• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Tim Cooke
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Bear Bibeault
Sheriffs:
  • Knute Snortum
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Ron McLeod
  • Piet Souris
  • Ganesh Patekar
Bartenders:
  • Tim Holloway
  • Carey Brown
  • salvin francis

For language prudes only - What words drive you nuts?

 
Marshal
Posts: 65457
248
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:. . . another tense that has practically disappeared from English is the subjunctive. In English it sounds very stuffy or archaic: . . .

I think the real problem with the English subjunctive is that except for 3rd person singular and I be/I were, the subjunctive sounds the same as the indicative. That means people don't realise they are using the subjunctive.
 
Bartender
Posts: 598
26
Oracle Notepad Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:drive on the wrong side of the road and turn your light switches upside-down


Technically, we drive on the right side.
 
Bartender
Posts: 21003
128
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Winston Gutkowski wrote:. . . another tense that has practically disappeared from English is the subjunctive. In English it sounds very stuffy or archaic: . . .

I think the real problem with the English subjunctive is that except for 3rd person singular and I be/I were, the subjunctive sounds the same as the indicative. That means people don't realise they are using the subjunctive.



Truthfully, I'm not sure they even mentioned subjunctive in my English classes. I first noticed it when I got to advanced German.

Then again, that was long ago.
 
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tim Holloway wrote:That's what you get when you start out speaking one family of languages (germanic), get invaded and ruled by a bunch speaking another language (french), then go stomping off around the world stealing words from the natives right and left. It's a wonder we can spell at all!


Not quite sure about "stomping", since we're an island nation; but otherwise a reasonable synopsis of British history c.500-1914.

Winston
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 65457
248
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suppose that is why so many people seem to want to come here, bringing their new words as presents for us
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 65457
248
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:. . . drive on the wrong side of the road . . .

It is worse than that. They drive on the French side of the road. They don't need light switches since their wires don't carry electricity (well, a tiny amount, only 115V).
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brian Tkatch wrote:Technically, we drive on the right side.


No, literally you drive on the right; but there are actually very good reasons for driving on the left. As I recall, Napoleon introduced driving on the right purely to be different from the Brits...and he couldn't even get that right, because French railways drive on the left.

Winston
 
Brian Tkatch
Bartender
Posts: 598
26
Oracle Notepad Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:

Brian Tkatch wrote:Technically, we drive on the right side.


No, literally you drive on the right


The beauty of that remark is that it relies on the correct meaning of right.
 
Bartender
Posts: 4568
9
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Stephan van Hulst wrote:I think that's because there is a much weaker link between English writing and speech in the first place. In most European languages, you can look at the word and you know how to pronounce it, even if you haven't seen it before. With English it's a lot harder. One of the well known examples is "Tough" vs "Though" and "Through".



I used to live in Milton Keynes. There were three nearby villages/districts called "Woughton", "Boughton" and "Loughton". Completely different pronunciations - if I remember it correctly they were Wuffton, Boreton and Louton (to rhyme with "cow-ton").
 
Tim Holloway
Bartender
Posts: 21003
128
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Brown wrote:

Stephan van Hulst wrote:I think that's because there is a much weaker link between English writing and speech in the first place. In most European languages, you can look at the word and you know how to pronounce it, even if you haven't seen it before. With English it's a lot harder. One of the well known examples is "Tough" vs "Though" and "Through".



I used to live in Milton Keynes. There were three nearby villages/districts called "Woughton", "Boughton" and "Loughton". Completely different pronunciations - if I remember it correctly they were Wuffton, Boreton and Louton (to rhyme with "cow-ton").



That one, I'm afraid is just not keeping up with history. Between the more tightly-packed set of dialects and outright relocation of people and boundaries.

There's a classic example given of historical layering in Wales, I think it is. Some landmark whose name consists of 4 parts, each of which is the word "hill" in one of the languages historically used there.
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 65457
248
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Brown wrote:. . . I used to live in Milton Keynes. . . .

I hope you are feeling better. I lived at Newport Pagnell a long time ago and had a job at Fenny Stratford and cycled via Woughton‑on‑the‑Green when it was a village.
 
Matthew Brown
Bartender
Posts: 4568
9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:I hope you are feeling better. I lived at Newport Pagnell a long time ago and had a job at Fenny Stratford and cycled via Woughton‑on‑the‑Green when it was a village.



Woughton-on-the-Green still feels fairly village-y (at least, it did last time I was there). Nice pub
- used to be our regular after-cricket drinking location.

Off-topic? What topic? Oh...sorry.
 
Marshal
Posts: 4671
305
IntelliJ IDE Clojure Java
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Brown wrote:I used to live in Milton Keynes. There were three nearby villages/districts called "Woughton", "Boughton" and "Loughton". Completely different pronunciations - if I remember it correctly they were Wuffton, Boreton and Louton (to rhyme with "cow-ton").


And not too far away was Towcester, pronounced Toaster.

(I grew up in Buckingham)
 
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tim Holloway wrote:There's a classic example given of historical layering in Wales, I think it is. Some landmark whose name consists of 4 parts, each of which is the word "hill" in one of the languages historically used there.



Torpenhow Hill -- but in Cumbria not Wales, and there's some debunking in Wikipedia including the word "alleged".
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Brown wrote:Off-topic? What topic? Oh...sorry.


No probs. Any post including my favourite sport is exempt; and it does look like a nice pub.

Winston
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 385
6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I also dislike any word where the apostrophe is misplaced - especially if it changes the meaning completely ...

lth.jpg
[Thumbnail for lth.jpg]
 
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 10534
224
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That reminds me, I have a really bad habit of writing "it's" when I meant to write "its".
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Stephan van Hulst wrote:That reminds me, I have a really bad habit of writing "it's" when I meant to write "its".


Yeah, it's a funny one that: contraction > possession.

Another one for you: The passive voice in general, but particularly when it's used to hide the subject:
"Mistakes were made ..."

Winston
 
Tim Holloway
Bartender
Posts: 21003
128
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You mean:

If mistakes were made, I'm the one responsible?
 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:Another one for you: The passive voice in general, but particularly when it's used to hide the subject:



Didn't you use the passive voice in the underlined part there?
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Clapham wrote:Didn't you use the passive voice in the underlined part there?


You see how pernicious it is?

No wonder writers and journalists have to "unlearn" it.

Winston
 
Matthew Brown
Bartender
Posts: 4568
9
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:

Stephan van Hulst wrote:That reminds me, I have a really bad habit of writing "it's" when I meant to write "its".


Yeah, it's a funny one that: contraction > possession.



It's not that strange when you realise it's a possessive pronoun - you wouldn't write "hi's" and "her's", would you? Or "him's" or "he's", for that matter. It's just that in this case the pronoun almost matches what you'd get if you appended "'s" to the original pronoun.
 
Matthew Brown
Bartender
Posts: 4568
9
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:

Paul Clapham wrote:Didn't you use the passive voice in the underlined part there?


You see how pernicious it is?


Have you heard of the "by zombies" rule? If you can add "by zombies" after the verb and it's still grammatical, it's in the passive voice.

These make "sense", and so are passive:

"Mistakes were made by zombies"
"It's used to hide the subject by zombies"



These do not, and so are not:

"We made mistakes by zombies"
"They use it to hide the subject by zombies"


I suspect it isn't foolproof, but it's cute.
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matthew Brown wrote:It's not that strange when you realise it's a possessive pronoun - you wouldn't write "hi's" and "her's", would you?


Very true. I guess it's our association of ''s' with a possessive.

Have you heard of the "by zombies" rule?


I hadn't, but I ain't gonna forget it now. Nice one.

I do remember doing exercises on it a few eons ago, and being amazed not only at how much stronger the active voice sounds, but how much space it saves. It's quite hard to keep up though...unless you're very vigilant.

Winston
 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sometimes switching from passive to active saves space, sometimes not. Consider

"As part of the traffic calming project, all of the stop signs were removed."

We don't know who removed the stop signs, but that's the advantage of using the passive voice -- we don't care who did the removing. We could be told that the city contracted out the stop-sign-removal job to a local company, or whatever, but really all of that is irrelevant to the point that the stop signs went away. (If it was zombies which (who? that?) removed the signs, now that would be worth mentioning.) A minimalist revision would be

"As part of the traffic calming project, they removed all of the stop signs."

Doesn't save much space, and also it's a bit distracting since now there's a little questioning thing in the back of the mind asking "They? Who dat?"


 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Stephan van Hulst wrote:That reminds me, I have a really bad habit of writing "it's" when I meant to write "its".



I find myself doing that all the time recently. I know the rule perfectly well but I still find myself typing that apostrophe and then having to backspace and fix it. I blame the Internet.
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 65457
248
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our's used to be considered correct, but you have to go back about 400 years. Before somebody removed all the stop signs.
 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know I'm a bit late, but here's wishing you a happy Commonwealth Day from the minions in the colonies.
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Clapham wrote:Sometimes switching from passive to active saves space, sometimes not. Consider
"As part of the traffic calming project, all of the stop signs were removed."
We don't know who removed the stop signs, but that's the advantage of using the passive voice -- we don't care who did the removing.


Yeah, I see your point. However the sentence seems a bit "strained". I took one look and immediately thought:

'Shouldn't that be: "All of the stop signs were removed as part of the traffic calming project."?'

Damned if I can tell you why though.

Something to do with object/subject placement perhaps?

Winston
 
Winston Gutkowski
Bartender
Posts: 10777
71
Hibernate Eclipse IDE Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Clapham wrote:I know I'm a bit late, but here's wishing you a happy Commonwealth Day from the minions in the colonies.


<sigh>First Pi Day and now Commonwealth Day...yet another anniversary I never knew about.</sigh>

But a Happy one to you too.

Winston
 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:'Shouldn't that be: "All of the stop signs were removed as part of the traffic calming project."?'

Damned if I can tell you why though.

Something to do with object/subject placement perhaps?



That could be a better way to say it, but it's still a passive construction. (Apply the "by zombies" rule.) And trying to make it active still raises the "who removed them" question, which is why passive is preferable (by me anyway) in this case.

But generally you're right: "Passive is preferable by me" is long and flabby compared to "I prefer passive".
 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Winston Gutkowski wrote:Commonwealth Day...yet another anniversary I never knew about



I never heard of it before, but my Windows 10 lock screen told me that today was Commonwealth Day all day. I had to look it up.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 974
11
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Language is a living and changing thing, so no language mistake would drive me nuts. But I am somewhat irritated when people over use English terms when there is a perfectly suitable Dutch term that can be used. The reason for this is not the language as such, but a sort of snobism I find with hipsters. Like they want to use English to show they know English and are better than the common folks. About two hundred years ago French had a similar same use. Then it was the nobility that spoke French as the worldly language and the plebeians who used the local dialect of Dutch.
 
Tim Holloway
Bartender
Posts: 21003
128
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


We don't know who removed the stop signs, but that's the advantage of using the passive voice -- we don't care who did the removing.



Actually, we do know, but we're a bunch of cowardly weasels who won't admit to it.

Passive voice is a favorite amongst character assassins, people who are too lazy to substantiate their claims or who want to hide behind the "everybody knows" screen.
 
Ahmed Bin S
Ranch Hand
Posts: 385
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jan de Boer wrote:But I am somewhat irritated when people over use English terms when there is a perfectly suitable Dutch term that can be used. The reason for this is not the language as such, but a sort of snobism I find with hipsters. Like they want to use English to show they know English and are better than the common folks.



I find it annoying when Indians and Pakistanis try to speak in an English accent.

I find it even more annoying when Europeans (which when used by a Brit means non-British Europeans) try to speak in an American accent.

Just speak in your normal accent!
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 65457
248
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ahmed Bin S wrote:. . . I find it annoying when Indians and Pakistanis try to speak in an English accent. . . .

Many of the “Indians and Pakistanis” round here were actually born in England and have lived their entire lives here. So why should they not have English accents?

A long time ago when I had a job near Glasgow I got the overnight train from Central Station to Euston. In the same compartment there were an Indian father and son. The father spoke with a Goodness Gracious Me accent, rather like Peter Sellers to Gina Lollobrigida and the son had a proper Ey Jemmy Glesca accent. It was a bit weird at first.
 
Ahmed Bin S
Ranch Hand
Posts: 385
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:Many of the “Indians and Pakistanis” round here were actually born in England and have lived their entire lives here. So why should they not have English accents?



Sure, my mother was born in Pakistan, I was born in London!

By Indians and Pakistanis I meant those who have come here from India and Pakistan recently, and who then try to speak in an English accent, when they don't have one. Maybe it's the anti-Colonialism in me whereby I believe everyone should just be happy with who they are that annoys me when they do this

Campbell Ritchie wrote:
A long time ago when I had a job near Glasgow I got the overnight train from Central Station to Euston. In the same compartment there were an Indian father and son. The father spoke with a Goodness Gracious Me accent, rather like Peter Sellers to Gina Lollobrigida and the son had a proper Ey Jemmy Glesca accent. It was a bit weird at first.



I did London to Glasgow a few years ago on the Virgin, it took around 4 hours IIRC, I suspect your journey took considerable more time!
 
Paul Clapham
Sheriff
Posts: 24635
56
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ahmed Bin S wrote:By Indians and Pakistanis I meant those who have come here from India and Pakistan recently, and who then try to speak in an English accent, when they don't have one. Maybe it's the anti-Colonialism in me whereby I believe everyone should just be happy with who they are that annoys me when they do this



Personally I'm in favour of that. If you're going to immigrate into a country then you should try to fit in there. As you may know it's common in Britain for people to display condescension or hostility to people who have accents different from their own, which is another reason for learning a British accent. It's not that different from trying to speak French with a good accent if you moved to France.
 
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand
Posts: 974
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ahmed Bin S wrote:I find it even more annoying when Europeans (which when used by a Brit means non-British Europeans) try to speak in an American accent.



It depends I guess. Remember that because of many American TV shows that are being watched some Europeans copy the American accent without even being aware of it. I am a bit of a fan of British comedy though, so I copy the British accent. I listen and watch the BBC that often, that when on the radio there is an interview with an American, I think they have a 'funny' accent.
 
Marshal
Posts: 7084
491
Mac OS X VI Editor BSD Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Clapham wrote:which is another reason for learning a British accent

That could be difficult. There are quite few. Even accents differ from borough to borough within the city. Friend of mine is from Southwark council (borough in London), he's English, he says sometimes could be challenging to understand even other English guy to him.

When he says "water", you could hear only "woa", for me non English, that was difficult to understand him first, he was laughing from me, now I got used to it.

And I still can't wrap my head, why "Leicester square" is being pronounced as "Lester" but not "Leichester", same as Gloucester being pronounced as "Gloster" but not "Glouchester" - where those few letters get disappear?
 
roses are red, violets are blue. Some poems rhyme and some are a tiny ad:
professionally read, modify and write PDF files from Java
https://products.aspose.com/pdf/java
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!