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Poor English


12 Feb 2013 4:48PM

Quote:Never start a sentence with a conjunction. There should not be a comma before the "and".

You see, hereís where it gets silly. What earthly reason is there to discourage sentences starting with coordinating conjunctions? Thatís stilted, old-fashioned dogma.

As for commas: it might be fashionable to use fewer of them today than a century ago, but no-one sensible should object to a comma that makes a sentence easier to parse. I do agree we should frown on the rampant overuse of the comma seen in academic writing (usually by scientists tying themselves in knots with longwinded sentences in the passive voice).

Conradís right about the hyphen, too. Hyphens seem to be beyond the grasp of English writers. And donít get me started on the differences between a hyphen, an en-dash, and an em-dash! Nor the wild overuse of the semicolon, especially by British writers (Iím British, by the way).


Quote:The funniest (or not) example I have seen of this, was on a recent Facebook page. It was a BNP rant about johnny foreigner coming over here and claiming benefits. The standard of English on the comments was so poor that some of them were unreadable. Surely if these people are so adament about keeping Britain British they would learn how to write their own language properly.


Itís the same on ePHOTOzine, wizardsmagic. In the recent thread about a referendum on EU membership, the most vocal opponents of freedom of movement had dreadful English. Just one of the little ironies that lightens their depressing parochialism.

P.S. Donít even think about pointing out my Oxford comma, above. Wink

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lemmy 7 2.0k United Kingdom
12 Feb 2013 4:53PM

Quote: The "But" started a sentence in a new paragraph that did not appear to be clearly linked to the intended statement, separated as it was by a parenthetical clause.


I don't think the OP was referring to this kind of train-spotter stuff or typos, he was referring to posts that are rendered unintelligible by poor language, grammar and spelling.

As ever in England, a comment like the OP's is either howled down in 'who do you think you are' fashion or supported by grammarian nit-pickers. There really is middle ground between these extremes.

Does anyone deny that poor use of language can make a person's posts hard to understand? We all have spell checkers. We can all use a dictionary. We can all check our grammar. When someone posts without any thought or checking, they are simply saying, "I don't need to take any trouble over my words because you will do it for me".

All regular internet users know that ignorant English tends to go with ignorant views. How many people here would take advice from someone whose post is littered with errant apostrophes, mis-spellings and non-sequiturs?

I know that not everyone here is a native English speaker and we cut some slack for them, I hope (I speak French and when I contribute to French forums no matter how much care I take, I still make mistakes, I'm sure).

It's one thing to be ignorant but another to celebrate it, as some of us English seem to nowadays.

Yes, I'm sure I have made mistakes in this post - I'm a working class council house boy so I cut myself some slack even if others don't Wink
conrad 10 10.9k 116
12 Feb 2013 4:55PM

Quote:And donít get me started on the differences between a hyphen, an en-dash, and an em-dash!


Good one! I'd be happy if Internet forums offered the same possibilities as decent wordprocessors. (And yes, I do know that you can usually use a key combination and code to achieve the same effect, but I think that's too much effort.)
gaelldew 7 289 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2013 4:57PM
Not a spelling mistake but poor proof reading, I have just been reading a Photography mag telling you how to get to Cat Bells in the Lake District, come off the M5 at junction 40 and follow the A66. Hmmm seems a hell of a long way round if you went say from Glasgow.
12 Feb 2013 5:00PM

Quote:I relly dont cee wot all the phus is abaht If peappl cant reed comants and stuf they shud go back to scuol


Ha haGrin
12 Feb 2013 5:22PM
Lemmy makes some good points (some at my expense). Thereís just one thing Iíd disagree with.* Bad English doesnít necessarily mean the writer has nothing useful to say. Experience tells me there is some correlation between ignorant English and ignorant views, but Iím willing to plough through some pretty atrocious English to hear out someone if there are signs of intelligence or wisdom (or even humour) behind the cringeworthy language. Well, I am if Iím in a good mood, at least.

I try to remember that we fuss over things weíre good at.Ü The lighting expert complains about the shadows in a portrait; the hipster dislikes the jacket collar; the camera geek questions the lens choice. Sometimes the grammar nut complains about grammar, not because it adds to the discourse, but because she can.

I donít mean any of this to detract from NEWDIGITís appeal. Clearly some people post stream-of-consciousness stuff to the web, replete with casual mistakes, without a momentís hesitation. Itís right to remind them that doing that is disrespectful to readers.

* And yer having a laugh if you think Iím going to write Ďone thing with which Iíd disagreeí.
Ü Ditto.
Evertonian 1 545 England
12 Feb 2013 5:24PM
Dyslexic keyboards is all
keith selmes 11 7.1k 1 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2013 5:35PM

Quote: it has been common practice to begin sentences with a conjunction since at least as far back as the 10th century.
Continuing from there, an example

And Ģ‚ Beůwulfe bega gehwšūres
eodor Ingwina onweald geteŠh,
wicga and wśpna;

Now that's proper English. Smile
chris.maddock 13 3.4k United Kingdom
12 Feb 2013 5:38PM

Quote:... to get to Cat Bells in the Lake District, come off the M5 at junction 40 and follow the A66.


I bet they didn't offer any advice as to how to get to the A66 from the M5?
Grin
lemmy 7 2.0k United Kingdom
12 Feb 2013 6:57PM

Quote: but Iím willing to plough through some pretty atrocious English to hear out someone if there are signs of intelligence or wisdom (or even humour) behind the cringeworthy language


Yes, me too. And if I am going to complain about folk taking extreme positions on things, I need to watch that I don't do it too Sad
12 Feb 2013 9:11PM
My English is terrible I am aware of this. Personally I blame the English educational system; I was never taught grammar. I was over 16 before I knew what a verb or noun was, and I still don't know what half the terms mentioned in this thread mean.

I have been trying to educate myself, but it's hard work, I rarely have time, and I can never seem to remember what I read previously.

There is also the fact I tend to surf the web with a glass of wine in hand. Grin
Meheecho 2 275 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2013 9:22PM
A glass of wine can only improve fluency---as for grammar, after a couple of glasses ( bottles ) who gives a fig!!!1GrinGrinGrin
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 12:42AM

Quote:My English is terrible I am aware of this. Personally I blame the English educational system; I was never taught grammar. I was over 16 before I knew what a verb or noun was, and I still don't know what half the terms mentioned in this thread mean.

I have been trying to educate myself, but it's hard work, I rarely have time, and I can never seem to remember what I read previously.

There is also the fact I tend to surf the web with a glass of wine in hand.



A case in point. Despite your confessed lack of English skills, your post is easily understandable. The problem I find is that some posters obviously don't read their contribution before posting it. Spelling and grammatical errors are not usually too bad in themselves, but the inability to form a coherent sentence severely hampers the comprehension of the reader who is expecting relative simplicity of prose for a frequently technically complex subject.

In simple terms, read the words before posting and ask yourself if they make sense and could they be misinterpreted?

Nick
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
13 Feb 2013 11:33AM
I blame texting! Wink
lobsterboy e2
11 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 11:36AM
I blm txtng

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