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What are your pet peeves re English usage?

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:33 am
KP, you might find this interesting:

Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758, in the West Division of Hartford. Noah's was an average colonial family. His father farmed and worked as a weaver. His mother worked at home. Noah and his two brothers, Charles and Abraham, helped their father with the farm work. Noah's sisters, Mercy and Jerusha, worked with their mother to keep house and to make food and clothing for the family.

Few people went to college, but Noah loved to learn so his parents let him go to Yale, Connecticut's only college. He left for New Haven in 1774, when he was 16. Noah's years at Yale coincided with the Revolutionary War. Because New Haven had food shortages during this time, many of Noah's classes were held in Glastonbury.

Noah graduated in 1778. He wanted to study law, but his parents could not afford to give him more money for school. So, in order to earn a living, Noah taught school in Glastonbury, Hartford and West Hartford. Later he studied law.

Noah did not like American schools. Sometimes 70 children of all ages were crammed into one-room schoolhouses with no desks, poor books, and untrained teachers. Their books came from England. Noah thought that Americans should learn from American books, so in 1783, Noah wrote his own textbook: A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. Most people called it the "Blue-backed Speller" because of its blue cover.

For 100 years, Noah's book taught children how to read, spell, and pronounce words. It was the most popular American book of its time. Ben Franklin used Noah's book to teach his granddaughter to read.

In 1789, Noah married Rebecca Greenleaf. They had eight children. Noah carried raisins and candies in his pockets for the children to enjoy. The Websters lived in New Haven, then moved to Amherst, MA. There, Noah helped to start Amherst College. Later the family moved back to New Haven.

When Noah was 43, he started writing the first American dictionary. He did this because Americans in different parts of the country spelled, pronounced and used words differently. He thought that all Americans should speak the same way. He also thought that Americans should not speak and spell just like the English.

Noah used American spellings like "color" instead of the English "colour" and "music" instead " of "musick". He also added American words that weren't in English dictionaries like "skunk" and "squash". It took him over 27 years to write his book. When finished in 1828, at the age of 70, Noah's dictionary had 70,000 words in it.

Noah did many things in his life. He worked for copyright laws, wrote textbooks, Americanized the English language, and edited magazines. When Noah Webster died in 1843 he was considered an American hero.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:57 am
Quote:
Saying, "Sam gave the coin to Jeff and I."


If a person is unsure, just take out the "Jeff and". Who would ever say, "Sam gave the coin to I"?

One of the things that I constantly do, and forever editing on A2K, is the use of "was" when "were" is the appropriate word. I usually type it incorrectly, see that it is glaringly wrong, and change it!
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Grand Duke
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 09:34 am
Right. So is the 'correct' way to say it:

"Sam gave the coin to me & Jeff" or
"Sam gave the coin to Jeff & me"?

So, if the coin-giving had been reversed, would it be:

"Jeff & I gave the coin to Sam" or
"Me & Jeff gave the coin to Sam"?
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Grand Duke
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 09:43 am
As usual, someone (KP in this instance - cheers mate) has managed to say what I was trying to say, only better - "We don't want to change and neither do you." It seems to be happening anyway by some strange form of literary osmosis.

The business with the dates still gets on my nerves though!
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 10:19 am
It would read, "I and Jeff took the piss of Sam," GD. A good way to be certain is to substitute the third person singular: As in "He and Jeff took the piss of Sam."
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:40 pm
Out of all of the things listed above, the only one I disagree with is "This is him" for answering the phone. I don't disagree with the grammar (since I'm not sure what the error is), but I think it sounds fine. I probably just hear it too much. But I am one to cringe with bad grammar and pronunciation.
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:14 pm
"This is him"
I learned a long, long time ago in one of my English classes that it's definitely, "This is he." I assume the implied phrase is, "This is he with whom you are speaking," but I'm sure no one would want to say that mouthful!!

As far as the serial comma goes, I would urge those of you who don't subscribe to its usage to go to:

The Case of the Serial Comma--Solved!


The bottom line is, it's used for clarity. As the writer of the above web page writes, "The reason for the final serial comma is to prevent the last 2 items' being confused as a unit."

Ailsa
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:43 pm
I completely agree on the comma issue. I have always foudn that annoying, and it bothers me that it is considered acceptable (according to the sources I have checked).
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caprice
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:51 pm
My BIGGEST peeve is the use of "your" in those situations where it should be "you're".

I wish I had a dime for every time I've seen it. I wouldn't be typing this because I'd be off on my 10 year world tour! Very Happy
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 08:51 pm
People pronouncing Missouri as Mizuruh. I work at a call center, and everyone from that state calls it that. In fact, every call I have ever recieved from Missouri, except one, which I just took, and that inspired me to point it out. I congratulated her.
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sarius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Apr, 2004 06:13 am
People who "mispell" the word "misspell".

Same goes for "mishappen", "mishapen", "misshappen".

"Definately" seems pretty common too.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Apr, 2004 08:51 am
Using nouns as verbs as in "I will solution the problem." Rather than "I will find a solution."

Any type of buzz words.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Apr, 2004 09:06 am
Lnikat, in your example, the verb to solve will work well, also, and might be less awkward.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Apr, 2004 11:21 am
Duh, of course - solve would work wonderfully. Ooops isn't duh one of some one's pet peeves.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2004 03:53 am
I like duh, though until I heard someone say it, I couldn't pronounce it. It really does convey - you've just said something really stupid - but with a laugh attached.
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2004 11:49 am
More wincing over bad English
Maybe it's pervasive but there's something in California called "Valley Girl" talk. The words: totally, awesome, "I'm like...", "I'm so totally hungry," etc. All spoken with a kind of nasal tone. It's very lovely to listen to.

Ailsa
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2004 12:18 pm
Re: More wincing over bad English
ailsagirl wrote:
It's very lovely to listen to.



I think i'm gonna be ill . . .



Gag me with a spoon . . .
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2004 08:10 pm
Joking
Setanta,

I hope you know I was joking!!! It makes my EARS curl!!

Ailsa
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2004 08:10 pm
Just havin' some fun, Boss . . .
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sarius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2004 03:16 am
The use of 'sacre bleu' when speaking English. I've never heard the French say it. Well I might be wrong, but it appears to be something the Americans say to include more 'French' in their vocabulary.

FYI: Sacre bleu is roughly translated as Crown blue.
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