Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

A couple weeks ago, Sheba made her longest car trip ever, to Cedar Rapids and back (about an hour each way, plus multiple stops within Cedar Rapids). She was pretty tired out by the end of it, and I think would have liked to nap all the way home but couldn't because of the noise, light, and bouncing, but still. She didn't throw up, which is excellent news, and even if she was worn out by the end of the trip, she was pretty excited during the beginning. I think she had a good time.

Also she's a dog, and has to do dog things.


In other Sheba-related news, she had her first vet appointment last Monday, which, happily, turned up nothing of consequence. She weighs almost exactly 50 pounds (23 kg), she's now re-vaccinated against bordetella ("kennel cough"), and she has heartworm preventative medication to take, which in retrospect we probably should have gotten that for her earlier and I feel like a bad dog father. But all indications are that she's fine anyway. Also she growled at the vet once, but in fairness to Sheba, he was sticking a plastic tube into her ear at the time for reasons she couldn't have understood. I would have growled too.


19 comments:

Ginny Burton said...

Please don't think I'm a jerk, but there's no such word as "preventative." It was probably just a typo as your fingers were flying across the keyboard.

Liza said...

Aw, I knew you'd be a good dog Dad! Wait, Mom?

mr_subjunctive said...

Ginny Burton:

Oh really? You should tell the dictionary.

It may be an unnecessary word, it may be an ugly word, but it's a word, and it even has a distinct meaning as compared to preventive, or is beginning to: for some reason, preventive is gravitating toward exclusive use as an adjective, and preventative is taking over the vacant noun role. Which is weird, and one could argue this splitting of roles is unnecessary, but there it is.

Of course, in context, I was still either misusing "preventative," then, or being redundant: if "preventative" is the noun, then saying "heartworm preventative medication" is like "ATM machine," so I apologize.

Granted, I didn't think all that out prior to typing preventative, and hadn't considered a difference between it and preventive -- I was just using the word that went with the product's promotional materials because that's the word the vet used to talk about the product -- but it wasn't a typo. (A Google search for "heartworm preventive" turns up 13,100 hits, while "heartworm preventative" gets you 42,200. That one is more popular than the other doesn't necessarily mean it's correct, but I daresay if it's more common, it probably has more claim to being a word in this context than "preventive.")

mr_subjunctive said...

(continued)

I actually have the same response, in general, to the "_________ isn't a word" argument that the people who make that argument have to words like "irregardless" and "incentivize," which is why you're getting the stern lecture. (Though I'm not in fact particularly upset, and this whole comment has more to do with it being fun for me to talk about words than it does with me being insulted or defensive, so please be reassured that I don't think you're a jerk.) In the comments at this post, which you may read as your penance, there's a comment by one "Glyph Lefkowitz" in which the practice of objecting to non-words is defended because people using such non-words (G. L. is specifically going after supposably and irregardless, words which only slightly trouble me) often have no idea what they mean by them:

"When I use the 'not a word' admonition, what I mean is 'I don’t know what that sound or sequence of letters meant in that context, and I seriously doubt you do either.'"

"For all intensive purposes," which I'm seeing more and more on-line, makes me want to rend my garments and weep from frustration, for exactly the above reason -- I don't think either of us know what the speaker means by "intensive." And this seems like a good occasion to use the "not a word" argument to say so, but I think that temptation is best resisted. If you say ______ isn't a word, the person you're talking to is going to focus on proving that it is, by going to the dictionary or Google or whatever, and you lose control of the conversation. Better to say flatly, "I don't know what you mean by that and am not sure you do either," which at least keeps you both talking about the actual problem with communication, even if they're angry at you afterward.

The down side being that if you do know what they mean, and just think it's an inelegant construction, then you have to either swallow it and go on with the conversation or lie and tell them you don't understand something that you in fact did understand.

rohrerbot said...

I think we have grammar nazis posting:) As a teacher, I love those debates....but about your puppy...adorable:)

Liza said...

Way to open the worms, Ginny.

mr_subjunctive said...

Liza:

I'm sure it was an accident.

Karen715 said...

Sheba looks adorable.

Mr. Subjunctive, you handled the "there's no such word" thing much more graciously than I would have. My response would probably have been two short words of unambiguous meaning.

happyporgus said...

She's cute. Do you know what breed of dog she is? Lab/something?

Ginny Burton said...

Oh god. I'm not only chastised, I'm eating the can of worms!

I may be too ashamed ever to post again.

Goodbye, cruel world!

mr_subjunctive said...

Karen715:

Well, I have the same impulses myself, and in fact hadn't considered the word very carefully when I typed it, so . . . you know.

happyporgus:

Not definitively. The shelter speculated that she was a lab / German shepherd mix, since she has the ears of one and the coloration of the other, and she definitely has the behaviors of both (likes to fetch, really likes bird-like toys, guards the house somewhat, etc.). I think there's at least one more breed in the mix, though, because her tail is too curly, and her proportions too short, for either labs or GSDs.

Ginny Burton:

You're kidding, right? (Right?)

Thomas said...

Love American English: messy, confusing, constantly evolving. Even when ex-presidents and ex-governors make me wince and think that nobody could write lines like that, it can still sing (and probably get turned into a musical).

I wonder if preventative is becoming a substitute for prophylactic, a word that now seems to be used mostly when discussing STDs and birth control.

Love the 'intensive purposes', never heard that before. Makes me think of something reserved for use in ICUs....

Thomas said...

...almost forgot, glad to here that Sheba's trip to the vet was all good news. She looks like she's enjoying the news and the weather...

Blueszz said...

Glad to hear Sheba behaved well at the vet's office. Can't blame her for growling ;-) About the breeds she comes from. Coat color genetics can do 'weird' things to the eye. I know a mix Yellow Labrador x Rodhesian Ridgeback which has the golden brindle coat from a Dutch shepherd.

Don't feel bad about the ________ :-) Language is evolving all the time. I didn't know better than it was called a 'preventative' because that is what it's called almost everywhere I read it and I'm not a native speaker. I even didn't notice it but enjoyed the debate and was happy to learn from it.

Ginny Burton said...

Okay, I'm back from work and have the time write my abject apologies for my bad manners. I have absolutely no defense for my gall in correcting the author of such a delightful blog. It's hard to remember sometimes that I am not Queen of the World. I'm really sorry and certainly deserved a smack upside the head instead of the thoughtful reply from my gracious host. I am really and truly chastised.

As might be expected of someone my age, my dictionaries are elderly. The two that are within reach are the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 1944, and the Random House Unabridged, 1967. Neither has "preventative," but I realize that the language has moved on, even if I haven't.

Again, my apologies for being rude and stupid.

mr_subjunctive said...

Ginny Burton:

Well, in point of fact, I do want to be told if I've made a mistake, and you pointed it out very nicely. That it turned out that I hadn't exactly made a mistake (I had, but not the one you pointed out) doesn't mean you shouldn't still have said something. But it's fine: you learned something, I learned something, I got to talk about words, other readers found the exchange interesting . . . and I think we've all learned a little something about the true meaning of Christmas. Now let's eat some pie.

Mae said...

I enjoyed your word play, too. I love etymology (the mash-up of Latin and Germanic origins is fascinating! Even though I can't spell! Or maybe especially because I can't spell??? Anyway, knowing a little about etymology helps with my botany knowledge.)

For kicks, look up the word "mischievous". Now look really carefully at how it's pronounced. People (including myself until I learned the difference) usually say mis-cheeve-EE-us. But according to m-w.com it's really only pronounced mis-cheev-US.

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

I think the phrase is "For all intents and purposes" if it was written correctly. Somebody heard it wrong. You know ... like hearing the incorrect words of a song.

Lance said...

I loved the word discussion. Always one of my favorites - and I have several dozen dictionaries, probably many older than Ginny's.

I hadn't heard "intensive purposes" either but it's funny. I guess "intents and purposes" could become that. Makes me think of all the phrases that "Tin roof rusted" seemed to be.