Jose A. Carillo on Muck Rack

Jose A. Carillo

Metro Manila, Philippines
As seen in: The Manila Times

J8Carillo publishes Jose Carillo’s English Forum, an interactive website on English grammar and usage. He is the author of three English-usage books.

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@J8Carillo — 191 followers, 3,379 tweets

Lest we overlook this: There several notable departures from the general positive-negative and negative-positive rule for forming tags, or those mini-questions added by speakers to get a quick confirmation or denial from their listeners.
My grade-school teachers drilled into my brain this simple rule: “Use ‘between’ for two, and ‘among’ for more than two.” But soon I had my doubts, for while “between” rarely gave me problems, using “among” for threesomes or more simply didn’t seem right.
Which negative “used to” usage is correct? “They (didn’t used to be, didn’t use to be, used not to be) very close friends.” When the Forum ran this quick quiz in 2014, it drew 116 quizzical responses on Facebook and 52 on Twitter—over thrice the average.
Retrospective: Two stirringly magnificent performances of “The Prayer,” the 2002 live concert duet of Charlotte Church (16 then) and Josh Groban (21), and the 2010 live performance by Filipino Charice Pempengco (19) with the Canadian Tenors.
A good indicator of English proficiency is properly using tag questions to get a quicker confirmation or reaction. This is their general pattern: positive statement followed by negative tag question, negative statement followed by a positive tag question.
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