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Author Topic: Common Errors in the English Language  (Read 5181 times)

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Offline Vandren

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2010, 03:57:27 PM »
The easy way I remember it (and tell my students) is via music:

"Who Are You?" (The Who)
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Metallica, via Hemmingway)

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2010, 01:49:26 AM »
I wonder whether that's a mistake (under "koala bear"):

Quote
A koala is not a bear. People who know their marsupials refer to them simply as “koalas.” Recent research, however, indicates that pandas are related to other bears.

(Do I know my marsupials or do I know they are marsupials?)
They probably wrote it the way they meant it, but it did make me do a double take for a second.

It's an interesting resource, though. As a non-native speaker of English, but a lover of the language, I could probably browse this all day.
Don't mind me, I'm the kind of person who has stuff like this.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2010, 01:59:58 AM »
- If you figuratively climb the walls, you are agitated/frustrated/crazy. If you literally climb the walls, you are Spiderman.

I find this incredibly funny. 

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2010, 06:56:07 AM »
Alot/a lot

But... but I love the Alot!

Offline Muninn

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2010, 07:45:08 AM »
Alot/a lot

But... but I love the Alot!

You are brilliant for posting that here!  ;D <3

I care about this Alot!

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2010, 09:07:29 AM »
You are brilliant for posting that here!  ;D <3

I care about this Alot!


The brilliance is yours since you so recently pointed me at this. :) Thanks FSM Alot.

Offline blazingboy121

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2010, 05:00:31 AM »
Please clarify me . What part of speech is the word 'mobile' ? Am not talking about the instrument but in general . Thanks .

Offline Neroon

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2010, 05:50:14 AM »
An adjective or noun, depending on usage.  The definition is here.

Offline blazingboy121

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2010, 10:37:25 AM »
An adjective or noun, depending on usage.  The definition is here.

Thanks Neroon , had an argument with a friend , me calling it adjective and him caling it adverb . Thanks for the clarification

Offline Oniya

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2010, 10:55:57 AM »
The quick way to distinguish is that adjectives modify nouns (a mobile home; the patient is mobile) and adverbs modify verbs ('He ran quickly.'; 'We went early.'; 'We're eating now.').  It gets a little fuzzy when you have modifiers acting on modifiers, but if you plug the word into a simple sentence, you should be able to drop it down to one of those two situations.

Offline blazingboy121

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2010, 11:39:10 AM »
The quick way to distinguish is that adjectives modify nouns (a mobile home; the patient is mobile) and adverbs modify verbs ('He ran quickly.'; 'We went early.'; 'We're eating now.').  It gets a little fuzzy when you have modifiers acting on modifiers, but if you plug the word into a simple sentence, you should be able to drop it down to one of those two situations.

Thanks , Oniya . That would help .

Offline Cherry Bloodrayne

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2010, 11:04:15 PM »
Wish-washy

This would help if writing an essay paper, or something, as "formal writing" doesn't typically apply to anything you'll see on E as that's all fiction in nature. So I'm kinda meh?

Although it IS my go-to for flip flopping words and checking actually common grammar mistakes quite a few of the rules don't really apply, anymore -if ever.

Example: I do life/live a lot but not on purpose. Is usually a typo and I just don't re-read to catch it. XD

But still, you should write correctly no matter if it is an essay paper or not.

Thanks for the list

Offline Vandren

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2010, 07:20:12 AM »
Besides which, fiction is formal writing.  As are journalistic writing, magazine writing, and business/technical writing.  They're just different styles.

Informal writing would be "texting", grocery lists, some e-mail (non-business/professional related), and the like.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2010, 08:17:39 AM »
I might say fiction is 'semi-formal'.  Fiction gives you the license to break some of the rules, such as using a sentence fragment for emphasis, and sometimes spelling, particularly if it's for dialectical emphasis.  (Let's face it, there's no easier way to get across the incomprehensibility of Glaswegian.)

It's not an excuse to be sloppy, though.

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2010, 02:08:16 PM »
Fiction is formal but also is stylistic.  Just like high fashion designers might create avantgarde wedding gowns that might not function in an actual formal setting, such designs are still considered formal wear.

Offline Costnian

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2010, 02:44:50 PM »
The English language is one of my favorite topics, though I confess to being a bit sloppy in my usage of same.  When I overhear someone grumbling that everyone should “speak English” I have a burning urge to say “Ic sprecan Englisce”, or something like that just to observe the reaction.  It is a unique language, constantly changing, sometimes very slowly and sometimes very rapidly.  I read somewhere that Shakespeare would have been a complete dud had he been born fifty years earlier or fifty years later.  His power was in his ability to exploit some rather profound changes occurring in the language during his time to produce extraordinary puns of context and usage.

Offline Vandren

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2010, 06:23:28 PM »
Fiction is formal but also is stylistic.  Just like high fashion designers might create avantgarde wedding gowns that might not function in an actual formal setting, such designs are still considered formal wear.

Pretty much my point.

@Oniya -- There are always exceptions for verisimilitude, especially in dialect.  Big fan of Mark Twain here, with the 8-12 dialects he uses in Huck Finn.  :)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2010, 07:09:42 PM »
I was actually thinking of James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small) and Brian Jacques, myself. :)

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2010, 07:30:27 PM »
And I was thinking of A Clockwork Orange.

Offline DudelRok

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2010, 02:24:59 PM »
I read somewhere that Shakespeare would have been a complete dud had he been born fifty years earlier or fifty years later.  His power was in his ability to exploit some rather profound changes occurring in the language during his time to produce extraordinary puns of context and usage.

That, my friend, is called "Using the laymen tongue" and it is what EVERY writer should do if they wish to hold an audience for more than 15 seconds. Generally speaking, I might also add that all "The Great Authors" would be, by today's standards, breaking most (if not all) grammatical and spelling rules, especially Shakespeare.

...and because of societies current settings, simplicity and rule breaking are key. Just check out what is popular and what sells, things that not only break typical rules but are called "literary abortions" by other writers. I bring up both Harry Potter and Twilight, picture perfect books on what not to do in accordance to the "rules" that have been arbitrarily set by other authors, and yet they are so popular.

Besides which, fiction is formal writing.  As are journalistic writing, magazine writing, and business/technical writing.  They're just different styles.

Informal writing would be "texting", grocery lists, some e-mail (non-business/professional related), and the like.

Texting, I will give you as this is a technology that was created after the rules of writing wee created. However, grocery lists and e-mail (even the personal type as they are still "letters") all have a form and order that go to them. If one was to take a business class in the last couple of years, this would be known. While most people might reject the formality of it, this is another story.

Also, forum post RPing is not formal writing in any context (and I actually find it semi-destructive to writing as a whole but that's another story). Now I'll give you, to a point, fiction on a general scale but the rules of fiction first state: "There are no rules." This is also not mentioning what something might be called vs what it actually is.

"Formal writing" has set in place rules and a formula to follow, like essays and letters. There are formal forms OF FICTION... but fiction is not, generally, a form of formal writing. However, we might be arguing semantics about "formal" vs "practical" in some form or another.

One should follow the simple grammatical and spelling guidelines so that their reader is not confused... but this generally doesn't matter outside of trying to avoid being outright confusing.

I could "live/life" & "there/their" the rest of my live (:p) and it would not affect the writing piece as a solid entity. Not to mention, that's what editors are for... and most things are based on context.

- If you figuratively climb the walls, you are agitated/frustrated/crazy. If you literally climb the walls, you are Spiderman.

I find this incredibly funny. 

Unless one is using this phrase idiomatically speaking, or in terms of speech by character, OR to imply the usage of the word "literally" in terms of the absurd (AKA: Comedy).

Besides, this is an improper verbal use rather than a written one. The only person I know to even use the word "literally," in any context, is myself. XD

I was actually thinking of James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small) and Brian Jacques, myself. :)

Mole speech can be brutal if one is not used to it. XD

It is a unique language, constantly changing, sometimes very slowly and sometimes very rapidly.

Which has rules that simply no longer apply to it.

You are all aware that, unless writing posts as if writing a section of chapter from a story (which would be technically not correct anyway), you must head and date forum posts as if writing a letter, yes? Now, there are things set into place that help us with that... like Subject portion of reply (Re:), timestamps and our signatures at the bottom but this is not how they are generally used (or they are ignored) AND they are placed informally on the site.

...but, like I've said, these rules don't generally apply much, if at all, anymore.

Offline Vandren

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #45 on: December 18, 2010, 07:53:29 AM »
things that not only break typical rules but are called "literary abortions" by other writers. I bring up both Harry Potter and Twilight, picture perfect books on what not to do in accordance to the "rules" that have been arbitrarily set by other authors, and yet they are so popular.

Two problems with this: 1) HP is not considered a "literary abortion" (and I've been conducting scholarly study of the series for several years now) and 2) most of the "rules" in writing are not arbitrary (grammar, spelling, etc.).

As for the example of Shakespeare and "The Great Authors" (of the pre-19th century) . . . they didn't break grammatical and spelling rules.  Neither grammar nor spelling settled down in the English language until the mid-19th and late-20th centuries respectively, therefore there was nothing to break.  Of course, it would help to have a strong background in Middle English and Renaissance literature/history to figure that out (Old English, on the other hand, had strong grammatical rules, but no hard and fast method of spelling).

Quote
Texting, I will give you as this is a technology that was created after the rules of writing wee created. However, grocery lists and e-mail (even the personal type as they are still "letters") all have a form and order that go to them. If one was to take a business class in the last couple of years, this would be known. While most people might reject the formality of it, this is another story.

Nope.  Not really.  (And I've taught university-level business writing several times in the last decade, mostly against my will, after being a business/tech writer for a NASA contractor many years ago.)  Grocery lists are simply notes and reminders written by one person for themselves, which makes them informal writing (similar to brainstorming as a pre-writing activity, which is itself informal).  Personal e-mails are also informal in many senses of the term.  Business e-mails are different, and relatively formal, depending on their use and form.

Quote
"Formal writing" has set in place rules and a formula to follow, like essays and letters. There are formal forms OF FICTION... but fiction is not, generally, a form of formal writing. However, we might be arguing semantics about "formal" vs "practical" in some form or another.

Sorry, fiction is formal writing regardless of the form it takes.  It's a different style, as compared to an essay or legal document, but it is still formal writing.  And we're not arguing semantics here, nor "formal" v. "practical", sorry.

However, there is a definitional issue.  You seem to be operating under the idea that formal = has rules while informal = has no rules.  This is a major misconception when it comes to, well the word itself, but specifically its use in writing.  In writing, formal is defined as "A quality of language created by word choice and sentence structure and ranging from the very formal (or ceremonial) to the familiar" (Blair Handbook, 7th ed., 866).  It has more to do with tone, style, and structure, not the presence or absence of rules.  For example, "Just check out any of the cartoons today" (informal, but grammatically and conversationally correct) versus "Anyone who watches contemporary cartoons . . ." (formal).

Quote
You are all aware that, unless writing posts as if writing a section of chapter from a story (which would be technically not correct anyway), you must head and date forum posts as if writing a letter, yes? Now, there are things set into place that help us with that... like Subject portion of reply (Re:), timestamps and our signatures at the bottom but this is not how they are generally used (or they are ignored) AND they are placed informally on the site.

Your source?  Myself, I've looked through seven different writing handbooks -- The Blair Handbook (5th ed.), Hacker's Rules for Writers, The Everyday Writer, The Allyn & Bacon Handbook, The Prentice Hall Reference Guide, Writing with Style, and the MLA Handbook -- and have been teaching university level writing/composition for eight years . . . never come across this before (besides which, forum posting isn't letter writing anyway; trying to apply rules from an old form to a new rarely works).
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 01:43:05 PM by Vandren »

Offline Vandren

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #46 on: December 18, 2010, 08:32:50 AM »
Oh, and the Shakespeare popularity thing is true.  But not necessarily for the reasons stated.  In the Restoration period, he was considered a third-rate playwright, mostly because his subject matter and type of humor were no longer popular.  Putting women on the stage and groundbreaking special effects brought him back into popularity, though.  There's some good work on the subject out there by Don-John Dugas (Marketing the Bard: Shakespeare in Performance and Print, 1660-1740).
« Last Edit: December 18, 2010, 08:34:42 AM by Vandren »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #47 on: December 18, 2010, 11:21:40 AM »
Texting, I will give you as this is a technology that was created after the rules of writing wee created.

I realize this was probably a typo, but every time I see it, I think of the fact that texting actually does have its own 'rules', designed to cram as much information into as few characters as possible - 'writing wee'.

Offline Prakkie

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2010, 01:00:34 PM »
Oooh... This is wonderful.

I've always had trouble with the desert / dessert one myself. So good to see I'm not the only one  ;D

Offline Vandren

Re: Common Errors in the English Language
« Reply #49 on: December 18, 2010, 01:34:21 PM »
I realize this was probably a typo, but every time I see it, I think of the fact that texting actually does have its own 'rules', designed to cram as much information into as few characters as possible - 'writing wee'.

Or "wee writing".  :)

I'm amused about "after the rules of writing were created", seeing as they weren't created, they evolved over time and are continuously evolving.  Sadly, texting is part of that evolution, a part that makes me think of Newspeak.