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Cole Parker

Passing gas about past passings

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Some time ago I remember a discussion we had, probably in this section of the forum, about the usage of the words 'past' and 'passed'.

I just noted that we amateurs aren't the only ones with a problem with these words. Here's something I lifted from an Associated Press article on Yahoo! this morning:

"I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get passed what happened so long ago. That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same," Thomas said.

Shame of these people. They write for a living.

Now of course, I'm assuming this statement that is being quoted was a verbal one, and the interviewer supplied the spellings. It could, I suppose, have been a written statement by Mrs. Thomas. But that seems unlikely.

C

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I thought the idiom was "Shame on these people".

I thought 'verbal' meant 'in words' - it ought to, don't you agree. There's a perfectlygood word 'oral' for spoken words. I looked up Sam Goldwyn's joke that an oral contract wasn't worth the paper it was written on and I find there is no agreement between the sources about whether he said 'verbal' or 'oral'.

I'm obviously too old-fashioned for this world. Obviously verbal is getting to mean oral.

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It's like finding yourself at a surrealist's tea party.

Like the tea party in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Or the Tea Party in the U.S. that's backing far-right conservative candidates? Both fit the surrealist definition.

Colin :hug:

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A few of my favorites that seem to crop up more and more often:

past / passed

lose / loose

affect / effect

their / they're / there

to / too / two

then / than

its / it's

accept / except

...and more. Though I don't claim to never make those mistakes myself. Tired fingers do strange things.

Also, mangled turns of phrases or idioms seem to be turning up more and more often these days. I suspect the people who type

these have never really thought about the meaning, else they would stop short and check their accuracy.

Such as: "for all intensive purposes" instead of "for all intents and purposes" or "use to" instead of "used to" or "suppose to" instead of "supposed to" or "close" instead of "clothes"

or "you have another thing coming" instead of "you have another think coming" or "on tender hooks" instead of "on tenterhooks"

There's more, but you get the picture.

I once saw "put him on a pedestal" written as "put him on a paddle stool"

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What continually upsets me is when I write 'your' for 'you're' or 'its' for 'it's' or make other similar types of errors and then find them in my stories after they're posted. I know how the words should be used--as we who write are all aware, these things simply occur because we're busy thinking ahead as we write and our fingers have a mind of their own--but I always feel that anyone reading this sort of thing immediately thinks, 'what a dumbass; my six-year-old knows better than this jerk.'

I've realized there's nothing I can do about it, and if they have those thoughts, perhaps they'll at least be happy, knowing they're smarter than I am.

It's so terribly hard, even with multiple and very fine editors, to turn out a mistake-free opus. I doubt I've done it yet. But at least I find I'm not alone. I can't remember the last errorless story I've read on the net.

C

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What continually upsets me is when I write 'your' for 'you're' or 'its' for 'it's' or make other similar types of errors and then find them in my stories after they're posted. I know how the words should be used--as we who write are all aware, these things simply occur because we're busy thinking ahead as we write and our fingers have a mind of their own--but I always feel that anyone reading this sort of thing immediately thinks, 'what a dumbass; my six-year-old knows better than this jerk.'

I've realized there's nothing I can do about it, and if they have those thoughts, perhaps they'll at least be happy, knowing they're smarter than I am.

It's so terribly hard, even with multiple and very fine editors, to turn out a mistake-free opus. I doubt I've done it yet. But at least I find I'm not alone. I can't remember the last errorless story I've read on the net.

C

I've noticed a strange effect when one of my stories gets posted. I can have it edited, read it through dozens of times, check it carefully, and think that it's good to go.

Then, once it's posted, the VERY FIRST time I read it through on the site, I notice errors. Usually several. Something about the act of posting, or maybe about the differing venue, I don't know. But it seems to have the effect of making errors stand out so glaringly that I can see them (at least my own) practically before the story finishes rendering on the screen. As I sit there shaking my head and feeling like a fool I can't help wonder how so many books get published all the time, and when reading them I rarely see these kinds of errors. The power of many, many multiple rounds of professional editing I guess.

Either that, or the real pros don't make mistakes. :smile:

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As I sit there shaking my head and feeling like a fool I can't help wonder how so many books get published all the time, and when reading them I rarely see these kinds of errors. The power of many, many multiple rounds of professional editing I guess.

In the old days (up until the early 2000s), I believe original hardbound books were usually copy-edited and proofed by at least six different people, most of them with extensive literary backgrounds and/or English degrees. I can't recall ever seeing a typo in hardbound books during the 1960s or 1970s.

But I see them all the time, at least in the last decade. What kills me are spelling errors in movie credits! I've caught a few myself, including one where they misspelled the name of the executive producer. Luckily, they caught that one just a week before it wound up in theaters, so that one got fixed (and I was thanked profusely by the studio).

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We all make mistakes, after all we are human...except for those of you here with fur or feathers...or six editors to comb through the work.

Woe the writer who depends upon spell checker. I want to meet the fool who compiled that word list, I have a few choice words for him and I know how to spell them. We just don't educate the masses well enough anymore and language is degenerating into Net-Speak. There is no LOL about that.

Formatting is another issue. I used the word 'protege' in a story this past summer and when posted (to another site) it gave me: protégé. What's up with that? I now know that a writer must be careful and not use words with extreme accents or even foreign language knockoffs. But have you picked up a newspaper lately?

My father worked as a journalist for damn near thirty years and resigned only when the news company wanted to make him Editor in Chief of that particular bureau. Editors only get to plow through the work of others, he didn't want that job. It seems that these days there is little human editing going on before printing the news. Now the reporters self edit, spell check and then shift the story to an editor/proofreader who seems to miss a great deal of the errors.

When the language degenerates to the point of nonsense I suppose we could always go back to picture books, they fit well on an iPad screen. Our eyes are scanning more and more junk these days, but I appreciate an author who checks his work carefully. Don't we all?

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Guest Dabeagle
"you have another thing coming" instead of "you have another think coming"

Is it just me? I've heard of and used 'You've got another thing coming' but not think. Is this a s typo inside a thread about typos? :-)

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Is it just me? I've heard of and used 'You've got another thing coming' but not think. Is this a s typo inside a thread about typos? :-)

The way I used it is in the context, "Charlie, if you think we're gong to let you borrow the car tonight, then you have another think coming." Think makes sense in that context, not thing. But yes, thing has been used often and could be correct in the right context.

The other thing we all need to remember is that language is fluid and ever changing. What was correct hundreds of years ago (more orally, since written language then was extremely fluid) is now gibberish to all except linguists. Even a couple of decades is enough to drastically change the meaning of a word, or the accepted correct grammatical use of it. Take the two words, "a lot" which are, more and more frequently, used as one word, "alot." This has come to the point where it is accepted in certain circles as correct, and very likely will be considered widely correct everywhere within a hundred years.

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Okay, one final comment about the language.

I learned English from French-Canadien Christian brothers of the Catholic faith in a private school during the primary school years. Just saying it like that ought to give you a clue, Canadien is the French way of saying Canadian and either is correct. I had six years of English and French with some basic Latin thrown in for good measure. It has had an effect on the way I write ever since.

There is a great difference between public and private school education, a lot of that is from the focus on language (or is it alot of that?)

But although English grammar has a very large set of rules to follow, spelling seems to be without rules, at least in our times. I learned to spell it 'theatre' instead of 'theater.' Now I can accept that theatre is a place where they stage plays and a theater is where they show movies, but that is not what I originally learned.

The change was forced by American schools and the teachers who kept telling me I was wrong. I bent to the rules to achieve a better grade, but it felt wrong. I used odd words found in English speech for years, that would be British English, and I had an accent until my first years of high school. So I am not one to accept changes gracefully, but I often have to choose my words carefully.

Language is our best means of communication and I dread the suggestion that it will degenerate into a free-for-all mash up of words that follow trends rather than rules. GW, I am afraid you are right, but then a hundred years from now it won't be my issue anymore.

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But although English grammar has a very large set of rules to follow, spelling seems to be without rules, at least in our times. I learned to spell it 'theatre' instead of 'theater.' Now I can accept that theatre is a place where they stage plays and a theater is where they show movies, but that is not what I originally learned.

The change was forced by American schools and the teachers who kept telling me I was wrong. I bent to the rules to achieve a better grade, but it felt wrong. I used odd words found in English speech for years, that would be British English, and I had an accent until my first years of high school. So I am not one to accept changes gracefully, but I often have to choose my words carefully.

Ah, yes. The wonderful differences between American spelling and British spelling, and the sometimes third version of Canadian spelling of words.

theatre/theater

centre/center

metre/meter

colour/color

behaviour/behavior

light/lite

doughnut/donut

and on and on....

I suppose it's just a matter of which audience something is intended for, in those cases.

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Let's stop bleating on about the rights and wrongs of English usage. Surely only those who were born and raised in England actually speak and write English. Americans use American, Canadians Canadian (or Canadien), etc. Fair enough? Good. We can now use any weird and arcane spellings we want and claim it's colloquial.

Nuff sed mahn. :smile:

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Let's stop bleating on about the rights and wrongs of English usage. Surely only those who were born and raised in England actually speak and write English. Americans use American, Canadians Canadian (or Canadien), etc. Fair enough? Good. We can now use any weird and arcane spellings we want and claim it's colloquial.

Nuff sed mahn. :smile:

I think Canadiens are all hockey players from Montreal, where they all speak some bastardized version of French, so they don't really count. Regular Canadians all speak funny and can't pronounce words rhyming with 'shout' for a damn. I don't know what version of English they're taught in schools there, or if they teach it at all. I think mainly the kids are taught hockey and a strange sort of football on an odd-sized field with too few downs to get a first down and some weird punting rules, and that states should be called providences or something like that. Oh, and how to spell words wrong, especially ones that only need an 'o' and they make it 'ou', as though they had a surfeit of vowels up their in the chilly North.

Just sayin'.

C

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I think Canadiens are all hockey players from Montreal, where they all speak some bastardized version of French, so they don't really count. Regular Canadians all speak funny and can't pronounce words rhyming with 'shout' for a damn. I don't know what version of English they're taught in schools there, or if they teach it at all. I think mainly the kids are taught hockey and a strange sort of football on an odd-sized field with too few downs to get a first down and some weird punting rules, and that states should be called providences or something like that. Oh, and how to spell words wrong, especially ones that only need an 'o' and they make it 'ou', as though they had a surfeit of vowels up their in the chilly North.

Just sayin'.

C

Actually, this is pretty accurate.... :smile:

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