Author Topic: Grammar that makes you cringe  (Read 440424 times)

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5575 on: January 30, 2020, 08:22:07 am »
It's unfortunate that Pullman is likely to be dismissed as an academic twat by the yahoos who spawned the thing.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5576 on: January 30, 2020, 06:44:51 pm »
But by that logic, wouldn't 'cricket, rugby and football with all nations' suggest that we're keeping cricket to ourselves?
Absolutely not. It's a list. There's no reason to distinguish between the second and first items. To do that, you'd need:
"Cricket, and rugby and football with all nations."

There's a weird reluctance to use "and" twice in such cases, but that's wrong because, in the case above, you have a list with a sublist:
Cricket, and (rugby and football with all nations).

So each list only has "and" once. The outer list has an Oxford comma in a two-item list, which is unusual but helps parsing when things get complex.

What is true is that my example:
"Cricket, rugby and football with all nations."

leaves open to the reader to work out, from the context, whether we're letting the others play one sport or three (but it can't be two). The only way I can see around that is:
"Cricket, rugby and football, with all nations."

But in any case, this is the opposite of the situation that I was talking about. The general point, as I see it, is that:
  • commas are there to help the reader to parse the sentence (or, in this case, the phrase) as quickly and accurately as possible
  • rigid rules about use or not of the Oxford comma fail to achieve that
  • the 50p coin is a nice example that demonstrates that Oxford commas, used selectively, can help; sadly, it makes the point by failing to use one

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5577 on: January 31, 2020, 03:04:21 pm »
But by that logic, wouldn't 'cricket, rugby and football with all nations' suggest that we're keeping cricket to ourselves?
Absolutely not. It's a list.

Of course.

What does the panel think of the following, from the Guardian? (I'm not talking about the lack of a 'that' between 'said' and 'confusing', which may have helped.) 
Quote
Britons still stranded in the Chinese city at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak have said confusing messages from officials contributed to them missing an evacuation flight home.
It doesn't make me cringe, or really bother me, but it still gives me pause.

The Gaurdian's own style guide:
Quote
gerund
Nothing to be frightened of. Think of it as a verb used as a noun: I like running, smoking is bad for your health, etc. You are supposed to use a possessive: I was worried by his smoking, rather than I was worried by him smoking. In practice, many people – yes, even journalists – don’t bother

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5578 on: January 31, 2020, 04:41:02 pm »
So is it '...them missing' rather than '...their missing' that gives you pause?
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5579 on: January 31, 2020, 04:44:47 pm »
Meanwhile, yesterday I heard a small child (about 3 years old), waiting excitedly for a train, say 'Here comes it! I see it!' No, I'm not cringing at a toddler's grammar, I'm wondering what learning process leads to 'Here comes it' rather than 'Here it comes'. Maybe just analogy with 'I see it', maybe treating it as an object, or something else?
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5580 on: January 31, 2020, 05:49:13 pm »
They probably have more experience of "Here comes $whatever", and are still getting the hang of pronouns.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5581 on: January 31, 2020, 06:03:04 pm »
Guess so, word order with pronouns is one of those tricky cases in English.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5582 on: January 31, 2020, 06:16:56 pm »
So is it '...them missing' rather than '...their missing' that gives you pause?

Yes.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5583 on: January 31, 2020, 06:41:07 pm »
I think this is correct, but it’s so awkward...

“The path she had strode down”
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5584 on: January 31, 2020, 08:31:36 pm »
I think this is correct, but it’s so awkward...

“The path she had strode down”

That's too horrible to use, and given that Oxford, Cambridge and Collins concur that the past participle is stridden, I don't think it's even saved by being correct.

"The path down which she had stridden" has a certain ring to it, albeit a certain pomposity as well.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5585 on: February 02, 2020, 11:08:04 pm »
"The path that she strode down" would be an improvement.

Or, unless it's essential to specify that the striding had been in the distant past or whatever, simplify a bit with:

"The path down which she strode."

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5586 on: February 03, 2020, 08:45:29 am »
I don't think I've ever seen stridden anywhere outside a dictionary, but if you need to use the pluperfect that's the animal you want.  I'd try to re-cast the sentence to avoid it.

Some people stridulate when they stride, but that's due to the stuff of their strides and the thickth of their thighs.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Guy

  • You can trust me - I work for the government
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5587 on: February 19, 2020, 11:39:10 am »
This is just plain wrong

Quote
Dodik calls for Republika Srpska succession

Bosnian-Serb President Milorad Dodik has called for a referendum on the succession of the RS from BiH. RS succession talks have...

 :facepalm:

(From an internal news round-up)
What duck?

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5588 on: February 19, 2020, 02:11:40 pm »
The usage "extort <name of person>" is wrong.

You can coerce or blackmail people to your heart's content, but you can't extort anybody; you have to extort some thing from them, as in that popular UK crime, extorting money with menaces.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5589 on: March 01, 2020, 06:41:59 pm »
English is a wonderful language ... I don't want it to become Leftpondian or txt speak.

CNN headline today: Greece accuses Turkey of weaponizing refugees.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5590 on: March 01, 2020, 09:07:21 pm »
English is a wonderful language ... I don't want it to become Leftpondian or txt speak.

CNN headline today: Greece accuses Turkey of weaponizing refugees.
I don’t think it is suggesting they are being armed. I think it is suggesting the refugees are the weapon. It is suggesting that you can cripple a country by sending in tanks or sending in millions of refugees.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5591 on: March 01, 2020, 09:46:14 pm »
Thanks, Davef, my dictionary has the same description as you do. Perhaps I should have checked there first.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5592 on: March 02, 2020, 06:27:00 am »
Meanwhile, yesterday I heard a small child (about 3 years old), waiting excitedly for a train, say 'Here comes it! I see it!' No, I'm not cringing at a toddler's grammar, I'm wondering what learning process leads to 'Here comes it' rather than 'Here it comes'. Maybe just analogy with 'I see it', maybe treating it as an object, or something else?

English as a second/alternate language at home possibly?
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Grammar what makes you cringe
« Reply #5593 on: March 02, 2020, 07:55:35 am »
Meanwhile, yesterday I heard a small child (about 3 years old), waiting excitedly for a train, say 'Here comes it! I see it!' No, I'm not cringing at a toddler's grammar, I'm wondering what learning process leads to 'Here comes it' rather than 'Here it comes'. Maybe just analogy with 'I see it', maybe treating it as an object, or something else?

English as a second/alternate language at home possibly?

Sounds like German syntax.

When I was a nipper waiting in the bus queue, my favourite line was "Here it isn't!".
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5594 on: March 02, 2020, 09:53:40 am »
Could be. Mixed language households are not rare round here (!)* but I think toddlers do go through all sorts of grammatical and syntactical trial and error phases.**

*My favourite remains the bloke I met with a broad Welsh accent and a Spanish name.
**My favourite of these is "I've got a jumper on," to which second toddler replied "I've got two jumper ons!" Both in this case fully English families.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5595 on: March 02, 2020, 10:09:05 am »
Or my son as a toddler on being told to behave: "I am being have!"
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5596 on: March 19, 2020, 12:16:21 pm »
Had to throw something at the radio the other day! An interviewee prefaced every single answer not only with the ubiquitous "so.." but actually took it to altogether new levels of pomposity and absurdity.

In answering the first question (about something quite banal):

"So...., let's just unpack that...."

The second question:

"So...., let's just unpack that...."

And the third, and fourth.  I couldn't bear to hear any more but assume the drivel continued.

For fuck's sake, just answer the bleedin' question if you so choose, otherwise shut the fuck up.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5597 on: March 23, 2020, 03:00:01 pm »
This one is simply horrible: "UK mulls tightening restrictions further".  I've seen a lot of mulling on the Beeb recently...

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5598 on: March 23, 2020, 03:22:45 pm »
This one is simply horrible: "UK mulls tightening restrictions further".  I've seen a lot of mulling on the Beeb recently...

Oh, it's nothing to wine about.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #5599 on: March 23, 2020, 04:26:40 pm »
This one is simply horrible: "UK mulls tightening restrictions further".  I've seen a lot of mulling on the Beeb recently...

Oh, it's nothing to wine about.
::-) :D
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...