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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 15th, 2012, 05:17 am
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Default how to use the Internet

Hi everyone, I have a perplexing question.

I perused some threads, and I found that some of you use google etc to find out whether a word or phrase is used. However, I use the Chinese google, and I do not know how to restrict the results to English website only; could you teach me how to use it?


Second, in fact, I think the Internet may not be reliable, because you can find COMPLETELY RUBBISH or I IS A MAN. An appearance on the Internet does not guarantee precriptive grammatical correctness.

May I know your opinion ?
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Unread May 15th, 2012, 05:28 am
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Default Re: how to use the Internet

One of you once asked whether equipment is a countable noun, which question, though with many answers, yielded nothing, and someof you suggested equipmentS which is uesd on the Internet as evidence to prove this word countable, but had it been countable, W. Churchill would not have said an item of equipment; I don't think in these decades, public use turned it into a countable noun.

Could you let me know you r opinion?
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Unread May 15th, 2012, 06:05 am
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Default Re: how to use the Internet

Churchill has been dead a long time and language changes very quickly. There are a lot of things used in modern English that he wouldn't have used or even have recognised. Undoubtedly, if you'd told him something was "cool" he'd have asked if it had been in a refrigerator.... You need to look at how people use the language now - not 70 years ago.

Try using the concordancer that I mentioned in a previous answer. For "equipments" you'll find ....

Brit Eng (written) 0 examples
Brit Eng (spoken) 6 examples
Am Eng (written and from the 60s) 0 examples

This suggests that the language is definitely changing, and that in everyday speech it is used countably - if not often. But because the change is not yet widespread, when writing (and focusing on being "correct") people still go back to the traditional uncountable form. Speech always changes before writing.

So by all means go on using it uncountably. Personally I don't think I'd ever use it countably. But don't be surprised if you hear "equipments" more and more in future, and if gradually it becomes common in written English too.
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Unread May 15th, 2012, 07:19 am
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Default Re: how to use the Internet

W. Churchill has only been a minor piece of evidence; what reinforces my belief is that I can't find a dictionary including it as countable

but thank you very much




you really should publish a book eg with a collection of answers in this forum.

it's no jest.
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Unread May 15th, 2012, 07:49 am
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Default Re: how to use the Internet

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Unread May 22nd, 2012, 04:36 pm
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Default Re: how to use the Internet

"you really should publish a book eg with a collection of answers in this forum.

it's no jest."

I agree that some of the posts here are interesting and helpful. But I wonder if they are for second language learners who are teaching or for native speakers who are teaching. So a book would need to be carefully targeted to the appropriate audience.
Susan53 your replies are great.
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Unread Jun 12th, 2012, 07:36 am
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Default Re: how to use the Internet

Thanks RJ - Sorry I didn't say so before, but I've only just seen this. Yes, the explanations here are targeted at teachers - whether NS or not. But if teachers don't fully understand the language, then obviously they're not going to be able to explain it clearly to learners. Most of what comes up here are queries which more advanced learners would raise rather than beginners. Sometimes the explanations might need modification, other times they can be used straight. This one for example - I do a lot of concordancer work with my students and get them to draw their own conclusions. More than teaching them about one word, it gives them the tools to investigate the language on their own when other points which puzzle them come up and the teacher isn't around to help.
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