Pet Peeves of your native language

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I do not know any language other than English where "How are you?" is a normal inquisitive greeting; more common is "How is it?"

I wonder why?
 
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Posts #69 through 71:
Is this about "pet peeves" of our native language (in this case, English), or about how logic is or is not applied to some phrases or common questions?
The thread went astray with this question in post #58.
You are probably one of those who would object to "How are you?" "I'm good".
 

fresh_42

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The thread went astray with this question in post #58.
I don't think it is astray. It is about an unspoken complement "doing, feeling" which in reverse affects the answer. Without it the question asks for a property, which is an adjective, with it, imagined or outspoken, the question asks for an adverb. However, the unspoken part is almost always assumed, which makes the correct answer seem wrong whereas it is not. This is about one of many imprecisions of language as a whole. And as such, subject to the thread.

As I closed a thread about infinity yesterday, I recognized another lack of precision. Infinite as a variety of cardinalities can be seen as opposite of finte, whereas infinite in the sense of beyond all borders has nothing to do with cardinalities.

Hence a discussion about the pet peeves of a language is in my opinion always a discussion of ambiguities, too; very likely in any language. How long did it take us to settle the meaning of the word set?
Is this about "pet peeves" of our native language
In this case, it is the fact that people far too often use the english apostrophe for genitives. We do not use it that way. In fact an apostrophe usually marks an elision, but never a genitive.
 

Orodruin

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I specifically said no additional context, which would preclude nonverbal cues.
And I specifically said that things may be subtextual, which would include non-verbal clues.
 
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Without it the question asks for a property, which is an adjective, with it, imagined or outspoken, the question asks for an adverb. However, the unspoken part is almost always assumed, which makes the correct answer seem wrong whereas it is not. This is about one of many imprecisions of language as a whole. And as such, subject to the thread.
Are you thinking that "good" is an adjective and "well" is exclusively an adverb? The latter is not true.
Again, as responses to the question "How are you?", "I am fine" and "I am well" are both correct, but have different meanings. The point that @atyy was making in post #58 was about the distinction between these two responses.
 
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And I specifically said that things may be subtextual, which would include non-verbal clues.
The scenario that I described and quoted, specifies that there are no contextual clues of any kind - overt, subtextual, ESP, whatever.
 

fresh_42

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Are you thinking that "good" is an adjective and "well" is exclusively an adverb?
Yes. Well, if not a noun or verb, and if not combined with another word as e.g. in well-being it is an adverb, the adverb to good.
 

Orodruin

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The scenario that I described and quoted, specifies that there are no contextual clues of any kind - overt, subtextual, ESP, whatever.
But what @fresh_42 was talking about was not that. It was whether or not it would be grammatically correct or not, which it is. Whether or not it has a relevant meaning in the context is not relevant.
 

fresh_42

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But what @fresh_42 was talking about was not that. It was whether or not it would be grammatically correct or not, which it is. Whether or not it has a relevant meaning in the context is not relevant.
I would even say that "How are you?" - "Well." is wrong as "Quickly." would be wrong.
 
What intrigues me in English is why you speakers (I don't consider myself one) frequently don't use only the verb, but have "up, down" etc in front of them. For example, why

- the events leading up to the war, instead of just the events leading to the war
- the bird ended up free, instead of just the bird ended free

I once even asked @PeterDonis via private message if I should use "write out" or "write down" in a PF thread.
 
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would even say that "How are you?" - "Well." is wrong as "Quickly." would be wrong.
"Well" is the grammatically correct answer. This is exactly what atyy was talking about almost 30 posts back.
 

fresh_42

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"Well" is the grammatically correct answer. This is exactly what atyy was talking about almost 30 posts back.
I am not convinced. An answer: "I am well". looks wrong. Well what? Well done?
"I am quick." is correct, "I am quickly." is not. So it all comes down to whether "well" might be used non adverbial. The examples in Webster all have an elision or are directly adverbial as in "our garden looks well". This is not an adjective here and Webster isn't right: The garden either looks good, or pleases the eye, in which case well refers to how it looks and not how it is.
 
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I am not convinced.
I guess it takes a lot to convince you, but then you are not a native speaker of English.
"I am well". looks wrong. Well what? Well done?
But it is correct. "Well" here is an adjective that describes the subject, "I".
The examples in Webster all have an elision or are directly adverbial as in "our garden looks well".
No, not so. From the same page: "he's not a well man" and "the wound is nearly well". In both cases the adjective "well" modifies the subject.
 
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Another peeve that is back on topic is its vs. it's. English is very inconsistent on these two words. We typically use 's to indicate ownership, as in "the dog's bone," but we write "the dog ate its bone."

OTOH, it's is shorthand for "it is."
I would guess that at least 1/3 of native English speakers get this wrong.
 

Orodruin

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Another peeve that is back on topic is its vs. it's. English is very inconsistent on these two words. We typically use 's to indicate ownership, as in "the dog's bone," but we write "the dog ate its bone."

OTOH, it's is shorthand for "it is."
I would guess that at least 1/3 of native English speakers get this wrong.
This is a significant portion of the illness of not knowing when to use ’ correctly. Other examples include your vs you’re and their vs they’re.
 

symbolipoint

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Another peeve that is back on topic is its vs. it's. English is very inconsistent on these two words. We typically use 's to indicate ownership, as in "the dog's bone," but we write "the dog ate its bone."

OTOH, it's is shorthand for "it is."
I would guess that at least 1/3 of native English speakers get this wrong.
"its" is third-person to say "of it". This whatever it is is taken as genderless in English.
"his" or "her" is third person but made for either of the two genders, "of him" or "of her".
NO apostrophe needed for these. Apostrophe EXCLUDED.

"it's" is the contraction for "it is", and here, the missing "i" is replaced with the apostrophe.
 

pinball1970

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This is a significant portion of the illness of not knowing when to use ’ correctly. Other examples include your vs you’re and their vs they’re.
We were taught that some European languages ask, 'how do you go?' rather than, 'how you are?'
'Ca va?' Springs to mind for French
I googled a few others and they exist but I do not know how common they are used in spoken language or what is considered proper.
 

pinball1970

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This is a significant portion of the illness of not knowing when to use ’ correctly. Other examples include your vs you’re and their vs they’re.
This is absolutely a young verses old issue.

Their and there and too and to.

On the apostrophe issue, I believe this is ok as long as you are quoting someone but not ok as part of formal written language.
 

fresh_42

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I googled a few others and they exist but I do not know how common they are used in spoken language or what is considered proper.
In German as well. To be fine is "gut gehen" = going well.
On the apostrophe issue, I believe this is ok as long as you are quoting someone but not ok as part of formal written language.
There is another difficulty hidden.

If we want to speak about a certain word or phrase within a normal sentence, i.e. if the sentence is on the meta level, what is the correct version, especially in contrast to an emphasis of a certain word:
  • I never confused "two, too, to" at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without "translating" it first, those sometimes slip through.
  • I never confused 'two, too, to' at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without translating it first, those sometimes slip through.
  • I never confused two, too, to at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without 'translating' it first, those sometimes slip through.
or whatever combination of these. When to use 'one apostrophe', a "quotation mark", or simply italic or bold?
 

symbolipoint

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In German as well. To be fine is "gut gehen" = going well.

There is another difficulty hidden.

If we want to speak about a certain word or phrase within a normal sentence, i.e. if the sentence is on the meta level, what is the correct version, especially in contrast to an emphasis of a certain word:
  • I never confused "two, too, to" at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without "translating" it first, those sometimes slip through.
  • I never confused 'two, too, to' at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without translating it first, those sometimes slip through.
  • I never confused two, too, to at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without 'translating' it first, those sometimes slip through.
or whatever combination of these. When to use 'one apostrophe', a "quotation mark", or simply italic or bold?
Nice. Check a style manual, and make your best judgement.
 
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A Russian friend asked me, "Why do people say, 'The alarm went off' when they mean the alarm went on."

A Mexican father told me about one time he was boarding a boat with his son through a low doorway with a sign that said, "Watch your head" and his son asked him, "Daddy, how can I watch my head?"

One difference between English and other languages including Spanish is when someone is called, in English they answer, "I'm coming." and in some other languages they say, "I'm going."
 
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I do not know any language other than English where "How are you?" is a normal inquisitive greeting; more common is "How is it?"
Spanish: "Como estás?" or "Como está usted?"
Both mean literally "How are you?"
Portuguese: "Como está?" or "Como vai". The first is "how are you," and the second is, "How does it go?"
 

pinball1970

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In German as well. To be fine is "gut gehen" = going well.

There is another difficulty hidden.

If we want to speak about a certain word or phrase within a normal sentence, i.e. if the sentence is on the meta level, what is the correct version, especially in contrast to an emphasis of a certain word:
  • I never confused "two, too, to" at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without "translating" it first, those sometimes slip through.
  • I never confused 'two, too, to' at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without translating it first, those sometimes slip through.
  • I never confused two, too, to at school,
    but now that I regularly write in English without 'translating' it first, those sometimes slip through.
or whatever combination of these. When to use 'one apostrophe', a "quotation mark", or simply italic or bold?
I would use the third option without quotation marks on the 'translating.'
 

fresh_42

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O.k. it's not as bad in German as it is in French, who say four times twenty ten seven, but we say seven and eighty instead of eighty seven. This is a notorious hurdle for foreigners. Now where do foreigners use a lot of numbers? Right, at the Chinese restaurant. I just listened to a dialogue where the customer had ordered 45 (Thai Curry) at the phone and came to fetch his meal. Now imagine, if the waiter desperately tries to figure out the difference between 45 and 54 while the customer confuses it, too. It's been hilarious!
 

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