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The Honest Way Forum • View topic - Punctuation Rant

Punctuation Rant

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Punctuation Rant

Postby Tel » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:46 pm

Following my glowing praise for Constant Content yesterday, they went and rejected my latest article! In the end it was totally my fault, but I was caught out nonetheless by the fact that I'm English and was taught English grammar in an English school.

You can only guess what's coming...


I ran afoul of the fact that Constant Content is an American site and therefore we have to abide by its rules on grammar which is fair enough I suppose. Of course the American version of English is irritatingly different from the parent language in lots of ways.

In this instance, it has nothing to do with spelling, but a lesser known difference between English grammar and the American version of English grammar.

The dreaded single quotes! :(

Well, I used single quotes to denote the latin subspecies names of plants (eg J. 'officinale' for common Jasmine).

Wrong. Slapped wrists!

I was told in no uncertain terms that single quotes are only used within the bounds of double quotes in American grammar. D'oh! (or should that be D"oh!)

But I should have known that from reading books produced by both English and American publishers - the conversational quotes are single for English and double for American. :idea:

Rant, rave... and that got my article rejected... rant, rave... even more annoying as I wrote it in response to a public request that came in this morning. It's pot luck and the fasted authors to get their articles submitted and approved get to send a note to the requester to tell them their article is ready. Then the article will sell really quick if it's what the requester wants. That happened to me last weekend and I was over the moon.

Today however, I will not be so lucky. Because they rejected mine and I only just re-submitted it, others got in before me. I noticed that the requester has already bought 4 articles on the same subject by those other authors.

Grrrrr! :evil:

Ok, I just wanted to get that off my chest.

I still admire CC despite my probable lost sale - not their fault but...

I'd be slightly ticked off if it turns out the buyer is English.... 8)
Terry

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Postby Fiar » Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:19 pm

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Postby Tel » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:46 am

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Postby Fiar » Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:13 pm

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Postby Tel » Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:34 pm

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Postby Fiar » Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:03 am

With what you were saying about why our written language is different. My best guess is that it was something we did on purpose. When we fought for independence from the British Empire, we didn't just reject being ruled by the Motherland. We rejected the Motherland in its entirety.

We have no royal family, nor do we recognize the Queen, like they do in Canada. We took everything that was a traditional custom and threw it out. We rejected tea, and took up coffee, as just one example.

I think that's probably somehow the seed of what became a separate written form of the language. Other things stemming from that permeate American culture to this day as well. Our disdain for Europe, and our contempt for people that don't make every effort to reject their old ways and assimilate into our culture springs to mind off the top of my head.
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Postby Chelsea » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:08 pm

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Postby Fiar » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:49 pm

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Postby Tel » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:24 pm

No worries - if everyone thought the same it'd be a boring world we live in! :D
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Re: Punctuation Rant

Postby Fiar » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:06 pm

Just wanted to let you know how I finally fixed my firefox spellchecker problem. When it highlights a word, right-click, like you would if you wanted it to suggest corrections. Then at the very bottom of the menu you will see "Languages." Click on that and it gives you a menu to select the language. It was set to "English HK" instead of "English US." The reason I couldn't solve it before is that I was looking in the main firefox language settings, which have to do with the display of pages, not the spellcheck dictionary.

Still no word on why our language is different. Heh. :lol:
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Re: Punctuation Rant

Postby Tel » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:23 am

I've been having problems with Firefox in that it crashes intermittently and its a real pain. I had to disable all the plug-ins then re-introduce the ones I really needed to try to minimise the impact. The spell-checker wasn't important enough to keep as I only use Firefox for typing in forums and blog posts, where lets face it, spelling isn't a big deal, especially if you're after original content where spellong mostakes and typoos give that edge! For my freelance work I tend to use Open Office as it seems to run a bit quicker than Word.

As for our language difference, it could also stem from the fact that in the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries a lot of immigrants entered the US particularly from Ireland (where your modern accent likely has it roots), Italy and some Eastern European countries such as Poland and even Russia. That put a lot of accents, languages and written works into a big meltinmg pot and out came what you have today.

The UK English language in itself has undergone many modifications through history - you only have to read some Shakespear to see how different it was back then! I imagine the American version has evolved over time just the same and both will continue to evolve as new words are created and old words fall into disuse.

It seems the romantic languages tend not to differ much across the different countries. As I already said, Spanish is very precise especially written Spanish which is fairly constant across the world, as is Italian and French, although those languages are not so widespread.

It amuses me that profanities are the one part of any language that tend to be country specific. In England to call someone a c**t is considered about the stongest swear word of all, yet north of the border in Scotland and in Ireland, it is commonly used in everyday language and is no big deal. In England, to call a woman a cow is no big deal, but do that in Scotland, especially in Glasgow and you'll have used one of the most offensive terms possible and will likely get a beating from the husband or boyfriend for doing it!

I remember it was almost as recently as the early 90s that the word toilet was banned from use on American TV. You use the word bathroom instead, which amuses us no end. For a long time that expression conjured up images of Americans pissing in the bath and god knows what the toilet was ever used for... One popular comedian (I can't remember who, maybe Steven Wright) observed someone walking down the street exclaim "Oh f**k, I just trod in some doggy do"

I heard a good one in Spanish - as you can imagine I'm learning all the best Spanish swear words. We call a boca de pan a loaf of bread, but in Cuba it means vagina! The word coño directly translates to c**t in English, but in Spanish it can mean many things, fron oh shit, to "aw come on!" Yet to tell someone to shove it up their ass (vete por culo) is a really strong one!

In the end, its the language differences that make life interesting, especially when you live in another country than your own that speaks a different language. Now that's a real education!
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Re: Punctuation Rant

Postby Edwyn » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:48 pm

Now I'm an old grumpy guy so I know all about profanities! I had to slap my thigh when I read that part with the guy saying "Oh f*ck I just trod in doggy doo", man that sums up our crazy country and its crazy ideas!

You know a lot of Americans are not afraid to say toilet, its just that idiotic term "bathroom" sorta stuck. well, maybe with city types, I don't know. I think a lot of undermining of our values comes from mamby pamby liberals who have forgotten how to laugh at what's funny in life and tend to be serious about all the wrong things.

We share a great language and I believe a lot of the differences came from our struggle with trying to find our own identity other than be reminded that we all originated from Europe in the first place. In many ways I admire the Australians for their guts - their history is probably the shortest of the English speaking nations and they've held on to the UK's grammar yet have carved out their own identity. But they've got one helluva tough prime minister who says what he thinks and what probably most people think too.

All of our presidents in the last 40 years or so have been the puppets of congress with no real voice of their own. Except maybe Nixon, but look at the shit he got into!


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Re: Punctuation Rant

Postby writer-ros » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:48 am

The progress of language is a really fascinating one. I read a very interesting book on the subject recently, called "The History of English" by our very own Melvyn Bragg. It really shows how a nation's language is a living, ever-changing thing. It is constantly evolving, and those stick-in-the-muds who insist on "correct" (sorry about the double quotations :lol: ) grammar are sometimes swimming against the tide.

Because affiliate marketing is such a global thing - I do find it confusing at times. When I'm writing my blog I will use the American "program", but nothing will make me drop the "u" from words like colour or favourite!

I must admit I do get hot under the collar about the wrong use of apostrophes - but it's best not to get me started on that one...

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Re: Punctuation Rant

Postby David Hurley » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:59 pm

After the War of Independence a chap called Webster felt that school books were no longer appropriate and so he sat down and wrote a dictionary, a spelling book and a grammar book. It was Webster who simplified many of the spellings and turned the French -re endings round to read -er (centre/center etc).

Webster's dictionary is still the leading dictionary in the USA, isn't it?

What is interesting, at least to me, is the fact that it is AMERICAN English that has PRESERVED some forms that we have forgotten in Britain.

British English: forget - forgot - forgotten, BUT get - got - got

American English: forget - forgot - forgotten AND get - got - gotten

There is one American English spelling that I prefer and that is "skeptical" - I love that "k".
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