English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

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Re: English as She Is Wrotten [English practice]

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:50 pm UTC

Monika wrote:In school I learned possessive 's like this:
John -> John's house
Hans -> Hans' house
But now I often see:
Hans -> Hans's house
It doesn't even seem to be non-standard, even newspapers do it.
Is this a new rule / change of the rule?
Or is this US American vs. British English usage?

(BTW, did you know John and Hans are basically the same name?)

What I was taught way back in.. I dunno, 2nd grade or whatever...

If it's a regular nouns ending with an S - Dogs, for example, you'd just ' it. So you'd write "the dogs' house" if you're talking about a doghouse shared by multiple dogs.

A proper noun got the 's treatment, regardless of the ending character. So talking about something Hans owns, like a house.. you'd write Hans's house.

But I was educated in Kentucky, so who knows. Apparently either way is fine so long as you're consistent.
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Re: English as She Is Wrotten [English practice]

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:36 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:[/url] Apparently either way is fine so long as you're consistent.


That's what I was taught.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby tes » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:19 pm UTC

I read that "due to" should only be used where you can substitute "caused by", but im not sure precisely how to use that either. It's not possible/elegant to say "Due to being raised in an agnostic family, becoming an atheist was not a big event for me", is it?

Am I correct to assume that "Just because X doesn't mean Y" is slang and shouldn't be used in writing? And that "am I correct to assume" is pretty pretentious?

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby poxic » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:32 pm UTC

"Due to X, Y was Z" is allowable, but sometimes doesn't sound very elegant. It's probably used more in speech than in writing. (Due to the speed of thought required for fluent speech, elegance is often neglected in spoken language. :wink: )

"Just because X doesn't mean Y" is okay, as long as some verbs are involved. I'd call it casual rather than slangy, though we're splitting hairs here.

Good: "Just because I hate his shoes doesn't mean I don't want to make out with him."
Not so good: "Just because shark doesn't mean no swimming." (This one will be understood, and likely appreciated among friends, but holy heck this is not for formal written things.)

"Am I correct to assume" is a bit pretentious, yes. It's usually used either to be pedantic in a funny way, or just to be pedantic.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby tes » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:10 pm UTC

Thanks. I've got another two questions: if someone uses a hands-free mobile phone, do they "have their hands free"? Sounds very translated to my ears.

Is it preferable to use "from the satellite's point of view" instead of "from the point of view of the satellite"?

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby skullturf » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:33 pm UTC

For me (native English speaker, Canadian living in US), "having your hands free" sounds like an ordinary unremarkable way of saying you have nothing in your hands. "Hey, are your hands free? Can you help me carry this?" EDIT: "Do you have your hands free?" also sounds OK, but possibly "are your hands free?" is ever so slightly better -- it's what I typed first.

"From the satellite's point of view" and "from the point of view of the satellite" both sound fine to me, and the first of course is shorter. I see no problem with it (unless you object to the fact that a satellite isn't sentient and doesn't have a "point of view" in that sense, but the second phrasing has the same problem, and in any case I see it as a minor quibble and not really a grammar issue).

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Monika » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:40 pm UTC

The link about possessive 's a bit up says "from the point of view of the satellite" is better style than "from the satellite's point of view" - it says 's is best for names. But contrary to my English as a foreign language class's claim it's only a question of style and not a mistake.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:31 pm UTC

Monika wrote:The link about possessive 's a bit up says "from the point of view of the satellite" is better style than "from the satellite's point of view" - it says 's is best for names. But contrary to my English as a foreign language class's claim it's only a question of style and not a mistake.


It's definitely a question of style, but I would almost always us " 's " instead of "of the", it just seems far more natural to me (the "of the" construction sounds, to me, as if it's being spoken by someone who's mother tongue is continental European (where, with the possible exception of the Germanic languages) I believe it is the norm/only way).
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Makri » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:51 am UTC

You actually mean Romance language, not continental European. ;)
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:31 pm UTC

I'm not sure I do. To my ear the "of the" construction sounds as if it comes from a speaker of any European language (including balto-slavic languages) other than the speakers of the Germanic languages.

Of course, the only ones I have any knowledge of at all really are the romance languages (and a tiny bit of Danish), so it's very possible that my ear is completely wrong and the "of the" construction would be strange from a balto-slavic speaker, but that was intended purely as a comment of how it sounds to me (as a native speaker) rather than who would actually use said construction.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Makri » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

Balto-Slavic languages don't even have any equivalent of the "of the" construction, so I would be surprised to learn that native speakers of those languages use the construction more frequently in English, but I don't have any particular evidence to rule out that possibility. Albanians might be prone to "of the", judging by how their languages expresses possessives. I don't know about Greek.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Monika » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:00 pm UTC

I learned a tiny bit of Greek during vacation there. It seems they express possession (and other cases) in ways somewhat similar to Latin, i.e. with suffixes.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Qaanol » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:53 am UTC

tes wrote:And that "am I correct to assume" is pretty pretentious?

It sounds normal and unremarkable to me, like something I would use without hesitation. (But then, I’m pretty pretentious, so possibly.) “Am I correct to presume” sounds rather more pretentious.

Edit: but not nearly so pretentious as “Would it be correct for one to presume…”. (That being the sort of phrasing for which I have a predilection.)
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Gantt42 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:09 am UTC

tes wrote:I read that "due to" should only be used where you can substitute "caused by", but im not sure precisely how to use that either. It's not possible/elegant to say "Due to being raised in an agnostic family, becoming an atheist was not a big event for me", is it?


It doesn't sound wrong to me but it's not something I would say. I'd say "Because I was raised...". Although "Becoming an atheist was not a big event for me, due to being raised in an agnostic family." seems more like something I'd say for some reason.

On I side note, I'm aware that the rule is that periods go inside the quotations but that's a stupid rule in my opinion. I think it's more clear this way.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:09 pm UTC

Can anybody tell me if the word special used to be written with an E in old days? I don't know the origin of the word, but I find it a bit puzzling that special doesn't start with an E, but the word especially does. I sometimes get confused with words like special and specific/specification because I think they start with an E.

Also, evalue isn't a word apparently, evaluate is. It should be, though.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Derek » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:18 pm UTC

According to Wiktionary, "special" comes from Old French "especial" which comes from Latin "specialis". So yes and no?

One possibility (I have no idea if this is correct) is that "especial" and "evaluate" come from "e + [word]", "e" ("ex" before vowels) being the Latin preposition for "out of, from", which appears in a lot of other English words.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:52 pm UTC

I would guess, since I don't have the time to check, that special and especial were borrowed at different times, perhaps even especial from French and special directly from Latin, as that is often the case in situations like this.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Grop » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:29 am UTC

Cathode Ray Sunshine wrote:Can anybody tell me if the word special used to be written with an E in old days?


How I read this : spEcial.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby kbltd » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:09 am UTC

"Especial" can be found in Shakespeare - Hamlet act 4 scene 3.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby gradylin » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:41 am UTC

hey guys,

i am a future teacher for English (as a second language), German (for natives) and German as a foreign language. I'm going to graduate soon and my graduation exams include a translation German > English. I attend a class to practice translation where we get German texts we have to translate. I was absent in the last class so i couldnt ask the instructor about that. I hope you can help me.

So just for the ones who speak German here's the German sentence:

Die Erinnerung daran könnte zur Eröffnung neuer Perspektiven auf die heutigen Konfrontationen - nicht nur in Südasien - beitragen.

Now my question:

I translated this sentence that way:

The recollection of this could help to open up new perspectives on today's confrontations - not only in South Asia.

The instructor use might instead of could. Is there any semantic change/difference between might and could?

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby skullturf » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:59 am UTC

gradylin wrote:The instructor use might instead of could. Is there any semantic change/difference between might and could?


Here's my intuition about "might" vs "could". I am a native speaker of English, born and raised in Canada but living in Delaware, aged 37.

"There might be a dog across the street" vs "There could be a dog across the street" -- these two sentences feel about the same to me.

But when it comes to the first person,

"I might go to the movies tomorrow" vs "I could go to the movies tomorrow" -- I feel a slight difference there. The first one, to me, sounds like it's somewhat likely that I'll decide to go to the movies, whereas the second sounds more like I'm emphasizing that it's physically possible, no obstacle is preventing me.

But I think in a lot of simple declarative sentences, "might" and "could" are pretty much the same. "It might rain tomorrow" / "It could rain tomorrow" -- possibly a small difference in "feel" to some speakers, but pretty much the same.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Makri » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:39 am UTC

As an intuitive, somewhat vague generalization, "might" signals compatibility with what you know, whereas "could" signals compatibility with physical laws or something. These will, of course, overlap in many cases.

For some reason, I share the teacher's preference for "might" in the recollection example. Here's a curious intuition about it: If you say the recollection could help, what you express is that if it were kept, it would help, but it's unsure that it will be kept. If, on the other hand, you say that it might help, you convey nothing about the likelihood of its being kept, but imply that even if it is kept, there's still a chance that it will be useless.
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:28 am UTC

I just treat might as indicating possibility and can/could as indicating capability. I might go into more detail, I certainly could, but I probably won't.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby gradylin » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:10 pm UTC

ah okay. got it. thx!

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Monika » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:17 pm UTC

"Currently very popular is internet banking with your mobile."
That word order is wrong, right?
But "Internet banking with your mobile is currently very popular." does not give the right emphasis.
How do you solve this?
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

The first one sounds very clunky to my ear.

I'd probably say "mobile internet banking is currently very popular".
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Deva » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:25 pm UTC

Monika wrote:"Currently very popular is internet banking with your mobile."
That word order is wrong, right?

Yes. Incorrect word order.
Monika wrote:But "Internet banking with your mobile is currently very popular." does not give the right emphasis.
How do you solve this?

Slight emphasis alteration: "Currently, Internet banking with your mobile is very popular."
Other options: "Your mobile is currently a very popular tool for Internet banking."
"A very popular tool for Internet banking is currently your mobile."

Are any of those sufficient?
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:28 pm UTC

You're trying to emphasize the very popular part? You'll need to use a slightly different grammatical framework. Try something like,

"Currently, it is very popular to use your mobile for internet banking."

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby skullturf » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:55 pm UTC

Here's one more suggestion that seems natural to me as a native speaker. (It may or may not be your favorite example, but that's probably more of an aesthetic choice.)

"Something that's currently very popular is internet banking with your mobile."

(Also, a side note, which may or may not be relevant: "mobile" in UK = "cell phone" in US.)

Another possibility is to rework the sentence to start with something like "A popular trend these days is..."

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Monika » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

I want to say that mobile banking is an important topic right now for people (like me) who deal with software for banks. (The whole blog is targetted at bank software-y people, so this does not need to be mentioned explicitely.)

I think I will use the one with "trend" :) .

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Monika » Wed May 30, 2012 3:06 pm UTC

"I am sending you it now"
Is this a less usual option or is it actually wrong?
(for "I am sending it to you now")
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby eSOANEM » Wed May 30, 2012 4:47 pm UTC

It's not wrong although, in the progressive, I don't think it scans as well (although, in the preterite, I'd usually use that order e.g. "I sent you it" rather than "I sent it to you")
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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Derek » Wed May 30, 2012 5:20 pm UTC

In both cases I would prefer a "to you" construction, although it's not strictly wrong.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed May 30, 2012 7:29 pm UTC

It's not wrong, although something in my brain is tickling me to think "send you it" is less formal than "send it to you". The form verb indirect object direct object is fully productive.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby skullturf » Wed May 30, 2012 9:43 pm UTC

"I am sending you it" sounds borderline wrong to me. Or at least very unnatural, and very unlikely to occur in my dialect.

(I am originally from Western Canada, now living in Delaware.)

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed May 30, 2012 10:07 pm UTC

Does "I'm sending you it" also feel borderline to you?

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Derek » Wed May 30, 2012 10:26 pm UTC

I think I would be more amenable to the construction if the direct object wasn't "it". "I'm sending you the money" sounds completely fine to me, and maybe even slightly better than "I'm sending the money to you". But I don't like "I'm sending you it".

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby skullturf » Thu May 31, 2012 3:28 am UTC

My intuitions are the same as Derek's.

"I'm sending you it" seems very unnatural to me.

"I'm sending you the money" is no problem whatsoever.

EDIT: For what it's worth, I have no problem whatsoever with "I'm sending you this." It's only the version with "it" that strikes my ears as unnatural.

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby Daimon » Thu May 31, 2012 4:43 pm UTC

I remember phrases like, "X does not a good Y make."

Where does this grammar come from? Secondly, take the sentence "The house that that dog lives in" You could change it to. "The house which that dog lives in.", but would that change its meaning?
(And completely ignore the fact that we could reword it to "The house in which that dog lives." in the first place)

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Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Postby firechicago » Thu May 31, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

Daimon wrote:I remember phrases like, "X does not a good Y make."

Where does this grammar come from?


It's a consciously archaic/poetic word order, based on an old translation of Aristotle: "One swallow does not a summer make." (Though the usage has become so common that I had to look up the phrase, and I doubt most people who use that form would know where it comes from.)


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