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This is the place to post questions and discussions on usage and style. The members of the Wordwizard Clubhouse will also often be able to help you to formulate that difficult letter.

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Post by Shelley » Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:06 pm

Thanks, dalehileman, for stepping in. I've been trying to figure out why "whiling away the time" is redundant. I know I've heard the phrase before: never really thought twice about it.
Quoc, no -- I do not mean worthwhile can ONLY be used at the end of a sentence. I was simply trying to make it easier for you to decide when to use it. The word worthwhile can be used in the middle of a sentence, too, for example: "I'm not sure it is worthwhile continuing this conversation".
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Post by Quoc » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:43 pm

Hi,

I'm not sure it is worthwhile continuing this conversation.
=I'm not sure it is worth continuing this conversation. ?

If not, why?
Quoc
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Post by Shelley » Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:19 pm

Quoc, those two sentences say the same thing, in my opinion. I think you've got it right.
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Post by dalehileman » Wed Dec 13, 2006 5:00 pm

I might ad to Shelly's observation, that "worthwhile" is often used as an adjective; eg, Shelly has made a worthwhile contribution
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:28 am

Who is this 'Shelly'? Chopped clam? Or clam chops, perhaps?
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Post by Quoc » Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:49 am

Hi,

Is this sentence correct? Ifnot, why?

Her journey was worthwhile the stressful worry.

Quoc
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Sat Dec 16, 2006 2:29 am

(If not, why not?)
It is not, because while "Her journey was worthwhile." and "Her journey was worth the stressful worry." are both correct, it is improper use of the word worthwhile to use it as you have above.
You have been given a bum steer from the get-go in that your first sentence, "I'm not sure it is worthwhile continuing this conversation." seemed to have been accepted as proper. It is not. It would be properly said, "I'm not sure it is worthwhile to be continuing this conversation." (Talk about poetic justice....) Americans often say it as you first wrote it, but the "to be" is implicit, as is the "you" in "[You]Give it to me."
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:01 am

Your grammatical analysis is correct, James, but I disagree that the omission of 'to be' from "I'm not sure it is worthwhile to be continuing this conversation" makes "I'm not sure it is worthwhile continuing this conversation" incorrect. What makes this sentence, which is perfectly comprehensible and idiomatic, any different from "Give it to me"? After all, nobody would argue that "Give it to me" is incorrect.
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Post by Shelley » Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:37 am

gdwd, I wrote the sentence "I'm not sure it is worthwhile continuing this conversation" in order to demonstrate to Quoc that "worthwhile" can be used in the middle of a sentence. That would have been my bum steer, but really, I think there is no need at all for "to be". To me, it's just adding unecessary words. If "worthwhile to be continuing this" is proper, then that's news to me. (I see you've beaten me to this, Erik.)
Quoc, your misuse of the word is why I encourage you to use "worthwhile" only at the end of a sentence. I can usually identify whether a sentence is correct or not, but I find it almost impossible to explain why. Perhaps someone with more clarity and patience can help here. I'm only trying to give you a simple way to get it right.
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:00 am

Of course you're both right....as far as the initiated are concerned. (I said "seemed to have been accepted" which is not to say "had been accepted"; I know you(s) know better.)
The uninitiated must learn the classic before he starts to riff on his own. You want to make it easy, teach proper use.
Anyone who diagrams sentences knows the [you] must appear in the subject spot, even though it is not spoken.
If I were Quoc, I would need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:16 am

James, don't you actually mean "IF you want to make it easy, teach proper use"?

An ounce of example...
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Sat Dec 16, 2006 11:11 am

Yes, Erik, that is what I meant. Thank you for the admonition.


Rereading my posts, I find much room for improvement and clarification.
One example, which sounds perfectly fine to us, "If not, why not?" has much implicitude: "If [the sentence is] not [correct], why [is the sentence] not [correct]?"
(I had corrected Quoc's question because "If not, why?" contains more complexity: "If [the sentence is] not [correct], why [do you say the sentence is not correct]?")
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Post by Shelley » Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:00 am

Why ask why . . . ?
In my opinion, you could also have written "You want to make it easy: teach proper use". Wouldn't the colon work to create a complete idea?
You could also have said, "You want to make it easy? Teach proper use!"
If perfect grammar and spelling were prerequisites to posting on WW, then nobody would be able to say anything! Well, except maybe for Erik and Ken (and I'm not too sure about Ken). ;-)
If a person has a good idea for Quoc, it shouldn't matter too much whether the idea gets expressed perfectly. BUT, getting involved with his questions is a little like getting involved with Quoc-sand.
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:26 am

I like the "You want to make it easy? Teach proper use!" option, too!
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:52 am

Shelley, you could also say that many of our recent transactions on this site involve an element of quid pro quoc.
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