• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Miles Flansburg
garden masters:
  • Dan Boone
  • Dave Burton
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Barkley

Grammarly and other grammar aids

 
master steward
Posts: 8847
Location: Pacific Northwest
3231
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids sheep foraging wood heat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This thread was split off from this thread, and since it's about grammar, and not about trying to find answers, I moved it to it's own thread.

This is a thread for discussing grammarly, other grammar programs, and how to learn grammar.
 
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote: I found this great spellcheck called ... Grammarly which doesn't auto correct my words into nonsense.  But even a brilliant programme like that



Grammarly is NOT a brilliant program. It frequently tries to sell grammar rules that were never actually rules of English grammar. Here is a brilliant expose of Grammarly.

Fifty Shades of Bad Grammar Advice

http://www.arrantpedantry.com/tag/grammarly/
 
master steward
Posts: 14613
Location: Left Coast Canada
3226
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I find grammarly is congruent with my style guide - Oxford.

There are many settings I can choose depending on the style of writing I'm working on. This makes a huge difference as to how the programme behaves. I don't use American style guides or setting as I find them inconsistent and I'm writing for an international audience which is closer to British English than American Written English.

 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:I find grammarly is congruent with my style guide - Oxford.



That isn't necessarily a good thing. It may well point to Oxford advancing many of the same old grammar "rules"/canards as Grammarly.
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Deb Rebel wrote:I couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life but I learned the verb tenses (lay, lie, lying, laid, etc) and how to spell.



Most of the "rules" that people "learn" about English grammar are not rules, they never were rules. This is why most everyone who "couldn't diagram a sentence to save my life" all know/know of these particular "rules" because they are the only ones that are ever discussed.

Some examples of these faux rules are split infinitive, never end a sentence with a preposition, that/which, 'can'/may for permission, less versus fewer, and one of my favorites, the idea that the passive is blah/blah or blah blah blah.

Here is a good discussion of the entire royal mess that education makes of English grammar, right on up into high academia. [EDIT: forgot to add link]

http://www.arrantpedantry.com/2013/11/18/12-mistakes-nearly-everyone-who-writes-about-grammar-mistakes-makes/

Lay vs. Lie: Usage Guide
Verb (1)

lay has been used intransitively in the sense of "lie"  lay down for a quick nap since the 14th century. The practice was unremarked until around 1770; attempts to correct it have been a fixture of schoolbooks ever since. Generations of teachers and critics have succeeded in taming most literary and learned writing, but intransitive lay persists in familiar speech and is a bit more common in general prose than one might suspect. Much of the problem lies in the confusing similarity of the principal parts of the two words. Another influence may be a folk belief that lie is for people and lay is for things. Some commentators are ready to abandon the distinction, suggesting that lay is on the rise socially. But if it does rise to respectability, it is sure to do so slowly: many people have invested effort in learning to keep lie and lay distinct. Remember that even though many people do use lay for lie, others will judge you unfavorably if you do.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lie#usage-1
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14613
Location: Left Coast Canada
3226
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Terry Byrne wrote:

r ranson wrote:I find grammarly is congruent with my style guide - Oxford.



That isn't necessarily a good thing. It may well point to Oxford advancing many of the same old grammar "rules"/canards as Grammarly.



With style, I find it's more important to be consistent than to be 'modern'.

I did a lot of research into choosing a style guide recently.  I wanted a style guide that was universal on the international scene, not just in America.  American style guides are popular in the US for obvious reasons, but as time goes on, there appears to be a greater divide between American English and the rest of the English Speaking world.

English is a living, breathing language and there's no one 'right' or one 'wrong' way to use it.  It's growing, changing, shrinking, and morphing every time we use it.  That's why being consistent within a work is more important than being 'right' because as the article you liked to says, the right way to write something in English is constantly changing.  

It's also why I like Grammarly because I can customize the recommendations based on the kind of writing I am working on. If I'm writing a business email with technical jargon, I change the settings to reflect that and the recommendations reflect that.  If I'm writing a blog post, I change the settings.  I'm asking Grammarly to make style recommendations, but it's up to me to approve or reject them.  
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:

Terry Byrne wrote:

r ranson wrote:I find grammarly is congruent with my style guide - Oxford.



That isn't necessarily a good thing. It may well point to Oxford advancing many of the same old grammar "rules"/canards as Grammarly.



With style, I find it's more important to be consistent than to be 'modern'.



I don't understand what your last sentence could possibly mean. Grammarly corrects things that are not errors in the English language. It does this because it/many people are wedded to old pieces of nonsense about English grammar, aka prescriptions, which have never been rules of the English language. When Grammarly gets these basic rules/things so miserably wrong, what confidence can/should anyone have in its other advice?

Prof Pullum nutshells it. I know that there is a strong tendency to like/love the things we buy, possess, make, ... but ... .

You can click on a link to see the Dilbert cartoon at the link to the LL discussion.



A virus that fixes your grammar
December 8, 2017 @ 5:16 am · Filed by Geoffrey K. Pullum

In today's Dilbert strip, Dilbert is confused by why the company mission statement looks so different, and Alice diagnoses what's happened: the Elbonian virus that has been corrupting the company's computer systems has fixed all the grammar and punctuation errors it formerly contained.

That'll be the day. Right now, computational linguists with an unlimited budget (and unlimited help from Elbonian programmers) would be unable to develop a trustworthy program that could proactively fix grammar and punctuation errors in written English prose. We simply don't know enough. The "grammar checking" programs built into word processors like Microsoft Word are dire, even risible, catching only a limited list of shibboleths and being wrong about many of them. Flagging split infinitives, passives, and random colloquialisms as if they were all errors is not much help to you, especially when many sequences are flagged falsely. Following all of Word's suggestions for changes would creat gibberish. Free-standing tools like Grammarly are similarly hopeless. They merely read and note possible "errors", leaving you to make corrections. They couldn't possibly be modified into programs that would proactively correct your prose.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=35710


 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14613
Location: Left Coast Canada
3226
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

With style, I find it's more important to be consistent than to be 'modern'.


I don't understand what your last sentence could possibly mean.



Grammar and style are fresh in my mind because I spent a lot of last 16 months asking a lot of people about these two things.  I've also read everything my local library has to say about it.  My conclusions aren't necessarily 'right' because the conclusions are that there is no one right way to write.  

I started out talking to publishing houses, or more specifically, their representatives.  I wanted to know their approach to style and grammar.  How come some books use one style and other style guides.  How come some publishings houses follow the same style guide for all their books.  Then I started talking to editors about how they edit and what they want in an author and how they choose a style to edit by.  Fascinating stuff.  I also talked to authors of books I like.  Printers.  My librarian.  Random people, I met at coffee houses.  Magazine editors.  I sought out people in Canada, US, Britain, Japan (I learned a lot about how translation is affected by style guides there), New Zealand, and anywhere else I could find.  

I noticed that different style guides contradict each other.  Not only that, some of them contradict themselves.  So I asked questions about this too.  So I asked everyone I could as to which of these style guides was "right"?  

The answer was divided into two groups: one group felt that one specific style guide was 'right' and all the rest were wrong.  And the other group, who felt that there were many right ways to write but the thing that really confuses the reader is if we are inconsistent in our style.  The general mantra is that within the work (book, brochure, blog, whatever the 'work' is), the style needs to be consistent or the reader gets confused.  

As a side note: there was a correlation between these groups as to how much of their income they make from publishing books.  The people who had not made any money from producing books (printing, editing, publishing and writing) were in the first group - the more their income was dependent on books, the more they fit into the second group.

Most people won't notice little things, like inconsistent use of the Oxford comma but many will notice inconsistent capitalization of book titles.  Changing the style of lists and bullet points definitly throws people off.  And think about the phrase 'next tuesday' and how much the meaning of this phrase changes depending on what part of the world you are in.  Does 'next tuesday' mean tomorrow, or is tomorrow "this Tuesday?"  And what about 'tuesday week'?  (and another example of inconstant style - the question mark inside and outside the quotations in the last two sentences, not to mention inconsistent quotation marks.  Depending on the style guide, the quotes go on the outside or on the inside the punctuation and the type of quotes to use for that situation also depends on the punctuation. )

That's what it means by the style is consistent within the work.  

As for 'modern' - what is modern?  What's modern in the US is not what's modern in Canada.  It's not what's modern in New Zealand.

That isn't necessarily a good thing. It may well point to Oxford advancing many of the same old grammar "rules"/canards as Grammarly.



This implies that being 'old' or not-modern is a bad thing.  

I'm suggesting that what one person might consider 'old' is actually current and in daily use for many people in the world.

A variation on The Oxford Style Manual (consisting an updated version of New Hart's Rules and New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors) seems to be the most used style of the people I talked to who work in the publishing industry outside the US.  Inside the US, they seem to favour the Chicago Manual.  

Grammarly is internally consistent with the suggestions it makes, has settings that are easily changed for the style of writing, and works with me.  It's possible the author of that article doesn't like Grammarly because 1) they didn't know how to change the settings and 2) the author is used to working with American style guides and not writing for the global market.  Although looking at that article again, it looks like they wrote the article without actually trying the program...
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:Grammarly is internally consistent with the suggestions it makes, has settings that are easily changed for the style of writing, and works with me.  It's possible the author of that article doesn't like Grammarly because 1) they didn't know how to change the settings and 2) the author is used to working with American style guides and not writing for the global market.  Although looking at that article again, it looks like they wrote the article without actually trying the program...



The author doesn't like Grammarly for the reasons he laid out. It simply is not possible to correct grammar with a computer program. The place where these style manuals are at with respect to grammar is back in the 18th century, still trying to advance grammar rules that are not today, never were, part of the English language.

The author is one of the authors of the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

"When computer programs can actively spot and correct such unintended syntactic slips and fix them correctly without human supervision so that they have a sense that coheres with the discourse context, the world will be a very different place." - Geoffrey Pullum

I might give Grammarly a wee try, I believe they offer such an opportunity. Really put them to the test.
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:
This implies that being 'old' or not-modern is a bad thing.  

I'm suggesting that what one person might consider 'old' is actually current and in daily use for many people in the world.




My point, really my sole point, is that what you will find from Grammarly is just that, old prescriptions, aka, false rules of the English language. For some examples, read the paragraph, about seven down from the start, beginning with "Someone who has been making even more radical peacemaking ... " of

https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2016/06/29/farmers-and-cowmen-in-the-language-wars/





 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14613
Location: Left Coast Canada
3226
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Terry Byrne wrote: It simply is not possible to correct grammar with a computer program.



You found the key to it all.

Grammarly isn't correcting grammar; it's pointing out suggestions and ideas.  It's the person who approves or rejects the suggestions.  The person has to have enough knowledge and confidence to accept or reject the recommendations.  

If it were auto-correcting, I would have a problem with it.  

When I'm editing a document with Grammarly, I go with about 65% of their suggestions and ignore the rest. Any other program I've tried, I accept less than 5% of the proposals.

It's also the only program (and I've tried a lot!) that won't shut down because "this document contains no known language.  Please click this obsolete link to upload the dictionary of your choice".  Most correction software can't read dyslexia.

I'm not saying Grammarly for everyone.

I am saying that it is difficult to judge something if one hasn't given it a good try first.  And what doesn't work for one person may work for thousands of others.  That's one of the things I frequently address in my writing and my book - the harm that happens when we parrot opinion without trying these things for ourselves.  I see the harm of it every day.  So many people believe neigh sayers and refuse to try new things because 'it's not correct', 'it's too difficult' or, 'it's antiquated'.  Instead of giving new things a go, they get back on the couch and turn on the TV.  I'm not okay with this.  

So yes, please encourage people to learn new things like how to assess grammar.  Give people solutions.  After all, that's why permies is here: sharing solutions.  

 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 8847
Location: Pacific Northwest
3231
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids sheep foraging wood heat
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I very much appreciate grammar aids, even a simple one like Microsoft Word (which is all I've ever had). This sort of aids are useful for me, because they point out things that I might have missed. Sure, a lot of the time they are wrong. But, the few times that they are correct, I very much appreciate it. Often, they catch mistakes that I hadn't realized I'd made (like when I try to rearrange a sentence, but forget to rearrange all of it, and it comes out jumbled).

But, I definitely think that any grammar program should go hand-in-hand with a good knowledge of basic grammar rules. That way, one can discern when they want to break a rule. Like this. (That's a sentance fragment! *GASP!* But, when used correctly, it adds emphasis). Or, I write one sentence and then I write another. But, I don't combine them with the comma they need, because the sentence is short. I really appreciated my grammar book that I got in college--it went into the times in which one might chose to break the grammar rules. Knowing the rules, and when to break them, is really helpful for me! And, having a grammar program there to point out those "breaks," helps me to be intentional in my writing.
 
garden master
Posts: 3264
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
1157
books forest garden greening the desert tiny house transportation urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:

English is a living, breathing language and there's no one 'right' or one 'wrong' way to use it.  It's growing, changing, shrinking, and morphing every time we use it.  That's why being consistent within a work is more important than being 'right' because as the article you liked to says, the right way to write something in English is constantly changing.  



This is kind of where I take my style of grammar from. I use punctuation and grammar to the extent that I would use it when I speak, which I guess is I how I maintain some level of consistency. It may not be "proper," or match any style guides, but it gives my writing its own unique taste and flavor. Understandably, writing guides aid in maintaining consistency, too.

Another thing that I think helps with grammar, at least for me, is to read as much and as often as I can. I think that, by reading, I will pick up grammar styles intuitively.

On grammar aids, I appreciate the suggestions I get from Microsoft Word, because sometimes the way I phrase things come out a bit off, and it helps to have a gentle reminder that I could rephrase things to be more coherent and understandable.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14613
Location: Left Coast Canada
3226
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dave Burton wrote:

r ranson wrote:

English is a living, breathing language and there's no one 'right' or one 'wrong' way to use it.  It's growing, changing, shrinking, and morphing every time we use it.  That's why being consistent within a work is more important than being 'right' because as the article you liked to says, the right way to write something in English is constantly changing.  



This is kind of where I take my style of grammar from. I use punctuation and grammar to the extent that I would use it when I speak, which I guess is I how I maintain some level of consistency. It may not be "proper," or match any style guides, but it gives my writing its own unique taste and flavor. Understandably, writing guides aid in maintaining consistency, too.



I was impressed with how many professionals said exactly this kind of thing.  I was especially surprised since it's the antithesis of what I was taught at Uni.  

The style guides, I'm told by people in the publishing industry, are there to give us a framework for consistency.  It doesn't matter which style guide we choose, so long as we don't confuse the readers with mixed-up formatting.  There's no one way to write and writing is simply a different way of speaking.  It was suggested more than once, that the best writing sounds like speaking.  Only better.  

They also recommend that the best style guide is the one the author or publishing house has written - or edited - to fit the author's voice.  (the ones I talked to use a lot of audio words to describe writing)
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:You found the key to it all.



Would you feel comfortable posting an unedited piece of yours and then one that Grammarly has suggested changes for?

r ranson wrote:Grammarly isn't correcting grammar; it's pointing out suggestions and ideas.  It's the person who approves or rejects the suggestions.  The person has to have enough knowledge and confidence to accept or reject the recommendations.  If it were auto-correcting, I would have a problem with it.



Does the program point out suggestions and ideas on points of grammar?

[Thinking still on the other points that were raised.]
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14613
Location: Left Coast Canada
3226
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Terry Byrne wrote:Does the program point out suggestions and ideas on points of grammar?



It depends on what settings you choose.

 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been doing some further research and Grammarly does indeed do grammar corrections.

And also surprisingly, in a pleasant way, they have made some advances in rectifying the grammar rules formulated in the 18th century. Though their advice on, for example, the passive is still not at all helpful, in the sense that they try to "teach" things they are incapable of teaching, like how to form the passive and when to use the passive. Little children by the age of five know all this grammar intuitively and they know how and when to use various grammatical structures. Adults too know the grammar of their dialect but they, children and adults don't KNOW ABOUT the grammar of their dialect.

This is why the prescriptions have lasted so long and there are still people who will consciously describe these as rules of English. But these aren't rules of English. We know they aren't rules because people, when using their language naturally, don't follow these rules. The very people who describe these as rules don't actually follow them in their own language use. Corpus studies, using collected texts of actual speech and that of people's written texts show that the rules developed in the 18th century are not followed.



 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:

Terry Byrne wrote:Does the program point out suggestions and ideas on points of grammar?



It depends on what settings you choose.



Would you feel comfortable posting an unedited piece of yours and then one that Grammarly has suggested changes for? Or to make this totally user neutral, something written by someone not IDed and then Grammarly suggested edits.
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is one of the great fables we all learn growing up. As children, we don't learn grammar in the manner we all tend to think of as 'learning'. Think long and hard about this for some time  - how is it possible that we as children learn this immeasurably difficult thing, grammar, and then deploy it for the rest of our lives with almost no errors. Sure, we make slip ups but we know they are slip ups and most often self correct.

The CGEL, some 1800 pages describing the rules of English, well over a hundred years of combined study by all the contributors, and a five year old child knows the vast majority of those rules. Did our/their parents teach us/them? Do any of us know, consciously, all these incredibly complex rules, the ones that linguists, ... spend their lives trying to understand?

 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 8847
Location: Pacific Northwest
3231
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids sheep foraging wood heat
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Terry Byrne wrote:

r ranson wrote:

Terry Byrne wrote:Does the program point out suggestions and ideas on points of grammar?



It depends on what settings you choose.



Would you feel comfortable posting an unedited piece of yours and then one that Grammarly has suggested changes for? Or to make this totally user neutral, something written by someone not IDed and then Grammarly suggested edits.



I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that most people that have dyslexia, would not want their unedited writing aired publicly.

I, myself, have no problem with grammar, but spelling is something I often get very wrong...and I generally try to fix it up so I don't feel even more miserable about the fact that I can't spell well, despite years of working on it.
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 8847
Location: Pacific Northwest
3231
cat duck fiber arts forest garden homestead hugelkultur kids sheep foraging wood heat
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Terry Byrne wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:... and how to learn grammar.



This is one of the great fables we all learn growing up. As children, we don't learn grammar in the manner we all tend to think of as 'learning'. Think long and hard about this for some time  - how is it possible that we as children learn this immeasurably difficult thing, grammar, and then deploy it for the rest of our lives with almost no errors. Sure, we make slip ups but we know they are slip ups and most often self correct.

The CGEL, some 1800 pages describing the rules of English, well over a hundred years of combined study by all the contributors, and a five year old child knows the vast majority of those rules. Did our/their parents teach us/them? Do any of us know, consciously, all these incredibly complex rules, the ones that linguists, ... spend their lives trying to understand?



Spoken grammar and written grammar and two very different things, at least in my experience. I taught in elementary schools. Children who could speak very well, could NOT write well. It's hard to learn what pauses require a comma and which ones a period, and which ones require something different--or require nothing at all!

On need only to find the writings of teenagers texting and posting on facebook to see that written grammar does not, indeed, come naturally to all.

I recall teachers trying to instill grammar principles into my brain in elementary school, Jr high and even high school. I read a TON of books. And, even still, it wasn't until I got to college and got my own spiffy grammar guide that the rules finally clicked. I still can't remember the words for certain things (past participle? sentence fragment? adjective?), but I learned how to used and apply and break the rules.

Another thing I found IMMENSELY useful for learning grammar was to learn a second language. I finally learned what in the world a verb and a noun were and how we arrange our sentances verses how they're arranged in other languages.

I will not discount the fact that written grammar may very well come second nature to some people--just as spelling comes second nature to my husband. But, I can honestly say that I really did need to learn the rules of written grammar.
 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:

Grammar and style are fresh in my mind because I spent a lot of last 16 months asking a lot of people about these two things.  I've also read everything my local library has to say about it.  My conclusions aren't necessarily 'right' because the conclusions are that there is no one right way to write.



Completely true, so one has to wonder why these style guides differ with each other and even with their own guide. The other thing to remember is that style and grammar are very different things.

r ranson wrote:I started out talking to publishing houses, or more specifically, their representatives.  I wanted to know their approach to style and grammar.  ...



The following hopefully will highlight my point above that style and grammar are two very different things.  

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is an unparalleled resource for those engaged in publishing, particularly of academic material. But the Press decided to farm out the topic of grammar and usage, and the writer they selected was Bryan A. Garner, a former associate editor of the Texas Law Review who now teaches at Southern Methodist University School of Law and has written several popular books on usage and style. His chapter is unfortunately full of repetitions of stupidities of the past tradition in English grammar — more of them than you could shake a stick at.

Presenting a representative sample would take a long time. Suffice it to say that on on page 177 he appears to claim that progressive clauses are always active (making clauses like Our premises are being renovated impossible); on page 179 he states that English verbs have seven inflected forms, including a present subjunctive, a past subjunctive, and an imperative (utter nonsense); on page 187 he reveals that (although he agrees, like every other grammarian, that the misnamed "split infinitive" is grammatical) he thinks that the adverb is "splitting the verb" in this construction (it isn't; it's between two separate words); on page 188 he describes word sequences like with reference to as "phrasal prepositions" (they aren't); and so it goes on and on. (I'm not asking you to just accept my word that these are analytical mistakes. Full argumentation on these points, and alternative analyses that make sense, can be found in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, a work that was available in published form a full year before the Preface was added to the 15th edition of CMS. A few days of revision would have sufficed to remove the blunders from Garner's chapter.)

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001869.html




r ranson wrote:Most people won't notice little things, like inconsistent use of the Oxford comma but many will notice inconsistent capitalization of book titles.  Changing the style of lists and bullet points definitly throws people off.  And think about the phrase 'next tuesday' and how much the meaning of this phrase changes depending on what part of the world you are in.  Does 'next tuesday' mean tomorrow, or is tomorrow "this Tuesday?"  And what about 'tuesday week'?  (and another example of inconstant style - the question mark inside and outside the quotations in the last two sentences, not to mention inconsistent quotation marks.  Depending on the style guide, the quotes go on the outside or on the inside the punctuation and the type of quotes to use for that situation also depends on the punctuation. )



Your first sentence nails it. If we were to run every post ever made here, we would see wide variation in style usages. All these inconsistencies make little difference to how well we understand.


 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is one of the great fables we all learn growing up. As children, we don't learn grammar in the manner we all tend to think of as 'learning'. Think long and hard about this for some time  - how is it possible that we as children learn this immeasurably difficult thing, grammar, and then deploy it for the rest of our lives with almost no errors. Sure, we make slip ups but we know they are slip ups and most often self correct.

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language [CGEL], some 1800 pages describing the rules of English, well over a hundred years of combined study by all the contributors, and a three year old child knows the vast majority of those rules. Did our/their parents teach us/them? Do any of us know, in a conscious manner, all these incredibly complex rules, the ones that linguists, ... spend their lives trying to understand?

The answer is of course a resounding NO. Again, think about it. We can all deploy every bit of grammar available within the English language but so few of us can describe accurately, if at all, the names of even simple parts of speech.

We are all the equivalent of brain surgeons when it comes to deploying the grammar of English, yes, even three year olds. We just all lack the conscious part of knowing grammar rules.  

The reason that speech is natural to us all while writing is not is because writing is an artificial construct of language. Other than for those who have certain handicaps, speech comes easily and naturally. This is truly amazing when one considers just how complex the grammars of ALL languages are.

For anyone interested, the following article explains it all.

Grammar Puss

https://homepages.wmich.edu/~hillenbr/204/GrammarPuss.pdf

 
Terry Byrne
Posts: 41
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:I was impressed with how many professionals said exactly this kind of thing.  I was especially surprised since it's the antithesis of what I was taught at Uni.  



Would you please expand on what these things you were taught at Uni were?
 
Mo-om! You're embarassing me! Can you just read a tiny ad like a normal person?
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!