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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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« I Enjoy You/Your Singing--Pronouns With Gerunds | Main | Do First and Third Person Mix Well? »

August 17, 2012


George Raymond

How about the disappearing "of" in "a couple of" as in "She called a couple hours ago".

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Yes, that's a definite error. Thanks for bringing it up, George.


Olivia MacDonald

I've noticed that 'couple' usage, too. Have you heard 'all the sudden' instead of 'all of a sudden'?

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Olivia. I have not seen "all the sudden" in writing, but I believe I have heard it.



Another great post, Lynn!

I often see the phrase "for all intents and purposes," mangled into "for all intensive purposes". Similarly, I sometimes hear "by the same token" turned into "on the same token".

By the way, Lynn, what are your thoughts on where the periods in my previous two sentences should go- before the quotation marks or after?


I hear so many of these but none are coming to me.

What about a Canadian VP who uses the word "table" in the British usage? Imagine his frustration the first few months when he wanted to table the discussion on X and we all went on to another topic. Based on pay grades, he still uses the British construction - but now we all know what he means. We just titter at him behind his back about it. Excuse me, aboot it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, James. You asked about the periods with your quotations. In the United States, periods and commas virtually always go inside the quotation marks, according to all reference manuals I own.

Thanks for sharing your two good examples. I can understand how people get "for all intents and purposes" wrong. It's such an odd phrase. I have not yet seen "on the same token." Thanks for warning me about it.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Jennifer. Thank you for teaching me something new. When I read your comment, I immediately turned to my "Canadian Oxford Dictionary" to read the definitions of "table" as a verb.

Definition 1: "bring forward for discussion or consideration at a meeting."

I had no idea! Thanks for expanding my world.



I could care less! LOL

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Yes, it's a good one that's been around for a long time. I remember misusing it as a teenager.


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