We saw this angry certainty play out in Congress: Only one member, Barbara Lee, a Democratic representative from California, voted against the authorization to use military force against terrorists in the wake of the attack. Americans are angry , and many of them want a brusque, brash leader who will hold the bad guys accountable. According to Lerner, anger can be beneficial during the primaries. It brought people to the table. But when it comes to actually electing someone, anger confuses more than it helps. Anger simplifies our thinking. People switch to rules of thumb— ban all the Muslims!
Several studies have shown that people who were in a positive mood put more faith in the length of a message, rather than its quality, or in the attractiveness or likability of the source. Under certain circumstances, sadness can be good, since it fosters systematic thought. A study by Lerner and others found that people who felt sad accepted up to 34 percent less money in order to get paid now, rather than three months from now. There appears to be no mood that would put you in the perfect frame of mind for, well, making up your mind.
First, you could make yourself wait to react—though this can be hard when you have the perfect email retort burning through your drafts folder.
Some acronyms are pronounced as a word, though. Oakland as what? I also think that blogging in particular is a forgiving medium and can be more casual. I just did it in the above paragraph. Brian made this point in one of those articles I linked to… the first, I think.
It sounds weird to me, but so do a lot of these the first time I hear them. After an adjective we use adverbs with a few exceptions some of which are the verb to be, get, feel etc. If the sentence were ha! Would you say:. It, along with canned laughter, should die. Good post. Thanks for the tips. Marc — I actually had a bit in here about that but removed it because it was going off topic. You might want to chalk it up to regional pronunciations. My Texan grandparents did that a lot. If badly modifies feel then it seems to imply you have problems emoting. And regardless of strict correctness which is sometimes very often in the eye of the beholder , usage generally wins out in the end.
That said, generally speaking, here in the US people generally seem use adjectives instead of adverbs. I smell well means I have a good sniffer. Preach it! Great info, but I have to take issue with the subjunctive point. Good lord, those last two lines sound insane when I read them back in my head. I am fishing. I will be fishing. Marc, not correct. Great post. Thank you for pointing out the subtlety of using articles.
Choice, Chance & Circumstance
Another easy way to improve grammar naturally is to read classic literature or just books in general. The more you read a certain language being used correctly, the more likely you will use it correctly as well. At least, this is my experience. But when I write for one magazine client in particular, they always change that to the following on editing:.
I try to avoid it or alternate. Interestingly, I was reading the blogs of several noted professional copyeditors earlier this week, and two items struck me:. Keep in mind, language at least, English is a living language, and to try to proscribe any changes is a losing proposition. Phil — I set a trap for anyone who disagreed with me. It just feels sloppy to me. An Historical post! I were going to write about this, but you literally took it right out from under me!
So now Tom, Darren, and myself will have to come up with something totally better! Lack of the serial comma makes me nuts in AP style. Like you, I much prefer it for clarity. It drives me crazy to see bad grammar in blogs — I know I do it too, but it still drives me nuts! Marc — You guys put mayonnaise on French fries. Now THAT makes you sound like a chimp! In that way they would understand how so many of us are offended when writers use adjectives instead of adverbs. Very well done. Everyone needs this. I am not a huge stickler for grammar but reading poor grammar reduces the impact of any article.
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I think I will have…chocolate ice cream! For example, correct use of commas around clauses always results in the comma-surrounded clause being able to be removed from the sentence with the sentence still having valid structure. Check out this one…. It is a preposition! Its only for loosers. Johnny- Hooray! For years, I learned that you keep it, until I got to college and took a bunch of journalism classes. It most certainly is the AP that marks out the final comma of a list, but only in certain situations.
Those poor punctuation marks are so abused. We should get together and talk about that mad affiliate cash you just sent me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Or at least, sigh loudly. He makes a good point. I love it when you figure out that something is correct, and so you use it correctly.
5 Grammar Mistakes that Make You Sound Like a Chimp
I hate that. Very useful article. I share your thoughts on literally. The word is getting rapped in The Netherlands as well. I probably do a Britney myself now and then. Everyone needs to have these rules burned into their brains. I recently saw a preview of a new gardening magazine. It had beautiful images, creative layout and fonts, and mistakes.
Score one for everyone who actually notices these things. This article was great. Enjoy, and please me any really egregious ones you guys see! I did Johnny. You could have tied your old picture in with a new one for this article ; a picture with you and your twitter nuts running from the hall monitor. Most everyone realizes their mistake and we have a good laugh. Is perfectly ok to write. I love being a grammar nitpicker, but I also love breaking the rules for the sake of vernacular style. You might consider not being an annoying spoilsport.
Paul oratorio. Not sure why. Obviously, if you could care less, then you care. Very elegantly done. As one poster noted, 2 about the plural they is incorrect. I have been hearing this quite a bit lately.
Regarding 2: This is also on our list of most common grammatical errors. Our advice to clients and students is as follows: if you are referring to people in general, not to a specific person, make the subject plural. In English, there are some situations where the a very strict interpretation of the rules results in MORE confusion, not less. Copyblogger covered some situations a while back where you can and should bend the rules, because the confusion it would otherwise cause is greater. Their examples, with which I agree completely, are:. Anyway — thanks for the grammar talk.
You can always count on your grammar geeks to jump in on something like this, J. Two strippers were all over ME. You can never say two strippers were all over I; thus you can never say two strippers were all over Jim and I. I, myself, believe that if I were to spend an hour or two thinking of all the grammatical pet peeves that I have, the list would be practically endless. Your comparisons with monosyllabic words are irrelevant. Wells F. Scott Fitzgerald Edith Wharton W. Auden George Orwell C. Ken, I disagree on the milk. It comes in half-gallon containers.
I came here to say exactly what Laroquod and others said. English is a constantly evolving language. The rules do change over time. Oh, and thank you Russ for the note about unaccented first syllables. Just saying. Nothing will kill your copy quicker than trying to always follow the rules here. The problem with these sorts of rules is that almost none of us is capable of writing perfectly all the time.
But too many people are language snobs who dredge up the same few rules too many of which are based on an extremely shaky understanding of the language to look down their noses at others. Your five explanations were great. However, I like to think of myself as more of an orangutan than a chimp. Umm, what? We mean men and women. Using the man as the universal gender produces shorter sentences and maintains historical continuity. I hope they are friendly.
Historical continuity is important on many levels, let us not forget. May I ask what your statement is based on? Is this something you believe to have encountered, or something you read was true? Just curious. Are you sure you want to agree with the language geeks at the NYTimes who posted this recent On Language column? Others have pointed out that lots of people use they I use it myself, but this is definitive evidence that your point 2 is actually wrong. DISagree, not agree.
Edit my comment if you like, post this one as well, whichever you prefer. I see some previous comment posters made that same mistake. I agree that each of these points are irritating. I get so annoyed with people that my blood pressure rises! But still. Awesome post, Johnny. Notice how the meaning of the statement changes with each relocation of the word. Now he knows it bothers me so much, he does it just to play up.
All are absolutely correct of course, excepting the last one. Whilst you are technically correct, it is extremely pedantic! Too further correct you, practically would have the same implication in the stated sentence if one follows the same pedantic rules. Thank you for reviewing these common grammar mistakes.
Now someone will come around and offer to help me evolve. Ok, to review…. I live and work at home, so, if I were at work, I would also be was at work. Does that work?
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I blog in English, which is my second language, and have a fear of making stupid mistakes which I never make in my first language. Any tips and wisdom, like in this post, helps. John, Jim, Jack and Jill were suppose to get equal shares of an estate. And yet this article — like so many articles on prescriptivist grammar — sounds like it was written by someone with a very poor understanding of linguistics and not a very good understanding of grammar, either.
Language change. Marking for the subjunctive has been on the way out for some time. I myself think you the author literally knew what they was doing when they wrote such An historic article about grammar. Wow, Brian, you caught a typo! You can pat yourself on the back now! Haha, yes to all of the above…yes to them making you sound like a chimp, not to actually committing these grammar violations.
Somehow people think they are interchangeable when one is a comparison and one references the passing of time. That one drives me bananas. Are you Meg? Sorry to break the news. Let the language grow! In other words, there should be no ambiguity. Too often, lack of thought about even small issues can result in clouded meanings and ambiguity. One other strange thing … most of the things that make me seethe when the language gets mangled like this are things that I can work out in much the same way that as they are in the examples given here.
Sorry, I thought this was a comment box, not a canvas. I left my oil paints at home. But no worries! But yes, that was me, Meg who lists no website, but mostly because I was being lazy tonight, as well as perhaps uncharacteristically sarcastic. What can I say, prescriptivism makes me cranky. Still… sore spot. I was not looking for typos in this article.
You said cawtcha instead of caught you! I really enjoyed reading this article.
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Glad I know better! I can think of a lot more, including commonly misspelled words, so you may have just inspired me to write my own blog post on the fine arts of a grammar freak. Great job! Parsons, and myself. Uh uh…. I forgot how much fun this could be. But, the discussions above about sometimes yes, sometimes no make the most sense.
I tell graduate students now that that last comma is a matter of taste, but I still use it. Nobody is perfect.
Might try taking your own advice, Diane! Grammar posts are comment magnets every time. Either will distract the reader and muddy your efforts to clearly communicate your ideas. If I were — something that is never going to happen. If I was — something that could happen. For example:. Great piece. One that always trips me up is the use of adverbs. Probably yes, but it can lead to some cumbersome sentences.
Regardless, good to see there are at least others on this blog who also suffer a language pedantry affliction. Will we ever recover? I just did a little research, which I should have done before asking my question! I found this stated in several websites. In there was a push for gender neutral pronouns worldwide, not just in America and the other countries mentioned above. Then in the 19th Century the tide turned again. It was started by a feministed school teacher.
Sometimes a gender is evident and then the appropriate pronoun is used. Now why did I take the time to go into the information above? I wanted to make a few points. So you can understand, most likely, why people are still using it at the present, even though it is considered incorrect by many grammarians. Finally, I wanted to say that finding a good solution for a universal pronoun is difficult for many. I find the invented pronouns just plain goofy! Take the article with a grain of salt. The only rule is that the rules will change over time… so to speak.
This is but a snapshot of a language in motion, and with English spoken all over the world, cannot be accurate in every context. We no longer use the same English language that we used in the 10th century, or the 16th century. If someone is obsessive over using perfectly correct grammar, it could actually HINDER them from communicating effectively. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how popular these grammar discussions are.
Reading the comments here has led me to ask about one other aggravation though this comes from my punctuation wench, not from from grammar wench , and it is this: when did it become acceptable for people to cease using question marks when asking a question? What is that about? This distresses me. Cheers, all!
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Whilst in confession mode, I also split my infinitives if I think it makes a sentence read better and I regularly abuse dashes and points of elipsis. Why do English teachers in school find it very difficult to teach the subjunctive mood of the verb to their students? Yet you explained it very well and made it so easy to understand! Great write-up! I, too, am obsessed in finding grammatical errors on blogs though, of course, at times, I make mistakes, too. Stephen R. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
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