Grammar and the Peeves that Pet It

Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
Please note that the title is deliberately poorly worded!

If you've look at the links on my CarSpace page, you can probably guess that I'm a language freak, especially when it comes to usage, grammar, and punctuation. I won't even make you admit that you're a freak if you share examples and peeves here :)

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    I am an Editor by profession, but I try very hard not to bring that with me on message boards. After all, it is not like this is FORMAL writing.

    Just as in my e-mails, I try to keep it loose and free. :)

    BUT, what drives me nuts on message boards are the lack of paragraphs and coherent sentences (you don't have to be completely proper and accurate to be coherent) and the use of ALL CAPS. While you don't need to be a language expert, making something easy to read is just simple courtesy. If you are looking for a response or, heaven forbid, intelligent correspondence, make it easy to read!

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    I totally agree - when I'm in the company of friends or in a casual conversational atmosphere (such as message boards or non-business e-mail), I'm just trying to get my thoughts onto cyberpaper as efficiently as possible. Thus, my "work product" is quite often imperfect. However, I do try to make it readable.

    I'm more concerned with the mistakes on signs and in situations where proofreading should be standard. It really shows a complete lack of initiative, much less any courtesy to the reader, when this step is omitted.

    Example: I recently picked up the boxed set of all the Monty Python "Secret Policemen" DVDs. On the outside of the box in quite large letters, reads: "(xx company) will donate 10% of it's profit from the sale of these DVDs to Amnesty International."

    And no one along the lines noticed or cared?

    I try to pet & feed my peeves daily to keep them satisfied. If my neuroses go away, I may not have much left :)

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,579
    I hesitate to post in this discussion. With me living in a glass house.. But, what the hey?

    My son (who is incredibly intelligent.. no really.. he is.. I'm not biased, at all) was in an academic competition, where the team from his school competed against other schools.

    The competition has a name.... and the host school had it printed on a big banner..

    Welcome to the Governers Cup

    I kid you not.. :surprise:

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    you 2 apparently have the same peeve to pet.

    i'm more of a comma and hyphen freak. ;b

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,579
    Actually.. I can excuse the apostrophe..

    After all is it one governor, or more? Where do you put it...

    My issue was the spelling... even the kids (12-yr-olds) spotted it right away. Especially since it was in foot-high letters. (hyphen alert ;) )

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    hell, i'll be honest, i didn't even spot the misspelling. i was sucked right into the apostrophe discussion. that's what i get for being a medical editor all these years. if it doesn't end in "trist" or "ology" it means nothing to me. :)

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    That's OK. I have a pile of giant rocks to throw at your glass house. You can use them to return fire.

    I love that one.

    I so hope that this photo appears - took it with a cell phone, seen on a (really, really badly-painted) mural depicting the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, located in Grand Marais, Minnesota:
    image

    sparking the conversation:
    Toddy: How did all 29 men lose Captain McSorrley? You'd think someone could find him.
    kirstie_h: Especially since he was 729 feet long.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,579
    Dang!! Now, I'll be humming Gordon Lightfoot songs all day...

    Sundown, you better take care...

    How do you all feel about excessive periods at the ends of sentences? ;)

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    excessive periods ... you mean as in ellipses? ... ?

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    I like periods... I like them a lot. Two is one two few. Three is just right. :shades:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,579
    Well... okay then...

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    They make me happy. I never feel like I have time to finish, so several at the end is like saying, "you haven't heard the last from me."

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  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    I'd have to agree on the lack of paragraphs and coherent sentences. Sometime's I'm sensitive to poor grammar, butI'm sure, many people of many nationalities communicate on the board. Frankly, I'm often encouraged by their ability to communicate effectively in written English. And they are doing so without the redundancy there would be with verbal, facial and postural information...

    W.r.t. ALL CAPS, I have seen visually challenged individuals have a good deal of difficulty reading their computer screens, to the point they had to use specialized software. Also, once upon a time in our not so distant past (maybe 30 years ago) Teletype machines and Character Generators for CRTs had no UPPER / lowercase capability.

    I say, be inclined to be poster-tolerant; we really don't know who's on the other end of the ether do we?

    It's the message and the information that's important. :blush:
  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    Sometimes I use them in an attempt to get people to pause and think about the great idea I just communicated because I'm very important and all the things I write are great.

    .not.

    I'll be back...
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    allot of ppl dont know that all caps is bad message board etiquette so its always nice to tell them gently the first time and sure there are allot of ppl who dont speak english and we should be tolerant of them its just the ppl who dont have any consideration at all for the reader especially when they have a question and are looking for members to answer its not nice to expect them to be good at decoding as well as being good at automotive stuff

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,403
    I'm OK with the ellipsis... :P

    As long as they're used correctly, they don't peeve me at all! :)

    Some folks... you've seen THEM... use them in place of commas!

    .........or use too many.....(three is the magic number)
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    Hey! I resemble that remark.

    Oh...yeah...forgot to put them in. :blush:
  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    and you used all lower case, and a run on with no punctuation, and a typo and an unwidely used contraction, yet i easily read and interpreted your message with ease and wish you no ill will

    factually, i'm not going to avoid putting forth effort to help you if your problem is interesting because of that - after all, i work for free as do the rest of us that help other people on your site

    so how about dem shirts already? :shades:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    Terry got me started on the ellipses kick. I think he said his speak and spell software put them in automatically or something. I realized they were a great idea. :)

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    Oh...yeah...forgot to put them in.

    Is ellipses singular or plural? I.e., which of these is correct?

    (1) Doesn't an ellipses require a leading and trailing space?

    (2) Do ellispses require a leading and trailing space?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    ellipsis is singular, but not in the sense that it is a singular ... uhhh... period, but a singular occurrence.

    Ellipses would be multiple occurrences. So ... in the sentence in my first paragraph, I used 2 ellipses, but in this paragraph, I used 1 ellipsis.

    3 dots indicates the omission of words, while 4 dots indicates the omission of a full sentence or more.

    usually there are no spaces around 3 dots, but spaces around 4. But that's a style preference issues. I like to use spaces most times, personally.

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,579
    Ellipses, ellipsis... Where does ellipse fit in? :surprise:

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    Not in a round hole.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    that's when the moon covers the sun, right?

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,631
    My head hurts already from reading this discussion.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,034
    ". . . . 3 dots indicates the omission of words, while 4 dots indicates the omission of a full sentence or more . . . ."

    Well, I'm in here with the rest of you pinheads, and this post is part of why. I try to execute proper usage, regardless of the venue, and I'd never heard this before. Or, as is becoming more the case recently, I forgot it if I did.

    My peeve to pet relates to people who & things that. I am sick to death of reading (or hearing) about people that do things.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,784
    Who?
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,784
    They make me happy. I never feel like I have time to finish, so several at the end is like saying, "you haven't heard the last from me."

    Absolutely! And, if you tend to ramble or trail off, such generous use of punctuation is simply a written version of the spoken equivalent....... ;)

    However, when using ellipses in quotations, stick to the rule outlined above for a proper result.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,784
    In both spoken and written communication, the following three items are certainly the ones with which I am most annoyed:

    1. The improper use of 'good' and 'can' where 'well' and 'may' should be used.

    2. Ending a sentence with a conjunction. Honestly, what for?

    3. The use of contractions. I'd explain it, but I can't.

    Why do these items annoy me? Simply because they are lazy. They are communicated as lazy and unrefined, and I find them to be far too prolific within our society. For example, several years ago I worked at the Career Services office of my university. While there, I was asked to provide editorial oversight of the annual "Career Services Guide." Keep in mind that this guide is meant as a tool for students as they seek jobs and develop their careers. It was so lazily written that I had absolutely no confidence in the content, even though I knew the content itself was solid advice! My first task was to set about restructuring the sentences within the entire document so it was no longer "lazy." As a small university, this document was, of course, someone's "baby." After butting heads with that person for a few weeks and finally reaching a compromise, we produced a very solid document. In addition to some graphic and layout changes, there was very little modified within the document. However, we immediately received praise for the guide from administrators and students alike; the general reply was, "it feels so professional."

    My weaknesses:

    *Starting nearly every sentence with "However," "Therefore," and similar.
    *Passive sentences. I probably should not be frustrated by this, but I am. I use more "will be" and "has been" than a person is rightly alloted. :sick:
    *When writing at Edmunds, prolific use of parenthetical modifiers within sentences. I think this is a result of my detail-oriented nature and wanting to shove excessive detail into a small space.

    However, I was very proud the first time someone asked my son (18 months old at the time)"how are you doing?" and he replied, "[his name] is doing very well!" Unfortunately, now that he is nearly 3 and has been bombarded with "good" from nearly everyone else for so long, he recently started replying to such inquiries with, "I am doing good." :cry:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,784
    BUT, what drives me nuts on message boards are the lack of paragraphs

    I notice that, every so often, the paragraphing seems to not work when posting here on Edmunds. It is almost always when I am writing a long post (which is... most... of the time)! I write it 5-6 paragraphs long and it comes out with a short paragraph to start, then 30 lines of run-on paragraph! I panic. I go back to edit the post. I double-check the paragraphing. I delete breaks and place them anew. I preview and all is well. I post.... no paragraphs! I cry (and often apologize in a follow-up post). :D
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • tallman1tallman1 Member Posts: 1,874
    I love... ellipsis. Some spellcheck program I once used didn't recognize the words following the ellipsis so I started putting the space after it and all was fine.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,097
    i was having a bit of doubt as i typed it, since it is a rule i have not had to use in a very long time. your post made me want to reference it. so i went and searched. it is correct; HOWEVER, it seems that it is technically a period followed immediately by a standard 3-dot ellipsis (the period being necessary since you are ommitting a full sentence or more).

    ain't being anal just grand?

    by the by, for the record, I love me some contractions (not the type that babies cause). I also love incomplete sentences. Sometimes. When easily understood. capitalization isn't always necessary. i sometimes use it, sometimes not. of course, i'm talking informal writing here. my rules for what i produce at my job are COMPLETELY different.

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    In written form only, everyone seems to substitute "loose" for "lose," as in "use it or loose it," or "I'm loosing my mind."

    I don't understand this at all, but I pretty sure it comes up every day on these and other forums.

    About "however," I'd much rather see it used than today's cliche of choice, "that said" or "having said that..."

    And can someone please take "at the end of the day" outside and strangle it?
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    And can someone please take "at the end of the day" outside and strangle it?

    I'm with you on that one! It is a rhetorical pomposity that roughly translates to "You are a pitiable fool and only I, with my superior intelligence and ineffable sagacity, am capable of sorting out the Universe but I'll briefly lower myself to correct your errant prattle by revealing the Truth ..."

    And that's the bottom line! ;)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,579
    I have trouble with using "that said", when I'm writing.. it just seems wrong. Keep changing it to "that stated", though not sure that is any better.

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  • mac24mac24 Member Posts: 3,910
    I think that unless it's a document that has some kind of specific legal meaning, "that said" is fine.

    When I read something, I translate the written words into speech (in my head :)) as I read. To me at any rate, you are 'saying' what you write.
  • user777user777 Member Posts: 3,341
    sometimes i find myself speaking what i'm writing. :surprise:
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    I don't like ending a sentence with a preposition, though occasionally I find that avoiding doing so makes my writing and speech laughably cumbersome.

    xwesx, do you happen to be in science? That tends to make one gravitate toward the passive voice. No one in scientific writing EVER does anything. DNA was sequenced. The experiments were performed. Results were obtained. I know that it's professionally correct, but it still makes me want to scream "by WHOM???" from time to time.

    delray, even worse than the proliferation of "at the end of the day" (especially in sports), is the largely British use of "in actual fact." ACTUAL fact? As opposed to made-up fact?

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  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    but it still makes me want to scream "by WHOM???"

    Politicians excel at switching between active and passive. On the one hand, "I singlehandedly created this fine piece of world changing legislation!" And, on the other hand, "Mistakes were made!"

    Yeah, right, but by WHOM??? :)

    And, I agree, a preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with. Oh, the things up to which we must put! ;)
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,034
    that Lynne Truss is a name known to at least half of the participants here, several of whom appear to be hosts.

    Are any of you old enough to remember John Charles Daily, who hosted a game show back in the late '50's & early '60's? The man could put words together, as could a number of others over the years. Appropriate construction of articulate sentences is of little or no value anymore, but it's nice to see that a few of us are willing to mourn the demise.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    I've only read Eats, Shoots and Leaves - what a great book!!
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    I believe it is John Charles Daly. :P

  • mac24mac24 Member Posts: 3,910
    Appropriate construction of articulate sentences is of little or no value anymore..........

    Well duh..........like, whatever dude!

    :shades:
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,034
    Well done! I noticed that myself, but the edit function had timed out.

    Another person who could construct coherent complex sentences was/is William F. Buckley, whether one agrees with his politics or not.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    Another person who could construct coherent complex sentences was/is William F. Buckley ...

    Oftentimes, Buckley had all of us running to the dictionary to look up some obscure word but made up for it by allowing us time to do so with his dramatic pauses. :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    He does a great imitation of an intellectual.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Member Posts: 3,062
    Well done! I noticed that myself, but the edit function had timed out.

    Posters don't use interrobangs that often.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 14,784
    Kirstie,

    I have a degree in science, though I forsook it for my affinity to accounting. Ah well, that is what I get for having so many interests. :sick:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    ...one thing I can't stand is the use of British English by Americans -- the most prominent examples being "amongst" and "whilst."

    If you really are British, fine, but otherwise this sounds pretentious, like Buckley in his Boston Brahmin (?) accent.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    I like to use them in a deliberate attempt to sound pretentious, but it's only fun if it's on purpose. Otherwise you just sound like a prat :)

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