Sunday, October 31, 2010
I was wondering, though, about the phrase "trick or treat."
Mirriam-Webster Online dictionary: trick-or-treat (intransitive verb)
Example: We all got dressed up for trick-or-treat.
Wikipedia, however, defines the Halloween activity as trick or treating. What happened to parallelism? Shouldn't it be tricking or treating?
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Differences in patterns of language use are normal, not evidence of social decline. Diversity is everywhere—in the most educated speech communities and in languages that have never been written down. In fact, we learn long before formal instruction that different speech situations call for different styles.…
What’s more, the very notion of a single standard of correctness in language is quite recent. “Correctness” is based solely on a purist’s own notion of what is socially or culturally correct: if it's not in, it must be out. A language purist works from a list of exceptions to the rule, [whereas] ordinary speakers follow a hierarchy of patterns that reveal analogical similarities.…
Gatekeepers want to keep insiders in and (perhaps even more important) outsiders out by opening and closing a real or imaginary gate. Many organizations have people or departments whose function is to let you (or lock you) in or out—ticket takers, prison guards, admissions officers, personnel managers and so on. Society also has freelance gatekeepers, who have decided—based on their own strong feelings—that some people or behaviors or beliefs or words are wrong and should be kept out. Gatekeeping is an exercise of authority, even if the authority is only imagined.A related page has this comment:
Many Americans fear that continuous Hispanic migration, and large concentrations of Spanish speakers, threaten American English. That fear is one motive behind the so far unsuccessful campaign to make English our official language. Do You Speak American? argues that Mexican and other Hispanic migrants are learning English at the same generational rate as previous immigrants groups. By the second generation many can no longer speak Spanish.It seems to me that if we make the survival of "pure" English dependent on the loss or disappearance of other languages, we will have gained little and lost much.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Am I right about this? When paragraphs are littered with punctuation things can get confusing.
"“My list of pet language peeves,” she once told The Key Reporter, the Phi Beta Kappa newsletter, “would certainly include writers’ use of indirection (i.e., slipping new information into a narrative as if the reader already knew it); confusion between restrictive and non-restrictive phrases and clauses (‘that’ goes with restrictive clauses, and, ordinarily, ‘which’ with nonrestrictive); careless repetition; and singular subjects with plural verbs and vice versa.” She was a fiend for problems of sequence and logic. In her presence, modifiers dared not dangle. She could find a solecism in a Stop sign.""
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I've posted a small sample of the horribly written signs that plaster our common area. When I copied and pasted this into Microsoft Word, my computer editing program started to sputter.
Pay special attention to the item proceeded by **.
DECEMBER 12... 12/12/08
The water overflowed very badly on the 3rd floor. We collected @) 15 gallons of
water. I hope it does not happen again.
The plumbing report: In cleaning the pipes leading out of the toilet areas, there was much unwanted debris in the pipes.
1. For those who have been emptying other items into the toilets,
2. DO NOT;
A. DO NOT THROW ANY TYPE OF SANITARY PADS INTO
THE TOILET.(TAKE IT TO YOUR ROOM AND EMPTY IN YOUR TRASH)
B. DO NOT EMPTY ORDINARY PAPER IN THE TOILET.
C. DO NOT USE KLEENEX OR OTHER SOFT PAPER. THESE BECOME SWOLLEN AND CLOG THE PIPES.
D. DO NOT USE ANY CLEANING PAPER CLOTH AND DO NOT EMPTY THESE INTO THE TOILET.
EMPTY THESE INTO YOUR OWN BASKET.
A. USE only Toilet TISSUE PROVIDED
Last reminder: Use toilet paper -@ 8 sheets- flush; use 8 more;
continue ... so the bowl does not clog (get stuck.)
** This has to be written because there is Is/ are some who do not know how to use an American toilet. Please help us to help them.
Oh, yeah I should mention here that before 2008, the date of this note, it was recommended that we use only 2 squares of toilet tissue.
This bin caught my eye when I was walking past the UHM Art Building. "Noncombustibal" looked wrong, but I had to look up how to spell it. I think it would make a great spelling-test word (the correct spelling is "noncombustible"). The Art Department has a lot of bins with the same lettering, so even though the artist gets a "C" for spelling, he/she gets an "A" for consistency!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I told her that the typesetter would take care of formatting the space, but let me say a little more here.
Editing text so that a typesetter will know how to format it to produce lists, extracts, and so forth is a skill in itself. It is much like using HTML code to format a page. The editor has to visualize what she wants the text to look like, then deploy her marks so that the typesetter will know how to place the text on the page. This placement is, of course, relational: the text is placed relative to the top, bottom, and side margins, the gutter, the text around it (including headings), et cetera. Einsohn has some nice examples of this in the chapter on quotations.
For the space between a single quotation mark and a double one, the editor can use the hair- or thin-space marks if the typesetter will not format such things. Generally speaking, the editor has to be aware of the design principles governing the publication (book, magazine, etc.) she is working on so that her choices don't violate those principles.
When we have our session on using computers in editing, I will give you demonstrations of what I mean.
The number of consumer complaints about our products is decreasing" (p. 198 of our textbook).
The number of commitments we have prevents us from accepting your kind invitation.
The number of persons being treated at the clinic sometimes prevents us from completing our billing on time.
A number of people were at the craft fair.
A number of résumés were received at the office today.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
A teacher friend of mine recently shared this bit of wisdom. After describing the religious practice of granting indulgences, one of her students wrote the following:
People have made up things in the past like this so how do we know for sure that all of this isn't a tall tail made up by some guy who at that time wants to attain power. It all could be just a falsetto.I admit that it's sometimes hard to tell the difference ;-)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I read editorial piece and thought about some of our discussions in class about spelling of the Hawaiian language and the use of the ʻokina and the kahakō.
I also did some googling, and the title link is to an article that differentiates copyediting and proofreading.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I added one element soon after I posted his list: references and allusions. Today I thought of another: metaphors and similes. I'll bring to class an example of the latter.1. Level of diction (big words, Latinate words, slang words, foreign words)2. Sentence structure (long sentences, short sentences, complex, simple, fragments, parallel and formal)3. Punctuation (dashes instead of semicolons, full stops rather than commas or semicolons, exclamations)4. Paragraphing (short or long, for emphasis or whole thoughts)5. Tone (serious, silly, sarcastic, witty, lofty)6. Person (first, second, third; one rather than you or we)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The author defines these aspects as such:
" '[W]as having' and 'was taking' are known as the imperfect aspect, meaning an event may be continuing. But 'had' and 'took' are known as the perfect aspect, meaning the event is bounded in time.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I'd worry that trying to manufacture a poem for this issue would not satisfy the quiet and music and intelligent sentiment of your work. I'd rather you not rely on my willingness to run "Guardian" [a poem I sent him some months ago], whole, again. I want your full ambition toward a new poem or two. Maybe one that answers one [i.e., a poem] you have already written but no longer feels true enough, because you have changed some. I work constantly against manufacture. I also don't think poems come to us. We find them because we are looking.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Here are some interesting (or maybe mundane) examples of proper and improper hyphen usage. There is a missing hyphen in "restaurant-inspired", as it is a compound adjective. Saying "restaurant, inspired meals" would not make any sense. Bad, bad Healthy Choice.
Here is a proper use of hyphens, as "leak-proof", "flash-dry", "quick-dry", and "drip-proof" are all compound adjectives. Good job, Hartz Training Academy.
Before I took this class, I never noticed these things. Thank you, Eng 408 for giving me “grammar vision”. :P
Saturday, October 9, 2010
A transitive verb is one that requires what's called a direct object, which is the thing or person who receives the action of the verb. So, for example, what's the direct object in the following sentence?
The dog ate the bone.
You probably guessed that the answer is the bone, and you were right. At the very least, you probably identified the subject (The dog) and the verb (ate), leaving just one last thing in the sentence. But what I hope to help you understand is how to determine when something in a sentence is functioning as the recipient of a verb's action. In the above example, the bone receives the action of the verb ate.
Tthe direct object is always a noun, a noun phrase, or any structure functioning as a noun, and it immediately follows a verb, as in these examples:
Tommy swallowed mouthwash.
She wrestled the alligator.
They play video games.
Mouthwash, the alligator, and video games are all nouns or noun phrases that receive the actions of swallowed, wrestled, and play.
The way I determine a direct object in a sentence, assuming one is there, is first to locate the sentence's verb and then to ask myself, "what?" or "whom?" To use the examples above, I would ask, "swallowed what or whom?" or "wrestled what or whom?" or "play what or whom?" The answer to the question of "what?" or "whom?" is the direct object. And, simply put, if there is a direct object, that means the verb is indeed transitive.
But then there's another kind of object that needs to be introduced here too. If we call something a direct object, a reasonable inference would assert that there must also be such a thing as an indirect object. Sure enough, there is!
Essentially, an indirect object is the recipient of the direct object. While a direct object receives the verb's action, an indirect object receives the direct object. This might be a little clearer if you see an example (or three):
Dominick gave Jimmy a ride.
She sent her mother a package.
I bought you a new phone.
Yes, when two kinds of objects are present in a sentence, things get a bit more confusing. But never fear! In determining direct and indirect objects, I'd recommend first figuring out the direct object. In the first example, what did Dominick give? Two options exist: Jimmy and a ride. Naturally, you'd think, Dominick wouldn't give a person, so the direct object can't be Jimmy. Instead, Dominick gave a ride, which is the direct object. Now that you've located the direct object, you can set about finding the indirect object. The important question to ask yourself here is "to whom?" or "to what?" So, again in the first example, to whom or to what did Dominick give a ride? The answer is Jimmy, who is the indirect object because he received the direct object (a ride). Now try to apply the same analysis to the other two examples, and don't allow yourself to become confused by the placement of the objects.
See? You can do it.
This just leaves intransitive verbs, which are a bit simpler to explain. An intransitive verb is a verb that doesn't have or doesn't require a direct object. That's it! So. . .
Flew, slept, and sneezed are examples of intransitive verbs—they don't require any direct objects. After all, you can't fly something, sleep something, or sneeze something.
I hope this post has further contributed to your growing mastery of the English language! Any questions or concerns? Let me know!
Friday, October 8, 2010
I will get back with you when I find out, or you can let me know if you find out first. In all the reviews, some capitalized the entire title, some italicised and some put the title in quotations. I am not sure what to do or who to follow?
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Apparently, TBS has a new slogan, "more movies... less commercials," and the folks over at the Grammar Police aren't happy about it:
OK, everybody repeat after us …I had never really considered this before, but it makes so much sense!I will use “less” for amounts that cannot be counted as discrete items, such as, water, sunshine, and money.I will use “fewer” for numbers of items that can be counted as discrete items, such as, drops of water, rays of sunshine, dollar bills, and … of course, commercials!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
First of all, does that really say 'punction'?
And second, there should be editing rules against this sort of baby naming.
After reporting Neil Neches's insertion of the semicolon in NY subway placards and explaining how it came to be, author Sam Roberts presents comments by various authorities on grammar and punctuation. The section reads:
Lynne Truss, author of “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation,” called it a “lovely example” of proper punctuation.
Geoffrey Nunberg, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, praised the “burgeoning of punctuational literacy in unlikely places.”
Allan M. Siegal, a longtime arbiter of New York Times style before retiring, opined, “The semicolon is correct, though I’d have used a colon, which I think would be a bit more sophisticated in that sentence.”
The linguist Noam Chomsky sniffed, “I suppose Bush would claim it’s the effect of No Child Left Behind.”Let's look at the structure of these paragraphs:
name of authority / identification of profession / verb / commentAs you'll notice, there is a bit of variation here within the parallel structure: in the last paragraph, Roberts uses a restrictive appositive--"the linguist"--instead of following Chomsky's name with a modifier. He could have easily written "Noam Chomsky, noted linguist and philosopher…" Why didn't he? I think one answer might be that Chomsky is such a towering figure, Roberts felt there was no reason to identify him beyond "the linguist." You'll notice too that out of all the verbs paired with the authorities, the most condescending follows Chomsky's name.
Pronounced and called are neutral in tone, praised is positive, and opined is, in this context, overly formal, suggesting, as sniffed does, something about the authority's character. Opined and sniffed comment on Siegel and Chomsky, respectively, just as their statements comment on Neches. Roberts selected these verbs with care--this is what we mean by diction--and we can see that his sense of humor emerged when he got to the last two authorities.
How should the copyeditor handle something like the last paragraph? I would say that he or she could assume that given the parallelism of the first four paragraphs, Roberts was making a deliberate stylistic choice. Was it a good choice, though, one that should be respected and allowed to stand? I would say yes, but I wonder if Eleanor Gould might disagree…
Sunday, October 3, 2010
For example, (lines 13, 14, and 15)
"A company that produces fewer than eight or ten titles a year is most likely a two- or-three-person operation,..."
The answer key for 14-15 indicates that a
" A Suspended compound: " two- or three-person operation." Make sure the hyphens and word spaces are indicated correctly."
Other examples included are:
The fourteen- and fifteen-year-old students attended.
Steel-plated or -cased vaults were used.
I feel like the correct answer should be a two-or-three person operation. The explanation doesn't clarify the answer to me. When I look up hyphenated compounds the only explanation that I can find says, "if it is not listed in the dictionary then there is no hyphen." There has to be a better explanation. I find this confusing.
Also, I feel unclear about lines 27- 28,
"books, computer books, gardening books, cook- books, and every stripe of how-to-books."
The answer key for line 28 states that
"Dictionaries show a hyphen in the adjective how-to, but there's no hyphen between the adjective how-to and the noun book.
and then changes "how-to-books" to "how-to book".
I am confused about the placement of the hyphens, and why the the plural form of book becomes singular in the answer key.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
adverbAnd here is what the thesaurus said:
1 used to single out one person, thing, or situation over all others : he despised them all, especially Sylvester | a new song, written especially for Jonathan.
2 to a great extent; very much : he didn't especially like dancing | [as submodifier ] sleep is especially important for growing children.
USAGE There is some overlap in the uses of especially and specially. In the broadest terms, both words mean ‘particularly’ and the preference for one word over the other is linked with particular conventions of use rather than with any deep difference in meaning. For example, there is little to choose between: written especially for Jonathan and | written specially for Jonathan, and neither is more correct than the other. On the other hand, in sentences such as | he despised them all, especially Sylvester, substitution of specially is found in informal uses but should not be used in written English, while in | the car was specially made for the occasion, substitution of especially is somewhat unusual. Overall, especially is by far the more common of the two.
1 complaints poured in, especially from Toronto MAINLY, mostly, chiefly, principally, largely; substantially, particularly, primarily, generally, usually, typically.
2 a committee especially for the purpose EXPRESSLY, specially, specifically, exclusively, just, particularly, explicitly.
3 he is especially talented EXCEPTIONALLY, particularly, specially, very, extremely, singularly, strikingly, distinctly, unusually, extraordinarily, uncommonly, uniquely, remarkably, outstandingly, really; informal seriously, majorly.