English language peeves

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
User avatar
andreas777
Posts: 485
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:00 pm
Location: Germany

Re: English language peeves

Post by andreas777 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:26 am

woodenhand wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:55 am
Yes, obfuscate. That reminds me: An acquaintance who works for a software developer told me that in their business "bugs" are to be called "issues."
...or, as we call it, 'unexpected features'. Instead of calling it 'works as designed' we say 'works as implemented' ;-)
21 classical guitars, soon 22 :-D, 1 digital piano - no TV, no radio

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1016
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: English language peeves

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:38 am

Rasputin wrote:Fair enough! Yes, I can't say I've done a proper survey, but I honestly think less than than half of servers (hold on, should that be fewer than?) are native speakers - at least in London and Manchester.
Wow. I am, of course, aware of the rhetoric bandied around on the news regarding the hospitality industry's dependence on foreigners but never imagined that the numbers would be quite so high. Maybe I'm slightly coccooned here in what has been referred to as a W.A.S.P. enclave; I really can't remember the last time I spoke to a worker from oversees other than our (Polish) window-cleaner once a month.
pogmoor wrote:As illustrated by the title of his piece Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens which would have been a (near) rhyme.
No flies on Eric.

Alan Green
Posts: 1486
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:17 am
Location: Little Cambridge, Essex, UK

Re: English language peeves

Post by Alan Green » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:23 pm

The misplaced apostrophe - too many ignorant people use one when they want to refer to the plural - dog's instead of dogs, for example. "T.V.'s" is a really bad one from a local shop that sells pre-loved TVs

"Could of ..." "Would of ... " "Should of ..." instead of "Could/ Would/ Should HAVE" - from people who didn't listen in English class

"Your welcome" when people mean "You're welcome" - again, people who didn't listen.

In my Investment Banking days I used to get Resumes from people looking for jobs, many of them University Graduates, and their spelling and sentence construction were appalling.

I even have an artist friend who uses "rather then" when she means "rather than".

I blame the Government

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2454
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:26 pm

ctrl-alt-e, résumé, no capital. Actually, I just wanted to make a joke comment, but I notice your post is full of capitals. Why is that?
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

woodenhand
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:05 am

Re: English language peeves

Post by woodenhand » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:01 am

"Basically" — Here's another word that is so overused it's become a meaningless verbal tic. Listen to people talk, especially when they're explaining something. It's basically this, basically that. "Basically" is in the running with "massive" and "issue" for the greatest degree of overuse.

But there's something that irks me even more (if you can believe that), and it's the runaway use of run-on sentences (aka, the "comma splice"). This is particularly prevalent in emails and in people's comments on news articles and blog postings. The situation is so bad now that you'd be forgiven for thinking that the use of periods and conjunctions had been banned. I get many emails in which whole paragraphs consist of independent sentences joined with commas. To practitioners of this style, the period seems to indicate the end of a paragraph.

Unfortunately, this practice has now bled out of emails and blog comments into journalism, where articles written by supposedly literate journalists (and edited by supposedly literate editors) now feature this linguistic barbarism.

Indulge me a little longer while I rail against the current use of "healthy" to mean "good for one's health." "Healthy food"? No, thanks. I'll take "healthful food," thank you. Of course, some people will argue that because we know the intended meaning, there is no need to bother with "healthful," but it's a useful distinction. For example, let's say I take you for a walk in my kitchen garden, where I point to broccoli and say either, "This broccoli is healthy," or "This broccoli is healthful." The first means that the broccoli plant is in a good state of health, i.e., not ravaged by disease or an insect infestation, while the second means that this broccoli is good for you (as food). In this age of declining literacy, this distinction is almost totally lost.

khayes
Posts: 1220
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:29 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Re: English language peeves

Post by khayes » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:21 am

Jew-lery instead of jewelry, real-ity instead of realty, nucular instead of nuclear
Ken

User avatar
60moo
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:35 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Re: English language peeves

Post by 60moo » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:34 am

(i) Saying "those ones" instead of simply "those".

(ii) Incorrectly pronouncing syllables or letters e.g. "fillem" instead of film.

(iii) Ending a sentence with a conjunction: "I would have arrived on time...my car broke down but."
But I like it when a sentence commences with a conjunction!
And when I go away,
I know my heart can stay with my love...

:casque:

(iv) Overuse/redundancy of the "/" in sentence formation/construction.

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2454
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: English language peeves

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:44 am

woodenhand wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:01 am
But there's something that irks me even more (if you can believe that), and it's the runaway use of run-on sentences (aka, the "comma splice"). This is particularly prevalent in emails and in people's comments on news articles and blog postings. The situation is so bad now that you'd be forgiven for thinking that the use of periods and conjunctions had been banned. I get many emails in which whole paragraphs consist of independent sentences joined with commas. To practitioners of this style, the period seems to indicate the end of a paragraph.
I'm 100% guilty of this. I write the way I think.
At school I barely did any arts subjects and wrote no essays. When I decided to study for an arts degree at the age of 39, it was merely as an experiment to see what could be achieved by slogging: I'd have been more than happy with 3rd-class honours. So every essay was improvised. I usually jumped in at the deep end and just talked until I hit what seemd like a conclusion. Many a piece of feedback said "interesting, but difficult to follow", but I managed to engineer my results and get a First.
"healthful food"
good luck with that cacophonic tongue-twister!
60moo wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:34 am
(iv) Overuse/redundancy of the "/" in sentence formation/construction.
Guilty!
Last edited by Andrew Fryer on Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:48 am, edited 3 times in total.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

Rasputin
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: English language peeves

Post by Rasputin » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:46 am

60moo wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:34 am
(iii) Ending a sentence with a conjunction: "I would have arrived on time...my car broke down but."
But then it's not really a conjunction - it just means 'though'. I for one am fond of this little Australianism, as I am of 'poem' pronounced 'pome'... which is possibly the inverse of 'film' / 'fill-um'.

Rasputin
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: English language peeves

Post by Rasputin » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:47 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:44 am
woodenhand wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:01 am
"healthful food"
good luck with that one!
:lol:

No healthful food for me thanks.

User avatar
60moo
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:35 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Re: English language peeves

Post by 60moo » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:32 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:44 am
Guilty!
:mrgreen:

User avatar
60moo
Posts: 1806
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:35 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Re: English language peeves

Post by 60moo » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:40 am

Rasputin wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:46 am
I for one am fond of this little Australianism....
....limited to those from certain Australian states [e.g. cough Queensland cough] :D
Amazing how quickly in a conversation you can tell you're talking to an interstater!

woodenhand
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:05 am

Re: English language peeves

Post by woodenhand » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:13 am

" "healthful food"
good luck with that cacophonic tongue-twister!"

I don't see why that's so hard to say.

And here is another example of why the distinction is important. I was just reading something on agriculture, and came across this sentence.

"With smart use of crop rotations, cover crops and green manure, compost and animal inputs, the soil has all it needs to produce healthy crops."

By "healthy crops," does the author mean crop plants which are in a good state of health, or crops which are good for you when you eat them? You can guess at the author's intention, but you cannot be sure. It's safe to assume that because the healthy/healthful distinction is almost entirely lost, the writer of this sentence likewise does not observe it. Ignoring the distinction is therefore a hindrance to communication.

Rasputin
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: English language peeves

Post by Rasputin » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:11 am

woodenhand wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:13 am
Ignoring the distinction is therefore a hindrance to communication.
Not really. There is ambiguity in practically every sentence if you go looking for it. There was the famous 'time flies like an arrow' incident, where an experimental computer system came up with about a million possible interpretations (OK I'm exaggerating) for that sentence, most of which would not occur to human beings because we have a grasp of the context that the computer lacks.

I agree that your example with the 'crop' is about as ambiguous as it gets, because 'crop' designates a plant and a foodstuff. If you substituted the word 'plant' it would be entirely clear that the crops were being considered qua plants and not qua foodstuffs, although I think it is clear enough as it is. In any case, I think we can avoid ambiguity without using 'healthful' and redefining 'healthy' (which is in the online Oxford dictionary as meaning 'indicating or promoting good health' - you'd have to do away with that meaning in order for your system to work).

It's also worth bearing in mind that the health of the broccoli or the crops is part of what makes them good for us, so in those examples it's a bit of a false distinction - more a question of emphasis perhaps. Tobacco might be a more difficult case. I might need a bit more context to interpret 'with the new soil additive we can produce healthy tobacco'. Still, in real life I would have the context, and anyway the ambiguity is due as much to the sentence construction as to the fact that we don't know whether the writer avoids using 'healthy' when it means 'indicating or promoting good health'.

OK that's quite intensive work avoidance...

rguitar
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:49 pm
Location: St. Thomas ON

Re: English language peeves

Post by rguitar » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:25 pm

So, answering questions by starting with "so". Grrrrr.

Return to “The Café”