of the erroneous language I'd incorporated in my youth to standard English, but recently I have run into an issue and it is now pressing itself upon me. (If this question is not appropriate for this community, please delete the post with my apology.)

I am writing a sonnet (a sequence of sonnets, actually) with a nonce rhyme scheme of aabbccddeeff. In the first stanza, I have the following lines:

She hung, a scythe of skin, until he drug
her to the sand, this makeshift holy rug.

Thinking about this today, I was not sure if the line should read "he drug" or "he had drug", which will give you an indication of the depths of my ignorance. I decided to try to find clarification online, wherein I read that "[t]he use of 'drug' as a past-tense of 'drag' is frowned on by grammar experts" and that one "would be wise [...] to refrain from ever using 'drug' for 'dragged.'"

I accept this as a strict grammarian; however, as a poet, I am in a quandary. The poem does employ slant (imperfect) rhyme, but even with such leniency I feel that "dragged" does not truly phonetically mirror "rug".

Would you suggest that I keep to standard grammar, or should I rather claim poetic license?

(This entry is cross-posted.)

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Aug. 15th, 2009 05:53 pm Must see...


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Jul. 19th, 2009 09:20 pm subject/verb agreement

Something seems amiss here.

Last night, a few friends of ours were arguing over an agreement issue. The specific sentence began with "a lot of things is..." and ended with whatever finished the thought.

I define the subject as "a lot of things." I would follow this with ARE.

However, my friends insisted that the subject is actually "a lot" and the verb would be IS.

Clarification please? I've been out of college a loooooong time and cannot articulate why I think IS would be incorrect.

EDIT: A discussion of this very thing is on this page:

And: in this case, LOT is used to mean "group of" or "many." I would likely use MANY in writing ("many things are...").

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Jul. 17th, 2009 05:22 pm Best grocery description ever

When buying popsicles, a sesquipedalian vocabulary is my only real criterion.

From Random Photos

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

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Jun. 8th, 2009 03:25 pm

In this sentence, would you put quotation marks around ABC?

XYZ is sometimes referred to as ABC.
What's the rule with things like that? Using quotation marks feels right to me, but lately my gut instincts seem to be leading me astray more than they used to. I've also found some things like this, and while that's not the same situation, it makes me doubt myself.

Bonus question: are there any online style manuals you would recommend? I've been using http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/, but I don't love it. I've been asked to look over content for a website, and (sadly) I don't have a style manual handy.

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Jun. 6th, 2009 03:19 pm "That just doesn't sound right..."

If there isn't yet, I think there should be a name for words that sound to one like they should mean the exact opposite of whatever they mean. The example that immediately comes to mind is "natty," as applied to couture -- perhaps by comparison to similar-sounding words (e.g. nasty, ratty, etc) it has always sounded to me like it should mean shabby and unkempt, not "smart and fashionable" (incedentally, natty likely comes from the same root as the word "neat," as well as "net" in the sense of "remaining after decuctions").

What words do you think poorly fit their definition?

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May. 6th, 2009 05:20 pm oh, words

No idea how I stumbled across this post, but I am so glad I did.

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Apr. 6th, 2009 07:24 pm

Thought you all might enjoy this. The last one sort of sums up my feelings about this sort of lists, but in a way that's cute and self-effacing, in contrast to my own crumudgeonly and unpleasant.

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Feb. 24th, 2009 12:09 am the syntax of Palin

Dunno if this is quite up your alley, but I'm sure some of you will get a giggle out of it!


Current Music: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Too Real | Powered by Last.fm

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Feb. 11th, 2009 11:35 pm Squee!

Oh this makes me so very happy! Save the Words!

Current Location: Squeeland!
Current Mood: giddysquee!
Current Music: Squee!

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Jan. 24th, 2009 11:37 am

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Jan. 20th, 2009 09:27 am per?

Everyone at work uses the phrase "as per" and it kind of drives me crazy because I've always thought it's supposed to be just "per". A little bit of googling has brought be no help whatsoever, since most of the sites I saw weren't arguing the grammatical correctness of the phrase, but rather how stuffy or archaic it sounds. Is "as per" acceptable?

(in a slightly related issue, I've looked at the terms "per" and "as per" so much in the last 10 minutes that they've lost all meaning for me) :)


Current Music: Up and Down - mixed by Kick Bong

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Jan. 14th, 2009 10:28 am Sister Salad--Grammararians to the tune of 'Baby Got Back'


May not be work appropriate:

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