Author Topic: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch  (Read 59580 times)

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Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #390 on: April 20, 2014, 06:28:36 PM »
I have handwritten recipe books belonging to my grandmother and great-aunt - and I'm the wrong side of 50 - that have not only the Random capital Letter but also random "Quotation" marks. I have recipes for "Sultana" tea Cake and almond "Boats". They didn't even have the excuse of predictive text...

baglady

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #391 on: April 20, 2014, 10:09:19 PM »
The Associated Press has declared that "over" is now an accepted alternative to "more than" in all uses.

I've never seen this, do you have an example?

Proofreading is an integral part of my job function. The most common mistakes I see are abuses of the apostrophe and capitalization issues. One thing that makes me utterly crazy however is the use of "addicting" where "addictive" should be.

"Heroin is an addictive drug."

"These potato chips are so addicting!" unless the chips are currently injecting a drug like heroin into their little potato veins and are in the process of becoming addicts, then no.

"More than" is for things greater in number; "over" is for things on top of or surpassing/after other things.
Some friends (editors, all) and I were coming up with song lyrics and titles that would not work with the alternative inserted:

"Over Words"
"Over a Feeling"
"Head More Than Heels"
"Bridge More Than Troubled Water"
"Somewhere More Than the Rainbow"
"It Ain't More Than Till it's More Than."
"Happy Christmas (War is More Than)"
"Over This"

The confusing or overlapping (and still incorrect, in my books--and by that I mean the books I edit) usage comes with things like "over 50 years old," which should always be "more than 50 years old."

Actually, "over 50 years old" is an accepted usage per the AP. It's "over" in usages such as "over 100 people attended" that used to be unacceptable.
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MrTango

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #392 on: April 20, 2014, 10:55:02 PM »
My ex husband used "irregardless" on a regular basis. He enjoyed seeing me twitch.

It seems few people understand "flammable" and "inflammable" share the same meaning.

That's true, but I think that's an example of a failure of the English language in general.  If "inedible" is the opposite of "edible" and "inopportune" is the opposite of "opportune," (not to mention many other examples of adding the prefix "in" to create the antonym of the root word), then "inflammable" should be the opposite of "flammable."
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 10:56:44 PM by MrTango »

Hillia

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #393 on: April 23, 2014, 05:22:32 PM »
I just read an article on a website that talked about the 'repore' two characters on a sitcom had with each other.  Ow.

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baglady

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #394 on: April 24, 2014, 12:31:29 AM »
My ex husband used "irregardless" on a regular basis. He enjoyed seeing me twitch.

It seems few people understand "flammable" and "inflammable" share the same meaning.

That's true, but I think that's an example of a failure of the English language in general.  If "inedible" is the opposite of "edible" and "inopportune" is the opposite of "opportune," (not to mention many other examples of adding the prefix "in" to create the antonym of the root word), then "inflammable" should be the opposite of "flammable."

The root of "inflammable" is the word "inflame," which means to set afire, or to catch fire. The word "flammable" was coined because the "in" part of "inflammable" can be mistaken for the prefix "in-" meaning "not." It's idiot-proofing ... just like having all phone numbers in movies and TV shows start with "555" (because some people will call numbers they hear on TV) and labeling dog chew toys "eatable" (because some people don't understand the word "edible" because it doesn't have "eat" in it). "Flammable" isn't the language's fault; it's the idiots' fault.

One that *is* the language's fault is the word "sanction." It means both punishment and authorization/approval. A country can impose economic sanctions (the bad kind) against another country, but an organization can "sanction" (the good kind) events -- as in, "the New York State Tiddlywinks Tournament is a World Tiddlywinks Association-sanctioned competition."
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starry diadem

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #395 on: April 24, 2014, 02:35:12 AM »
<quote tree snipped>
One that *is* the language's fault is the word "sanction." It means both punishment and authorization/approval. A country can impose economic sanctions (the bad kind) against another country, but an organization can "sanction" (the good kind) events -- as in, "the New York State Tiddlywinks Tournament is a World Tiddlywinks Association-sanctioned competition."

I love words that can hold contradictory meaning.  I think they're one of the delights of English as a language.  They're 'contranyms' or 'antagonyms' or 'autoantonyms'  - I also love a language that has so many odd words to describe its own quirks!  There are probably loads of them, but a few I can think of offhand:

cleave : to separate - or to cling to something.

weather : to get through or withstand something ('weather the storm') - or be worn away

bolt : make secure - or flee (possibly screaming...)

refrain : to hold back from doing something, not to do it - or repeat (as in the refrain to a song, the chorus)

fast : quick, rapid  - or stuck, stable ('held fast')

trim : cut away excess  - or decorate


A probable explanation is that although on the surface we've ended up with one word that apparently has contradictory meanings, what we have here are two words from different roots which have ended up being spelt in the same way.  Etymology dictionaries are wondrous things when you get into word usage!

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Nikko-chan

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #396 on: April 24, 2014, 06:55:43 AM »
I just read an article on a website that talked about the 'repore' two characters on a sitcom had with each other.  Ow.

That's supposed to be 'rapport' isn't it? Yeah Hillia, I'm with you. Ow.

Danika

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #397 on: April 24, 2014, 03:14:55 PM »
My DH subscribes to a variety of four wheeling and off-roading Jeep magazines. I rarely read them, but I was looking through one the other day and I read the following sentence. It was an article advising drivers on how to beef up their vehicles.

"A powerful vehicle can be had by..."

I suppose that it's grammatically correct, but it still made me wince.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #398 on: April 24, 2014, 03:30:41 PM »
I just read an article on a website that talked about the 'repore' two characters on a sitcom had with each other.  Ow.

That's supposed to be 'rapport' isn't it? Yeah Hillia, I'm with you. Ow.

The person who wrote that ought to have a copy of the OED thrown at them.

VorFemme

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #399 on: April 24, 2014, 05:23:51 PM »
Someone was telling me about going hiking in a state or national where the water source for the sinks in the toilet facilities was clearly labeled as "not potable".  And watching people wash their hands, splash water on their faces, and then DRINK gulps of it from their hands...

Apparently "Not Potable" is not clear labeling to some people.  But "Don't drink the water from the sink faucets" is going to take a much bigger sign and you'll still have people who don't read it because "it's too many words"...yeah, heard that one - someone asked what the sign said & excused themselves for not reading it because it had "too many words".  It was a historical marker explaining the significance of something that happened in that area...and I heard it at more than one historical marker on that trip - not from the same people.
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Onyx_TKD

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #400 on: April 24, 2014, 05:53:13 PM »
Someone was telling me about going hiking in a state or national where the water source for the sinks in the toilet facilities was clearly labeled as "not potable".  And watching people wash their hands, splash water on their faces, and then DRINK gulps of it from their hands...

Apparently "Not Potable" is not clear labeling to some people.  But "Don't drink the water from the sink faucets" is going to take a much bigger sign and you'll still have people who don't read it because "it's too many words"...yeah, heard that one - someone asked what the sign said & excused themselves for not reading it because it had "too many words".  It was a historical marker explaining the significance of something that happened in that area...and I heard it at more than one historical marker on that trip - not from the same people.

OTOH, there is also the possibility that they understood "not potable" perfectly well and were willing to take the risk anyway. For example, I know of some natural springs that are labeled as not potable, but that people frequently drink from. IME, "not potable" does not necessarily mean dangerous or contaminated, but rather that it is not known (or tested) to be safe for drinking. So it may mean "drink at your own risk" rather than "don't drink".

Also, you mention "watching people wash their hands" in the list of actions demonstrating that they didn't understand the sign. I would take "not potable" on a bathroom sink to mean that I shouldn't avoid ingesting the water, i.e., don't drink it, don't wet my toothbrush with it, and perhaps avoid getting it in other orifaces like the eyes. I wouldn't interpret that as saying it's not safe for hand-washing, unless I had open wounds on my hands. If the water wasn't safe for hand-washing, then why on earth would they pipe it to a restroom sink in the first place? That's the main purpose of a restroom sink!

Elfmama

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #401 on: April 24, 2014, 07:22:12 PM »
Add replace to that list; it can mean either "keep it and put it back in place" or "get rid of it and buy a new one." 

I ran afoul of that a couple of years ago.  We bought a new front door and the installers asked what they should do with the screen door; I meant the first when I said "replace it," but they obviously interpreted it the second way, because it was ripped off and too bent to use. 
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #402 on: April 25, 2014, 09:48:16 AM »
Just got this email today from someone in the organization who is leaving.  This went to our division as a whole.  I've never met the individual in person.  What is with all the quotation marks?!?!?  Made me laugh and wonder what she was really saying.

As some of you may know, I have decided to leave [employer] to continue my career [with employer].

My journey with [employer] these past 8 years has been the ‘most amazing’, the ‘most fulfilling’, the ‘most educating’ and above all the ‘most cherished’ one. I feel extremely privileged having got the opportunity to know and work with so many talented individuals from diverse backgrounds who are so welcoming and friendly. It has truly been an ‘enriching life experience’ for me.

As I take this next step in my career, I take with me all the knowledge and experience I have gained working with all of you.
Thank you all for your support, patience, and friendship over the years. You are a special group of people and I will definitely miss you.

Please keep in touch by adding me to LinkedIn or other social media outlets. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination.
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Twik

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #403 on: April 25, 2014, 10:35:30 AM »
"Reign" for "rein" is making me crazy.

I suppose the problem is that most people no longer ride or drive horses, so metaphors like "taking the reins" or "giving free rein" no longer resonate. Instead, they realize those terms have something to do with control, and "reign" is control, right? So, they give people free reign to take the reigns.

It's bad enough in daily writings, but when I saw it show up in "Ironman" I wanted to cry. Do they not use proofreaders?
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MrTango

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Re: Grammar and spellling that make you twitch
« Reply #404 on: April 25, 2014, 02:25:29 PM »
The Associated Press has declared that "over" is now an accepted alternative to "more than" in all uses.

I've never seen this, do you have an example?

Proofreading is an integral part of my job function. The most common mistakes I see are abuses of the apostrophe and capitalization issues. One thing that makes me utterly crazy however is the use of "addicting" where "addictive" should be.

"Heroin is an addictive drug."

"These potato chips are so addicting!" unless the chips are currently injecting a drug like heroin into their little potato veins and are in the process of becoming addicts, then no.

"More than" is for things greater in number; "over" is for things on top of or surpassing/after other things.
Some friends (editors, all) and I were coming up with song lyrics and titles that would not work with the alternative inserted:

"Over Words"
"Over a Feeling"
"Head More Than Heels"
"Bridge More Than Troubled Water"
"Somewhere More Than the Rainbow"
"It Ain't More Than Till it's More Than."
"Happy Christmas (War is More Than)"
"Over This"

The confusing or overlapping (and still incorrect, in my books--and by that I mean the books I edit) usage comes with things like "over 50 years old," which should always be "more than 50 years old."

Actually, "over 50 years old" is an accepted usage per the AP. It's "over" in usages such as "over 100 people attended" that used to be unacceptable.

I always thought of it as whether it's a discrete count or a value along a scale.  For values along a scale (i.e. temperature, depth, pressure, height) where we just happen to have set units, but where we can have values between those units, one can use "over." For things that are counted (as opposed to a scale where you can have portions of a unit), such as apples, people, grains of sand, etc, one should use "more than."