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Andy Leviss
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Not entirely true, Greg. Dictionaries don't reflect proper grammar, they reflect common usage. If you read an actual grammar book, it makes it quite clear that just because something's in the dictionary doesn't mean it's correct, it just means that enough people use it that it was deemed necessary to define it in the dictionary. Common usage and actual correctness aren't the same. Just because most folks drive 85 mph on I-95 doesn't make it legal; this is kinda the same thing (except that, unfortunately some might argue, you can't be fined or jailed for misusing the English language).
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
Burt Yaroch
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That's what I wanted to say but I knew Andy would be along directly. Smile

I agree with Mr. Gladwin.

(That joke will tire for me eventually Andy Smile . Although that goat thing is still alive and kickin'.)
Yakworld.
Joshua Quinn
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For those who are really into this sort of thing, David Foster Wallace had an interesting article about linguistic descriptivism vs. prescriptivism in the April 2001 issue of Harper's magazine, which has been reprinted here:

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m1111/1......nt.jhtml

It manages to be humorous while probing pretty deeply into the socio-political implications and ramifications of the rules of grammar, or as the author puts it, "the seamy underbelly of U.S. lexicography." Be forewarned, it is a long piece. (For those unfamiliar with Wallace, he's the author of Infinite Jest, a novel which I haven't read but have seen described as "700 pages of impenetrable anti-prose.") But if you're still following this thread by this point, you might be enough of a grammar worm to find the article worth your while.

Quinn
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
Joshua Quinn
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Quote:
On 2002-03-24 21:56, Greg Arce wrote:
Quote:
On 2002-03-24 14:11, spfranz wrote:
I agree to a certain extent Greg, but let me share a quote from an e-mail from a 13 year old - "i am going 2 send some1 i am going 2 write 1 2 ----- and rite after i am going 2 write them"



Scott, on that one, blame Prince.


Two flaws with that theory:

1) Prince at least spells "right" correctly.

2) Prince is no longer popular enough to be influential among 13-year-olds. If you were talking about those of us who were 13 when Purple Rain came out, then you'd have a case.

( Smile <<< the dance break during "I Would Die 4 U")

I think the blame, if it's to be called that, lies more with chat rooms, instant messaging, and other speed-intensive, character-based forms of communication than with the Diminutive Funk Deity of Minneapolis. But don't worry, the day is coming when voice-to-text capabilities will make typing essentially obsolete, and character-conserving displays like "sum1 2 rite 2" will look as technologically and culturally dated as 5" floppy disks and Beta VCRs look to us today.

Quinn
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
Rebus
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It just shows you how difficult it is (if not native to an english speaking country) to be able to speak the language. Just imagine all the isms and wasms and he's and her's others must learn to grasp such a complicated language, and it is a complicated language. This becomes sad when the indigenous population begin to speak their own language incorrectly. A little pet hate I have is just the lazy way in which people speak generally, such as "particly" instead of "particularly". It is a shame to see such a language as English beginning to 'hit the fan'. I'm from the UK and from a particular region of the UK, ie Ulster, where the people speak in a such a way as to make one physically grimace. An example of which is, "bout ye?" which translates into the 'Queen's English' as "how are you". Incidently, there is a whole worldly webbed site dedicated to this use of english, called "High Till Speek Norn Iron" at:

http://speaknorniron.8m.net/

What we need in schools, in english class is not only how to understand Shakespeare's use of language in a 16th century text but also how to effectively use our present language now. This laziness has been vastly compounded with the introduction of the internet and also text messages. In fact companies related to these services are actively encouraging the use, or misuse of this type of language. A major phone company's slogan now in Britain is "how r u" which in my opinion is worse than "bout ye".
Thoughts?

By the way, hi everyone!
Btw, lo all!
fide et fortitudine
Peter Marucci
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One school of thought argues that it doesn't matter how you say something, as long as the other person understands you.
Granted.
But there's a problem with that argument.
The only way that you can be sure -- SURE -- that someone else understands you is if you are both using the same rules.
If I say, "I will be there momentarily," you may think I mean that I will be there in a short time, when I actually mean I will be there FOR a short time (the correct usage).
The bottom line, which we used in the newspaper business for years, was:
Be correct in the small things that your readers already know. If you aren't, then why should they trust you when you tell them something they don't know?
Using the language correctly is actually faster than not doing it, because you don't have to explain yourself a couple of times.
As a fellow editor pointed out years ago, "Treat the English language with respect; it's the only thing that separates us from the photographers!" Smile
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Scott O.
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Your rite. We should all bee more careful about the use of are language. Irregardless of the growing propensity to misspell and abbreviate, they're is know good excuse for this. People that do this r probably just more concerned with trying to save time then be clear -- they probably r the type of person that creates short PIN numbers for use in there ATM machines 2 save time.

Luckily, I ain't one of these people.

Scott Smile

(NOTICE: To all who read the above--IT WAS JUST A JOKE!) Smile


Though I must admit, using the term 'anal' to decribe one's personality is a pet peeve of mine. Smile
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Peter Marucci
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For the past 15 years or so, I have written a syndicated weekly newspaper column.
A few weeks back, I did a piece on my 15th anniversary at one paper.
Some here might get a chuckle out of part of it (of course, some may NOT, too!)
So here is part of that column:

Marucci’s Rules of How to Rite Rite so it Ain’t Rit Rotten:

1: Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

2: Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3: Parentheses (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

4: Don’t use no double negatives.

5: Be more or less specific.

6: And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

7: It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

8: Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)

9: Comparisons are as bad as clichés.

10: Always avoid annoying alliteration.

11: Also, too, never ever use repetitive redundancies.

12: Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

13: You should never generalize.

14: Do not be redundant and use more words than necessary because it’s highly superfluous.

15: Never use a big word when a diminutive expression will suffice.

16: Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.

17: Don’t exaggerate; not one writer in a million can do it correctly.

18: The passive voice is to be shunned.

19: No partial sentences.

20: One-word sentences? Eliminate.

So there you have it; a score of rules that made me what I am today. (Well, I have to blame it on something!)

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com Smile
Greg Arce
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Peter, that's hysterical! My last comment has to be that, although, I agree with a lot of what has been said, but I still feel that it's a trivial thing to worry about. Life is too short to be spent on such things... at least for me. I know that people will use "irregardless" & destroy the rules of grammar & past vice-presidents will add and E to potato... but I will sleep at night and try not to let it bother me. Just my opinion.
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Burt Yaroch
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Smile Smile
Too funny Peter. Brava! (Or should that be masculine? What is that, French?)

Nice mantra Greg. I think most of us are right there with you, not losing any sleep.

But I also don't think the subject should be so easily dismissed. How we speak is a reflection on our character and our professionalism. That's not to say we all won't make mistakes in grammar and usage from time to time.
Yakworld.
Jim Morton
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Quote:
How about "shopaholic"? It obviously is based on alcoholic, from the word alcohol. So how does -holic fit in with shopping?


Spend an afternoon with my ex-girlfiend, and you'll understand the word "shopaholic" completely.

As for grammar, my teeth still grind when I hear people use "begs the question" as a replacement for "raises the question." Sadly, thanks to the pervasiveness of this sort of sloppy usage, this phrase has effectively lost its original meaning entirely (i.e., to use as proof the thing that you are attempting to prove).

Jim
Peter Marucci
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Yak writes: "How we speak is a reflection on our character and our professionalism."

Exactly!

Houdini, who was self-educated, told Kellar at one point, that he (Houdini) considered it a privilege to have someone versed in the language correct him.

And Houdini didn't take to being corrected lightly!

But, in the case of the language, he knew how important it was, in addressing an audience, to be the consummate professional.

Do what you will in private, but when performing, the language is as much one of your tools as a deck of cards.

You wouldn't use a battered, soiled, worn-out deck of cards, would you?

So why do that with the language?

cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Rebus
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I agree, really dwelling on this could be considered a waste of time by some as there are more important things in life such as paying the bills, feeding the kids, and discovering what the heck Twin Peaks was really all about. However one thing that does bug me when having a discussion with someone is this:

Many people find it difficult to have a conversation on a subject, instead they feel they must have a 'point-system' of presentation of argument or opinion. In other words, they say things like, "Firstly I would like to point out that the flag was flapping in the wind on the moon and so Neil Armstrong could not have really gone to this lunar landscape" ...then they randomly talk about that without including a "secondly". This is especially irritating when reading an essay done by a candidate as it shows an ill prepared approach to a subject. Another example of this is when a person will say, "There are a number of points that I will be considering on this subject however I will be firstly discussing my first point which can be made presently before continuing with my other points on this subject presently". Okay so that's a slightly exaggerated example but you know what I mean. Someone who could argue something very effectively if they stopped and revised what was said/wrote just end up looking a bit of a twit.

Btw I do believe man landed on the moon in 1969...
fide et fortitudine
Rebus
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I have noticed however that since this topic was raised, more abbreviation than ever has been used...just an observation Smile
fide et fortitudine
Greg Arce
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Quote:
On 2002-03-25 12:15, yakandjak wrote:
Smile Smile
Too funny Peter. Brava! (Or should that be masculine? What is that, French?)

Nice mantra Greg. I think most of us are right there with you, not losing any sleep.

But I also don't think the subject should be so easily dismissed. How we speak is a reflection on our character and our professionalism. That's not to say we all won't make mistakes in grammar and usage from time to time.


I agree with you. I do try to make an effort to obey the rules, but I just feel that sometimes people (present company excluded) worry too much about the minor details and skip the big picture. Let me relate it to magic.

After David Blaine hit the scene I had countless non-magicians come up to me and marvel at this man's gifts... not one said, "What's with the street lingo? Is the only thing he can say is 'Do ya wanna see sumptin'?" No one seemed to care that he sounded partially illiterate... some would say "completely".

Why do I bring it up? Because I had many magicians talking to me that were fuming because this "no talent" had a show. Most of these same magicians are the ones I know that never perform before an audience because they are waiting to perfect every single routine and work on every single line of patter... of course, there is nothing perfect in life so they will continue to practice in front of their friend the mirror, and never try "sumptin" in front of a living human being because they want it to be perfect... and, of course, they will continue to criticize others.

I don't mean to come down on the magic community. Remember, I also am an actor, writer, stand up comic and filmmaker... in all those fields I find the same type of individual -- never completing a piece of work, but attacking those that do.

If I've offended anyone on this board with this diatribe, I am sorry. I am not pointing any fingers here because I do not know you. I only speak of personal experiences and people in my circle. If anything, I have found the posters on this board to be fair and willing to hear all sides... I can't say the same thing for the boards I habitate that deal with writing and filmmaking. Keep up the friendly banter.
As always, this has just been my opinion.
Greg Arce
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Peter Marucci
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Well, Greg, my first point is . . . oops, sorry about that! Smile
Point well made. If you wait for perfection, you'll simply never get anything done.
In my Houdini reference, his originally poor grammar didn't stop him from performing.
But, MORE IMPORTANTLY, it didn't stop him from learning and improving, either!
The points I have made here (oops, there I go again! Smile ) are my opinions.
Yours may (and, probably, do) differ.
That's fine.
Just one final point (eek! there he goes again! Smile ): It can be all right to break the rules; but, to do that, you have to KNOW the rules in the first place.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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Harry Murphy
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In truth you are very Anal! Now you know why I do a silent act!

To all of you posters who do not use English as your first or native language, keep on posting. I want to read what you have to say, your ideas, your critique, and your dreams.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Burt Yaroch
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I agree MP. I'm sure this discussion isn't directed an those folks. They are already more professional than most in learning an entirely different language. And alot of those non-native speakers do a better job than some native speakers.
Yakworld.
maurile
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A lot of the "rules" of grammar taught by tenth grade English teachers aren't really rules at all. For instance:

Split infinitives:

Webster's Dictionary of English Usage advises that "awkward avoidance of the split infinitive has produced more bad writing than use of it. . . . The upshot is that you can split them when you need to."

Some examples from writers who don't suck:

"But I would come back to where it pleased me to live; to really live." -- Earnest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa, 1935.

"And then when the time came to really bury the silver, it was too late." -- The Collected Stories of William Faulkner, 1950.

There are many further examples from Browning, Twain, Kipling, etc.

Prepositions at the end:

According to Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, "recent commentators -- at least since Fowler 1926 -- are unanimous in their rejection of the notion that ending a sentence with a preposition is an error or an offense against propriety."

Some examples from writers who don't suck:

"Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with."
-- William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1606.

"I know what you are thinking of." -- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814.

"The University is one most people have heard of." -- Robert Frost, letter, 20 Jan. 1936.

"He had enough money to settle down on." -- James Joyce, Dubliners, 1914.

Back to Webster's Dictionary of English Usage: "The preposition at the end has always been an idiomatic feature of English. It would be pointless to worry about the few who believe it is a mistake."
Peter Marucci
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Maurile writes: "A lot of the 'rules' of grammar taught by tenth grade English teachers aren't really rules at all."

And a lot of them are.

That's why you HAVE to know them, to differentiate.

The split infinitive, for example, is based on Latin, in which the infinitive cannot be split because it is one word. Two centuries ago, this was carried over into the English language, even though English infinitives are two words.

And, for every example of a broken rule by a good writer that you give, I can give you a thousand examples by bad writers.

That sort of anecdotal example proves nothing, other than the fact that the writer has some information available.

Bottom line: If rules in language were NOT necessary, this thread would not exist! Smile

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
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