Grammar and spelling

Posted by minesayn 4 years, 2 months ago to Culture
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While I do not always write grammatically correct and have the occasional spelling error or typo, it still bothers me to see it in articles and posts. The question is this: does it bother others, and if so, does it lower your opinion of the author and the subject at hand?


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  • Posted by rtpetrick 4 years, 2 months ago
    "....it still bothers me...."
    ME TOO!
    "....does it bother others, and if so, does it lower your opinion....."
    YES and YES!
    If the author can't take the time to correct his spelling and grammar, he shows little respect for the language in which he writes....and consequently, the intended reader.
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  • Posted by dukem 4 years, 2 months ago
    In junior high school back in the dark ages, I realized I was weird and "special" when I saw that diagramming sentences was the most fun I had ever had. Still is, except now I put reading Galt's Gulch above other types of fun. I seem to have the ability to spot errors in written articles at "flyover" levels and wish there were significant remuneration available for that skill. Of course, I'm blind to my own writing. I guess that's a good working definition of "justice."
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    • Posted by editormichael 4 years, 2 months ago
      Generally one does not immediately catch one's own errors. When we re-read what we've written, we see what is supposed to be there, not necessarily what actually is.
      That's why The Good Lord gave you all me, to be your editor.
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 4 years, 2 months ago
    Absolutely agree! I have a major in English, and I feel grammar matters. I am being treated for macular degeneration in one eye, so my glasses are never quite right, leading to some weird results. However, I do try to clean it all up. What is apparent is how far the degeneration of English has come, especially on TV. From dayiome to sitcom, no one seems to know that a gerund (-ing form of the verb) takes the possessive ( ie: "my" rather than "me"). It is almost never used correctly on TV. With the use of the little head figures on phones and tablets, people are also using a greatly diminished variety of word choices. We are returning to cave drawing culture. One need only turn on a black and white movie from the 40s, to see that people used far more words choices, and used correct grammar. It delights me to see actors of old actually more educated in English than today's college grads! Actually, it saddens me, but snowflakes think they are so smart.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      You reminded me on of my biggest pet peeves. The use of ME as the subject, rather than I (and generally the person says it first in a compound subject like ME and Jennifer are going to the library.) All you have to do is listen to news commentators and you can hear it. Because of this, more people are following their example. How sad.
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      • Posted by $ Stormi 4 years, 2 months ago
        You are right, the newscasters do not know their English. Neither do teachers. When our daughter was in school, I saw a big display in the classroom, demonstrating for the kids similes and metaphors. Sadly, they were reversed, leaving me to find a polite way to inform the teacher of her error! To me, we are using words as if we have only eight colors with which to paint a picture. ears ago, we had a multitude of colors (words) with which to paint. I think I became aware of the similarity while reading Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward Angel" years ago. Each word seems to express a specific emotion which no similar word would quite have expressed in the same way..
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        • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
          And yet, Stormi, each person reading Wolfe or any other author would have a different emotional response to those words?

          Wasn't it Thomas Wolfe who set out to write the most words of any author in history?
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          • Posted by $ Stormi 4 years, 2 months ago
            And Sartre, said to write, but not overwrite. The reader should finish the task. However, Wolfe seemed to know that not all adjectives are created equal, and to use the right one, conveyed the right picture. Too many authors just throw out words, whatever is easy. I remember the class where "Look Homeward Angel" was the subject, many in the class hated his wordiness, they were used to easy words, many did not even know some words he used. Like many do not go for "AS", as it too is quite literate and, as with Wolfe, quite long. No mater how mnany words an author uses, interpreting between the lines is a given, but precise language does not stop us from completing the task as reader. Laziness is more of a danger, by both writers and readers.
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            • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
              I started reading Wolfe years ago, I think it was "You Can't Go Home Again.' It's where I first heard the word "inchoate"...haven't been able to use it yet in a meaningful conversation, though.
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        • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
          I was struck by the same thing when I read Toni Morrison and Saul Bellow. I did not "like" either story and did not read much, but it was obvious to me that every word had to be there and no other word would do. I was humbled.

          Stormi wrote: "I think I became aware of the similarity while reading Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward Angel" years ago. Each word seems to express a specific emotion which no similar word would quite have expressed in the same way."
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 2 months ago
      What irritates me is error coming from overcor-
      rection. For instance, the use of the nominative
      where the objective should be used, as in, "You
      have to listen to Ed and I." I don't so much mind
      honestly ignorant bad grammar, as in "Ain't got none." But ignorance masquerading as erudition is irritating.
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      • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
        What did you mean by "...error coming from overcorrection"? That example seems a pretty straight forward error to me, not one due to overcorrection.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 2 months ago
          I think it is due to overcorrection. I think it comes
          from a mistaken notion that Objective case is al-
          ways bad, and Nominative is always good, from
          years of being corrected for using the objective
          pronouns where they don't properly go; the person has gotten the notion that the pronoun
          should always be used in the nominative case.
          (So maybe parents and teachers were not to
          blame for correcting him for saying "me and so-
          and-so" as the subject of the sentence; but the
          person has gotten the mistaken notion that
          nominative is always correct. So maybe I should
          not have said "overcorrection" so much as the
          person mistakenly applying the rule. Or "over-
          correcting" himself).
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  • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 2 months ago
    Answer: Yes and yes. One must keep in mind language is first a tool of thought and secondarily a tool of communication. If one does not have a command of the language, one does not have a fully functioning cognitive (thinking) ability.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
    Overall, it does not matter much. My feeling is that I may not agree with someone who writes well, but more often do not agree with those who do not. I believe that the rules of language define thought. People who do not write well tend not to think well.

    However, English orthography is a bitch. The spellchecker is a godsend.

    Regarding grammar, as English evolved, we shed many rules, but kept many archaisms that we accept without question.

    1 hand 2 hands
    1 man 2 men
    1 deer 2 deer
    1 ox 2 oxen

    Writing an email, I said, "I will recommend to my wife that she call you." Then I stopped. The grammar is correct, but will sound wrong to anyone who does not understand the grammar.

    Far more common - and annoying to me -is the use of the prepositional object as the subject of a sentence. "A group of men are going...." However, it is so common that it would not affect my opinion of a post placed here.

    Also, online, even I write off-the-cuff. I do read and edit my posts within the 15-minute window. And I was criticized once for changing my statements while that other person was replying. But, mostly, online writing is informal. Because we all make mistakes, I am bothered only by the most egregious cases.

    (I insist to my wife at tax time that the W-2s prove that I am a professional writer. Obviously, I care about grammar, spelling, and syntax. There was one time, my boss made me undo several pages back to the original (wrong) state. I did it. But I came home angry. I took down a dictionary and showed my wife the definition of hack:
    "a writer who works for pay without regard for personal or professional standards." She smiled and said, "That's OK, honey, most writers have to quit their jobs to become hacks." )
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    • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
      Wouldn't that be "A group of men is going..."? But you seem to be saying that it should just be "Men are going...

      There's a word for that, using less to get more. Streamlining comes close but I think there's a better world, I mean word.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
        Right. "A group of men is going." I cited "A group of men are going" as an example of the common error. I did not mean anything else.

        In Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Ayn Rand explains that the function of concepts is to allow us to subsume an unlimited number of examples under one word. Perhaps that is your "less is more" intention.

        I caution against Orwellian Newspeak in which fewer and fewer words are employed. English enjoys a vocabulary of almost 1 million words. We cite Aristotle with gay abandon, but his world was described in about 50,000 words.

        The Greeks did invent new words for new ideas. "Cosmopolitan" - a citizen of the world, not just one city - is an example. But it is put together from smaller words in their own language.

        In modern English, if you let your kids camp out in the back yard, they might build a wigwam behind the verandah, two "Indian" words that have enriched our language and given us more power of thought.

        The primary use of language is to enable thinking. Communication with others is a secondary use.
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        • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
          I believe communication and reasoning evolved together, the evolution of each dependent on the other. Several months ago, as I was reading---perusing, is a more adequate word---the dictionary, (which I do occasionally) I realized that the concept of a past event or action came later in the development of a language. For instance, in the case of the very first words, the past tense seems unrelated to the present tense. The word go, is used in the present as "I go", but its past tense is "I went". In the more evolved words, the past tense is related in some ways to the present tense of the action. "I love", "I loved". To me that signifies that early man separated an action in the past from that same action in the present. You will find that in small children as well. And also, early verb forms for existence are different for the first, second and third persons. "I am", "You are", "He is". This seems to be true in every language, though I don't know that for sure. In Latin, "Sum", "Es", "Est".
          Well, with that (preceding) paragraph, I have managed to detach from the original intent of your comment. I think.

          I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say "Orwellian Newspeak".

          The enormous number of words (vocabulary) in the English language is due to the constant influx of new cultures and languages into that small island.

          I had three years of Latin in high school---figured it would help when I studied anatomy and medicine in Vet School, and was a member of Junior Classical League. It was there I became enamored of word derivation. For example, the word enthralled is derived from I believe Old Norse, "thrall" meaning slave.
          Another interesting result of the study of language is its aid in the determination of migration/invasion patterns of the various peoples of the world. Nowadays of course DNA studies are also being used.

          Do you know what the word is that I am referring to? Streamline is close, but is not the word I'm looking for.
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 2 months ago
            I suspect that "went" was originally the past tense
            of "wend" as in "Wend your ways."
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            • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
              I'm getting silly. And if you want to know why, I just saw this story "The FBI Just Released a Comprehensive List of the Outlandish Secret Code Names Used by Russian Hackers" on msn news. With as straight a face as I could muster, I commented:

              "Yep, Putin released these silly code names just so he (and the rest of the world) could watch the American Liberal Chicken Littles get their panties all in a wad! Am I right?"
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              • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
                And then I got somewhat carried away...

                Had to add that I likened this story to "The Russkies stole outdated malware from the Ukes in order to penetrate the electric grid in Vermont."

                And I still wasn't through. Quoted Mark Twain:
                "...the Syrian camel choked on the gentlest fact I ever laid before a trusting public."
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          • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
            I do not know what word you are fishing for. If it has not come to you yet, sleep on it again, and let us know in the morning.

            As for the history of thought as expressed in language etymologies, it would be helpful to look past the Indo-Europeans, certainly beyond English and Latin, though knowing Latin is extremely helpful. (I am sure that your is far superior to mine.) I grew up with Hungarian, a non-Indo-European language. I also had two semesters of Japanese in college. I do agree with your theory about tense and time. In Turkish, all of the verbs are regular, except the verb "to be." You may be on to something there...
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        • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
          Sorry for the quantity of material in this brain dump addressed to both MikeMarotta and Seer. I’m covering a lot of diverse points in your discussions. Please feel free to jump on me if you think I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying.

          I assume that Seer’s “streamlining” is a call to avoid wordiness. Consider these: concise, succinct, brief, terse. Review Shakespeare’s take on the subject in Hamlet, Act II, Scene II. Polonius rambles on and on while including the brilliant nugget, “brevity is the soul of wit,” in his blather. The Queen retorts, “More matter with less art.”

          Epistemological concept formation is not a “less is more” device for trimming excess verbiage. It is as expressed, a way to subsume huge quantities of referents via intellectual shorthand; integrating them by their common characteristics and differentiating them by their differences. For example, a “vehicle” integrates the concept of carrying passengers from one place to another. They are differentiated by their form and propulsion: car, bus, wagon, hovercraft.

          Orwellian Newspeak is an attempt to limit concept formation and the subtlety of thought by replacing vocabulary with a primitive structure. All very bad things become double-plus ungood, losing all the shades of meaning among: dreadful, awful, terrible, horrendous, catastrophic, atrocious, ghastly, unbearable.

          Note MikeMarotta’s example, “I will recommend to my wife that she call you.” Compare with, “I’ll make sure that she calls you.” Those who use good grammar may recognize both as correct, however, only the hard-core grammar nerd would express the difference as a subjunctive (or even jussive) mood vs. indicative mood. “Look up mood!” (That’s an example of imperative mood.)

          I strongly recommend a course from “The Great Courses” available as either CD or DVD: The Story of Human Language by Prof. John McWhorter. It’s 36 half-hour lectures, and he is very informative, personable, and entertaining—everything you’d like in an educator. The CD version is great for daily car commuting.

          Your examples of wigwam and verandah are two different “Indians.” The first word is North American Algonquian, the second has Indo-European roots from the Indian subcontinent. Veranda goes with shampoo, which is the imperative form of the Hindi champna (to press or knead).
          Wigwam is closer kin to the Plains Indian teepee, as in the joke:
          Doctor, I’m having recurring dreams where first I’m a teepee, then I’m a wigwam, then I’m a teepee, then I’m a wigwam. The doctor says to me, “You’re two tents!” (too tense)
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          • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
            Well, that pretty much says it all.

            Are you a student of dialectics, by any chance?

            By the way, Mike can sometimes slyly slip in a few tongue-in-cheek conceptual formations. You gotta watch out for that.
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          • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
            I was punning on "Indian" to make a point about the richness of our vocabulary.

            A traveling salesman who was a seafood lover finally got sent to Boston. Deplaning at Logan, he got his bags and made for the taxi stands. He jumped in the first one. "Do you know where I can get scrod in Boston?" he asked. The driver turned around and said, "Mister, I've been asked that question a million times, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive."
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            • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
              While we’re doing slightly off-color jokes: Then there was the Indian who drank 50 cups of tea, and the next day they found him dead in his tea-pee.
              I was quite familiar with your appropriate scrod joke from when I lived in Boston. Back then, if the cab driver drove to the noun instead of the pluperfect subjunctive, it would have been to Anthony’s Pier Four (to which I had been several times) or Jimmy’s Harborside (I had one dinner there.) Anthony’s was torn down and replaced by condos, and Jimmy’s is now Legal Harborside. That’s okay—the only seafood I eat is saltwater taffy. Only ten years to go for the bicentennial birthday of Durgin-Park restaurant (in Boston). I’ve been making their Baked Indian Pudding at least once a year for the past 40 years. I use their recipe published in Collier's Magazine many decades earlier.
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        • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
          I think you are being sly, Mike. wigwam and verandah, it is true, are both "Indian" words, but one is American Indian, and the other is East Indian.
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          • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
            That was my point: English imported words, rather than applying existing English words, or ignoring the foreign words entirely.

            Neither the people of India nor Native Americans settled in England to bring those words in.
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        • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
          Had to add this, as well, after I got to thinking about it. One might think, from what I said, that the human emotion of love was a late development. That was not the intent, and I think this is a very important distinction, when you think about it. The human "conception" of that emotion is what came later.
          That is, the emotion was there, human awareness developed later.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
        No, I don't think he is saying that at all. In this case, it is 'a group of men is going' because the subject of the sentence is 'group', which is considered singular and thus, the verb should also be singular (is). The prepositional phrase 'of men' just denotes who or what the group is. To make the plural 'are going,' the subject would have to be something like 'the groups of men are going' (as if there are several different groups involved). It has to do with subject/verb agreement.
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  • Posted by PURB 4 years, 2 months ago
    I taught a college class on "Advanced Grammar" this fall 16 semester. I've taught for decades, but never was I so often inundated with questions! Not interested? Students are fascinated! Even the suggestion that they're not interested is something up with which I'll not put!
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  • Posted by andrewtroy 4 years, 2 months ago
    This post reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughters years ago as the new generation of e-mails and texting was exploding onto the scene. They started texting with "changed" certain words to make them shorter, such as thru instead of through, for example. This may have begun as a way to shorten messages, as fees for texts were originally charged on the bill per character.

    I insisted that regardless of what their friends did, whenever they communicated electronically, they must always use proper English, full sentences, correct spelling and punctuation.

    Years later, they actually thanked me for insisting on these things when they were young, citing their observations that many of their friends and others seem "dumbed down" and even incapable of formulating coherent messages when communicating electronically.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting post that allowed me the opprtunity to wdml (walk down memory lane).
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    • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
      There was a reverse to the fee per character situation: In the earlier days of telegraphy, punctuation cost a lot more in a telegram than regular text, so the word "stop" cost less than a concluding period (.). Thus, telegrams like this:
      CLIENT IN NY AGREED TO DEAL STOP AWAITS YOUR APPROVAL STOP
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      • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
        That's interesting, never though of that before. But of course I have to ask, why would punctuation cost a lot more? It's only a code, so it seems code for punctuation would have the same cost as code for alphabet.
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        • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
          You're living in the ASCII/Unicode age where all funny symbols are pretty much equivalent to any other letter or symbol. Look at Morse code for letter characters, which range from a single dot or dash for E and T, respectively, to a maximum of four, like di-di-di-dah as V (for Victory). As the code gets longer for odd characters and signal elements (like end-of-transmission) there is more chance for error or misinterpretation.
          Di-di-dit da-da-dah Di-di-dit. SOS Save Our Ship.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 4 years, 2 months ago
    Well, perhaps I occasionally put through a typo. I
    get in a hurry, am allowed only a limited time on
    these library computers. As to grammar, I do
    occasionally split an infinitive, for the purpose of
    clarity. (And use "ain't" for emphasis, as in "Ain't
    it the truth!")
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      Thanks for the reminder errors can be honest mistakes. I recently came to understand that the rule against split infinitives is improper to English. It comes from Latin grammar, wherein splitting an infinitive is impossible. The rule is the result of trying to force English to follow the rules of Latin. Feel free to happily split your infinitives.
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  • Posted by blackswan 4 years, 2 months ago
    If I see an occasional typo, I note it, but I don't make much of it. If I see consistent typos, not only am I annoyed, but my opinion of the writer falls quite a bit.
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  • Posted by H2ungar123 4 years, 2 months ago
    What's with the "off of??" The dancer fell off OF the
    stage; the biker fell off OF his bike. The "of" is
    totally unnecessary. And the misuse of "ITS" and "IT IS" is another error to see.
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  • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 2 months ago
    To me, bad grammar means that the person is uneducated and, consequently, his opinion is of lesser value, or the person is disrespectful towards himself and others, likewise leading me to discount the opinion expressed.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      I agree in the main, but I allow for the fact that we all make mistakes. Moreover, dyslexia is deep within our culture, both for bad reasons and good. Reading about the American Revolution, I came upon a letter of (forced) loyalty (written by a Tory). He misspelled many words, but used a rich vocabulary. Spelling is hard.
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      • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 2 months ago
        We judge people by their appearance. We assign them into a particular class based on other factors than pure and filtered information that they give us. That class determines how much we trust and value the main information coming from the person. In written communication, we do not see the body language, we do not see their dress or other factors. The written word is all there is. The judgement, rightfully or not, is based on the only information that is available. Thus, if the person who wants to transmit a certain thought does not make the effort, or is incapable of constructing a grammatically correct sentence, why should the reader waste his time on deciphering and correcting incoherent thoughts? Perhaps, the reader may often feel, the time is better spent elsewhere. That said, in a blog environment, of course there will be occasional typos and they do not diminish the value of the information. But if the writer shows no respect for himself and the reader, why should the reader respect the writer?
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  • Posted by CTYankee 4 years, 2 months ago
    I can forgive typos in posts, I'm a horrible typist, and my fingers often fall on the wrong keys. Also when I see a typo I look to see if the offending letter is adjacent to the correct one.

    Autocorrect is often responsible for seemingly incongruent words popping up in sentences. I've grown sick and tired of changing the auto-corrected word 'do' or 'go' when I've used 'to' to use a verb's infinitive. But just as often the autocorrect will subtract a 't' from 'the', as it just did to me as I typed this sentence.

    As for articles; that's a whole different set of rules. When I read an article with ANY errors, I do consider the author to have been lazy. And if the article was also edited, then the error reflects badly on the whole publication!

    Of course there is that contemptible language with a bizarre grammar known as 'news-speak' which is intended to grab eyeballs. We kinda havta overlook the atrocities committed in the novelty lede and bylines of that vernacular.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 2 months ago
    The guiltiest are the media talking heads, who misuse the language horribly, and I see their garbage gravitating to the general population. It was media who first started talking about how the "optics" of a situation looked bad, instead of the proper word, "image." I first heard the invented word "methodology" on a news broadcast, when the right word is simply "method." Just today I heard a Fox talking head say "We should be dubious about claims of Russian hacking," a complete misuse of the adjective "dubious," when he should have said "doubtful" or "skeptical."
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    • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
      My husband is a great one for finding fault with either redundancies or "sophisticated" words. He hated to see utilize used in place of use, or practicable in place of practical.
      The redundant word he hated the most, and I can't think of it right now, but it had something to do with near. Maybe it will come to me.
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      • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
        For redundancy, is it near vs. nearby?
        For sophisticated words (mixed with redundancy), think of using "pleonasm" to describe "tautological taxemics".
        Never use a big word when exiguous terminology suffices.
        Signed: Department of Redundancy Department
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        • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
          Do you know how long it took me to understand "tautology" when I was studying logic? I'm not even going to attempt to understand those words. I'd have to use Googletranslate.
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    • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
      None of those grate on the ear as much as a report about a "rouge" terrorist, as though a rogue applies pink cheek makeup before running over a crowd with a truck.
      I have a collection of video snips I saved from Fox News anchors actually screwing up their own names.
      A related favorite item is a late night plug line after a brief news flash: "The most powerful lame in news—Fox News." At least the teleprompter reader was very pretty.
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  • Posted by NealS 4 years, 2 months ago
    My fingers are becoming dyslexic. Most of the time now when I type "from", it comes out as "form". I also seem to be making anmy more errorrrs. It is also more difficult to find the errors until after the post is made. I do a lot more editing that I used too, but still sum of it gets buy. And I do judge people somewhat by their grossley mispeled and misused wrods. I'm actually becomming a lott more tollarunt of uthers.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      In notice the same thing. I believe that it is "muscle memory" acting ahead of conscious thought.

      I have just about given up not typing "goto" for "go to" because it is so deeply engrained:
      ON SWITCH(1) GOTO ROUTINE(1)
      IF KOUNT = 0 GOTO TO END
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    • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 2 months ago
      The human brain seems to be able to read text where the first and last letters of words are correctly placed and those in between are randomly scrambled as long as there is a little context.
      I have the problem of changing word spellings while reading with regard to words next to the word or from sentences above or below the word. That makes for slow reading when one reads a sentence over and over without meaning and finally checks it word for word only to find a made up reading of some word. That limits me to about ten pages an hour for literature and does not matter much for math, physics, and chemistry.
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  • Posted by JuliBMe 4 years, 2 months ago
    I am guilty of grammar and punctuation errors, I'm sure pretty frequently. I HATED grammar in elementary school, so I did not pay attention as I probably should have. These and other errors are seen a lot more online due to the fact that the speed of information has eliminated the gate-keeper editors. While the occasional error does not bother me while reading, yes, if an author consistently makes an error that I notice, it does effect (affect? LOL!) my opinion of the piece. If, however, the author is compelling in their overall thought, I will almost always overlook the occasional error.
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  • Posted by Snakecane 4 years, 2 months ago
    They’re are 17 men on the street, over their, see? They all looked at there watches on they’re wrists. There watches were not synchronized, though. One said to another, “Your an idiot!” Another said, “Where’s you’re sense of humor?” They all agreed that keeping correct time...and grammar are very, very, very, very, very hard. “Olive us can’t be wrong,” suggested one. “No,” said another, “you have wronged them and I.”
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    • Posted by Steven-Wells 4 years, 2 months ago
      Years ago, my boss sent me a report that concluded with his "Summery". I sent him back:
      Eye bee leave ewe cant all weighs halve it write buy yore spell Czech. Summary: Summery whether, theirs nose know.

      Though it all passes the spell checker, he thought I was writing gibberish until he tried to say it aloud, Then he called me a "smart ass" but laughed about it in good spirited fun.
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  • Posted by Eyecu2 4 years, 2 months ago
    Depending on the level and amount of mistakes. If it is someone average and the mistakes are minor then it fits my opinion of the expected. If however they are of a higher education level or jerks about the writing then yes of course.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
    While I agree with most of what you posted, Mike, I disagree somewhat with the idea that spellcheckers are a godsend. It works great for checking spelling, true, but if a word is used incorrectly (homonyms in particular), it won't catch the mistake. Using the wrong word, especially consistently, tends to make me dismiss the person's contribution. What a waste because there may be value in that person's opinion. A great short e-book is entitled something like 26 Grammar Mistakes often Found on the Internet. It takes about 15 minutes to read, but is invaluable. I wish everyone would take the time to read/study it.
    I suspect we all hacks to a degree.
    Thanks for responding; greatly appreciated.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      Right. I understand the limitations of the spellechecker. It is fine for lieutenent and suprise. Hear is an example of how it doesn't due much.

      MS Word has a Grammar checker also. I worked a project in factory automation with a young colleague who just came from an advertising agency. Our manager insisted that we use the grammar checker in Word. We immediately made it fail half a dozen times. That said, I still use it. It is hard to proofread your own work.
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      • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
        Didn't seem to work well for "surprise".
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        • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
          It did not work for lieutenent, either. That was the point.
          (I can't believe that you got two plusses for that. I took one away.)
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          • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
            I think I clarified that later; lieutenant/lieutenant is not a word I can spell, so I didn't know that it was misspelled at first. It took more than a couple of double-takes. (Figure that one out.) French is a non-phonetic language, more so than any other European language. And I've always said speaking French hurts your face.

            I was getting too many points, so thanks.
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      • Posted by Seer 4 years, 2 months ago
        In the case of a grammar checker, seems as if the program may need to read your mind once in a while.
        Remember the book: "Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation". by Lynne Truss? Where I first found out about the Oxford comma. This is a case where you might want grammar checker to be able to read your mind.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
    Today, I swiped my card at a cash register. After agreeing to pay, I saw on the screen
    Waiting on cashier.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      "Waiting on cashier."
      This is the South. It would say waiting for in the Midwest, but we never see it b/c the cashier would be moving fast. You'd hear him say the word "you-wanna-beg-for-that?" and then he'd be on to the next customer. Just say "thanks", and he'll say, "Ye-becha."

      It's a joke, but there's some truth to things moving much slower in the South. I don't just belittle it. I actually admire their patience.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
    Yesterday, I heard another example of a common error: "whenever" in place of "when." This is not new. My brother pointed out to me a generation or two ago that a friend of ours made that mistake all the time, seldom saying "when" and too often saying "whenever."
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      "common error: "whenever" in place of "when."
      This is only heard in the South. I never hear it in the Midwest. Our favorite error is ending sentences with prepositions: "You're coming with? Okay, where's your coat at?" From Germanic roots we confuse yet/still, lend/borrow, and like/as.

      The things that stand out from my time in Florida are whenever/when, anymore/now, double modal verbs (e.g. I might could...), and fixing to / immediately going to. That last one is actually useful. Fixing to is sooner than going to.

      We all agree in the US, though, on the need for less, okay, fewer grammatical mistakes.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 2 months ago
    Ask any linguistics expert or language historian and they will tell you that human beings are as lazy in their speech and writing as they are in real life. Language only grows simpler - both in form and pronunciation - over time. If you want a very simple example, I appreciate the efforts of those who seek to elevate language by using appropriate and precise terminology and by taking the time to understand and use proper grammar and punctuation because I recognize the effort that goes into such.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      And yet ease of life is one of the attributes of civilization. So-called "primitive" languages, such as those of the Native Americans, tend to have more complicated grammars. Even our Russian cousins have some ancient hold-overs, such as two different plurals: dual (just two) and plural (more than two). Hungarian and Finnish have over a dozen cases, from the usual six through adessive, inessive, progressive... English has three: nominative, objective, possessive.

      But we have a rich vocabulary, perhaps the largest on the planet.

      It might be argued that in order to achieve a truly free society, we need to re-instantiate a more complex grammar, such as that of Ancient Greek with not just one, but two aorist cases. After all, politics rests on ethics, and ethics depends on epistemology. Improve the thinking, and we improve the behaviors.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 2 months ago
        I will certainly agree that technological advancement is driven primarily by the desire to enable ourselves to be lazy! We only gain leisure time (ironically) through hard work.

        In language, what we gain through proper grammar and a larger vocabulary is precision and efficiency in language, I agree. I was reading Common Sense and it dismays me that we have lost so much of the clear and precise language of our Founding Fathers. I dare say that the majority of the grade school-educated of that time could run circles around the vast majority of college-educated in our day - even though Daniel Webster's work wouldn't become popular for several decades!
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        • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
          I do not understand the humor. Thomas Paine, not Daniel Webster, wrote Common Sense. (Daniel Webster had an illustrious career, and is highly regarded by today's conservatives.)
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          • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 2 months ago
            There wasn't any humor, and I am aware that Paine wrote Common Sense. I was referring to the fact that Webster's Dictionary wasn't available back then and yet the people of that time had extensive vocabularies and elocution such that few in our day can even understand them any longer. Common Sense was very popular at the time of its writing and preceded the Constitution where Webster's Dictionary wouldn't even be published until nearly 50 years after the ratification of the Constitution.
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            • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
              As noted, Noah Webster. Daniel was a Congressman, Senator, and Secretary of State. He was most famous in his own time as a lawyer. He argued the Dartmouth College v. Woodward case (landmark) before the US Supreme Court.

              Daniel Webster was a strong state's rights advocate. He sought an interpretation of the Constitution that would allow nullification. Failing that, however, he refused to condone the Hartford Convention which argued for the secession of New England from the United States over the War of 1812. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty set the current border with Canada. (We had wanted it to be the St. Lawrence River.) That laid the ground for the State of Maine to be created from the northern part of Massachusetts.

              I have a facsimile edition of the Noah Webster dictionary. I bought it from a Christian firm with e-gold that earned writing content for a libertarian website. I have relied on it when discussing the "true meaning" of the Constitution, Declaration, and other documents. I realize that a full lifetime separates the Dictionary from those, but it is closer than any modern dictionary. I also like his etymologies.
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  • Posted by cjferraris 4 years, 2 months ago
    I personally think that a big portion of this is backlash due to the bastardization of our language. With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, we have abbreviated our written speech greatly. Combine that with the convenience of texting abbreviations, we have done much of this to ourselves. The laziness of the average person had made "proper" English, an aging dinosaur, along with cursive writing..
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 2 months ago
      As much as I agree with the intent, I must point out that the same argument could have been made by Shakespeare, Chaucer, or the anonymous bards who sang Beowulf. Languages change. The word nest is a contraction for "nether-sitten" because a nest sits down upon the branches. The root for "nurse" is "daughter-in-law" in Proto-Indo-European, which you could argue is a misuse of the word when applied to medical care. I can give very many similar examples, OK?
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 4 years, 2 months ago
    Had a professor, Dr. Marty Blinn (could have been a standup comic), in an econ class (circa 1971) explain to the resident Marxist student that if he couldn't properly express what he thought, it was because he didn't KNOW what he thought.
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