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How to Correct Grammar Without Being a Nazi

tepples (727027) writes | about a year and a half ago

User Journal 9

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."--Colossians 4:6, NKJV.

In this post, h4rr4r wrote in a reply to a post by roman_mir:

SEAT the word you wanted was SEAT!

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."--Colossians 4:6, NKJV.

In this post, h4rr4r wrote in a reply to a post by roman_mir:

SEAT the word you wanted was SEAT!

Sit is something you do in a seat. If this is some sort of non-american english, than deal with my correction as slashdot is an American site.

It appears roman_mir is not a native English speaker. Through the "Homepage" link in his profile, I found what appears to be his user page on Mozdev. Roman Mironenko's native language appears not to even be written with Latin letters.

On Slashdot and other web forums, a lot of people reply to comments just to correct the grammar, usage, or mechanics. It's more polite to phrase your correction as a throwaway bit at the beginning of your comment and then, with that out of the way, proceed to make a thoughtful reply to the comment's topic. This way, your comment is more likely to be seen as a sincere attempt to build another user up, rather than the sort of abrasive and inconsiderate personal attack on one's intelligence that has caused people to associate corrections with National Socialism.

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'dey mad (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year and a half ago | (#43348389)

I am often tempted to respond to these rude grammar and spelling with "u mad?".

h4rr4r is not a native English speaker either (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43348703)

I am not a native English speaker.

I was abusive because Roman_Mir is normally a goldbug libertarian troll.

Thanks for the advice tepples, I will try to take it to heart.

Re:h4rr4r is not a native English speaker either (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43420127)

Spoken like a gentleman.

And thanks, tepples; gentle, helpful advice is a rarity these days.

Meanwhile, I search for the magic wand that would get people to understand and make use of the difference 'twixt "lose" and "loose" and a few other things that set my teeth on edge. Can't help it, raised in the '50s when the three R's were taken a bit more seriously - and one was graded on it. And I expect a losing battle with "aircrafts" not being the plural form, language being as fluid as it is. Still hits me like fingernails on a blackboard, if anyone knows what that sounds like.

Joy to the World (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43421459)

And I expect a losing battle with "aircrafts" not being the plural form

You're referring to words like "sheep", "fish", and "aircraft" that have an invariant plural form. That battle was lost in 1971 when Three Dog Night released its recording of a song written by Hoyt Axton [wikipedia.org] about a bullfrog named Jeremiah [nookipedia.com] . "Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me."

Re:Joy to the World (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43428351)

Yeah, I know. Still rankles, tho. "Watercrafts, spacecrafts, aircrafts." Sheesh, hurts to even type that crap. Ah, well. I still mourn the loss of the adverbial form and substance, for all that matters. "We must act fast, blah, blah."

Re:Joy to the World (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#43452915)

And I expect a losing battle with "aircrafts" not being the plural form

You're referring to words like "sheep", "fish", and "aircraft" that have an invariant plural form. That battle was lost in 1971 when Three Dog Night released its recording of a song written by Hoyt Axton [wikipedia.org] about a bullfrog named Jeremiah [nookipedia.com] . "Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me."

I remember some time ago when the "fishes" issue came up on Slashdot, someone suggested that "fishes" may refer to multiple species of fish. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fishes [reference.com] also suggests that this use is acceptable.

Example (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43457861)

Do you have an example of the correct way to do it?

Examples from my own posting history (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43460057)

Here are several posts where I get the correction out of the way and then proceed to address the point made in the comment. In a discussion about vaccines [slashdot.org] :

Far? My sources say near. We were talking about vaccines, so I'll assume that by "tennis" you meant "tetanus". Wikipedia reports one million cases of tetanus per year. Significant autism spectrum characteristics (e.g. anywhere from Asperger syndrome to full-blown autism) may occur in up to six of every 1000 people. Given 134 million babies per year, that's not quite a million, but it's close.

Or in a discussion about payment processing [slashdot.org] :

I'll assume that by 'rats ass' you meant 'rat's ass', and by 'tract' you meant 'track'. In that case: Not everybody is a professional merchant who can afford the monthly fee that a credit card processor charges. In the cashless society you put forward, how would individuals pay other individuals?

Or in a discussion about airliners [slashdot.org] :

Assuming that by "Thomas Swift" you meant Jonathan Swift, sedation flight has already been depicted in the film The Fifth Element.

Or in a discussion about file sharing [slashdot.org] :

Assuming you meant "allofmp3.com" (no "my"), the most common allegations of the site's illegality depend on so-called parallel import laws and on an interpretation of saving the file on the user's hard drive as "reproduction".

Or in a discussion about media player hardware [slashdot.org] :

For one thing, no physical machine is Turing complete [so] I'll assume you meant LBA complete. For another, LBA completeness makes no guarantee that an algorithm will halt within a reasonable number of processing steps, which is important for something like a real-time MP3 decoder that MUST produce at least 44,100 samples within each second.

And I'm not the only one to use this technique. Consider this post by shutdown -p now about software licensing [slashdot.org] :

I'm not sure what a "Real only license" is, so I assume you meant to write "read-only". Even then it doesn't make any sense to me, because Mono is GPL and LGPL, and ASP.NET MVC is under Ms-PL; the latter is considered a "free software license" by FSF (it's effectively BSDL + patent clause). Neither are "read-only" in any meaningful sense.

Another is the "Freudian slip" angle, which shows how both the intended spelling and the mistake are valid replies. I demonstrate in a discussion about regulatory capture [slashdot.org] :

I assume you meant "capital", but "Capitol" is an apt Freudian slip given that once you have enough capital, you can buy legislators.

Re:Examples from my own posting history (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43461849)

Correct their grammar, then tell them how wrong they are, eh?
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