Author Topic: Grammar that makes you cringe  (Read 390845 times)

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2008, 08:38:09 pm »
its vs it's
they're vs their
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2008, 08:40:10 pm »
It's the goddamn Oxford comma I can't bear. Working for a USAian firm it pops up in all the literature I have to use. It's like a grammatical speed hump at the end of a list and is guaranteed to induce read rage.  :sick:

I use it if I have groups in a list, u, v and w, and x. Otherwise I don't.
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

border-rider

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2008, 08:42:42 pm »
I use it quite a lot, I must say.  But I know that I am doing so :)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2008, 08:46:48 pm »
Andrij - speaking as someone who has cycled alongside you a couple of times, I feel qualified in thinking of you as atypical when it comes to Merkins.

Not once did you use the word Leverage as a verb, even when the functionality of the gears on your bike was brought into question ;).

Just wait till he gets a puncture. Those tires will be leveraged before you can say "Rumsfeld". ;)
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2008, 08:53:03 pm »
Upon arriving in these blighted blessed Isles I was shocked and disgusted by the 'quality' of English.  From people on the pavements to signs in shops to internationally-respected newspapers, the English language is butchered.  I knew enough about the differences between the varieties of 'North American' English and 'British' English before arriving here. These don't qualify as butchery (though some may disagree).  I mean spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Live and let live, I say.  Viva la difference!

... to students and, on paper at least, well educated colleagues. I find myself spending a lot of time editing dissertations, papers and reports. Naturally I am not always right; but some of the mistakes and some of the approximations I see are shocking. One explanation I have is that I learnt English with a lot of grammar and I find that many native speakers seem to have a poor grasp of basic grammatical principles, which does not help them with writing.

[/retreat carefully]
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2008, 09:13:54 pm »
Frenchie: quel est ce mot 'shoking' dont tu parles? ;)

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2008, 09:15:31 pm »
Frenchie: quel est ce mot 'shoking' dont tu parles? ;)

Damned! Can we have the spell checker please!  :P :-[
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

Andrij

  • Андрій
  • Ερασιτεχνικός μισάνθρωπος
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2008, 09:16:49 pm »
Frenchie: quel est ce mot 'shoking' dont tu parles? ;)

Damn! Can we have the spell checker please!  :P :-[

Use the Firefox web browser and install as many dictionaries as you need.  :)
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup:

Woofage

  • Ain't no hooves on my bike.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2008, 09:24:43 pm »
Andrij - speaking as someone who has cycled alongside you a couple of times, I feel qualified in thinking of you as atypical when it comes to Merkins.

Not once did you use the word Leverage as a verb, even when the functionality of the gears on your bike was brought into question ;).

Just wait till he gets a puncture. Those tires will be leveraged before you can say "Rumsfeld". ;)

Time I posted to remind myself whether I remembered to add my signature line to this new profile ;).

My personal hate is the use of the plural form of verbs when the singular form is correct. For example "the Government have introduced legislation...", "the Company have a policy...", "the public take the view..." etc etc. One Government, one Company, one public FFS!

Bah humbug >:(
Pen Pusher

Jezza

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2008, 09:26:08 pm »
I found a classic comma crime today, from a short story in the local rag:

Quote
"We shall soon know gentlemen" roared the Major. There were women present but the Major made no distinctions.

I would rather not know gentlemen, Major, especially if there are ladies present.

As for commas, Oxford or otherwise, The Economist has this to say:

Quote
Do not put a comma before and at the end of a sequence of items unless one of the items includes another and. Thus The doctor suggested an aspirin, half a grapefruit and a cup of broth. But he ordered scrambled eggs, whisky and soda, and a selection from the trolley.

http://www.economist.com/research/styleGuide/index.cfm?page=805695



 

rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2008, 09:39:02 pm »
I love this language of ours.
This morning, I was writing a presentation ("Death by PowerPoint") about a computer product.  One of the bullet points was

Simple User Interface

Then I realised that the above could be interpreted as "Interface to Simple Users"

D'oh!
Be Naughty; save Santa a trip

Pete

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2008, 09:50:46 pm »
I love this language of ours.
This morning, I was writing a presentation ("Death by PowerPoint") about a computer product.  One of the bullet points was

Simple User Interface

Then I realised that the above could be interpreted as "Interface to Simple Users"

D'oh!

There's a story - possibly apocryphal - about a professor of physics who wrote an advanced textbook on subatomic particles, intended for postgraduate students.  He entitled it "Elementary Particle Physics".  The publishers sent it back and advised him to change the title to "Physics of Elementary Particles" to avoid it being bought up by first-year undergraduates and sixthformers who would have found it too difficult.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #62 on: May 01, 2008, 10:10:25 pm »
The one which annoys me is over-use of the reflexive pronoun as if it's just a formal pronoun, eg "If ourselves my help you with anything...".

Ignorance and pretension in one compact package.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2008, 10:17:40 pm »
Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #64 on: May 01, 2008, 10:30:41 pm »
Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
Quote from: Winston Churchill allegedly
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
Be Naughty; save Santa a trip

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #65 on: May 02, 2008, 01:31:22 am »
Quote
I suspect that standard "correct" modern English has many usages that would have been considered incorrect in our great-grandparents' time

Indeed. My 1926 edition of Fowler's 'Modern English Usage' is fascinating reading  :)

Not just out great-grandparents time.

If I go into work tomorrow later today and announce that I hope to have a gay time this weekend I will be laughed at.  Yet 50 (??) years ago that would have been perfectly acceptable language to say that I was looking forward to a happy and fun weekend.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #66 on: May 02, 2008, 06:43:58 am »
My personal hate is the use of the plural form of verbs when the singular form is correct. For example "the Government have introduced legislation...", "the Company have a policy...", "the public take the view..." etc etc. One Government, one Company, one public FFS!
I admit to that one, as I imagine them as a collection of people rather than a single sentient being.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #67 on: May 02, 2008, 07:27:51 am »
The title of this thread should be "Grammar what makes you cringe."

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #68 on: May 02, 2008, 08:32:14 am »
My personal hate is the use of the plural form of verbs when the singular form is correct. For example "the Government have introduced legislation...", "the Company have a policy...", "the public take the view..." etc etc. One Government, one Company, one public FFS!
I admit to that one, as I imagine them as a collection of people rather than a single sentient being.

Could someone explain that rule to me?

I was always taught: The police are...
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

Pete

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #69 on: May 02, 2008, 08:40:59 am »
There is a serious side to the ability to distinguish between good and bad grammar.
Yesterday I received an E-mail, purportedly coming from my bank (it had the correct logo at the head of the E-mail, etc. etc.).  It asks me to click on a link, whereupon I shall be asked to confirm my login details, as part of a 'security upgrade'.   Blah blah blah...

When I visited my online banking via the normal login, there was no mention of any 'security upgrade'.

What aroused my suspicion is the bad grammar in the E-mail, and a liberal sprinkling of exclamation marks, unlikely to feature in genuine messages from the bank.

Certainly I shall be checking this E-mail directly with my bank.  Until then, no way am I clicking on the link in it!

So, you see, assessing grammar has its uses!

Could someone explain that rule to me?

I was always taught: The police are...
Both may be correct.  Grammatical rules can be and often are ambiguous.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #70 on: May 02, 2008, 08:53:02 am »
I rather like the oxford comma - it makes the list read better in my head, and so I tend to use it. 

border-rider

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #71 on: May 02, 2008, 08:54:00 am »

Could someone explain that rule to me?

I was always taught: The police are...

The others  - government, company etc - are all singular and would take an s if plural.  There's no such thing as polices. 

Usually when you say "the police" you are using it as a collective noun for a bunch of people with blue uniforms and the right to arrest you, so "are" is correct.  But it is an odd one also because it's not always used as an independent noun.  You can't have one police, or even two police; you can have a police officer, some police officers or a police force, but it is the officers or force that determine whether you use "is" or "are".

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #72 on: May 02, 2008, 09:03:29 am »
So the government does not refer to its members, correct?
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

HTFB

  • The Monkey and the Plywood Violin (RIP)
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #73 on: May 02, 2008, 09:09:10 am »

Could someone explain that rule to me?

I was always taught: The police are...

The others  - government, company etc - are all singular and would take an s if plural.  There's no such thing as polices. 

Usually when you say "the police" you are using it as a collective noun for a bunch of people with blue uniforms and the right to arrest you, so "are" is correct.  But it is an odd one also because it's not always used as an independent noun.  You can't have one police, or even two police; you can have a police officer, some police officers or a police force, but it is the officers or force that determine whether you use "is" or "are".

I think you are trying too hard here. You would always say "the pair of them are going shopping", not "the pair is", although there is only one pair (and you can have several pairs).

There's a difference between collective and plural action. If I say "My team at work is doing a sponsored bike ride," that suggests a collective action enforced by management: I, as a member of the team, have no choice about being involved. If I say "My team at work are doing a sponsored bike ride," that suggests that the individuals in the team are jointly entered, but not that it's an action of the team as a whole---I might very well not take part.

Andrij

  • Андрій
  • Ερασιτεχνικός μισάνθρωπος
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #74 on: May 02, 2008, 09:11:32 am »
Viva la difference!

That ain't English, mate!

1) Oviously, that's why it was put in italics.  Or is that not a convention taught in the UK?

2) In spite of the supposed animosity between the two peoples, the British do use quite a bit of French, much more so than Americans.

3) Maybe I should have added a  :D
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup: