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  1. TopTop #1
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Occupy the language

    OK- So I got a few funny responses from folks who could identify with my frustration over careless typists/communicators. I thought I'd move the subject over here and see if anyone else cared to comment.

    In my case I've been reading the news for a long time and year after year the sentence structure and grammar have continued to go downhill. The Press Democrat is a prime example. Evidently proofreading and editing have become too expensive. Add to this what I see day after day on Facebook and I've been building a burn for quite a while. Last Sunday while waiting for the farmer's market to open down at the plaza, I got some coffee and there was a fresh copy of the NY Times. I read it with building pleasure as there was not a single mistake, goof, typo, whatever, to be found. IT CAN BE DONE. 8>) This all lead me to the other night's off-topic outburst.

    It's the little details of communication that grease the wheels of civility and culture...Take responsibility for your communications please. Yes, I understand that I sound cranky, LOL. It will pass.

    Here's one note I received from funny-person Hogiemoon on the subject:
    "I personally have experienced a significant decline in myown spelling skills. Speaking of grammer. One of my favorites is on restaurant menus where the French Dip Sandwich au jus is listed as "with au jus." Or worse when the waitress yells at the cook to give some more "Ah juice."

    Add your own favorites- If you're stuck, just go get a Press Democrat and you can play too. Occupy the culture.
    8>) Cal
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  3. TopTop #2
    Weiser's Avatar
    Weiser
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Califoon,

    My follow up to the the French Dip comment is when I went to the Arby's in Rohnert Park. They had a sign proudly proclaiming they served roast beef sandwiches with "Au Jus Sause."
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  5. TopTop #3
    Weiser's Avatar
    Weiser
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Let me clairify. I called the manager on the sign while making my order. Keep in mind "Sause" was spelled by the Spanish speaking manager that worked there. Things may be more complex than you think.

    For my own part I promise to try to do better.
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  6. TopTop #4
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    Add your own favorites- If you're stuck, just go get a Press Democrat and you can play too.
    Okay, Cal, I'll play, but there's no need to get a Press Democrat to do a treasure hunt for errors; there are plenty in your post. For instance, in the passage quoted above, you use a hyphen as a dash (which should have been a plain old period anyway), and the spacing is wrong, too. And, "Press Democrat" should have been italicized.
    This all lead me to the other night's off-topic outburst.
    And in that sentence, "lead" should have been "led".
    Wow--this is fun! Great idea, Cal!

    Seriously, Bro (or is it Sis?), I understand how annoying it is to encounter so many errors in spelling, usage, grammar, punctuation, etc., and how tempting it is to see ourselves as better than those who are more raggedy than we are in these areas, but I have to remind myself that these errors are really only problematical when they interfere with the clarity of the message. It's fun to laugh at such errors, but making an issue of them when they really don't impact the clarity makes us look snotty and picayune. And if our own screed contains errors, the laugh is on us! :whackasmilie:

    Recently, I publicly corrected a guy's error here on Wacco because it was in his ad for editing/proofreading services (!), and I felt it appropriate to warn prospective customers about the quality of his skills. He then sent me a private email in which he offered to demonstrate his skills by editing any material I'd send him, but I politely declined--partly because his offer included two misspellings and a spacing error!

    I allow myself a number of non-standard spellings and other "errors", such as "gonna" and "wanna", in informal writing, but when editing/proofreading, I do it all as perfectly as I can. And as you've seen, I'm hawk-eyed. So here I'll just mention that anyone seeking top-notch writing/editing/proofreading services at bargain rates should contact me:
    Dixon Wragg
    (707) 527-6163
    dixon@sonic.net

    P.S. You might like the recently started Facebook page called "Apostrophes are for contractions and possessive forms, NOT plurals!" That's one of my pet peeves, and I'm sure it's one of yours, too!
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  7. TopTop #5
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Ahh, Dixon...I knew you'd come gunning for this one. I could smell the smoke from your literary revolver even as I was looking at "lead" trying to remember if "led" was actually a word. Missed that one, huh? Hey, let me borrow that thing...:whackasmilie:...Good, much better. I'll probably remember it next time now.

    Would you please refresh us as to the difference between the hyphen and the dash? That one escapes me and I know I tend to use it generically as a musician would use a dotted note, to hold the thought just a moment longer. Call it artistic license in that case, or maybe cross-pollenation. As for the italicization of the PD, I'm sorry but that's a bit too anal and picayune even for me. It's exactly the kind of thing I knew you'd find. Thanks for the learning moment. Next time I need a proof reader you're hired.

    Seriously, I'm don't intend to be a school marm on this issue. I have no ruler to slap knuckles with, I only ask that we review what we've written before we post. I'm not going to Wragg on anyone over it. I reviewed my post to the limits of my knowledge, which are probably much clearer to you (the professional) than they are to me. That's fine with me.

    The apostrophe thing, we are truly brothers on that one. No doubt they're, their, and there send you right up the frickin wall as well.

    Come on, you must have some great and funny examples to share on this subject. Give us a laugh won't you? It will help diffuse my cranky moment

    Kids of all ages can play.

    Your "Bro" Cal

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Okay, Cal, I'll play, but there's no need to get a Press Democrat to do a treasure hunt for errors; there are plenty in your post. For instance, in the passage quoted above, you use a hyphen as a dash (which should have been a plain old period anyway), and the spacing is wrong, too. And, "Press Democrat" should have been italicized.

    And in that sentence, "lead" should have been "led".
    Wow--this is fun! Great idea, Cal!

    Seriously, Bro (or is it Sis?), I understand how annoying it is to encounter so many errors in spelling, usage, grammar, punctuation, etc., and how tempting it is to see ourselves as better than those who are more raggedy than we are in these areas, but I have to remind myself that these errors are really only problematical when they interfere with the clarity of the message. It's fun to laugh at such errors, but making an issue of them when they really don't impact the clarity makes us look snotty and picayune. And if our own screed contains errors, the laugh is on us! :whackasmilie:
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  9. TopTop #6
    Sara S's Avatar
    Sara S
    Auntie Wacco

    Re: Occupy the language

    But, Dixon, you say

    " It's fun to laugh at such errors, but making an issue of them when they really don't impact the clarity makes us look snotty and picayune."

    and yet, that's what you're doing here. The clarity of Cal's message wasn't "impacted" by using a hyphen instead of a dash, for god's sake, and you know it.



    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Okay, Cal, I'll play, but there's no need to get a Press Democrat to do a treasure hunt for errors; there are plenty in your post. For instance, in the passage quoted above, you use a hyphen as a dash (which should have been a plain old period anyway), and the spacing is wrong, too. And, "Press Democrat" should have been italicized.

    And in that sentence, "lead" should have been "led".
    Wow--this is fun! Great idea, Cal!

    Seriously, Bro (or is it Sis?), I understand how annoying it is to encounter so many errors in spelling, usage, grammar, punctuation, etc., and how tempting it is to see ourselves as better than those who are more raggedy than we are in these areas, but I have to remind myself that these errors are really only problematical when they interfere with the clarity of the message. It's fun to laugh at such errors, but making an issue of them when they really don't impact the clarity makes us look snotty and picayune. And if our own screed contains errors, the laugh is on us! :whackasmilie:

    Recently, I publicly corrected a guy's error here on Wacco because it was in his ad for editing/proofreading services (!), and I felt it appropriate to warn prospective customers about the quality of his skills. He then sent me a private email in which he offered to demonstrate his skills by editing any material I'd send him, but I politely declined--partly because his offer included two misspellings and a spacing error!

    I allow myself a number of non-standard spellings and other "errors", such as "gonna" and "wanna", in informal writing, but when editing/proofreading, I do it all as perfectly as I can. And as you've seen, I'm hawk-eyed. So here I'll just mention that anyone seeking top-notch writing/editing/proofreading services at bargain rates should contact me:
    Dixon Wragg
    (707) 527-6163
    dixon@sonic.net

    P.S. You might like the recently started Facebook page called "Apostrophes are for contractions and possessive forms, NOT plurals!" That's one of my pet peeves, and I'm sure it's one of yours, too!
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  11. TopTop #7
    wildflower's Avatar
    wildflower
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Don't you mean....CLARIFY...not "CLAIRIFY"?
    LoLoLoL!

    Quote banjoguy wrote: View Post
    Let me clairify. I called the manager on the sign while making my order. Keep in mind "Sause" was spelled by the Spanish speaking manager that worked there. Things may be more complex than you think.

    For my own part I promise to try to do better.
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  12. TopTop #8
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    BTW, the genesis of the phrase "Occupy the language" was my internal response to a sign on the occupy Sebastopol tent- A sign who's (?) grammatical error changed it's meaning entirely from what was intended. Did anyone else see that sign? It involved God and the possessive apostrophe...All those signs are gone now, I wish I could remember exactly what it said.
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  13. TopTop #9
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Sara S wrote: View Post
    But, Dixon, you say
    " It's fun to laugh at such errors, but making an issue of them when they really don't impact the clarity makes us look snotty and picayune."
    and yet, that's what you're doing here. The clarity of Cal's message wasn't "impacted" by using a hyphen instead of a dash, for god's sake, and you know it.
    Right you are, Sara.

    I didn't mention this in my last email—it didn't seem necessary in that context—but there are a couple of other situations in which I correct people's errors even if they don't impact the clarity. One is when I'm doing a proofreading or editing job, of course. Another is when someone is asking for it. In this case, Cal was "asking for it" both explicitly (by inviting us to play the "let's find errors" game) and implicitly (by ridiculing others for making errors).

    Sometimes I also offer correction, even when there's no clarity issue involved, when the person I'm correcting is a friend who I'm pretty sure will take the correction in the helpful spirit intended rather than as a put-down like most people do.
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  14. TopTop #10
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    Ahh, Dixon...I knew you'd come gunning for this one.
    Only because you asked for it—in more ways than one.

    Would you please refresh us as to the difference between the hyphen and the dash?
    Here's a good overview:
    http://cutewriting.blogspot.com/2008...nd-hyphen.html
    I've just recently become aware that it's more complicated now than it was when I learned the rules, in the typewriter era. Now, in the computer era, there are two types of dashes (three including the hyphen). And the authorities don't always agree on some of the details of the rules.

    I have embarrassed myself in the past by not keeping up with changes in the rules, such as by insisting, in an editing job, that a sentence should be followed by two spaces. Apparently one space is now standard, for some reason having to do with computers. But I still say two spaces makes more sense! Harrumph! :negative:

    As for the italicization of the PD, I'm sorry but that's a bit too anal and picayune even for me.
    No more so than the errors of others that you complain about.

    Thanks for the learning moment.
    Believe me; it was my pleasure.

    Next time I need a proof reader you're hired.
    Promises, promises. I'd say you need one right now. The numerous errors in your posts in this thread would be excusable in another context, but in a thread you created to complain about people's errors...?

    Seriously, I'm don't intend to be a school marm on this issue. I have no ruler to slap knuckles with...
    You seemed quite happy to slap knuckles until yours started getting slapped.

    ...I only ask that we review what we've written before we post...I reviewed my post to the limits of my knowledge...
    How do you know that the people you criticize didn't do the same?

    The apostrophe thing, we are truly brothers on that one. No doubt they're, their, and there send you right up the frickin wall as well.
    Come on, you must have some great and funny examples to share on this subject. Give us a laugh won't you?
    You mean on the subject of apostrophizin' errors? Okay, we can start with your leaving the apostrophe off "frickin'", which is a contraction of "fricking". But I wouldn't call that funny so much as ironic.

    It will help diffuse my cranky moment
    I'm not sure I can be very helpful with that. Have you tried medication?
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  15. TopTop #11
    Sue
    Guest

    Re: Occupy the language

    I think you mean to say "A sign whose grammatical error changed its meaning entirely...". Respectfully submitted.
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  17. TopTop #12
    Sara S's Avatar
    Sara S
    Auntie Wacco

    Re: Occupy the language

    Dixon, you aren't being accurate when you say that Cal was "asking" for your laser-scalpel surgery

    "by ridiculing others for making errors"

    I don't think. He was expressing a mild wine-fueled (which he immediately admitted and apologized for) disgust at what he saw as a laziness in an intelligent fellow's post. My take on it.

    Sara

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Right you are, Sara.

    I didn't mention this in my last email—it didn't seem necessary in that context—but there are a couple of other situations in which I correct people's errors even if they don't impact the clarity. One is when I'm doing a proofreading or editing job, of course. Another is when someone is asking for it. In this case, Cal was "asking for it" both explicitly (by inviting us to play the "let's find errors" game) and implicitly (by ridiculing others for making errors).

    Sometimes I also offer correction, even when there's no clarity issue involved, when the person I'm correcting is a friend who I'm pretty sure will take the correction in the helpful spirit intended rather than as a put-down like most people do.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-27-2012 at 05:35 PM.
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  18. TopTop #13
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Sara S wrote: View Post
    Dixon, you aren't being accurate when you say that Cal was "asking" for your laser-scalpel surgery "by ridiculing others for making errors"
    I don't think. He was expressing a mild wine-fueled (which he immediately admitted and apologized for) disgust at what he saw as a laziness in an intelligent fellow's post. My take on it.
    We differ on that, Sara. I stand by everything I said.

    One more thing: I don't see how it's at all relevant to mention that his needling of others was "wine-fueled". Do you mean to imply that that means he's not responsible for his behavior? I hope not; that would be alcoholic thinking.
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  19. TopTop #14
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    OK you two, cut it out. I can speak for myself Sara. Dixon, I meant absolutely no ridicule to the gentleman whatsoever. It was never mean-spirited, I was just frustrated. He was a flashpoint in an ongoing situation I had. I knew you'd get involved because I've been reading the digest for a while now and I knew that you consider the mechanics of language to be your turf. I don't really care if you want to keep needling me, it doesn't land anywhere vital. It is a reflection of you at this point. I owned up to my little mistake of form and brought it over here to encourage like-minded folks to discuss it freely. I offer no poison to this community. I never claimed to be a high scholar or professional writer. I think I apologized and worked to turn it into a positive. That is responsible. Now, pull your panties out of your crack and be nice or I'll tell everyone what size bra you wear...
    Your Bro,
    Cal

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    We differ on that, Sara. I stand by everything I said.

    One more thing: I don't see how it's at all relevant to mention that his needling of others was "wine-fueled". Do you mean to imply that that means he's not responsible for his behavior? I hope not; that would be alcoholic thinking.
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  21. TopTop #15
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    ...Now, pull your panties out of your crack and be nice...
    I never stopped being nice, Cal. My involvement in this thread was motivated mainly by feeling you were being a bit rough on people who make harmless errors in writing, so I gave you a taste of your own medicine, which you were certainly asking for. Calling what you did "ridicule" may not have been the most precisely accurate wording, so I'll retract that word if you're uncomfortable with it. Let's just say you got a bit snarky with people for making errors while you yourself made similar errors, so I got similarly snarky with you as a way of, hopefully, increasing your empathy for others who make minor errors. I was responding to what you call an expression of frustration, which came across to me as a bit mean-spirited and superior. Now let's put this tempest in a teapot behind us and be friends, eh?
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  22. TopTop #16
    Sara S's Avatar
    Sara S
    Auntie Wacco

    Re: Occupy the language

    Thanks, Cal; you said it better than I could.

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    OK you two, cut it out. I can speak for myself Sara. Dixon, I meant absolutely no ridicule to the gentleman whatsoever. It was never mean-spirited, I was just frustrated. He was a flashpoint in an ongoing situation I had. I knew you'd get involved because I've been reading the digest for a while now and I knew that you consider the mechanics of language to be your turf. I don't really care if you want to keep needling me, it doesn't land anywhere vital. It is a reflection of you at this point. I owned up to my little mistake of form and brought it over here to encourage like-minded folks to discuss it freely. I offer no poison to this community. I never claimed to be a high scholar or professional writer. I think I apologized and worked to turn it into a positive. That is responsible. Now, pull your panties out of your crack and be nice or I'll tell everyone what size bra you wear...
    Your Bro,
    Cal
    Last edited by Barry; 04-27-2012 at 05:36 PM.
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  23. TopTop #17
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Dalai Lama


    Warm-heartedness reinforces our self-confidence – giving us not a blind confidence, but a sense of confidence based on reason. When you have that you can act transparently, with nothing to hide! Likewise, if you are honest, the community will trust you. Trust brings friendship, as a result of which you can always feel happy. Whether you look to the right or the left, you will always be able to smile.

    Here's a case where I'm really not concerned about the dashes and spaces, even though I notice them...He's a Facebook pal 8>)

    Cal
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  25. TopTop #18
    Bird Watcher's Avatar
    Bird Watcher
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Ah, but single spaces between sentences are now the accepted style, ever since the advent of computer word-processing. Double spaces are only necessary in print with non-proportional type, such as generated by a typewriter.

    I love that, "...rivers of white." Beautiful!

    Quote patchen wrote: View Post
    I wonder what no-nothing writer and editor wrote and published the following. Surely not professionals! All those spaced em dashes! Oh, my! And single spaces between sentences. And no rivers of white. O, wondrous wordsmiths! Have at the scoundrels!
    Last edited by Barry; 04-28-2012 at 04:34 PM.
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  26. TopTop #19
    Sara S's Avatar
    Sara S
    Auntie Wacco

    Re: Occupy the language

    from delancyplace.com:

    In today's encore excerpt - certain grammatical "rules" that are widely viewed as
    correct come from the invalid application of grammatical rules from Classical Latin
    and Greek to the English language by British authors writing hundreds of years ago.
    Two such "rules"-which have been beautifully and routinely violated by writers from
    Shakespeare to Hemingway-are the prohibitions against split infinitives and ending
    a sentence with a preposition:

    "The first prohibition against the split infinitive occurs in an 1834 article by
    an author identified only as 'P.' After that, increasingly over the course of the
    nineteenth century, a 'rule' banning split infinitives began ricocheting from grammar
    book to grammar book, until every self-conscious English-speaker 'knew' that to
    put a word between 'to' and a verb in its infinitive was barbaric.

    "The split-infinitive rule may represent mindless prescriptivism's greatest height.
    It was foreign. (It was almost certainty based on the inability to split infinitives
    in Latin and Greek, since they consist of one word only.) It had been routinely
    violated by the great writers in English; one 1931 study found split infinitives
    in English literature from every century, beginning with the fourteenth-century
    epic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, through wrongdoers such as William Tyndale,
    Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe, John Donne, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel
    Johnson, Edmund Burke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and
    others.

    "Rewording split infinitives can introduce ambiguity: 'He failed entirely to comprehend
    it' can mean he failed entirely, or he comprehended, but not entirely. Only putting
    'entirely' between 'to' and 'comprehend' can convey clearly 'he comprehended most,
    but not all.' True, sentences can be reworded to work around the problem ('He failed
    to comprehend everything'), but there is no reason to do so. While many prescriptive
    rules falsely claim to improve readability and clarity, this one is worse, introducing
    a problem that wasn't there in the first place. Yet as split infinitives in fact
    became more common in nineteenth-century writing, condemnations of it grew equally
    strongly. The idea that 'rules' were more important than history, elegance, or actual
    practice ... held writers and speakers in terror of making them. ...

    "Why is it 'wrong' to end a sentence with a preposition? ... Who, upon seeing a
    cake in the office break room, says, 'For whom is this cake?' instead of 'Who's
    the cake for?' Where did this rule come from?

    "The answer will surprise even most English teachers: John Dryden, the seventeenth-century
    poet less well known as an early, influential stickler. In a 1672 essay, he criticized
    his literary predecessor Ben Jonson for writing 'The bodies that these souls were
    frightened from.' Why the prepositional bee in Dryden's syntactical bonnet? This
    pseudo-rule probably springs from the same source many others do: the classical
    languages. Dryden said he liked to compose in Latin and translate into English,
    as he valued the precision and clarity he believed Latin required of writers. The
    preposition-final construction is impossible in Latin. Hence: it is impossible in
    English. Confused by his logic? Linguists remain so to this day. But once Dryden
    proclaimed the rule, it made its way into the first generation of English usage
    books roughly a century later and thence into the minds of two hundred years of
    English teachers and copy editors.

    "The rule has no basis in clarity ('Who's that cake for?' is perfectly clear); history
    (it was made up from whole cloth); literary tradition (Shakespeare, Jane Austen,
    Samuel Johnson, Lord Byron, Henry Adams, Lewis Carroll, James Joyce, and dozens
    of other great writers have violated it); or purity (it isn't native to English
    but probably stolen from Latin; clause-final prepositions exist in English's cousin
    languages such as Danish and Icelandic). Many people know that the Dryden rule is
    nonsense. From the great usage-book writer Henry Fowler in the early twentieth century,
    usage experts began to caution readers to ignore it. The New York Times flouts it.
    The 'rule' should be put to death, but it may never be. Even those who know it is
    ridiculous observe it for fear of annoying others."

    Author: Robert Lane Greene
    Title: You Are What You Speak
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Date: Copyright 2011 by Robert Lane Greene
    Pages: 33-34, 24-25
    You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity
    by Robert Lane Greene by Delacorte Press
    Hardcover ~ Release Date: 2011-03-08



    Quote Bird Watcher wrote: View Post
    Ah, but single spaces between sentences are now the accepted style, ever since the advent of computer word-processing. Double spaces are only necessary in print with non-proportional type, such as generated by a typewriter.

    I love that, "...rivers of white." Beautiful!
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  28. TopTop #20
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    And I hate using words that are traditionally nouns as verbs, like "to impact" instead of " the impact of" There's a lot more that have become popular in the last few years but I'm too tired to think of them now.
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  30. TopTop #21
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    You mean like:
    We were dialoging
    It's a smarter way to office
    text me
    I Googled you
    Quit horsing around!
    I think we get used to them over time or they fade away with the technology or culture that brought them.

    Calvin: I like to verb words.
    Hobbes: What?
    Calvin: I take nouns and adjectives and use them as verbs. Remember when "access" was a thing? Now it's something you do. It got verbed. . . . Verbing weirds language.
    Hobbes: Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.


    Quote meherc wrote: View Post
    And I hate using words that are traditionally nouns as verbs, like "to impact" instead of " the impact of" There's a lot more that have become popular in the last few years but I'm too tired to think of them now.
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  32. TopTop #22
    "Mad" Miles
     

    Re: Occupy the language


    concern(ing). As in, "That is concerning."

    Which concerns me a great deal. And is a matter of concern.



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  34. TopTop #23
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote meherc wrote: View Post
    And I hate using words that are traditionally nouns as verbs, like "to impact" instead of " the impact of" There's a lot more that have become popular in the last few years but I'm too tired to think of them now.
    I myself have no problem at all with "verbing" nouns. It seems quite natural and often enhances clarity. In any case, that's how the language evolves. Note that the language has an officially endorsed, "correct" way of "nouning" verbs—the gerund, as in "I like fishing" or "She studied singing and dancing", so why not "verb" nouns? Of course, you're entitled to feel however you feel about it. I think most of us are bothered by something harmless, in language usage as well as other areas of life.
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  35. TopTop #24
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    That is true and it bothers me but not all that much. Not enough to even mention it ordinarily. It's just whirling around in my brain.

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    I myself have no problem at all with "verbing" nouns. It seems quite natural and often enhances clarity. In any case, that's how the language evolves. Note that the language has an officially endorsed, "correct" way of "nouning" verbs—the gerund, as in "I like fishing" or "She studied singing and dancing", so why not "verb" nouns? Of course, you're entitled to feel however you feel about it. I think most of us are bothered by something harmless, in language usage as well as other areas of life.
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  36. TopTop #25
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    That pretty much sums it up for me as well. it's inevitable.

    - This all started because I was bothered by someone who started a word with 3 Rs and used scrupulous instead of its opposite, unscrupulous, in the same post without noticing any of it...I was just calling for responsibility in communication. Now that we've been hijacked to the poetry section I'm done with this one. That's not what it was meant to be.

    PS- if I had had any idea how much more proofreading time this was going to cost me just to keep Dixon off my case I would have never said a thing... (but of course I'm better off for it)

    Cal

    Quote meherc wrote: View Post
    That is true and it bothers me but not all that much. Not enough to even mention it ordinarily. It's just whirling around in my brain.
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  37. TopTop #26
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    That's not what it was meant to be.
    What was it meant to be? What do you think is the appropriate category for it?

    I think it's gone on too long to be in General Community. I left a persistent link in GC.
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  38. TopTop #27
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Dixon, perhaps you could help me with something. I have a basic confusion over the use of semi-colons and I know they must be good for something. Your thoughts? -Cal
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  39. TopTop #28
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Barry, in retrospect I have decided this is a good place for it and also that it's probably a good idea that it exists at all. Where else could I complain that my spell check has decided that every corporate name MUST be capitalized?
    Cal

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    What was it meant to be? What do you think is the appropriate category for it?

    I think it's gone on too long to be in General Community. I left a persistent link in GC.
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  40. TopTop #29
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Grammer is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know about grammer is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and as inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. -Joan Didion
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  42. TopTop #30
    Bird Watcher's Avatar
    Bird Watcher
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    Dixon, perhaps you could help me with something. I have a basic confusion over the use of semi-colons and I know they must be good for something. Your thoughts? -Cal
    Pardon me not being Dixon here, but I'm a copy editor and love questions about punctuation. Semi-colons join two phrases that could grammatically stand alone as complete sentences, but for reasons that Joan Didion (and all of us) might not be able to explain, it's desirable to keep them together. -Pam
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  44. TopTop #31
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Thanks so much Pam, I only had a vague recollection of being told that it could be considered a stand-in for the the word "and" functionally.

    Quote Bird Watcher wrote: View Post
    Pardon me not being Dixon here, but I'm a copy editor and love questions about punctuation. Semi-colons join two phrases that could grammatically stand alone as complete sentences, but for reasons that Joan Didion (and all of us) might not be able to explain, it's desirable to keep them together. -Pam
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  45. TopTop #32
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    And I still love the rythymns of Joan Didion's words.

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    Grammer is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know about grammer is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and as inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. -Joan Didion
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  46. TopTop #33
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Bird Watcher wrote: View Post
    Ah, but single spaces between sentences are now the accepted style, ever since the advent of computer word-processing. Double spaces are only necessary in print with non-proportional type, such as generated by a typewriter.
    Hey, Bird Watcher (I'm a bit of a birdwatcher too), pardon my ignorance, but I've never really understood the reasoning behind the change in that rule. If I could impose on you with a question or two--
    What is the difference between the typewriter type and computer type that necessitates or justifies the change in that punctuation rule? I'm not necessarily against it, because I don't understand the reasoning behind it. I'm resistant to that change, because it seems sort of intuitively valid to increase the space between elements of language the "higher" you go (in terms of level of chunks of meaning). In other words, there's minimal space between letters in a word, then a bit more space ("one space") between words in a sentence, then there (should be) more space yet between sentences (two spaces), then more space (an indentation or even a skipped line) between paragraphs, then even more space between chapters. It seems to me that this logical progression of spacing helps us keep the material organized in our heads, at least on some subconscious level. Changing the rule to one space between sentences, instead of two, means the space between sentences is the same as that between words in a sentence, which kind of messes up the pattern. So if you could help me understand the reason why writing in the world of computers necessitates that change, I'd appreciate it.
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  47. TopTop #34
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Honestly, I have no idea who she is but I DID love this. Partly on it's own merits and also as a photographer I know she is spot-on.

    Quote meherc wrote: View Post
    And I still love the rythymns of Joan Didion's words.
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  48. TopTop #35
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Sara S wrote: View Post
    from delancyplace.com:
    In today's encore excerpt - certain grammatical "rules" that are widely viewed as
    correct come from the invalid application of grammatical rules from Classical Latin
    and Greek to the English language by British authors writing hundreds of years ago.
    Two such "rules"-which have been beautifully and routinely violated by writers from
    Shakespeare to Hemingway-are the prohibitions against split infinitives and ending
    a sentence with a preposition...
    Nice article, Sara. It gives two good examples of stupid "rules" that make no sense, except that these aren't really rules that real experts in the language endorse nowadays; they're pseudo-rules that people think are real ones. I've been happily violating these for years.
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  50. TopTop #36
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Well, I'm not bird watcher but I can tell you that typewriter spaces are a fixed width and computer generated spaces are proportional. Functionally this means that on a typewriter 3 spaces are exactly 3 times wider overall than 1. On a computer they get narrower as you pile them up and it becomes very difficult to get the effect you are talking about. I've never heard a good reason why and it usually seems like overkill to use a tab. My guess is it's in the encoding of blank space to conserve code and file size overall. This would have been really important in 1978 or 80 when 1 megabyte was considered enormous... -Cal


    Dixon said:
    So if you could help me understand the reason why writing in the world of computers necessitates that change, I'd appreciate it.[/QUOTE]
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  52. TopTop #37
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    Dixon, perhaps you could help me with something. I have a basic confusion over the use of semi-colons and I know they must be good for something. Your thoughts? -Cal
    Well, I'm flattered that you ask me, but really you're better off googling these things; you'll get more up-to-date, authoritative advice.

    But since you ask, here's the deal as I understand it: Semicolons are for those situations in which you need something stronger than a comma but weaker than a period. So if you have two independent clauses (which means they could each stand alone as a sentence) and they're closely enough related that you want to connect them rather than making them separate sentences, you could join them with a comma and a conjunction (but, and, or, etc.), or, if you think it'd sound better, you could join them with a semicolon, which is strong enough that it doesn't require a conjunction along with it. Example: "Believe me; it was my pleasure." Joining two independent clauses with a mere comma is called a "comma splice", and it's considered an error, which will reflect poorly on you—in formal writing, anyway.

    The other main use for semicolons is to separate the items in a list. Usually a comma is used for that, but if any of the listed items has an internal comma, you need to separate them with semicolons to avoid confusion. Example: "We're going to visit Kalamazoo, Michigan; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Santa Barbara, California; and Fayetteville, Arkansas."

    The only other use for a semicolon that I can think of offhand is that sometimes people use it after a salutation in a letter, as in "Dear Mr. Foon;", but that sort of usage varies a lot, and I don't know exactly what the "powers that be" currently recommend in those situations.

    I hope that's helpful. There may be other, less common uses for semicolons that you'll find if you google.
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  54. TopTop #38
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Bird Watcher wrote: View Post
    Pardon me not being Dixon here...
    LOL! Actually, I have to pardon myself for being Dixon a lot, or, more accurately, resist people's insistence that I pardon myself for being Dixon!
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  56. TopTop #39
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Ah, but "Occupy the Language" itself has such a lovely lilt and resonance.

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    BTW, the genesis of the phrase "Occupy the language" was my internal response to a sign on the occupy Sebastopol tent- A sign who's (?) grammatical error changed it's meaning entirely from what was intended. Did anyone else see that sign? It involved God and the possessive apostrophe...All those signs are gone now, I wish I could remember exactly what it said.
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  58. TopTop #40
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    I believe the more accepted use would be "Dear Mr. Foon:" - full not semi.

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Well, I'm flattered that you ask me, but really you're better off googling these things; you'll get more up-to-date, authoritative advice.

    But since you ask, here's the deal as I understand it: Semicolons are for those situations in which you need something stronger than a comma but weaker than a period. So if you have two independent clauses (which means they could each stand alone as a sentence) and they're closely enough related that you want to connect them rather than making them separate sentences, you could join them with a comma and a conjunction (but, and, or, etc.), or, if you think it'd sound better, you could join them with a semicolon, which is strong enough that it doesn't require a conjunction along with it. Example: "Believe me; it was my pleasure." Joining two independent clauses with a mere comma is called a "comma splice", and it's considered an error, which will reflect poorly on you—in formal writing, anyway.

    The other main use for semicolons is to separate the items in a list. Usually a comma is used for that, but if any of the listed items has an internal comma, you need to separate them with semicolons to avoid confusion. Example: "We're going to visit Kalamazoo, Michigan; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Santa Barbara, California; and Fayetteville, Arkansas."

    The only other use for a semicolon that I can think of offhand is that sometimes people use it after a salutation in a letter, as in "Dear Mr. Foon;", but that sort of usage varies a lot, and I don't know exactly what the "powers that be" currently recommend in those situations.

    I hope that's helpful. There may be other, less common uses for semicolons that you'll find if you google.
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  59. TopTop #41
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Ahhhh, this is Mr Foon Speaking...LOL..I'm liking that.

    Dixon I really like the list separator usage. That one is new and helpful. - Cal i. Foon

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Well, I'm flattered that you ask me, but really you're better off googling these things; you'll get more up-to-date, authoritative advice.

    But since you ask, here's the deal as I understand it: Semicolons are for those situations in which you need something stronger than a comma but weaker than a period. So if you have two independent clauses (which means they...

    The other main use for semicolons is to separate the items in a list. Usually a comma is used for that, but if any of the listed items has an internal comma, you need to separate them with semicolons to avoid confusion. Example: "We're going to visit Kalamazoo, Michigan; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Santa Barbara, California; and Fayetteville, Arkansas."

    The only other use for a semicolon that I can think of offhand is that sometimes people use it after a salutation in a letter, as in "Dear Mr. Foon;", but that sort of usage varies a lot, and I don't know exactly what the "powers that be" currently recommend in those situations.

    I hope that's helpful. There may be other, less common uses for semicolons that you'll find if you google.
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  61. TopTop #42
    Bird Watcher's Avatar
    Bird Watcher
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    Honestly, I have no idea who she is but I DID love this. Partly on it's own merits and also as a photographer I know she is spot-on.
    Didion is (was? not sure she's still publishing) an incredible essayist and novelist who wrote about Western American culture with excruciating objectivity. Slouching Towards Bethlehem or The White Album are great books with which to explore her work. She was a UC Berkeley alum and married the poet John Gregory Dunne. I read a profile about her in The Atlantic some months ago. It was not completely flattering, but genius is often accompanied by social dysfunction.
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  63. TopTop #43
    Bird Watcher's Avatar
    Bird Watcher
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Hey, Bird Watcher (I'm a bit of a birdwatcher too), pardon my ignorance, but I've never really understood the reasoning behind the change in that rule. If I could impose on you with a question or two--
    What is the difference between the typewriter type and computer type that necessitates or justifies the change in that punctuation rule? I'm not necessarily against it, because I don't understand the reasoning behind it. I'm resistant to that change, because it seems sort of intuitively valid to increase the space between elements of language the "higher" you go (in terms of level of chunks of meaning). In other words, there's minimal space between letters in a word, then a bit more space ("one space") between words in a sentence, then there (should be) more space yet between sentences (two spaces), then more space (an indentation or even a skipped line) between paragraphs, then even more space between chapters. It seems to me that this logical progression of spacing helps us keep the material organized in our heads, at least on some subconscious level. Changing the rule to one space between sentences, instead of two, means the space between sentences is the same as that between words in a sentence, which kind of messes up the pattern. So if you could help me understand the reason why writing in the world of computers necessitates that change, I'd appreciate it.
    Mr. 'Foon' gets as close as I can with the explanation. All I ever heard was about the proportional spacing of fonts vs. the mono-space of leaded type. But you're right--logic does not prevail in this case! Perhaps a little research is in order. I'll weigh in again if I find anything.
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  65. TopTop #44
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Is anything truly what it was meant to be?

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    What was it meant to be? What do you think is the appropriate category for it?

    I think it's gone on too long to be in General Community. I left a persistent link in GC.
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  67. TopTop #45
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    As I look around me I would have to say no...And yes

    Quote meherc wrote: View Post
    Is anything truly what it was meant to be?
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  68. TopTop #46
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    She wrote a book about the deaths of her husband and daughter not too long ago so she's still writing.


    Quote Bird Watcher wrote: View Post
    Didion is (was? not sure she's still publishing) an incredible essayist and novelist who wrote about Western American culture with excruciating objectivity. Slouching Towards Bethlehem or The White Album are great books with which to explore her work. She was a UC Berkeley alum and married the poet John Gregory Dunne. I read a profile about her in The Atlantic some months ago. It was not completely flattering, but genius is often accompanied by social dysfunction.
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  69. TopTop #47
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Exactly.

    Quote Califoon wrote: View Post
    As I look around me I would have to say no...And yes
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  70. TopTop #48
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Supporting Member

    Re: Occupy the language

    Patchen, in this case they're not considered comma splices because what she has here is a list of items (sensory impressions); thus it's appropriate to divide them with commas even though all the items in the list happen to be phrased as independent clauses.

    Even if it were a punctuation error, so what? Writing fiction is different from writing formally, and often the needs of the writing require "bad" grammar, "wrong" punctuation, or misspelling to create the desired effect.

    Having said all that, I'll confess that I'm a bit puzzled as to the point of your post, Patchen.

    Quote patchen wrote: View Post
    “His head turns sideways, his hair rests in his own vomit, the dog barks, Walter roars, and bells peal out across the water.”

    Who does she think she is, writing like that, in the opening pages, no less?

    All those comma splices.

    She is Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall, winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

    Also, essayist and reviewer for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books.
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  71. TopTop #49
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    I think it's a rather wry look at the subject matter and I appreciate it. -Cal

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    Patchen, in this case they're not considered comma splices because what she has here is a list of items (sensory impressions); thus it's appropriate to divide them with commas even though all the items in the list happen to be phrased as independent clauses.

    Even if it were a punctuation error, so what? Writing fiction is different from writing formally, and often the needs of the writing require "bad" grammar, "wrong" punctuation, or misspelling to create the desired effect.

    Having said all that, I'll confess that I'm a bit puzzled as to the point of your post, Patchen.
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  73. TopTop #50
    Califoon's Avatar
    Califoon
     

    Re: Occupy the language

    Sleepers Awake! 8>o

    Quote patchen wrote: View Post
    i came, i saw, he roared, i barked.

    Impression. Not.
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