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    Poor English that makes you cringe

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    Harklight


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    Join date : 2010-10-13

    default Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Harklight on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:21 pm

    How important are good grammar, punctuation and spelling in today's writing?

    It makes me cringe to read careless errors in newspaper and magazine articles.
    Teachers can't properly teach English to our children when they don't know.
    Abbreviated text and IM-style language are invading our written communications.
    While most PC Word programs provide automatic spell-check and grammar checks,
    English use is still appallingly bad.
    Can we stop and reverse the trend or must we accept uninformed, lazy writing.

    Should we take a stance in poetry? Do you think we can make a difference?
    My teeth grit when poets reverse their phrases, simply to add rhymed words.
    When reading a poem, I wish the poet use good grammar: to show where their
    pauses and breaks fit.
    Correct spelling makes all the difference between a well-written, understandable
    write and one that is clumsy and/or misinterpreted.

    What are your thoughts?
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    Jamie


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Jamie on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:14 pm

    Well, I supposed I'm guilty of reversing phrases for poetic effect, but I think that works sometimes. Not knowing the difference between homonyms is probably my biggest pet peeve. To/too, your/you're, its/it's, lose/loose (that one really bugs me). Of course, poor punctuation and anything that interferes with the flow of writing makes all the difference in the reader's understanding as well.

    Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss (I think that's her name) is a fantastic resource that not only explains the proper use of punctuation, but the feel behind its development. One point that she makes well is that it's okay to not be a slave to the rules of grammar, but in order to break them with good effect, you must know them first.

    Lastly, even online--and perhaps this is a mark of my age--I can't stand when people say they're writing, and revert to IM/Texting abbreviations. "This isn't a classromm" is a phrase I've read several times. Well, that may be, but if I can't understand what you're saying, what good is it that you bothered typing anything at all? OMG that bugs me. lol
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    Harklight


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Harklight on Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:17 am

    "Sometimes" is okay but not so often that they obviously force rhymed stanzas, especially through an entire poem. I'd rather read free-style writing than a poorly constructed, rhymed piece.

    Homonyms are greatly misused: they're just one failing in education that is easily overcome with experience. Understanding any language's peculiarities is part of mastering it.
    Few people need to know every English nuance and yet, if they write words, they should know exactly what they're saying.
    Lol, "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" should be compulsory reading ... and learning. I laughed the first time I read that book's title. Her points are valid.

    IM-type abbreviations have a modern place: it just isn't in poetry or literature. I don't believe it's a matter of the writer's age. I use it for quick messages. My daughter and mother also do. Literature readers shouldn't need to translate text into more familiar words. Young or older, we all should aim to reach the widest audience.
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    Armchair Queen


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Armchair Queen on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:39 pm

    So when does poetic licence stop and correct use of english begin?
    I must admit to really stretching the meaning of words and reversing the normal syntax
    in poetry just for effect.
    Armchair Queen
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    Harklight


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Harklight on Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:39 pm

    I doubt that your question has a definitive answer.
    Poetic license is personal choice to suit the writer's needs and/or their readers.

    Correct English is relatively constant. Over many years, words that are not current, or
    have different meanings from Elizabethan and biblical times, fade into disuse.
    These are practical evolutions, for eg: wood meant mad, owe (own), sad (serious).
    Some remain for archaic reasons, like single use in a lingering phrase or proverb but,
    in themselves, have no current life or growth capaciity.
    Scientific and technological words are exceptions: many become current but can
    quickly lose relevance, industry favor or be replaced.


    Basically, we can apply poetic license once we know correct language rules and syntax.
    Stretching a word's meaning is fine if it still makes "current sense" and doesn't
    disrupt flow. Many words fit several parts of sentence structure, for eg, "shimmer"
    is a noun and verb intransitive; "vermilion" is an adjective, verb and noun,
    while "direct" is an adjective, adverb, verb transitive and verb intransitive.
    It's little wonder that English is considered one of the most difficult second languages.

    While I rarely alter syntax deliberately, occasionally one slips in and seems to "fit".
    As mentioned, "too many" syntax changes in any piece are not usually for good reason
    or for effect and indicate inconsistent teaching, leading to incomplete expertise.
    Many writers increase their knowledge and skills by posting on internet sites,
    like here, at Writers Playground.

    Writers Playground endeavors to assist any writer enhance their skills by providing
    moderate comments or "serious critique" for work posted here.
    Please feel free to contribute and critique our member's work.
    Regards, H x


    Last edited by Harklight on Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Armchair Queen


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Armchair Queen on Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:17 am

    My nature is to play devils advocate, I agree that you must know the rules before
    altering syntax etc. Poetry seems to allow a bit more freedom than prose.
    Armchair Queen
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    Myth


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Myth on Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:47 pm

    I never completed school. I was raised by a woman with 5 children working 3 jobs. At 13 I dropped out of school and went to work full time to help out, and never went back.
    However, it has always been my goal to use proper punctuation. Sometimes I fail, but always make the effort. I am also fanatical about my spelling. I think if one chooses to share with others,their mistakes are(whether rightly so or not)an indication of their intelligence and commitment.
    Upon occasion grammatical imperfection can add to the content of a write if it is obvious that was the intent. Alternate spellings or intentional mis-use of words to indicate a person's regional dialect or accent, or to reflect the character of the person in the write does not offend me at all.
    I understand that some people out there have a lot to say, and may not know the "proper" way to do so. I truly commend their efforts to share, even if done so poorly. I would hope that we as a community can find a way to help them grow, without dousing their desire to write.
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    Jamie


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Jamie on Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:13 pm

    Myth wrote:I understand that some people out there have a lot to say, and may not know the "proper" way to do so. I truly commend their efforts to share, even if done so poorly. I would hope that we as a community can find a way to help them grow, without dousing their desire to write.

    *smiles*

    And that, my friend, is the basic philosophy behind Writers Playground. Our Official Reviewers will take your write apart if that's what's needed, and I admit, sometimes that requires simple, blunt correction. But if we're straightforward, I promise that we will never mock a writer, and our corrections and criticisms are meant to inform, not disarm.

    We even have included several tools to help those who sincerely wish to make the effort required to become a better writer: the Thesaurus, Rhymezone, Spellcheck, and Reverse Dictionary buttons in the top bar:

    • All are there for everyone's free use.
    • All open in a separate window so you don't accidentally lose what you're writing.
    • The Rhymezone button actually has a multitude of functions--dictionary, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, rhymes, Shakespearian quotes, etc.
    • The Spellchecker allows you to paste your entire text and spell check your work.


    And if anyone knows of other tools I can include here don't hesitate to PM me with the details. Smile
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    Harklight


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    default Re: Poor English that makes you cringe

    Post by Harklight on Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:17 pm

    Bravo, Myth! Your final statement says more than the words alone. We aim to cultivate that person's "will" to write, enjoyment and growth to express themselves clearly.

    Regional accents, to enhance affect, shouldn't bother anyone. Some American colloquialisms have no English meaning and likewise, in reverse. I speak and write "English". Though I occasionally like translations, most Americanisms fit in context.
    PC "Word programs" often reject common English words that we're taught and are defined in English dictionaries. Most programs are American based, especially thesauruses, which don't always translate to correct English dialogue. For writers with basic skills, it must be extremely difficult to distinguish what they're taught from what their PC decrees.
    Recently, a writer used an expression that is innocent in America but very offensive in other English speaking nations. While we blame no one for that discrepancy, we can help writers to learn alternative ways of showing the same emotions to an international audience.
    Apart from school education, writers learn from experience. By reading good literature (I exclude newspapers and most magazines) and writing constantly, their skills grow faster.

    Writers Playground can help writers at any skills level. Respectfully, we will not denigrate effort or courage in showing their work.
    We've provided American tools, which relate closely enough to English that they are great aids for all writers. Some spelling may differ but our language rules are, basically, the same.

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