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English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:55 pm UTC
by tes
Welcome to the English practice thread!
I'm sure there are many non-native speakers on this board who haven't had the opportunity to perfect their English yet. While learning vocabulary is easy, at least for me, picking up grammatical rules and the many subtleties of the language is difficult, and they're much harder to look up on the internet.
I hope it will prove helpful to have a thread where other people comment on grammatical mistakes, phrasing or things like mixing up UK and US English.

... so, what did I get wrong here? Any awkward wording? Ideas for a better title? :)

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:00 am UTC
by The Milkman
The title should be (I believe) English as It is Spoken. English has no inherent grammatical genders for words not denoting a person of a particular gender (like the word man, actress etc.)

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:03 am UTC
by Lazar
The Milkman wrote:The title should be (I believe) English as It is Spoken. English has no inherent grammatical genders for words not denoting a person of a particular gender (like the word man, actress etc.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_As_She_Is_Spoke

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:22 am UTC
by poxic
^ What Lazar writted. The title he is perfect.

Your post looks fully grammatical to me, tes. The only possible giveaway that you're not a native speaker is that it is, in fact, grammatically correct. :wink:

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:49 pm UTC
by The Milkman
Oh, I didn't know about that. :x

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:04 pm UTC
by tes
The Milkman: Sorry, I should have explained that reference.

poxic: Heh, thanks. I didn't want to mess up in the first post, so I restricted myself to relatively safe constructs, but in this thread I'm going to abandon this habit, or else I'm not going to learn much. Is that crème brûlée on your shoulders?

There's a problem I encounter quite frequently: In a sentence à la "Through A as well as through B, ... ", I'd intuitively say that the second "through" is obligatory. Is this correct? What about "Visits to A and (to) B have always been ..."?

Of course, feel free to comment on the entirety of my post here, not only on the question. And I hope I'm not the only one for whom this thread is relevant - maybe it can also serve as a fleeting-thoughts-thread-equivalent for grammar.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:25 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
Your use of 'à la' there is rather non-standard. It's usually used for 'in the manner of $category', rather than a specific example or construct like you just used.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:35 pm UTC
by Iulus Cofield
Do you mean in a sentence like, "This summer I'm going through Germany and through France?" You can omit the second one. I'm fairly sure this holds true for any preposition used like that. So you could say, "This thread is for the benefit of you, me, native speakers, non-native speakers, and outer space potatomen", or have an of before each of those noun phrases.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:40 pm UTC
by Lazar
I think the general tendency is to omit the repeat prepositions. I would use them if I wanted to emphasize the distinctness of the listed things. For example, the default expression for me would be, "I'm going through Germany and France"; if I said, "I'm going through Germany and through France", this would have a connotation like, "Not only am I going through Germany, but I'm also going through France!"

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:46 pm UTC
by Derek
tes wrote:crème brûlée

Thats not correct English :P

There's a problem I encounter quite frequently: In a sentence à la "Through A as well as through B, ... ", I'd intuitively say that the second "through" is obligatory. Is this correct? What about "Visits to A and (to) B have always been ..."?

It would help if you gave a full sentence as an example, but I would say that the second "through" or "to" is not required, and may even sound a bit redundant. In parallel constructions in English you can usually leave out all the repeated words (though you are never required to). So I would say "Through A as well as B..." and "Visits to A and B have always been...".

I think another way of putting this (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) is that conjunctions can bind at any level. So you can say "Visits to ((A) and (B))", "Vists ((to A) and (to B))", or "((Visits to A) and (visits to B))", with increasing redundancy.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:36 pm UTC
by Velifer
tes wrote:è û é à
"Through A as well as through B, ... "
"Visits to A and (to) B have always been ..."?

The English alphabet doesn't have all them there fancy dots and dohickeys. It's foreign at best, and often pretentious. Just drop the diacritics.

"Through A and B." If you're doing the same thing to both, just use the conjunction. Same with "Visits to A and B have always been..."

"Through A as well as through B" still works, but it's a construction that I associate with boisterous political speeches and other florid babbling. It really emphasizes that THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO BOTH! BOTH!

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:54 pm UTC
by Lazar
I have to stand up for diacritics and point out that dictionary.com does give "crème brûlée" as the citation form in English. The accents can be omitted, but they're not incorrect.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:38 pm UTC
by tes
Iulus Cofield wrote:Do you mean in a sentence like, "This summer I'm going through Germany and through France?"

No, what I meant was e.g. "Through hard work as well as (through) sheer luck, X got into Y school."

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:00 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
In that example I would say that the second 'through' is superfluous.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:21 pm UTC
by KestrelLowing
tes wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:Do you mean in a sentence like, "This summer I'm going through Germany and through France?"

No, what I meant was e.g. "Through hard work as well as (through) sheer luck, X got into Y school."


I'd also suggest that "Through" is a bit awkward in that context. It technically works, but "With" would be a bit better.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:28 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
I think omitting repeated bits has nothing special to do with whether they're prepositions or not. Any time multiple sentences are combined, which have big repeated chunks before one or two words that differ in each one, you can typically drop the repeated parts.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:23 pm UTC
by Velifer
[edit:] (Native speaker, SAE North Midland dialect.)

Lazar wrote:I have to stand up for diacritics...

English loanwords have diacritics, but most people drop them. Coöperation isn't spelled like that anymore by anyone who isn't being a pompous twat. If you really want to sound or write like a native speaker, you have to know which rules to break in which ways.

If you're ever in the Midwest, stop by Yé Olde Der Dütch Kitchen Café and we'll have a chat, and something cooked in lard.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:12 pm UTC
by gmalivuk
Velifer wrote:
Why would anyone put an accent on the <e> in the word "the"?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:01 pm UTC
by Derek
For the same reason you would use "Ye" for "The" and in the same sentence as "Der Dutch"?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:35 pm UTC
by Qaanol
Spoiler:
bigglesworth wrote:Your use of 'à la' there is rather non-standard. It's usually used for 'in the manner of $category', rather than a specific example or construct like you just used.

Citation needed.

Velifer wrote:
tes wrote:è û é à

The English alphabet doesn't have all them there fancy dots and dohickeys. It's foreign at best, and often pretentious. Just drop the diacritics.

Not helpful.

KestrelLowing wrote:
tes wrote:No, what I meant was e.g. "Through hard work as well as (through) sheer luck, X got into Y school."


I'd also suggest that "Through" is a bit awkward in that context. It technically works, but "With" would be a bit better.

You think it’s awkward to achieve things through hard work? I strongly disagree.

I’d like to request that we native English speakers in this thread restrict ourselves to correcting only those constructions that are actually ungrammatical, or that a native speaker “would never use” (such as awkward turns of phrase), or that fail to convey the intended information.

For subtleties of grammar and word choice, we may explain what the different connotations are, but if the original wording is plausible then we should allow for the possibility that the intended meaning could actually be what was written. In other words, don’t suggest a particular rewording as an “improvement” until you are sure it actually is one. It’s far more helpful, I believe, to present various options and describe how they differ.

tes wrote:There's a problem I encounter quite frequently: In a sentence à la "Through A as well as through B, ... ", I'd intuitively say that the second "through" is obligatory. Is this correct? What about "Visits to A and (to) B have always been ..."?

As has been mentioned, it is generally acceptable (often preferable) to omit the repeated word. There are certainly stylistic reasons for choosing one method or the other, as has been described by others in this thread.

One additional factor to consider is whether the sentence would become ambiguous if one choice or the other was made, in which case it is almost always better to use the unambiguous version. For example, “The duck walks through reeds and (through) rushes to the pond.” When the second ‘through’ appears, it is clear then that “rushes” refers to the type of plant. On the other hand absent the repeated preposition, the reader cannot adequately determine whether the word ‘rushes’ is a verb (meaning “moves quickly”) or noun (the plant again).

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:41 pm UTC
by tes
Thanks for the replies, they really are valuable to me. With regard to what KestrelLowing said: does "with" express the same causality (X worked hard and had luck, which is why X got into Y school) that "through" does? The German translation for "with" doesn't yield anything that would suggest this.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:45 pm UTC
by Lazar
Qaanol wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:Your use of 'à la' there is rather non-standard. It's usually used for 'in the manner of $category', rather than a specific example or construct like you just used.

Citation needed.

Well, you can read the definition here or here. It means "in the manner or style of"; it doesn't mean "such as", which is the way that tes was using it. As a native speaker, I agree with biggles that this use of it seems non-standard.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:28 pm UTC
by Qaanol
Lazar wrote:
Qaanol wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:Your use of 'à la' there is rather non-standard. It's usually used for 'in the manner of $category', rather than a specific example or construct like you just used.

Citation needed.

Well, you can read the definition here or here. It means "in the manner or style of"; it doesn't mean "such as", which is the way that tes was using it. As a native speaker, I agree with biggles that this use of it seems non-standard.

That’s exactly my point. The question asked was whether it was grammatically acceptable to use <a phrase> in the manner of <a sentence using that phrase in some manner>.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:19 am UTC
by RebeccaRGB
tes wrote:With regard to what KestrelLowing said: does "with" express the same causality (X worked hard and had luck, which is why X got into Y school) that "through" does?

In this case, yes.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:11 am UTC
by firechicago
RebeccaRGB wrote:
tes wrote:With regard to what KestrelLowing said: does "with" express the same causality (X worked hard and had luck, which is why X got into Y school) that "through" does?

In this case, yes.


I actually would disagree, though the difference in meaning is subtle. "Through" implies that the qualities named were essential in the process described or the result achieved. "With" merely asserts that those qualities were present while making no judgment on their causative effect. So if you were to say of a friend "She died as she lived, with style and grace," I would assume your friend was fabulous even to the end. But if you said "She died as she lived, through style and grace," I would be dying to know the story of how her style and grace got her killed.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:41 pm UTC
by Monika
In English, when you explain an abbreviation, can you say e.g. "PD stands for Payment Details"?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:43 pm UTC
by Iulus Cofield
Totally.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:46 pm UTC
by Monika
Is this the most common wording?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:38 pm UTC
by Dthen
That's how I would phrase it.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:45 am UTC
by Qaanol
Monika wrote:Is this the most common wording?

It depends on context. If you have a whole sentence or clause to explain the abbreviation, then yes, “S stands for Something” is a common wording.

In news articles and legal contracts it is common to introduce an acronym or abbreviation by using the full name the first time, with the abbreviation in parentheses immediately after. For example, “The Payment Details (PD) are provided electronically. Unauthorized use of the PD is expressly prohibited.”

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:27 pm UTC
by Monika
Is it correct that while normally program is spelled programme in British English, when referring to computer programs it's also spelled program in British English?
(I think this is what this dictionary entry http://dictionary.cambridge.org/diction ... ?q=program means, but it's a bit confusing.)
And ... why?

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:56 pm UTC
by bigglesworth
I think the terms 'program' and 'programming' originated in the US and were transplanted in technical documents.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:22 pm UTC
by tesseraktik
Monika wrote:In English, when you explain an abbreviation, can you say e.g. "PD stands for Payment Details"?

That, or "PD is short for payment details."

I spent three years in the U.S., causing a lot of English expressions to make their way into my Swedish.
Herr X: "Jag gillar inte duschdraperier!" ("I don't like shower curtains!")
Me: "Jag ser." ("I see")
Herr X: "Vad är det du ser?" ("What is it you see?"
Now, however, I find myself using more and more Swedish mannerisms in my English; using the pronoun "one" a whole lot (whereas a native speaker would tend to use "you", or even "he"/"she"/"it"/"they"), using too many qualifiers, employing non-standard word orders that are correct but which may sound old-fashioned, saying "thanks" instead of "please" and "Greetings!" instead of "Hi!"... ...although I suspect that last one had more to the fact that my main forum for practicing English during my tween and teen years was online role-playing games. That would also explain why I yell "Vendor buy the bank guards!" whenever I'm attacked in the street.*

*Just kidding.
...which, by the way, is an expression I have to keep reminding myself to use when speaking English; it feels really awkward saying it.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:56 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Monika wrote:In English, when you explain an abbreviation, can you say e.g. "PD stands for Payment Details"?
Sure.

1. PD stands for Payment Details
2. PD means Payment Details
3. PD is short for Payment Details
4. PD is the acronym for Payment Details OR PD is an abbreviation of Payment Details
5. PD. Payment Details.


A lot of it depends on the context. The 3 and 5 is what you would probably say, 1-3 is what you would write, 4 is what you may write as a response to someone's confusion on the use of PD.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:03 pm UTC
by Monika
Thanks.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:19 pm UTC
by Anonymously Famous
You might also find "...PD (Payment Details)..." in writing the first time it is used and then just "PD" every time after that.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:40 pm UTC
by Monika
To give some context: There is a screenshot of a program. In the program there is some tab or field labeled with "PD". I write instructions where to click on the screenshot and what it means.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:27 pm UTC
by Iulus Cofield
In that context, I would probably opt for "PD (Payment Details)" since it is writing and it saves space.

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:43 pm UTC
by Monika
Yeah but I explicitely want to tell the reader "look, you see that PD there on that screenshot? That's for Payment Details".

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:49 pm UTC
by Iulus Cofield
If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.