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Might Could, Might Should

Modals are helping verbs that affect a verb’s grammatical mood and express possibility, capability, likelihood, permission, or obligation. The use in the Southern United States of multiple modals, such as might could and might should reflect...

Language in Petersburg, Alaska

When Therese moved from New England to Petersburg, Alaska, she heard a rich mixture of language that arose from the Tlingit people who live there part of the year, the Norwegians who immigrated there, and a thriving fishing industry. So you might...

Buyed vs. Bought

Why is the past tense of buy not buyed but bought? Often the verbs most likely to have such irregular forms are the simplest, reflecting the residue of centuries-old grammatical features. This is part of a complete episode.

Pronouncing The Word “The”

A Palm Springs, California, listener was taught that when the word the is followed by a vowel, it should be pronounced with a long e, and otherwise with a schwa sound. However, there’s no grammatical basis for such a rule. This is part of a...

On The Morrow

A woman in Monticello, Florida, is bothered by the phrase “on tomorrow,” and feels that the word on is redundant. However, this construction is a dialect feature, not a grammatical mistake. It has roots in the United Kingdom and probably...

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