STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

we don't know but perhaps a fellow anorak will - ask them here
User avatar
crystalball
Posts: 5197
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:04 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/felters
Location: That London
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by crystalball » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:03 pm

Dammit.

That goes to show: don't listen to me, I'm foreign.

alongwalkhome

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by alongwalkhome » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:09 pm

No. The phone book did whatever it damned well pleased. I'm sure you're right! And I think I remember "buzzings" in one of my editing classes that I fell asleep in that they don't do that anymore (separate out the M(a)cs) from the other "Ms" (Racist!)

User avatar
grumpytimes
Posts: 429
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:14 am
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/chrishafa
Location: Auckland
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by grumpytimes » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:55 am

I guess the advantage of treating M(a)c as it's own letter is that you don't have to decide whether you're treating Mac as Mc, or Mc as Mac.

User avatar
Mr Bear
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:48 am
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/cold_discovery
Location: Here and there

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by Mr Bear » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:44 am

It's a strange one. I don't think it reads too badly in English, but I do recall being told in French classes at university that while it's something that one can use, it's just a bit unwieldy and, where possible, more direct language should be used.

User avatar
Mr Bear
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:48 am
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/cold_discovery
Location: Here and there

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by Mr Bear » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:50 am

But to answer your question, the only way it might make something harder to read is that it swaps the subject and direct object positions in a sentence...and I guess it uses more words than are needed to get the point of a sentence across, but those are pretty tenuous arguments against it if you ask me.

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10540
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by humblebee » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:54 am

gloom button wrote:This isn't an emergency or anything, but at work I always see people objecting to the passive voice. Why the obsession with putting everything in active voice, anyway? It doesn't make things that much harder to read really, does it? Or does it?
Not so much harder to read, but less accessible and friendly. At best it sounds very formal in a way that very few contexts really demand. At worst it can sound really pompous. Also, because it removes the subject from the verb, it can sound shifty and untrustworthy, like a politician or a big company trying to dodge their culpability for some cock-up: "mistakes were made" rather than "we made mistakes".

User avatar
Mr Bear
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:48 am
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/cold_discovery
Location: Here and there

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by Mr Bear » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:14 am

gloom button wrote:I suppose it's just the idea that no sentence should ever be written in passive voice, regardless of context, that bothers me.
I agree with you on this. My view* on these things is that if it's a valid grammatical device then there will always be a context where its use is appropriate.

*broad, all-encompassing statement from which I, when I think about it shortly, will probably find numerous exceptions.

User avatar
lynsosaurus
Posts: 3469
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:13 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: Auld Reekie
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by lynsosaurus » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:24 am

i remember being taught at school that it was absolutely essential to write up scientific methodology in the passive voice, but even in that situation it seems to be increasingly common to write in the active voice.

alongwalkhome

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by alongwalkhome » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:59 pm

gloom button wrote:This isn't an emergency or anything, but at work I always see people objecting to the passive voice. Why the obsession with putting everything in active voice, anyway? It doesn't make things that much harder to read really, does it? Or does it?
I agree entirely. The editor's insisting I "fix" it does my head in. I think it's cuz they're all aggressive MBAs. Like, "passive voice is for pussies" or some shit. If all their precious business guru authors (making 3 x their salary) are writing in it, what's the problem?

This should maybe just go in the "I hate work" thread.

User avatar
Gordon
Posts: 5340
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/GreenGordon
Location: King's Landing
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by Gordon » Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:44 pm

I'm confused, wikipedia says Seònaid is pronounced ˈʃɔːnɛdʒ which (and I have no knowledge of IPA) from wikipedia's help files looks like it should be something like shonnedge. But it's actually Shona? Do I not understand IPA even more than I think I don't understand it?
Toot toot.

SophieC
Posts: 3978
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:36 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/jamiec
Location: bumtown

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by SophieC » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:09 pm

yo.

as regular readers of my posts will know, i know next to nothing about grammar. frankly comma placement is effete wankery and semi-colons nowt but a bourgeois affectation.

however even i reckon the below is a bit shonky. it's from a standard letter i send out to people who send me stuff but decide not to pay for it? is it clunky, archaic and/or just plain wrong? it's by the woman at work who tells me to double space everything after a full stop because she holds what she was taught at secretarial college in 1974 as gospel.
I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of your Cover Schedule Declaration however, I note that your cheque was not included. I therefore, look forward to receiving your remittance in due course.

In the meantime, should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards

what do you reckon boffins?
When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'the People's Stick.'

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10540
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by humblebee » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:11 pm

JamieC wrote:however even i reckon the below is a bit shonky. it's from a standard letter i send out to people who send me stuff but decide not to pay for it? is it clunky, archaic and/or just plain wrong? it's by the woman at work who tells me to double space everything after a full stop because she holds what she was taught at secretarial college in 1974 as gospel.

what do you reckon boffins?
Yeah, that opening bit is punctuated wrongly. It ought to read like this:
I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of your Cover Schedule Declaration. However, I note that your cheque was not included. I therefore look forward to receiving your remittance in due course.

SophieC
Posts: 3978
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:36 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/jamiec
Location: bumtown

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by SophieC » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:23 pm

humblebee wrote:
JamieC wrote:however even i reckon the below is a bit shonky. it's from a standard letter i send out to people who send me stuff but decide not to pay for it? is it clunky, archaic and/or just plain wrong? it's by the woman at work who tells me to double space everything after a full stop because she holds what she was taught at secretarial college in 1974 as gospel.

what do you reckon boffins?
Yeah, that opening bit is punctuated wrongly. It ought to read like this:
I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of your Cover Schedule Declaration. However, I note that your cheque was not included. I therefore look forward to receiving your remittance in due course.

cheers. yeah, that's exactly how i would have written it. trouble is she punctuates everything with wild and random comma placement and takes personal offence if you correct them. she's my boss and as she points out has been doing her job for 90 years; so she should know how to write. sigh. then at the same time she is an absolute stickler for the absolute correctness of everthing going to be seen by a client. she brings me back a big pile of work each day that she has corrected and decided needs to be rewritten and reprinted to include a random apostrophe and a random change of synonym. pfffffffffft.
When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'the People's Stick.'

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10540
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by humblebee » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:46 pm

JamieC wrote:cheers. yeah, that's exactly how i would have written it. trouble is she punctuates everything with wild and random comma placement and takes personal offence if you correct them.
The worst part of my job is when I submit an often extensive list of painstakingly spotted and lovingly compiled amends and they get chucked straight in the bin because somebody might take personal offence. I mean, really, what the fuck? It's like going out to a restaurant to enjoy fine cuisine prepared by an experienced professional chef and then sending back the food in shame and disgust because it's better than you could have made at home.

I don't know why people take it personally. It's not like, when I change a splice comma to a semicolon, I write "you massive spacker" underneath it. Well, not all the time.

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03 am
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by JohaN » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:51 pm

i suppose you grauniad readers all saw this (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/23/mediamonkey" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;):
giles coren wrote: Chaps,

I am mightily pissed off. I have addressed this to Owen, Amanda and Ben because I don't know who i am supposed to be pissed off with (i'm assuming owen, but i filed to amanda and ben so it's only fair), and also to Tony, who wasn't here - if he had been I'm guessing it wouldn't have happened.

I don't really like people tinkering with my copy for the sake of tinkering. I do not enjoy the suggestion that you have a better ear or eye for how I want my words to read than I do. Owen, we discussed your turning three of my long sentences into six short ones in a single piece, and how that wasn't going to happen anymore, so I'm really hoping it wasn't you that fucked up my review on saturday.

It was the final sentence. Final sentences are very, very important. A piece builds to them, they are the little jingle that the reader takes with him into the weekend.

I wrote: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh."

It appeared as: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh."

There is no length issue. This is someone thinking "I'll just remove this indefinite article because Coren is an illiterate cunt and i know best".

Well, you fucking don't.
This was shit, shit sub-editing for three reasons.
1) 'Nosh', as I'm sure you fluent Yiddish speakers know, is a noun formed from a bastardisation of the German 'naschen'. It is a verb, and can be construed into two distinct nouns. One, 'nosh', means simply 'food'. You have decided that this is what i meant and removed the 'a'. I am insulted enough that you think you have a better ear for English than me. But a better ear for Yiddish? I doubt it. Because the other noun, 'nosh' means "a session of eating" - in this sense you might think of its dual valency as being similar to that of 'scoff'. you can go for a scoff. or you can buy some scoff. the sentence you left me with is shit, and is not what i meant. Why would you change a sentnece aso that it meant something i didn't mean? I don't know, but you risk doing it every time you change something. And the way you avoid this kind of fuck up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it's easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.

2) I will now explain why your error is even more shit than it looks. You see, i was making a joke. I do that sometimes. I have set up the street as "sexually-charged". I have described the shenanigans across the road at G.A.Y.. I have used the word 'gaily' as a gentle nudge. And "looking for a nosh" has a secondary meaning of looking for a blowjob. Not specifically gay, for this is soho, and there are plenty of girls there who take money for noshing boys. "looking for nosh" does not have that ambiguity. the joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you've fucking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking jesus looks shit with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, fucking christ, don't you read the copy?

3) And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed 'a' so that the stress that should have fallen on "nosh" is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you're winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can't you hear? Can't you hear that it is wrong? It's not fucking rocket science. It's fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

I am sorry if this looks petty (last time i mailed a Times sub about the change of a single word i got in all sorts of trouble) but i care deeply about my work and i hate to have it fucked up by shit subbing. I have been away, you've been subbing joe and hugo and maybe they just file and fuck off and think "hey ho, it's tomorrow's fish and chips" - well, not me. I woke up at three in the morning on sunday and fucking lay there, furious, for two hours. weird, maybe. but that's how it is.

It strips me of all confidence in writing for the magazine. No exaggeration. i've got a review to write this morning and i really don't feel like doing it, for fear that some nuance is going to be removed from the final line, the pay-off, and i'm going to have another weekend ruined for me.

I've been writing for The Times for 15 years and i have never asked this before - i have never asked it of anyone i have written for - but I must insist, from now on, that i am sent a proof of every review i do, in pdf format, so i can check it for fuck-ups. and i must be sent it in good time in case changes are needed. It is the only way i can carry on in the job.

And, just out of interest, I'd like whoever made that change to email me and tell me why. Tell me the exact reasoning which led you to remove that word from my copy.

Right,
Sorry to go on. Anger, real steaming fucking anger can make a man verbose.
All the best
Giles
most of me thinks he's an utter wanker... and then there's the tiny little bit that says "good on you"...
1 wasn't for the money
2 wasn't for the show
3 is GO! GO! GO!

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10540
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by humblebee » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:57 pm

Yeah, that's the third time it's been posted on Anorak!

He is kind of overreacting, but you've got to admire his style.

User avatar
Gordon
Posts: 5340
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/GreenGordon
Location: King's Landing
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by Gordon » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:58 pm

Can I get any help on the IPA query?
Toot toot.

User avatar
JohaN
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03 am
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/
Location: adamastor's adam's apple

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by JohaN » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:09 pm

humblebee wrote:Yeah, that's the third time it's been posted on Anorak!

He is kind of overreacting, but you've got to admire his style.
woops! that's what comes from being a "sunday anorak", as it were, i guess
1 wasn't for the money
2 wasn't for the show
3 is GO! GO! GO!

User avatar
humblebee
Posts: 10540
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/atomicbeatboy
Location: Sheffields
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by humblebee » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:31 pm

Gordon wrote:Can I get any help on the IPA query?
Sorry - the only IPA I know anything about is the kind you drink.

User avatar
Gordon
Posts: 5340
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:33 pm
Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/user/GreenGordon
Location: King's Landing
Contact:

Re: STET this STAT: a grammar emergency thread!

Post by Gordon » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:30 pm

humblebee wrote:
Gordon wrote:Can I get any help on the IPA query?
Sorry - the only IPA I know anything about is the kind you drink.
/ˈɪndiə/ /peɪɫ/ /ˈeɪ.l̩/ according to wiktionary...
Toot toot.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests