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  #31  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:28 PM
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The goal in language isn't efficiency; it's communication. Proper punctuation and sentence structure are important tools for communication. (The latter is a style concern, which is probably outside the scope of this thread, but it's still really important!)

Of course, using comma splices is probably not going to hinder communication.

As a programmer, I have prescriptivist leanings, since a missing comma or misspelled word means your entire program doesn't work.
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  #32  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:37 PM
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Why isn't sentence structure a concern for this thread? For it communication punctuation important is than more.
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  #33  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
Why isn't sentence structure a concern for this thread? For it communication punctuation important is than more.
There's a couple places where bad sentence structure is grammar related (I think dangling modifiers is one example of this), but for the most part native speakers of English are good at avoiding major mistakes of sentence structure (like, say, your last sentence).
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  #34  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:58 PM
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I don't disagree. That doesn't mean that sentence structure isn't important to the grammar of a language or interesting to talk about.

Unless you mean that this thread is mostly for pointing out common errors and that those don't really apply to sentence structure. In which case: okay.
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  #35  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:27 PM
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saying "you're doing it wrong" is much less interesting then "why are you doing it"
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  #36  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:35 PM
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Just don't use the wrong word and we'll get along fine. (A misplaced apostrophe makes it a different word.) (If you intentionally misuse a word for rhetorical purposes, that counts as the right word for your purpose, but having such a purpose may indicate that you are a ne'er-do-well.)

Clarity is usually the highest priority of written communication. Certain stylistic rules can eliminate some sources of ambiguity but not others; to avoid this problem, refrain from introducing the unresolvable ambiguity in the first place.
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  #37  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
As a programmer, I have prescriptivist leanings, since a missing comma or misspelled word means your entire program doesn't work.
It's a good thing human reading comprehension doesn't go haywire if the grammar in written communication sucks ass. The same obviously cannot be said for computers... which are stupid.
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  #38  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
(Sorry, I'm taking Intro to Linguistics this year and its fucking fascinating and I can't stop thinking about it.)
The one Ling class I took in college was one endless WHOOOOOOAAAAAA!! If I were better about planning my education I probably would have made a minor out of it.
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  #39  
Old 02-12-2013, 08:28 PM
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Yeah, I'm super tempted to take it as a minor, but I'm graduating next year so I don't think it would work. I'll just do a bunch of reading about linguistics, I guess.

But seriously, it's so awesome. We just did phonetics and are moving onto phonology and it's super cool. Articulatory descriptions! Phonemes! Allophones! It's got everything!
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  #40  
Old 02-15-2013, 02:46 PM
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The funniest thing about the Oxford comma is that the University of Oxford isn't actually a big fan of it.

Sure, they'll let you if it's necessary for disambiguation, but if it's optional whether or not you need one they prefer that you leave it out. Americans like it a lot more than the English, by and large.
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  #41  
Old 02-16-2013, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
Just don't use the wrong word and we'll get along fine. (A misplaced apostrophe makes it a different word.) (If you intentionally misuse a word for rhetorical purposes, that counts as the right word for your purpose, but having such a purpose may indicate that you are a ne'er-do-well.)
HES ONTO ME. fugga cqpsban.
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  #42  
Old 02-17-2013, 04:09 PM
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Ever since I learned the distinction between less and fewer it really bugs me when people do it wrong, which is all the time.
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  #43  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:27 AM
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Ever since I learned the distinction between less and fewer it really bugs me when people do it wrong, which is all the time.
If you spent fewer time thinking about it, you'd get into less arguments about it.
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  #44  
Old 02-18-2013, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanagi View Post
His, her, its - Possessive. No apostrophe.
He's, she's, it's - Contractions of he is, she is, it is. Apostrophe.
But it's everywhere!
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Maybe some English professors could clarify it? Is it ever okay to use apostrophes to be possessive?
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  #45  
Old 02-18-2013, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost from Spelunker View Post
But it's everywhere!
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Yoshi's Island
Yoshi's Cookie
Ripto's Rage!
Alligator's Sword


Maybe some English professors could clarify it? Is it ever okay to use apostrophes to be possessive?
No, no, no. You want to talk about ubiquitous errors? How about sentences that start with "I wonder" and end with a question mark? It's significantly more common to find the question mark (which is incorrect) than any other terminal punctuation.

I wonder if this sentence is a question?
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  #46  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:19 PM
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OK, grammar pros, here's three questions: and no, using the singular "here's" for the plural "three questions" because of slang wasn't one of them
  • First, an easy one: the universally-accepted possessive for words ending in "S" is reduced to merely an apostrophe, instead of apostrophe-s. As in, "A singular word's possessive is different from several words' possessive." But how about words that end in "Z"?
  • Medium difficulty (if what I read is true): see that "universally-accepted" above? Explain the hyphen use when the expression is an adjective ("the universally-accepted possessive is[...]") as opposed to an adverb ("the possessive is universally accepted.")
  • Now a brain-teaser, since I just used this idiom in another thread:

"For all it's worth" --> For all the worth that it represents.
"For all its worth" --> For all the worth inherent in it.
Which one is it? They have the same fundamental meaning, but only one can be correct grammar. A quick Google shows support for both.
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  #47  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:25 PM
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Should we consider the word pants plural or singular?
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  #48  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
Which one is it? They have the same fundamental meaning, but only one can be correct grammar.
Why can only one be correct?
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  #49  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Should we consider the word pants plural or singular?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_noun

(Not the same thing, I know. "Pants" and "scissors" are nonetheless plural nouns.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
  • First, an easy one: the universally-accepted possessive for words ending in "S" is reduced to merely an apostrophe, instead of apostrophe-s. As in, "A singular word's possessive is different from several words' possessive." But how about words that end in "Z"?
If a word is not plural, then apostrophe + S is the correct possessive form. For example: Jesus's, Odysseus's.

Quote:
  • Medium difficulty (if what I read is true): see that "universally-accepted" above? Explain the hyphen use when the expression is an adjective ("the universally-accepted possessive is[...]") as opposed to an adverb ("the possessive is universally accepted.")
If you can switch the order of the two words, then the hyphen is unnecessary. Incidentally, hyphenating two words results in a single word: "universally-accepted" is one word, not two.

Quote:
  • Now a brain-teaser, since I just used this idiom in another thread:

"For all it's worth" --> For all the worth that it represents.
"For all its worth" --> For all the worth inherent in it.
Which one is it? They have the same fundamental meaning, but only one can be correct grammar. A quick Google shows support for both.
The former. The more commonly used saying is "For what it's worth," which doesn't make sense with the possessive.

That said, "for all its worth" is not inherently grammatically incorrect, though it shouldn't be used in the same context as "for all it's worth."
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  #50  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:39 PM
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Adverbs that end in "ly" don't get hyphenated - at least, as an editor, that's what I've always been taught. I think it's because the "ly" is a sort of stand-in hyphen, but I can't give you any logical explanation beyond that.
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  #51  
Old 02-18-2013, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taosterman View Post
Adverbs that end in "ly" don't get hyphenated - at least, as an editor, that's what I've always been taught. I think it's because the "ly" is a sort of stand-in hyphen, but I can't give you any logical explanation beyond that.
The English language has been trending away from hyphens on the whole. Older literature will have hyphens in lots of places that look odd to the modern reader; meanwhile, modern words and phrases are seeing their hyphens dropped at the same time ("email" instead of "e-mail"). There's no hard-and-fast rule about hyphenation.
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  #52  
Old 02-18-2013, 03:11 PM
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Yeah, hyphen rules are really loose, mainly because they don't serve a real purpose, other than a bit of disambiguation. A compound word is a compound word, regardless of how you represent it in spelling. Redcoat, White Paper and Red-winged blackbird are all compounds, never mind the fact that they use spaces and hyphens differently.
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  #53  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost from Spelunker View Post
But it's everywhere!
Shantae: Risky's Revenge
Yoshi's Island
Yoshi's Cookie
Ripto's Rage!
Alligator's Sword


Maybe some English professors could clarify it? Is it ever okay to use apostrophes to be possessive?
Can't tell if serious, so just to be safe, notice how none of those words are pronouns, they're just regular nouns.
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  #54  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taosterman View Post
Adverbs that end in "ly" don't get hyphenated - at least, as an editor, that's what I've always been taught. I think it's because the "ly" is a sort of stand-in hyphen, but I can't give you any logical explanation beyond that.
You only hyphenate compound adjectives. The way I remember it is "blue-green eyes." You don't hyphenate ANY adverb. At least I'm pretty sure that's the rule.
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  #55  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:41 PM
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What's the possessive form of a word that is pluralized not with S but with Z, or some other whimsical/radical/obnoxious deviation both from regularity and irregularity?
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  #56  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
What's the possessive form of a word that is pluralized not with S but with Z, or some other whimsical/radical/obnoxious deviation both from regularity and irregularity?
if the word doesn't end in s, use 's

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  #57  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady View Post
Can't tell if serious, so just to be safe, notice how none of those words are pronouns, they're just regular nouns.
Oh, I honestly didn't understand that that was the point of the list. Yeah, in case you're not a native English speaker, the standard case is to use apostrophe+s for possessives. "Its" is the exception that confuses everyone.
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  #58  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Oh, I honestly didn't understand that that was the point of the list. Yeah, in case you're not a native English speaker, the standard case is to use apostrophe+s for possessives. "Its" is the exception that confuses everyone.
Yeah, pronouns are fucked up.

You have he and his, she and her, it and its, they and their.
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  #59  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
Yeah, I'm super tempted to take it as a minor, but I'm graduating next year so I don't think it would work. I'll just do a bunch of reading about linguistics, I guess.

But seriously, it's so awesome. We just did phonetics and are moving onto phonology and it's super cool. Articulatory descriptions! Phonemes! Allophones! It's got everything!
Linguistic is indeed very fascinating and worth learning about. Although that doesn't mean I fully enjoy the experience; I really suck at Phonology and Morphology, and hate them as a result. Did have a better time with Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics, though. Most of the time, I'm simply much more interested in contextual use aspect of language instead of its physical structure.

Anyway, a question: is there ever a consensus on the application of the word "deceptively"? Does "deceptively ugly" really mean "actually ugly but looks beautiful" or "actually beautiful but looks ugly"? Or should we just avoid the use of that word altogether?

There was once an author whose book I had to translate and who is so freaking in love with that word...which would not be a problem if he used it in a consistent and unambiguous manner. Used to drive me crazy.
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  #60  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Oh, I honestly didn't understand that that was the point of the list. Yeah, in case you're not a native English speaker, the standard case is to use apostrophe+s for possessives. "Its" is the exception that confuses everyone.
I've seen "Hi's" and "her's" surprisingly often from native speakers, sadly. I used to be guilty of "who's" instead of "whose" until sometime during high school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
Anyway, a question: is there ever a consensus on the application of the word "deceptively"? Does "deceptively ugly" really mean "actually ugly but looks beautiful" or "actually beautiful but looks ugly"? Or should we just avoid the use of that word altogether?

There was once an author whose book I had to translate and who is so freaking in love with that word...which would not be a problem if he used it in a consistent and unambiguous manner. Used to drive me crazy.
I always see "deceptively [x]" used in sense of "it only looks [x] as a deception; its true nature is [Y]."

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Originally Posted by McClain View Post
You only hyphenate compound adjectives. The way I remember it is "blue-green eyes." You don't hyphenate ANY adverb. At least I'm pretty sure that's the rule.
Yah, that's just plain common sense. Hyphenating adverbs just... wouldn't work. At all. My bewilderment comes from being taught to hyphenate compound adjectives, and reading them that way ALL THE TIME in professionally-edited works (heh,) and yet seeing less formal texts ignore this "rule."

Knowing that the trend is to drop hyphenation altogether clears things up for me.
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