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 gmalivuk » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:43 pm UTC

For me, typing or writing the wrong homophone is usually if not always a matter of simple muscle memory. It's not that I don't know the difference, but rather that I'm thinking aloud in my head as I write or type, and then whichever one I'm more prepared to type is the one that ends up being typed.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Derek » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:08 am UTC

It's the exact same for me. I'll often mess up your-you're and there-their-they're due to muscle memory mistakes.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby yurell » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:24 am UTC

At present, "would of" instead of "would have" or "would've" has been irritating me.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Monika » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:47 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:For me, typing or writing the wrong homophone is usually if not always a matter of simple muscle memory. It's not that I don't know the difference, but rather that I'm thinking aloud in my head as I write or type, and then whichever one I'm more prepared to type is the one that ends up being typed.

Same problem for me.
And then I see my post quoted and I'm like "I can't possibly have written "there" there :evil:".

yurell wrote:At present, "would of" instead of "would have" or "would've" has been irritating me.

I hate would of could of should of with a passion.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Oflick » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:28 am UTC

Aboriginals.

But, It's becoming more and more accepted. It's probably considered correct now, actually. I just dislike how an adjective is being used as a noun.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:36 am UTC

If you're referring to that catch-all term for mainland Indigenous Australians, then I would hope "Aboriginals" isn't becoming more-or-less accepted. The acceptable term is "Aboriginal people", which retains your adjective. Anyone who would use "Aboriginals" obviously puts laziness before sensitivity and discretion.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby jaap » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:53 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:If you're referring to that catch-all term for mainland Indigenous Australians, then I would hope "Aboriginals" isn't becoming more-or-less accepted. The acceptable term is "Aboriginal people", which retains your adjective. Anyone who would use "Aboriginals" obviously puts laziness before sensitivity and discretion.

I thought the noun was "Aborigine", or is that old fashioned now?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby delfts » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:09 pm UTC

Not ending a question with a question mark, run-on sentences, mixing the past tense with the past perfect (ex. "I never saw one of those before!")... There are many others, but those are some of the worst/most prominent in my mind.

EDIT: OH. This one drives me NUTS. Absolutely NUTS.

I wonder.


It's not a question, so don't end it with a question mark. It's really bothersome how so many people do. :?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Derek » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:29 pm UTC

delfts wrote:mixing the past tense with the past perfect (ex. "I never saw one of those before!")...

What's wrong with this sentence?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby yurell » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:36 pm UTC

I believe it should be "I've never seen"
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:41 pm UTC

More precisely, the complaint is about using "I never saw" when the intended meaning is "I've never seen", as it's a grammatically incorrect/nonstandard way to express that particular meaning. (And I think the "before" is what makes that particular sentence always nonstandard, as it implies something that (never) happened prior to a specific time, which typically means a perfect tense should be used.)
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Adacore » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:40 am UTC

I can't think of anything specific that really bothers me, but I know my mother freaks out when she hears people using the word 'less' to talk about a reduction in the number of some discrete entities. It should always be 'fewer' unless the subject quantity is continuous. My father, meanwhile, despairs when the traffic report says, 'the road is closed after an earlier accident'. Earlier than what?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:43 am UTC

jaap wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:If you're referring to that catch-all term for mainland Indigenous Australians, then I would hope "Aboriginals" isn't becoming more-or-less accepted. The acceptable term is "Aboriginal people", which retains your adjective. Anyone who would use "Aboriginals" obviously puts laziness before sensitivity and discretion.

I thought the noun was "Aborigine", or is that old fashioned now?

"Aborigine" is a word used to describe indigenous populations across the globe, and for some reason indigenous Australians objected to being recognized by a term that basically amounts to being called, "The Natives". It's not so much old-fashioned as tasteless.

Adacore wrote:It should always be 'fewer' unless the subject quantity is continuous.

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

Postby Lazar » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:53 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:"Aborigine" is a word used to describe indigenous populations across the globe, and for some reason indigenous Australians objected to being recognized by a term that basically amounts to being called, "The Natives". It's not so much old-fashioned as tasteless.

But by this criterion, how is "Aboriginal people" an improvement over "Aborigines"?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:07 am UTC

They chose it for themselves.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:25 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Adacore wrote:It should always be 'fewer' unless the subject quantity is continuous.
Says you.
And not, as it happens, actual English usage over the past few hundred years or so.
Treatid basically wrote:widdout elephants deh be no starting points. deh be no ZFC.


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

Postby goofy » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:20 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Adacore wrote:It should always be 'fewer' unless the subject quantity is continuous.
Says you.
And not, as it happens, actual English usage over the past few hundred years or so.


The past thousand years actually.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:04 am UTC

Lazar wrote:But by this criterion, how is "Aboriginal people" an improvement over "Aborigines"?

Belatedly, I should expand on my original answer. (Tiredness turns my thought-process to syrup.)

"Aboriginal people/s" may seem long winded, but it hints that indigenous Australians are not just one unitary people and rather represent something like two-hundred surviving cultural groups. That is, to indigenous Australians who haven't been severed from their cultural background they are the Ngarrindjeri, or the Yolngu, or the Eora. "Aborigines", as a term, just slings them all together without any hint of nuance. "The Aborigines play the didgeridoo" - fine, but not every Aboriginal group has a history with the instrument, or uses it, except to impress tourists.

But essentially, the difference is they chose the term for themselves. The Latin-derived "aborigine" was shackled to them by their British oppressors, but they're taking it back.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:06 am UTC

"Aboriginal people/s" may seem long winded, but it hints that indigenous Australians are not just one unitary people and rather represent something like two-hundred surviving cultural groups. That is, to indigenous Australians who haven't been severed from their cultural background they are the Ngarrindjeri, or the Yolngu, or the Eora. "Aborigines", as a term, just slings them all together without any hint of nuance. "The Aborigines play the didgeridoo" - fine, but not every Aboriginal group has a history with the instrument, or uses it, except to impress tourists.


Wait. So it's really aboriginal peoples now, right? Because "people" doesn't solve that problem.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:15 am UTC

It's not something you can reduce to simple logistics, and it depends on the context. But "Aboriginal peoples" is preferable.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:20 am UTC

delfts wrote:Not ending a question with a question mark,
[...]
I wonder.

It's not a question, so don't end it with a question mark. It's really bothersome how so many people do. :?

+1
I think the use of a question mark at the end of a sentence that is definitely not a question annoys me more than the absence of one at the end of a question. Sure, it's possible to turn some declarative statements into questions by the use of a question mark, but it doesn't always make sense.

Another annoying thing I've noticed recently on a few forums is people who don't seem to be aware of the existence of "than" and use "then" in its place. At first I assumed it was merely a typo, but when they do it consistently I tend to assume that it's ignorance and not just poor editing.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:57 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:For me, typing or writing the wrong homophone is usually if not always a matter of simple muscle memory. It's not that I don't know the difference, but rather that I'm thinking aloud in my head as I write or type, and then whichever one I'm more prepared to type is the one that ends up being typed.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby yurell » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:06 am UTC

'Than' and 'then' aren't homophones, are they? They're pronounced differently (ðæn vs ðɛn).
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:45 am UTC

yurell wrote:'Than' and 'then' aren't homophones, are they? They're pronounced differently (ðæn vs ðɛn).

They get closer to being homophones if someone pronounces "than" as ðən, which is fairly common in Australian English.
However, as I said in my previous post, it's unlikely to be a typo if it happens consistently. One of the people that I've seen using "then" for "than" (on another forum) always does it: I've never seen him use "than" in his posts, apart from in material that he's quoting. Of course, there is the possibility that I only notice his incorrect usage, OTOH, the search I just did on a few dozen of his posts confirms my observation.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:50 am UTC

yurell wrote:'Than' and 'then' aren't homophones, are they? They're pronounced differently (ðæn vs ðɛn).
In American English, at least, they're definitely pretty homophonous when speaking at a normal conversational speed, because they both get reduced to [ðən]
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Lazar » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:03 pm UTC

yurell wrote:'Than' and 'then' aren't homophones, are they? They're pronounced differently (ðæn vs ðɛn).

This may not be the case for everyone. Many American English speakers pronounce the full form of "can" as [kɛn] (attested by m-w.com, for example); I suspect this is because [kən] is the most common realization of the word in common speech, and they've 'reconstructed' an innovative full form from that - [ɛ] seeming like a more comfortable vowel to use because of its proximity to [ə]. Likewise, "than" is almost always pronounced [ðən], so people may have reconstructed a new full pronunciation [ðɛn] from it. I think there are some Americans who are fully aware of the spelling distinction, but who, in the very rare case that they needed to pronounce the full form of "than", would without thinking say [ðɛn]. (I think I used these pronunciations for both "can" and "than" when I was a child, but I can't be sure - I've twerked my idiolect so much that I can't always attest 'original' native forms.)
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby yurell » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:04 pm UTC

Okay ^_^ Didn't realise different accents removed the difference.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Felstaff » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:18 pm UTC

It's more likely then you think!
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Monika » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:20 pm UTC

I don't really count because I am not a native speaker, but for me it's like this:
I know exactly when then and than should be used. They have completely different translations, dann vs. als.
I pronounce both the same. This could be because æ / ɛ / ə are allophones in German in most dialects / contexts / cases. I can also e.g. not hear whether someone says man or men, which do not seem to be all that similar to native English speakers.
When I reread what I have written (e.g. when someone quotes my posts) I often find that I incorrectly wrote then where than belongs. (Same for there / their.)
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

Monika wrote:I don't really count because I am not a native speaker

Agreed, and I'd expect most people here who know you're not a native speaker would overlook such errors on your part (unless you explicitly ask them to point them out to you). FWIW, your English grammar & spelling is generally better than the native speaker I was talking about.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Makri » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:44 pm UTC

This could be because æ / ɛ / ə are allophones in German in most dialects / contexts / cases.


No, they're not...

But I also find myself making the there/their mistake sometimes, and it's most definitely just due to the automaticity of the motor control impulse. This is still curious as a phenomenon: one might expect that the writing of a language that has such an extremely unphonemic orthography as English is not mediated by a phonemic representation, so that you go directly from the lexical identity of the word to the impulse to the motor system. And since you know whether you meant there or their, the confusion should then not arise.

However, this is just an incompetent observation. I know basically nothing about the research into such matters (which I'm sure exists).

I don't do it with "they're", though, which I think I tend to pronounce with a diphthong. Are there native speakers who do that, too?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:23 am UTC

I'm going to call them homophones, because to pronounce them differently requires I put a whole lot of emphasis on the æ in 'than', and that makes me sound haughty. Lord knows I'm pretentious enough already.

PM 2Ring wrote:However, as I said in my previous post, it's unlikely to be a typo if it happens consistently. One of the people that I've seen using "then" for "than" (on another forum) always does it: I've never seen him use "than" in his posts, apart from in material that he's quoting. Of course, there is the possibility that I only notice his incorrect usage, OTOH, the search I just did on a few dozen of his posts confirms my observation.

From those few dozens posts, I would bet you only found examples of this person using 'then' for 'than', and never the other way round. If there were genuine ignorance at hand, that he didn't know which one went where, you would find him using 'than' for 'then' as often as not. That there is consistency in his misusage (using 'then' everywhere) suggests, to me, it's an internal voice problem. I'm sure you could ask him to invent sentences for the word 'than' and he would give you correct usages, but stopping himself in the flow of writing to 'sound out' the correct one---the process I use---probably just isn't worth it for him.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:17 am UTC

To me, the alleged consistency suggests instead that the friend doesn't actually realize "than" is a distinct word.
Treatid basically wrote:widdout elephants deh be no starting points. deh be no ZFC.


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

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:07 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:I'm sure you could ask him to invent sentences for the word 'than' and he would give you correct usages, but stopping himself in the flow of writing to 'sound out' the correct one---the process I use---probably just isn't worth it for him.

Unfortunately, that experiment would be very difficult to carry out. I once tried to diplomatically point out this error to him, but he ignored me. If I tried to press the issue he'd most likely assume I was just being pedantic and using his grammar as an excuse to pick on him.

gmalivuk wrote:To me, the alleged consistency suggests instead that the friend doesn't actually realize "than" is a distinct word.

That's my theory, too.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Alces » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:08 am UTC

'Than' and 'then' are etymologically identical--they derive from different inflected forms of the same Old English adverb þanne. 'then' was used in comparatives because just as 'then' introduces a new event, it would introduce a new noun to the comparison: I'm taller, then you (are not so tall). They are only distinguished in writing starting from the 1700s. So it's quite likely that the people who do not distinguish 'than' and 'then' are preserving this lack of distinction.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Monika » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:01 pm UTC

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

Postby Anglish » Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:06 am UTC

Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wall


My brain always tries to correct "that" in the preceding context to "which", so that it would read as, "Little editing/grammar mistakes which drive you up the wall." Is this in any way more correct, less correct, or are both equally acceptable?
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby Monika » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

Both are correct.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:51 pm UTC

Some people will try to tell you there is a rule as to when to use "which" and when to use "that", but they all seem to disagree about what it is so in practice, the vast majority of people won't care.
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Re: Little editing/grammar mistakes that drive you up the wa

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Well, except that there are most definitely some instances where that same vast majority will agree you *must* use "which" because "that" is ungrammatical. In particular, when it's after a comma as a defining relative clause, or when it's after a preposition, we use "which". I'd also be surprised to find any dialect that uses "which" for people, while "that" is generally a perfectly fine substitute for "who" or "whom".
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