View Full Version : Some thoughts about the use of the written word

06-12-2005, 05:27 AM
I'm not sure if this is the place, but I don't see any other. If you, mod, think that it's not, then pls feel free to move it wherever.

I'm an ESL (Eng Sec Lang), but I do speak a European Latin language w a similar grammar to English, esp the tenses, and Hebrew, so I can say that in some measure I can compare lang's, at least on the logical level.

No disrespect meant, of course, and here I come to the subject.

There are some things that bother me w the written word in books and newspapers, here in US. I understand, of course, that this is how people talk here, esp w the last item in my litany of complaints http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif, the place of prepositions in sentences, but when writers or journalists use the language in this way, then it's a bad sign, to my mind. We bring the language to the people, and I would think that it's in our responsibility, if you will, to do it properly.

If I'm mistaken, fellow Americans, pls accept my apologies, and excuse my syliness and presumptuousness and just ignore it.
Any corrections are more than welcome http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif. It will help me to write better http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gif.

There are a few very specific items, namely:

- the inversed infinitive, which in its most distorted ver comes as this ex.:

"you have to better do it". (the infinitive here is "to do", while "better" is an adverb; when "better" is inserted between the to and its intended verb, do, then the verb conjugation is distorted).

From the context, one can understand that the intended meaning is
"you have to do it better",
but context is not always obvious, b/c some may understand it as:
"you better do it 'or else'", as infered from the inversed infinitive.
so in order that the meaning will be clear to all who read the piece, it should be, really:
"you have to do it better".

- the lack of "to" before the verb, as follows:

"I'm going see", "I want clarify it", etc.

In the langs that I know at least, and as logic would say, IMHO, it has to be:
"I'm going to see", "I want to clarify it", b/c it's almost a nature call:
"I want(what?) to do?" To see, clarify, etc.
The verb "want" refers here to another verb, not to another noun. It's not "I want bread", it's a desire "to do" something.
This is the place where the infinitive conjugation is used.

- the lack of that in so many cases, and one needs to look only in the newspapers to find endless ex's of it.

- the placing of a preposition at the end of the sentence, as in:

"...the example I can think of", "...the example I can think about", which should be, of course, "the example of which/about which I can think", the most misused being:
"where is he at?" (at is redundant here).

- last, but not least, is the redundancy of "paid for", "send in/out", etc.
as in "the project is paid for by...", "the query letter is sent in/out to".

It should suffice, put this way:
"the project is paid by...", "the query letter is sent to".

Again, if I'm mistaken, pls excuse and ignore.


06-15-2005, 08:27 AM
I so much take this to heart, silly me that I wrote a letter of correction to that effect to my local newspaper, w fully detailed exs from the newspaper of the current day.

I have a mind of doing it daily. Not silly typos, but flagrant syntax mistakes, in particular. Grammatical ones, too.