Author Topic: Grammar that makes you cringe  (Read 406303 times)

T42

  • Tea tank
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

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
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?
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
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?
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

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

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
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.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

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

  • Tea tank
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: Today at 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?