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By CompleCCity's request...

Lovely! Not "simply" lovely – "absolutely" lovely! This has to be the most pleasant English lesson I ever had. Anybody ever had. (I just asked above, but say, were you a teacher?)
Please! Don't ever move this to a future archive section, so that I always will find it when I'm in need of these explanations (and the pleasure).
Your help is appreciated, and as exactly this: help. I don't see it as criticism, and I do even ask for it at times. And I say "many thanks!" Finally somebody who not just simply takes my mistakes and ignores them, while answering the facts – finally somebody who gives some feedback. Smiley


Purloining the topic, I believe Edit

You can say "believe it or not" or "believe me," but how to explain the difference? And then there's the competitor phrases like "believe you me" and "I believe..."

  • "Believe it or not, I learned 'purloin' in school."
According to the Collins Dictionary, "believe it or not" is used to emphasize that a statement is surprising.
  • "Believe me, English is hard to learn; I still want to 'look after' words."
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "believe me" is used to emphasize something you say.
  • "Believe you me, as a non-native speaker, you may find you use the wrong prepositions here or there your whole life."
According to the Collins Dictionary, "believe you me" is used to emphasize that what you are saying is true. But according to a dictionary I don't have as much trust in, the Free Dictionary, it means "You'd better take my word for it!" This actually seems more apt.
  • "I believe the word 'purloin' comes from Sherlock Holmes." (I almost wrote this sentence above, believe it or not. My education has gotten misty in my recollections too, believe me!)
According to Collins, "believe" can mean you think a statement is true, but you are not sure. I use it a lot to hedge things I say on-line. "You can argue with the validity of what I say all you like, but it's indisputably what I think is true." (As it turns out, my claimed-to-be-hazy memory on the classic use of "purloin" was indeed faulty, so I'm glad I checked Wikipedia before I wrote my comment to you above! Poe is a great author. Believe you me, checking Wikipedia before you post comments on-line can save you a ton of rebuttals!)
  • "I do believe you can pull off purloining that letter, after all!"
I had trouble finding this, but MacMillan Dictionary says that "I do believe" is used when you realize that something that surprises you is true. IMHO, this is more apt than the Free Dictionary's definition of "a way of affirming or reaffirming one's opinion."


More stupid English tricks: Failing to have Edit

Rueful comment on "have" in the English language.

  • Believe it or not, these are all "legal:"
  • You have to recruit Shale.
  • Necessary
  • You don't have to recruit Shale.
  • Not necessary
  • You have recruited Shale.
  • Past but on-going (present perfect)
  • You haven't recruited Shale.
  • Not present perfect
  • You have had to recruit Shale.
  • Present perfect of necessary
  • You haven't had to recruit Shale.
  • Present perfect of not necessary
  • You have a recruit.
  • Possession
  • You don't have any recruits.
  • Non-possession
    • This doesn't sound right to me, but might be British:
  • You haven't a recruit.
  • Non-possession
    • This is just wrong:
  • You haven't to recruit Shale.
  • Not necessary

    I think I can actually explain this set, amazingly enough. In "have to recruit" and "have a recruit," "have" means different things, but it really is the verb. So you have to negate it with "don't have." (On this side of the pond, anyway.) In "have recruited" and "have had to recruit," the actual word "have" is only part of a complex verb -- it's just an auxiliary verb. So you negate it with "haven't." Such fun! :)


    • This also means that "do" and "don't" convey differences in meaning beyond the positive/negative one.
  • You do have a recruit, remember.
  • Emphatic Possession
    This fits in a context where it's often forgotten.
  • You don't have any recruits yet.
  • Non-possession
    This fits in any context; it's ordinary.

    Removing mistakes again Edit

    "(I feel free to remove inappropriate things again…) ... At least in German it is proper use of the word "wieder"..."

    All I can say is that in English, "again" can only refer to the verb in its clause or sentence. For instance, you didn't undo my changes to your Welcome Message again this time; you didn't have to, because I've only edited it once. But if I now go and do it in the future, you no doubt will undo those changes again. (With a lot more annoyance!) I doubt you want your policy to be that as long as people post only one inappropriate remark or image, you won't remove it! LOL
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