Home Forums West Seattle Rants & Raves RANT: THEN VS. THAN

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    RonM, my brother and my husband are both poor spellers. They didn’t get the spelling gene. I forgive almost everything in private communications; it’s the errors in official letters and public signs, the newspaper, published books!, menus, and the like that are so perplexing. There are professionals whose very jobs are to copy edit and proofread – compounding the errors in public does nothing to preserve our language, and confuses those who are poor spellers to begin with.

    LOL flip, I get your point, than.



    “I’m peeked….” rather than “I’m piqued….” (which means something quite different from “I’m peaked.”)

    …and I think we’ve lost the battle on “begging the question”, which used to mean a kind of logical fallacy (petitio principii) in which the supposed evidence supporting the conclusion requires the same proof as the conclusion. (For example, “The buses are overcrowded because they’re too full.”)

    But “beg the question” now seems to mean just “call for the question”.

    Language evolves, but is it evolving in a useful way?



    Admiraljaneway, the possesive form would be more appropriate if you were to say i am going over to the nordstroms’ for dinner but not if you are going to the place. If you are going to nordstrom to go shopping you are just going to nordsrom just like if you were going to disneyland you would not say i am going to disneylands. :) and i know i have not capitalized, its quicker for me that way with my lame typing skills. I will add what else makes me irritated is that my daughter who attends seattle public schools stopped getting spelling lessons or tests after second grade, which seems crazy to me.



    the nail salon i go to is called Tiffany Nails Salon and every time i am in there, i want to peel the s off of the board and move it to the end of tiffany. granted english is not the owners first language but who made the sign?? and why didn’t they tell her???



    Here’s another one – “I’m siked” (vs. “I’m psyched”). Arrgh!



    FLUKE!!! It’s a stroke of good luck. I hear it used for any type of unexpected event, good or bad. Drives me nuts.



    squareeyes, i must say i am an offender, i have been under the impression that fluke is more like a random error.. Had no idea it is a stroke of good luck I guess if you hear it enough used incorrectly you then do it yourself unknowingly. I better start packing my pocket Webster.:) Thanks for the info I will correct myself



    Just in case anyone has not heard of this there is a website called dictionary.com in case you don’t have a dictionary handy.



    HP – I use that website about 30 times a day! I’m a huge fan!



    I, too, am disturbed by the number of mistakes in things that come home from the schools — and the district. Letters from the superintendent, for instance, ALWAYS have an error or two. An example is “a person THAT” instead of “a person WHO” (one of my pet peeves).

    The book “Eats Shoots and Leaves” actually comes with apostrophe stickers inside for correcting signs. We nitpickers are not alone!



    I was disturbed by all the grammar mistakes in the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer and the fact that she called Lake Union “UNION LAKE.” Grrr.



    Oh, yes: and “mute point” for “moot point”.



    Re: “fluke”–we had earlier been wondering about the derivation of this word. The post reminded me to look it up. Alas, the online OED (thanks, Seattle Public Library, for the free access!) lists the derivation as unknown, possibly from dialectical English for “a guess”.

    I hadn’t known before I looked it up that it originated as a billiards term. Like HP, I’d always used it for a chance occurrence or result, whether good luck or bad. Now I know.



    On reading more carefully, I notice the OED also lists “Also attrib. a fluke of wind: a chance breeze.” So maybe this is the origin of its use to describe a chance occurrence? Hmm. Maybe I don’t have to give up my former usage. This calls for deeper investigation.



    I cannot STAND people who do not know the word “supposedly”. It is not “supposably” or “supposively”… for god’s sake, read a book.



    Slightly different, but in the same vein. . . cursive, or lack of it, in school. Other than a brief stint in the 3rd grade, nothing. They jump right into computers (keyboarding lessons not always included) and I think cursive is going to be wiped out within this one generation.



    Don’t even get me started on the lack of cursive in public school. It’s deplorable, and one of the main reasons I put my boys in private. Too late, though. They all have terrible handwriting. No handwriting, no grammar, minimal spelling. Diagramming sentences? Of course not. These are not priorities. I was told it was more important to get the kids writing creatively, period. Nevermind the lack of tools. Likewise the “new math.” There are some fabulous teachers in SPS, but the system in general: Run far away. It’s a miracle ANY kids know the difference between then and than or two, too, and to.



    Couldn’t agree more with you!

    Text Messaging is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. The availability of that particular technology to a generation who has barely acquired basic grammer/syntax/spelling skills is going to be nothing but trouble.

    Have you heard that kids are thinking it is OK to TXT MSG potential employers? I don’t know, maybe there is some higher level abstraction processes being utilized here when they write in abbreviations and creatively destroy standard syntax, but I think that would be a stretch.

    I just really, really hate the epidemic of text messaging on cell phones. Arrgh! So Irritating!



    Well, as the parent of a child who had extreme difficulty learning cursive because of some small-motor challenges, I’m actually glad it’s dying. I don’t use it for anything but signing receipts/checks. And I spend so much time typing that when I have to take notes by hand at some meetings if the laptop’s not along, I can barely read my own writing …

    Back to the original topic, SITE vs. SIGHT … “a site for sore eyes” … well, maybe if it’s one of those abandoned lots that turns into a dump?

    And phase vs. faze.



    BTW, at our school, we teach, and students practice, both cursive handwriting and touch-typing. Both are useful skills. Practice helps, but cursive is, as lowmanbeach points out, very difficult for students with small-motor issues–so don’t automatically blame the schools.

    I also teach my students (3rd-5th grade) to use both spell- and grammar-check skeptically, and only as a secondary adjunct to using their own brain, peer editors, and adult editors. I suspect at least some of these misuses we’re talking about originate in over reliance on spell-check. (Some, at least, pre-date word-processors, so maybe it’s just a question of perpetuating existing confusion.)



    In my case it WAS the schools. My oldest son was begging to write cursive, and I helped as much as I could, but questioned the school why they didn’t teach it. It’s not a priority, I was told, in both the regular and APP programs of Seattle Schools.

    Also, we taught the boys to touch type, it never happened at school.



    I used to work for a large insurance company- ostensibly filled with educated people, right? No. My supervisor actually really thought that the correct way to spell “I’m” was “I’am”. She also had NO clue on the correct usage of “your, you’re” and “their, there & they’re”

    another funny thing that happened while I was there. We had a network outage, and when the email came in from IT they obviously used spell check instead of checking it themselves- because the email apologized for any “incontinence” it may have caused. ;)


    Amen JenV. I experience that at work too. It is very frustrating to have people superior to me who don’t know how to spell, conjugate, etc. Illiterate morons making more than me, priceless. I had this one boss who used made up words. Yeah, pay him 100k!



    WS – maybe he was paid for spelling outside of the box!


    Yeah could be, good point. LOL

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