Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wall

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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:53 am UTC

SammyIAm wrote:Lastly, I understand that language gets a little loose on the Internet, and people 5p33k lik3 th15 as a cultural thing, but when it starts to get in the way of actually understanding what is being said it's gone too far. I've seen status updates da luk lek dis an ti mak it 2 hurd fu mi tu reeed. Is that actually any easier to type?! Do you actually speak that way, because I don't think I would be able to understand you anyway.

This amuses me a little, because the point of l33t speak is for it to be unintelligible to most users. It's meant to get in the way of 'actual understanding'. As for txt speech, which is generally meant to be easily understood, I don't think you'll ever find a legitimate example that looks anything like your contrived one. It's a point I first heard David Crystal make, but all real-world examples of text speech are littered with the standard English spellings for words that can't be usefully abbreviated, such as like. (Indeed, in your example you gave the word a different vowel exactly because you couldn't shorten it without doing so. And you only did it because you were abbreviating words for the sake of abbreviating words, whereas txt speakers would only do so if it was convenient. Your mi, luk, mak, fu and tu are similarly boneheaded approximations at txt speech.)

Here's the most recent example of txt speak in my phone, courtesy of my father:

Hi Jus. I bought a Seagate GoFlex with 320GB storage 4 backups. B4 i use do u think this is a good way to go? I checked w guy at O/Works he said it is good for hard dve back ups.


Dad isn't as aggressive with his use of txt speech as some teenagers are, but the example is fairly typical of the style. You'll notice he dropped a few conventional spellings, and even the odd word, but nowhere does it make the message unreadable. Most often it's out of indignation that people refuse to parse txt speech, rather than any ambiguity that can be found in the actual text.

Having said that, you're more than welcome to offer a real example that contradicts my point. But I don't think you'll find one where the user hasn't deliberately engineered it to frustrate 'outsiders', which is a common trait across all slangs.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:21 am UTC

I estimate that it took me about twice as long to read your father's message as it would have taken me if it had been written with proper spelling... :roll: I think there is some plausibility to the assumption that the indignation comes from being burdened with more difficult parsing.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:59 am UTC

Makri wrote:I estimate that it took me about twice as long to read your father's message as it would have taken me if it had been written with proper spelling.
Are you a native speaker? Because I'd say it took maybe 25% longer, absolute tops. And for someone more familiar with that mode of typing, it would probably be even less.

And if the person is typing with just the number buttons on an older phone, or has a character limit to worry about, "burdening" you the reader with an extra couple seconds of reading becomes a secondary concern.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:42 am UTC

No, I'm not a native speaker. And not at all used to this way of writing.

I do agree that the indignation is not necessarily justified. It is, however, outside the particular context of texting, where entering characters is tedious (although I wonder if proper spelling isn't actually faster in many cases, with recognition of possible completions built into the phone software) and, more importantly, there is a character limit.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Monika » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:03 am UTC

Dear God, please increase the character limit for SMS and Twitter :lol:
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby ShootTheChicken » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:31 pm UTC

SammyIAm wrote:Oh, side question: I've always wondered if sentences like the last one above should end with a question mark or not. I posed a question in the first part of the sentence, but then made a statement. Is that even allowed, or should I have split it into two sentences?


I always used to split it into two sentences, but if the translation of the Three Musketeers that I'm reading can be trusted, you can throw in the question mark but not capitalize the following word. Example:

Do you actually speak that way? because I don't think I would be able to understand you anyway.


The copy I'm reading does this all the time, generally with exclamations:

I'faith! it would seem so.


I don't know what the consensus is on this, but... yeah.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

I don't think that is standard, but I like it. I mean, That's not standard! yet I like it.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Arnvidr » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:58 pm UTC

I think that's fairly common in older works, so it is probably technically correct, but not used much these days.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby SammyIAm » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:17 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I think that kind of spelling is easier to type when you use a "hunt and peck" technique, since it tends to have less non-consecutive letters.

You know, I hadn't thought about that. I suppose that might be true, but then these people really should learn to type for their own sake, given how useful typing is these days.


Pez Dispens3r wrote:It's a point I first heard David Crystal make, but all real-world examples of text speech are littered with the standard English spellings for words that can't be usefully abbreviated, such as like. (Indeed, in your example you gave the word a different vowel exactly because you couldn't shorten it without doing so. And you only did it because you were abbreviating words for the sake of abbreviating words, whereas txt speakers would only do so if it was convenient. Your mi, luk, mak, fu and tu are similarly boneheaded approximations at txt speech.)


I should have made more of a distinction between shortening words by dropping the odd vowel here and there (which is still fairly readable like your dad's text), and shortening words by, well, I'm not sure what you would call it but here's some examples from this page (I'm sorry, not an excellent source, but it goes with the subject matter I think):

http://static.someecards.com/someecards ... c99d66.jpg
http://static.someecards.com/someecards ... 18b443.jpg (annoying caps-alternating too)
http://static.happyplace.com/assets/ima ... 639308.jpg
http://static.happyplace.com/assets/ima ... 82e5d8.jpg

I mean come on, "...uaint qnah c dem in a kuple of monthz..." (removed random capitalization), or "...urzelf n i dnt wuna go tah sleap ther al wel gud doe.sxc dappy manz wtz..." isn't just abbreviating to save space, that's just making things hard to read!



I wonder if I could get away formatting sentences this way? because it would certainly be handy.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:57 pm UTC

I always heard the public school system was graduating illiterate students...
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:14 pm UTC

SammyIAm wrote:I mean come on, "...uaint qnah c dem in a kuple of monthz..." (removed random capitalization), or "...urzelf n i dnt wuna go tah sleap ther al wel gud doe.sxc dappy manz wtz..." isn't just abbreviating to save space, that's just making things hard to read!
Which, as mentioned, is another function slang often serves, whether intentionally or not.

I wonder if I could get away formatting sentences this way?
That's not grammatically a question.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:32 pm UTC

That's not grammatically a question?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby SammyIAm » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:11 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
I wonder if I could get away formatting sentences this way?
That's not grammatically a question.


:oops: You are 100% right. That's a particular mistake I tend to make that I need to work on. Should have said, "Does that mean I could format sentences this way? because that would certainly be handy."
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Derek » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:39 am UTC

I feel any sentence could be a question if it's said in the right way.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:42 am UTC

Derek wrote:I feel any sentence could be a question if it's said in the right way.


EDIT: I 'reflex-objected' to this statement when I read it, and then I changed my mind. Considering examples, I'd say it was fine to put a question mark on the end of a statement, if you aren't sure whether the statement is true and want clarification. For example:

'When you go to the shop, get me some milk.'
'I'm going to the shop?'

As far as the actual post which was being challenged, that one probably didn't need the question mark. I'd let it pass though, as it was used stylistically to imply that the poster was seeking opinions, and not just thinking aloud.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:48 am UTC

SammyIAm wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
I wonder if I could get away formatting sentences this way?
That's not grammatically a question.


:oops: You are 100% right. That's a particular mistake I tend to make that I need to work on. Should have said, "Does that mean I could format sentences this way? because that would certainly be handy."


That question mark in the middle of the sentence annoys me more than the fact that the original statement wasn't actually a question. I'm sympathetic to it, because I often have the same problem. What's the standard solution if you have a long sentence which contains a query near the beginning? It usually happens when I'm qualifying something with 'because'.

Are you going to the shops, because I need some milk?

looks more or less acceptable, but the longer the second section gets, the more out of place the question mark looks...
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:22 am UTC

SammyIAm wrote:I should have made more of a distinction between shortening words by dropping the odd vowel here and there (which is still fairly readable like your dad's text), and shortening words by, well, I'm not sure what you would call it but here's some examples from this page (I'm sorry, not an excellent source, but it goes with the subject matter I think):

http://static.someecards.com/someecards ... c99d66.jpg
http://static.someecards.com/someecards ... 18b443.jpg (annoying caps-alternating too)
http://static.happyplace.com/assets/ima ... 639308.jpg
http://static.happyplace.com/assets/ima ... 82e5d8.jpg

I mean come on, "...uaint qnah c dem in a kuple of monthz..." (removed random capitalization), or "...urzelf n i dnt wuna go tah sleap ther al wel gud doe.sxc dappy manz wtz..." isn't just abbreviating to save space, that's just making things hard to read!


The overwhelming majority of errors on that site concern homophones (the their/they're error, for example) or arbitrarily non-standard vowel substitution (difference/differance). I'm a reasonably high-level English user, and in my personal correspondances I fuck up homophones and vowels, like, all the time. So for posting on Facebook I think these errors are forgiveable and most of the examples on that page can be ignored because they don't qualify as shortened spellings but mistaken spellings.

Going back to the point from Crystal, all the examples you cited include standard spellings. The third image cap is a funny one, because the offender is accused of misspelling every word when they have given 'beautiful' correctly, which is not the easiest word to spell. That is, they're not shortening words where it wouldn't make sense to. Except, of course, to be obnoxious (although in the third example the offender looks as if they were just trying to be expressive by making words longer, as we might elongate our words in speech: "That's gooood soup!").

My point being that the intentionally difficult misspellings are meant to be obnoxious, and the rest with their unintentional or benign misspellings aren't that difficult to read if you're willing to suspend your pedantries.

mojacardave wrote:Are you going to the shops, because I need some milk?


I don't think this would fly with an editor, who would prefer the break.

"Are you going to the shops? Because I need some milk."

"Do you actually speak that way? Because I don't think I would be able to understand you anyway."

Your high school teacher probably told you not to start sentences with Because or And, but only to stop you starting every sentence that way ("In my holidays I went fishing. And I went to the shops with Bill. And I saw the Transformers movie. And I ate a whole pineapple."). It's a perfectly acceptable thing to do, so long as your writing reads nicely as a whole.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby mojacardave » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
mojacardave wrote:Are you going to the shops, because I need some milk?


I don't think this would fly with an editor, who would prefer the break.

"Are you going to the shops? Because I need some milk."


When I'm writing dialog, I use 'and' at the beginning of sentences all the time. In prose, unless I'm actually trying to stylistically emphasise something, I would try to avoid that method. I'd probably rewrite the whole paragraph instead. I'm happier with 'and' at the begininning of sentences than 'because'. Starting a sentence with 'and' is a fun way of extending lists, in a not too serious context.

'I took the job because I love the subject, I believe in the values of the company and it was in a convenient location. And they were offering a fuckload of money.'

'Because' seems trickier: I can't help but read your version of my question with the wrong emphasis.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

But "because I need some milk" is not even prosodically integrated into the question...
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

Unless you're asking if the reason they are going to the store is because you need milk, which is how I originally understood it. Although now that I think about it, that person would have to be strange and selfless. Perhaps some sort of milk purchasing robotman.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:21 am UTC

mojacardave wrote:'Because' seems trickier: I can't help but read your version of my question with the wrong emphasis.

How are you reading it? As Makri pointed out, the question mark requires a rising intonation for its preceding sentence, which you wouldn't want when you would say, "Because I need some milk." Unless you're unsure whether or not you need milk.

I have no idea where you're finding the wrong emphasis from my version.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby SammyIAm » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:16 am UTC

mojacardave wrote:'Because' seems trickier: I can't help but read your version of my question with the wrong emphasis.


Same here. In informal speech (and in emails and IMs) I start sentences with 'because' and 'and' all the time because that's how I naturally speak. I agree though that 'and', 'or', or 'but' are much easier to start sentences with than 'because'. When I read a sentence that begins with 'because' I expect the second half of the sentence to contain the result of the first half:

Because I jumped off the roof, my leg is broken.

When there's no ending, I feel like it ends abruptly.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:48 am UTC

"Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion."
"Because I'm pretty?"
"Because you're pretty."

It can work at the beginning of a sentence (for me, at least) the same way those other conjunctions can: by being a continuation (after a longer-than-comma pause) from the previous sentence.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby distractedSofty » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

The mistake that drives me up the wall is when two "homophones" are confused, but in my own pronunciation there is /j/. (Wikipedia tells me this is the palatal approximant)

For some reason, if someone says that they are "doing our do diligence" (or similar), I can never work out what were trying to say.

(Of course, there are other ways that people confuse homophones that I don't consider homophonous, but this particular one always screws me up)
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Grop » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:53 am UTC

I only think I understand one thing from your post : it's about words that are almost homophonous, but not really.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:11 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:For some reason, if someone says that they are "doing our do diligence" (or similar), I can never work out what were trying to say.
Um, if someone says that, how do you know they are actually confusing homophones? Couldn't it just be that both "due" and "do" lack your [j], and they are in fact using the correct word but not pronouncing it as you would?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby distractedSofty » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:16 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
distractedSofty wrote:For some reason, if someone says that they are "doing our do diligence" (or similar), I can never work out what were trying to say.
Um, if someone says that, how do you know they are actually confusing homophones? Couldn't it just be that both "due" and "do" lack your [j], and they are in fact using the correct word but not pronouncing it as you would?

Pedant.

(And in fact, it looks like you are wrong: definition 1. in Merriam-Webster is "To express in words." "Utter" is the second definition.)

Grop wrote:I only think I understand one thing from your post : it's about words that are almost homophonous, but not really.
If you pronounced do and due the same, it's perfectly logical that you might not know that the phrase is "due diligence", if you've never seen it written down. So you might say in an email "we need to do our do diligence". On the other hand, when I read that, I have no idea what you are trying to say.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Grop » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:07 am UTC

Your post makes much more sense now that you have written down the word "due" it was about.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Felstaff » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:16 am UTC

I always wondered what this 'Jew diligence' thing was!
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby distractedSofty » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:29 am UTC

Grop wrote:Your post makes much more sense now that you have written down the word "due" it was about.

Now you've experienced the confusion I was complaining about. :)
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:41 am UTC

If you've never seen it written down, you might not know that the phrase is "due diligence" even if it's /dju/ for you. You might think it's "dew diligence"...
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby distractedSofty » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:45 am UTC

Makri wrote:If you've never seen it written down, you might not know that the phrase is "due diligence" even if it's /dju/ for you. You might think it's "dew diligence"...
But if that mistake was made, it would be easy for me to work it out, and thus wouldn't drive me up the wall...
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Monika » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:26 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:The mistake that drives me up the wall is when two "homophones" are confused, but in my own pronunciation there is /j/. (Wikipedia tells me this is the palatal approximant)

For some reason, if someone says writes that they are "doing our do diligence" instead of "due diligence", I can never work out what were trying to say.

(Of course, there are other ways that people confuse homophones that I don't consider homophonous, but this particular one always screws me up)

Yeah, misspellings like this and word jokes / puns like this I can never figure out, either. I had the hardest time getting around native speakers with less-than-perfect spelling writing things like "could of done" instead of "could have done" ... until someone explained in no unclear terms that it is for "could've done" and the "of" and "'ve" are indeed homophones for native speakers (both pronounced [əv]). Not for me, I (incorrectly) pronounce "of" very much like "off". It's difficult to get reduction right when learning a language predominatly by reading.

distractedSofty wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Um, if someone says that, how do you know they are actually confusing homophones? Couldn't it just be that both "due" and "do" lack your [j], and they are in fact using the correct word but not pronouncing it as you would?

Pedant Yes, you are right.

Fixed that for you.

(And in fact, it looks like you are wrong: definition 1. in Merriam-Webster is "To express in words." "Utter" is the second definition.)

Not sure what you are referring to.

distractedSofty wrote:On the other hand, when I read that, I have no idea what you are trying to say.

Grop wrote:Your post makes much more sense now that you have written down the word "due" it was about.

This!
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Anonymously Famous » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

Now that I understand that you were referring to writing, your post makes much more sense. It annoys me when people use the incorrect homophone as well, but I've learned to mostly ignore it.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby distractedSofty » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
distractedSofty wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Um, if someone says that, how do you know they are actually confusing homophones? Couldn't it just be that both "due" and "do" lack your [j], and they are in fact using the correct word but not pronouncing it as you would?

Pedant Yes, you are right.

Fixed that for you.

(And in fact, it looks like you are wrong: definition 1. in Merriam-Webster is "To express in words." "Utter" is the second definition.)

Not sure what you are referring to.

It is not right.

The word "say" has the common meaning "to express in words". Wiktionary, for example, gives two such definitions: "to communicate, either verbally or in writing", and "to indicate in written form". (As well as "to pronounce", which is the equivalent of the "to utter" definition from Merriam-Webster) It was correct to say "say", and pedantic to read my post as though I had said "utters". (And I was pointing out, in jest, that the "vocalise" meaning is not even the first definition in the dictionary)

Since multiple people have expressed confusion, I see that I was not clear in my post, but since the name of the thread is "...editing/grammar mistakes...", and one cannot confuse homophones while talking, I apparently assumed an editing context. I would fix my post by stating that explicitly:
The editing mistake that drives me up the wall is when two "homophones" are confused by a writer, but in my own pronunciation there is /j/. (Wikipedia tells me this is the palatal approximant)

which should still have allowed me to use the much more natural "say", instead of "write". This appears to have been an editing mistake on my part that drove a few people up the wall. So, consider my first post to have been written in full EmotioVision™.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

I, for what it's worth, totally agree with the people who find it absurd to say "say" to refer to a spelling...
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby The Mockingbird » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

I'm far too new to this community to reply with a snarky "You don't say!", so I will pretend I never even thought or considered it. :shock:

I can't think of any grammar mistakes that other people make that cause my blood pressure rise. Instead, I just feel better about myself when I see the aforementioned errors.

Yep, that sounded stilted, but it's pretty easy to get dinged in a grammar post when you're trying to type conversationally. :mrgreen:
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Anonymously Famous » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:25 pm UTC

Dictionary definitions can only take you so far. The fact is that most native English speakers will relate "say" with speaking when you are referring to a person doing the saying. If a book says something, of course it's in writing.

One usage of English that tends to annoy me is the lack of capitalization and punctuation prevalent in casual Internet or text messaging situations. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, as this topic is several pages long, but it does annoy me.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby SammyIAm » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:39 pm UTC

distractedSofty wrote:It is not right.

The word "say" has the common meaning "to express in words"....


I think the issue here is that when discussing homophones, everyone's automatically thinking about how the words sound when spoken, not their written form. You even specifically called out the pronunciation /j/ . To then write about someone "saying" a homophone, and not even mention spelling anywhere in your post or even the word you were talking about being confused by, you can see how it's not a big jump to read "say" as meant in a verbal context.

Anonymously Famous wrote:One usage of English that tends to annoy me is the lack of capitalization and punctuation prevalent in casual Internet or text messaging situations. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, as this topic is several pages long, but it does annoy me.


For a long time I was always very careful to make everything I typed, including IMs, complete sentences with a starting capital letter and ending punctuation. My laziness finally got the better of me though, and I now routinely send messages that are just sentence fragments. That said, it still bothers me when people don't take the time to punctuate contractions, or don't capitalize proper nouns (especially if it's someone's name).
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby modularblues » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:48 pm UTC

Switching "e" and "a" in homophones. Granted, I struggled with this, but English is not my first language. Misspelling "calendar" might be more understandable than misusing "peek" vs. "peak". There's the obvious association of the "ee" like two rolling eyes peeking out, so it drives me nuts when I see people use one when it should be the other. Or maybe that is not so obvious to everyone...
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