Monday, November 23, 2009


Two stabs at my grammar question, plus a bit more on Belichick. First up:
I think adding "might" puts it in the subjunctive mood, which (confirmed by some half-assed googling, turning up several ESL sites, interestingly) takes the infinitive (i.e. "to apply") in the present tense. In the "probably" version, the verb isn't plural, it's just the 3rd person singular form of "to apply" (i.e. I apply, you apply, he/she/it applies). (Actually, come to think of it, most regular verbs lack the "s" in the plural conjugation, but have it in the 3rd person singular. English is funny, eh?)

Also, while I too was initially surprised, almost horrified, that Belichick went for that 4th and 2 last week, I've come around to thinking that is certainly wasn't a bad decision, and probably even was indeed the smart play. What's annoying is that no sports announcer seems to get this. For example, in the Cal-Stanford game yesterday, Stanford faced 4th and EIGHT deep in their own territory, down by four points with under 4 minutes left. (Despite my support of Belichick's call, I think Stanford has to punt here, as the circumstances are quite different than those the Pats faced.) The announcer of the game asks whether the Stanford coach is going to "pull a Belichick," which is now apparently synonymous with "go for an ill-advised fourth down attempt." Jerks. (Stanford went on to lose the game.)

And Judge Smails:
Might is a helping verb; probably is an adverb. I assume therein lies the difference.

The counter-argument to Nate/Your thesis is that legislatures are built over time by evolutionary elections. The fact that all the Senators are arguably blowhards is decent, although by no means dispositive, proof that talking alot is perhaps a positive quality if your goal is to stay in office.

Hmmm, subjunctive mood... I'm having flashbacks of Sister Gloria Jean yelling at us 7th graders about the subjunctive mood... so that might probably be right.