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Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#321 Postby Dave B » January 14th, 2015, 10:52 am

Latest post of the previous page:

As usual the matter is not always clear - even in Fowler! My edition says something that makes me think there is a cause for animist's argument but it still feels dodgy to me, I don't think the two parts of the sentence are "separate" enough.

My own practice is to use commas before "and" and "but" v-e-r-y carefully. As my Eng. Lang. instructor said, "If it works without the comma it almost certainly does not need it." I still like the - dash for dramatic pause.
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Tetenterre
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#322 Postby Tetenterre » January 14th, 2015, 2:50 pm

Dave B wrote:As my Eng. Lang. instructor said, "If it works without the comma it almost certainly does not need it." I still like the - dash for dramatic pause.
Mine said something along the lines of: "The rules of grammar are there to be obeyed, unless breaking them removes ambiguity or avoids a really clumsy sentence construction."
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#323 Postby Dave B » January 14th, 2015, 3:14 pm

Tetenterre wrote:
Dave B wrote:As my Eng. Lang. instructor said, "If it works without the comma it almost certainly does not need it." I still like the - dash for dramatic pause.
Mine said something along the lines of: "The rules of grammar are there to be obeyed, unless breaking them removes ambiguity or avoids a really clumsy sentence construction."
I can't argue with that!

In the first lesson we were asked to define a sentence; "Mustn't start with 'And' or 'But' ", "Must contain a verb," . . . It came down to, "A collection of words that convey intelligence." Bugger, the rules, if you understand exactly what is being said the words have done their job!

But I still get annoyed with superfluous commas - just put it down to being an apidae in my bowler.
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thundril
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#324 Postby thundril » January 14th, 2015, 3:34 pm

In the sentence 'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand and Andy Kershaw recalls Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush' should there be commas between Brand and and and and and Andy?

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Alan H
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#325 Postby Alan H » January 14th, 2015, 4:06 pm

thundril wrote:In the sentence 'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand and Andy Kershaw recalls Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush' should there be commas between Brand and and and and and Andy?

Reminds me of Primary School. Teacher gave this example:

The butcher complained to the sign writer that there was too big a space between Jones and and and and and Son.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#326 Postby Dave B » January 14th, 2015, 4:08 pm

thundril wrote:In the sentence 'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand and Andy Kershaw recalls Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush' should there be commas between Brand and and and and and Andy?
I don't think so, it's a short list of two discrete items and the "and" connects them into a "set".

A short list, say, "Food and wine" would not be written, "Food, and, wine" methinks.

[Or are you just winding us up :D ]
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thundril
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#327 Postby thundril » January 14th, 2015, 4:12 pm

'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand, and, Andy Kershaw recalls, Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush.'
Clearer?

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Altfish
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#328 Postby Altfish » January 14th, 2015, 4:14 pm

thundril wrote:'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand, and, Andy Kershaw recalls, Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush.'
Clearer?

I prefer...

'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand and, Andy Kershaw recalls, Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush.'

I'm not a fan of the Oxford Comma

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#329 Postby Dave B » January 14th, 2015, 4:29 pm

Altfish wrote:
thundril wrote:'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand, and, Andy Kershaw recalls, Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush.'
Clearer?

I prefer...

'Owen Jones interviewed Russell Brand and, Andy Kershaw recalls, Jon Snow interviewed Kate Bush.'

I'm not a fan of the Oxford Comma
That makes it more "conversational" - appropriate to the link man's script maybe! Though, "... "as Andy Kershaw recalls. The first interview is direct, the second is a recollection - maybe anecdotal.

And I am getting far too fussy! :laughter:
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Tetenterre
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#330 Postby Tetenterre » January 15th, 2015, 10:19 am

An old one, thrown to us by our English teacher 50 years ago. Apply punctuation:

John where James had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.
Steve

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animist
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#331 Postby animist » January 15th, 2015, 10:34 am

Dave B wrote:But I still get annoyed with superfluous commas - just put it down to being an apidae in my bowler.

my bees tell me the opposite, and I have noticed very many sentences which are ambiguous because of missing commas. Of course I can't bring any to mind, but from now I will try to note them, as I see them, in this thread. I was renowned/notorious in a report-editing job years ago for adding commas to the original text, and in another job I almost came to blows with a woman who would actually write long sentences comprising lists of clauses which were punctuated by semicolons - semicolons, mark you, not commas - and then, between the penultimate and ultimate clauses, refused to put in any punctuation at all. Her reason was that her parents, both academics apparently, had told her that one must never put a comma between the penultimate and ultimate parts of a list, and she slavishly followed this, extending the execrable advice to semicolons as well! So I have contempt for most guidance on commas, including that of Fowler. Please try to imagine that you are SPEAKING these sentences, not just reading them silently. If you notice that you need to pause in order to communicate the sense as well as you can, then I argue that, in writing, this means that commas - or even semicolons - are required

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#332 Postby Dave B » January 15th, 2015, 11:29 am

animist wrote:
Dave B wrote:But I still get annoyed with superfluous commas - just put it down to being an apidae in my bowler.

my bees tell me the opposite, and I have noticed very many sentences which are ambiguous because of missing commas. Of course I can't bring any to mind, but from now I will try to note them, as I see them, in this thread. I was renowned/notorious in a report-editing job years ago for adding commas to the original text, and in another job I almost came to blows with a woman who would actually write long sentences comprising lists of clauses which were punctuated by semicolons - semicolons, mark you, not commas - and then, between the penultimate and ultimate clauses, refused to put in any punctuation at all. Her reason was that her parents, both academics apparently, had told her that one must never put a comma between the penultimate and ultimate parts of a list, and she slavishly followed this, extending the execrable advice to semicolons as well! So I have contempt for most guidance on commas, including that of Fowler. Please try to imagine that you are SPEAKING these sentences, not just reading them silently. If you notice that you need to pause in order to communicate the sense as well as you can, then I argue that, in writing, this means that commas - or even semicolons - are required
Yes, agreed, there are often cases of missing commas that change the meaning/context of the sentence.

That business about the semi-colons seems a bit wacky!

When I used to write reports on research projects the suddenly employed a "technical editor/proof reader". She lasted less than six months because she, though technical, she was not "scientific" and kept making grammatical changes that altered the context of the results! In the end everyone refused to allow her to check their work (we always cross checked each others' anyway) because it usually meant having to reverse everything she did.

This was before the days of PCs and we had to hand-write everything with a carbon copy which a typist then transcribed, passed back to us, was corrected by us as necessary and a proof copy typed ready for printing - then they slotted this person in and it all took twice as long or more.!
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animist
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#333 Postby animist » January 16th, 2015, 10:05 am

Dave B wrote:That business about the semi-colons seems a bit wacky!

semi-colons are, like commas, vital in writing complex reports, especially when the text is a listing of "things" which are rather more complicated and therefore lengthy than apples and pears: this is why Fowler is useless here. My colleague was dead right to use them because, if she had relied on commas only, that itself would have been ambiguous; and, within a clause marked off by semi-colons from other complex clauses, commas come into their proper use, which is to mark off lower levels of meaning. But, as I say, she ended up writing gibberish because there was no punctuation at all between penultimate and ultimate clauses!

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animist
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#334 Postby animist » January 17th, 2015, 2:05 pm

Tetenterre wrote:An old one, thrown to us by our English teacher 50 years ago. Apply punctuation:

John where James had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.
kindly put me out my misery!

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Tetenterre
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#335 Postby Tetenterre » January 17th, 2015, 2:57 pm

animist wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:An old one, thrown to us by our English teacher 50 years ago. Apply punctuation:

John where James had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.
kindly put me out my misery!

John, where James had had 'had', had had 'had had'; 'had had' had had the teacher's approval.

Or something... :wink:
Steve

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#336 Postby Dave B » January 17th, 2015, 3:06 pm

Tetenterre wrote:
animist wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:An old one, thrown to us by our English teacher 50 years ago. Apply punctuation:

John where James had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.
kindly put me out my misery!

John, where James had had 'had', had had 'had had'; 'had had' had had the teacher's approval.

Or something... :wink:
Seems to work - I like it!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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animist
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#337 Postby animist » January 19th, 2015, 2:28 pm

Tetenterre wrote:
animist wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:An old one, thrown to us by our English teacher 50 years ago. Apply punctuation:

John where James had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.
kindly put me out my misery!

John, where James had had 'had', had had 'had had'; 'had had' had had the teacher's approval.

Or something... :wink:
brilliant! Not that this is funny but it reminds me of the Hertfordshire village of Much Hadham!

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#338 Postby Dave B » January 19th, 2015, 2:42 pm

I once saw a poems about the "hams", can't remember it now but it had immortal lines like,

"You Fetchham, I'll Cookham . . . "
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Alan H
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#339 Postby Alan H » February 4th, 2015, 10:46 pm

2015-02-04_22h42_51.png
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Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#340 Postby jaywhat » February 5th, 2015, 9:07 am

:laughter:

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Dave B
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Re: Grammer and phrases wot is irritating

#341 Postby Dave B » February 5th, 2015, 9:57 am

Good one, Alan.

Reading things without checking on how they are pronounced can leads to problems as well. In a story there was a character called the "Polemarch".

What on earth is a "Pole-march"?

Then something clicked in my mind and as "Polem-arch", "war chief", it all made sense!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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