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Frequently Seen Grammar Errors

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vladazhael



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
Could someone set me straight on this? When is 'lord' capitalized, and when isn't it?

Help!


I think it's only when used to name a particular person, i.e. Lord Soandso, or Lord of Wherever. Any other time, even as a term of address ("my lord"), I've seen it non-capitalized. Of course, I can't cite a concrete rule for that, but that's what I would do. I also checked the book I just finished, which was correct on almost everything else I can think of, and the author did the same.

Just for a grammar laugh - I'm finally reading 'Twilight' (I keep hoping I'll be impressed...), and I noticed something about the lead character watching the "dust moats" floating through her living room. Moats? Really? I picture little protective canals full of dust encircling all the furniture. Rolling Eyes I know Stephenie Meyer gets a lot of negative criticism, but I'm beginning to think some of it should be directed at her editor.

Come to think of it, there's another I error I see quite a bit, both in 'Twilight' and in fanfic - the incorrect use of "so." I see a lot of sentences like, "He was so mean," or "We were so furious." So furious THAT...? What? "So" is not a a substitute for "very." I've completely forgotten the terminology I should be using to describe it, but it's more like and "if, then" statement - if (blank), then (blank). So (blank) that (blank). He was so mean that I found him repugnant. We were so furious that we never spoke to each other again. It's *almost* okay to say things like, "Oh my gawd, he was sooooo mean," in conversation, because at least then the speaker can put enough vocal inflection on it to imply how the subject's meanness affects others. That's certainly not the most intelligent way of speaking, but conversation is less formal anyway, so it can be overlooked if not overdone. But in writing, where the author is presumably working hard on finding the best way to express a thought to the reader, it comes off as clumsy at best.

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Viv
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vladazhael wrote:
I'm beginning to think some of it should be directed at her editor.


Probably her copy editor more than her editor. The editor did a bang-up job in bringing in a manuscript that made a shedload of money for the publishing house, after all. Kudos to her. Copy editor... might have had the glazed-o'er eyes of many readers by that point.

The dust moats = very funny mental image, yes. Smile

Quote:
Come to think of it, there's another I error I see quite a bit, both in 'Twilight' and in fanfic - the incorrect use of "so." I see a lot of sentences like, "He was so mean," or "We were so furious." So furious THAT...? What? "So" is not a a substitute for "very."


I had a prof in university who would probably like to kiss you for expressing his pet peeve so nicely.
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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking into it further, I concur, Vlad. I just searched LOTR, and found that lord as a form of address (Yo, lord, how's it hangin'?) was not capitalized, but lord in a title (Lord Of The Creepy-crawlies) was.

Cheers,

NB

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Viv
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
Yo, lord, how's it hangin'?NB


I'll be sure to use that in my regency, NB. Wink
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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viv wrote:
NancyBrooke wrote:
Yo, lord, how's it hangin'?NB


I'll be sure to use that in my regency, NB. Wink

If one learns only one thing from Strunk & White, it should be to use entertaining examples!

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dolarabee
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
Yo, lord, how's it hangin'?

See, that's why I hate the rules of the English language so much...

I've always been taught that:

Titles of people when used with their names or in place of their names must begin with a capital letter.

As in:
a. My boss is Mister Smith.
b. "Look out, Mister! You're in the way."
c. The members of the church waited for Reverend Jones.
d. The captain yelled at Sergeant Harris.
e. The sergeant replied, "Yes, sir, Captain. I understand."
f. My favorite queen is Queen Elizabeth of England.


And now you're telling me that, nope, not always... not if the guy has a pink bike or if he had cheeseburger first.

Grrr.

do.

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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect, but do not know for sure, that it has something to do with religion. Someone on this board a while ago (though I couldn't find it) wrote in that the only Lord she had been taught should be capitalized was Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever your religious feelings, it is a useful way to think about it.

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NB Duchess of WHY TF Cant'chu Punctuate, First Duchess of F*&(ing &*ll yur comma placement sux!
Nazgul #3 in charge of ducking & sniggering

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lissaselves



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
I suspect, but do not know for sure, that it has something to do with religion. Someone on this board a while ago (though I couldn't find it) wrote in that the only Lord she had been taught should be capitalized was Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever your religious feelings, it is a useful way to think about it.

It's also the Lord Mayor of London, says my Longman's. *is greatly relieved that you guys can't figure it out, either*
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Viv
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you'll forgive me for being wishy-washy on this... It's not a matter of correctness. It's a matter of style.

Generally, a publisher will have a preferred style for things like this, and everything produced by that publisher is supposed to fall into line. When I say "style" I mean more than just American English versus British English versus Australian and Canadian English... I'm talking about actual rules-documents, like the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook.

Unless you've been told to do it a certain way by a publisher or professor, the most important thing is consistent usage within a story or document. Same for most punctuation "rules."
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vladazhael



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lissaselves wrote:
NancyBrooke wrote:
I suspect, but do not know for sure, that it has something to do with religion. Someone on this board a while ago (though I couldn't find it) wrote in that the only Lord she had been taught should be capitalized was Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever your religious feelings, it is a useful way to think about it.

It's also the Lord Mayor of London, says my Longman's. *is greatly relieved that you guys can't figure it out, either*


That would be addressing by specific title, though, wouldn't it? Like, "You have something in your teeth, Lord Mayor," as opposed to, "You have something in your teeth, my lord." I don't really know, though. It's not like they let me anywhere near people with titles anyway. Wink

True dat, about Stephenie Meyer's editor vs. copy editor. I didn't really think about the difference. But in terms of both technique and content, I'd like to see how the story would have turned out if run through a decent writers' workshop. I'm no pro, but I have a few choice suggestions that might have made it a bit more respectable outside of its core pre-teen audience, and no doubt other writers have even better ones. (That is, assuming we/they are generous enough to decide it's worth the effort. Rolling Eyes)

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Robbie
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dolarabee wrote:

I've always been taught that:

[i]Titles of people when used with their names or in place of their names must begin with a capital letter.

I was always taught the same. So, "My Lord" is capitalised as in "Please don't lop off my head, My Lord"

Same as "Your Honour"... the modern day equivalent.

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NeumeIndil



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ What they said. (Am I the first Yank to chime in on this side?)

Ultimately I think NB's answer covers most of it; consistency is a better goal than a certain rule, but if we're talking about the rules of writing as I learned them in school, "Would you step in, My Lord," is more "correct" than my lazy American habit of *not* capitalizing it because I didn't have this thread to ask in when I started writing the (expletives deleted) things in the first place. Very Happy

(And that ^, ladies and gentlemen, is a good example of another common grammar error: an epic run-on, though a correctly punctuated one, I think.)

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ElenaTiriel



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vladazhael wrote:
I noticed something about the lead character watching the "dust moats" floating through her living room. Moats? Really? I picture little protective canals full of dust encircling all the furniture.


ROFL

Oh, Vlad! Even though you warned us, I was still caught flat-footed, and laughed myself silly!

That's even better than "The women were greeted by the grand site of their men, standing like gilded statutes in all their glory."

Thanks for sharing it!

- Barbara, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes
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ElenaTiriel



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dolarabee wrote:
I've always been taught that:

Titles of people when used with their names or in place of their names must begin with a capital letter....

And now you're telling me that, nope, not always... not if the guy has a pink bike or if he had cheeseburger first.

Grrr.


Yes, I learned exactly the same thing.

You know, I had no idea that some grammar rules (for things like comma placement, single vs. double quotation marks...) differed between British and American English, until I started writing for pleasure, in the Tolkien fandom.

And I also learned that, for professional writing, different organizations follow different style guides; even within the same dialect, there is more than one set of rules.

So even those of us who TRY to follow the rules, don't know which ones to follow! Rolling Eyes

I'll just keep using the rules I know and love... and thank my junior high school English teacher fervently for teaching me grammar and sentence structure! Clap, Clap, Clap Without that thorough grounding, I would never have enjoyed writing as much as I do. Heart

- Barbara
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ElenaTiriel



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
Someone on this board a while ago... wrote in that the only Lord she had been taught should be capitalized was Our Lord Jesus Christ.


*Has visions of a story about a serf in the Middle Ages explaining why he refuses to capitalize the title of his feudal lord....*

Hmmm, that rule doesn't quite work for me... and not just because of the improbability that a serf could write! Smokin'

Lords, especially merely mortal ones, can be so demanding at times.... Very Happy

- Barbara
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