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15 most common grammar mistakes

Switch Blayde
Updated:

I was bored so I googled "most common grammar mistakes" and came upon this article: https://authority.pub/common-grammar-mistakes/

I started posting this in Editors, but changed it to Authors because of the last paragraph in the quote below.

Poor grammar revealed laziness and a lack of respect for the reader. It's the literary form of bad manners and exposes the writer as someone who isn't serious about the craft.

If you're an author, particularly a self-published author, you need to do everything possible to win your readers' hearts and minds. When they are distracted by grammatical errors or confused by the meaning of a sentence, they aren't likely to buy your next book — or finish the one they are reading.


Okay, here they are:

1. Subject-Verb Agreement Errors
2. Sentence Fragments
3. Missing Comma After Introductory Element
4. Misusing The Apostrophe With "Its"
5. No Comma In A Compound Sentence
6. Misplaced Or Dangling Modifier
7. Vague Pronoun Reference
8. Wrong Word Usage
9. Run-On Sentence
10. Superfluous Commas
11. Lack Of Parallel Structure
12. Sentence Sprawl
13. Comma Splice
14. Colon Mistakes
15. Split Infinitives

The author gives examples of each.

Replies:   REP  awnlee jawking  BlacKnight
Switch Blayde

Ha, in the correct version of Example 1 in #12, he made the error in "3. Missing Comma After Introductory Element." He needs a comma after "Unexpectedly."

Correct: Unexpectedly, Jason was called for jury duty…

REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Good article Switch. But, there are also problems with #9 and #13.

#8, Wrong Word Usage. I agree it is a problem. The proposed solution of checking the words meaning when in doubt is usually useless for the author isn't aware that they are misusing the word. It usually takes an editor or proofreader to point out the mistake.

#9 the Run-On Sentence shows that you should add a comma between two main clauses (independent sentences) to avoid a Run-On sentence. However that is the wrong thing to do for #13 says using a comma to join two separate sentences (main clauses or independent sentences) creates a Comma Splice. The articles corrective action is to use a period or semi-colon to separate the clauses instead of a comma.

In the final paragraph, the article says, "Whenever you're in doubt about a rule, take a brief moment to look it up." That is good advice if you recognize that you are breaking a specific rule, but hard to do if you don't know the name of the rule you are breaking.

I looked up comma splice and found:

https://study.com/academy/lesson/run-on-sentences-examples-corrections-quiz.html

1. Create two sentences: 'My instructor read my paper. He said it was brilliant.'

2. Create a pause between clauses by adding a semi-colon: 'My instructor read my paper; he said it was brilliant.'

3. Add a comma and a coordinator or subordinator to create a compound sentence, a sentence with two independent clauses: 'My instructor read my paper, and he said it was brilliant.'

The article you cited should have added use a comma and a coordinator or subordinator to fix the error.

Ross at Play

@REP

3. Add a comma and a coordinator or subordinator to create a compound sentence, a sentence with two independent clauses: 'My instructor read my paper, and he said it was brilliant.'

The article you cited should have added use a comma and a coordinator or subordinator to fix the error.

The article SB found missed one of the options to correct a comma splice but I don't think the article you quoted is correct.

Commas are usually not used before a subordinating conjunction joining another clause to the main clause of a sentence. They are optional but I try to avoid them unless the sentence is long.

There are differences of opinion about whether commas are required when two independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction.

For example, it is generally accepted that no comma should be used with this example, because the second clause is not an independent clause:
'My instructor read my paper and said it was brilliant.'

However, when the second clause includes the subject, 'he', making it an independent clause, some "authorities" say a comma is required, but others say this is acceptable:
'My instructor read my paper and he said it was brilliant.'

Switch Blayde

@REP

#9 the Run-On Sentence shows that you should add a comma between two main clauses (independent sentences) to avoid a Run-On sentence.


No. It said you should add a comma with a conjunction, such as,

…, but…

If you don't have the conjunction, you have a comma splice which requires either a semicolon or a period.

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

The big issue with Number 3 is how you define what an Introductory Element is as against a Location Element. Also, number 10 he's totally writing off some elements of the Oxford Comma (please we don't need that discussion again), and the listing process.

Like all the Grammar experts I see blogging they seem to think the only correct grammar is what they learned, as some of his identified errors are wrong in some schools and mandatory in other schools. But the article is good food for thought, just don't think it's carved in stone by God.

typo edit.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Also, number 10 he's totally writing of some elements of the Oxford Comma


I didn't see the Oxford comma in any of his examples.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I didn't see the Oxford comma in any of his examples.


In some schools of grammar they teach the sue of the Oxford comma for lists, including lists of options, so the example he has as wrong of:

He wants to get a degree in engineering, or medicine.

would be correct to some grammar people because it's a list, even when only two items are there. This is one of those situations where different grammar schools conflict on the usage.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
robberhands

Poor grammar revealed laziness and a lack of respect for the reader.

I'm happy to read that was in the past. However, I wonder what bad grammar reveals today.

richardshagrin

@robberhands

what bad grammar reveals today.

Editing or proof-reading errors.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

just don't think it's carved in stone by God.

typo edit.

That should read: "just don't think it's carved in stone by Dog."

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I'm happy to read that was in the past. However, I wonder what bad grammar reveals today.

In the past, it wouldn't be published without extensive editor reviews. Nowadays, anyone and their grandmother can publish a book, so non-professionalism runs rampant. But again, this isn't so much non-professionalism as it is simple ignorance of what is the correct usage in each case. As others have pointed out, you can't correct what you don't realize is incorrect. Conclusion: don't rely on individual author's reading an isolated article to fix all of their problems, use editors!

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

He wants to get a degree in engineering, or medicine.


That's not an Oxford comma. That's an incorrect comma. An Oxford comma would be:

He wants to get a degree in engineering, medicine, or mathematics.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

Poor grammar revealed laziness and a lack of respect for the reader.
I'm happy to read that was in the past. However, I wonder what bad grammar reveals today.


He's not talking about the past. His next comment has to do with self-publishing.

I agree with him 100%.

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

6. Misplaced Or Dangling Modifier


I would have liked to see that category enlarged to explicitly incorporate Dangling Participles, of which the novel I'm beta-reading is mercifully free.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I would have liked to see that category enlarged to explicitly incorporate Dangling Participles, of which the novel I'm beta-reading is mercifully free.

So how about you give us an explanation and some examples instead?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


So how about you give us an explanation and some examples instead?


I went to Grammar Girl. Reading about it gave me a headache and reminded me why I never understood grammar my whole life.

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/dangling-participles

So to sum up, a dangling participle modifies the wrong noun. Usually you've left the subject implied and are taking for granted that your reader will know what you mean, which is generally not a good writing strategy. You fix a dangling modifier by putting the proper subject in the sentence, usually right after the participle or participial phrase


Hiking the trail, the birds chirped loudly.

The birds are the only subject in the sentence, and they directly follow the participial phrase. The participial phrase has to grab on to something, so it grabs the only subject—the birds. So what that sentence says is that the birds were hiking the trail, and that's probably not what I mean. There was probably somebody hiking the trail and hearing the birds chirping loudly.

We can fix it by adding the proper subject right after the participial phrase:

Hiking the trail, Squiggly and Aardvark heard birds chirping loudly.


"To hike" is a verb. Adding "ing" to it (hiking) turns it into a present participle. "Hiking the trail" is a participle phrase.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Reading about it gave me a headache

Missing the point entirely, that explanation didn't give me a headache.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

Missing the point entirely, that explanation didn't give me a headache.


Is that a dangling participle?

"Missing the point" is the participle phrase.
"Explanation" is the subject (or is it?)

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Rep


You're correct. I focused on the explanation saying you had to add punctuation and I overlooked that the example also added a 'but' .

Minor edit

BlacKnight

@Switch Blayde

15. Split Infinitives


There's nothing wrong with splitting infinitives except that some prescriptive grammarians in the 19th century got a hair up their ass about it because you can't do it in Latin, the perfect language. (Literally can't; Latin infinitives are a single word.)

Assuming you're writing in English, not Latin, feel free to boldly split infinitives. It's commonly accepted usage, and in some circumstances can clarify meaning. (For example, the sentences, "There's no reason not to split infinitives," and, "There's no reason to not split infinitives," have subtly different meanings.)

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@BlacKnight

There's nothing wrong with splitting infinitives


He said that in the article. He said there are no grammar rules saying you can't and that if it makes the sentence clearer, do it.

Replies:   BlacKnight
BlacKnight

@Switch Blayde

He said that in the article. He said there are no grammar rules saying you can't and that if it makes the sentence clearer, do it.


Yeah, I didn't actually read the article. I attempted to, but there was so much obtrusive window-hijacking advertising that I just bailed rather than attempt to fight my way through to the content, if any. In any case, it seems odd to include something in a list of "15 most common grammar mistakes" and then say it's actually fine.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@BlacKnight

I didn't actually read the article.


This is what he said:

15. Split Infinitives
An infinitive is the word "to" with a verb. A split infinitive separates the word "to" and the verb with another word (often an adverb). There are no grammar rules that prohibit split infinitives, but many experts disapprove of them. If the sentence sounds awkward by correcting the split, our rule of thumb is to go with what makes the most sense in the context of your writing and for the ease of reading. (For example, "To boldly go where no man has gone before" would sound awkward and less powerful as, "To go boldly where no man has gone before.")

Example 1:

Incorrect: She tried to quickly finish the book before she had to leave.

Correct: She tried to finish the book quickly before she had to leave.

Example 2:

Incorrect: He wanted to gradually improve his strength by increasing the weight.

Correct: He wanted to improve his strength gradually by increasing the weight.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Smartarse ;)

The really sneaky danglers are the ones that don't occur at the head of the sentence.

AJ

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Is that a dangling participle?

Yes, it is. I think you missed the point of my joke.

richardshagrin

@Switch Blayde

He wants to get a degree in engineering, or medicine.

The comma might indicate he either wants to get medicine or a degree in engineering. Probably Aspirin for the headache that studying for an engineering degree gives him.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

He's not talking about the past. His next comment has to do with self-publishing.

I agree with him 100%.

You severely misquoted the author, so I think it became much easier for you to agree with him.

That's your citation:

Poor grammar revealed laziness and a lack of respect for the reader. It's the literary form of bad manners and exposes the writer as someone who isn't serious about the craft.


That's the original:

I love to write, but I'm not so crazy about grammar.

Learning about words that dangle, split, and get misplaced isn't my idea of fun.

However, as an English major in college, I had it drilled into my head that poor grammar revealed laziness and a lack of respect for the reader. It's the literary form of bad manners and exposes the writer as someone who isn't serious about the craft.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@robberhands


You severely misquoted the author,


I didn't misquote him. I skipped where he was taught what he believes in even if it's not fun. This was how he ended the article:

Whenever you're in doubt about a rule, take a brief moment to look it up. You'll save yourself some embarrassment, and you'll show your readers that you respect language and revere the art of writing well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I didn't misquote him. I skipped where he was taught what he believes in even if it's not fun. This was how he ended the article:

Whenever you're in doubt about a rule, take a brief moment to look it up. You'll save yourself some embarrassment, and you'll show your readers that you respect language and revere the art of writing well.

I doubt I'll retain ANY of this discussion to recall what 'infinitives' are the next time I encounter a split anything! These are not common sense descriptions of common writing problems, but more a list of what language specialists get pissed seeing in novels.

richardshagrin

reluctance to split infinitives (the "to be" kind of verb) was brought to English by Latin experts (most teachers used to have to learn Latin) because it isn't possible to split Latin infinitives. To be in Latin is Esse. Hard to split that four letter word. Since there was no way to do it in Latin, Latin expert teachers decided it was a bad idea to do it in English. There are lots of things you can do in Latin that are difficult in English. Lux Sit means let there be light, where light is lux and Sit is the imperative form of to be (esse). I know that because the motto of the University of Washington is Lux Sit. If your dog is named Lux, you can say Lux, sit. But you are telling light to exist in Latin.

Ross at Play

I do not even see what some consider an error to be 'splitting an infinitive'; I think of it as creating a new phrasal verb consisting of an adverb and an existing verb root. There is nothing to prevent an author doing that - but the author should consider whether their new phrasal verb conveys the meaning they actually want!

For the oft-quoted example from Star Trek, the new phrasal verb was essential. The phrasal verb 'to boldly go' was needed to convey the meaning that whenever the action of going is performed, it must be done boldly.

The article mentioned in the OP has an example of creating a new phrasal verb which is not essential. It seems sufficient to use the verb 'to finish (reading a book)' modified by the adverb 'quickly' so that some other action may be started. Creating an new phrasal verb 'to quickly finish' just for that seems like overkill to me, and I would consider that a "writing mistake" too.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I do not even see what some consider an error to be 'splitting an infinitive';


The writer of the article agrees with you. He used the "To boldly go where…" as an example.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

The writer of the article agrees with you. He used the "To boldly go where…" as an example.

I read the article and agree with its assessments for the examples provided.

My point was I don't think it's helpful to consider these constructions as 'split infinitives'. I think it's better to view them as newly minted phrasal verbs, which authors are always entitled to do.

The test the article proposes is whether your construction "sounds awkward". That's a pretty subjective test. I suggest a better test is whether you need a new phrasal verb to convey the meaning you want.

It is needed for the 'boldly go' example. It is the only way to convey that the action of going must always be done boldly. It is not needed for the 'to quickly finish (reading the book)' example. For that the meaning of 'to finish reading the book quickly' is the same, and I would then consider creating the new verb 'to quickly finish' to be poor writing.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

"sounds awkward". That's a pretty subjective test.


As a non-grammartarian, that's what I do (subjective). It has to sound right to my ear. There are times I'll write "than me" when "than I" is grammatically correct.

So for an academic paper, follow the grammar rules strictly (although there is none for split infinitives). But for creative writing, be creative (when it works, not just to break a rule).

tendertouch

@Switch Blayde

So for an academic paper, follow the grammar rules strictly (although there is none for split infinitives). But for creative writing, be creative (when it works, not just to break a rule).


The professor for my first English class in college had a story about teaching English in an inner city somewhere (he said where but I don't recall). Some of the students had regularlized the verb 'to be' (speaking of infinitives) - I be, you be, we be, they all be. Of course it was jarring to his ear but once he got beyond that he found it refreshing. He wanted us all to be willing to stretch our concept of the language, but to always understand *how* we were stretching it. For those students he explained to them what they were doing and that it would be a problem is some contexts but to stick with it when it wouldn't interfere with communication.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

So for an academic paper, follow the grammar rules strictly (although there is none for split infinitives). But for creative writing, be creative (when it works, not just to break a rule).

I won't continue debating this, but you've missed the point I was trying to make if you would treat formal and informal writing differently. There's no rule against placing an adverb so it splits an infinitive - but it is contrary to the standard order of elements in sentences. English allows great flexibility in word order but I think you should have some purpose when doing anything that is non-standard. I would not place an adverb so it splits an infinitive unless I thought doing so was necessary for the meaning I wanted.

tendertouch

@Ross at Play

I would not place an adverb so it splits an infinitive unless I thought doing so was necessary for the meaning I wanted.


Whereas I'd do it simply because it sounded better (ditto another Latin holdover - ending a sentence with a preposition). Certainly the 'rules' have tempered what sounds right for me but I always strive to remember that the rules are there to serve communication, the aren't the masters.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Perhaps I'm missing something, but the only difference I can see between 'to boldly go where no one has gone before' and 'to go boldly where no one has gone before' is a matter of emphasis, not meaning. Both involve going and both involve boldness.

AJ

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Thanks, I was worried to be the only one who didn't see much of a difference.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I do not even see what some consider an error to be 'splitting an infinitive'; I think of it as creating a new phrasal verb consisting of an adverb and an existing verb root.

I don't think it was ever a 'rule', but it's like passive phrases, in that including split infinitives tends to weaken most sentences rather than making them stronger, so you should only use it when it makes a significant difference in how the sentence is read. Your later point echos this impression, as that's exactly the situation you ran into with it.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

It is needed for the 'boldly go' example. It is the only way to convey that the action of going must always be done boldly. It is not needed for the 'to quickly finish (reading the book)' example. For that the meaning of 'to finish reading the book quickly' is the same, and I would then consider creating the new verb 'to quickly finish' to be poor writing.

How about "to boldly Pedo Bear the story"? Because, of course, if you're going to risk incurring people's wrath, you wanna make them REALLY pissed off at you, rather than just mildly offended.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Perhaps I'm missing something, but the only difference I can see between 'to boldly go where no one has gone before' and 'to go boldly where no one has gone before' is a matter of emphasis, not meaning. Both involve going and both involve boldness.

As was previously mentioned, "to boldly go" implies you'd always go boldly (i.e. you basically can't go non-boldly), whereas "to go boldly" implies that while you might be doing it boldly this time, you might not the next trip.

It's a subtle difference, but it makes a difference.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

No, I don't buy it.

I take both to mean that the mission is to be bold when going to a new destination, but neither makes an assertion as to the boldness required when going to an old location.

AJ

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

As was previously mentioned, "to boldly go" implies you'd always go boldly (i.e. you basically can't go non-boldly), whereas "to go boldly" implies that while you might be doing it boldly this time, you might not the next trip.

So once you reach 70 years of age, or maybe some other number, you have to oldly go, while if you are young you have a choice of going oldly or not. Makeup or false ID might be required to go oldly. On a lightly different punside, I have been viewing a commercial for University of Colorado at Boulder suggesting students go Boulder.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

So once you reach 70 years of age, or maybe some other number, you have to oldly go, while if you are young you have a choice of going oldly or not. Makeup or false ID might be required to go oldly. On a lightly different punside, I have been viewing a commercial for University of Colorado at Boulder suggesting students go Boulder.

To clarify, the assumption that 'to boldly go' meant to always to go boldly is based, not explicitly on the wording alone, but on the fact it was a tag line for a TV franchise. In essence, the TV Franchise was advertising that the series would always feature fearless crews going boldly on a series of continuing 1-hour quests. If a single character has used the line, everyone would just assume the odd usage was a alien unfamiliar with basic English grammar.

Zom
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


a matter of emphasis, not meaning


According to the Cambridge, manner adverbs "… usually go in end position. They sometimes go in mid position if the adverb is not the most important part of the clause …". So perhaps the going is more important.

Cambridge reference

A screaming pedant might argue that "boldly going" describes the act of deciding to go, and that "going boldly" describes the manner of the actual going, but I would never do that … much.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Zom

Cambridge reference

That reference is not relevant to split infinitives. The 'mid position' it refers to is between the subject and verb of a clause, not in the middle of a verb phrase.

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Ross at Play

That reference is not relevant to split infinitives

What I need to do then is to find an authoritative grammar reference detailing how to properly use split infinitives. Won't hold my breath during that process.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Switch Blayde

I found this quote in an article on the subject:

One editor at the highly respected University of Chicago Press, publisher of The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, has summed up the matter well: "euphony or emphasis or clarity or all three can be improved by splitting the infinitive in certain situations"

Ross at Play

@Zom

What I need to do then is to find an authoritative grammar reference detailing how to properly use split infinitives. Won't hold my breath during that process.

It is never wrong, per se, to split infinitives, but I would not do so unless I considered it necessary to serve some purpose.

I think there is a difference in meaning between a decision to take some action in a particular manner, and a decision to take some action and then doing it in that manner. I do not agree with AJ when he suggested that is only a matter of emphasis.

I check whether placing the adverb in its standard position (generally after any direct object) will suffice for the meaning I want. If it does I place the adverb there. I would only split an infinitive if I consider it necessary for the meaning/emphasis I want to convey.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

In German you cannot split infinitives. So maybe that's the reason I fail to see the special meaning/emphasis in doing so in English. To me the emphasis simply stems from the prominent placement of the adverb in a sentence.

So, 'To go boldly where no man ...' has less emphasis on the adverb than 'To boldly go where no man ...'. Then again, in English you could also write 'Boldly to go where no man has gone before', which would put the emphasis on the adverb just as well - at least to me.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

To me the emphasis simply stems from the prominent placement of the adverb in a sentence.

I'm not going to argue with any who think it's just a matter of emphasis.

When I look at what is being done grammatically, I see a new phrasal verb being created. I think the verb boldly go has a different meaning to the verb go modified by the adverb boldly. While I've no objections to authors creating new phrasal verbs, I would not do so when existing words in their standard positions will suffice for the meaning I want.

sejintenej

Can somebody please explain WHO gave who the authority to create rules of grammar? Was it by court order, the President, the Pope, who?

Having created the regulation of grammar WHO decided which bodies are authorised to create and pontificate? The concept merely gives jobs to the (?un)deserving and takes money out of the pockets of those who generally couldn't care a fig

As for split infinitives - what does it matter PROVIDED the result is understandable to author and the majority of readers?

Replies:   robberhands  Zom
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I see a new phrasal verb being created.

I can't follow your argument. I don't see 'to boldly go' as a phrasal verb. What would be the different meaning compared with 'to go boldly'?

Replies:   Ross at Play
robberhands

@sejintenej

Can somebody please explain WHO gave who the authority to create rules of grammar? Was it by court order, the President, the Pope, who?

Do you mean grammar rules aren't mentioned in any amendment to the constitution? I'm shocked.

Zom
Updated:

@sejintenej


Can somebody please explain WHO gave who the authority to create rules of grammar?


Somebody had to. I suspect the 'rules' of grammar in some form or other preceded the Pope. They certainly preceded the President of whom you speak.

Long established bodies of learning and well respected publishers hold the torch today, mostly by precedence.

I don't subscribe to the slovenly language usage that would result from no rules or poor rules. We are descending fast enough with the rise of social media, poorly educated mainstream media presenters, and the notion of "you know what I mean", which is often not the case.

Dominions Son

@Zom

Somebody had to. I suspect the 'rules' of grammar in some form or other preceded the Pope.


The office of the Pope of the Catholic Church has existed longer than the English language.

Replies:   Zom  Ernest Bywater
Zom

@Dominions Son

has existed longer than the English

Who said anything about English? I didn't.

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Zom

I don't subscribe to the slovenly language usage that would result from no rules or poor rules. We are descending fast enough with the rise of social media, poorly educated mainstream media presenters, and the notion of "you know what I mean", which is often not the case

Are we really descending as you suggest? even when I was a nipper movement was difficult and so language was local. I once worked in a place where the locals couldn't understand those from the other side of the mountain. At a different time speaking one dialect my boss from 250 miles away claimed he couldn't understand my speech (OK so I played with him - I could speak his version as well as the version I originally learned). For the likes of Awnlee - can he/you understand spoken Glaswegian, Newcastle, Cockney? I can't. There are versions of American I cannot understand when spoken. Jamaican English is again a different language.
To sum up I don't think we are going downhill - we are still there as some of the discussions on this site suggest.

Replies:   Zom  awnlee jawking
sejintenej

@Zom


Somebody had to.

what authority? Who approved the Chicago school(as an example)?

Zom

@sejintenej

I don't think we are going downhill

I don't want to confuse language differences with proper usage. Each dialect can have it's differences and still be correct.

What I am mainly referring to is the willingness to be correct. In my youth, those around me at least tried to speak correctly. Now, it isn't even on the radar of many young users. A large proportion have become convinced that it is no longer something worthy of note. Therein lies the decline.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Zom


Who said anything about English? I didn't.


You can't talk about rules of grammar (or who is authorized to make them*) except in reference to a specific language. And since SOL currently only allows English language stories...

*France for example has a government agency designated by law to control the French language (grammar, the addition of new words).

Zom

@sejintenej

Who approved the Chicago school(as an example)?

Those many writers and editors that see it as a useful and trustworthy common source? Approval by acclamation if you like.

Not everything agreed by populations needs to be handed down to them by some authority.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ross at Play

@robberhands

I can't follow your argument. I don't see 'to boldly go' as a phrasal verb. What would be the different meaning compared with 'to go boldly'?

I don't know how to expand on my explanations so far without descending into something that would sound condescending, e.g. look up the definition of phrasal verb.

I would point out there have been numerous threads here which have ended up with many posters giving their slightly different interpretations of various expressions.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Zom

@Dominions Son

You can't talk about rules of grammar (or who is authorized to make them*) except in reference to a specific language

Why not? You certainly can in a general sense, when you are talking about rules in general rather than specific examples, and that is what sejintenej was doing when he referenced the Pope as a potential authority. He took it outside the English stricture. I just followed in answer.

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

For the likes of Awnlee - can he/you understand spoken Glaswegian, Newcastle, Cockney?


One of my gfs was from the north of Scotland. I could understand her well enough until she talked to her parents on the phone, then it was one word in ten if I was lucky!

I'm okay with Cockney, but completely flummoxed by Geordie.

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

But people don't take the possible creation of a new phrasal verb into consideration when deciding where to place an adverb because that's a theory you have come up with.

I haven't seen convincing evidence that changing the position of the adverb conveys a different meaning.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Those many writers and editors that see it as a useful and trustworthy common source?


That's true. It's a very good source for uniformity in certain types of communication, but an absolute waste of time in other types of communication. That's why the AAP have a different manual with a lot differences, it's why the telegram operators didn't use it, and it's why the law makers don't use it. The CMoS is great for academic works but much of it doesn't suit fiction writing. That's why I say it should never be used as a absolute rule of law for fiction, yes, you can use it as a guideline but think about what you want to write and ignore it when it gets in the way.

I'm lucky, as an Australian I never got CMoS shoved down my throat via the education system the way it's pushed in so many of the US colleges and high schools.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

The office of the Pope of the Catholic Church has existed longer than the English language.


You may want to re-think this statement. Yes, the Pontifex Maximushas been around since early Roman days, but that was the title of the head priest in a bunch of pagan religions. Then, many centuries later, the title was handed over to the head of the Holy Catholic Church when it became the official religion of Rome, and somewhere in there it picked up the slang term of Pope. However, the title was transferred to the head of the Roman Catholic Church sometime during the time of the Protestant Movement when the Holy Catholic Church ceased to be a unified organisation. Also in there is the period when each bishop ran only their area and the title of Pontiff of Rome applied to the bishop responsible only for Rome and it's immediate area. Later power struggles expanded it to make the Bishop of Rome the head of the whole Holy Catholic Church.

By the time the Pope was in charge of the Holy Catholic Church early forms of English were around. Since then both have changed a lot. Added to that the much older ancient Greeks and Romans had rules on grammar of various sorts.

Replies:   sejintenej  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

*France for example has a government agency designated by law to control the French language (grammar, the addition of new words).

And it's worked wonderfully for them. Their language has remained frozen in time, and the last successful novelist I'm aware of was Jean-Paul Sartre. That government agency's only agenda is to NEVER allow any new words into the language, which seems pointedly stupid when we're inventing things never encountered before at a record pace.

In America, there is no Governmental language body. Instead, it's a vote by consensus, and the publishing industry, both the traditional publishers and the newer independents, have all agreed that we need to understand and use standard usage patterns. However, for fiction uses, there's more flexibility. But still, the general advice is: you have to understand the standards before you can flout them, so that you at least understand what you're risking.

Although Star Trek got away with this one single usage of "to boldly go", you'll notice that it generated such blowback, that no one else has ever attempted to duplicate the process anywhere else. I'd say that's a pretty good example of a process that's working correctly. They allow the one exemption, while reminding everyone why such usages are such a terrible idea in general.

Crumbly Writer

The be all and end all answer is: you can't expect to get far in writing if you don't know how to construct a sentence properly. If you're expecting the Pope to hand down an edict on the proper use of split infinitives, then expect that edict to be attacked from all fronts, both within the Catholic Church and from all opposing religions.

Most readers have been reading their entire lives, and generally known what is acceptable, even if they can't specify the specific guideline defining it. Thus, if you throw convention to the wind, expect readers to roundly reject your work. On the other hand, if you blindly follow CMoS, then expect everyone to yawn and pass on your stories, as they appear stodgy and unappealing.

You either understand how to write, or you simply choose not to write. We can argue about specific usages, but anyone interested in writing is interested in getting the words in the right order.

Replies:   REP
sejintenej

@tendertouch

Some of the students had regularlized the verb 'to be' (speaking of infinitives) - I be, you be, we be, they all be.

Standard Norwegian - the past is also done like that so for any verb you only need three words - infinitive, present and past.

sejintenej

@awnlee jawking

One of my gfs was from the north of Scotland. I could understand her well enough until she talked to her parents on the phone, then it was one word in ten if I was lucky!

After my son-in-law was posted to Yorkshire he brought a Yorkshire-English dictionary. On a sample double page about one third of the words was mis-spelt English and every one of the rest were in my Norwegian dictionary with the same meaning. Even one of the main streets in York - Kirkgate - is pure Norwegian for Church Street.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

And it's worked wonderfully for them. Their language has remained frozen in time, and the last successful novelist I'm aware of was Jean-Paul Sartre. That government agency's only agenda is to NEVER allow any new words into the language, which seems pointedly stupid when we're inventing things never encountered before at a record pace.

Only in theory and the Civil Service. In day to day speech they have imported a lot of English (like "le weekend") though they have cocked up a few like "le car" which is a charabanc (road using coach) and not a car. One thing they refuse to give up is "l' ordinateur" or computer - that really annoyed me.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

And as an example of delicious irony, the French government are pressing to have English removed as an official language of the European Union because of Brexit. At the same time, their academics are moving towards hosting conferences and publishing papers in English.

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

However, the title was transferred to the head of the Roman Catholic Church sometime during the time of the Protestant Movement when the Holy Catholic Church ceased to be a unified organisation.

I suspect that the Protestant Movement came long after the split in the Catholic Church centred on Rome.
In 1204 there was a split during which the Roman church was officially excommunicated, this being reversed only in 1965. Rome excommunicated the Eastern Churches and made the reversal at the same times. The heads of the 23 autonomous Eastern Churches (which include the Coptic church) have important places at the investiture of any pope an their followers are welcomed in the churches of the others.

sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


And as an example of delicious irony, the French government are pressing to have English removed as an official language of the European Union because of Brexit


Nothing new there. After we escape they can do what they like - more logically make Occitan/Catalan an official language now that they have officially recognised Occitania at long last.
There was international agreement on Greenwich being on the zero degree of longitude only when the French forced the UK to agree to eventually bring in the metre as the official unit of measurement. AJ might have noticed all those small signs on major roads giving 500 metre distances

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Although Star Trek got away with this one single usage of "to boldly go", you'll notice that it generated such blowback, that no one else has ever attempted to duplicate the process anywhere else.


On the contrary, Creative Writing courses nowadays routinely teach that the rule about not splitting infinitives is archaic and can be ignored.

Here's Grammar Girl's take: https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/split-infinitives

Note that split infinitives were in widespread use even at the time it was first recommended they not be on the basis that nobody used them.

AJ

REP

@Ernest Bywater

We also have to remember that languages evolve. So when did the English language begin? Did it begin before Christ and evolve in steps until it was significantly different from its origin.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

if you throw convention to the wind


Perhaps throwing convention to the wind is what resulted in language changing. Initially, change is rejected. Then it becomes common usage.

I think these types of people are called 'trend setter' or perhaps 'evolutionists' once their change is accepted.

BlacKnight

@Ross at Play

When I look at what is being done grammatically, I see a new phrasal verb being created. I think the verb boldly go has a different meaning to the verb go modified by the adverb boldly. While I've no objections to authors creating new phrasal verbs, I would not do so when existing words in their standard positions will suffice for the meaning I want.

Christ. Watching this forum talk about grammar is like watching the blind men trying to describe an elephant.

"To boldly go" is no more a "new phrasal verb" than "to go boldly" is. Both of them are an infinitive verb, "to go", modified by an adverb, "boldly". It's just that in one case the adverb has been placed after the verb, as is common, while in the other case, the adverb has been placed so that it splits the two parts of the infinitive. Thus, a split infinitive. That's what it is. That's the definition of a split infinitive. When people are all, "Danger Will Robinson! A split infinitive!" this is what they're talking about. When you start rambling about how it's really a "new phrasal verb", no one knows what you're talking about, including you.

And there's nothing wrong with splitting infinitives in English. It's mildly unusual but widely accepted usage, does not make a sentence syntactically invalid, and can sometimes change or clarify meaning, or just make a sentence sound better.

The reason some grammarians make a fuss about it is that the early formal study of English grammar used the formal grammatical rules of Latin, with which all educated men were expected to be familiar, as a framework for understanding, even in places where English As She Is Spoke really didn't conform well to the Latin model. The infinitive is one of those places. English infinitives work differently than Latin infinitives, not least in being two words rather than one.

Where in English the infinitive form of "go" is "to go", in Latin it's ire. And where in English there's no particular reason you can't drop "boldly" into the middle of "to go", in Latin jamming audacter into the middle of ire just doesn't work. So some excessively uptight grammarians decided that, because you can't do it in Latin, you shouldn't be allowed to do it in English, either — despite the fact that people had been doing it for centuries (the earliest documented instances come from Middle English, where the earliest documented instances of people claiming you can't do it are from the 19th century), and continued to do it where it felt natural to them even in the face of being yelled at by English teachers who took those uptight grammarians seriously.

And the reason "to boldly go" is preferable to "to go boldly" isn't anything to do with the meaning, whether denotational or connotational. It's because "to boldly go" is iambic, and "to go boldly" isn't, and iambic meter sounds better, and the phrase was originally written to be spoken dramatically for television.

And, yes, "sounds better" is a thing that's objectively qualifiable, if not quantifiable, and has long been studied. (There's a reason that Shakespeare wrote in iambic meter so much.) It's more important for poetry and script-writing than for prose, but that doesn't mean that it's not relevant for prose.

("Iambic" means that it alternates unstressed and stressed syllables: "to bold·ly go" vs. "to go bold·ly".)

paliden

@BlacKnight

Watching this forum talk about grammar is like watching the blind men trying to describe an elephant.


It is a perverse sort of entertainment, isn't it?

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Ross at Play

@BlacKnight

And there's nothing wrong with splitting infinitives in English. It's mildly unusual but ...

I don't know why that rant was directed at me. It appears you didn't read or didn't understand what I wrote. I have NEVER suggested there is anything wrong with split infinitives. I ONLY suggested checking if they are necessary for the meaning you want - before doing something 'unusual'.

Switch Blayde

@Zom

Long established bodies of learning and well respected publishers hold the torch today,


The former, yes. Not the latter, though.
Grammar rules, that is. Style is another topic.

Every language has rules. In Spanish, it determines when to use "el," "la," "los," and "las."

And they probably all have exceptions. For example in Spanish, when a feminine singular noun begins with a stressed "a" or "ha" sound, the masculine definite article is used instead of the feminine definite article.

Replies:   Zom
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

*France for example has a government agency designated by law to control the French language (grammar, the addition of new words).


That is very interesting. I guess France believes they own the French language so their former colonies, where French is spoken, needs to follow what France says is right.

Now if England did the same, can you imagine America agreeing? That's rhetorical.

Who owns Latin? The Catholic church? Italy? Rome (which is the pope)?

Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

Who approved the Chicago school(as an example)?


It's not an approval. It's an acceptance. You buy into their style.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I don't know how to expand on my explanations so far without descending into something that would sound condescending, e.g. look up the definition of phrasal verb.


I did. "Boldly go" doesn't seem to be a phrasal verb. "Boldly" simply modifies the "to go" verb. How will they go? Boldly. It's not an idiomatic phrase.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

I never got CMoS shoved down my throat via the education system


Actually, it's the MLA Style Manual that's used in schools and academic papers.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Zom


Why not? You certainly can in a general sense,


You can talk about grammar in a very abstract sense that is completely devoid of any specifics.

However, there are no universal grammar rules across different languages. So once you start discussing rules of grammar and where they come from, it has to be in reference to a specific language, or a family of languages with a common root.

richardshagrin

@sejintenej

Who approved the Chicago school

Probably the state of Illinois department of education.

StarFleet Carl

@paliden

Yeah, pretty much.

And I normally think that if I'm to go boldly, that means I'm enjoying myself while taking a dump. Which is also about as entertaining as reading some of this discussion, all things considered.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Actually, it's the MLA Style Manual that's used in schools and academic papers.


And yet so many of the college sites have the CMoS or refer to the CMoS on the How to write assignments pages.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Switch Blayde

the MLA Style Manual that's used in schools


I did a number of book reports in elementary school and several reports in high school. I wrote a number of papers during the short time I spent in college. I had to conform with the teacher's requirements, I don't recall ever having to conform with a style manual. :)

REP

@Ernest Bywater

I must have attended college back in the dark ages. My professors never mentioned a style manual/guide. They just told us how the wanted the paper to look, and they each had their own unique definition.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

My professors never mentioned a style manual/guide. They just told us how the wanted the paper to look, and they each had their own unique definition.


Could be. Most of the college websites (which is what I've been checking over the last 2 decades) have a page about what style to use for assignments and other papers within the college and all of the ones I've seen either state to use the CMoS or quote from it. Some do allow for the profs to set local rules on spacing and font sizes. Can't speak for further back than that, except for some sites stating they've been using the CMoS for many decades.

Replies:   REP  sejintenej
REP

@Ernest Bywater

My classes were in the early 80's.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@BlacKnight

And there's nothing wrong with splitting infinitives in English. It's mildly unusual but widely accepted usage, does not make a sentence syntactically invalid, and can sometimes change or clarify meaning, or just make a sentence sound better.


It's interesting to note that every time an adverb is placed before the verb, the infinitive form would be a split infinitive.

'Creative Writing courses routinely teach ...' - to routinely teach.

'What do you really think?' - to really think.

I suspect split infinitives catch our eye not because they're split but because we rarely use (- to rarely use) the infinitive form in a situation where it's accompanied by an adverb.

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP

@awnlee jawking

but because we rarely use


Split infinitives would not be as big of a problem as they seem to be if they were rarely used.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Most of the college websites (which is what I've been checking over the last 2 decades) have a page about what style to use for assignments and other papers within the college and all of the ones I've seen either state to use the CMoS or quote from it.


That is understandable (as is the thick book published by the Financial Times about the do and don'ts of publishing in their newspaper. As for Richardshagrin writing "Probably the state of Illinois department of education." about the Chicago style - that is merely one of about 51 states.

(I try to follow the British style as published by the Reader's Digest which has several pages on "split infinitives". It's final recommendation is that it is OK to split infinitives but a reader might think you know no better and your argument may be given less credit by the reader. Because the reader might also be distracted the RD suggests that it might be better to rephrase your text)

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

As for Richardshagrin writing "Probably the state of Illinois department of education." about the Chicago style - that is merely one of about 51 states.


The Chicago Manual of Style is a product of the University of Chicago Press, the publishing arm of the University of Chicago, a public university in the state of Illinois.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Dominions Son


The Chicago Manual of Style is a product of the University of Chicago Press, the publishing arm of the University of Chicago, a public university in the state of Illinois.


The University of Chicago is, in US parlance, a private university, not a public one.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Michael Loucks

The University of Chicago is, in US parlance, a private university, not a public one.


I keep forgetting that. Most of the time, in the US, any U of (city or state) or (city or state) U is public (as in the US usage of government run).

sharkjcw

Grammar mistake # 16 Posting first 15 on SOL forum:)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Zom
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Not the latter, though


Are you implying that CMoS is style only? Even given the name, CMoS itself also promotes its use as a guide for usage and grammar.

CMoS Online home page opening paragraph.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

My classes were in the early 80's.

I agree with REP. I graduated from college in 1980, and although I was aware of CMoS, I never saw it specifically referred to as a requirement for writing papers. Back then, it was a requirement for the professors when the tried to publish research papers. Thus it was consider of limited application.

Replies:   sejintenej
Switch Blayde

@Zom

Are you implying that CMoS is style only?


No. But the grammar rules should be consistent across all the books. It's the style part, like the Oxford comma, that's different across the books.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

REP wrote: My classes were in the early 80's.

Crumbly Writer replied
I agree with REP. I graduated from college in 1980

My last English lesson would have been somewhere around 1956 - no mention of styles, rules etc. Apart from nouns, adjectives and verbs no mention of parts of speech. It was a question of writing and then getting hauled over the coals because of some previously undeclared "rule"

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@sejintenej

then getting hauled over the coals because of some previously undeclared "rule"


It is common for teachers to assume that you were taught those rules and already know them and how to apply them. 60 years later and I still don't understand all the rules. :(

sejintenej

@REP

It is common for teachers to assume that you were taught those rules and already know them and how to apply them. 60 years later and I still don't understand all the rules. :(

or in my case know them - it is a question for me of whether something looks right and is understandable. (They didn't have EAFL teachers in those days - you picked it up from the other kids)

Replies:   REP
REP

@sejintenej

EAFL


Acronyms without definition are meaningless. I usually recognize the commonly used acronyms. I had to look that one up and I doubt if you mean:

EAFL = Emirates American Football League

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

Probably 'English as a Foreign Language' - start from the 'E' and consider the context.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


'English as a Foreign Language'


I've seen that in adult teaching texts as EaFL and EFL but more commonly as ESL = English as a Second Language.

typo edit

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

(I try to follow the British style as published by the Reader's Digest which has several pages on "split infinitives". It's final recommendation is that it is OK to split infinitives but a reader might think you know no better and your argument may be given less credit by the reader. Because the reader might also be distracted the RD suggests that it might be better to rephrase your text)

Once again, that's why I consider the split infinitives as a subset of 'passive phrases' which, while technically correct, generally weaken sentences, rather than adding anything of value to them. It's not an unacceptable practice, it's just not an advised practice. Basically all it does is to introduce additional unneeded verbiage to help ensure readers don't grasp your basic message.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@sharkjcw

Grammar mistake # 16 Posting first 15 on SOL forum:)

Nope. Basic mistake #1 is sticking around any forum topic after the first 15 posts. The first dozen are largely informative, after that, the vast majority are either arcane arguments with little real-world relevance, or inane jokes trying to lighten the angry arguments bouncing back and forth.

To survive here, you've GOT to learn to duck and cover. Ask your question, get your answer, thank whoever helped and then get the hell out before the shit starts to fly—'cause it always does!

Crumbly Writer

@Zom

Are you implying that CMoS is style only? Even given the name, CMoS itself also promotes its use as a guide for usage and grammar.

Usage and grammar are both elements of style, take for instance the use of serial commas, a hotly contested element of basic punctuation that various style guides adherents argue over endlessly.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

'To boldly go' is passive yet 'to go boldly' is active?

'To boldly go' was chosen by the trekkies because it's stronger. I think your logic is flawed.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

My last English lesson would have been somewhere around 1956 - no mention of styles, rules etc. Apart from nouns, adjectives and verbs no mention of parts of speech.

I'm sorry, but if there were no mentions of 'parts of speech' then you were never TAUGHT English, only told to write papers without a general understanding of English composition.

Now, if you're stipulating that you were never taught the intricacies of split infinitives, none of us were, as it's a special use which as Ross points out, is rarely used and not considered an essential part of a basic English education.

Hint: Don't take these extended discussions too seriously, as they're often the grammar equivalent of 'he said'/'she said'. Since both opinions are equally valid (i.e. they describe different uses of the same types of English grammar), there's absolutely no way to evaluate the different positions objectively.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@REP

It is common for teachers to assume that you were taught those rules and already know them and how to apply them. 60 years later and I still don't understand all the rules.

Much of my problem with these various 'rules' is that, when I was in grade school, they taught one set of rules, and middle school they introduced 'new' English, which emphasized a completely new set of English rules, where the changed the names of nearly everything. As far as I've been able to figure out, the entire 'New English' focus was completely abandoned in the U.S. some time ago, but no one ever informed those of us who were left out to dry in the public sphere!

I was fine breaking down sentences into their basic components, until I was told everything I'd been previously taught was completely wrong and I had to relearn everything from the ground up.

In retaliation, when I finally reached college, I NEVER took a single English class, but quickly befriended an promising English Lit student who served as my editor throughout college. If not for her, I'd never have survived!

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've seen that in adult teaching texts as EaFL and EFL but more commonly as ESL = English as a Second Language.

Sorry, but even as an American, "EFL" means "English Football League", something separate and distinct from basic America FOOTBALL!!!!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

'To boldly go' is passive yet 'to go boldly' is active?

No, BOTH are passive, which is why someone felt the need to 'dress it up' to make it seem more important than it really was.

Despite trying to explain where the phrase came from, I'd never use or suggest that anyone use a split infinitive unless it was essential to understand the sentence, and even then, I'd tell them to rephrase the entire thought, because "to go boldly" is just plain stupid, whichever order you put it in.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, but even as an American, "EFL" means "English Football League",


My understanding is in the UK they call it either Association Football or the Premier League - I've never seen it called the English Football League on any of the UK shows or news I've seen over the years.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

It's a relatively new term. The Premier League means the top division, the EFL refers to the next three divisions; the Championship, League 1 and League 2.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Passive means that something is done to the subject.

The passive form would be something like 'to be boldly flown across the galaxy'. 'To go' is active.

AJ

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

as it's a special use which as Ross points out, is rarely used and not considered an essential part of a basic English education.

It was not me who said that, and I've no wish to participate anymore in this "debate".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

'To go' is active.

Especially, if it's done boldly.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Passive means that something is done to the subject.
The passive form would be something like 'to be boldly flown across the galaxy'. 'To go' is active.

I agree that the term passive has a very specific meaning: when the subject of a clause receives, rather than performs, the action of the verb in the clause.

I've noticed CW using the term to mean a variety of other things. That irritates me. I think discussions here are fraught enough with danger already without someone confusing matters by using a term with an accepted definition to mean other things.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The passive form would be something like 'to be boldly flown across the galaxy'. 'To go' is active.

Sigh! Once again ...

I NEVER insisted that "to go boldly" was either passive or active. Instead, I said it's LIKE passive phrases, IN THAT they should generally be avoided to promote STRONGER (i.e. not active) sentences.

Basically, they'll all ways to muddle the language, and obfuscate rather than clarify what you're saying. So if you're trying to make a point, it's best to avoid those types of phrases. But there is NO WAY that that advice is in anyway a RULE.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Sorry, I meant to tag who you were responding to, but by the time I finished typing, I completely forgot. :(

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I've noticed CW using the term to mean a variety of other things. That irritates me. I think discussions here are fraught enough with danger already without someone confusing matters by using a term with an accepted definition to mean other things.

I'll admit that I tend to lump a bunch of different things together (mainly because I was first make aware of them because of an automated report I run that flags each of those separate elements under the one "Passive Phases" category). But, given my tendency to lump everything together, is there a better phrase for me to use.

Previously we used either "filler" or "filter" words/phrases, but I didn't think those fit either.

I don't mean to confuse (which is WHY I avoid those types of speech), but I've never found any clear and/or accepted classification for all the variants that fit into those categories.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Previously we used either "filler" or "filter" words/phrases,


Filler words are simply words not needed.
Filter words has to do with how close you want your 3rd-limited to be.
Passive is something being done to the subject.

I don't see how those would be grouped into the same category. They don't have anything to do with each other.

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@Ross at Play

(Not specifically directed at Ross, but as good a person to have a chance of answering as anyone.)

My dictionary lists 'go' as both transitive and intransitive, yet all its examples seem intransitive to me.

Can anyone give me an example or two of 'go' being used transitively?

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Can anyone give me an example or two of 'go' being used transitively?


Let go of the bat.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

Can anyone give me an example or two of 'go' being used transitively?


Go ride the bus. :)

Runs away and hides....

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Let go of the bat.


I'm very dubious.

The dictionaries I've consulted reckon that's a verbal phrase, with 'let' being the verb. Also I'm not convinced that a noun preceded by 'to', 'by', 'with', 'of' etc is a direct object.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I'm very dubious.


Told you I suck at grammar. How about:

Go away.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

(Not specifically directed at Ross, but as good a person to have a chance of answering as anyone.)

Fair enough.
I had actually thought of responding to your previous post with a comment along the lines of:
Your comment 'Go is active' is not quite right. More precisely, you could say go is always active because the verb is always intransitive - and the passive voice can only exist for transitive verbs.

I decided against including that on the grounds it seemed likely to cause more "debate" but was unlikely to have any benefit.

My dictionary lists 'go' as both transitive and intransitive, yet all its examples seem intransitive to me.
Can anyone give me an example or two of 'go' being used transitively?

dictionary.com lists some transitive senses at meanings 39 to 45.

Those examples all seem like informal uses to me as synonyms for things like 'want', 'buy', or 'do'. I cannot see how it would make sense to use any with the passive voice.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

You know, the number 1 most common grammar mistake is getting involved in discussions on grammar.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

You know, the number 1 most common grammar mistake is getting involved in discussions on grammar.


The first rule of grammar fight club is you don't talk about grammar fight club.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

But, given my tendency to lump everything together, is there a better phrase for me to use.

Good question. I thought about saying in my last post that I didn't have any suitable alternative expression to suggest.

I thought the first comment since by SB was helpful and correct. [After a quite scan, all subsequent suggestions appear to be imperative rather than declarative statements. I think the passive voice only exists for declarative statements.]

Filler words are simply words not needed.
Filter words has to do with how close you want your 3rd-limited to be.
Passive is something being done to the subject.

I don't see how those would be grouped into the same category. They don't have anything to do with each other.

I can see some reasons in favour of grouping passives and filter words (e.g. seemed, felt) together. If I had to nominate a term it would be 'distancing verbs'. In both cases the reader is being separated from the action because the subject of the clause is not performing the action of the verb which is the primary interest of the reader. Alternatively you might say for both that a sentences is 'weakened' because the subject of the clause is not performing the action of interest to the reader.

I would not group filler words with passives. I'd just say they were needlessly verbose.

I would not group split infinitives with passives either. I would say they are sometimes problematic - when an adverb is promoted to a non-standard position which is not needed for the meaning the author wants.

That's the best I can offer, but still, I'd appreciate it if you tried to reserve using the expression passive for times which fit its accepted definition.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Can anyone give me an example or two of 'go' being used transitively?

I go poo-poo, Daddy? 'D

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I'm very dubious.

The dictionaries I've consulted reckon that's a verbal phrase, with 'let' being the verb. Also I'm not convinced that a noun preceded by 'to', 'by', 'with', 'of' etc is a direct object.

In that case:

I could go for a Coke.

I went to the movies. (?)

But you're right. That's about all I can think of. It seems that "go" is a special use (for transitive uses), as "went" or "goes" are used instead in most instances.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Told you I suck at grammar. How about:

Go away.

Or:

Go fuck yourself!

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

If I had to nominate a term it would be 'distancing verbs'.

I like the 'distancing verbs' (or phrases) as that describes what I'm specifically trying to avoid, things that remove the reader from what's happening in the story. I think that term came up in our previous discussions too.

Ernest Bywater

All this talk about how you use the word go has me wondering if you should all just go go-go dancing as it may be more productive.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I could go for a Coke.
I went to the movies. (?)

I think the first of those is transitive with 'Coke' being the direct object of 'go'.
I think the second is intransitive and 'to the movies' is just an adverbial phrase.

I go poo-poo, Daddy? 'D

That looks transitive to me - but what is your version of that sentence in the passive voice? :-)

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Go away.


Isn't 'away' an adverb?

Still, you might be on the right track. I was thinking of eg 'Turn left then go a mile.'

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

dictionary.com lists some transitive senses at meanings 39 to 45.


I agree with a couple of them, but the others are things I wouldn't expect to encounter in British English.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I go poo-poo, Daddy? 'D


I poo-poo that suggestion because poo-poo is a verb ;)

AJ

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I could go for a Coke.

I went to the movies.


I'm afraid I don't agree with either of those - neither 'movies' nor 'Coke' seem to be direct objects.

AJ

sejintenej

@awnlee jawking

Still, you might be on the right track. I was thinking of eg 'Turn left then go a mile.'

Now we get a regional difference even as close as about 40 miles.
In that phrase as written I would insert "for" before "a mile".
I can't explain it but if the sentence continued with (as examples)"down the lane" or "before the road forks and go right" then, because of the suffix, I would not insert the word "for".

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

I can't explain it but if the sentence continued with (as examples)"down the lane" or "before the road forks and go right" then, because of the suffix, I would not insert the word "for".


Yes, I regret truncating my example - "Turn left and go a mile then immediately after the windmill you'll come to a field where a herd of pink elephants are fucking Donald Trump's arse."

Another suggestion: "If you go a mile in my shoes, you can call be whatever you want because I'll be shoeless and unable to catch up with you."

I also wondered whether "From the top of Dickhead Tor go North" would qualify.

We need an expert grammarian :(

AJ

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