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Poor writing skills!

Posted by rob333 (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 13:36

"because one of the vehicles did not have the ride away and they crashed"

From my news "comments" section. Do they really think it's ride away, not "right of way"? Oy. My favorite is when someone says walla instead of voila. I know there are bigger things to think about, but I'm shaking my head at the poor soul who really thinks it's ride away. Don't think it's a hot topic? Try posting it on another forum and catch the reactions--Bob's your uncle!

:)

Ever hear/see any that just make you wonder how it got to that place?


Follow-Up Postings:

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"Ever hear/see any that just make you wonder how it got to that place?"

I would definitely be concerned about the incoherent mind what rote such stuff. :)


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teehee marshall!

You just gotta wonder, doncha?


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I...myself....

When I see the reduncancy of these 2 words being used together, I feel sadness for the writer and their poor skills.

Who do they think it's going to be...I....himself; I....yourself....?


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I've been grading student papers all day and have half a dozen to go (I'm taking a break for my sanity). There is hardly anything that surprises me. It's a "doggy dog world," "for all intention purposes," the joys of your/you're, there/their/they're, alot instead of a lot, number disagreement, colons and semi-colons--one's mind begins to spin.
I don't fuss about some of the errors folks make sometimes on an informal forum like this one, but in a formal university paper one expects correctness. Oy is right.


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When I see that type of mistake, I assume it was an auto-correct or just a typing error.

~Ann


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It's not an incoherent mind and it's not bad grammar. It's someone who has mis-heard and never noticed the actual phrase in print.

Other GW favorites, frequently written:

"I can't decide about curtains or shudders for our windows."

"My favorite metal finish is rod iron."

Errors like these are usually corrected in a kind way (if they're corrected at all). Someone will jump in and write "What color shutters would you like?" or "If you like wrought iron that's what you should get."

A personal fave, not the GW, but also online: "We had to put our cat to sleep and I balled all the way down the I-5 home."


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Incorrect use of I and me. When I hear the incorrect use on TV shows I wonder about the quality of the writing and the education of the writers.


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Warning: Art History content

When I was a TA in graduate school, I was teaching a course in medieval architecture on the parts of a cathedral. One of them is the triumphal arch, the location where the apse and nave meet. The triumphal arch was used in ancient Rome to commemorate the victories of its emperors and warriors (like the Arch of Trajan for example) . The early Christians adapted the concept and so the triumphal arch in a Romanesque or Gothic cathedral symbolizes the triumph of Christianity over Paganism.

It was midterm test time and there were "definitions" that the students were supposed to identify by architectural part and triumphal arch was one of them. Except one of my students must not have heard me very well - I was surprised (and I admit there was a lot of chuckling) when on the test he identified the triumphal arch as "The Triumph Large". I gave him half credit for that one because even though he had the wrong terminology, in reality he wasn't totally off base!


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Oh I know lots of this stuff is merelly typos and mis-hearings. But the basic mechanics of grammar. spelling, and punctuation need to be mastered.


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It's totally fine with me if they mishear it, it's a typo, whatever the reason. It can be mind-boggling, but usually they just make me laugh. Like triumph.. alarch (good one!)


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The one that bothers me the most is the incorrect use of "I" and "me."

The incorrect use is found in song lyrics, in dialogue in films and television, in print, but mostly egregiously by celebrities.

As, "This is a most exciting time for my boyfriend and I."

Another is the supposed possessive of the last name with an apostrophe, which I see frequently carved into name plates and signs.

For an example, there is a home that I drive by frequently with a sign near the sidewalk that has been engraved "The Jenkins's.

It drives me nuts.

This post was edited by demifloyd on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 14:28


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Just this morning I drove by a sign that said, "UNDO STRESS MASSAGE". I think it was for the name of the massage place. But, it should have read "Undue". But maybe it was an ad that massage will undo stress.

I really get annoyed to see commercial signs that are wrong. This annoyance got to me back in the 1980's when a supplement to a weekly (free) newspaper had a full page on the front of the supplement which said, "Your Invited" and then businesses on the inside advertising a special event at a mall.

Another annoyance is the use of "less" instead of "fewer". I see it often in grocery stores and even on one occasion, crossed out the "less" and wrote in "fewer". Less applies to one, fewer is used when referring to more than one.

I guess some will defend the wrong use of words by saying it doesn't matter if people understand the communication. But I sure didn't understand that sign saying "undo."

This all reminds me of the 4-year-old who thought the hymn, "Gladly the Cross I'd Bear" was "Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear". Cute for a 4-year-old, stupid for anyone over the age of 10.


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This is an easy to read website for a quick reference:

Grammar Monster


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I got a real chuckle out of these examples. It is also very discouraging to hear them!


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Chester drawers is a Craig's List staple.


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"Another annoyance is the use of 'less' instead of 'fewer.'"

I have a New Yorker cartoon on my office door in which the checker has crossed out "lew" and replaced it with "fewer." The caption: "I can't help it. I was an English major."


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That's both the boon and the bane of being an English major. Things leap off pages.

To, too, and two. Effect and affect. There are just so many.


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Because my hearing is very poor, I often use the "closed captioning" option on my TV. It helps, but that's because I already know the language and I semi-read lips. The spelling is often atrocious and the time lag can be a killer.
I hope it continues to improve as my hearing probably won't.


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My favorite on this forum is the occasional deletion of the "l" in "public." Really cracks me up as some rather outrageous statements result when you substitute "pubic" for "public," but that slip-up usually slips right by most readers, and the one time I made a joke saying I too favored "pubic art" (the poster meant "public art"), I had people getting shocked with me and telling me off. So nowadays I just chortle when I see that slip-up--and only one other poster that I have noticed ever made a comment about the typo.

Kate : (


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Have you seen a classified ad for a Chip & Dale mahogany dining room suit? (Wow, a two-fer in a single sentence.)

On the Trip Advisor Hawaii forums I see questions from mainlanders that begin, "Me and my wife are going to be in Maui at the Four Seasons. Do we need a passport?" (A THREE-fer if you include being IN an island.) What kind of job pays this person enough to travel to Hawaii and stay in a $1000/night hotel?

Near one of America's top public high schools is a RR viaduct. Can my DH and I be the only people to see that the message over the road cautions, "Low Claerance"? It's been that way for at least forty years.


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I have noticed that steve. My mom has one of those translators for her phone and it is amazing with what comes up on the screen. Had that same thing for a patient call the other day. It said something like this: "...and I've taken muscle actors and I guess I can I get off folder must've cause I did ball yes the day that day." and I don't think it was because they did muscle actors! Silly machines.


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What kind of job pays this person enough to travel to Hawaii and stay in a $1000/night hotel?

*

That assumes money and education necessarily go together.
They do not.

What has allowed people to travel to Hawaii and to book a seat on an airline is not the money they make or have saved.

It is those little rectangles of plastic that allow people to be fiscally irresponsible. Of course they have their place--people are now able to pay to attend grandma's funeral and pay it off.

But mostly, it's people that have a lot of debt practicing instant gratification. They tend to write as you illustrated and often are the rude boors on flights and sitting at the gate bellowing on their cell phones.


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I'm reading an interesting book, apropos this subject, about the making of Webster's third dictionary. You'd think it would be snoozy but it ain't.

The editors of that edition had been influenced by linguistic thinking during the 40's and 50's that was critical of traditional prescriptive authority (such as displayed in this thread, for example). So the idea became that a dictionary should reflect how people actually speak and write, not try to be an authority and dictate some largely imaginary (and largely Latinate) structure. It caused quite the hullabaloo, apparently.

I think the example of "I, myself" serves a purpose. Clearly there is a reason the speaker is adding 'myself' and the reason is emphasis.


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 16:05

Demi is correct, Americans are flying on the plastic carpet - in order to maintain their entire lifestyles, not just go on nice vacations. It creates the false impression that modern corporate controlled America really isn't crushing the non-wealthy - when in fact the average household debt is now something like $220,000.

A classic that has been discussed here previously is "could care less".

At least it's usually spelled right.

Or should I have typed "spelled write"?

Speaking of it's...

This post was edited by bboy on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 16:09


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The' I and me' gets me nuts too, and I hear it on TV daily. Also the their, they're ,there, ...two, to, too,. Using myself as the subject. Too many to mention. Typo's are one thing, but isn't basic English sentence construction taught anymore?


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 16:20

Maybe it depends on if you are in one of those public schools full of all those overpaid teachers or in one of the private academies everyone that matters puts their kids in.


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I'm appalled at my own posts!


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bboy, if your number is correct, I feel loads better about myself. My debt it 1/10 what others are footing! I have no plastic, nor do I wish the "privilege".

I assure you, they're teaching basic English in schools. It's the whole texting, emailing, posting fad wherein one is "cool" when they use this type of language

r u you going 2 the party?


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I don't know the rule is that governs it, but I see it all the time. The best I can do is show you an example I saw on the Grammar Monster site.

This is correct according to the grammar police:

"The accident was caused by his being so clumsy."

This is incorrect and you'll see it ALL THE TIME:

"The accident was caused by him being so clumsy."

The way I remember it is to ask, "what caused the accident?"

The cause was "being so clumsy".

Whose?

HIS!!!

Hay


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I was recently in the local hospital, and they've had to seal shut some of the doors.

On which there are nice, new signs that say "Not an Exit"

And I figured an English Major must have been involved.


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Another one I'm always seeing is,

"I feel badly about this or that....".

I'm always saying that you should go see a hand doctor about the problem.

Remember James Brown:

"I feel goodly....."

Hay


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That seems mighty high, bboy - a big mortgage, big student loans notwithstanding.

Most of the information I've found puts the average American household credit card debt in the range of $7k if you fall to the category of just "indebted". Being "deeply indebted" will lift all boats and pushes the overall range up to about 15k.


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Posted by lily316 z5PA (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 16:08

The' I and me' gets me nuts too, and I hear it on TV daily. Also the their, they're ,there, ...two, to, too,. Using myself as the subject. Too many to mention. Typo's are one thing, but isn't basic English sentence construction taught anymore?

*

"Typo's are one thing,"

*

Sorry Lily, couldn't resist!

I make mistakes, but like most of us, they are typos or are just habit of typing other words and forgetting to change. An apostrophe instead of just an "s" for plural is one that occurs most every day here.

I've had to go back and edit since we have the feature when I have accidentally typed there instead of their or a word that sounds similar to a word I meant to type. Often I'm on the phone when posting or thinking about something else, or just typing fast and not paying attention and something gets past.

Also, I don't proofread like I would if my livelihood depended on it.

This post was edited by demifloyd on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:09


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Just recently I saw someone here having a problem with some plurals.

Sometimes it is OK to use an apostrophe for the plural.

"If if's and and's were pots and pans, the whole world would be a kitchen."

Hay


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:08

Are you talking about this one?

Where's the "goodly"?

Here is a link that might be useful: I Feel Good Lyrics


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I think the basic problem is that many people do not read books anymore.


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"I think the example of "I, myself" serves a purpose. Clearly there is a reason the speaker is adding 'myself' and the reason is emphasis."

Might be for emphasis, but the words are redundant. Why not go with caps or an exclamation point?

past history
Absolutely certain
advance notice
I myself

And on and on and on.


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hay

This post was edited by haydayhayday on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:29


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General consensus


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About twenty years ago I proofed a personal letter that I had typed before printing.

I was appalled at the number of times I had used the word "really."

After consideration, I decided there was no need to ever use the word again unless I was confirming a fact that was questioned by someone. Every "really" in that letter was deleted and it was a decided improvement.

Of course there is the occasional slip, but eliminating the word "really" makes writing more clear.

Now, to compel under thirty somethings to eliminate or reduce the word from their vocabularies....


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"A classic that has been discussed here previously is "could care less".

I make a point of using the expression, "could care less". In some part because I love to hear someone tell me that it makes no sense and has to be wrong.

To which I love to say, "yeah, right!".

When a grammar policeman pulls me over, I also like to point out that the manuals that list the rules are called, "Manual of STYLE".

And I love it that the one man we all love for his lovely writing invented lots of words. Bad, bad man.

(Edited to correct a grammar error.)

Hay

This post was edited by haydayhayday on Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:45


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Lord we sound like my mother...................


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 17:53

I Mastered in Poor Writing Skills, don't it show?.
...and actully I used to care more about it, not so much these daze.


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My favorite on this forum is the occasional deletion of the "l" in "public."

UCLA finally renamed the public health building after a donor, which put an end to replacing the repeatedly removed letter "L." I assumed it was some sort of ongoing frat prank.

If I'm writing in Spanish I have to stop and think about which way the accent marks are written. It's the opposite of Italian, and I can never remember which directions are called acute and grave.

One of my peeves is when a word from a foreign language is written phonetically in English instead of using the correct or generally accepted spelling.


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I myself love the 'unique' family as in totally, completely, absolutely, really......

But rats, I cant call to mind the worst. Maybe later.

I had an eighth grade teacher-Miss Hoague, for whom language ceased to change sometime back in the dark ages. We were only allowed to use the Oxford English Dictionary, because for her it was THE ONLY dictionary.
No one uses whom any more and I have all the rules stuck in my head.


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We have someone here in town - a do gooder of many causes. She espouses the usual "I know one foreign word" and that one currently is Nee har (guttural) a wha (also back of the oral cavity).

I'm slow to get annoyed, but that sends me over for some reason even I can't explain.


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I have to groan at the errors that show up in places they shouldn't but then there are a few that make sense if you think about it.

The "I, myself" sometimes is a reduction of "I, for myself".

The sign reading "The Jenkins's" could easily mean "The Jenkins's house".

Since I can make such errors, I try to avoid phrases that are questionable and forgive those that come from others. Sometimes I wonder if my teeth will survive the attempt.

As for those like the "Undo Stress Massage" I blame Ad Agencies who began the practice deliberately to attract attention. For the record that one actually makes sense.


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My kids both had a Mr. Lewis for grade 8 English. Parents rejoiced when their kids got him but the kids hated it. He was a stickler for grammar of English. The kids not only had the novels that all were required to read but they also had 2 - 3" binders of grammar, punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure, spelling, poem terms, etc. They were expected to know it all.

My kids were still using their binders in first year English.


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Unique used in terms of degrees is my biggest pet peeve-like being kind of pregnant or sort of dead! I am likely repeating myself. UNI means one. One of a kind. It means it cannot be compared and, therefore, cannot be "er" or more/most unique.


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I would certainly notice the missing l from public but would likely not say anything, but would certainly enjoy chuckling about it.

A peeve of mine is irregardless and it all started with me reading a book called Woe is I.

That said, I often cringe at many of my own posts. If I were turning in a paper at school, I would meticulously proofread as well as work related materials but on the WWW, not as likely to happen, just not that important to me. In the link are some demonstrations sure to make at least some of you laugh. My favorite is the substitution of colon for cologne.

Here is a link that might be useful: The ones referring to colon and angles...


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The errant apostrophe bugs me. Also 'past history.' And there is a poster who has a problem with 'loose' and 'lose' & 'choose' and 'chose.'

Oh! The various forms of 'lay'.

English major; sue I.


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"the most unique" is a good one.

Here's a question: if "past history" is a no-no, then "recent history" has to be out as well, right? That latter can be found issuing from the learned often enough.

And while we're at it, can we outlaw the unbearable and pretentious use of "informed", as in most irritatingly "informed my behavior"?


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Why do people think that they should use "myself" when "me" or "I" is the correct word. This misuse is rampant. I hear it on the news all the time. For example a police officer being interviewed will say "Officer Smith and myself responded to the call". Would he say "myself responded to the call"? Or "you can contact Bob or myself". It's Bob and me!!!


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"Here's a question: if "past history" is a no-no, then "recent history" has to be out as well, right? That latter can be found issuing from the learned often enough."

No; I don't think so. All history is past, so that's redundant. Recent history nails the history down to that history which passed recently.


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It's difficult for me because I was raised by parents who spoke a dialect. I grew up in a one room school by a teacher who taught 8 grades without assistance. So while circumstances didn't allow opportunity, I try my best but I'm sure my grammar is riddled with mistakes.

Threads like these work well toward silencing people who weren't blessed with a high I.Q., a good education or well heeled parents. Unfortunately for some, it doesn't stop me from speaking my mind. Lol.

I've taught several people with IQ challenges how to use the internet and it's vastly improved the quality of their lives. I try to read for intent and I think this thread is snobby.


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Golddust, we have at least one of these threads a year on HT. The sport runs on and on until someone shames us by pointing out the snobbiness of the exercise. Pay not attention to the nit-pickers and zit-poppers and wade right in however you wish with whatever you want to say in ways most comfortable for you. Me, myself (and I) tend to run on and on and on. That is a criticism! Doesn't matter if I, myself or me uses good grammar.


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Honestly, Golddust, there are many forums on gardenweb where this thread could be perceived as snobby and perhaps taken as an affront. However, on Hot Topics, I think it is fair game. Contentiousness is really what this forum is all about and people are rarely called out for minor grammatical mistakes.

Further, on a contentious forum such as this, how one expresses their views is paramount because intent is often difficult to discern without clear/concise communication of one's ideas. Just my .02.


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Goldust it happens every so often........look at it from the positive side. It gives liberals and conservatives a chance to agree on something.


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I guess my decades work with the DD population is showing. As is my years spent parenting an adopted "Special Needs" child who I spent every week night practicing with him for his upcoming spelling test. We would celebrate his good grade, only to discover he couldn't remember how to spell the same word a week later.

Yes, this is Hot Topics so I feel free to descend and call you all on your snobbery. Walk a mile, will you?


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As the person who started the thread, it's merely an exercise in silliness. Everyone has things that bug them. I was never speaking to level of education; it takes all kinds to make the world go round, and types of people whose first language is not English. It's just that, to me, people do not pay attention to the world around them, too busy being self absorbed. Like my first example. If they'd just slow down and truly listen, they'd have likely gotten it correct.

I think you're quite well written, and I hear you, but it's just one of those things in life. Joke about it (could even be at myself!) and keep my perspective. No snobbiness intended!


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I am so much happier with my posts now that we have an edit feature. I can't stand having to look at my mistakes over and over on forums.


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 23:01

golddust as a friend once told me "don't sweat the small stuff" ... sometimes people do not realize (or care) how they come across to others, and that happens on this forum a lot ... even with perfect grammar and spelling.

Me, myself and I :)


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  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 23:02

"Myself" in the context stated here is an affectation, a cuteness.


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Yes, it's silly for some. For others, not so much. For every writer here, there are hundreds of Lurkers. You are just adding to their own insecurities and struggles. Garden Web should be a safe place to hang out. If you want to diss on improper grammar, go to a College site. They could use your help.


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Just trying to evolve.

It's the new racist... Condemning people who aren't as good at a certain subject, interest or activity as you. You are all wrong ! Pure snobbery...


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 23:16

"Myself" in the context stated here is an affectation, a cuteness.

.....what is an affectation? And how have I lived so long without knowing that? (^_^)


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Actually, no. We are condemning poor writing, grammar, etc. This is no way a reflection on the value of person doing the writing. I have a son with autism and this world of language and words is not one he inhabits comfortably. It does not make him less of a person but it does make him a poor communicator.

Esh, I agree about the edit button. I also appreciate the intellectual honesty of those who come back with a post script of editing for grammar.


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I smell anti-snobby snobbiness in the murky air of HT. Lord above, do not let us or myself go there.


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Lol. You could be very right.


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I think that writing is getting worse because some people are using voice recognition i.e. a personal assistant like Apple's Siri, who gets words wrong all the time. My mother was trying to learn to use it, and she was texting my sister "Hi Kathy" and Siri wrote "Hi Cafe".

When sending a text I use the kids' short cuts like "r u coming?" It's so annoying to use the keypad to type, it's easier to type less characters.


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It's the new racist...

Yes, there are more grammatical errors and racists around than anyone would like to admit.


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Ain't no thing...


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I realize it actually takes a little more time to spell out whole words, but... attention to detail helps with context and comprehension.

Truly bothersome are those who don't use the correct word for the meaning... there, their, or they're.... your, or you're...


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•Posted by golddust Northern CA (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 22:48

Yes, this is Hot Topics so I feel free to descend and call you all on your snobbery."

LOL. Why, thank you, golddust.

(Although, some of us might consider your statement snobby.)


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I don't get particularly excited about bad grammar. It happens. Typing errors happen.

I try to understand the spirit of what's being said in a post. Some folks are better at communicating than others. And some folks can construct a grammatically correct post, but it doesn't really communicate anything. Just like this one. :-)

That said, it's hard to not question someone's intelligence if they are incoherent.

Texting is different. I don't mind that people use typing shortcuts, given that texting doesn't offer an easy way to type. Nor does it offer a "window" that is easy on the eyes, so you try to say something using as few characters as necessary.


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Most of these complaints are of the schoolmarmish sort, if we want to talk about marms again...

For myself, me in particular that is, if the writer's intent is clear then what do conventions matter?


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We use instant messenger software at work. Despite the fact that most people are typing with a full keyboard, many insist on typing "yw" (you're welcome) or "np" (no problem) when I say "thank you".

Of course I guess I'd rather see "yw" than "your welcome" because then I can imagine they'd spell it correctly if they took the time to do it.


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Typos happen. Using the wrong word happens. What I don't get is 2 things:

1. Using a phrase incorrectly and, in fact, saying the opposite of what you really mean. Sure it can happen - you heard it wrong. But when it's pointed out to you that what you're saying is not what you mean and you continue to say the opposite of what you mean, I find that very strange. If it were me I would immediately correct my usage. You all know I'm talking about "I could care less".

2. The complete lack of understanding of apostrophe in our society. It's very strange to me. I'm not talking about the typo. We all do it. I'm talking about not actually understanding when to use it.

Disclaimer - none of this applies to anyone with a learning disability or other reason for not being able to learn the rules. But laziness does not count! That's no excuse for not being able to use it correctly.


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Well... quite frankly, I don't think it's fair to expect perfection in language use, spelling, grammar, or punctuation on a public message board. This isn't a class in which we're being graded on such performance.

However, the better we can do, the easier it is for others to understand us... and for us to understand the thoughts and ideas others are trying to express.

When I first began to read and post here, I admit to having a bit of trouble grasping the ideas a select few tried to put forth... but now that I've been here for a while, I'm fairly comfortable with the unique writing styles of those persons.

As long as we are able to get our main points across, what's the big deal, anyway? The majority of us are adults... we should be used to certain abbreviations or lack in punctuation.


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Feel free to correct my grammar errors. I enjoy thinking about this and working to improve my skills.

It's so annoying to use the keypad to type, it's easier to type less characters."

I think it should be fewer characters. I thought the rule was less for things like volume: less water. Few is for countable things. Like characters. And I'd think that the comma in your sentence should be a semicolon?

....

Up above I'd posted this:

"This is correct according to the grammar police:

"The accident was caused by his being so clumsy."

This is incorrect and you'll see it ALL THE TIME:

"The accident was caused by him being so clumsy."

The way I remember it is to ask, "what caused the accident?"

The cause was "being so clumsy".

Whose?

HIS!!!"

ALL THE TIME!!!

Yes, indeed, it's one of the most common mistakes I hear. Last night I went out and within 15 minutes of listening to PBS in the drive, I heard this, speaking about Amazon:

"Bajarin says this deal means Amazon can get the customer closer to the immediacy of the brick and mortar experience without them having to schlep to the store."

Feel free to correct my grammar errors. I enjoy thinking about this and working to improve my skills.

Hay


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Another one I posted up above:

"Another one I'm always seeing is,
"I feel badly about this or that....".

I'm always saying that you should go see a hand doctor about the problem.

Remember James Brown:

"I feel goodly.....""

In the same half hour long program on PBS last night there was another story about buying things at a discount, about getting a bargain. I don't have the transcript for that story, but the sentence was talking about selling items at a cheap price and it went something like:

"It's all about selling things cheaply"

I'm thinking that must mean that they have low overhead or some other such advantage, but, no, they were talking about being able to offer a cheaper price to their customers.

While I'm at it,

"I'm thinking that must mean that they have low overhead or some other such advantage, but, no, they were talking about their, (not them), being able to offer a cheaper price to their customers.

Hay


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RE: Poor writing skills!

An English teacher in a classroom is, of course, paid to correct grammar errors and usage problems, but some of you might be surprised that out of the classroom, English teachers are no more hung up on "correct English" than most other educated folks. In fact, most English teachers today would be required to take one or more courses in Linguistics--and those folks are rather hung up about pointing out that "correct English" is a myth, an artificial social standard for measuring who is superior to whom-- a standard of social snobbery, in other words.

That said, there are certain advantages to having some kind of linguistic standards or conventions, but any English teacher can tell you that a paper can be 100% correct grammatically and say almost nothing, whereas a paper filled with bad grammar can be quite creative and interesting, content-wise. If I had to make a choice, I'd prefer interesting to merely correct.

I do find that computers are conducive to typing errors, and I don't know why, exactly. Errors I would never commit in long-hand often pop up on the computer, but fortunately the computer auto-corrects most of them, or we all would probably look semi-literate at best. : )

Accidentally writing "their" instead of "there" doesn't bother me much at all. Spelling "public" as "pubic" is a major problem in my opinion since it can drastically change the meaning of the sentence or, at the very least, have people cracking up over the point we were trying to make rather than taking what we have to say seriously. Those kinds of problems interfere with clarity and communication, to say the least.

Kate


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RE: Poor writing skills!

"1.Using a phrase incorrectly and, in fact, saying the opposite of what you really mean. Sure it can happen - you heard it wrong. But when it's pointed out to you that what you're saying is not what you mean and you continue to say the opposite of what you mean, I find that very strange. If it were me I would immediately correct my usage. You all know I'm talking about "I could care less".

Yeah, right....

When I said, 'Feel free to correct my grammar errors. I enjoy thinking about this and working to improve my skills.", I meant here on this thread. Outside this thread you don't get the same license.

It's a Manual Of Style.

There's a program on PBS about language I happened to hear the other night.

Are you going to start a campaign against the "s" in "island"? It should never have been in that word.

Me, I could care less.

Hay


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Hay, adverbs are handy words that modify everything but nouns and pronouns. They modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. A word is an adverb if it answers how, when, or where.

In your example, things are being sold. And how are they being sold - cheaply.

If there are exceptions out there (and I'm sure there are), someone will find one.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

I see a steady increase in the misuse of 'that' for 'who' when the subject is neither an object nor an animal, but is a PERSON. Could this be due to uncertainty over using 'who' or 'whom'?

Example: "Joe is the the man that drives that truck."

I also wonder if TV news stations intentionally hire ESL writers to create the 'crawls' at the bottom of the screen -- to keep my DH on his toes.

Why can't I find 'advertently' in the dictionary? LOL


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RE: Poor writing skills!

We are being "Hay-ed" and perhaps loving it for its irreverent and perverse form of snobbery. !!!!! [added to bug another unnamed poster]


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RE: Poor writing skills!

"Hay, adverbs are handy words that modify everything but nouns and pronouns. They modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. A word is an adverb if it answers how, when, or where.
In your example, things are being sold. And how are they being sold - cheaply.

If there are exceptions out there (and I'm sure there are), someone will find one."

I think the person was trying to say that the seller was selling the articles at a cheap price. ""It's all about selling things cheaply" seems to want to say that the article's price is cheap. That's what's being modified: the price. Even by your rule, price is a noun and you shouldn't be using an adverb to modify it.

It's not the selling that's being done cheaply. If I'm selling something cheaply or easily or slowly, that's a whole different thing.

Does James Brown "feel goodly"?

Let's ask a pro.

Hay


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RE: Poor writing skills!

"An English teacher in a classroom is, of course, paid to correct grammar errors and usage problems, but some of you might be surprised that out of the classroom, English teachers are no more hung up on "correct English" than most other educated folks. In fact, most English teachers today would be required to take one or more courses in Linguistics--and those folks are rather hung up about pointing out that "correct English" is a myth, an artificial social standard for measuring who is superior to whom-- a standard of social snobbery, in other words."

Exactly the position of the editors of Webster's third, published in 1960, and this point of view was quite a shock to educated persons everywhere. As it still is, apparently.


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But y'all keep saying "I could care less". Does that not mean you still have some capacity to care?

Doncha mean, I couldn't possibly care any less [about_______________ ]? There is absolutely no caring left?

Being silly!


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Not exactly, hay. In your example, the word "price" does not appear... so cheaply modifies the verb selling which does appear.

You have to work with what's there; not what you think should be there.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

"Not exactly, hay. In your example, the word "price" does not appear... so cheaply modifies the verb selling which does appear.

You have to work with what's there; not what you think should be there."

"The article was sold cheaply"

No mention of price.

What does that mean?

I'm going to go get some fish. I hope they sell it to me cheaply. No mention of price.

Bye.

Hay

This post was edited by haydayhayday on Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 12:07


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Two things to remember:

1. The English language has plenty of rules - and sometimes words and phrases don't follow those rules. They are considered exceptions.

2. Language is fluid and changes over time. This is why we don't speak like Victorians (or even cave men).


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RE: Poor writing skills!

"That said, there are certain advantages to having some kind of linguistic standards or conventions, but any English teacher can tell you that a paper can be 100% correct grammatically and say almost nothing, whereas a paper filled with bad grammar can be quite creative and interesting, content-wise. If I had to make a choice, I'd prefer interesting to merely correct."

dublinbay - this is an interesting point but unfortunately sometimes poor writing can get in the way of a good idea or interesting message which gets lost in the inadequate presentation.

I used to mark marketing papers in university and by the third week of one term there were two students whose work I refused to mark. Trying to read past grammar mistakes, spelling errors, run-on sentences became exhausting. These were 3rd year marketing papers, these students were majoring in business marketing and yet couldn't communicate their ideas in a cohesive, understandable manner. They were obviously bright kids but somewhere along the way English took a back seat.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Eh, it's frustrating to me when the grammar is so bad that the meaning is rendered ambivalent, or when it is so lacking that my automatic proofreader overwhelms my reading for content.

There was a letter going around facebook about a week ago, a teacher writing to Chris Christie, who had yelled in her face at some point. It wasn't bad grammar, but she asked questions over and over again without using a question mark. My mind automatically ticks on that, I read it, see a period, then think, "Is that a question?" then reread it, trying to render it a declarative sentence instead, decide that can't be, then finally read it as a question and note the missing mark again. All as an automatic process on my part. But when I have to do it over and over again, I just check out, because my frustration overwhelms my interest.

OTOH though, I am not sitting in judgment on this matter. Because my mind automatically works that way does not mean everyone's does. And I particularly pity people who really just never were taught any better. I see a lot of applications chock full of spelling, mechanical and grammatical errors. People who truly need jobs (this is a deliberate sentence fragment for effect, btw). I am certain that if they could do anything better, be more impressive somehow, that they would do it. They just never were taught differently, where I was fortunate enough to have been.

It just makes me sad to think of the terrible quality of our public schools.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

It is true that an excessive number of grammar problems will get in the way of comprehension--so then it will not matter whether the content actually is creative or interesting.

However, on this forum, we are usually talking about an occasional typo or mis-use of a phrase--most posters can easily fill in mentally the "correct" form without completely losing track of the creative or interesting content.

I thought we were primarily talking about the occasional errors literate people make--like the posters on this forum--, not about remedial English speakers/writers whose problems result in chaos and incoherence. Chaos and incoherence, however, are totally different problems (that need to be worked on) than are the markers of snobbery eeehw--she wrote "to" instead of "too"). A number of the above posts were about snobbery, not about serious communication problems.

Kate


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Exactly Jerzee, but you try telling that to Miss Hoague.

I have an old friend from college with whom to this day I could start an instant argument about the subject of the meaning of words. She absolutely cant grasp the idea that a sound can mean anything you want it to mean as long as all people in the conversation agree on the meaning, if your intention is to communicate of course. For her a word has a meaning...period, and that meaning is what she means. But if I agree to use her meaning we still haven't ended the argument because she knows I don't actually believe in her meaning for the word. It is an exercise in the fact that humanity is doomed.


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I think the ability to write clearly can be developed or improved, but the proclivity for it is probably innate, as for math and other sciences, various trades and most everything else in life.


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Txan--possibly that woman was so upset that her emotions overrode her grammar. And the next day when she settled down a bit, she was rather embarrassed to see she needed to slow down and put in question marks.

That has also happened to me at times when I am tired. Hasn't it to you also?

I would certainly say that it is a matter of professionalism that correct grammar and a clear writing style be used in connection with the job. But not all jobs, by any stretch of the imagination, require that kind of professionalism.

Casually among friends, eh--what's the big deal--especially if the writing is mimicking informal speech patterns, not formal written English patterns. Dontcha think? (OK--how many errors there? And I'm not going to change a word--since I deliberately was striving to create an informal conversational style. )

: )

Kate


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Txan: "It just makes me sad to think of the terrible quality of our public schools."

It makes me sad to think of the terrible quality of the parents of those public school students. My heart goes out to the kids and the teachers.


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I, myself... and I use the terminology on purpose... have a general habit of writing in exactly the same manner I'd speak if we were all in the same room, having a conversation... sans a few expletives where appropriate, or used for added oomph.

My habit of using 3 little dots of separation are akin to a time space slightly longer than a comma provides, and often connect two or more related thoughts together.

If grammar or any other language mistakes or unconventional uses bother some people so badly that they can't tolerate it, they are free to bypass the offending post and move on. That's the way I look at it.


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A local TV anchor always says sentences like this. 'John Brown he was accused of murder.' It makes me CRAZY!! Invariably she does this. She's from the South, and I don't know if it's common where she came from, but I never have heard it around here. She also says things like...'the police gave the information to he and I'.


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Posted by lily316 z5PA (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 15:33

A local TV anchor always says sentences like this. 'John Brown he was accused of murder.' It makes me CRAZY!! Invariably she does this. She's from the South, and I don't know if it's common where she came from, but I never have heard it around here. She also says things like...'the police gave the information to he and I'.

*

No, that's not common in the South.

Apparently she picked it up in Pennsylvania.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

No, that's not common in the South.

I hear the "you and I" a lot in Florida (the south).


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Whatever part of the country, she came away from her communications courses somewhat unskilled.

Like pronouncing the "s" on the end of Illinois.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

I think it's because he and I sound much classier to her than him and me.


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I dislike "irregardless" and the campaign some are waging to make it a real word.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

The Urban Dictionary has a lot to say about "irregardless".


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RE: Poor writing skills!

I don't think we're being snobs about the need to communicate clearly. Here, you ARE what you write. It's similar to appearing at least clean and neat in person.

A friend's son has risen rapidly in his engineering firm because he is the (evidently rare) engineer who can write and speak clearly. His boss told him this. He credits his high school education, but being raised by well-spoken parents didn't hurt!


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I think you are correct Jodi. I, myself don't get kicks mocking someone's word usage, spelling or typing skills. I'm pretty confident of the skills I do have and allow my wife, the English student, to speak well. I guess I just don't lack a sense of importance or superiority. Some people may just feel inferior in some way, maybe physical stature, or maybe they are just braggarts. Who the ....cares. They have to do or say something to feel that certain,, I dunnowhat?? It just shows their true stature.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

they are free to bypass the offending post and move on. That's the way I look at it. The problem is you have to read the offending post to know whether you want to bypass it or not! :-)


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I would say "you and I" over "you and me". I learned to talk in florida from parents who learned to talk in florida.

BTW, all y'all, it's not pronounced like flOrida...

Nice jab, FF. Language mavens tend to be shrimpy little double-domes, you reckon?


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schoul marms of any sex?


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"I think it's because he and I sound much classier to her than him and me." That's a good observation.

This particular error - using subject pronouns (he and I) when the rules dictate object pronouns (him and me) - is known as a hyper-urbanism and is interesting. It's not the result of ignorance/lack of knowledge. It's because the speaker has had pronoun usage pounded in and is confused. The problem begins when the kid comes to school and says, "Him and me (or me and him) went to the movies." NoNoNo! exclaims the teacher, "it's he and I, he and I, he and I." This insistence upon correct subject pronoun placement continues on, but if it's not backed up at home and in the culture at large, it probably won't stick. So a lot of people, while learning to say "He and I went to the movies", emerge from school subconsciously thinking that object pronouns are bad. Hyper-urbanisms are over-corrections made by those who are self-conscious about their speech and want to be correct. As such, they are different from the other mistakes and glitches mentioned in this thread. And they just might be the most common mistake we make when speaking.

To figure out how to avoid this, just drop one of the pronouns. You wouldn't say "me went to the movies" or "the tickets were for I (or he)." You will automatically get it right every time.

I'm not sure that, at its core, using good language is about snobbery. I have seen a lot more snobbery on various garden forums than I have in discussions of English usage here on HT. Snobbery comes with the conscious intent to use language to make someone else feel "inferior". I don't see much of that here - people are too busy being riled up!


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Our southern anchor woman also says. INsurance, a dead giveaway. She's not the only one who uses a noun and pronoun together. The weather guy on that station did tonight. I want to grind my teeth.


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Well, Jerzee... if someone reads the forum often enough, and is that bothered by mistakes in written language, they would come to know who are the worst offenders, I suppose... and then they'd know to move on past?

In another way of looking at it... people are free to correct my posts on grammar and all that to their heart's content, but I don't have to acknowledge the corrections.


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you're right jerzee, it's too late to scroll on by once you've read it. I wish I could UNread some things.


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But what is 'good' language? Isn't the very idea of good or bad language elitist?


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If your usage of grammar makes you incomprehensible to others then I would suggest it is bad. It is also bad when your usage gets more attention than the thought expressed in the sentence.


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Yes, to pnbrown and to sleepless. Balance out those two.

I would put it this way: If communication is your goal, then anything that interferes with communicating/understanding is probably bad writing.

Bad grammar would not necessarily interfere with communicating/understanding, but if you want to be "socially acceptable," then you need to use the accepted grammatical forms required for it--just like you need to eat your meal with a fork rather than a knife if you want to be invited to certain dining experiences--even though a knife would get the job done if consuming food were your only objective.

Let's face it--that is the real purpose of "correctness"--so it can be easily determined who is "in" and who is "out" of the group.

Kate


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Ahh, most people are socially acceptable in, to, their own crowd.
Its obvious tho if one does desire to attain a higher standing, socially and economicallly, he or she would do their best to be well spoken.
You know, most people choose their company on several levels.


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KISS. Keep it simple stupid. That is what I have learned to do. I see/hear too many people trying to be impressive by using big words, when in fact they are the wrong words. The message would be better received and understood if the words were simple. (I just fixed a run-on sentence).

For me, good language is using appropriate words to get your ideas across, even in a general chit-chat conversation. Unless you are writing/reading a peer-reviewed article directed at a specific audience 5-syllable words are not necessary. I don't know that the purpose of "correctness" is to decide who is in and who is out.

The ones who are using big words incorrectly are, I think, the ones who are taking part in a little bit of snobbery, trying to prove something and I can never figure out what they are trying to prove.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Or perhaps they just love big words? I love big words because I love words. Big words are usually nuanced in that they are more specific to a point. Unfortunately( or maybe not) that has been lost in many cases. Then there is the problem that if no one else knows what the word means you aren't communicating. Oh well.

Now my ire is not directed to the well meaning participants of HT, but to writers of books who are apparently incapable of constructing sentences using appropriate words. They also have really bad editors who are supposed to correct their inadequacies. Most modern writers write slop no matter how wonderful their ideas. When you read a writer like Stephen King who by some miracle or other actually knows how to write it is amazing and you just cry that someone who can write as he does wastes his talents on silly subjects.


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Although sometimes I don't restrain myself when the strong urge to correct strikes me, it's usually for a reason. The poster repeatedly makes the same error, so I feel the same way I do when someone has a poppyseed stuck in her teeth; maybe she'd like to fix it. Maybe she shouldn't rely on spellcheck (which I don't use because I don't trust it), or maybe she just doesn't know; like the poppyseed thing.

The other irresistible urge to point out bad writing is when one particular poster, who has gone to some trouble to tell me that people like me used to work for people like her, writes consistently garbled, disjointed, semi-incomprehensible posts. I notice that her posts are completely ignored most of the time, so I'm surmising that long-time posters have learned to ignore her. I'm working on that with some success.
These are all great thoughts, IMO:

"I'm not sure that, at its core, using good language is about snobbery. I have seen a lot more snobbery on various garden forums than I have in discussions of English usage here on HT. Snobbery comes with the conscious intent to use language to make someone else feel "inferior". I don't see much of that here - people are too busy being riled up!"

"If your usage of grammar makes you incomprehensible to others then I would suggest it is bad. It is also bad when your usage gets more attention than the thought expressed in the sentence."

"I would put it this way: If communication is your goal, then anything that interferes with communicating/understanding is probably bad writing."


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While correctness may be used as a tool to determine who is in and who is out, it is also a tool for navigating the complex world of language. It is also not only the big words that have nuance, but little ones too. Dh and his co-workers were recently discussing the mis-use of the word utilize as (opposed to use) in reports they are reviewing (reports written by engineers, so education is not the issue).

In the past, I did not pay as much attention to words as I now do. That was a shame because now that my awareness has increased, I realize the potential of what we may lose in a quest for simplification. Not only that, but attention to the words I use and how I use them helps me to refine my own thoughts and philisophy,


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I think newscasters, teachers, & journalists should use language & grammar correctly.

Years ago, I read about a teacher who wrote on little Johnny's report card,
"Johnny fells to listen in class."

It wouldn't be fair or reasonable to expect Johnny to speak or write any better.


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Healthy food or Healthful food?

I eat healthful food so I can be healthy.

Hay


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RE: Poor writing skills!

I'm not interested in being "in" the crowd who speak and write with complete perfection. I never spoke about typos or sentence structure. Just for clarity. I'm not saying you're not entitled to take the point onward, just that I do not agree with that part. Carry on!

_______
Other point, I wasn't clear about what I meant:

I don't understand how some words, such as unique, get carried into the media so that they become mainstream. How does someone who has majored in journalism, and dedicated themselves to writing copy, use it so blatantly incorrect? They should be setting an example. This cannot be the case in fluid language, but truly, I meant in professional settings, such as newsprint or on television (which is where I hear it most!)

From the New York Times: "Go to Complete Biography »

About This Person
From All Movie Guide: One of the more unique rap talents to emerge during the 2000s, Nelly (born Cornell Hayes, Jr.) owed much of his individuality to his geographic origins. Whereas other rappers could be tied to various schools (southern rap, east coast rap, etc.), Nelly hailed from St. Louis, MO, and thus produced a sound entirely his own;..."

What they mean is more distinctive/somewhat unusual


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Sylvia, like I said above, the teacher just may have been really tired or in a big hurry to finish up the last report and therefore inadvertently made a mistake. Unless she had a repeated history of such errors, I don't think you can fairly conclude anything about her supposed "inadequacies."

Kate


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ACK-utilize-I hate that word. How often is it the appropriate word? Almost never. The perfect example of a word that has lost it's nuanced meaning. A big silly overblown word that has replaced the very practical and accurate use.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

f I were tired, I might be apt to write "fail" or "failed", but not "fell".

I know that you mean about 'utilize'.

"Absolutely!" (almost always said with an exclamation mark) affects me the same way:
"Yes" works so well all by itself.


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There it is again:"Inadvertently", a word that doesn't exist without what appears to be --but isn't -- a prefix.

I recently read that we should teach math before reading and writing. Words are complicated. There are all those letters, many with inconsistent sounds. Math is just nine numbers and a zero.


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Overused words: "amazing" and "hero."

"He saved his son; he is a hero." Why, isn't that his job?

The reply of most people who win something, when they are asked on TV how they feel: "amazing!"


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I agree with Kate: 'correct' grammar and usage are simply class markers. Incorrect versions do not necessarily effect meaning, just as misspellings generally do not.


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Sometimes, this really just is silliness but proofreading would prevent so much. My youngest came home with a typed letter where the teacher meant to apologize for the inconvenience but instead apologized for the incontinence. We did not bring it to the teacher's attention but we certainly chuckled over it.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Amazing is the most over used word around. Everything and everyone is amazing. And of course there is LIKE. If that word disappeared , there would be a lot of people who couldn't say a whole sentence.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

awesome.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Like totally awesome, like you know?


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Like totally amazingly awesome!!


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Like he was so awesome; he was just like this totally amazing hero, I mean really, right?


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Any one reading my posts has to be grateful for the recent addition of spell check to Gardenweb. For me proof reading is pointless because once the word is written down it looks fine. I was taught 'look say' and it deformed my infant mind. No amount of working on it in my old age has had much effect. Only when I am typing(and I am a really bad typist) does a lack of confidence occasionally creep in to the point that I will cut and paste into my word processing program to check a word. I am sorry to say that doesn't happen often enough. Oh well. Sorry.


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Like totally awesome from the like "get-go". Another word I think is silly and overused. I just prefer the word 'beginning'.


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OK, chisue--what is your problem with the word "inadvertently" that I used in my post above?

OXFORD DICTIONARY:

Definition of inadvertently in English
Syllabification: (in·ad·vert·ent·ly)

Pronunciation: /ˌinədˈvərtntli/

adverb

without intention; accidentally: his name had been inadvertently omitted from the list

You don't agree with the Oxford Dictionary? Or what?

Kate

Here is a link that might be useful: Oxford Dictionary


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RE: Poor writing skills!

I want to know what's so wrong in trying to expand one's vocabulary by using larger, less common words? I think it's a good thing. And if someone else isn't certain what a word might mean, it's a good opportunity to do some expansion, oneself... at least, that's how I look at it.

As for proofreading, I make it standard practice to read and do any editing before hitting submit... even if that means hitting preview a few times before actually submitting.

It doesn't hurt to keep a separate tab open with an online dictionary, just in case it's needed.


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Jodik, Orwell had something to say about it.


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"Jodik, Orwell had something to say about it."

Despite some socialistic leanings, jodi would not fare well in Oceania. Neither would I.


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'"Inadvertently", a word that doesn't exist without what appears to be --but isn't -- a prefix.'

I think this just says that the 'in' wasn't added to a word to change the meaning to the opposite.

(in)voluntary
(in)consolable
(in)advertantly?

Funnily, flammable & inflammable mean the same thing.

edited to add:

This thread reminded me of something that happened many years ago.

I volunteered to answer phones & take pledges during a PBS pledge drive.

The program was a sort of Sesame Street extravaganza.

The announcers would say,
"Kids, get your parents to make a pledge, & we'll put your name on a cookie for Cookie Monster."

Cookie Monster was a huge cardboard cut-out & the cookies were paper, & every time someone made a pledge, the telephone volunteer would write the child's name on a cookie, & the announcer would toss it into Cookie Monster's open mouth.

We were supposed to answer the phones with
"Thank you for calling KERA. May I take your pledge?"

& every so often I'd get a tiny person on the other end of the phone line who would pipe up, "I pledddge allegiance..."

This post was edited by sylviatexas on Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 18:58


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I eat healthful food so I can be healthy.

I just counted. Six times on the multivitamin thread.

Hay


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RE: Poor writing skills!

I love words, I love punning with words or syntax. Language can be such an awesomely fun exercise if your only utilize your, like, noggin.


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RE: Poor writing skills!

"Language can be such an awesomely fun exercise if your only utilize your, like, noggin."

I know; right?


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RE: Poor writing skills!

Since I proofread for a living, I do not proofread over here. Well, not fully. Whatever meaning I do think about and reread. I do not search high and low for punctuation or sentence structure in the least. Because, this is a conversation. Not something with which I care about being perspicuous.


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