AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (47 comments)

  1. I have been trying to improve my grammar, but I have to say this is a tough one, because with normal words possession and contractions are are both , so it is an exception to the rule of normal English, and it was arbitrarily chosen which one would lose the apostrophe. So I can understand folks who don’t write much making the mistake.

    Today, am studying for a job interview, there is a software program test. I heard that sometimes involves Matrix math. Well I haven’t worked a matrix for 15 years, so I had look up whether you multiply row by column, or column by row. Kinda similar, someone arbitrarily came up with the rule. Do you recall which way it is?

  2. I get the rule and I know it’s importance but its hard to remember. ;-)

  3. Here is a grammar test. It can’t be all that hard since I got 100% on it.

    http://m.staples.ca/sbdca/en_CA/cre/programs/grammarquiz/

    1. Citizen Buddy

      I took the test and did ok but I did throw down a red flag and challenged i.e. and e.g. use on the test.

      I thought i.e. was used for a simple example and e.g. for a more complex example.

      Upon further review

      “When you mean “for example,” use e.g. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia. When you mean “that is,” use “i.e.” It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est. Either can be used to clarify a preceding statement, the first by example, the second by restating the idea more clearly or expanding upon it. Because these uses are so similar, the two abbreviations are easily confused. If you just stick with good old English “for example” and “that is” you won’t give anyone a chance to sneer at you. If you insist on using the abbreviation, perhaps “example given” will remind you to use “e.g.,” while “in effect” suggests “i.e”

      So, e.g. is example given and i.e. is in effect. That should improve my efforts and maybe others.

      1. Walt Greenway

        “So, e.g. is example given and i.e. is in effect. That should improve my efforts and maybe others.”

        To be perfectly grammatically correct, you need to use a comma after e.g. and i.e. when used as an introductory clause in a sentence. :)

  4. Ooh and you reminded me of my favorite ice cream sandwiches!

    It’s It
    http://www.itsiticecream.com/

    Now would the plural possessive of that be
    It’s Its’ ?

    1. Not kidding about liking these, they are sold mostly in Northern CA. I didn’t just look up it’s and it on the internet and find them. I used to get one every time I went to Great America Amusement park. Now that I live in Southern CA / Arlington, TX, I never see them. Last one I had was on a camping trip last year, they sold them in Kings Canyon National Park!

  5. Nathan Becker

    Not only is this statement grammatically incorrect, it is also incorrect from an economics standpoint:
    “1. …..the government is 100% dependent on private industry for it’s funding.”

    The United States is a monetarily sovereign nation with its own currency that’s no longer backed by any commodity like gold.
    The US dollars that the non-government sector needs to pay taxes must first come from government spending. Not the other way around.

    1. Major publications should have editors to catch this stuff, but even so, most of us don’t even glance or notice small issues like that when reading articles.

      I do think children’s books should do a better job though. I can’t believe how many lie/lay errors I see in them. I thought book publishers have editors which catch things like that. But even so, I have to think about it a bit to get lie and lay.

      I just remember “Only Chickens (well birds in general) can lay down.”

      1. Wow, this is one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something. Because the govt requires that taxes be paid in dollars, that means the private sector is dependent on the govt to spend dollars? First, you are apparently ignorant that it isn’t the US govt that controls the money supply, it’s the Federal Reserve, which is largely a private institution run by its constituent banks. So no, govt spending is not necessary. But even considering alone that taxes are required to be paid in dollars, it takes a particular kind of dimwit to say that means govt comes first. Let me guess, you’re one of those dimbulbs that thinks the US Treasury should just mint a couple trillion-dollar coins and pay off the massive US govt debt that way? :D

        1. I think you meant to comment to Nathan. I am only commenting about the” it’s’ in the sentence cited, which should be an “its”

          1. Yep, I must have hit the wrong Reply button, obviously not aimed at you.

        2. Nathan Becker

          So what you saying is that millions in America and many parts of the world wake up each day to go slog their butts off to earn dollars that is issued by a private bank? You Sir is the dimwit here. The Federal Reserve Bank is a creature of Congress so is the US Treasury. These two entities act together to create dollars that’s needed to keep the economy running. The Federal Reserve System includes private banks that help run our banking system. Don’t confuse the two.

          1. There used to be private banks issuing money. And it wouldn’t be unthinkable to privatize the money system even today.

          2. Nathan

            So what you saying is that millions in America and many parts of the world wake up each day to go slog their butts off to earn dollars that is issued by a private bank?

            No, he’s saying that millions of people go to work to exchange their labor for food, rent, clothing, transportation, and every other thing they want. since their employer doesn’t happen to have those things to exchange directly, they instead provide certificates that can be exchanged for those things with people who actually DO have them. Money is merely a medium of exchange, nothing more. As long as everyone believes those little green papers will be accepted by those you trade with, everything is cool. It doesn’t matter who issues them.

          3. Nathan Becker

            Ron
            “As long as everyone believes those little green papers will be accepted by those you trade with, everything is cool. It doesn’t matter who issues them.”

            It does matter actually. Try issuing your own little green or blue or whatever color you like papers and try and get it accepted by those you trade with. Some Economist once said, “It is easy for anyone to create money, the difficulty is getting it accepted by all others.”
            The US Dollar is the public monopoly of the US Government & its people. Not some private entities.
            I do agree with you on the dollar being a medium of exchange. It is also an unit of account & that’s the key differentiator between an IOU that you & me can write versus the US dollar.

          4. Nathan

            “As long as everyone believes those little green papers will be accepted by those you trade with, everything is cool. It doesn’t matter who issues them.”

            Based on the part I’ve bolded, it doesn’t matter who issues them. You haven’t disagreed with that. It’s only necessary that the money issued be widely recognized and trusted. Private banks performed this function at one time,

            Yes, money is a unit of account because it is widely recognized in terms of the goods and services we exchange, using money. We can easily understand the value of a ton of steel in bushels of wheat or hours of labor if we measure them all in dollars. That attribute of money isn’t derived from being controlled by government.

            If I give you an IOU for 20 bushels of wheat in exchange for your ton of steel, anyone who buys or sells wheat and trusts my IOUs would understand the value of the IOU, and understand that they could exchange it for 20 bushels of wheat.

          5. Nathan Becker

            Ron H
            “If I give you an IOU …”
            You still cannot pay US taxes using your IOUs. Thats’ the point I am making. Also what you are describing is not how the system currently works. That was my point.
            thanks for the interaction.

          6. Wow, you are stupid. You have no idea what you’re talking about, not a clue about how the monetary system or economy actually work. I was going to point out all the ways in which you are wrong, but all you do is bray leftie talking points, so it would all clearly fly over your head. For you to talk about confusion is hilarious, :D as you literally have no idea what you’re talking about.

          7. Nathan

            You still cannot pay US taxes using your IOUs. Thats’ the point I am making. Also what you are describing is not how the system currently works. That was my point.

            You have now moved the goalposts at least twice. Which of your several points is your point?

            I am asking you to consider the role money plays in an economy when people can’t directly trade what they have for what they want.

        3. Nathan Becker

          marque2 said “There used to be private banks issuing money.”
          Yes, the keyword is “used to be”, but not any more. The reason they got rid of that system was it caused recurring depression during those periods. The Federal Reserve was created to counter that very problem.

          1. Nathan

            The reason they got rid of that system was it caused recurring depression during those periods. The Federal Reserve was created to counter that very problem.

            And how has that worked out? Any depressions since then?

          2. Nathan Becker

            Ron

            “And how has that worked out? Any depressions since then?”
            Hope your question wasn’t rhetorical.
            You tell me. How many depressions and how often did they occur & last and what was their impact on the economy before and after the Federal Reserve was created.

          3. You tell me. How many depressions and how often did they occur & last and what was their impact on the economy before and after the Federal Reserve was created.

            The Great Depression and the current Great recession, as well as numerous less serious recessions have occurred since the Fed was created. If the purpose of the Fed is to prevent economic booms and busts, it’s not doing its job.

            Prior to the Fed, economic downturns were typically sharp, but of short duration, due to markets quickly correcting malinvestments. You can find historical data for economic contractions in the US since the beginning of the republic.

            It is interesting to note that many of those downturns occurred during times when a US central bank existed prior to the Fed, and others were associated with wartime government spending when the money supply was seriously inflated above its backing by gold or silver.

          4. morganovich

            ron-

            if you use a pki structure based on 512 nit key and then bury transactional traffic in a sea of other encrypted traffic (like emails and web surfing) it becomes be facto uninterceptable.

            first you have to find the correct grain of sand on a beach (and stenography can be very, very effective) and then you have to break a code that no one has been able to even come close to.

            the trick is just to make the nested problems too hard and to use good anonimization.

            in a tech arms race, it’s always easier to obfuscate than to crack codes.

        4. @Ron, you realize other systems aren’t in place because governments want to hold a monopoly? The temptation to print to “tax” us is too great.

          There have been workable systems in the past. And Bit coin 1coin ~= $350 is an example of an alternate system that has gained traction.

          Problem with bitcoin is that if it ever really starts to get going, governments will shut it down. The US is already doing this with various lawsuits going up the chain, not aimed at bitcoin, but its users. Once users are afraid, bitcoin will collapse.

          1. marque

            @Ron, you realize other systems aren’t in place because governments want to hold a monopoly? The temptation to print to “tax” us is too great.

            Yes, I understand that, but Nathan apparently doesn’t. he seems to believe there’s something good about government control of the money supply and currency.

            There have been workable systems in the past. And Bit coin 1coin ~= $350 is an example of an alternate system that has gained traction.

            Yes. I also liked the idea of Bernard NotHaus’s Liberty dollars but predictably he was shut down.

            Problem with bitcoin is that if it ever really starts to get going, governments will shut it down. The US is already doing this with various lawsuits going up the chain, not aimed at bitcoin, but its users. Once users are afraid, bitcoin will collapse.

            I’m looking forward the outcomes of those trials. The twisted logic of government lawyers as to why people can’t trade with others in voluntary, mutually beneficial exchanges without using government money should be interesting. I’m pretty sure it will be a tax evasion issue.

          2. morganovich

            “Once users are afraid, bitcoin will collapse.”

            or they will hide, like the users of often things (like drugs) that the government intimidates.

            building an anonymized system with strong encryption and then burying it in a sea of steganogrpahy is not hard.

            the key would be to set up such a nexus in a place like iceland that does not have digital search warrants and then position it as a “secure web browsing and e-mail portal”.

            bingo, you are out of relevant jurisdictions, comms cannot be intercepted, and most of the good stuff tales place behind your own firewall anyhow.

            release most of the system as open source and do not sign your name to it. leave no entity exposed to any dangerous jurisdiction. use an encrypted portal for e-mail as a gateway. this is not actually that hard.

            silk road was a clownishly amateurish system.

            if it took that long to take down something so utterly unsophisticated, then the feds are going to lose this one in a big, big way.

            betting on governments in the coming digital currency wars is going to be a badly losing bet.

            of interest, bitcoin made an all time high yesterday and is now up about 30X ytd.

          3. morganovich

            bingo, you are out of relevant jurisdictions, comms cannot be – legally intercepted…

          4. morganovich

            ron-

            my response got nested in the thread above.

          5. silk road was a clownishly amateurish system.

            if it took that long to take down something so utterly unsophisticated, then the feds are going to lose this one in a big, big way.

            betting on governments in the coming digital currency wars is going to be a badly losing bet.

            of interest, bitcoin made an all time high yesterday and is now up about 30X ytd.

            Funny to read you writing this, when you were saying the opposite to me earlier this year. What changed your mind? ;)

            Particularly relevant is the bit you wrote about securing email, maybe there will be more demand with the recent NSA revelations. You’re still dead wrong about micropayments though. :)

          6. morganovich

            my response got nested in the thread above.

            So I see. After my initial WTF?, it didn’t take long to figure out that you weren’t responding to my negative comment about the Fed. :)

            if you use a pki structure based on 512 nit key and then bury transactional traffic in a sea of other encrypted traffic..

            Indeed.

            in a tech arms race, it’s always easier to obfuscate than to crack codes.

            Yes, And I consider that a good thing. Privacy is so hard to come by anymore.

  6. Jon Murphy

    Oh good. I was about to remind you that you hadn’t done a rant for this quarter. I was afraid you were slacking off :-)

  7. My pet peeve is “try and…”
    Try is a verb and should always be followed by “to” and never by and.
    Try, when used as a verb phrase, may be followed by on or out.
    The use of try and, which is very common now, shows a lack of logic!!

    1. morganovich

      well, one could say “try and try again” and that would be correct.

      or “if you try and fail, try again”.

      i do understand the point that you are making, but to claim that “Try is a verb and should always be followed by “to” and never by and” is simply untrue.

      verbs may be compounded, just like nouns and there are a number of cases in which it is perfectly correct to follow try with and.

  8. Gah, I prided myself on never getting caught up in one of these “it’s” dragnets before, yet here’s my words in no. 6. X| That said, I wrote that comment soon after waking up and I don’t think dashed-off blog comments should be held to the same standards. I actually reread my comments that I post on blogs, I doubt most do that, and I still missed it.

    1. Then you prided yourself in an accomplishment you don’t think is very valuable? :)

  9. The most common misuse I see today is the substitution of ‘loose’ for the word ‘lose’.

    1. Walt Greenway

      Yeah, you want to lose a loose woman for sure.

      1. How about whacky in place of wacky? Admittedly, that guy isn’t a native English speaker though.

      2. But if you have a hankering for the loose woman, when talking to her, could you end your sentence with a proposition?

  10. How about a rant concerning ‘then’ and ‘than’?

    1. effect and affect as well?
      hypothesis and theory? (Just about everyone says, I have a theory when they mean I have a hypothesis, even elementary school science teachers unfortunately.)

      I only learned the difference between then and than at the age of about 40 :-(

      1. morganovich

        and, while we are airing out grammatical pet peeves, let us not forget “less vs fewer” a distinction lost on most CD posters and then the mother of all misuses terms: “begs the question”, which, despite being used 90% of the time to mean “leads one to ask the question” DOES NOT mean that.

        begging the question is a specific form of rhetorical/logical fallacy.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

        it’s very rare to see this term used properly.

  11. Zachery Phillips

    Mr. Perry, I remember that rule very clearly from class years ago. It now annoys me when someone misuses “its” and “it’s”.

  12. They don’t teach grammar anymore. or English for that matter. Only Catholic schools still teach phonics and hammer grammar into you.

    1. morganovich

      do they teach sentence fragments?

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