English Language snippets  - from Bob Wilde

How are you?

I’m fine -

but not good?

Increasingly these days, the answer I'm good to the question How are you? is heard.

Purists might say This is wrong!- but it isn't. It's just another item being created in current usage. People think I'm well is a subject and a verb and an adverb, but in fact well is an adjective here, similar to I'm fine.

A British king, Canute, stood before the sea once and commanded the tide to stop. It didn't, of course. Nor can any of us stop the tide of current usage. Language is a living organism, and will continue to grow.

Slang:

good or bad,

or

am I  round the bend?

Is SLANG bad? No of course it isn't! Slang gives any language colour, interest and historicity - here are just a few examples in English.

He's dooalley! This means he's mad. Doolally comes from Deowali, an Indian town where British soldiers were stationed, in the dreadful summer heat. He's round the bend also means, He's mad. It's said to come from ships negotiating the bend in the Persian Gulf after the Mussandam Peninsula, where suddenly the heat became extreme. I've sailed round this bend but as far as I know I'm not mad.

Here are list of words which mean mad:

loony; loco; haywire; dotty; daft; crackers; bonkers; batty; bats; loopy; barmy; cracked.

You're bonkers! is everyday British English. This list does not include American phrases for mad, by the way. I wonder why we need so many words for mad in Britain! Any ideas?!

Let's talk about

you!

You has two meanings in English; the first is the pronoun we use when talking to somebody else. That's easy.

But the second meaning is very important; we use you when we talk of matters that are a matter of common experience.

Here are some examples:

You should treat other people in the same way you'd like them to treat you. Here you means everybody. It's like a general rule for people. In London you'll find people from practically every country in the world. That is to say everybody who comes to London will have this experience. It's perfectly good English. A student asked me, But what about the word one to mean everybody as in One should listen carefully to one's teacher?

In German there is the word Man which covers this, and in French,on.

The answer for English is that it's no longer common usage. Royalty sometimes uses the word one instead of the personal pronoun I.

Prince Charles is famous for saying One talks to one's tomatoes, talking about his love of growing vegetables. No problem there; if he wants to talk to tomatoes he can. The problem will come if he says they talk back to him!.

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