Author Topic: Grammar that makes you cringe  (Read 360544 times)

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2008, 06:33:33 pm »
There's a fine line between pedantry and smugness (I should know, I often cross it).

A colleague had obviously just read the Lynne Truss Book and simply would not shut the fuck up about it.

After a week of it we set him a quiz of twenty phrases to correct, all for things covered in the book. He got fewer than 6 right. He shut up.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2008, 06:34:12 pm »
I suspect that standard "correct" modern English has many useages that would have been considered incorrect in our great-grandparents' time.

I'm as big a Lynne Truss as anyone, especially when it comes to semicolons and apostrophes, but I struggle to get exercised about One Less Car.  Or missing full stops - or indeed spelling - on internet fora.


Pete

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2008, 06:36:21 pm »
I saw a Fewer Spotted Woodpecker last weekend.
More pedantry.  ;D
The words under discussion here are "fewer" and "less"; not "fewer and "lesser" which are not interchangeable.

Moreover, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) is so named because it is smaller than the Great Spotted Woodpecker (D. major).  Not because it has fewer spots.

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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2008, 06:37:46 pm »
Indeed, because then, of course, it would be the lesser-spotted woodpecker - unless that was one that was just observed more infrequently ;)

Pete

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2008, 06:40:37 pm »
Indeed, because then, of course, it would be the lesser-spotted woodpecker - unless that was one that was just observed more infrequently ;)
Which - as it happens - is true: it is quite a rare bird.  My wife saw one once in our garden, but that was a lucky break.  The Great Spotted Woodpecker, on the other hand, is fairly common.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2008, 06:41:17 pm »
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  :)

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2008, 06:41:42 pm »
Some people, however, should know better:

Charles Clarke on Radio 4: "Education for its own sake is a bit dodgy . . . If we had less people studying philosophy I think that would be unfortunate."

He was Education Secretary at the time.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2008, 06:43:22 pm »
My pet hate...

the "10 items or less" signs in my local Sainsbury's.   >:(

I've been known to carry a marker pen around and correct them...  ;D

On the other hand I'll stick to "One less car" because the alternative might be right, but it sounds and reads terribly.
Your Royal Charles are belong to us.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2008, 06:45:41 pm »
Quote
Which - as it happens - is true: it is quite a rare bird.  My wife saw one once in our garden, but that was a lucky break

break or brake:)

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2008, 06:46:28 pm »
I rather dislike "there's" as a contraction of "there are", but it's almost universal.  "Could of" is more annoying, though.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2008, 06:54:25 pm »
Sorry it does matter.  English is a wonderful language, in part due to its complexities and oddities.  I don't want it to become Leftpondian or txt speak.  Let's celebrate its diversity and quirks.

No, it really does not matter.   Let's celebrate the glory and diversity of the English language in the variety of use both spoken and written around the world.  There is no need to be pedantic as long as the meaning is clear in the context of everyday use.

However, with the exception of Leftpondia, most English spoken around the world is 'traditional' English, with correct grammar and spelling. 

Regretfully incorrect ::-) and also English versions overseas are more likely to be an American version. In Thailand we call it Tinglish :P
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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2008, 07:18:41 pm »
Sorry it does matter.  English is a wonderful language, in part due to its complexities and oddities.  I don't want it to become Leftpondian or txt speak.  Let's celebrate its diversity and quirks.

No, it really does not matter.   Let's celebrate the glory and diversity of the English language in the variety of use both spoken and written around the world.  There is no need to be pedantic as long as the meaning is clear in the context of everyday use.

However, with the exception of Leftpondia, most English spoken around the world is 'traditional' English, with correct grammar and spelling. 

Regretfully incorrect ::-) and also English versions overseas are more likely to be an American version. In Thailand we call it Tinglish :P

I can assure you that, in the Commonwealth, British English rather than Leftpondian is the norm.  The British Council works very hard to ensure this, and this is why many countries still have their English exams set by UK examining boards.
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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2008, 07:33:55 pm »
Quote
Which - as it happens - is true: it is quite a rare bird.  My wife saw one once in our garden, but that was a lucky break

break or brake:)

Never mind its spots - it had a lucky beak.
Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2008, 07:50:01 pm »

Never mind its spots - it had a lucky beak.

It had a lucky magistrate? ???

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2008, 07:51:13 pm »
Leverage as used (mostly) by Merkins, as a verb. Often used in conjunction with Made-up Words like "functionality" (another pet hate). Eg:

"This will help you leverage the functionality of your Deluxe Widget..."

Uh...  :sick:

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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2008, 08:00:56 pm »
Sorry it does matter.  English is a wonderful language, in part due to its complexities and oddities.  I don't want it to become Leftpondian or txt speak.  Let's celebrate its diversity and quirks.

[fx: clears throat]

Having spent a considerable amount of time west of the Atlantic Ocean - where I believe lies this 'Leftpondia' of which you speak - I feel qualified to comment upon your remarks.

Rubbish!

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.

I would not be so foolish as to say that 'US' English is a better variant than 'UK', but in my experience the US locals seem to have a better grasp of their language.  Don't quote the current US president or soundbites and 'vox pop' interviews - that can cut both ways.

I quite enjoy winding up the locals when I'm criticised for using 'American' words like Fall instead of Autumn.  Do I need to point out which word is 'English' and which is 'foreign'?

There are times I would like to see more standardisation among the various varieties of English, but on the other hand I am not a supporter of American hegemony.

Live and let live, I say.  Viva la difference!
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup:

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #41 on: May 01, 2008, 08:03:36 pm »
But Regulator the Commonwealth is only a small part of the Regions to which I am referring. Having lived in the Middle East and Asia for more than 25 years you can rest assured that British English is not the norm. And students usually have American text books. In India for example the people I have worked with follow, speak and spell the American English way. The best British English people are the HongKong Chinese which is understandable. The Singaporean English by contrast is not very good. The British Councils are not very effective. One reason American English is so common is that many Graduates study in the USA. There are exceptions of course including a Thai that I know who speaks impeccable English but then all his Education was in the UK and he graduated from Cambridge University with a first class honours degree.

And of course this Programme that we use is an American/English one. It has already told me I can't spell honours and Programme ::-) :demon:

Anyway those are some of my experiences and I do not believe we will ever see British English spoken in the rest of the World.
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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #42 on: May 01, 2008, 08:03:57 pm »
Often used in conjunction with Made-up Words like "functionality"

That one's actually in the OED.

Quote
Functionality, functional character; in Math., the condition of being a function.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #43 on: May 01, 2008, 08:05:19 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 ;).

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #44 on: May 01, 2008, 08:07:49 pm »
Often used in conjunction with Made-up Words like "functionality"

That one's actually in the OED.

Quote
Functionality, functional character; in Math., the condition of being a function.

 :o

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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #45 on: May 01, 2008, 08:08:32 pm »
Or, even better, made a unilateral decision to use cut speling   :D

Ah, this explains the reasoning behind incomprehensible Y9 essays...

Viva la difference!

That ain't English, mate!
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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2008, 08:10:34 pm »
Indeed, because then, of course, it would be the lesser-spotted woodpecker - unless that was one that was just observed more infrequently ;)
Which - as it happens - is true: it is quite a rare bird.  My wife saw one once in our garden, but that was a lucky break.  The Great Spotted Woodpecker, on the other hand, is fairly common.
...and the LSW is actually more striped than spotted....

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Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2008, 08:15:28 pm »
With regard to the awful American spelling reforms such as "color" and "center", I note they are the default in the E.U. I note that some people here seem to believe that they are Olde English spellings, as opposed to the reality that they are a modern invention. "Theater" was coined at the same time as "Nite" and "Thru".
My "favourite" such sign was in Karlsruhe: "English Car Center"

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2008, 08:28:17 pm »
Americans are actually quite strict about grammar (allowing for their own foibles).  Lynne Truss's* book is widely despised over there for the mistakes it contains.


*why is it Bridget Jones's Diary, but Levi Stubbs' Tears?
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Grammar that makes you cringe
« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2008, 08:34:00 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: