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For language prudes only - What words drive you nuts?

 
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Confusing each other with one another and vice versa.
Saying vice versa as if the first word were a monosyllable.
Saying one hates the word meetings when it is the event one really hates
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Brian Tkatch wrote:. . . It's not just me! apology vs sorry . . .

I am afraid the two hits I read disagreed with each other, and neither supports you against Winston.



Let me apologize: The hits illustrate there actually is a difference and the two ought not to be confused.

All the definitions of sorry mean regret or sorrow.

Apology means to explain. Indeed, the etymology of the word is the Greek apologia, which means "a speech in one's own defense." It is often related to feelings of sorrow, but that does not have to be the case.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Saying vice versa as if the first word were a monosyllable.



Whoa!

Similarly, pronouncing forte the strong point, as if it were the musical term.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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And how would you pronounce vice as in vice versa or forte meaning strong point?
 
Brian Tkatch
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:And how would you pronounce vice as in vice versa or forte meaning strong point?


Hmm.. The Oxford Learner's Dictionary considers the pronunciation of forte to be a US/UK thing.
 
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Vi suh.

Fort.
 
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Tim Holloway wrote:"He is taller than I" is grammatical. And if you say it instead of "He is taller than me", people will think you're putting on airs.

The reason, I think is that "I" is sonically unpleasant compared to "me" in such context. And languages are notorious for irregularities because the purely logical choice based on consistent rules would either sound funny, be difficult to produce, or would be unconsciously morphed when spoken in conversation.



One funny extension of this is when "me" is actually correct but the speaker uses the sonically less pleasant "I" because they mistakenly believe that "I" is correct. e.g. "When you finish the report, please send a copy to Janet and I."

I will add one to the list. Use of "myself" when "me" is correct. "Please send a copy to Janet and myself". "Myself" is correct only when I am the one doing the action. e.g. "Whenever I send email, I like to send a copy to myself."

While I'm at it... I've also seen "as well as" overused as a substitute for "and". The three-word phrase has the implication that the item before it is somehow surprising in its inclusion with an item that's already well accepted. e.g. Gertrude as well as Harriet won prizes for their preserves at the county fair. This implies that we already knew Harriet had won and that Gertrude's prize was the new piece of information. If the fact that both women won is equally interesting, then it should be "Gertrude and Harriet...".
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:. . . The Oxford Learner's Dictionary considers the pronunciation of forte to be a US/UK thing.

In which case we have got it right. In their original languages (Latin/Italian) both forte and vice (as in vice versa) are bisyllables.
 
Brian Tkatch
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Brian Tkatch wrote:. . . The Oxford Learner's Dictionary considers the pronunciation of forte to be a US/UK thing.

In which case we have got it right. In their original languages (Latin/Italian) both forte and vice (as in vice versa) are bisyllables.


The musical forte comes from Italian, but the strong forte comes from French.
 
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Ryan McGuire wrote:One funny extension of this is when "me" is actually correct but the speaker uses the sonically less pleasant "I" because they mistakenly believe that "I" is correct. e.g. "When you finish the report, please send a copy to Janet and I."



I like the description of that sort of mistake as "hyper-correction" (the Wikipedia page on the term has this as the first example).
 
Matthew Brown
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Brian Tkatch wrote:The musical forte comes from Italian, but the strong forte comes from French.



But we speak English :-). The etymology doesn't always determine the pronunciation (or even meaning!). The OED has "fort" as an older pronunciation.
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:Hmm.. The Oxford Learner's Dictionary considers the pronunciation of forte to be a US/UK thing.


Yes, but the word is French, and is specifically forté - indeed, I believe it's correct to spell it that way in English (if you can). Unfortunately the link has the wrong translation, but the correct pronunciation.

'Forte' is simply the feminine of the adjective 'fort' (strong) - elle est forte - whereas 'forté' is the noun (strength).

Winston

[Edit] Strangely, I can't seem to find any online dictionary that includes 'forté', which makes me wonder if it's archaic. Any French speakers out there?
 
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I hate unnecessary conditionals.

"if you're interested, we're going to the park later today". I always wonder where they might go if I am not interested.

I know XKCD just did a comic on this rather recently, but this has bugged me for years.
 
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Matthew Brown wrote:

Brian Tkatch wrote:The musical forte comes from Italian, but the strong forte comes from French.



But we speak English :-). The etymology doesn't always determine the pronunciation (or even meaning!). The OED has "fort" as a older pronunciation.



Wow, and i'm trying to understand Android context to boot.

That comment is a retort to Campbell's comment that etymological source lends credence to a specific pronunciation. Whether or not that is a correct assertion, the idea that it came from the Italians is incorrect.
 
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fred rosenberger wrote:I hate unnecessary conditionals.

"if you're interested, we're going to the park later today". I always wonder where they might go if I am not interested.

I know XKCD just did a comic on this rather recently, but this has bugged me for years.



It bugs me when people use a comma and "then".

If you use a comma, do not use "then".
If you do not use a comma then use "then".
If you use a comma and then "then", then i will become annoyed.
 
Stephan van Hulst
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:'Forte' is simply the feminine of the adjective 'fort' (strong) - elle est forte - whereas 'forté' is the noun (strength).



I can't find a credible source that supports the notion that forté is an existing French word.
 
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:

Winston Gutkowski wrote:'Forte' is simply the feminine of the adjective 'fort' (strong) - elle est forte - whereas 'forté' is the noun (strength).



I can't find a credible source that supports the notion that forté is an existing French word.


forte etymology
 
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Brian, that doesn't really answer my question. Can you point to something specific that says forté (with the acute accent) is a word of the French language?
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:I can't find a credible source that supports the notion that forté is an existing French word.


No me neither (I added a note above). But I'm sure I remember that explanation from school - including the é.

Calling all French speakers.

Winston
 
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:Brian, that doesn't really answer my question. Can you point to something specific that says forté (with the acute accent) is a word of the French language?



Oh, now i am just confused. We went from pronunciation to etymology to cute letters.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:

Stephan van Hulst wrote:I can't find a credible source that supports the notion that forté is an existing French word.


No me neither (I added a note above). But I'm sure I remember that explanation from school - including the é.


Phew! Found someone else who has clearly heard the same thing here.

Thanks Orange Blossom (??) - I thought I was having another 'senior' moment for a minute there.

Winston
 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:But I'm sure I remember that explanation from school - including the é.


I only remember that é is a common suffix of French past participles.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:I only remember that é is a common suffix of French past participles.


Also the French equivalent of '-y' - société.

Oddly enoguh, as a prefix, it often gets substituted with 's' - école, étable, état.

However, I'm drifting off-topic in my own thread. Give me a -1 someone.

Winston
 
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:Vi suh.


Shouldn't it be more like "Vicky"? I thought the Latin 'c' was always hard...but my Latin's even worse than my French.

Winston
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:It bugs me when people use a comma and "then".


Yes, there's a few like that. AFAIR "which" generally follows a comma, but "that" doesn't.

Winston
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:If you use a comma and then "then", then i will become annoyed.


Sounds like you should read this book. Absolutely brilliant, and very funny.

Winston
 
Stephan van Hulst
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:Shouldn't it be more like "Vicky"? I thought the Latin 'c' was always hard...but my Latin's even worse than my French.


Modern Latin is closer in pronunciation to Italian. Vice would be pronounced 'vee chay', which is probably what the English pronunciation is derived from.
 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:Sounds like you should read this book. Absolutely brilliant, and very funny.



I am hesitant to read a book about punctuation that is missing an Oxford comma! I prefer The Elements of Style, which, while it does not mention this rule, most certainly follows it.

On a side note, why did you tag url instead of wikipedia?
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Ryan McGuire wrote:I will add one to the list. Use of "myself" when "me" is correct.


Spot on. Also, doubling it up with the pronoun:
  I don't like it myself.

Winston
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:On a side note, why did you tag url instead of wikipedia?


Sorry, I don't quite understand the question. Are you getting the wrong link?

Winston
 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:

Brian Tkatch wrote:On a side note, why did you tag url instead of wikipedia?


Sorry, I don't quite understand the question. Are you getting the wrong link?



When i quoted your reply, the board wrapped the link in url tags instead of wikipedia tags. Assuming that was what you used, i would like to know why, that's all.
 
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Oh myyyyyy, you guys seem like such grammar prudes in here! I'm now going to have to carefully watch every thing I type, this is like walking on eggshells!

At least my excuse is that I went through my whole education without once being taught grammar, incredible as it may sound! Grammar seems to have been kicked off the curriculum in the UK in the 80s and 90s when I was a student, so you have ended up with the situation where you have a whole lot of people who despite having English as a second language speak it more grammatically correct than a lot of Brits!
 
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I just re-read the title to this thread. I ought to be offended at being called a nut, but strangely, i revel in it.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Brian Tkatch wrote:I prefer The Elements of Style, which, while it does not mention this rule, most certainly follows it.


Not familiar with that one. My dad, who was a Polish immigrant, used to swear by Plain Words; but I found it a little stiff (I almost added 'myself' there ). Truss's book is definitely tongue-in-cheek, but nevertheless contains some really good stuff.

Winston
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:When i quoted your reply, the board wrapped the link in url tags instead of wikipedia tags. Assuming that was what you used, i would like to know why, that's all.


Because I wasn't even aware they existed. Have a cow for showing me something new.

Winston
 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:Because I wasn't even aware they existed. Have a cow for showing me something new.



Whoa! Must be that newfangled UI everyone is talking about. :P Thank you for the cow; i love this forum.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:so you have ended up with the situation where you have a whole lot of people who despite having English as a second language speak it more grammatically correct than a lot of Brits!


Twas ever so. My dad, like a lot of his generation, really wanted to 'fit in', and got to the point where his accent was virtually unnoticable. The only thing that marked him out as a foreigner - and I only really noticed when I went back to visit after a few years in Canada - was that he spoke too correctly.

Winston
 
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When I was at school, the English master said that Joseph Conrad spoke correct English because he didn't learn it as a first language. Where was Conrad from?
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:Similarly, pronouncing forte the strong point, as if it were the musical term.



That's the standard pronunciation, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. You may prefer to pronounce it otherwise, of course, but complaining about people who don't match your choice surely isn't appropriate.
 
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I'm on a call where they've used the word "impactful" many times.
 
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