Im Sorry To Tell You, But (Short Story Book 58)

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  1. Reader Interactions
  2. A Q&A with Colin Barrett, this month’s Irish Times Book Club author
  3. Unputdownable: 17 books I read in 24 hours or less (because they were just that good)
  4. A Q&A with Colin Barrett, this month’s Irish Times Book Club author

I totally agree with the style differences between academia and the blogosphere. That conversational, accessible tone is a big reason that people read blogs, I think. You have no idea how good for my soul reading all this has been. Bless you all. I still share your dislike of this but at least I have had it explained to me by an American.

I rationalise the fight to save our language in two ways: first, in any Society that lets the small rules slip, the big rules will eventually follow.

Reader Interactions

This is tautology, is it not? This was a joke, right? Good post, Brian, but I think the main point could be emphasised a little more. The tone should be conversational, informal, and friendly, as you said. Yes, this is something we all do, right, but how many people actually read it to themselves? Paul, grammar and spelling are within my control, but how words render on every computer on the planet is not even though we try. I have tested emails in Gmail and several other email programs, plus every major feed reader and everything looks great.

This is a great post! I defininitely fall into those slackers who mis-use i. Never again after tagging this! Can this possibly be true? English not being my first language; I always thought i. Many thanks, Brian! The problem sometimes is with people who are native English speakers. In my case, I think I can good enough use the grammar but, still have a lot to work.

Yes, the problem with should, could, would, is a common one. To be clear Brian my setup is xp, ffox with all sort of language add-ons , locale set to en-gb, reading with gmail, albeit on a Spanish os laptop, based in Spain, receiving your article via feedblitz. Very difficult to diagnose why the apostrophes do not render as intended. Brian, I am italian and I did learn Latin during the high school… but I had no clue about the difference between i.

Actually I did not even know they were Latin abbreviations. I have a question for your and the readers: English is not my mother-tongue but most of my audience is located in UK, North-America and Australia. Should I correct even the smallest errors I notice, even if it is time consuming? Or should I just accept it and spend that time to write new posts? For apostrophes, I still use the rule handed down to me by my 7th-grade English teacher. Contractions: Apostrophe replaces the missing letter or letters.

However, possessive pronouns its, his, hers, ours and yours do not take an apostrophe. My writing is laced with grammatical errors. My writing itself is OK enough to get by on but I tend to use run on sentences far too often. What was he doing? Was he running as fastest as he could? Also, I noticed the character rendering issue mentioned above and thought I might be able to help. You should easily have been able to avoid this issue by shutting off curly quotes and other non-ASCII characters in MSWord or whatever program you use to write this.

Good catch. That one has driven me crazy since high school and I still see people doing it wrong all the time!!! Brian — thanks for the great post. Dan and Jeff, I covered both of those in my last post on grammatical errors, which I link to in the second paragraph of this post. Yes, those two upset a lot of people! Thank you for this. I also seem to write e. The use of over instead of more than is another common error. I was just discussing this with a friend last night regarding a blog post that contained the phrase:. Having said that, there is no excuse for sloppiness.

Your readers deserve the best posts you can possibly create, as does your blogging reputation. Way back when, English speakers showed whether a noun was a subject, object, etc. That way, the words could come in any order and the sentence would make sence. In other words, if you blog just for fun, it may not matter to annoy people with errors. Sure, the message will still be clear enough. Thus, annoying mistakes may mean lost sales. Oh, yeah. I only had time to skim the comments.

Wonderful post. In any case, love the blog. Your work is invaluable, and I only wish more people would read you. These may be the most common linguistic uses to you, but grammatical use changes with location, region, and cultural setting. There is no sociolinguistic basis to the idea that one language or dialect is in any way better or more correct than another. I love that you brought up 5 — Parallelism. Not with bullet points, lists, outlines, or headings. I was starting to think that maybe I was too stern, but now that the great Copyblogger has brought it up, somebody might actually listen.

One that I am noticing more and more lately and is showing up in major newspapers and television:. But I see it everywhere, as in:. I always try to avoid certain words like brought, got, etc. In most cases, a better word will present itself. Just use the force…. Brilliant — now all we need is to add a few more: opposite to. I am just too lazy to read all of them. The most annoying misuses i have ever seen, and also the most prevalent.

What about its vs.

A Q&A with Colin Barrett, this month’s Irish Times Book Club author

Its head is on backwards! The possesive form of its uses no apostrophe, but the contraction always does. Totally incorrect and nasty. Which sounds better? Grammar is not a matter of sounding correct or not. Many blunders—because they have been used for so long—have now sounded correct, but the fact remains that they are still grammatical errors. Sorry, but in point number 7 you made an error that has become increasingly common in forming conditional and subjunctive phrases in English, at least among American speakers of the language.

This is one of those areas where grammatical technicians miss the point completely. Communicating a point using a common reference point is better than worrying about something that is beside the point to the example. The whole sentence is bad, frankly, but that is beside the point. It contains the same mistake that the original sentence has. Thank you very much for posting this! I am often annoyed by people making those exact mistakes in blogs and elsewhere on the internet.

Hopefully some of the people in question will read this post and change their ways. Awesome tip, Isaac! Never heard it that way. However, I still avoid acronyms in writing like the plague. In fact a quick search turns up no unanimous condemnation of the phrase, but instead reams of disclaimers on how it often acceptable. Bartleby has more to say on the subject:.

The phrases different from and different than are both common in British and American English. The British also use the construction different to. Since the 18th century, language critics have singled out different than as incorrect, though it is well attested in the works of reputable writers. If you want to follow traditional guidelines, use from when the comparison is between two persons or things: My book is different from not than yours. Different than is more acceptably used, particularly in American usage, where the object of comparison is expressed by a full clause: The campus is different than it was twenty years ago.

You can use different from with a clause if the clause starts with a conjunction and so functions as a noun: The campus is different from how it was twenty years ago. I know I have previously made many of those mistakes. However these days I know most of those rules although 3 and 5 I need to work on as well as the ones from your previous post.

What I really need to do is learn the proper use of the punctuation marks, as I am still rather confused by semicolons, and EM dashes. I always follow both her blog and your own, and between the both of you I pick up a lot of great tips and tricks.

One sentence paragraphs have their purpose regardless of what some people may think. Exactly how? The whole loose and lose thing kills me. Mainly because i had it right for so long, and kept questioning myself just as you stated multiple times. My pet peeves have already been mentioned above. All except one: no one versus noone.

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Since blogging is writing, I firmly believe that bloggers should make every effort to write well. They can start by reading this post along with some notable comments , and then making The Elements of Style one of their favourite books. Written language is a craft. Some are better at it than others, and some are more popular than others, and sometimes those two categories cross. In all, nice post. Most of the errors you point out make my eyes burn when I read them.

Particularly when I am the one that makes them. God help me. I am still trying to figure out the difference between except and accept. Thanks for the tips! Hey, I recognize that headline. Great tips. It also helps to read… a lot. Simple and concise advices like these are a huge help. I evidently misread your post. If anything, it shows that the error is so common, I assumed you got it wrong too, but you did indeed get it right.

I never see any mention of the most mis-used word in the english language; got. All of the talking heads are quilty of this error. I agree. I be good. I grew up in a home where only my mother spoke English as a first language. Thick accents for sure, but always proper usage. My mother was insistent that proper English be spoken by all adults around the kids. Her thinking? Often times, I commit these errors but after reading this post, I hope not to do it again.

Wow, just found your site and it looks really interesting. Dear Brian: Thank you for this article. It just grates! I also like your comment about playing with the language and making a purposeful mistake. And one can tell the difference. My brother recently pointed me to a website that is a list of hundreds of common English errors. You have a valuable skill that I envy. I ask you please try to experience the other side. Evaluating if someone is dumb based on their command of the English language is in my mind itself dumb. I personally will try my best to learn from the criticism in this blog and the comments thereafter.

I just felt the need to write 3 one line paragraphs. At least I am more aware the rule I broke. Good post! Someone was finally able to capture the common grammatical errors that drives me nuts whenever i see them. Most irksome from graphic designers and printers: stationary instead of stationery.

They should know better! If ever Generation Y write like they talk, i. This is just excelent! Several suggestions for the future article in the series: then vs. A resource that will help me improve my writing. Circumstances such as a previous lack of understanding of the principles, a lack of time, a physical difficulty i.

Learn more, or enlist someone preferably with a higher proficiency level to proofread your material before sending it out. I hear it constantly on major news channels. You would think that anchors who were journalism majors would at least get this straight. If you want a good laugh, then check out the BBSpot 5 grammar tips you may not have known , which starts out with the same point as Brian did here:. We cannot effect change in this organization. Everything we do is affected by our supply chain.

See link for more explanation. I saw it with my own two eyes number. I can not tell when most of these are happening potentially mildly dyslexic so I try real hard to forgive others when I do notice because I do it all the time. Let us just say I find being not rude very hard. I teach people how to breathe.

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Looks like you made your own mistake — directly after describing the parallel issue, in your next section you make the parallel blunder…practice what you preach. One more use: to fill in for a missing letter. Most intelligent and literate people can make the lexical adjustment to compensate for these differences. So the Smiths own the car. As a child, I heard a lot of facetious comments, ironically, from my mother who was a very serious person. So, needless to say, this was a phrase that was common in my home. Who wins? Yes, Who does! Ellipses have their place in writing, but it really is tedious to read something that is full of dots.

To the bloggers out there: ellipses are not a suitable substitute for a comma or a semicolon! I liked the simple way in which u explained these simple rules. Thanks, this is very useful.

My mother tongue is not English, but I use it in my daily life. Another excellent post. Grammar is usually a strong subject of mine it should be, my mother is an author… , but I do sometimes make these mistakes. I know when I read other sites whose content writers make frequent grammatical errors their credibility goes down in my eyes.

These are not so much mistakes as gaps in knowledge. Is this a regional quirk? If it is, it drives me barmy. It should, of course be the number of people. A program is software; or software is a program. I believe this is called a pleonasm, or needless redundancy. From my years of working as a user rep on technical projects, loose instead of lose seems almost mandatory for engineers.

The fact that the object owned starts with a consonant in one case and a vowel in the other does not appear to have any relevance. I have never seen anyone do that ever. I know another odd one that related to writing based on how things sound. A friend of mine uses why instead of while as in …. Thanks for the instructive reminders. Thanks for the great post! It also drives me nuts when people try to correct small errors like one line sentences. It is important for me to review grammer rules every once in a while.

I make some of this mistakes too, but my excuse would be that I am Romanian. Even if I have been studying English for 20 years now, I still make them. I have noticed some of these mistakes are made by people who have English as the official language in their country. They have been using it for all their life and were schooled in English too. You add one for a vowel but not for a consonant. I still like the teacher who said if it sounds right, do it. A good list! Later some cover and other cannot. But do Westerners make these mistakes as well? Doubts reqarding these mistakes should also be cleared.

Wow, I love this post. The application of strong grammar and spelling seems to be an elitist pass time these days, with more people seeing it as an irrelevance in this age of sms and email. Yet so many people do not realise the disasters in clear meaning that can occur with the wrong word construction. Am I wrong? This makes me nuts and I see it all the time at work.

Thank you for reminding us of these errors. Sometimes I get hung up on a grammatical error and it kills my train of thought or rather, my creativity. I really enjoy your website. I agree! I consider myself fairly well-spoken but as with anything, there is always room for improvement. Even a simple spell-check and read through seem to be too much of a hassle for a lot of people. You know, I find it interesting that people who make these mistakes are Americans as in people who lived and studied there. Many of us who were taught English outside USA tend to have aced the grammar tests better.

The people sometimes is that people tend to use phonetical type of spelling and that boggles me. I have much more to learn…we all do, mine happens to be trying to work on run on sentences ;. My pet peeve is when people cannot spell correctly especially if it is supposed to be their mother tongue. Great job on this post, Brian. It is a needed info. Wow, this is the most useful post I have read in weeks! Talking about English classes… This post will save weeks of English grammar lectures in my country. Too good…I completely agree and want to emphasize that it is not necessary for you to use complex English.

Instead, you could use a simple English which would make more sense and look even more professional than the complex one some times. Never thought that i will read a post like this. Which tells about a minor but serious issue like this. Yes i do make some of these. When you come across illiterate writing, just ignore it.

Unputdownable: 17 books I read in 24 hours or less (because they were just that good)

Better still, blacklist the website. Your prose is tedious. Perhaps you are the one who should be black listed. Perfect grammar does not equal intelligence. By the way, how many languages do you speak? But if like most of the world you speak more than one, which I doubt, how many do you speak without grammatical error?

A Q&A with Colin Barrett, this month’s Irish Times Book Club author

Does that make you ignorant? Your comments make you sound ignorant and intolerant, however, perhaps you should start there. Which is the most appropriate English to use when you blog for an international audience? I assume British. I once taught students who were at once bilingual and also illiterate in both languages. Even they were preferable to buffoons who profess to have a comely way with words but do not. Another problem with these two terms is forgetting or not knowing to use a comma after them. These are now being used ad nauseum. God I hate it. First of all, your post scares me to write anything here.

It is important that when you start your paragraph doing this, you should be consistent. Another thing — the between-and. I grew up in an English speaking country other than the USA, and was taught that the use of I at the end of a list of two or me people including yourself is the correct form. This is an excellent example of proper use of English.

I often do the same mistakes like you mentioned. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that lesson in grammer. Again, thank you, and keep up the good work. So I guess I owe a THANK YOU to those who continually make these mistakes even though they drive me insane—it leaves me with a job, but unfortunately for you, erases any chance that I might read your blog.

What depresses me here is that not only does the original article contain several mistakes, but much of the advice given in the subsequent comments is also wrong. Pointing to all the mistaken advice would take too long, so I will comment only on the possessive apostrophe. The rule for this is actually very simple, but for some reason teachers and grammar books make it very convoluted. Just a nightmare. A total nightmare. A totally chaotic stir fry of nonsense that tells the story of how Wolverine got his claws. Features an early version of Deadpool also played by Ryan Reynolds whose mouth is stapled shut, which should tell you all you need to know about it.

Thomas Jane performs admirably, but the whole thing is missing that extra something that would have elevated it beyond standard genre fare. Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett Jr. For a movie starring Nic Cage about a dude who rides a Harley and turns into a flaming skeleton, this is a surprisingly mundane movie. The fantasy Marvel movie is directed by Kenneth Branagh , who covers the whole movie in canted angle shots and theatrical stylings. Could have been a bizarre ironic summer classic if it were structured like a real movie and had any character development whatsoever.

Come on, man. A lot of folks like to complain that all superhero movies are the same. Explain that the soldiers were very cruel to Jesus. They beat him and spit on him. Explain that Jesus forgave the soldiers. Be careful not to be too dramatic as you tell this story.

Some children may be very sensitive to the idea of people hurting Jesus. What does Jesus want us to do if someone makes us feel angry or unhappy? Ask the children to do everything you do. Have them follow you as you stand, stretch, smile, sit down, and fold your arms. Explain that because they did everything you did, they were following you.

If you follow someone, you do the same thing that person does. When we forgive others, we are following Jesus. We are doing what he did. Jesus wants us to forgive those who make us sad or upset. What should you do or say to a person who has been unkind to you or who has made you unhappy or angry? Tell about a time when you forgave someone and how you felt. Help the children understand that Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to be forgiving. Bear your testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to be forgiving.

Encourage the children to pray and ask Heavenly Father to help them forgive others. Review the story of the prodigal son, as found in Luke — Use picture , The Prodigal Son. Help the children understand that the father loved his son and forgave him. Do the following finger play.

Invite the children to do the actions with you. Two little friends, one left and one right hold up both hands with fists closed ,. Started to quarrel and started to fight wave fists at each other. Then one little friend hid his head down in shame lower right fist from wrist and turn away ;.