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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nora_Charles View Post
    Those words don't sound better spoken than written...
    Well when we're fooling around with family or friends, I think it's okay to be cute and ignore grammar rules for a bit.

    An English-major friend (who proved that getting As in UCBerkeley English classes WAS possible) and I will often converse in LOLcat speak when chatting online. My sister writes press releases on behalf of her company for CNN and other news media, and often constructs sentences like Yoda when at home.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post

    As much as that one bugs me, though, I think my least favourite misused word is "literally." There's just no excuse for it. The only time you're allowed to say "it is literally raining cats and dogs" is if you're having a really busy day at the animal shelter.
    My nephew used the word "literally" incorrectly in every third sentence when he was around 11 years old. It made me crazy. We had conversations like this literally every five minutes that he was in my charge for that entire summer.

    Nephew: When I was at my dad's house, I LITERALLY at a ton of food.

    Auntie English Teacher: No. You did not LITERALLY eat a ton of food. Your dad could not actually get 2000 pounds of food into his house. And no human could actually eat 2000 pounds of food in two days. You figuratively at a ton of food.

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by orientalplane View Post
    To me, saying, "She looks more happy than when I last saw her" sounds perfectly OK.
    When someone uses the expression "more happy" instead of happier, I know instantly that English is a second language for this person.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    When someone uses the expression "more happy" instead of happier, I know instantly that English is a second language for this person.
    But if they use the expression "most happy" they just could be uber fans of the Frank Loesser musical, The Most Happy Fella.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    When someone uses the expression "more happy" instead of happier, I know instantly that English is a second language for this person.
    Well, I use it often and I was born and raised in England to English parents, so it's definitely my first language. Furthermore, my mother taught English and I got a good English degree at a good University. It's perfectly acceptable to say things such as "I feel more calm" rather than "I feel calmer". It just gives a slightly different nuance to the clause or sentence.
    I hear outside a million panicking birds, and know even out there comfort is done with; it has shattered even the stars, this creature at last come home to me.

  6. #66
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  7. #67

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    I sitting here reading a mortgage document (some of us have the most WONDERFUL jobs) when I came across the following:

    In the event there is a change in the residential destination or rental nature of the [property] . . . .
    The emphasis on "destination" is mine. It should read:

    In the event there is a change in the residential designation or rental nature of the [property] . . . .
    I love finding mistakes that others have missed in legal documents.

  8. #68

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    I suppose "residential destination" might be appropriate for a mobile home or Winnebago.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by orientalplane View Post
    Well, I use it often and I was born and raised in England to English parents, so it's definitely my first language. Furthermore, my mother taught English and I got a good English degree at a good University. It's perfectly acceptable to say things such as "I feel more calm" rather than "I feel calmer". It just gives a slightly different nuance to the clause or sentence.
    Since English is a global language, there will be more regional varieties and disagreements on what is "right". I believe most linguistis these days advocate descriptivism over prescriptive grammar--which basically means current usage rules. (I believe some now advocate for international grammar that is supposedly culturally neutal? I'm not a member of any linguistic organization now so I'm a little out of touch with what is being advocated at the moment.)

    This takes me to this question which I've been wanting to raise:

    If descriptivism rules, that means all common forms of usage are accepted in English. So if every American decides to misuse "begging the question" tomorrow, then the misuse will eventually be an acceptable use and will be added to the dictionary (we're getting there really--who really uses "begging the question" to indicate some form of logical fallacy?). So...what is right and what is wrong? If enough people "misuse" a word/term in your region, does that make that "misuse" part of the regional dialect? Is it just a matter of having enough people "misuse" the term to make that an acceptable usage? If so, what's the point of teaching what is "right"? Or is it all a matter of keeping up with a changing language and be adaptable?

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Well when we're fooling around with family or friends, I think it's okay to be cute and ignore grammar rules for a bit.
    My husband and I always greet one another on the phone with "Where you at?"

    People who don't like it shouldn't be eavesdropping. And people who think it's okay to correct me should consider which of our sins is greater.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    If descriptivism rules, that means all common forms of usage are accepted in English. So if every American tomorrow decides to misuse "begging the question", then the misuse will eventually be an acceptable use and will be added to the dictionary (we're getting there really--who really uses "begging the question" to indicate some form of logical fallacy?).
    That has always happened and in all languages. It isn't particular to English or modern usage.

    Languages adapt or die.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    So...what is right and what is wrong? If enough people "misuse" a word/term in your region, does that make that "misuse" part of the regional dialect? Is it just a matter of having enough people "misuse" the term to make that an acceptable usage? If so, what's the point of teaching what is "right"? Or is it all a matter of keeping up with a changing language and be adaptable?
    Language evolution tends to be slow; it's faster than it used to be, but is still not taking place by day and so what is correct yesterday is not going to be incorrect tomorrow. The purpose of teaching correct usage is not (contrary to popular opinion) correctness but rather communication. If you say "begging the question" and people don't understand what you mean by it, then you have failed in your primary purpose--getting an idea across--and the "correctness" issue is secondary.

    Grammar provides a framework for language so that we use it in understandable ways. Any other use, including correcting people who haven't asked for your imput, is a misuse.

    And yes, you have to keep up. .

    A grammatically flawed blog entry on the subject: Why I’m Not Proud of You for Correcting Other People’s Grammar. I don't agree with all of it, but most of it? Oh, yeah. When it comes to grammar, too many people obsess about THAT TREE RIGHT THERE and miss the forest.

    IMO, of course .
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    My husband and I always greet one another on the phone with "Where you at?"

    People who don't like it shouldn't be eavesdropping. And people who think it's okay to correct me should consider which of our sins is greater.
    A greeting on a phone is funny, to me, anyway. That's kind of a personal, 'cute' thing. I was just truly confused about why there was a difference between writing those words or speaking them.

    I would NEVER be so rude as to correct someone's grammar (unless the someone in question was my child).

  12. #72
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    My brother and I always ask "What doing?" when we talk to each other and DF and I say "What you doing?" (actually it's turned into "Whatchu doing?").. it's just our thing. We know it's wrong and we do it anyway lol.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    "Presently" means in the near future. You're also referring to results from those experiements that are currently true.
    According to dictionary.com, both are correct:



    1. in a little while; soon: They will be here presently.
    2. at the present time; now: He is presently out of the country.
    3. Archaic . immediately.
    *snip*

    —Usage note
    The two apparently contradictory meanings of presently, “in a little while, soon” and “at the present time, now,” are both old in the language. In the latter meaning presently dates back to the 15th century. It is currently in standard use in all varieties of speech and writing in both Great Britain and the United States. The sense “soon” arose gradually during the 16th century. Strangely, it is the older sense “now” that is sometimes objected to by usage guides. The two senses are rarely if ever confused in actual practice. Presently meaning “now” is most often used with the present tense ( The professor is presently on sabbatical leave ) and presently meaning “soon” often with the future tense ( The supervisor will be back presently ). The semantic development of presently parallels that of anon, which first had the meaning, now archaic, of “at once, immediately,” but later came to mean “soon.”
    I know during Shakespeare's time it meant "immediately".

    But, now I'm confused. Authors I read use "she said presently" or "________ presently said" and I always thought it meant that the character responded after a short pause in conversation. Hmmmmm.

    -Bridget

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    That has always happened and in all languages. It isn't particular to English or modern usage.

    Languages adapt or die.
    True, though with English being one of the more "democratic" languages examples in English get discusssed a lot.

    The purpose of teaching correct usage is not (contrary to popular opinion) correctness but rather communication.
    Certain rules really make a difference in readability (like the guidelines on parallelism or ambiguous pronouns). Some others are more a matter of habit or formality or a result of historical accidents. I remember when the linguistic professor at my U discussed how certain sentences are more "wrong" than others because of this.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    Certain rules really make a difference in readability (like the guidelines on parallelism or ambiguous pronouns). Some others are more a matter of habit or formality or a result of historical accidents.
    Or of applying Latin rules to a Germanic language. coughprincessleppardcough.

    Grammar is important; I love it because grammar is what gives language precision, which is necessary to clarity and effective communication of ideas. But it's still just grammar.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  16. #76

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    Heathen. Profaner of the English language.

    Etc.


  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    Heathen. Profaner of the English language.
    Wonderful titles. I will wear them with pride whenever I go out. And I am sure that people will have questions. Where did they come from? What are they based on?

    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Wonderful titles. I will wear them with pride whenever I go out. And I am sure that people will have questions. Where did they come from? What are they based on?

    You're killin' me!

    The day I learned not to apply Latin rules to English was a great day!

    -Bridget

  19. #79
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    Speaking of profaner, there was an article on the WSJ about the decline of cursing:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...828507786.html

  20. #80

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    I also have issues with some of the new words being coined in academia.
    For example, 'historicization' and 'problematization'.

    I edit work for a PhD student who insists on using these two words, though I advise him against it.
    They are ugly to read, ugly to enunciate. . .and I do not see why the English language needs them at all. IMO it is much preferable to say 'historical perspective' and 'examine problems'.

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