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    #1

    Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Hi all!
    Here's a fresh list of questions for all you out there willing to help.

    1) From the LONGMAN Dictionary of Contemporary English, incidentally an excellent monolingual dictionary: (Quote) Do not say IN THAT MOMENT when you mean 'at that particular time'. Say AT THAT MOMENT.(unquote)
    Much to my surprise I have found 'In that moment' in many books written by British and American writers (both novelists and reporters)
    What am I to make of the dictionary's warning?

    2) What have you lost this time?
    What did you lose now?

    These questions could be asked by a man whose wife keeps mislaying things. Is there any difference in usage? Or is the former more likely to be used by a British English speaker and the latter by an American speaker?

    3) Finally, when I was a student I was taught that 'yesterday night' was incorrect. But, guess what? The Macmillan Dictionary of English for Advanced learners says (p1009) LAST/YESTERDAY NIGHT.

    This is all a bit misleading, isn't it?

    Thanks for your help!

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    #2

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Ooops, here's a fresh list of questions for all OF you out there.....
    Sorry!

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    1) From the LONGMAN Dictionary of Contemporary English, incidentally an excellent monolingual dictionary: (Quote) Do not say IN THAT MOMENT when you mean 'at that particular time'. Say AT THAT MOMENT.(unquote)
    Much to my surprise I have found 'In that moment' in many books written by British and American writers (both novelists and reporters)
    What am I to make of the dictionary's warning? Strictly speaking it should be "At that moment." However, writers often bend the rules.

    2) What have you lost this time? This would be used by most BrE speakers.
    What did you lose now? I have heard, but I am not sure if it's accurate, that this is AmE. usage.

    These questions could be asked by a man whose wife keeps mislaying things. Is there any difference in usage? Or is the former more likely to be used by a British English speaker and the latter by an American speaker?

    3) Finally, when I was a student I was taught that 'yesterday night' was incorrect. But, guess what? The Macmillan Dictionary of English for Advanced learners says (p1009) LAST/YESTERDAY NIGHT.

    I would always use "last night".


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    #4

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    In that moment/at that moment

    These have different meanings.
    "at that moment' refers to some event that happens/begins/interrupts some ongoing activity. "Our lips came closer and closer. Her eyes closed. I felt her warm breath....and at that very moment, the damn boss walks in."

    "In that moment" - here 'in' has the meaning 'expressing inclusion or involvement' - It is poetic, and tries to capture the sense that something is captured, experienced within a moment of time.
    e.g.
    I reach for the stars
    When I reach for your hand
    But stars tumble down
    From the clouds to the land
    When you come to my arms
    In that moment divine
    All the stars in the sky
    Are mine, all mine


    It is not that 'yesterday night' is right or wrong. One would usually say, 'last night'. One use of the phrasing 'yesterday night' would be:
    Two friends in London talking:
    Tom: I had a great day in Paris yesterday. In the morning, I.... and I met this French girl - a friend of Susie - for lunch and she showed me Montmartre ...
    John: Paris...city of love...it's what you did yesterday night that I'm more interested in!
    Last edited by David L.; 30-Aug-2008 at 09:37.

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    #5

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Bhaisahab, YOU'RE A BRICK!!

    Thank you!

    As for 'What did you lose now?', which you sounded doubtful about, try googling it up and see for yourself!

    Thanks again, until next time (very soon, I'm afraid...)


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    #6

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    .

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    #7

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Thank you David.. you're a brick too, of course!!

    I have religiously written down your examples.

    Why then was the dictionary so emphatic about the incorrect use of 'in that moment' when in effect it CAN be used in some contexts???? Search me!!

    Thanks again!

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    #8

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Come to think of it: Chris Manby, a successful British novelist, uses
    'in that moment' meaning 'at that moment' on an almost regular basis in her books! I'll try and quote a couple of examples.
    Talk about 'bending the rules', bhaisahab!!!!

    David, your examples are almost always about love, and slightly suggestive .. my students would love that!!!

    You're both being very helpful. Thank you sooooooo much.


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    #9

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Is this an example?
    CHAPTER SIXTEEN: WAR IN HEAVEN


    The man opened his eyes, suddenly conscious. He slowly rose to his feet and raised his hands in reverence to the blazing light of Yehovah's presence.

    And then it happened. As the whole of heaven gazed in silent awe, Yehovah clasped the man to his breast.

    The moment seemed to span almost an eternity. And in that moment, it seemed that Yehovah was weeping. Again came His voice, ten thousand times ten thousand waters of infinite joy, infinite tenderness. "Adam".


    This is not bending rules.
    If I say 'I had a mad passionate affair with an au pair girl in February", you can conceptualize I was busy for some time in/within the month of February. When poetically, an author is trying to express experience - love, ecstasy, and other sublime transportations of the soul! - then a 'moment' is streeeeetched, as if this whole experience happened within the moment just like an affair is experienced over weeks.
    Note the parts I've highlighted: 'eternity' and 'in that moment'
    Last edited by David L.; 30-Aug-2008 at 10:13.

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    #10

    Re: Are we to trust dictionaries ALL THE TIME?

    Thank you David
    the examples from C. Manby's books of 'in that moment' are a lot more.. ehm.. down-to-earth.... I wish I could come up with an example instantly.
    Did you make that up or did you actually leaf through a dozen books until you found an effective example? Whichever the case may be, I'm impressed...
    Anyway, I have thoroughly grasped the slight yet important difference between 'IN and AT that moment'. Thank you very much.

    One quick question which requires no long explanations... here's hoping:
    Which sounds better?
    a) Ferrari is the fastest car in the world.
    b) The Ferrari is the fastest car in the world.

    If I may venture an explanation, (a) in particular may refer to the sports car manufacturer, ie the company; (b) to the car itself.

    Are they both equally correct?

    Cheers,
    W.

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