HUGE for dummies (no offence … )

Once you’ve received your username and password, open the database and log in.

First session: the different tabs

  • click on Menu and then on Query. You will then see five tabs
  • Usage Guides, Query 1: scroll down and click on Problem Term. You will get a list of all the usage problems in the database
  • select “who / whom” in the empty box, and you will get a list of all the usage guides in HUGE that treat this item. Select any one usage guide and you will get all the items from that usage guide in HUGE. If you wish to look at the actual entries, click on the tab Entries, select Problem Term and select “who / whom”, and click on Search. Select any one line and you will produce the text on this usage problem in the relevant usage guide
  • If you wish to access the most recent usage advice on “who / whom”, click on Alter Query and on Columns to Display: select Usage Guide and click on Search. Then click twice on Year, and the usage guides will be presented chronologically (backwards). Select a line, click on it and you will see the entry.
  • If you wish to find out about scholarly research on the “who / whom” question, click on the tab References, select Problem Term and key in “who / whom”. By clicking twice on Year, you will get to see the most recent publications first. And then you might also like to browse around in our blog to see what we have written about the topic.

Session 2: original year of publication

If you wish to identify the usage guides by their original year of publication, take the following steps:

  • Click on the tab Usage Guides, select “guide title”, and press enter. This will give you a list of all the usage guides in the database. If you click on “year”, the usage guides will be presented in chronological order. The dates provided, however, indicate the year of publication of the books that were actually included in the database. If you wish to find out about the original year of publication, click on the button “alter query”, next on “columns to display”, and then tick “first published”. Press the button “Search”. Again, by clicking on “Orig. year”, you can sort the results in alphabetical order.

Session 3: on the usefulness of tags

  • Usage problems may come under different names: the dangling free adjunct, for instance, for which others use “dangler” or other terms. This one is easy to find by taking the same steps as in Session 1 for “who / whom”, since these two terms are not very different. But what about “between you and I”, which is sometimes used as a term? To find this in the database, select Entries, then Problem Tag and key in “between you and I”. This will give you 133 raw items which you can further modify by clicking on Alter Query, and then on Columns to display. You might like to tick the boxes for Usage Guide and Guide Author(s) if you wish to access the most recent usage advice (twice-click on year for this once you get the results).
  • Going through the list of problem tags in Entries, which you get to see by just clicking on the empty box instead of keying in a particular word or phrase, will also give you some idea of what you may find in the database.
  • Searching for “dangling” in the blog will show you our interest in the topic as well. Your comments will be welcome.

Session 4: finding the publishers

Very recently, yet another usage guide appeared: Accidence will Happen: The non-pedantic Guide to English Usage by Oliver Kamm (2015). The publisher is Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Are there any other usage guides in the database by this publisher? You can find out as follows:

  • Use the tab Usage Guides, then click on Guide Publisher and fill in either Weidenfeld or Nicolson. The answer is …? Repeat the search for “Penguin” or any other publisher you wish to know about.

Session 5: finding other usage problems in HUGE

The question is regularly asked if HUGE contains an entry on “the new like” (as in this is, like, really awesome). Though we don’t know if this use of like has become an actual usage problem yet, there is a way of finding it discussed in HUGE at all. Not a very elegant way, though.

  • Use the tab Entries, then click on Problem Term, key in like and select like/as. Go back to Alter Query, select Columns to Display and tick Usage Guide. Search. The double-click on Year, click on the first field under Text (which gives the most recent usage guides in the database), and read the entry on like in Caroline Taggert’s Her Ladyship’s Guide to the Queen’s English (2010). What do you find?

Session 6: finding examples to illustrate usage problems

HUGE also allows you to search for standard examples to illustrate usage problems with, say if you are writing on a particular usage problem. For those usage problems that are also discussed in Attitudes to English Usage by Mittins et al. (1970) we drew on example sentences we found there, but for other usage problems we had to make up example sentences ourselves. One such case is the usage problem that concerns the use of mutual for common. How to find this example?

In HUGE, click on the tab Usage Problems, and for your Query, click on the empty box and then on Problem Definition. In the empty box that now appears, key in “mutual”. Under Columns to Display, activate Example. After activating the Search, you will find the example: “That person is our mutual / common friend”.

What would you like us to deal with in Session 7?

(to be continued!)

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