The “is this the right word?” edition.
Kizz sent me a list of words yesterday and asked for some clarification. She reads an awful lot, and I gather that some of what she reads is of indeterminate quality, so she finds herself questioning what she sees; she thinks it’s wrong, but she’s not confident enough in herself to know for certain.
The first one she asked about is the verb plead; is the past tense pleaded or pled? I was really glad she asked this one, because every time I watch Law & Order, I wonder about this because “pleaded” just doesn’t sound right to me. Of course, by the time I sit down to watch Law & Order, I’m too lazy to get off my ass to look it up, so this is a good opportunity for me to finally put this one to bed.
According to everything I’ve been able to find, both forms are perfectly acceptable. This answer is a little bit of a let-down for me; I was kind of hoping for a long, complicated discussion of formality and convention, but there you have it. Use whichever form sounds right to you.
When Kizz asked about plead, I instantly thought of the verb prove; is the correct form of the past tense proven (which sounds right to me) or proved (which really doesn’t)? Yet again, the answer is “yes.” Both forms are correct, and I couldn’t really find any evidence to say that one is any more correct than the other.
The next question was whether or not I could illuminate some distinction between the verbs want and desire. According to my favorite dictionary (the one I can’t lift when my back is acting up), there isn’t much distinction at all. In fact, the words are used to define one another:
want – 1. to feel a need or a desire for; wish for. 2. to wish, need, crave demand, or desire (often followed by the infinitive, as in “I want to see you.”)
desire – 1. to wish or long for; crave; want. 2. to express a wish to obtain; a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment (I desire that you shall come here).
I may just be kidding myself, but there seems to be a slight flavor difference between the two – it may be that the definition for desire used the word “longing.” If I were making up an answer on the fly, I’d say that you can want something without a desire component, but not the other way around; however, that may be just my way of looking at the definitions.
The next question came about, I’m sure, as a result of something she’d read that she just knew wasn’t right. What’s the difference, she asked, between regimen and regiment? Regimen is a noun that means a regulated course of diet, exercise, or manner of living; a rule or government; or a prevailing system. Regiment, on the other hand, is most often used as a noun meaning a unit of ground forces; as a verb, it means to treat in a rigid, uniform manner.
I had two questions from last week’s Grammar Wednesday (thanks, ladies!); JuliaDream wanted to know if there’s a difference between dreamed and dreamt and Michelle was asking about adverb placement.
JuliaDream, your question came up quite a while ago – as a matter of fact, I think Kizz brought this one up too (Grammar Wednesdays likely wouldn’t exist without Kizz!). I did a little bit of digging and came up with this answer.
As far as the adverb placement goes, Michelle, I don’t really think it matters unless putting the adverb in a different place changes the meaning – implied or otherwise – of the sentence. For example:
We always see Susan at church.
We see Susan always at church.
While these sentences could be taken to mean the same thing, in the first, we may see Susan around town, but we know for sure we’ll see her in church. The implication in the second sentence is that Susan doesn’t leave church very often. At least, that’s how I interpret those structures*. I tend to put the adverb in different places to indicate emphasis or formality; in the sentences you offered:
Blah blah blah is the only museum solely dedicated to blah blah blah or
Blah Blah Blah is the only museum dedicated solely to blah blah blah
I’d put the second sentence in the catalogue for the museum. Both essentially convey the same ideas, but the second structure sounds more formal to me.
Thanks, Everyone! Keep those Grammar Wednesday questions coming!