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I played lead guitar on 'Horizontal Bop,' I played the rhythm on 'Horizontal Bop,' I played all the guitars on 'Her Strut,' just me, the bass player and the drummer. They said, yeah, okay We had reached the point where we were just rippin' and tearin', so to speak Seger intended 'Fire Lake' for Beautiful Loser, which was released in It didn't make the cut, however, and wasn't released until when Against the Wind came out.

Seger and Punch and Capitol decided to make it the first single of Against the Wind because it was so different from the other singles he had released at that time. Seger: "We decided to come with 'Fire Lake' as the first single because it was totally and unequivocally unlike anything we'd ever done before. The lyric is very It's about taking risks. About risking love, chucking it all and just heading off with a bunch of wild people, whatever.

What I liked about it was that it broke new ground for us. It really showed that we were unafraid to push the envelope of what we were doing before, which was basically pretty hot rock and roll, you know, with a few ballads thrown in. Here's my take on 'Fire Lake': Uncle Joe and Aunt Sarah represent stability, a solid, stable, conservative relationship.

I think cut the cake refers to that old expression, wanting to have keep your cake and eat it too.

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The desire to keep your cake is a desire to preserve things, to safeguard what you've got. The desire to eat your cake is the desire to indulge in sensual pleasure in this case, the pleasure of eating. Previously, Joe had been afraid to cut the cake, because he wanted to hold tight to the status quo, and keep things safe. But then He ran off to Fire Lake, where the girls look you straight in the eye and lay you down so fast. Knowing the difference between when people are using you and when people truly care about you, that's what 'Against the Wind' is all about.

The people in that song have weathered the storm, and it's made them much better that they've been able to do it and maintain whatever relationship. To get through is a real victory. Seger almost didn't include the most famous line, "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then. My manager, my tour manager, and my band said 'That's a great line. I haven't heard it, but reportedly there is also a parody of "Against the Wind" called "Against Her Chin.

I initially wrote two songs, one right after the other. In 'No Man's Land,' everything was on the edge, on the brink of going this way or that. I thought it had a really great lyric. Seger: "Something in the deal went bad between Punch and the movie company It's a very unusual lyric about how we go out and just put ourselves in these positions The single charted at She saw the romance in it. Seger: "Her Strut was written about Jane Fonda I was quite proud of her for doing that.

I admired her crust Somehow people think they are interchangeable when one is a comparison and one references the passing of time. That one drives me bananas. Are you Meg? Sorry to break the news. Let the language grow! In other words, there should be no ambiguity. Too often, lack of thought about even small issues can result in clouded meanings and ambiguity. One other strange thing … most of the things that make me seethe when the language gets mangled like this are things that I can work out in much the same way that as they are in the examples given here.

Sorry, I thought this was a comment box, not a canvas. I left my oil paints at home. But no worries! But yes, that was me, Meg who lists no website, but mostly because I was being lazy tonight, as well as perhaps uncharacteristically sarcastic. What can I say, prescriptivism makes me cranky. Still… sore spot.

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I was not looking for typos in this article. You said cawtcha instead of caught you! I really enjoyed reading this article. Glad I know better! I can think of a lot more, including commonly misspelled words, so you may have just inspired me to write my own blog post on the fine arts of a grammar freak. Great job! Parsons, and myself. Uh uh…. I forgot how much fun this could be. But, the discussions above about sometimes yes, sometimes no make the most sense. I tell graduate students now that that last comma is a matter of taste, but I still use it. Nobody is perfect. Might try taking your own advice, Diane!

Grammar posts are comment magnets every time. Either will distract the reader and muddy your efforts to clearly communicate your ideas. If I were — something that is never going to happen. If I was — something that could happen. For example:. Great piece. One that always trips me up is the use of adverbs. Probably yes, but it can lead to some cumbersome sentences. Regardless, good to see there are at least others on this blog who also suffer a language pedantry affliction. Will we ever recover? I just did a little research, which I should have done before asking my question!

I found this stated in several websites. In there was a push for gender neutral pronouns worldwide, not just in America and the other countries mentioned above. Then in the 19th Century the tide turned again. It was started by a feministed school teacher. Sometimes a gender is evident and then the appropriate pronoun is used. Now why did I take the time to go into the information above?

I wanted to make a few points. So you can understand, most likely, why people are still using it at the present, even though it is considered incorrect by many grammarians. Finally, I wanted to say that finding a good solution for a universal pronoun is difficult for many. I find the invented pronouns just plain goofy! Take the article with a grain of salt. The only rule is that the rules will change over time… so to speak. This is but a snapshot of a language in motion, and with English spoken all over the world, cannot be accurate in every context.

We no longer use the same English language that we used in the 10th century, or the 16th century. If someone is obsessive over using perfectly correct grammar, it could actually HINDER them from communicating effectively. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how popular these grammar discussions are.

Reading the comments here has led me to ask about one other aggravation though this comes from my punctuation wench, not from from grammar wench , and it is this: when did it become acceptable for people to cease using question marks when asking a question? What is that about? This distresses me. Cheers, all! Whilst in confession mode, I also split my infinitives if I think it makes a sentence read better and I regularly abuse dashes and points of elipsis. Why do English teachers in school find it very difficult to teach the subjunctive mood of the verb to their students?

Yet you explained it very well and made it so easy to understand! Great write-up! I, too, am obsessed in finding grammatical errors on blogs though, of course, at times, I make mistakes, too. Gives me the shivers just writing it. Well, I must admit I am a little nervous to leave a comment that will be full of bad grammar and punctuation. Some bloggers insist that grammar is not that important, but that a little bad grammar shows their personality.

So, good for you! By the way, one of my weaknesses is using commas everywhere and way too much…maybe you can do an article on punctuation next time!


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Like other parts of language, punctuation is also subject to change. I particularly like the interrobang. At last. I now feel free to move forward with my life. The relevant grammar rule is that a pronoun should agree in number with its antecedent. Why am I still reading this blog I ask myself. I should be asleep. Please stop posting — I need to be up in four hours …. Myself is going to the mall. Sam and I are going to the mall. I am going to the mall. I literally love this! Great visuals! I then blame in on my journalism degree and the faculty supervisor that ripped my writing to shreds when I wrote for the Oklahoma Daily many years ago.

A couple of other pet peeves come to mind: unique and first annual. Unique means one of a kind. Feel free us use that sentence in any post about overused metaphors. Thanks, Jan. Good points. It is evolving constantly and things that were not okay a long time ago, seem to be acceptable now. My partners English is not good, but my maths are lousy and he is a whiz on that score. Anyone got any help on that one. It is a source of amusement between the two of us. It sounds fine and makes perfect sense to everyone reading it.

Then let me be the first to say you are nitpicking. Drew : I shall give it a go. Thank you for the learning, Johnny. Best regards, P. I require constant reminders although I excelled in grammar in my youth and even worked as a junior editor years ago. I appreciate that you cover a few common errors to brush up on, rather than a long list that is likely to blur together.

The best tip I ever received from an editor: If you do not have access to an editor have anyone read your piece before publishing. Any sentence they stumble on should be checked for errors, or simplified if none found. If your guinea pig stumbles, others will too even if the grammar is officially correct. Lachy: There already is such a blog. If nothing else, I can vouch for the latter meaning. Just read through any rulebook published by White Wolf Games. BTW, I remember being taught in grammar school that putting oneself last in a list of people was considered polite.

My personal pet language peeve is semantic rather than grammatical. Meg: whether or not a question is rhetorical has precious little read: nothing to do with punctuation. Else, they are statements. End of story. Work on points for style later — get the message across first. Have to disagree on 2. The more general point about subject-verb agreement is important, though.

Certainly there are rules that apply in any situation but language is a living, breathing thing and must be flexible. Contractions can help your writing sound more natural. I encounter this in almost every article I edit. Just kidding, sort of. Thanks for sharing. Only better. Dump the rest, as in the pretentious subjunctive and the cumbersome he or she construction to make subject-predicate agreement work.

Andy Wood : I get the gist of your post and mostly agree. If I had to choose one thing to judge the merits of a piece of writing, it is the quality of the content, not the grammar. If you use perfect English and your writing is repetitive, boring or borders on plagiarism, then correct verb-subject agreement means little to me. Other elements of communication are far more important.

Are you all so picky about it? To think that two nations, over a period of more than years, would develop separations in their common language… unthinkable! We may have a lot of bad habits in this country, but I daresay that the English currently spoken in Great Britain is a far cry from the English that was spoken there years ago.

In many dialects, it is already just about equivalent — regardless of how much it annoys you. Something else will take its place or has. Semantic shift happens in every living language. In the medical world, this is something that would require the use of suppositories. Anyone else bothered by this one? While I guess literally is used accurately in these cases, it just seems unnecessary most of the time.

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A worthy cause indeed for those writers who take pride in their craft to rise up and counter the onslaught of excuses for poor grammar—from just being conversational to Blackberry and text language. It has been said that education is expensive, but not as expensive as ignorance. With these writing habits becoming widely acceptable, what will be the cost? Funny, though, how some terms become used by the medical community and lose their other meanings.

It has been relatively stable even since ancient Latin times.

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In all seriousness, this article was practical and I was able to put it to use immediately. A hundred times, thank you! I like what Johnny had wrote. Its literally earth shaking. We all gots things we could get improved on with grammar. Irregardless: if you had went to look up a lot of this stuff you would have saw that its rite. By the way, for those taking notes, notice how much more attention this post gets from Johnny not trying to have the entire discussion in the post.

Sure, some of these are subject to regional variation or can be argued for as common usage. Sonia — Exactly. I do not know everything. There are as many people vehemently fighting on one side of an issue as there are on the other. Chimps are funny. This post is currently the ninth most popular post on Copyblogger, ranking by number of comments and pingbacks. That makes me happy. If you have been given suppositories for your impacted wisdom tooth, you need to change your dentist. Funny, because it is improperly used so often.

Subjects, verbs, nouns, reflexive, etc…. Thanks for the refresher. Great bit.


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  • That advice seems to help them break the habit! I hear it everywhere. Sometimes it makes me want to scream at the person talking. Come to Australia for a visit. Gimmier lickerish trap an some chicken-an look, fellers, no hens. The best thing is to have a sense of humour and thanks for some of the hilarious input.

    For all intensive purposes, I hardly never sound like a chimp. I prefer screeching hyena. These are great. The an historic one is pretty bad. Nice but you left our my most hated one. It makes me grind me teeth and want to punch the person who writes it. I do think myself has developed an emphatic role which I can sometimes tolerate, but most times it sounds stupid. This ship has sailed. Your best hope is to learn to love it. Try it out at least twice a day till it feels natural. Otherwise, you are doomed to fuddyduddyville. Absolutely right. And if literally loses its meaning how will we distinguish the real from the false?

    Other than common sense, I mean. I hate relying on that. Literally hate it. WTF is with that?

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    Extremely helpful!!! I always make a mistake on that one. The word they with its counterparts them, their, and themselves as a singular pronoun to refer to a person of unspecified sex has been used since at least the 16th century. It makes it seem like I am bragging and is just filling up space with no need for it.

    Everyone began looking for their books at once. Such use is not a recent development, nor is it a mark of ignorance. Shakespeare, Swift, Shelley, Scott, and Dickens, as well as many other English and American writers, have used they and its forms to refer to singular antecedents. Already widespread in the language though still rejected as ungrammatical by some , this use of they, their, and them is increasing in all but the most conservatively edited American English. This increased use is at least partly impelled by the desire to avoid the sexist implications of he as a pronoun of general reference.

    Bock, my 5th grade English teacher for giving me the simplest of litmus tests. Parsons out of the sentence. When it doubt, the simplest way to figure out what to use is to leave the other folks out of the sentence.

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    Parsons and me. Great piece of writing. As you say, once or twice is acceptable, any more and my interest is lost. When interesting titles go bad. Article good. Misleading title that had nothing to do with the post bad. An historically bad title myself was not soon to forget. Nice article, and no argument with the grammar points. Although we may not like it, language changes. And there are always those that hate to let go. In the rule Was vs Were, what would be the case in the event it was used to describe an action of someone else, i.

    This made my day! Grammar nerdery is a wonderful thing. I have to stop following this thread, as it shows all signs of going on forever. But until then …. Pretty entertaining stuff! Thanks for this post, John! Very interesting article! Many people with native language different than english do common sense errors in their blogs instead promoting clean and crisp language….

    This was driving me crazy the other day. If you got at least 7 "Confidence Improved for Kaitlyn", she will throw you her guitar pick. If you're dating someone. You have reached the end of The Sophomore, Book 2.

    For choices in The Junior , click here. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. Contents [ show ]. Categories :. The Haunting of Braidwood Manor Choices. Hero, Vol. Home for the Holidays Choices. The Junior, Book 1 Choices. Veil of Secrets Choices. Across the Void Choices. The Senior Choices. A Courtesan of Rome Choices.