Night Life: Some Things I'm Sick Of - Night Life

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Some Things I'm Sick Of Tuesday, October 21, 2008

#46 User is offline   Chefelf Icon

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:20 PM

The yellow one is the sun! The YELLOW one . . . is the SUN!
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#47 User is offline   Dr Lecter Icon

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 08:56 PM

QUOTE (TheOrator @ Nov 1 2008, 05:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thomas Jefferson, also, did not speak the same kind of English we did, and the same rules do not apply. Benjamin Franklin was well-educated, for instance, but he still capitalized every noun. That would probably be called incorrect these days. Maybe that's just me.

I thought it was just Latin that you capitalised all nouns... never realised that used to happen in English. Mind you, in Latin, nothing else is capitalised apart from nouns.

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 09:31 PM

German capitalizes nouns, I believe.
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Posted 07 November 2008 - 02:55 AM



Pop quiz, hotshot. Garry Kasparov is coming to kill you, and the only way to change his mind is for you to beat him at chess. What do you do, what do you do?

#50 User is offline   Mirithorn Icon

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 03:34 AM

Wow! You know, I don't actually have an opinion about zombies, but about grammar? Definitely!

As far as dangling prepositions, the issue isn't really clarity any more than the issue ever is. There's a whole variety of clear but ungrammatical things you can say and write, including misdeclensions and conjugations. The fact that these are not accepted in formal writing is evidence of the fact that there's already prescriptive (wrote proscriptive the first time around- that might make grammarians' jobs more exciting) grammar rule-making going on.

I personally get uppity about ending sentences with prepositions because I've spent so many Latin-reading hours painfully matching words that go with each other and putting words in the right order, and it bothers me when prepositions are left without objects. Whats more, when rules are not followed and chunks of the sentence are shifted around the grammar becomes less intuitive and more errors crop up. Once the preposition is at the end of the sentence it is no longer obvious that the object should be in the objective case. Same with dangling participles and split infinitives- rarely is it a matter of actual meaning, but generally of finickyness and precision of language. I'm not saying that intelligent people shouldn't use colloquial grammar and sayings, but they should recognize that they are colloquial and use them only when necessary to pack a punch or make writing more personable when appropriate or convey some other actual meaning. Frankly, if it's good writing nobody will complain anyway. But overall sloppiness is not an appealing style to me, particularly when there is no need for it.

I admit that this is often misunderstood and taken too far in the wrong direction by people who do insist that NO sentence should end with a preposition, but generally the actual grammar doesn't sound so bad. "Up with which I shall not put" is wrong, because it breaks up a phrase, "put up with" which colloquially acts as a single verb, one of the prepositions of which doesn't even require an object, which is why it no longer makes sense. "With which I shall not put up" sounds considerably less silly, and what silliness there is results more from mixing styles of speaking; "for which I will not stand" sounds fine.



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Posted 07 November 2008 - 12:38 PM

Mirithorn, in the "put up with" example, the one preposition does require an object. "Up" in that case is not a preposition, but an adverb. Your argumen proves that "put up with" would be one of many examples of an exception to the rule. Meaning that like the "I and E" example for spelling, the preposition rule does not actually exist. Or at least, it is not as absolute a guideline as some teachers want to believe. There are some rules that are for certain, rules that have evolved over time, some rather curious but rules nonetheless. Say for instance adjective order. You might say

"Barack Obama is the first black Democratic American President,"

but you could not say

"Barack Obama is the black Democratic American first President."

Weirdly enough, there are rules, hard to define and lay out (try teaching this topic in an ESL class) defining exactly in which order classes and types of adjectives appear in a sentence. So that's a rule, Orator. There are rules, like I said in my PM when this thread was closed. The meaning of most of my posts here is not that there are no rules, but that many of the things thought to be rules are not actually rules.

And so on.

"I had a lot of different ideas. At one point, Luke, Leia and Ben were all going to be little people, and we did screen tests to see if we could do that." -George Lucas, in STAR WARS: the Annotated Screenplays (p197).

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