Friday, February 13, 2009

FOODIE FRIDAY for February 13, 2009

Yeah, I know it's the second Foodie Friday in a row about beverages, not food--but hey, it's winter where I am, and I'm addicted to hot, caffeinated beverages!

This picture comes to us from RANIELLE, who says: In the third line down, Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish starts his sentence, "Starbucks have discovered..." I tripped all over that while reading. Ouch. Okay, it's still bugging me...

That's bugging me, too--but I'm also curious as to what exactly this "cup of cha" is (in the same line as "Starbucks have..."). Did the writer mean chai? That's the only thing I can think of...

Thanks, RANIELLE, for finding this one! Happy Friday, everyone!

14 comments:

Peter said...

The clue is "Mum" at the beginning. In England, collective nouns take the plural, as in "Watch out, Phillies, the Mets team have improved."
"Starbucks has discovered" sounds right on this side of the Atlantic, but wrong on the other side.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Good call, Peter! I didn't catch that when I first read through it. That makes a lot of sense! :)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Addendum to my previous comment: I got my monthly Muse newsletter yesterday and wondered why it said stuff like "Muse have started recording a new album...". Now it all makes sense!

Brian said...

"Cha: The same strange blend of hot water and milk and sugar, the same black tea steeped..."

Cha is a traditional Chinese tea drink.

However, if you have a super big brain, (Brian the brain,) such as myself, as well as being an incredible cook, you recognize this is also known as Thai Tea.

(Which by the way I have about 8 tons of if anybody wants a bag. Instructions included.)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

@ Brian: Thanks for figuring that out! :)

Also: Add "modesty" to that list of your good traits. Oh, wait... LOL.

Brian said...

Peter,

Maybe you can be the one to explain this one that bugs the Hell out of me.

Why do the English when referring to a hospital say it?:

He went to hospital for tests.
They were rushed to hospital.
I left hospital that night.

"The," is never used.

Is there a reason for this or do they just do it because they know it bugs me?

Peter said...

Brian,
I can only think of two possible explanations:
--The French use the article ("à l'hôpital") and the British traditionally hate the French.
--The U.K. is out to bug the hell out of Brian.
Peter

JD (The Engine Room) said...

OK, an Englishman speaking here. 'Char' was a common slang word for tea in the British Empire, and it's still used in the UK now (as slang). I think that 'cha' in this instance is just an alternative spelling.

As for 'hospital'/'the hospital', it's an important differentiation:

"I have to go to hospital" means I'm sick. "I have to go to the hospital" means I'm not sick, but I have some other reason for going.

It works the same with 'school', 'college' and 'university': "I have to go to school" means I'm a pupil there, but "I have to go to the school" means I'm not a pupil but have some other reason for going. Perhaps this latter example is the same in American English?

And yes, we do like to bug Brian.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Great explanation, JD. Thank you! (And keep on buggin' Brian, 'cause that's gotta be really fun.)

And yes, I'd say that Americans adhere to this--
"It works the same with 'school', 'college' and 'university': "I have to go to school" means I'm a pupil there, but "I have to go to the school" means I'm not a pupil but have some other reason for going. Perhaps this latter example is the same in American English?"

...but not this--
""I have to go to hospital" means I'm sick. "I have to go to the hospital" means I'm not sick, but I have some other reason for going."

(I've never heard any American who has to go to the hospital for any reason, his or her own sickness included, NOT use an "a" or a "the" in front of the word "hospital".)

Brian said...

I can't thank you guys enough for finally clearing up for me that the English really are out to get me.

Thanks for the info.

Ranielle said...

Trying to get a grasp on American and British English differences, I'm still not convinced it's supposed to work this way in this particular case. Admittedly, I've had to look to the internet to help further explain the formal and notional agreements of collective nouns, but as I understand it:

Formal agreement, singular verb, emphasis on body as a whole = "...a committee has discovered."

Notional agreement, plural verb, emphasis on the individual members = "...the committee were unable to agree." (This falls in line with the Mets team and Muse group examples; all individual members of the team have improved, each individual member of Muse is involved in recording the album.)

Using the notional agreement and the plural verb in "Starbucks have discovered" would seem to indicate that all individual members (or stores?) and not the company as a whole were responsible for the discovery.

Or am I over-thinking this? (I do really want to understand it, I swear!)

That being said, what is the plural of Starbucks? Is it Starbucks and Starbucks, like sheep and sheep? Or is it Starbucks and Starbuckses, like Jones and Joneses?

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

The more I think about this, the more baffled I'm becoming--it's not just you, Ranielle. :) It's a complex (and very interesting) issue! I'm half-tempted to use this as a good excuse to take a little trip to England and investigate this further! Haha.

I do wonder what the plural of "Starbucks" is. See, if I was writing something in which I absolutely had to refer to the plural of Starbucks, I'd simply say something like "several Starbucks cafes" because I *know* that's right...

yello.cape.cod said...

There are several good posts about this on the Language Log blog. Check out this search link: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/index.php?s=subject+verb+agreement+committee+british
(I think there are some posts about it also in the archives, but I didn't search there.)

Also I think it's covered in the Separated by a Common Language blog. Ah, yes, here it is: http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/search?q=subject+verb+agreement

Hope you enjoy this information. I think this kind of thing fascinating.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Thanks, YCC! These will be great resources to check out. :)