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Re: poll ideas quest 2015

by chacham (Prior)
on May 15, 2015 at 15:09 UTC ( #1126786=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to poll ideas quest 2015

I am most annoyed when people say ___ when they really meant ___:

  • methodology/method
  • references/refers to
  • language/platform
  • function/method
  • will/might
  • continuous/continual
  • less/fewer
  • like/as
  • which/that
  • who/whom
  • literally/virtually
  • to/about
  • utilize/use
  • inside of/inside
  • x in their native tongue/x in the conversation's tongue

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: poll ideas quest 2015
by Athanasius (Bishop) on May 15, 2015 at 16:23 UTC

      The which/that issue is one on which I strongly disagree with the style guide writers. The Guardian's style guide, espousing the majority view, says:

      This is quite easy, really: "that" defines, "which" gives extra information (often in a clause enclosed by commas)

      This is literally bass-ackwards. It is the comma -- and the comma alone -- which determines whether the clause is restrictive or nonrestrictive. Furthermore, when the clause is nonrestrictive (i.e. it is set off with commas), only "which" is correct. In restrictive clauses, either can be used, and most people seem to prefer "that"; but I maintain that "which" is often a better choice, at least in formal writing.

      I have logic on my side. "Which" is close grammatical kin to "who", "where", "when", and so on. When using these other words, it's obvious that only commas make the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive sense. Also, "which" can be used in prepositional phrases just as "whom" (etc.) can, but "that" cannot. So even granting that one should use "that" for a restrictive clause, one still must switch to using "which" when it follows a preposition. Example: "Websites that get hacked..." but "Websites for which no security..." "That" is a completely unnecessary word. We're better off just using "which" in all cases.

      There is plenty of precedent to support my view.

      • Abraham Lincoln -- generally considered to be a pretty literate guy -- was quite consistent in the usage I promote.
      • The authors of the U.S. Constitution had no qualms about using "which" for restrictive clauses: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof..." and at least five other instances, not counting those where the clause is prepositional. (To be fair, there is also one instance of using "that" for a restrictive clause in the Constitution).
      • Similarly, George Washington, in his First Inaugural Address, uses "which" 17 times, "that" twice.
      • In the first two Federalist Papers, "which" is used eleven times, and "that" is never used.
      • In the Declaration of Independence, "which" is used six times, "that" never.
      • William Jennings Bryan, in his famous Cross of Gold speech, uses "which" 14 times, "that" once.
      • Taft, in his Inaugural Address, uses "which" 28 times, "that" 8 times.
      • Winston Churchill, in his Their Finest Hour speech, uses "which" 20 times, "that" twice.

      (To reiterate: I'm only counting non-prepositional restrictive clauses, i.e. those places where "that" could reasonably substitute for "which".)

      It's one thing to suggest that using "which" for restrictive clauses may lead to language so overly formal that it sounds odd to modern speakers; it's quite another to insist that the use of "which" for restrictive clauses is wrong and must be stamped out.

      I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

      “There are less active monks than there used to be.”

      They'll be the older more mature ones I'll bet, You tend to get a lot less nimble on your feet as the years progress alas!

      Some words are not wrong, per se. They just don't sound right due to personal taste, e.g., right/correct. A friend of mine is quite particular about who/whom, though i only care when i can correct someone about its usage. :)

      I wonder if it makes sense to list words that are "wrong", e.g., literally.

Re^2: poll ideas quest 2015
by davies (Prior) on May 15, 2015 at 17:26 UTC
  • Speak to/speak about
  • Speak with/speak to
  • Stand by for updates...

  • Try and/try to
  • Inside of/inside
  • PERL/Perl
  • More updates may come...

  • English/American (& if any Americans want to put up their own counter-suggestion, they're welcome)
  • English/British (I'm a Welshman & I'm sure there are other examples, like ...)
  • French/Belgian
  • Without precluding further updates, there's a lovely list at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1543975/Telegraphs-dictionary-of-annoying-phrases.html

    Regards,

    John Davies

      Please give an example. I don't think i've heard the former, and the latter doesn't sound like it makes a difference.

      Of course, if i wasn't running out in a minute, i would likely take more time to understand. :)

        "He will speak to the budget deficit" is a horrible neologism, thought by the perpetrator to mean "speak ABOUT".

        "I want to speak with you privately". No you don't. You speak with your mouth and larynx. Sometimes people speak with passion. But you speak TO a person or group of people.

        "doesn't sound like it makes a difference" - none of them do to people who abuse the language. But to those of us who try not to, it makes a difference.

        BTW, s/speak/talk/g is just the same in the blunders and corrections I've given.

        Regards,

        John Davies

Re^2: poll ideas quest 2015
by hippo (Chancellor) on May 15, 2015 at 22:39 UTC

      I think that should be literally/figuratively.

        I wanted to put down literally (no pun intended) with no second word That is, the word should simply be removed, as it is used for stress, but literally changes the meaning of the sentence (pun intended.)

        I assume that is what you meant when you suggested figuratively. However, making the replacement would not only not be what the speaker wanted, it would work against the intended meaning of the sentence!

      Personally, i would want them to remove the word entirely, but virtually is likely a good replacement.

Re^2: poll ideas quest 2015
by Arunbear (Prior) on May 15, 2015 at 15:23 UTC
    • yes/no
    • will/might

      will/might is a good one. I wonder if yes/no has more to do with subversion.

Re^2: poll ideas quest 2015
by Tux (Abbot) on May 15, 2015 at 15:43 UTC

    something in their own language / to say something in the language we are having a conversation


    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

      On a side note, i heard some Indian's discuss using the local language out of politeness. I find that more intriguing than the actual result.

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