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"Allot" is not the word you think it is


Madog Barfog
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pps. I have a friend with a lapel button that reads, "Grammer Police". When called on the spelling, he reveals a second button that reads, "No ma'am, what you want is the Spelling Police." It's kind of sad how seldom he gets to reveal the second button.

I want those buttons!

 

One my many pet peeves, spelling-wise: confusion between have and of. Would've, could've and should've are contractions for would have, could have and should have, respectively. Seeing would of/could of/should of makes no sense at all. Same application applies in double contractions, wouldn't've, couldn't've and shouldn't've, although those are very rarely seen in written form.

 

More spelling: idea and ideal are different words. "I have an idea" elicits a response of, "Good. Let's hear your idea." "I have an ideal" makes very little sense, but sometimes I respond to it with, "Good for you, glad you have principles."

 

Grammatically, improper use of "I" and "me" bothers me. "Bob and me are going to the store" should be "Bob and I are going to the store." The test is to split the sentence. "Bob is going to the store. I am going to the store." Add to this the trend toward lazy shortcuts both verbal and written in "come with". Someone says, "Bob and me are going to the store. Come with?" Two strikes. I get what they are asking, but dang...talk to me or text me, not both.

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Who/whom is another one...I rarely hear or see anyone use "whom," correctly or otherwise; by extension, I frequently see "who" used incorrectly. Just answer your question with a masculine pronoun. If the answer is "he," use "who." If "him" is more appropriate, use "whom."

 

Who/whom loves you? He loves you.

Who/whom do you love? You love him.

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Their, there, they're

 

It bothers me when the above are misused.

My son is in the 3rd Grade and they have a list of 50 words that there's no excuse for them to misspell or misuse. Those three are not only on the list, they were on the list of 25 Must Know words in 2nd grade.

 

Yet I'm sure half of them will be misusing them by the time they get their first cell-phones. ::(:

 

Far be it from me to complain about parentheticals (it is just possible that I have used a parenthetical or two in my time (I usually try to avoid nested parentheticals, but sometimes they're useful (you do have to remember to close each set, though, or your compiler will complain (that would be a metaphorical compiler (of course)))), though I will say that your post really needed some footnotes*.

You forgot to close a ). :lol:

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Allow me to preface this post with: I have no formal training, or particular penchant toward, proper spelling, proper use of grammar, or even, as my coworkers will attest, typing. Sure I attended AP English in Jr. High and High School, but I do not recall the least bit of it. As such I make gobs of mistakes in my written communication, yet still manage to sleep at night. Go figure.

 

 

My biggest fear is that text language will eventually crowd out proper written communication not only on the Internet, but culture wide (though this may take some time). I can just imagine a spelling bee in 10 years:

 

"Your word is 'really'. Please spell the word and use it in a complete sentence"

"Really. R-L-Y. Really" "As in 0 RLY?"

 

*cringe*

 

Post Script: I liek turtles to! (<= purposeful use of 'to' instead of 'too' ::P: )

 

Regards,

-wyrm-

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You even get spelling errors in the headlines of newspapers and on TV nowadays! You think, "You guys are employed for your skills with language. Did no-one really notice this?"

 

Ishil

One of my most common exclamations while watching television (yes, I shout at the television) is "who wrote this ****?" I constantly correct the awful grammar I see and hear there.

 

My wife loves this behavior, I assure you. :devil:

 

As to the "a lot" thing, though, I will say that some confusion for me lingered for a time as "alot" (one l) seemed to be gaining acceptance as some sort of contraction, and was even used in publication when I was a child. In time, "alot" disappeared, but the memory of it could be causing some confusion out there. That could have been a regional occurrence or just some short-lived trend, but I do clearly remember seeing it in print in school as a child.

 

Just playing the Devil's advocate again.

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The thing that really bugs me about improper grammar and spelling isn't so much the mistakes themselves, but people who don't care enough to fix their mistakes when they are pointed out to them.

 

For example, on the Wargames Factory forum, we're always talking about sprues, the plastic frames that include the plastic parts. Yet several people call them "spruce". At one point, someone put up a thread with a picture of a Spruce tree and the caption "This is a spruce, what we are talking about here are sprues. Please get it right."

 

And yet, some people still call them spruce. AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

On a similar note: my 6 year old is learning how to read, and in helping him, I'm constantly being reminded of how the english language has way too many inconsistencies in its rules and grammar. Things that are so ingrained into me now that I don't give them a second thought are frustrating the heck out of him. I really don't blame him, either.

 

It is probably not helping that he has chosen Calvin and Hobbes as his preferred material to learn to read on.

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On a similar note: my 6 year old is learning how to read, and in helping him, I'm constantly being reminded of how the english language has way too many inconsistencies in its rules and grammar. Things that are so ingrained into me now that I don't give them a second thought are frustrating the heck out of him. I really don't blame him, either.

 

I have a 5 and 7 year old. I can't count the number of times I have had to say something to the matter of, "This is another of those words than don't follow the rules..." when trying to help them pronounce a word as they learn.

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My biggest fear is that text language will eventually crowd out proper written communication not only on the Internet, but culture wide (though this may take some time).

After 100 years, an author from the past's writings are quaint in the persepctive of a person from the present (any time, not just today)

After 250 years, an author's writings are archaic,but decipherable. (See: Common Sense, or the Federalist Papers)

After 500 years, advanced education is helpful, though not required (Shakespeare, any 14-16th century author's work)

after 1,000 years, native speakers of the same language find the writings difficult, of not entirely foreign without advanced academic instruction (Chaucer, for example - doable, but not by the lay person)

 

After more than 1,500 years, the language has evolved enough to barely be recognizable as the same language, and probably is only the same language in name, although many roots will still be true.

 

Language Evolves. Media is a tool of this. Writing did not prevent the evolution of language, the printing press, which made writing accessable, likewise did not. Some hypothesize that radio & video will "freeze" language, but this is unlikely, as for nearly a century, we have continually evolved slang and other terms. Try listening to an old radio drama from the 20's, or a movie from the 30's, or TV from the early 50's. It's English, and recognizable as such, but it's not the way we *use* the language anymore.

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Talespinner's peeve regarding spaces around dashes is something I would mention when copyediting this quote as well, Mr. Sundseth, and I would do so for the same reasons I will defend the lack of a serial coma in the quoted passage from my earlier post: my own personal diaskeuism stems from my time spent as a journalistic copyeditor, and newspaper style generally demands punctuational concessions to available space (such as the removal of spaces around dashes and of serial commas).

 

Indeed. My editing background is in technical documents (they pay me, though of course never well enough, to do that, BTW), where clarity is relatively more important and space relatively less important than in print journalism. FWIW, I would actually prefer wider kerning around en and em dashes, but that's a bit difficult in HTML. 8-)

 

I must say that "diaskeuism" is new to me, and apparently also to the print Encarta, Webster's 3rd Collegiate, and Google. The OED has "diaskeuast" (glossed as "reviser of a poem, interpolator") and "diaskuasis", which I assume are related, but I must admit that I'm finding it difficult to discern your meaning here. Perhaps you would be kind enough to expand.

 

You may note my time spent writing academic papers in college seems to have trumped my journalistic experience when it comes to vocabularial concessions to available space. Of course, that's all a matter of style* vs. style**.

 

Further on the matter of personal style, I strongly prefer the British placement of punctuation relative to quotation marks, so I use it when not constrained by an employer (and when I also don't make a mistake, of course). I know the history of the American style and don't feel especially constrained by rules developed to preserve metal type from damage. :poke:

 

Also, Mr. Sundseth, please find attached as eries of footnotes for your reading pleasure, in addition to the inclusion of a few slight typos. You cannot see the sweat on my brow as I leave them uncorrected, but you seem to enjoy them, so I shall let them stand.

 

While I do appreciate the effort, especially in adding the previously missing footnotes :rolleyes: , I really only enjoy fun typos. Muphry's Law** typos are often fun, as are typos that result in changed meaning in odd ways. And both "mispell" and "grammer" are always entertaining.

 

* Stet; see Muphry's Law (for instance) if you don't already know why.

 

ps. I hope you didn't take my first comment too seriously. I only get really combative about this topic when I infer bad faith or ill will in a debating partner; I infer neither here.

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Who/whom is another one...I rarely hear or see anyone use "whom," correctly or otherwise; by extension, I frequently see "who" used incorrectly. Just answer your question with a masculine pronoun. If the answer is "he," use "who." If "him" is more appropriate, use "whom."

 

Who/whom loves you? He loves you.

Who/whom do you love? You love him.

 

I fall in with Theodore Bernstein (and Noah Webster) in disagreeing with this. (Even Safire strongly recommended recasting any sentence where "whom" would be formally correct such that it is not necessary.)

 

Excerpt from Bernstein (originally published in the NY Times Magazine in 1975; republished in Dos, Don'ts & Maybes of English Usage):

 

The pronoun in the objective case form serves no purpose in the language and should be banished, except when it follows immediately after a preposiition and 'sounds natural' even to the masses, as in 'To
whom
it may concern' or 'He married the girl for
whom
he had risked his life.' Except for such post-prepositional uses of
whom
, forget it.

 

Oh, I don't say you are formally incorrect, but I will say that "whom" is unidiomatic in most American English dialects (at least), and unnecessary in all such dialects. And grammar emerges from usage, not the reverse. All living languages change; English has changed here.

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