Grammar Annoyances

This is a discussion on Grammar Annoyances within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I was perusing the " jargon file " the other day and one thing really stood out to me, and ...

  1. #1
    Just a pushpin. bernt's Avatar
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    Grammar Annoyances

    I was perusing the "jargon file" the other day and one thing really stood out to me, and that was the part about programmers not liking quotation rules for english, specifically the part about punctuation going inside the quotes.
    [note: I found through later research that the punctuation goes outside in pretty much every place that isn't the United States of America. It seems fitting, considering our fits with the metric system.]

    Anyway, as a student as well as a technically-minded person, I have found many things to gripe about not only in the english language but also in others' use of it. My biggest is the use of apostrophes in plural nouns. I think this sums up my mentality.

    I have a feeling that there are like-minded people here, and I'm just curious: what's your biggest beef with spoken/written language?
    Consider this post signed

  2. #2
    a_capitalist_story
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    Your/you're, there/their/they're, the apostrophes you mentioned, damned text-speak are really at the top of my list. My grammar isn't perfect -- I went through an academic program that stressed literature over grammar, and always felt somewhat cheated as a result -- but as I get older I find myself trying to be more amenable to the fine stylings of Strunk & White.

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Given that America has a bad reputation with grammar already, I wont let you say that America has its own style of punctuation in use merely to be contrary to the rest of the world. It's bad enough with measurement systems.

    Quotation mark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    With regard to quotation marks adjacent to periods and commas, there are two styles of punctuation in widespread use. While these two styles are most commonly referred to as “American” and “British” respectively (and some style sheets provide no other name), some American writers and organizations use the “British” style and vice versa. Both systems have the same rules regarding question marks, exclamation points, colons and semicolons. They differ on the treatment of periods and commas.

    In the U.S., the standard style is called American style, typesetters’ rules, printers’ rules, typographical usage, or traditional punctuation, whereby commas and periods are almost always placed inside closing quotation marks.[10] This style of punctuation is common in the U.S., Canada, and in the U.K. in fiction and journalism.[11]

    The other standard style—called British style or logical punctuation[12]—is to include within quotation marks only those punctuation marks that appeared in the quoted material, but otherwise to place punctuation outside the closing quotation marks. According to The Chicago Manual of Style, this system requires extreme authorial precision and occasional decisions by editors.[13]
    When something is used so indiscriminately, I don't think it's anyone but the whole world's problem.

    To be sort of on topic, I'll mention one thing that English definitely does right. Articles are not subject to change because of a noun's gender, because there are no genders for nouns. Ich habe ein Problem.

  4. #4
    Registered User NeonBlack's Avatar
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    This reminds me of a story I heard about a young programmer who was writing some code that looked like this:
    Code:
    printf("The value is: %d ," value);
    but could not figure out what the problem was and insisted that it was correct because her grammar instructor told her that commas go inside of quotation marks.
    I copied it from the last program in which I passed a parameter, which would have been pre-1989 I guess. - esbo

  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Nice reading there. I'm afraid I'm guilty of a few of those. Mostly because I don't care about my use of the English languages as much as I probably should. Well, not in forums or chats. But sometimes I do, or try to. Real-time written language pretty much condemned language rules to a nuisance. It's everywhere. Not just in the English language.

    My biggest annoyance is lack of punctuation. Any writer would tell us punctuation follows a a very small set of formal rules and everything else is style. But some people just have no style at all.

    Probably my second biggest annoyance is false language rules. It does annoys me greatly hearing someone saying something like "you never put and after a comma or period".

    My third biggest annoyance has to be me. Especially when I catch myself doing incredibly dumb spelling or grammatical mistakes.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Registered User jdragyn's Avatar
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    "My foo is bigger then yours." It seems the word "than" is on its way out of the language in some places.
    C+/- programmer extraordinaire

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    chococoder
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdragyn View Post
    "My foo is bigger then yours." It seems the word "than" is on its way out of the language in some places.

    Fight the trend, use THAN exclusively rather than than

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    Registered User jdragyn's Avatar
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    That would be like always using GOTO instead of both GOTO and GOSUB appropriately.
    C+/- programmer extraordinaire

  9. #9
    chococoder
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdragyn View Post
    That would be like always using GOTO instead of both GOTO and GOSUB appropriately.
    There is no appropriate use for GOTO

    btw, I was joking about than and then. Of course one should always use the correct word rather than favouring one over the other in all situations.

  10. #10
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    One book I've read about the peculiarities of the English language claims that the reason for American-style quoting lies in typesetting. Basically, the full stop piece was fragile, and always placing it inside the quotes protected it from damage.
    All the buzzt!
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    Registered User jdragyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwenting View Post
    There is no appropriate use for GOTO
    Tell that to a compiler! :P Ok ok, so it says "jmp" (or something like 00100110... I don't know the exact machine instruction) but it's basically a goto! ;o)

    Quote Originally Posted by wgtnjeni View Post
    btw, I was joking about than and then.
    You're not allowed to joke on cboard! That kind of thing will get you strfry()'d!
    Last edited by jdragyn; 04-13-2010 at 09:20 AM. Reason: fixed my quoting
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    One book I've read about the peculiarities of the English language claims that the reason for American-style quoting lies in typesetting. Basically, the full stop piece was fragile, and always placing it inside the quotes protected it from damage.
    Huh. I have always presumed this was just a mistake derived from quoting speech,

    "Go home," said the bear. // correct
    "Go home", said the honey bee. // incorrect
    ...sometimes referred to as a "hive." // less incorrect, but still not really right
    ...including: "bear", "honey", "bee". // correct
    Since if you go to school here for English, the "typesetters’ rules" will not be any defence, you will still get red pen for that.
    Last edited by MK27; 04-13-2010 at 09:32 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    When it comes to speech, it is reasonable to place the comma within the quotes since it would signal a pause in speech, i.e., the comma really is part of the speech.
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    Guest Sebastiani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Huh. I have always presumed this was just a mistake derived from quoting speech,

    Quote:
    "Go home," said the bear. // correct
    "Go home", said the honey bee. // incorrect
    ...sometimes referred to as a "hive." // less incorrect, but still not really right
    ...including: "bear", "honey", "bee". // correct
    Since if you go to school here for English, the "typesetters’ rules" will not be any defence, you will still get red pen for that.
    Eh, it breaks up the physical structure of the paragraph, IMO. Like a "hungry whale,", it swallows up chunks of sentences in slurps and gulps (see signature for demo)!
    Code:
    #include <cmath>
    #include <complex>
    bool euler_flip(bool value)
    {
        return std::pow
        (
            std::complex<float>(std::exp(1.0)), 
            std::complex<float>(0, 1) 
            * std::complex<float>(std::atan(1.0)
            *(1 << (value + 2)))
        ).real() < 0;
    }

  15. #15
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Now, this is new to me:

    "Go home," said the bear. // correct
    "Go home", said the honey bee. // incorrect
    This can't be correct. Is it really?

    What about:
    "Go home!", said the bear.
    "Go home.", said the honey bee.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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