Language fails that make you angry

Fredrik

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I'm a perfectionist. To me, rules are rules, and I will follow them to the best of my ability. Note that I usually won't obnoxiously correct someone unless I'm deliberately trying to irritate a family member or a close friend. It is just a fairly minor annoyance.
I hear you. I'm usually like that too, but this is a rule that I dislike so much that I'd rather not follow it. I consider English without that rule to be an improvement of English with that rule.
 

vela

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-After getting into the habit of not ending sentences with prepositions, people doing the opposite has started to annoy me. People mixing up pronouns gets on my nerves as well. However, doing these when speaking is more excusable than doing them when writing.
I'm a perfectionist. To me, rules are rules, and I will follow them to the best of my ability. Note that I usually won't obnoxiously correct someone unless I'm deliberately trying to irritate a family member or a close friend. It is just a fairly minor annoyance.
I think Fredrik's point was that this so-called rule isn't really a rule, just like the prohibition against split infinitives is BS.
 

vela

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I have the same problem with those words. I understand their meanings perfectly, but when I need to type "you're", my brain imagines the sound of it and sometimes has my fingers type "your". If I'm more alert than usual I'll see that I've typed the wrong word as I'm typing the next few words. If I'm careful, I'll catch the mistakes in proof reading. I have a feeling that people who post comments to youtube videos or whatever aren't exactly doing a lot of proof reading.
I've wondered if this sort of thing might explain the trouble some people have with spelling and grammar. Those whose brains work visually would tend to see its and it's as distinct. It doesn't matter that they're pronounced the same way; they're different combinations of characters. Those who process language aurally, on the other hand, confuse the two because they sound the same.
 

AlephZero

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After getting into the habit of not ending sentences with prepositions, people doing the opposite has started to annoy me.
THe best reply to somebody who tries to "correct" prepositions at the end of sentences is

"This is pedantry of a type up with which I will not put".

The technical term is "hypercorrection" - or "if it ain't broke, keep fixing it till it is".
 
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I think Fredrik's point was that this so-called rule isn't really a rule, just like the prohibition against split infinitives is BS.
I would agree in the context of spoken English and informal writing (which is why I said it was more excusable in such contexts), but I've never seen a good writer or editor omit it in formal writing, at least, not that I remember. Still, I adhere to it in all contexts if only because I'm a hopeless traditionalist.

P.S. Just in case it's necessary to clarify this, I boldfaced the text.
 
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THe best reply to somebody who tries to "correct" prepositions at the end of sentences is

"This is pedantry of a type up with which I will not put".

The technical term is "hypercorrection" - or "if it ain't broke, keep fixing it till it is".
There are other ways to phrase that statement e.g. "I will not put up with this type of pedantry." However, it's difficult to rephrase "With whom are you going to the store?" which certainly sounds better than "Whom are you going to the store with?"
 

vela

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How would you rewrite "The region was fought over"?
 
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How would you rewrite "The region was fought over"?
"This is a region over which a battle was fought." I had to add words to that, but that doesn't necessarily mean the initial statement was better either stylistically or grammatically. Another option is "A battle was fought over this region," which is closer to the original structure, but still avoids placing the preposition at the end.

Whether one considers it a rule or not, one must admit that ending it with a preposition makes a sentence weak. Strong sentences should generally end with a noun, verb, or adjective, for example.
 
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Evo

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THe best reply to somebody who tries to "correct" prepositions at the end of sentences is

"This is pedantry of a type up with which I will not put".

The technical term is "hypercorrection" - or "if it ain't broke, keep fixing it till it is".
My third grade teacher drilled in the fact that we were NEVER to end a sentence with a proposition.

I get that many sentences really do not need a prepostion at the end. "Where did you go to?" is simpler as "Where did you go?"

But I realize now that there are times when ending with a preposition is ok.
 
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My third grade teacher drilled in the fact that we were NEVER to end a sentance with a proposition. But when I write grammatically correct sentences, I've been told I sound shakespearian.

I COULD CARE LESS!! :eek:
After some research I discovered that this is more debated than I initially thought.

For the sake of a "second" opinion, Alexander Pope said:
This is an idiom, which our language is strongly inclined to: it prevails in common conversations, and suits very well with the familiar style in writing: but the placing of the preposition before the relative, is more graceful, as well as more perspicuous; and agrees much better with the solemn and elevated style.
This was taken from my copy of "The New Fowler's Modern English Usage". Yes, I am a nerd.
 
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After some research I discovered that this is more debated than I initially thought.

For the sake of a "second" opinion, Alexander Pope said:


This was taken from my copy of "The New Fowler's Modern English Usage". Yes, I am a nerd.
For the purposes of writing fiction however, often subtle "breaking" of the rules of language in ways that are commonly used can differentiate the speech of characters and establish different tones for different speakers.
 
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For the purposes of writing fiction however, often subtle "breaking" of the rules of language in ways that are commonly used can differentiate the speech of characters and establish different tones for different speakers.
Certainly. Here's an excerpt from The Sound and the Fury:

When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o' clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather's and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it's rather excruciating-ly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father's.
Though it is not, in my experience, a common error, "reducto absurdum" is obviously incorrect. In an edition of Reading Faulkner: Glossary and Commentary devoted the The Sound and the Fury, Stephen M. Ross/Noel Polk had this to say about the error:

The incorrect phrasing may be a joke on either Mr. Compson's or Quentin's part; or, along with the hyphen in "excruciating-ly," the mis-stated Latin could hint that Quentin remembers Mr. Compson as drunk when he speaks and thus not in full command of his words. It unlikely an error on Faulkner's part.
http://books.google.ca/books?id=hW5o70lR1u4C&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=faulkner+reductio+absurdum&source=bl&ots=FsiRkOgf7i&sig=fcntyGoGHtyAqBZc_ry7CcLT19U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=uqKuUKLeNoKSyQHD6IAQ&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=faulkner reductio absurdum&f=false
 
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Je parle anglais comme une vache espagnole... I talk english like a spanish cow, would say the french... If you ever meet my posts and you find my wording and my grammatical structures wrong or wierd, this is normal... I learned it trying to decipher Frank Zappa lyrics and I'm still learning... The cult of "correctness" has its adverse effects though... In France, they have a very old institution in charge of defending the right "usage" of language, l'Académie française... An assembly of very old writers and intellectuals who earn very confortable wages for it... They are called the immortals and they issue a volume of their dictionary once every 10 years or so... Still stuck on the letter M or N after decades of work... Sweet or mad people, I don't know...
 
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How would you rewrite "I screwed up"?
"I made a mistake." "Screwed" in that context is slang anyway and would not be used in formal writing. "I messed up" could also be revised to "I made a mistake," or one could say "I made a mess of this." You might consider these to be reaches, but there is no difference in meaning.
 

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