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metalmagpie
05-01-2010, 03:04 PM
I used to subscribe to one of the metalworking magazines from England. I always found it interesting how their editors liked the technical prose in their articles. Of course, there are many specific terms that differ on two sides of the Atlantic (as well as elsewhere). I call it a wrench, in England it might be called a spanner. I call it a belt sander, in England it might be called a linisher. Such dialectical differences are to be expected, and at times I've even seen abortive attempts to compile lists of equivalent terms.

Right now that's not what I'm writing about, though. This group has a significant foreign component (hooray!) and again I'm noticing major style differences in one particular area. While I might write "I chucked the part in the 3-jaw and faced it to length" it seems that anyone from England would automatically write instead "The part was chucked in the 3-jaw and faced to length". In other words, I use the active voice and English tech writers tend to use the passive voice.

I have taken several engineering school technical writing classes, worked in industry in jobs largely doing technical writing, and am married to a career tech writer. I have always been trained to use simple, plain English, and avoid the passive voice whenever possible. Whenever I'm confused about what is the best way to phrase something, the book I turn to is "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White, a priceless gem written a long time ago but which is entirely timeless; http://www.bartleby.com/141/

I guess what I'm saying is the overuse of passive voice (I know, now I'm getting judgemental) grates on me.

metalmagpie

Tony Pratt
05-01-2010, 03:38 PM
English language and grammar was not my best subject at school and I must admit it still isn't my strong point, but to me both statements are equally acceptable forms of communication in the real world.
Tony

aostling
05-01-2010, 03:46 PM
I guess what I'm saying is the overuse of passive voice (I know, now I'm getting judgemental) grates on me.

metalmagpie

I'm a fan of Elements of Style too, particularly Rule #17: Omit needless words.

clutch
05-01-2010, 03:47 PM
I can understand Sir John, Evan and Nick Mueller just fine. Besides, reading should be an adventure! Learn a few new words.

Clutch

dockrat
05-01-2010, 03:59 PM
the only forum member here that left me scratching my head was aerosmith. :rolleyes:

MCS
05-01-2010, 04:03 PM
What grates on me is when a single person describes his/her activitities as done by "we".

That is the pluralis majestuae, reserved for the king/queen. Holland has one, England has one.

As for chucking and facing, it does'nt matter who does it, it matters that it's done. So it's cultural, maybe in America it's added value who does it.

To put it bluntly, a finished part can be a hard struggled victory versus an executed plan of attack.

dp
05-01-2010, 04:05 PM
I've written zillions of third person, active voice, imperative mood tomes and dislike the formality of it. On a BBS I'll take the written works of the common man any day over MIL-STD-XXX/Chicago Manual of Style adherence.

The reader shall assume responsibility for regulating his or her own annoyance with the content presented herein.

Dr Stan
05-01-2010, 04:18 PM
I have to beat-up my students (especially those in grad school) and make them write in the third person. I know I found it to be a PITA when I first encountered the form. However, one adapts especially when it is required for publication in refereed journals.

That said, whenever I need to emphasize a point in class I purposely use the phrase "more better". :D Never fails to get the student's attention.

aboard_epsilon
05-01-2010, 04:34 PM
What grates on me is when a single person describes his/her activitities as done by "we".

That is the pluralis majestuae, reserved for the king/queen. Holland has one, England has one.

As for chucking and facing, it does'nt matter who does it, it matters that it's done. So it's cultural, maybe in America it's added value who does it.

To put it bluntly, a finished part can be a hard struggled victory versus an executed plan of attack.

A lot of one man operations in the UK like to call themselves "we"

I don't like it myself ..

They do it to make the company sound/look bigger than it really is .

all the best.markj

John Stevenson
05-01-2010, 05:06 PM
If you can understand what's being said does it matter ?

I'm English, I speak English and write English, like most of us, when we were little we learnt off our parents and later at school from teachers with set reading books.

Still later we were taught proper English but by that time we could talk and write.

Once we had a whole 4 lessons on the pluperfect tense, I never understood it and never have, to be honest to this day I don't have a clue what it is.

I even asked my parents, who taught me to read and write and they didn't have a clue either.

From that, I came to the conclusion that it couldn't have mattered anyway.

Alistair Hosie
05-01-2010, 05:10 PM
Well said John what does it matter indeed? Alistair

form_change
05-01-2010, 05:10 PM
It's a technical writing style thing - it was drummed into us at University, although I have met professors who are trying to get their students to buck this trend.
Edumacation is a wonderful thing.

saltmine
05-01-2010, 05:13 PM
I'm bilingual...I speak English, and vulgar.

Evan
05-01-2010, 05:24 PM
I use a mix of American English and the Queen's English since Canada still has the Queen as her Sovereign and British English is the official version of English in Canada. I have lived here longer than any other place and even when growing up in Berkeley I learned a lot of British terms for car parts since my first car was a Morris Minus 1000.

I couldn't care less how somebody writes as long as it is understandable. English is a difficult language for most people including those that have it as a first language. It basically doesn't have any rules since for every rule there are numerous exceptions. Grammar is very difficult, especially nuances such as passive or active voice. If you choose to pay attention to that you open a small can of worms for yourself since you should at least be consistent.

MuellerNick
05-01-2010, 05:28 PM
"We don't like what I did" :D

Was that posting triggered by me? Maybe not, but for an excuse:
I'm German, never lived outside of it, only spent 6 weeks in English-speaking countries (USA and if that counts Australia). My sentences might be longer than avarage, but the German language allows sentences that easily span a page in a book. So after re-reading, I simply replace a comma with a period and change the next letter to a capital. :D

Anyhow, I think I find a way to express what I want to say. I even discovered while writing manuals (and I even published articles in English; OMG) that it's easier for me to write them first in English (if that language is required) and then translate that to German. The other way round simply doens't work.

And I don't care if it's passive or egocentic.


Nick

kc5ezc
05-01-2010, 05:35 PM
Guys: I once (in a previous life) taught Non-readers to read English. Also to spell. The students always complained about the varied spelling of a lot of the english words. I thought I had the solution when I found a little monograph on how to spell. It had several ironclad rules; then I found the list of 87 (count them) 87 exceptions. Jeez. What a pile of crap. I told my student to just give it a good try and we would work together to learn how to spell in english.

dp
05-01-2010, 05:46 PM
Some years ago my ex called me to ask about a reading problem her daughter (by her new husband) was having. She wanted to know if the "Hooked on Phoenix" learning series was worth the money.

SGW
05-01-2010, 06:08 PM
And of course there are, I believe, eight ways to pronounce "-ough" (through, bough, lough, etc.)

Asquith
05-01-2010, 06:13 PM
UK technical writing favours the use of the third person, but without making a fetish of it, i.e. be pragmatic, and say ‘I’ if that’s the sensible thing to do.

For example, I might write ‘I visited the manufacturer’s works and witnessed…’ because it would be daft and convoluted to say it any other way. However I’d then tend to say ‘It was observed that when the lever was raised….’, and avoid the repetitive use of 'I' that would probably ensue .

Perhaps it’s traditional, and has its origins in not wanting to appear to be blowing your own trumpet (or should I say one’s own trumpet!). I suppose it was drummed into me at school, when writing up science experiments. ‘The temperature was measured….’, not ‘I measured the temperature…’.

One thing I can’t stand, though, is the obsession of some older writers with avoiding the use of I or my at all costs, for example by saying Your writer instead of I. I have Don Young’s autobiography (he was an old steam man and contributor to Model Engineer), and he had the intensely irritating habit of frequently saying ’Yours truly’ instead of ’I’.

Nick is dead right when he advocates shortening sentences for clarity. It took me a long time to learn that simple lesson. Short paragraphs are good, too. Most important, though, is to try and get someone to read through what you’ve written, as a sanity check.

I read a lot of 19th century engineering magazines, and have concluded that the writers were paid by the word. Technical descriptions were often impenetrable, with huge paragraphs and microscopic font sizes to enhance the difficulty. Here’s how not to do it:-

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y54/Asquith1/Spring%202010/DSCN0722a.jpg

rolland
05-01-2010, 06:37 PM
well I for one ain't had no trouble reading whut them guys rote i understand it all most of the time.

rohart
05-01-2010, 06:48 PM
Goodness me ! Now where did this interesting thread come from. Gadzooks, what ! By Jove, I only popped into the jolly old shop for a little light relief, watching some gears face and rebore themselves, and all this goes on while one's not watching, dontcha know, eh ?

To the OP, I agree that the passive tense seems a bit old hat, but how often do you encounter it in the less formal atmosphere of this forum ? Surely US magazine articles from the end of the 19th century were quite formal and antiquated too. Isn't the answer more a question of the larger melting pot of the US meaning that you lot have always lead the way with informal English ?

You've also got to remember that immigration into the US was primarily by people speaking different languages, while into Britain immigration was mainly people who had English as a (colonially imposed) second language. It was easier for us to hold on to our formalities, while there was more pressure in the States for informalities to develop.

Off the point, I was wondering about an issue of language, but one from the imperial vs metric school.

Since I was actually boring out for a press fit, and as I work in metric, I was wondering what the word is that metric turners use for the nearest metric equivalent to the thou - being either a tenth or a hundredth of a millimeter.

metalmagpie
05-01-2010, 07:25 PM
There is no exact metric terminology for the infinitely useful "thou" (this is the 'thou' short for 'thousandth' *not* the 'thou' that goes with 'thee'). If I were you I'd fall back on the nonprecise but colorful term RCH.

I know a New Zealander who uses the term "gnat's cock" when he is talking about a small amount to be removed to make a bore just right ..

metalmagpie

38_Cal
05-01-2010, 08:24 PM
I'm bilingual...I speak English, and vulgar.

Ah, but I'm tri-lingual...I speak English, bad English & Gibberish! :D

David

p.s.: And it's a damned poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word...

oldtiffie
05-01-2010, 10:35 PM
.............................................
Off the point, I was wondering about an issue of language, but one from the imperial vs metric school.

Since I was actually boring out for a press fit, and as I work in metric, I was wondering what the word is that metric turners use for the nearest metric equivalent to the thou - being either a tenth or a hundredth of a millimeter.

Here anyway, its "naught point oh one" or "point O 1" (as in "point oh one") which is the default calibration of most/many machine tools = 0.01mm ~0.0004" (four tenths").

0.001" (a "thou") is ~ 0.025mm, 0.0005" ("half a thou") is ~ 0.0125mm and 0.0001" ("a tenth") is ~ 0.0025mm

I don't know how it is dealt with in other parts of OZ or in the UK or Europe.

Many here who went to school before we were "metricated" still use "imperial"/"inch" units of weight, length, distance, temperature and volume. Most who went to school after metrication progressively used the metric system, to the extent that over the last 20+ years, "imperial" is pretty well a lost language. Its odd, but the weight of babies at birth and later is still expressed in pounds and ounces (and kilograms or grams).

I, as is the case with many others, am quite bi-lingual as regards metric and imperial. I am quite at ease switching between them or using both on the same job or doing conversions almost in/as a form of mental arithmetic.

Weston Bye
05-01-2010, 10:50 PM
My English teachers in high school would never have bet money on my success as a writer. I was astonished when Neil Knopf, then editor of HSM, approached me about writing a column in Digital Machinist.

Now, all this talk about active and passive voice makes me want to go back and reread what I have written. Indeed, as a form of feedback, I would welcome comments about my writing style from those of you who have read DM. I doubt that I would make any wholesale changes, as the current style seems to be working. Still, comments, good or bad welcome.

dp
05-01-2010, 11:28 PM
I doubt that I would make any wholesale changes, as the current style seems to be working. Still, comments, good or bad welcome.

If you attempt to write to a standard that does not have its roots in your writer's mind nobody will read a word you write. Imagine the outcome if Edgar Rice Burroughs had thought his style too full of glib puffery and unbridled adjectivity (it is, of course, but that's what I like about it! That, and making up words :) ).

Ad'jec'tiv'i'ty: The act of leaving whorls of pockmarks across whole swaths of written text by the recalcitrant abuse of adjectives.

doctor demo
05-01-2010, 11:52 PM
There is no exact metric terminology for the infinitely useful "thou" (this is the 'thou' short for 'thousandth' *not* the 'thou' that goes with 'thee'). "gnat's cock" when he is talking about a small amount to be removed to make a bore just right ..

metalmagpie

I thought a ''thee'' was a tenth of a ''thou'' and a ''gnats cock'' was a half-''thee'':D

Steve

boslab
05-02-2010, 01:50 AM
I live [work] in a steel plant lab, prior to that I [first person active] used to write as i found it, from my point of view indeed.
It was not long before I was converted to as Asquith points [and others not to be rude] out Third Person Passive.
Lab work is always written this way over here, its as if its part of the British culture to not want to take credit for anything good or bad?
It was noted that when the molten steel came in contact with the large puddle that [a] A steam explosion occurred and [b] Ejectile material broke all the windows, not I slopped the ladle some hit a puddle and went bang, broke all the windows and resulted in me soiling my pants [again]
The Brits are bred for it i reckon, thieve exported it all over, its not wrong, its just the way we do it.
regards
mark

MuellerNick
05-02-2010, 02:25 AM
I was wondering what the word is that metric turners use for the nearest metric equivalent to the thou - being either a tenth or a hundredth of a millimeter.

We say tenth of 1/10 mm (or 0.1 mm), hundredth, thousandth. For the thousandth, the µ (it should be µm) is also used.
Quite natural, or?

Nick

.RC.
05-02-2010, 03:45 AM
1 (4|\| U|\|D3r$74|\|D 3\/3r'/7|-|1|\|9 j00Z 4LL $4'/. :D

Black Forest
05-02-2010, 03:49 AM
My wife used to tell me, "English is such a beautiful language, why don't you try to use it."

English is my first language but I never had a love affair with being proper, only understood.

Circlip
05-02-2010, 04:19 AM
I'm German, never lived outside of it, only spent 6 weeks in English-speaking countries (USA and if that counts Australia).

Sorry Nick, NEITHER count as English speakng countries. :eek:

Regards Ian.

.RC.
05-02-2010, 04:43 AM
Sorry Nick, NEITHER count as English speakng countries. :eek:

Regards Ian.

Fair suck of the sav Circlip....

Bguns
05-02-2010, 04:52 AM
More of us Americans speak English (kind of) than the English :)

Which is proper?? The antique, or the modern?? :) More than a few Olde English words, are no longer in common use ....

I only speak rusty German as a second language, not much use in Alaska...

Where is the language that makes sense??

Simple nouns, spelling, punctuation, lack of Formal vs Familiar, He, She, It, Dialects, etc...

Sounds boring though....

oldtiffie
05-02-2010, 04:59 AM
And the Brits shall now give us an elocution (and diction?) lesson by each delivering their version of reading the BBC news.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elocution

How now brown cow?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_now_brown_cow

and

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain ('enery 'iggins) though I do fancy Eliza Doolittle ("My fair Lady").

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rain_in_Spain

For OZ version of English as she is spoke:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strine

http://users.tpg.com.au/users/bev2000/strine2.htm

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&source=hp&q=strine&meta=&aq=2&aqi=g9g-s1&aql=&oq=strin&gs_rfai=&fp=ba6977bd596143c7

We are often asked by others - usually Poms from the UK - "Don't you know the Queen's English?".

Of course we know the bloody Queens English - she lives in the UK - doesn't she?

Bloody Poms.

oldtiffie
05-02-2010, 05:05 AM
I thought that text(ing) and SMS(ing) were the newest common language/s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texting_language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texting

oldtiffie
05-02-2010, 05:18 AM
Perhaps if we are to speak as the English do, we should add a bit of colour and adopt the manner of speaking of English fishwives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishwife

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/eschew

And did I mention the differences between English as she is spoke and English as she is writ?

John Stevenson
05-02-2010, 05:20 AM
I thought a ''thee'' was a tenth of a ''thou'' and a ''gnats cock'' was a half-''thee'':D

Steve

No that's a micron. :rolleyes:

malbenbut
05-02-2010, 05:21 AM
When I was a a lot younger I went to see a Mario Lanza film in which he sang Because Your Mine. All the kids with me thought he was singing Big Arse Your Mine which is what it sounded like in the English dialect I speak.
MBB

Circlip
05-02-2010, 05:36 AM
Must be a dialect thing, I thought it was "Big Horse you're mine"

Regards Ian.

Bguns
05-02-2010, 05:48 AM
I had a tough time understanding whether I wanted Cod or Haddock for my order, at a chip stand in Portsmouth in 94...

Funky English :)

A Barnsley

Really French Canadian/Scottish though...

Your Old Dog
05-02-2010, 06:08 AM
What grates on me is when a single person describes his/her activitities as done by "we".

That is the pluralis majestuae, reserved for the king/queen. Holland has one, England has one. ................................................

My father did that to/for me constantly. Everytime "I" made a mistake he made it out to be "we" and it took the heat and guilt off of me. I do it for family and friends so as not to single them out when an error has occurred.

Another reason a person might use we instead of I is if there are an number of occasions of the word I in a writing. Many believe it sounds conceded to use I a multitude of times in describing what you've done. It is for that reason I am guilty of the use of we.

I suppose if I had a proper education in English and had not failed it in High School I would be more sensitive to it. Instead, I'm sensitive to people speaking with lazy diction expecially on TV which used to be the bastion of educated prose!

Your Old Dog
05-02-2010, 06:14 AM
......................................

Once we had a whole 4 lessons on the pluperfect tense, I never understood it and never have, to be honest to this day I don't have a clue what it is................................................

Well you've done better then me. Mrs Bird in high school and an awesome rack , short skirts and legs to die for and that's about all I remember about English class. Anything I've learned about English came about from reading. Forget his name but a great writer once said good writing is just good reading in reverse.



........................................
Nick is dead right when he advocates shortening sentences for clarity. It took me a long time to learn that simple lesson. Short paragraphs are good, too. Most important, though, is to try and get someone to read through what you’ve written, as a sanity check................................

At the news operation that I worked at one of the better producers said most writing can be improved with a broad axe and I've seen him prove time and time again that he was right.



................................. Isn't the answer more a question of the larger melting pot of the US meaning that you lot have always lead the way with informal English ? ..................................

A little prone to understatment are we? :D Axe a question like thet an you might get a cap popped in your arse!!
( New movie promo in the states: Movies that don't suck )

DickDastardly40
05-02-2010, 06:36 AM
Mrs Bird in high school and an awesome rack , short skirts and legs to die for and that's about all I remember about English class. [/I]


Wish I'd been cogent enough to realise quite how foxy Miss Barnes was:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs146.snc1/5413_127695879883_576909883_3110682_7793607_n.jpg

Elmore Leonard perhaps said something like, 'never let the words get in the way of the story'.

I dislike how TV folk say 'with me, Mike Rubbish' rather than "with myself, Mike Rubbish".

Also why do folk who do a commentary, commentate rather than comment?

Carld
05-02-2010, 09:25 AM
Hmmm, I don't understand how anyone could complain about the usage of the English language if they are reading and posting on forums.

Think about that for a while and tell us why you would complain about the composition of a post or an article in print or online if you continue to read and/or post.

krutch
05-02-2010, 02:33 PM
My HS english teacher told us, "The idea is to communicate! However in this class you will use proper english!" I flunked!! No, she wasn't good looking either.
I got an email once where the words were slightly scrambled somehow, on purpose. It was amazing that the mind was able to get the gist of the message through the 'scramble'. That was the point if the email. Like one of the 'eye puzzles'.

Krutch

wierdscience
05-02-2010, 02:56 PM
I never like cracker ass english class either,teacher wasn't pimp-tight looking an' da class wuz uh waste o' tyme.

I learned ta read an' write,pimp-tight enough all ye damn hood ratz.. word:D

gearedloco
05-02-2010, 03:55 PM
What grates on me is when a single person describes his/her activitities as done by "we".

That is the pluralis majestuae, reserved for the king/queen. Holland has one, England has one.

As for chucking and facing, it does'nt matter who does it, it matters that it's done. So it's cultural, maybe in America it's added value who does it.

I seem to recall the British "offer up" things rather than "chuck" them for machining. Of course "chucking up" something is a whole other kettle of fish.


To put it bluntly, a finished part can be a hard struggled victory versus an executed plan of attack.

You omit several variations. There is of course the "Royal (or Imperial) We," the "Editorial We," as well as the "Wee Wee." Then there's the case of the odd soul with a mouse or turd in his/her pocket. It goes on and on.:rolleyes:

So there's this traveling Field Service Engineer who, after deplaning in Boston, hails a cab. Feeling a tad hungry for fish, he asks the cabbie, "Where can I get scrod?"

The cabbie replies, "I've been asked that question many times in many forms, but that's the first time it's been cast in the past pluperfect subjunctive case!"

Hmmm - that works better said than written. My apologies, but it did need to be said! Or written, as the case may be.

-bill:p

John Stevenson
05-02-2010, 04:09 PM
So there's this traveling Field Service Engineer who, after deplaning in Boston, hails a cab. Feeling a tad hungry for fish, he asks the cabbie, "Where can I get scrod?"

The cabbie replies, "I've been asked that question many times in many forms, but that's the first time it's been cast in the past pluperfect subjunctive case!"


-bill:p

At last after 40 odd years Bill has explained it perfectly, a pluperfect is a fish.

Did it take 4 lessons of English to cover this and still not explain it was a fish ?

And no the English teacher wasn't foxy, unless you were a hound. Mind you we did have this great looking RI teacher, even I was nearly converted from being an agnostic.

This was at the time when this instant tanning preparations in a tube came out. She went home one cold Novembers night and came into school next day looking like she'd been varnished dark oak.

In hindsight I have to giver her 11 out of 10 for turning in, I think I'd have pulled a sicky.

.

loose nut
05-02-2010, 04:49 PM
What grates on me is when a single person describes his/her activitities as done by "we".

That is the pluralis majestuae, reserved for the king/queen. Holland has one, England has one.

.


Since 1987 when Canada tossed out the British North America Act and adopted it's own constitution, it ceased to be a Dominion (of the British Empire) and became it's own country, Queen Lizzie is now officially the "Queen of Canada". So we can use the royal WE also.

I had problems machining a job in the shop yesterday, we were not amused.

loose nut
05-02-2010, 04:55 PM
I call it a wrench, in England it might be called a spanner.

I was looking through an old book some time ago and found a chart on wrench (spanner) types.

It turns out that a long time ago both the wrench and the spanner along with others were different type of wrenches (spanners) and at some point we, on this side of the pond, adopted the term wrench for all of them and the British held onto spanner. The other types have fallen into disuse.

Asquith
05-02-2010, 06:18 PM
I happen to be reading the autobiography of a famous British electrical engineer, Colonel R E Crompton, born in 1845. Crompton’s parents were well off, and he was sent to one of the best Public Schools (Harrow). British Public schools are definitely not the same as US Public Schools. Parents paid large fees to these prestigious institutions, where troublesome brats were turned into troublesome empire builders. Make no mistake, they might have been arrogant toffs, but they were tough.

Before he went to Harrow, he used family connections to go and have a look at the Crimean War. He signed up temporarily as a naval cadet, and was one of the few 11 year olds to receive the Crimean War Medal!

To the point: Of his time at Harrow, Crompton recalled "…our house Master was a funny old gentleman, much addicted to an ironical use of the first person plural.
‘Now, Crompton Junior, we have not done our Latin prose at all nicely. We must write out 100 lines of the 6th Aeneid’.
The following day I took up 50 lines only.
‘Oh, Crompton, but where are the other 50?’.
'But sir, you said we were to write 100 lines. I have written 50; where are yours?’
'Oh, Crompton junior, we must go up to Dr Vaughan to be flogged.’
'What, both of us, Sir?’ "

aboard_epsilon
05-02-2010, 07:13 PM
I was looking through an old book some time ago and found a chart on wrench (spanner) types.

It turns out that a long time ago both the wrench and the spanner along with others were different type of wrenches (spanners) and at some point we, on this side of the pond, adopted the term wrench for all of them and the British held onto spanner. The other types have fallen into disuse.

Well, our only wrench is the monkey-wrench..sort of a crude adustable spanner........perhaps you dropped the word spanner......and kept the wrench for monkeying about :D :D :D

all the best.mark

Mark K
05-02-2010, 07:36 PM
I monkey about with wenches. But I hate spammers.

Or, do I owe you an apology? :D

Mark

lane
05-02-2010, 08:33 PM
If youse can stand Coonass youse can understand any thing.

metalmagpie
05-03-2010, 12:28 AM
I was looking through an old book some time ago and found a chart on wrench (spanner) types.

It turns out that a long time ago both the wrench and the spanner along with others were different type of wrenches (spanners) and at some point we, on this side of the pond, adopted the term wrench for all of them and the British held onto spanner. The other types have fallen into disuse.

Not true. We have spanner wrenches e.g. for the locking ring on L-type spindles, as well as face spanners. And we also have wrenches. In the US, I mean. Can't speak for Canada.

metalmagpie

Mike Burch
05-03-2010, 02:20 AM
The British habit of using the passive voice in formal writing is partly due to their natural reserve (and an innate embarrassment at any successes that might come their way) and partly due to Civil Service requirements to phrase everything so that the blame always lies elsewhere.
Thus "The chuck key hurled itself across the shop" is infinitely preferable to "I left the key in the chuck with the inevitable result".
I used to teach radio announcers for a classical music network, where we were expected to pronounce thirty different languages at sight. (We were also expected to communicate with our audience, and not distance them by using the passive voice.)
When trainees complained at the difficulties of foreign pronunciations, I always told them to be thankful they were not having to learn English, which is the third most difficult language in the world to pronounce correctly (after Chinese and Arabic, since you ask). The "ough" mentioned in a previous post was my favourite example, and over time I evolved the following sentence to illustrate the difficulties of rule-free English:
"Hiccoughs, though rough coughs, plough through thorough thought."
All eight pronunciations in ten syllables - it can't be done in fewer - and yes, not being English, I'm proud of it!

whitis
05-03-2010, 02:48 AM
I dislike how TV folk say 'with me, Mike Rubbish' rather than "with myself, Mike Rubbish".

I'm shocked, my own self (http://still-flying.net/quotes.php?jaynestown). :)

You didn't give the full context but I don't see how "myself" would be correct in the snippet you gave in any likely context.

"Welcome to Blathering Blowhards with me, Mike Rubish."
"Welcome to Blathering Blowhards with me, your host, Mike Rubbish."
"Today's show features a rare personal interview of John Stevenson with me, Mike Rubish." (rather clumsy)

Myself is normally used in conjunction with "I" such as:

"I had a chance to interview John Stevenson, myself, at a pub in Nottingham."
"I, myself, interviewed John Stevenson at a pub in Nottingham".

Most situations where "myself" can follow "with" involve literal or figurative masturbation. "I was playing with myself", "I was in love with myself", "I was just talking with myself", "I was just dancing with myself", and "I couldn't live with myself". Of course, you could argue that more than a few TV hosts fall into that category. :) Sometimes the "I" (and the verb which follows) is omitted in titles of movies, episodes, or songs: "Conversations with myself", "Dancing with myself", and "Arguing with myself"; these are sentence fragments.

It is correct to say "I did the show/interview/narration/commentary myself" or "I hosted the show myself" but not to say "The show/interview/narration/commentary with myself" or "Blathering Blowhards with myself, Mike Rubbish, as host".

http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/difficulties/memyself.html

oldtiffie
05-03-2010, 05:13 AM
A comment: all of the "marked up" items in RED are superfluous and/or redundant and are obvious enough to be inferred - if necessary - by the reader/listener/audience.


I'm shocked, my own self (http://still-flying.net/quotes.php?jaynestown). :)

You didn't give the full context but I don't see how "myself" would be correct in the snippet you gave in any likely context.

"Welcome to Blathering Blowhards with me, Mike Rubish."
"Welcome to Blathering Blowhards with me, your host, Mike Rubbish."
"Today's show features a rare personal interview of John Stevenson with me, Mike Rubish." (rather clumsy)

Myself is normally used in conjunction with "I" such as:

"I had a chance to interview John Stevenson, myself, at a pub in Nottingham."

"I, myself, interviewed John Stevenson at a pub in Nottingham".

Most situations where "myself" can follow "with" involve literal or figurative masturbation. "I was playing with myself", "I was in love with myself", "I was just talking with myself", "I was just dancing with myself", and "I couldn't live with myself". Of course, you could argue that more than a few TV hosts fall into that category. :) Sometimes the "I" (and the verb which follows) is omitted in titles of movies, episodes, or songs: "Conversations with myself", "Dancing with myself", and "Arguing with myself"; these are sentence fragments.

It is correct to say "I did the show/interview/narration/commentary myself" or "I hosted the show myself" but not to say "The show/interview/narration/commentary with myself" or "Blathering Blowhards with myself, Mike Rubbish, as host".

http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/difficulties/memyself.html

DickDastardly40
05-03-2010, 05:16 AM
Every day is a schoolday, I stand corrected (I often am), mea culpa, attitude adjustment required.

I can't remember who told me that the TV folk were wrong just that they were. Oh well, if nothing else it shows that people take the time to read what others post; thanks for that.

John Stevenson
05-03-2010, 05:22 AM
"I had a chance to interview John Stevenson, myself, at a pub in Nottingham."
"I, myself, interviewed John Stevenson at a pub in Nottingham".



Which pub ?

Have I missed one ??

.

dvbydt
05-03-2010, 05:52 AM
On pronunciation even the best may struggle with this:

http://www.mipmip.org/tidbits/pronunciation.shtml

Southern Brits also struggle with dialects, particularly lowland Scottish and Scouse.

I always feel inadequate in the company of people like Nick who have such a great command of my native tongue, when I only know about six words in their language. Even though I studied French for five years, French people will prefer to speak to me in English rather than listen to me torturing their grammar and pronuciation.

IanR

oldtiffie
05-03-2010, 06:03 AM
Every day is a schoolday, I stand corrected (I often am), mea culpa, attitude adjustment required.

I can't remember who told me that the TV folk were wrong just that they were. Oh well, if nothing else it shows that people take the time to read what others post; thanks for that.

Don't worry about it Dick - just as long as we don't drop (back?) into Pusser's slang and jargon etc. all will be OK - otherwise not.

I'd suggest that some are - or should be - "two blocks" or "rove hard up".

(Edit)

Insert quote from/by DD40

(End edit)

MuellerNick
05-03-2010, 07:53 AM
French people will prefer to speak to me in English

Your French must be terrible! :D
When I visited France, they even denied to understand you when (at that time), my French was quite understandable. They only understood when they wanted your money.
At that time, I had an Italian girlfriend. Initially, we talked in French. She gave English lessons, but here English was way too funny!

But as a German, you have a hard time in France anyhow.

La Grande Nation ne parle pas Anglais! Well, it changed a bit over the decades.

Nick

MCS
05-03-2010, 08:28 AM
But as a German, you have a hard time in France anyhow.



Yes, you start with stating you are not a German.

Only the last years our national sport of sending Germans in opposite directions and wanting our bicycles back died out.

The French are not that bad, they are just as bad as everyone.

JohnHarbeck
05-03-2010, 05:53 PM
The one that always bothers me (screech on blackboard) is:
referring to a car/animal - pedestrian accident
'Ran him/her over' or 'Ran over him/her'.
I probably see more of the first example, but it just grates on my nerves every time I hear/read it...... Any thoughts on which is really correct......:confused:

Arcane
05-03-2010, 06:17 PM
When I visited France, they even denied to understand you when (at that time), my French was quite understandable. They only understood when they wanted your money.

Nick

A somewhat similar situation is frequently found here in Canada with many of the Francophones in Quebec pretending they do not understand english when they know you are from western Canada. It's obvious when they have just talked quite fluently in english to the Japanese tourist who doesn't speak french but who does speak english.

Awhile back now, a friend who originally came to Saskatchewan from Quebec went back home for a visit. His car plates said said he was from Sask. and when a lot of people noticed that, they were quick to swear and curse (in french) at him and about the west in general. He said the look on their faces when he replied to them in excellently fluent Quebecois was priceless!

m squared
05-03-2010, 06:25 PM
I like to use the following disclaimer on all written communication, to avoid confusion and frequent correction:

The preceeding is a natural, hand-made product. The slight variations in
spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in
no way to be considered flaws or defects.