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Last post Author Topic: A Point About Grammar  (Read 20131 times)

Renegade

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A Point About Grammar
« on: March 01, 2011, 08:43:25 PM »
Am I the only one that's annoyed by the seemingly decreasing quality of language in "professional" news, articles and general writing?

I really don't care about people making mistakes in forums or informal writing. A lot of people don't speak English as their first language, and that's not a problem. What I find annoying is "professional" media that simply don't know how to use English properly.

e.g.
* Statistical "outlyers". It's "outliers". Sigh...
* "mass nouns" -- They're called "countable" and "uncountable", not "mass".
* Verb agreement

The list goes on and on.

It's just jarring to get "hit" by grammar, spelling, and word choice mistakes that there really is no excuse for.

It's one thing for it to be "the odd time", but it's not. It's all the time.

Am I just super-anal? Is poor grammar really acceptable in professional media?

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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

timns

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2011, 08:44:36 PM »
Am I just super-anal? Is poor grammar really acceptable in professional media?

No, you are not. No, it is not.

housetier

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 12:20:14 AM »
When language is a tool, poor grammar (=poor or even wrong usage of the tool) for me is a sign of not-so-professionals.

You wouldn't trust a carpenter who only uses wallpaper paste, would you? So when those professionals are employed despite their poor handling of their tools of the trade, it shines a bad light on the employer who might make bad judgment in other areas as well. It is not very trust-inspiring to me.

And I don't think that's being overly anal at all.

Renegade

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 12:34:17 AM »
Do you find the same thing? That there's an increasing amount of content with poor grammar? It seems to be getting worse and worse. Like I said, the occasional blooper is ok, but all the time?
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housetier

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 12:44:15 AM »
I found the opposite: spam is getting better at language. Especially in Germany, the spam emails are using better vocabulary and almost proper grammar.

They might fool my spam filter but they cannot fool me  8)

cranioscopical

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 08:05:35 AM »
It is disconcerting. I believe that part of the problem stems from misguided experiments in education, of which the pupils were more victims than beneficiaries. Then there's the decline in reading, and then the merging of multiple cultures (which has many, many benefits but...) and then…  Oh dear!

There is also the mildly amazing prevalence, among many who grumble, to point out that someone failed to use a spell checker. While some writing can be magical, the verification of spelling is unlikely to be so.

Having said all that, often we do seem able to decode what is meant by poorly framed expressions.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 06:54:36 PM by cranioscopical, Reason: Sheer embarrassment that I made a spelling mistake when spelling spelling -- open mouth, shoot foot »

Target

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 05:23:58 PM »
unfortunately we've come to accept that close enough is good enough, instead of saying that's wrong, do it again

("speliing"?  luckily I knew what you meant :o)




mwb1100

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 05:28:28 PM »
I'm curious about one thing in the original post - what's the problem with "mass nouns"?



Renegade

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2011, 05:42:37 PM »
I'm curious about one thing in the original post - what's the problem with "mass nouns"?

It's a matter of proper jargon and using the correct term. It would be like calling a hard drive a "stiff drive".
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Stoic Joker

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2011, 05:52:02 PM »
I'm curious about one thing in the original post - what's the problem with "mass nouns"?

It's a matter of proper jargon and using the correct term. It would be like calling a hard drive a "stiff drive".

Okay, I did have to google the term to find out what it was ... But that don't sound like it:

Quote from: short answer
For example, the same set of chairs can be referred to as "seven chairs" and as "furniture"; though both chair and furniture are referring to the same thing, the former is a count noun and the latter a mass noun.

...Either way I have heard the news folk screw it up.

mwb1100

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2011, 06:11:38 PM »
I'm curious about one thing in the original post - what's the problem with "mass nouns"?

It's a matter of proper jargon and using the correct term. It would be like calling a hard drive a "stiff drive".

Not to say this necessarily means it's correct, but I recall "mass noun" being used back when I was in school, many many years ago.  And a quick search on Google nets the term being used in linguistics research papers (where correct terminology would be important, I'd think).  Could this be a situation where there might be more than on one correct name for a thing?  Like "hard drive"/"hard disk" or dirigible/airship.

dirigible?  What the hell made that word pop into my head?



Renegade

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 06:26:15 PM »
This just seems bizarre...

[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_noun[/url]w

I've read a LOT of books on grammar, and NEVER seen that. They have ALWAYS used "countable" to describe it.

Maybe it's an American English thing or is a newer term. Dunno.

On that topic though, one uncountable noun that has crept into being a countable noun that I find somewhat irritating is "beers". It's like "waters". It contracts "X bottles of beer" or "X glasses of beer" into "beers". It just seems like a sloppy bastardization to me.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

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Target

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 06:33:18 PM »
the trouble with interpretising grammatical expression is that so much of it is contextual, and what is correct in one context is incorrect in another.

To use Stoic's example 7 chairs are countable or mass, whereas furniture is not.  But if you were referring specifically to the chairs you wouldn't say furniture, even though it is potentially correct.


cranioscopical

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 07:04:14 PM »
Either way I have heard the news folk screw it up.

And just why is it <pause> that news folk feel <pause> the need to inject <pause> inappropriate pauses <pause> into almost every sentence spoken???  >:(

Renegade

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 07:24:00 PM »
Either way I have heard the news folk screw it up.

And just why is it <pause> that news folk feel <pause> the need to inject <pause> inappropriate pauses <pause> into almost every sentence spoken???  >:(

Their language buffers in their brains are too small, and they can't double buffer, so you get choppy playback. :P
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Target

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2011, 07:26:52 PM »
Their language buffers in their brains are too small, and they can't double buffer, so you get choppy playback. :P

so it's an issue of blandwidth?

cranioscopical

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2011, 08:12:12 PM »
Their language buffers in their brains are too small, and they can't double buffer, so you get choppy playback.

More likely they're air heads so you get bubble duffer.

eikelein

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2011, 09:11:37 PM »
More likely they're air heads so you get bubble duffer.
Just a few minutes I joined and OMG, you are hilarious!
I am looking forward to many more good laughs - besides all the info.

Oh, and BTW grammar and spelling are of utmost importance, YES!

and especially those permanent lower case writers should go back to school, IMHO at least  ;)

timns

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2011, 09:18:58 PM »
Can I just make a comment about the word "alot?"

It's not a word at all  :o

cranioscopical

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2011, 09:22:22 PM »
Just a few minutes I joined

Welcome aboard, I think I'm going to like you  ;)

Renegade

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2011, 09:25:14 PM »
Can I just make a comment about the word "alot?"

It's not a word at all  :o

My pet peeve that drives me batty is hearing people (that are supposed to be somewhat intelligent, or at the least sentient) screw up number agreement. e.g. "There is 20 posts above." Ahem... "are" perhaps?

1. Not 1. 1. Not 1. Pretty simple, or at least you'd think so.
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timns

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2011, 09:26:18 PM »
Can I just make a comment about the word "alot?"

It's not a word at all  :o

My pet peeve that drives me batty is hearing people (that are supposed to be somewhat intelligent, or at the least sentient) screw up number agreement. e.g. "There is 20 posts above." Ahem... "are" perhaps?

1. Not 1. 1. Not 1. Pretty simple, or at least you'd think so.

One would :)

cranioscopical

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2011, 09:29:53 PM »
It's not a word at all

You're right, it draws a poor reception — salotto rubbish.

app103

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2011, 06:12:15 AM »
On that topic though, one uncountable noun that has crept into being a countable noun that I find somewhat irritating is "beers". It's like "waters". It contracts "X bottles of beer" or "X glasses of beer" into "beers". It just seems like a sloppy bastardization to me.

So does that mean you'd be against me buying you a beer?

And just why is it <pause> that news folk feel <pause> the need to inject <pause> inappropriate pauses <pause> into almost every sentence spoken???  >:(

Because they are usually reading off a teleprompter and those pauses are when it's flipping to the next frame of text.  :D

Renegade

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Re: A Point About Grammar
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2011, 06:53:15 AM »
On that topic though, one uncountable noun that has crept into being a countable noun that I find somewhat irritating is "beers". It's like "waters". It contracts "X bottles of beer" or "X glasses of beer" into "beers". It just seems like a sloppy bastardization to me.

So does that mean you'd be against me buying you a beer?

Oddly, that seems perfectly natural. The plural contraction doesn't. So sure, you can buy me a beer anytime~! :P
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker