Author Topic: Learning the rules of the English language.  (Read 8907 times)

Offline 2par

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2013, 05:22:23 PM »
Haha, aww, Chris. I went to catholic schools, 1st through 12th, and had a great education. I learned a lot more than my public school friends.

Offline ChrisHarrison

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 05:37:24 PM »
You sure they were catholic? Doesn't sound catholic to me: great education!  ;) Did you not spend all morning singing hymns until the deputy headmaster was satisfied you weren't all evil whippersnappers?

Offline jeff

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2013, 09:39:40 AM »
By far the best way of learning the 'rules' of good English is by reading good novels.
Then when you write, compare what you've written with what you've read.
Books on grammar are really just a way of making explicit things that you learn implicitly.
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Offline TheGreyMan

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2013, 12:06:09 PM »
I like that Jeff, i do think that most of my knowledge of the technicalities of my language i have learned from my favourite novels.
I was just looking for a good website to use as a reference, for when things come a little unstuck.  ;)

One question i do have though is about the differences between British English and American English. I know about the different spellings but are there any differences in grammar to keep an eye out for? Apaert from their annoying way of writing dates down.  >:(
Forgive me if I'm being naive, I'm quite new to this.

Offline jeff

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2013, 02:30:22 PM »
Differences between British and American English? Oh so many, where to begin? This is worth a thread all to itself...

In U.K the first floor of a building is called the ground floor, the second floor is called the first floor, the third is called the second... etc.

In U.K. private schools are called Public schools, and public schools are called whatever stupid name the government has just invented to make parents think things are changing for the better.

in U.K. the last letter of the alphabet is called Zed. That rapper should be callled Jay Zed. The Zombie story is World War Zed.

More seriously, the number 157 is one hundred AND fifty seven, not one hundred fifty seven.

The eleventh of september is 11/9. The ninth of novemeber is 9/11

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Offline intercat

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2013, 04:00:48 PM »
i envy you guys your zed.

i was extremely lucky to go to decent schools, considering i grew up in the american south (shudder).  still, i think i learned more about english grammar and syntax through studying other languages.

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2013, 04:19:34 PM »
i envy you guys your zed.

i was extremely lucky to go to decent schools, considering i grew up in the american south (shudder).  still, i think i learned more about english grammar and syntax through studying other languages.

Ditto that. ;)

Offline Nick

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2013, 05:33:03 AM »
Just a quick reminder that our forum sponsors, SDN, publish a downloadable guide called Essential English for Authors, which is designed to bring anyone's English up to a publishable standard in the shortest possible time. Check it out here!
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline TheGreyMan

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2013, 05:49:18 AM »

In U.K. private schools are called Public schools, and public schools are called whatever stupid name the government has just invented to make parents think things are changing for the better.


We have this in the UK now Jeff. The government has invented 'Academies' to pass on the burden of running costs to private businesses  ???

Just a quick reminder that our forum sponsors, SDN, publish a downloadable guide called Essential English for Authors, which is designed to bring anyone's English up to a publishable standard in the shortest possible time. Check it out here!

Looks good Nick, i'll have a look at that.
Forgive me if I'm being naive, I'm quite new to this.

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2013, 04:22:45 PM »
I'm with Jeff - if you're reading good books, you're absorbing good grammar organically.  If you can tell the difference between  good and bad books, you're already half-way there.  One observation: everything you write matters.  Find out where the capital I is on your key-board!

Offline intercat

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2013, 04:50:04 PM »
"They do say Britain and America are two countries separated by the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s true. No, they say, “two countries separated by a common language,” that’s the line; it’s an Oscar Wilde line, I think. And we do pronounce things in a different way, like you say “caterpillar” and we say “caterpillar,” and… You say “aluminum” and we say “aluminium.” You say, “centrifugal” and we say “centrifugal.” You say, “leisure” and we say “lizuray.” You say “baysil” and we say “bahsil.” You say “’erbs” and we say “herbs,” because there’s a fucking “H” in it… But you spell through THRU, and I’m with you on that, ‘cause we spell it “THRUFF,” and that’s trying to cheat at Scrabble."

- eddie izzard

Offline TheGreyMan

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2013, 05:08:46 PM »
 :o

One observation: everything you write matters.  Find out where the capital I is on your key-board!

Keyboard surely.  ;)
Forgive me if I'm being naive, I'm quite new to this.

Offline Gayle

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2013, 12:08:14 PM »
still, i think i learned more about english grammar and syntax through studying other languages.

There have be studies done in Canada regarding the effect of studying a second language in childhood on the brain. They've found that people who study a second language before the age of 12 have better reasoning skills as adults then people didn't. If you studied a second language as a child that may be why it helped you understand English better; it improved your reasoning skills.

Getting back to U.K. versus U.S. English, I find the "snobbishness" that people have regarding this infuriating. I've seen people in critiquing groups who roll their eyes if they see someone use a different kind of spelling then they themselves use. All I can think is, "really? That's your biggest concern? The publishing house you send your manuscript to is going enforce their own house style on it anyway, so as long your consistent in whichever spelling system you choose to use, what does it matter?"

I've been playing Lumosity.com games and one of them in particular infuriates me every time I play. It's call Word Bubbles. They give you two or three letters and you have to come up with as many words that start with that letter combination as quickly as possible. Trouble is the game was designed in the US and doesn't allow UK spellings. Being Canadian, I was taught UK spelling at school, so I'm constantly losing points because the game doesn't recognize the words I know I'm spelling correctly. And I can't use the US spellings on every word because I don't know all the US spellings. Drives me bonkers!
"I was born of writing. Before that, there was only a play of mirrors." - Jean Paul Sartre

Offline protekme

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2013, 12:40:40 PM »
JK Rowling is from the UK, right? Well, her last book uses US spelling. Why would that be? Her choice or the industry?

Gayle - Where, in Canada, were you taught UK spelling? Allow me to differ. Unless you went to private schools and had English teachers, but even there the system would require uniformity.  Why is it then that you write "realize'" the US, Canadian way?

Your reporting on the study is interesting. I know, from experience, that when learning a foreign language, even as an adult,, forces your brain and you learn the rules in that language, sometimes better than the one who was born with it. Also, it makes you reconsider the rules in yours. I never understood the "subjunctive form" in French. I must have been sick that day, but when I took Spanish, I finally understood why and how subjunctive was used.  They also say that the more languages you learn, the easier it gets. I'm not so sure about that. It could be because you get used to learning and force yourself.
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Offline Gayle

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Re: Learning the rules of the English language.
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2013, 01:19:23 PM »
JK Rowling is from the UK, right? Well, her last book uses US spelling. Why would that be? Her choice or the industry?
Most likely, the industry. Each publishing house has it's own "house style". The publishers also take into account which market they want target the marketing towards. If a book is going to be targeted at the US market, then they'll use US spelling.

As for Canadian education, realize with a zed is a new trait to Canadian spelling brought on by features like spell check's autocorrect which now won't let me spell it with an "s" without switching to UK spelling. Hence the zed in my post. The Canadian dictionary on both Mac and Windows (both American designed programs) doesn't recognize "realize" or "recognize" with an "s", so the Canadian academic system has come to accept the zed spelling to simplify computer use for their students.

I was educated in Alberta. We were told that both "s" and "z" spellings were acceptable but that "s" was what we should use on academic papers. Until autocorrect came along and screwed that up.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 01:20:56 PM by Gayle »
"I was born of writing. Before that, there was only a play of mirrors." - Jean Paul Sartre