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Ben X

Didactic Thumbs (Pedantry Corner)

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My biggest pedantic bitchstorm of the moment is the hypercorrection of "x and me" to "x and I" even when that's not appropriate. I feel like when I was a kid, you would hear things like "Me and Jim Bob went to the store" all the time, and at some point, English teachers all over the country just decided, "fuck it; we'll just teach them to say 'Jim Bob and I' in every circumstance" so you end up with crap like, "Betty Sue went to the store with Jim Bob and I." NO! Jim Bob and you are the objects of the prepositional phrase, so your pronouns have to be in the objective case, GODDAMNIT! :(

 

That, and the idea that a "run-on sentence" is just a sentence that somebody decides is too long, even if it's structurally correct.

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The opposite bothers me more, probably because it's rampant in Swedish. It's not uncommon to hear someone say "I see he" ("jag ser han"). Drives me nuts.

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I'm enjoying reading all these grammar-articles on Wikipedia; it seems that the authors enjoy demonstrating proper usage within their explanations.

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Is this the place to mention that I do "give a fuck" about an oxford comma.

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Is this the place to mention that I do "give a fuck" about an oxford comma.

The only ones who do are the people in Oxford, the Americans and you.

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I think the idiots, eot, and SpennyDubz should discuss this further. 

 

Edit: Had to fix a mistake, but thanks for discussing it :P

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You one upped me :P

 

Thing is, if I wanted to write what you think you're writing I would put another comma after the 'z'. That's why it's unambiguous to me.

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Hi, I'm James, and I'm a recovering pedant. I feel that my pedantry is pretty much under control, but you can never be truly free of it.

I used to be terrible about correcting (or "correcting") people on forums. I wish I could say the impetus for change was realizing what an arsehole I was being, or developing a more kind-hearted and accepting conception of why people might talk and write the way they do, but really it was vanity: I discovered I'd been making a few fairly basic errors, and if there's one thing worse than just being wrong, it's being a hypocrite at the same time. It was pretty freeing to adopt a more laid-back approach to language.

Some things do wind me up, though.

Every day at work someone has to do a shipping manifest, and unfortunately that person doesn't realise that there's a difference between "manifest" and "manifesto". It doesn't matter in the slightest – everyone understand what's meant, and most people probably don't even notice the error – but it drives me up the fucking wall. And it's doubly frustrating, because I can't actually hold it against my colleague. That would be ridiculous and very mean. Perhaps I should have politely said something at some point, but it's been years now, so that would be pretty weird. Besides, I don't know how you do that without it sounding disparaging, which I wouldn't want at all.

Before that I had a German colleague whose English was excellent, but who used "slowly" as an adjective: "why is it so slowly?" was a common outburst. Again, it doesn't matter at all, but eventually it became like nails on a blackboard.

I'm probably overstating my irritation a bit, but I probably do need to chill out about that stuff.

I feel somewhat more comfortable in my irritation at what Shammack brought up, and with hypercorrection in general. You've still got to be careful about overly judgemental thoughts – after all, someone might just be overcompensating for a previous error that some other pedant lectured them on – but when people start mistakenly attempting to correct others, I think it's fair game. For example, apparently Donald Trump chastised a contestant on that dumb programme for saying "I feel bad" rather than "I feel badly". Not only condescending and shitty, but also 100% wrong. There's something incredibly infuriating about that combination of smugness, ignorance and dissemination of false information (in giving thousands of viewers an incorrect grammar lesson). I hate it. I've seen people do the same with the "x and I" thing and it makes me so angry.

Pre-emptive self-directed pedantry: In this post I make inconsistent use of the serial comma. Generally, more important than following particular rules is being consistent with yourself. My possibly rather feeble excuse is that my approach to punctuation is to mirror my internal monologue: if I'd pause before the "and", I include a comma; if I wouldn't, I don't. I'll sometimes adjust that for clarity's sake, but that's pretty much how it works in my head.

Speaking of which, does everyone else say everything they write as a voice in their head, or are some of you able to think entirely textually? Is that a dumb question?

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If that was supposed to be an example of the Oxford Comma's absence ruining things, it's not a very good one. The correct punctuation for that sentence where eot and SpennyDubz are the idiots would be, "I think the idiots, eot and SpennyDubz, should discuss this further."

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The people who should discuss this further are the idiots, eot and SpennyDubz.

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Hi, I'm James, and I'm a recovering pedant. I feel that my pedantry is pretty much under control, but you can never be truly free of it.

 

Hi James.

 

Dealing with a shipping manifesto every morning would probably endlessly amuse me.  I'm easy to amuse. 

 

 

 

Speaking of which, does everyone else say everything they write as a voice in their head, or are some of you able to think entirely textually? Is that a dumb question?

 

 I think with a voice, I honestly can't even imagine what it would be like to think textually.  I just tried for a bit, and the voice automatically overrode the thought.

 

 

I just had to look up proper use of the past tense of override to make sure I was using it right, because it looked weird when I wrote it.

 

 

Edited to add: Do you read other people's posts in your internal voice, or do you have some other voice or accent that you read them in?  Does that affect your forgiveness of their grammar usage if it more accurately matches speech?  I think I do it with people's whose voices I'm familiar with hours of exposure to (friends, family, podcasters), but all other things are usually just in the voice I always hear in my head.

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I also do the voice-in-head thing. Like Bjorn, familiar voices will trump the default one.

I imagine that if you want to see what it would be like to think textually, you should learn how to speed-read.

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In my head, Bjorn has a higher-pitched voice than clyde.

 

No, I don't know why.

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In my head, Bjorn has a higher-pitched voice than clyde.

 

No, I don't know why.

 

Weird, I hear myself at a higher pitch than most people tell me I sound.

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This is literally my least favorite thread on every forum for all time.

 

Irregardless, I await with baited breath to seeing what happens from hear on out.

"of" all time.

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"of" all time.

That's the only one you're going to pick him up on?

Edited to add: Do you read other people's posts in your internal voice, or do you have some other voice or accent that you read them in?  Does that affect your forgiveness of their grammar usage if it more accurately matches speech?  I think I do it with people's whose voices I'm familiar with hours of exposure to (friends, family, podcasters), but all other things are usually just in the voice I always hear in my head.[/size]

I think for me it's pretty much always my own voice, even when I know it should be another accent. If it's not written phonetically like Trainspotting or something, I don't really have the imagination to fill in the blank with anything other than me (or, more accurately, what I imagine I sound like, which, of course, differs from what I actually sound like). I couldn't really tell you what bearing that has on how I feel about people's errors in written English. Perhaps I find it more jarring in my own imagined voice, but I'm not sure.

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Weird, I hear myself at a higher pitch than most people tell me I sound.

I also experience this. I assume it's normal, but maybe we're the only two weirdos.

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I hope I don't appear in this thread. I pretty much fuck up all the time, maybe even in this sentence. Is that even where a comma goes? Even if you tell me, I'll never learn.

 

Hey I appeared in this thread.


I don't get so annoyed with the grammar of others when typing unless it's truly bad. I prefer just not to hear the same thing over and over like, "interesting." Or, "Corporate accounts payable Nina speaking. Just a moment."

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Re. people incorrectly correcting - Dan told me that whenever he posts a tweet including the phrase "bear in mind", he always gets at least one person replying, "bare".

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Don't ever expose a weakness to me James. I'm going to make your torture slowly.

 

 

Edit: My friend is an English teacher. Once she told me that her car mechanic had written "Your wipers are noising alot" on her service report.

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I have a grammar question, this seems as good a place as any:

I was tempted to write something like: "him fighting it ..."

Which doesn't seem to make any sense. You could say: "I saw him fighting it"

"Seeing him fighting it was great" (I know you'd probably use "fight" and not "fighting" here)

Can you omit the first verb?

"Him fighting it was great" <- sounds right, seems wrong

"He fighting it was great" <- no !? yes?

 

I'm confused.

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Yeah, I'd say "seeing him fight it was great" or "him fighting it was great" both work, at least in an informal way. "He fighting it was great" <-NO!!

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"His fighting it was great"? As in the act of him fighting it was great?

 

This might be a construction we use over here though, we inherited a few oddities of grammar from Irish.

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RE voices: If I know what their voice sounds like I'll hear that voice in my head when I read their words (such as all of the Thumbs) but otherwise I'll substitute my internal one.  I've actually been trying to stop doing that altogether because as Clyde mentioned it's a speed reading trick.  It's one of the reasons I chew gum a lot.  Supposedly keeping your mouth occupied will help you stop voicing words in your head because your brain thinks your mouth is busy so it won't try to speak.

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