Friday, February 7, 2014

The Chosen Feud

The Lego Movie opens today. If the promo I saw recently is accurate, the movie is going to be … awesome.

Alas, no one wants to see it with me. Mila Kunis and I should, like a couple of Lego pieces, go together. We would click. I await her call. In the meantime, I’ve assembled a choice post, brick by brick. Enjoy.

No one way exists to tackle a Lego set. When you open the box and dump out its contents, you can follow the pictorial instructions and match the image seen on the box, or you can sidestep the steps and build whatever you dream.

Such options don’t exist when constructing sentences. Words, unlike Legos, don’t always connect. An incorrect tense, for example, can mar the most imaginative creation.

Chose is the past tense of choose, and the independent clause introduced by the conjunction so in the first sentence of this USA Today deck is in the past tense, but “to chose from” is a grammatical construction called an infinitive. Such constructions always use present-tense verbs. (Without delving too deeply into a rather dry subject, let me point out that an infinitive — to plus the present tense of a verb — is one type of verbal, which is a word or group of words that combine characteristics of a verb with those of a noun or adjective. In this deck, “to chose from” functions as an adjective because it modifies the noun lot. The true verbs in the clause are were and scripted.)

Chose is close to choose, but it doesn’t have the right dose of o’s. Pose another o in chose and your prose will be on the nose. Trust editors. We’re pros.

When it’s an infinitive, it’s definitive: Choosy spellers choose choose. Do not accept chose.

That concludes my piece of resistance.

Oh, I have one more thought, should you, ahem, choose to read it. Isn’t it strange that chose, with one o, doesn’t rhyme with lose, but choose, with two o’s, does? Yet chose doesn’t rhyme with loose; it rhymes with lows. I bet that hit you like a ton of Lego bricks.

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