Spellin' and gramma

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by BuildTO, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. BuildTO

    BuildTO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Following from the Porter Airlines off-topic discussion, air your spelling, grammar, and communication pet peeves here. We haven't had this discussion for a little while...

    I've noticed that while the level of discussion here is far above the average for internet forums, there are still a few common mistakes - even from some of the better writers.

    1) The one I keep noticing recently - sometimes it seems to come up in almost every thread - is the mistaken use of an apostrophe in the possessive pronoun "its". (For many people, this is not a confusion with the contraction of "it is" = "it's", but a confusion with the possessive apostrophe.) While English uses an apostrophe to mark possession (e.g., the dog's tail), possessive pronouns (ours, yours, theirs, hers, its) do not use an apostrophe.
    The dog's tail was wagging.
    The dog wagged its tail.
     
    #1

  2. Observer Walt

    Observer Walt Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,860
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    East Mississauga
    ... and frequently the tail wags the dog.
     
    #2
  3. AndreaPalladio

    AndreaPalladio Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,079
    Likes Received:
    5
    Mine is the use of "there is" to describe a group of things, instead of "there are". For example "There is buildings". Even more annoying "There's buildings".
     
    #3
  4. JasonParis

    JasonParis Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Leslieville
    Non-Canadian spellings are a big peeve of mine.
     
    #4
  5. ganjavih

    ganjavih Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why? Non-Canadians are people too.

    BuildTO, I thought your position was that we shouldn't discriminate against language styles/dialects/accents as long as the message gets across. Shouldn't that apply to spelling and grammar too? Why should we care if someone uses 'there' instead of 'their' as long as we understand them?
     
    #5
  6. BuildTO

    BuildTO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Big side discussion solely for ganjavih here...

    When Linguists refer to "language", they are referring exclusively to spoken language. It is speech which is natural and unavoidable (i.e., you cannot stop a child from acquiring language; the human brain is hard-wired to produce it) - and spontaneous. Thus, all of the principles I referred to are relevant to speech.

    Writing systems are another matter entirely. They are the opposite: unnatural and invented phenomena. If your language does not have a writing system, you need to borrow, steal, or invent one. This is why, while all spoken language is equal in complexity, all writing systems are far from equal. They range in complexity from Spanish using the roman alphabet, in which there is almost a 1:1 correspondence between letter and sound, to English using the same alphabet but with far from a 1:1 relationship (26 letters and more than 40 sounds) to the Chinese system of symbols in which a person is not considered literate until perhaps 20 years of age.

    Once Spanish children know the alphabet and the sounds associated with the letters, they can read anything, even if they can't understand it; it will just take time to increase vocabulary and learn what the bigger words mean. But children learning to read/write English have to keep learning exceptions to rules and the different spellings that come with the history of the language and writing system, which reflect that English has embraced borrowings from every language it has come into contact with.

    So writing systems are completely rule-governed. We need to follow those rules for the most part, to maintain a semblance of order in a writing system such as English. If you've seen that joke that gets passed around through email every so often, proposing that the English spelling system be simplified, it's amusing but in all seriousness a bad suggestion. It would lead to all kinds of confusion resulting from the many homonyms English has that are disambiguated by spelling.

    Taking an example from my talk: the use of "ain't" in speech is in no way inferior to the use of "isn't". This is a dialect difference. But as an analogy: the misspelling of "its" in print is not an indication of dialect, community, or any other social factors. It is either an indication of sloppiness or a lack of knowledge of the rules of one's own writing system.

    These days, there are many areas in which you can avoid writing, and many people do avoid it. Unfortunately, unlike speaking, which we all do from an early age, writing is something some have a special talent for (some people really are naturally good spellers). We do acknowledge that in some situations (e.g., resumés and job applications), a single mistake can be disastrous. In other places, such as on this forum, a more casual level of writing is accepted, but owing to the higher-than-average level of discourse, you won't get the warmest reception if u rite like a 15 yr uld talkin to frenz on a cell phone.

    This whole thread (and these regular discussions) are not chastising those who really have genuine trouble communicating. They are good-natured, but bring up spelling/grammatical points which the vast majority here seem to be capable of actually learning - if they don't know - and incorporating into their writing.

    Addendum:
    In speech, nonverbal cues (tone, intonation, facial expression, body language, to name a few) help to clarify meaning. Writing, without the aid of any of those, is very easily misunderstood. That is why spelling and grammar are critical in helping to disambiguate.
     
    #6
  7. BuildTO

    BuildTO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can I go off topic in the grammar thread? My current pet peeve is watching the home shows on HGTV and hearing Americans pronounce "foyer" so that it rhymes with "lawyer". If you wanted to torture me, you could tie me up and make me listen to that for hours.

    :D

    Resume grammar discussion...
     
    #7
  8. JasonParis

    JasonParis Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Leslieville
    Staying on that topic for a sec, I also hate when some Canadian newscasts say "anti" the American way. They pronounce it "antie" when it should be "antee."
     
    #8
  9. MisterF

    MisterF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,185
    Likes Received:
    0
    "I hope the Raptors don't loose tonight". This drives me absolutely nuts and spelling it with the extra o is almost more common than spelling it the right way. It's spelled LOSE!! At least one poster on this very thread is guilty of this...

    A few spoken ones I notice a lot:
    "acrost"
    "supposably"
    "Interact" (as in debit)
    "If I hadda gone to the store"
     
    #9
  10. Prometheus The Supremo

    Prometheus The Supremo ►Member №41+⅜◄

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    4,108
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    a strange reality, bizarro toronto
    i hope the girlfriend don't loose tonight.:D
     
    #10
  11. Prometheus The Supremo

    Prometheus The Supremo ►Member №41+⅜◄

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    4,108
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    a strange reality, bizarro toronto
    well color me guilty!
     
    #11
  12. Prometheus The Supremo

    Prometheus The Supremo ►Member №41+⅜◄

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    4,108
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    a strange reality, bizarro toronto
    who let the dogs out!
     
    #12
  13. BuildTO

    BuildTO Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was waiting to see what else people would post, but that was going to be my next one.

    lose = verb
    loose = adjective
     
    #13
  14. indense

    indense Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2007
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Your problem is that you should be hoping the Raptors WIN tonight. If you are just hoping they don't loose, well, you've already loosed. Think positive.
     
    #14
  15. MisterF

    MisterF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,185
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm going to lose my shoe because the laces are loose!
     
    #15

Share This Page