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If I must. Becoming grammatical

JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,161
Being a non-native English language speaker, I often have difficulties in terms of certain grammar questions when posting here. And very often when I reread my posts I find mistakes and/or not suitable words. It saddens me a lot because I'm quite a perfectionist and want to get rid of mistakes.

I know there're several types of people: some think that Grammar means next to nothing online while others try to be as much correct as possible. Some people just don't care.

I've decided to open this thread so that we all can share our knowledge and experience;) I'll start right away with several recent lessons I've learned while communicating here.

1) The Difference between e.g. and i.e.

The abbreviations e.g. (from the Latin exempli gratia) and i.e. (from the Latin id est) are often confused (and Helm, yeah, I've always confused them). This is because they are both used to introduce some clarification of something previously mentioned.

The abbreviation e.g. is used to provide an example.

Examples:
The buffet provided excellent variety, e.g., vegetarian and non-vegetarian soups, Italian and French breads, and numerous sweets.
(e.g. = for example)
He was the school champion of many activities (e.g., chess, badminton, 110m hurdles, and high jump).
(e.g. = for example)

The abbreviation i.e. is used to restate an idea more clearly or offer more information.

Examples:
It happened in August, i.e., two months ago.
(i.e. = in other words)
Service charge is included in all prices; i.e., you don't have to leave a tip.
(i.e. = in other words)

2) The Weekend

Sometimes you will here AT the weekend and sometimes ON the weekend.
They are both correct. ON the weekend is used in United States.
Where did you go on the weekend? (US)
Where did you go at the weekend? (British)

3) The use of "I" and "Me"

In the Subject position, where "he" and "she" would be used, "I" must be used.
I love broccoli.
S/he loves broccoli.

As the Object of a verb or preposition, however, "I" is replaced by "me," just as "he" is replaced by "him," and "she" is replaced by "her."
Broccoli doesn't like me.
Broccoli does like her.

Coordinated noun constructions like "you and I" change nothing. It is equally incorrect to say "Me worked late" and "Maureen and me worked late." And it is equally incorrect to say "Fred looked at I" and "Fred looked at Maureen and I."

Keep the following mnemonic sentence in mind: "I" am the Subject but the Object is "me." There are no exceptions.

FinneousPJRavenslightAristilliusCrevsDaakjacobtanFinaLfrontjackjackTeflonCahirlolienFredjoNonnahswriterbooinyoureyesBelgarathMTHBlackravenShandyrSCARY_WIZARDdementedElectricMonkMetallomanLateralus
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Comments

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    bengoshi said:

    Being a non-native English language speaker, I often have difficulties in terms of certain grammar questions when posting here. And very often when I reread my posts I find mistakes and/or not suitable words. It saddens me a lot because I'm quite a perfectionist and want to get rid of mistakes.

    I know there're several types of people: some think that Grammar means next to nothing online while others try to be as much correct as possible. Some people just don't care.

    I hate to do this to you, but the much is incorrect. You can just say "as correct as possible.":)

    This is pretty impressive though. I'm a native English speaker(u.s.) and I dint know about the i.e. vs. e.g. Thing, or the weekend thing, though I feel like I should have. I watch a lot of British TV and you think I would have run into something as common as the weekend at some point.

    Me grammars be no the bestest, but myself can tries.

    One thing that people get wrong pretty much all the time is "he as is tall as I" to a native(at least in the u.s) this actually sound wrong. Most people will almost always say "he is as tall as me" but that's wrong because when you say that the last word is left out but implied. What you're actually saying is "he is as tall as I am. "I think @loub has some knowledge in this subject.

    JuliusBorisov
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @Dee ca. "circa", approximately

    et al. is commonly used in references.

    BlackravenAristilliusJuliusBorisov
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,654
    All I know is that I am terrible with commas and semicolons.

    TJ_HookerCrevsDaakelminster
  • LoubLoub Member Posts: 471
    edited May 2014
    meagloth said:

    bengoshi said:

    Being a non-native English language speaker, I often have difficulties in terms of certain grammar questions when posting here. And very often when I reread my posts I find mistakes and/or not suitable words. It saddens me a lot because I'm quite a perfectionist and want to get rid of mistakes.

    I know there're several types of people: some think that Grammar means next to nothing online while others try to be as much correct as possible. Some people just don't care.

    I hate to do this to you, but the much is incorrect. You can just say "as correct as possible.":)

    This is pretty impressive though. I'm a native English speaker(u.s.) and I dint know about the i.e. vs. e.g. Thing, or the weekend thing, though I feel like I should have. I watch a lot of British TV and you think I would have run into something as common as the weekend at some point.

    Me grammars be no the bestest, but myself can tries.

    One thing that people get wrong pretty much all the time is "he as is tall as I" to a native(at least in the u.s) this actually sound wrong. Most people will almost always say "he is as tall as me" but that's wrong because when you say that the last word is left out but implied. What you're actually saying is "he is as tall as I am. "I think @loub has some knowledge in this subject.
    Ech. For the record, I am not a 'grammar-man' in any manner, but a gerativist linguist, which is a science that opposes the current normative rules of grammar, instead favoring those of a universal grammar common to all languages - I only correct people when they falter in understanding of the universal grammar, not the rules of the normative one.
    Furthermore, grammar itself is not, never was, nor will it ever be, a science - it is nothing but a set of rules created to unify the language so it can, in theory, be consistent. It can be used in the scientific field of linguistics as a parameter, but it differs heavily from that which you are accostumed to, not to mention that nearly every theory has its own conceptions of grammar (and several other things), which is why we linguists normally make it clear which theory we follow when speaking about it.

    But to answer your question: all of those situations are technically correct ("he is as tall as I"/"he is as tall as me"/"He is as tall as I am"): they have been used for centuries in literature and discourses and do not violate the innerworkings of the universal grammar. I could spend hours discoursing on the whies of such judgement, but that would most certainly be a waste of your time due to its sheer complexity. If you want to know more, I suggest you google 'Gerativism' and see it for yourself.

    TeflonFredjo
  • Troodon80Troodon80 Member, Developer Posts: 4,110

    Indeed the wrong use of me is quite common.

    Not as common as it is in Ireland. "Me daddy learnt me how to fish." (that's an actual sentence that I remember being told once, and it makes me cringe every time I hear it. I could get over the 'me' part, but the 'learnt' makes me physically recoil every time.)

    BlackravenFinneousPJjackjackJuliusBorisov
  • LoubLoub Member Posts: 471
    edited May 2014

    I am also not a native english speaker.
    When I write on the forums I nearly always make a mistake, but I am really bad at catching those mistakes as I write, I post something and think I have written pretty accurately, but when I look on my comment again there are always glaring mistakes :\

    ^ This!
    Happens to me all the time, and the saddest thing is: I'm an English teacher (although in my defense I didn't train for it, my academic background is law).
    A possible cause, but I'm not sure, could be that when I'm posting on here, I'm often as happy as a child that just woke up on their birthday. :D I'm just too eager to share with you guys to check properly for spelling/grammar errors before posting lol. I like to think that in more formal correspondence my English is of a better quality.

    Btw I find @bengoshi that your English is more than fine, and @Aristillius the same goes for you. From what I've read I'd say you're Scandinavian (which is almost synomymous to having a good command of the English language). @Loub's English is impressive, taking into account that he's a 19-year-old Brazilian. Nevertheless, good topic @bengoshi!
    I can speak English fluently since I was 13, which is around the time I was placed into foster care. However, even though I can trigger photographic memory, I can't go further back than that due to the fact that those memories are closed from my conscious mind, likely by myself, to better cope, or rather, to not cope with a traumatic childhood.
    I believe my own skill in the English language started as an escape mechanism I found to distance myself from reality and better fit in an autistic fantasy based on my only moments of peace, likely videogames - so much that when I was placed into foster care I could barely speak Portuguese, and no German, anymore.
    Of course, matters such as these are better left to psychologists rather than forum members.

    BlackravenAristilliusJuliusBorisov
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
  • LoubLoub Member Posts: 471
    meagloth said:

    @Loub‌ I see. You're 19?

    I'm sorry I couldn't be of any more help.

    And yes, I'm indeed 19 years old. As to why should it matter, I cannot grasp.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,233
    I'm afraid I'm a comma-man, and I think I toss brackets in almost every post I write :p
    I don't often use semicolons though.

    jackjackFinaLfrontJuliusBorisovlolien
  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    edited May 2014

    My personal pet peeve is "only". People often say things like "I only have three dollars" when they really mean "I have only three dollars". "Only" modifies "dollars" and is an adjective like "three" or "blue". I don't go around correcting people, though, because that isn't my job. I do correct our children when I hear them misusing it, however.

    I can tolerate this one if it fits the context or is used as hyperbole (women saying "you ONLY blah-blah-blah" to you when they are picking a fight... LOL). However, I dislike the use of "my personal" since I consider the second word redundant.

    The most egregious errors were those I encountered during my work in the public sector:

    1. "Please revert" used in place of "Please get back to me"
    2. "Please advice" used in place of "Please advise"

    There are more, but I left the public sector a long time ago XD

    JuliusBorisovNonnahswriter
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    Thanks for the insight! I always wondered why they look different.

    JuliusBorisovFinaLfront
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    Don't mind the writer bookmarking the grammar-correction thread... Hum-de-dum... ^_^;;

    JuliusBorisovjackjack
  • CahirCahir Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 2,064
    Sorry for derailing a bit, but I just love these forums. Splendid thread:)

    JuliusBorisovjackjack
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    As an aside, I found that I can type — by holding down the - button on my phone's soft keyboard.

    JuliusBorisovTroodon80
  • Troodon80Troodon80 Member, Developer Posts: 4,110
    @jackjack, same on my Nexus 7.

    image

    Neither desktop or laptop QWERTY keyboards have easy access to that sort of hold down functionality. Given how new the modern phones and tablets are, a hyphen has already become ingrained into 'standard' internet usage (not to sound snarky, but you have already demonstrated that). :-)

    The best bet, if you have it on desktop or laptop, is to use something like Microsoft Word. Set a character replacer for '---' so that it will become '—', then set another for '--' so that it will become '–'. When typing in Word, just remember which one you want and type the appropriate number of hyphens and they will be replaced.

    So few people are willing to do all that just to type out a single sentence or paragraph on the internet, just in the same way that most people do not care about punctuation.

    I'm still stuck in the past with regards to browser compatibility, so I will continue to use — instead of directly using the special character.

    JuliusBorisovjackjack
  • Troodon80Troodon80 Member, Developer Posts: 4,110
    @Squire‌, you are correct about who versus whom. However, whom could easily disappear from the English lexicon and few people would miss it, or even notice. Most people these days simply use 'who' regardless of context.

    Also, regarding 'of' versus 'have,' this is more to do with phonetics. This dates back centuries. If you notice certain accents in England, 'have' will become 'av as people drop the 'h'. "I should 'av known." When spoken, this sounds more like 'of' than 'have'. People then replace the word with what sounds like the most appropriate. I have also seen the American pronunciation of certain words influence the spelling in England and Ireland amongst the newer generations. Examples: herbs becoming erbs, nuclear becoming nuculer. The latter really annoying me, although I think it is probably limited to certain States. I was teaching my nephew how to spell some years back. My typical reaction is "break down the syllables." To which he replied "nu, like new? cue, ler." Then he proceeded to spell it nuculer. "Have you been watching George Bush on the news again? Nuculer is not how this word is pronounced, that is a different word entirely. Pronounce it as 'new' and 'clear'."

    JuliusBorisovjackjackFinaLfront
  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    If in doubt, rephrase the sentence so that you do not have to consider using 'whom'! XD

    Troodon80jackjack
  • Troodon80Troodon80 Member, Developer Posts: 4,110
    @booinyoureyes, me see what you did there.

    Just reading the rest of @Squire's post. I don't know of a single English speaking individual that doesn't know how to use an apostrophe when contracting words. In many cases, when typed on the internet or in text messages, it is left out simply for quickness of typing.

    There are only two points of contention I know.
    1. Regarding 'it's.' Whether it should indicate 'it is' and 'it has,' or simply 'it is.' For most people, it is interchangeable depending on the current tense of the context. "It's already been done." "It's in the process of being done." My personal preference is to use it exclusively for 'it is.'
    2. Regarding 'won't.' This is used to imply 'will not'—a contraction of the now-obsolete 'woll not.' However, the apostrophe is typically dropped when spelling it on the internet; thus spelling it as 'wont.' Wont is to 'make accustomed,' or 'to be familiar with,' or in certain uses, now archaic or used in a poetic sense, it means the same as 'want.' "As is your wont." 'Will not' should be 'won't,' not 'wont.' For a brief period during the 1800's the word 'willn't' was used—but only sparingly—typically by the 'lower classes,' the 'uneducated.' For some reason, it was never absorbed into common usage. Willn't would seem more like a typical contraction in modern usage, especially given the fact that the word 'woll' (preceding 'will') has been dropped from common speech.

    jackjackbooinyoureyesMetalloman
  • Troodon80Troodon80 Member, Developer Posts: 4,110
    @jacobtan, I do not shy away from using them, but I do have a preference towards using the proper words. Contractions have been around for hundreds of years, despite what some purist English teachers will say, especially in literature. Back when I was in school, we would get a clout around the head with a wooden duster if we used contractions. We spoke 'proper English.' A term which, to be quite honest, annoys me to this day. Having said that, I confess that I have a certain hatred for words used incorrectly. A typo is one thing, we have all done it at some point, but continuing to make the same mistake over and over is simply unacceptable.

    Anyway, a demonstration of early contraction usage. 1874, Far from the Madding Crowd, “Whose shepherd is he?” said the equestrian. “Don't know, ma'am.” “Don't any of the others know?” That demonstrates usage of 'do not.' "Ma'am" pre-dates an early quote from the 1600s. 1668, An Evening's Love, “Madam me no Madam, but learn to retrench your words; and say Mam; as yes Mam, and no Mam, as other Ladies Women do. Madam! 'tis a year in pronouncing.”

    If in doubt, avoid them. Otherwise, feel free to use them as desired.

    jacobtanjackjackJuliusBorisov
  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    edited May 2014
    @Troodon80‌

    Very insightful post.

    Yes, I do use contractions when writing narratives. Otherwise, I try to avoid most language pitfalls because I know in the digital age, I may not always have the luxury of time to proofread what I write, whether it is a post on a forum or a phone message. As far as possible, I stick to simpler grammar to minimize errors :)

    Oh, I notice both of us have bears as our avatar pictures! ^_^

    Troodon80JuliusBorisov
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