Pedants United

A section to discuss matters not related to Chess in particular.
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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:07 pm

John Clarke wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:11 am
There's also "Look .... " as a preface to any statement, or answer to an unwelcome question. When Todd Muller was briefly leader of the opposition in NZ, we once counted 12 "looks" in a single three-minute TV interview with him.
Our former PM Blair was fond of that one.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:11 pm

1)The strange tense used by police officers...

"He's walked into the house and he's stolen the silver." e.g.

2) People who talk in abbreviations and acronyms. We had a fine example at a scientific meeting when someone said he had been in contact with "Be berserk", which was his way of saying BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council). Actually science is full of examples. Someone was talking about "HPLC, GC-MS, FT-IR and UV methods etc.", which is great when you know what they mean.

3) People who don't know the difference between abbreviations and acronyms.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:48 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:11 pm
1)The strange tense used by police officers...

"He's walked into the house and he's stolen the silver." e.g.
You get that tense also used by football commentators, especially ex-player pundits, when summarising a recent period of play.

'He's found Kane and then he's gone for a quick one two and he's been chopped from behind...'

I don't find it too annoying, but it's hard to justify. Does it lend more drama? I suppose they are using the perfect tense instead of the more normal past historic. In some areas my grammar knowledge is rusty nowadays.

Kevin Williamson
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Williamson » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:59 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:11 pm
Someone was talking about "HPLC, GC-MS, FT-IR and UV methods etc.", which is great when you know what they mean.
I am familiar with those techniques and can add NMR, LC-MS, GPC also known as (AKA) SEC. While showing a visitor around at work I commented that chemists do like a TLA (three letter acronym).

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:33 pm

"....TLA (three letter acronym)"

Aha! NMR and GPC are not acronyms... but, yes, I should have added those - it's a while since I had a white coat and safety glasses on. People in shops have rather fetching face shields, which reminds me of doing wet oxidations in my youth and wearing (rather more sturdy) face shields to stop any boiling acids hitting me (a rather more immediate threat than Covid!).

Kevin Williamson
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Williamson » Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:15 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:33 pm
"....TLA (three letter acronym)"

Aha! NMR and GPC are not acronyms...
Yes, true. But 'Three letter abbreviation' also works for TLA 😁

Neville Twitchell
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Neville Twitchell » Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:14 am

A very interesting thread. May I list a few of my pet hates? In no particular order:-
"...legalise gay marriage..." Misuse of the verb. One cannot legalise something that doesn't exist. Gay marriage can only exist if governments legislate to bring it into being in which case it has been introduced or established. You can say "...legalise gay sex..." because that existed irrespective of government action.
The use of "convince" to mean "persuade", probably an American usage. Conviction refers to facts, persuasion to action. Thus one should say "I convinced my friend that it was going to rain and thereby persuaded him to take an umbrella."
The almost universal misuse of "forensic" to mean "scientific" as in the tautologous phrase "forensic evidence". Forensic means "pertaining to evidence."
The use of incorrect or invented passive, complementary equivalents as in "10 standees only" which I have seen in buses. A standee, if the word exists, would mean a person who is stood upon.
The oft used expression in cricket commentary "the second new ball" which is in fact the first new ball. The game starts with "a ball" and then progresses after 85 overs to "the new ball".
The activisation of sentences that should be passive, eg "the Bill is passing through the House" when really it is being passed. An inanimate object cannot take action itself, neither literally nor syntactically.
The misuse of good and useful words and phrases that have come into being to express a very particular meaning to refer to something else that already has many words or phrases for it, thereby impoverishing the language, or retarding its development. E.g. "Being economical with the truth" - a clever phrase that signals "a desire to convey a misleading impression without actually telling an outright falsehood" being used simply as a coy euphemism for telling lies. A product of lazy thinking and very clumsy.
The strange evolution of gender specific words, often in the pursuit of political correctness. Thus "chairman" has become "chairwoman" or "chairperson" or even just "chair"; presumably an attempt to de-genderise the word in the interests of feminism; but it merely displays illiteracy since the word "chairman" is gender neutral anyway. (I recall Barbara Castle's joke that she didn't care whether she was addressed as chairman, chairwoman, chairperson or just chair so long as she was in it!"). But my real beef is the inconsistency of it all, because whilst the above example illustrates an attempt to substitute a gender neutral term for a gender specific one there are other cases of the opposite, especially the insistence upon calling an actress an actor; i.e. substituting a masculine term for a feminine. You wouldn't call a waitress a waitor or a stewardess a steward. Where is the logic?
The misuse of the phrase "to beg the question" to mean to "raise the question"; an old quibble, I realise. E.g "The imposition of further restrictions begs the question of whether they are effective in stopping the spread of Covid19." No, they don't. They merely raise the question. If one were to say "The imposition of further restrictions is the best policy for the country." That would beg the question. To beg a question is to give an answer that presupposes its correctness without assigning a reason.
A previous poster has mentioned "homophobia/homophobic". A very bad construction that literally means "an irrational fear or hatred of the same."
One can understand a reluctance to coin something as grotesque as "homosexualophobia" but the solution is surely to go back to another ancient Greek word such as Uranism (though admittedly very obscure) and thus produce "uranophobia/uranophobic."
The inappropriate use of modal auxiliaries as in "She will become..."; "He was to marry..." etc. or even "They would go on to become..." instead of the natural "She became..."; "He married..." "They became..." etc. Admittedly, this weird usage seems to be found chiefly on websites such as IMDB, a product of an attempt to overdramatise, but I fear its spread.
The general Americanisation of the language (which I concede has been going on for decades) as in the substitution of "coach" for "manager" and "CEO" for "managing director". I am sure we can all come up with numerous examples.
And finally...the intensely irritating habit of the upward inflection at the end of declarative sentences which make them sound like tentative answers in need of verification by the listener. This is a matter of intonation and dialect, I know, rather than language, but I thought I would drag it in because it annoys the hell out of me. It is chiefly notable amongst the young, and was first noted a long time ago by Stephen Fry, but is seeping upwards through the generations. It is I think an Australian mode of talking and has probably been imbibed through all those unutterably naff Aussie soaps.
Glad I got all that off my chest!

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:36 pm

"Glad I got all that off my chest!"

A comprehensive collection!

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:23 pm

Neville Twitchell wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:14 am
A very interesting thread. May I list a few of my pet hates?...especially the insistence upon calling an actress an actor;
Yes indeed, Neville. The bishop jokes won't work any more - perhaps that was the intention!

Thank you for such a scholarly contribution; I agree with all of it and have just heard a Sussex University student, interviewed on Radio 4, constantly using upward inflections.

I have another irrational hate - people saying 'Enjoy!' with no direct object. Not irrational grammatically because 'enjoy' is exclusively a transitive verb, but I think most people would find my irritation hard to understand.

Nick Ivell
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Nick Ivell » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:44 pm

Neighbours has a lot to answer for.

Neil Graham
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Neil Graham » Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:05 pm

I really like meeting up with other pedants on this thread.

Nick Grey
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Nick Grey » Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:23 pm

I will cease typing 'Enjoy!' if it irritates you Paul.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:42 pm

Nick Grey wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:23 pm
I will cease typing 'Enjoy!' if it irritates you Paul.
I am blushing now, Nick. I haven't noticed you doing it, so my comments were not directed specifically at you. As I said, most people will have no objection. I just prefer 'enjoy' to have a direct object, so you could specify what we are to enjoy, even if it's just 'it'.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:42 pm

"I really like meeting up with"

Thanks Neil...

Neville Twitchell
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Neville Twitchell » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:49 pm

Perhaps this thread ought to be called Pedants Revolt rather than Pedants United. Or Pedants Revolting or even Revolting Pedants!
Which reminds me of the joke about the leader of the Pedants Revolt who should have been called Which Tyler not Wat Tyler.

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