6 Comments on “Water Cooler Talk

  1. Very interesting article! Absolutely agree about 7:30 in the morning. At this time all I am able to talk about is my morning tea and a pillow :)

  2. So right ! And do you know where this common expression ‘How are you doing?’ is coming from ?

    -> Originally, in the 1600s, this expression was an inquiry after a person’s health or standing, how do you do meaning “how do you fare?” Today we usually express this as How are you? or How are you doing? or How goes it? or How’s it going? Even more general are the slangy locutions How are things? or How’s tricks? All of these greetings date from the first half of the 1900s.
    Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/how+do+you+do

  3. When we teach ESL learners to speak and write, we focus on “correct usage” so we teach them responses like, “I am very well, thank you. And how are you?” But these conventional expressions of courtesy are becoming briefer and briefer so I think we have to teach our learners about “common usage’- which more and more these days is at battle with “correct usage”. Example: more and more people are now saying things like, “Every child must bring their lunch.” That is completely grammatically wrong, as “every” means one child so it would be “his or her” lunch. “Their lunch” would make it seem that every one of the children is eating from a communal shared lunch! But the “his or her” construction is very awkward, so it’s gradually becoming “their” in colloquial English. So, what is correct starts to sound incorrect and what is incorrect starts to sound correct with common daily usage.
    Same thing with “He gave it to you and I”. People actually think that “me” is grammatically incorrect in this situation. But we need the objective form of the pronoun “I” after prepositions like “to” or “for” or “with”, etc. If I say “He sat with me”, why would I suddenly say, “He say with you and I”? just because I added another person? But again, the wrong is starting to sound right and now the right sounds increasingly wrong.

  4. Great article et very interesting. Like a new Canadian even I’m here since 35 years, each time I meet colleague, friend co-worker… I stop and ask him how he is going or how you doing. Some times people don’t response and I feel not good if i do not have response. I know that in north America Greetings are often ephemeral, it’s just to signal your presence to others and you don’t care necessary to have a response.
    I continue to greet my colleagues that I have an answer or not and I do not blame them if I do not have an answer :) Good morning folks :)

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