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 Discussion about English grammar

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Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Something called a sub-clause isn't it?

OK I do feel way over my head now.... I was comfortable with apostrophes but now I'm struggling.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Josh wrote:
Something called a sub-clause isn't it?


kleindoofy's "commata dear boy, commata" doesn't contain a clause, but does contain three noun phrases.

Josh wrote:
OK I do feel way over my head now.... I was comfortable with apostrophes but now I'm struggling.


It's easy, really. I started about 10 years ago, after leaving the IT industry, with a very poor UK comprehensive school knowledge of the technical aspects of English (in other words, almost none).
Now, a decade later, I've completed several degrees in linguistics and I'm working towards a PhD in linguistic origins/evolution. If I can do that, coming from an IT background, anyone can, I'm sure.

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kleindoofy
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:14 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Granted.

"Run, Forrest, run" is much more common that "run Forrest, run."

I was following the omission of the comma which accentuates importance of "commata." "Run" in "run, Forrest, run" is an imperative. My usage was more like "elementary, my dear Watson*," which is often found without the comma.





(*That phrase is not to be found in any story by Doyle. It's only in the Rathbone films.)
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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Ok, English for blondes:

Place a comma where you would take a breath.

Use the apostrophe in place of a letter. ie It is goes to it's.
If you're not replacing a letter, no apostrophe.

It may not be how to get a linguistics degree, but it'll get you through writing a letter to your boss. (Unless your boss is an English proffesor, then just ignore me)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I ain't gonna discuss it. banghead

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

it wasn't me wrote:
(Unless your boss is an English proffesor, then just ignore me)


Write out "professor" 100 times IWM and then See Me (remember those dreaded words in the margin?) Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:35 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ Embarassed

I alswys spelt it rong!!

I hav to admit my speling's not very gud but my punctuwashon's always bang on.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:09 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I used to work in an office (think THE Office) where it fell upon me to do the recruitment; mainly because nobody else wanted to. I confess that if I received a CV/resume from someone whose spelling contained common or glaring errors their application went straight into the bin. I cut them a bit more slack if their punctuation and/or grammar wasn't up to scratch, but only if I thought they were strong candidates anyway.

This was in the days when ppl didnt use txt spk 2 comunic8 and allow it to infiltrate and corrupt other important areas of their lives, eg, making a good impression on a prospective employer.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Oh, don't get me started on this sort of thing. I think I would spend far more time baiting if it didn't involve me having to read so many emails filled with mistakes. I acknowledge that speaking English as a second language makes things harder for a lot of scammers, but that certainly doesn't make it any easier to read. I want to blame being a post-grad English student, but I have a horrible feeling I've always been really fussy about it. Maybe I should just slap them for their crappy spelling, syntax and punctuation. I'm pretty sure I've already done some slapping for emails COMPLETELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS, because I can't look at a whole email full of capitals without getting a headache. All caps lock keys should be removed from lads' computers or something.

I did a poetry paper last year, and half my tutorial decided that punctuation was far too old fashioned for them. So they went without, and then had to listen to me asking them every single time about why they didn't feel the need for it when it would make their poetry so much more coherent. Actually, most of it would have been pretty incoherent even with perfect punctuation, but that's what creative writing students are like.

In another writing paper, a girl mused in front of me about writing a whole novel in txt sp3k. I politely tried to restrain my horror, and told them that I actually really like vowels. They make life vastly more pleasant just by being there, because vowels mean that my brain doesn't have to work overtime filling in the gaps. They just make the whole reading experience that much more graceful.

She gave me a very odd look.

I'm sure someone will be foolish enough to write a txt n0vl at some point, if it hasn't already happened, but most publishers would be smart enough to reject it immediately, right? And if that travesty did occur, then that would be the one occasion where book burning shouldn't be considered a bad thing.

Has anyone else read Eats, Shoots and Leaves? I love that book. It's hilarious, and it explains everything so clearly. Most importantly of all, it makes a grammar freak feel like they're not alone in the world.

@kleindoofy

What's wrong with semi-colons?
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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^On a serious note, please, NEVER educate the lads in either correct grammar or spelling.

My daughter is dyslexic and I have quite a serious problem with spelling. Sometimes I will look at a word so many times, it stops making sense to me!

I think the English language is beautiful, but not as beautiful as Italian/French/etc.

I had an excellent education. That doesn't make me better than the last person. It also (however hard I try)and because my spelling is so bad, doesn't make me dumber that the average bear either.

(Even the word bear I have to think hard about. Is it bear, bare or bair?)

I had excellent English teachers at school who painstakingly went through little sayings for me to remember and help me get through.

I think the Eglish language is full of snobbery. My Father had a masters degree from Cambridge Uni in English (St Johns). I however, know I'm crap at English (and maths). I try my hardest to get things right but I don't think I should be judged for my shortfalls. I am an intelligent woman and I get through life using that intelligence. Not my capability to spell the very confusing English language correctly.(Or incorrectly, which happens more often than not)

For eg : Their, there and they're.

Through and threw.

People have different talents. As long as you can understand someone and they are trying to communicate in a civilised manner and have something to say, then let us be.

(I await my slaps.)

(Also, I have tried to spell communicate, academic and other words correctly. If I failed, I apologise.)

When I first went to school, through to high school, I was taught to spell as words sounded. I don't think that ever helped me when it came to spelling correctly.

Ps. If I use the word 'correctly one more time I'm gonna go drink wine.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^^ I take your point and I'm not taking a pop at you personally IWM, but the fact remains that if one presents oneself as a semi-literate, or at least very poorly educated person to the outside world then one WILL be judged. You can have an IQ of 200 like KD or a whole raft of university degrees, doctorates, etc but if you can't spel proper people will draw the conclusion that you are lying about your education, or that you are a sloppy spelur who can't be arsed even to use Spellcheck on a business or official document. If you have a learning difficulty then surely that's even more reason to use whatever technology exists to help?

I'm not talking about banter in an internet chatroom or forum. Insisting on totally correct spelling and grammar is unreasonable and unrealistic and stifles the spontanaeity (sp? Laughing ). But if you are submitting your CV with a job application or writing to your bank manager then at least do them the courtesy of giving the appearance that you care about these things? I shudder at some of the errors in my kids' homework which their teachers either don't notice or don't feel the necessity to correct. If you go through school thinking that poor spelling is OK, or at least tolerated, it diminishes this wonderful language of ours and that's a great shame.

But I freely admit I am a complete dinosaur about these things so I'll get my coat.

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Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:08 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I agree with you 100% Gnasher. What annoys me most though is people who can spell fine, but just mess it up because they're lazy or they think it looks cool.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I haven't even finished Year 10, stop judging me! I don't think poor spelling is cool I just mess up a few times.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

We're not judging you Reaper. You try your best and that's greatly appreciated. Your spelling is a whole heap better than someone in here whose username says they were born in 1981.

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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@Gnasher. Nothing on here I have taken personally, I assure you!
I just mean that the English language is very difficult and people who have that difficulty should perhaps be given a break.
My step son is incredible. He is 8 years old and can spell extremely well. He doesn't know the meaning of the words however!!
I agree with you though that if you are applying for jobs etc, you should care about spelling and pronunciation etc.
I was just trying to make the point that posting on a forum, as long as (how does one spell legable..legible..??) the poster attempts to get the message accross in the most legible(?) form, then I don't think we have to be .....

...Sorry, I got bored. I was just trying to speak for those of us who don't have the English language down pat, however hard we try.

I wrote a book. I spent 3 weeks writing it and 9 months trying to ensure the English was correct!

Ps. I don't believe a high IQ is a guarantee of the correct grasp of English. Confused

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:53 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Legible Thumbs up Thumbs up

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I just noticed that this thread got interesting

Back on page 3, luckey wrote:
Grammar pedant: "You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition."
When Winston Churchill was faced with such an opinion he replied, "this is the sort of pedantry up with with I shall not put."

I'm with you, TSNerd; you don't misuse them at all; at least you didn't do so then.


Next question: How should I punctuate:

"Is it my round?" he asked.

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Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:35 am Reply with quoteBack to top

~thud419,

What you've written looks fine to me.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:53 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've just read a book called "Is it just me, or is everything sh!t?"

In it, the writer names one of his pet hates as being "incorrect omission of letters" purely to "look cool".

He gives the example (UK readers will know this!) of "Howard" in the Halifax adverts:

"Who gives you Xtra?"

NO-ONE gives you Xtra, Howard. It's not a real word. Try it in a game of scrabble, see how many points you get. Now stop being a lazy b*st*rd and give me my "E" back. You blind tw*t.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Xtra is a rather large ISP in New Zealand.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

That makes it a proper name, not a word you'd find in a dictionary.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

No it's definitely not a proper name. I was more saying that I feel your pain - we have to deal with "Xtra" on an almost daily basis here in New Zealand.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ Yes, it's pain alright!

Mind you, I'm just glad I don't live in the states. It's even worse there.

"E-Z" instead of easy for example. Or "LayZ boy chairs".

Although I cringe daily when I see big UK companies using text speak in their company titles!

"Phones4U"
"Injury Lawyers 4U"

Kill them all!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

OK, it you like it with quotation marks, how about

Is it my round? he thought.

The whole thing with quotations in standard English grammar is broken. As an IT-type person I would prefer

"Is it my round?", he asked.

However in standard English grammar, the quotation marks are ignored when punctuating. This means that quoted sentences are made into subordinate clauses:

"I am sure," she said.

Here "I am sure" is a complete sentence which, when written on its own, would require a full-stop. However, when quoted as above it becomes a clause within a larger sentence. This is OK unless we need to add a question mark or exclamation mark.

She exclaimed, "I am sure!"

The exclamation mark ends the sentence. So writing

"I am sure!" she exclaimed.

is just as bad as writing

"I am sure." she said.


He cried, "there is an elephant in the bathroom?"
He cried, "there is an elephant in the bathroom!"

mean two different things, but since "he cried" is a sentence on its own, they are uncomfortable. However reversing the sentence gives only one alternative:

"There is an elephant in the bathroom," he cried.

Now it reads more smoothly, but we have lost the inflection on the quotation.

When quoting internal thoughts, we do not use quotation marks, so even this clue is removed.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Just for interest, do non-English languages have equally subtle and esoteric (complicated?) rules of syntax? For example, I know that in Spanish you put question marks and exclamation marks at the beginning (upside down) and end of phrases but I'm sure there are other examples in different languages.

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