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  1. #11
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tag question: Or + positive auxiliary verb

    Quote Originally Posted by emka View Post
    I just know that people who learn German and are keen readers of all sorts of literature sometimes come up with really weird stuff. When I point out to them that nobody would ever say something like that, they often refer to sources like a play by Schiller or a poem by some other famous author (where they have picked up an antiquated expression that might have been perfectly fine in the 19th century)
    I'd guess that most of these are probably my generation. Most people who learn German today have never heard of Schiller.
    (Personally, I don’t trust lyrics any more, having put my foot in it as a student when arguing with my teacher about a mistake she had marked in my composition. It was about lay/lie, and I tried to save face by referring to Bob Dylan’s "Lay Lady Lay".)
    If it's any consolation, many native speakers use 'lay' incorrectly.

    Completely off-topic, but my then wife-to-be and I somewhat surprised the consul who married us by choosing Dylan's 'It ain't me, babe' as our music for before the ceremony, and 'Lay lady lady' for after it.

  2. #12
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Default Re: Tag question: Or + positive auxiliary verb

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I'd rank video games with song lyics and sports writing when it comes to sources of good English.
    It varies. Some role-playing games (e.g., The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) use quite sophisticated English. (I should add that I have only played a couple of video games. ) Anyway, I just wanted to add something that might be interesting. I hope I won't have to repeat Master Yoda's words, "Failed I have." (The latter is intentionally incorrect English.)

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I don't think the 'or is it' construction is impossible in conversation, but you are more likely to hear it in scripted speech, in my opinion.
    Imagine that a wife has cheated on her husband (with a whole hockey team, for the sake of emphasis ), and everybody knows about it. How about the following:

    The otherwise haughty (also for the sake of emphasis) woman walks into a store. The saleswoman to her:
    Oh, the embodiment of faithfulness! ...or is it. *smirks*

  3. #13
    emka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tag question: Or + positive auxiliary verb

    Completely off-topic: Ha, ha, I like your sense of humour. I bet the marriage celebrant had a grin on his or her face. Not only because of the innuendo of the lyrics but also because it would have been something refreshingly different from the overused Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

    And yes, these people I refer to belong to the “mature” generation. Schiller wouldn’t ring a bell in many 20-somethings.

    While I don’t know anything about you, I had already presumed that you must belong to the “mature” generation (me too) because of your dislike of certain things I also dislike, e.g. not capitalising “I” or using wanna/gonna etc. These things make me cringe – and then some people accuse me of being fuddy-duddy or a stickler, or at least a prescriptivist which, apparently, is a bad thing.

  4. #14
    emka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tag question: Or + positive auxiliary verb

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    Oh, the embodiment of faithfulness! ...or is it. *smirks*
    This sounds natural to me (even spoken) because it is meant to be ironic and I can "see" the facial expression of the speaker.
    I think I've got a handle on this type of or-question now.

    What a useful and fun thread this has become...

    Thanks everybody.

  5. #15
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tag question: Or + positive auxiliary verb

    Quote Originally Posted by emka View Post
    While I don’t know anything about you, I had already presumed that you must belong to the “mature” generation (me too) because of your dislike of certain things I also dislike, e.g. not capitalising “I” or using wanna/gonna etc. These things make me cringe – and then some people accuse me of being fuddy-duddy or a stickler, or at least a prescriptivist which, apparently, is a bad thing.
    I am a born-again fuddy-duddy. I don't know whether many people would apply the word 'mature' to me, but I do admit to being ancient.

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