English

  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Topic: Brid

PART-1

1) If I were a bird, I...

VS

2) If I was a bird, I...

PART-2

1) Your bird is beautiful

VS

2) You're bird is beautiful



Whic ones are the correct one?
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

#2 is simple. Any time you have an apostrophie substitute that word with the words it replaces and see if it sounds right.

Quote:
You are bird is beautifull


#1 I would go with "were" after a process of elimination because "was" is without question past tense.
  • casablanca
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'll go with joebert.

"If I were a bird..." sounds better too. :)
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've read a bestseller book recently using both the opposite.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

George L. wrote:
PART-1

1) If I were a bird, I...

VS

2) If I was a bird, I...


I think it's number 2.

George L. wrote:
PART-2

1) Your bird is beautiful

VS

2) You're bird is beautiful


Obviously number 1.

The first example is a matter of pluralism, I think. "They were" vs. "I was".

The second is what you call an "egg-corn" - that is, a spelling/grammar/usage error caused by a homophone.

Both of these mistakes a incredibly common in written English. Luckily, we English writing people don't hold ourselves to too strict a standard.
:)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

dM is correct
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

digitalMedia wrote:
Both of these mistakes a incredibly common in written English. Luckily, we English writing people don't hold ourselves to too strict a standard.


I like this line. However, isn't publishing needs alot of checking before published. It bothers me a little. In a way it sounds quite nice. I mean the error. I agree about the English writing don't hold too strict. And I believe new words are always created in English quite often. As well as grammer even sometimes.

And I think i remember correctly there were many times that author uses that error....hmmm, forget it.


Thanks All.
  • celandine
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Editing is not what it used to be. Too much stuff gets published, too much stuff gets translated, and in the rush to hit the best-seller shelves a lot of dross is put to print.

The term 'best-seller' itself annoys me to hell and back. What the hell is a 'best-seller'? by definition at any given time there should be only one.....

On the questions, the second seems pretty much resolved - it's 'your bird' and not 'you're bird'.

On the first, my vote goes to option A - 'if I were'. This is the so-called SUBJUNCTIVE FORM of the verb 'to be', and strict grammar requires you use it when talking about conditional clauses.

(think of the bobby darin song - 'If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway?')

However there is a rule in language that says usage trumps grammar - meaning that once an erroneous use becomes prevalent, it becomes correct - simply by virtue of so many people using it. so saying 'if I was' is not a serious grammatical error any more, and is reasonably acceptable - though still technically less correct than the subjunctive 'were'.

edit: I can think of an exception to the above rule - if you're using an 'if' clause, but not in a conditional sense. So for instance if you said

'Well even if I was of that opinion in the past, I certainly don't support it any more.'

the 'was' could not be replaced by 'were', because the situation is not hypothetical - it did in fact happen, i.e. you DID in fact hold said opinion in the past. You're using 'if' to soften this admission.

hmm this is probably far too much grammar for this forum.... sorry. something tells me this thread will officially die with this comment.
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Wow! That's an in-depth understanding you have there, celandine. Fascinating explanation.
  • celandine
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Post 3+ Months Ago

thanks dM :D

comes from being a linguist I guess... it's kind of my job to make languages make sense. they drilled us a lot in school, making us analyze the most complex sentences and determine the correlations between all the clauses............

language is fascinating really.
  • joebert
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Quote:
language is fascinating really


I always found math more interesting, after elementry school I averaged a D in language arts and that's when I wasn't sleeping.

I think part of it has to do with me seeing small errors in language still being understood by the person on the other end of the conversation, while a small error in math could lead to a world of problems. I guess I figured my skills in language were "good enough".

Of course this was before I realized these tiny errors in language can literally lead to a world of problems when the world is taken into account. :D
  • celandine
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heh yeah I see what you mean joe.... math is a beautiful science, I wish I understood it better.

but language is in a sense very similar to math, when you start to analyze it. it does forgive a lot of error, but that doesn't mean you can't be a purist anyway.... I hate errors in my grammar........ I know people will understand me anyway, but I guess it's just a matter of some sort of perverted pride.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

celandine wrote:
On the first, my vote goes to option A - 'if I were'. This is the so-called SUBJUNCTIVE FORM of the verb 'to be', and strict grammar requires you use it when talking about conditional clauses.


Wow, I didn't even know English had a subjunctive form. I could tell you all about the Spanish subjunctive because I spent a year in Spain trying to make sense of it, but I'm starting to realize I don't have the faintest idea why I speak English the way I do.

celandine wrote:
(think of the bobby darin song - 'If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway?')


Or how about from Fiddler on the Roof - "If I were a rich man"? :wink:
  • celandine
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Quote:
I'm starting to realize I don't have the faintest idea why I speak English the way I do.

that's quite normal - you learn foreign languages through their grammar, amongst other things, which is presented to your fully-formed brain as a system of rules and causalities. You learn your own language practically by osmosis - you listen to people around you, and your sense of language forms along with your young brain... so you never look at it in terms of a set of grammatical rules - you simply absorb it. If people in your surroundings spoke clean-grammared English, likely yours will be grammatically correct too - even though you won't even know which grammar rules you're following.... or rather, you know the rules innately, but your mind has never put them into words. They're like an underlying grammatical code lurking in your subconscious.
Quote:
Or how about from Fiddler on the Roof - "If I were a rich man"?

yes, or 'if you were the last man on earth'.... interesting that - you can't make the mistake in second person singular - because it uses the subjunctive even for its simple past tense... (or rather its past-tense form sounds the same as its subjunctive form) 'I was there' but 'you were there'... that's probably how the mistake started to arise to begin with... people saw that the conditional form of

'You were an angel' would be 'if you were an angel',

so they just figured that the conditional of

'I was the devil' would be 'if I was the devil'........

most standard grammatical errors are simplifications of language, i.e. applying a systematic rule onto an exception. And I hear ya about the Spanish subjunctive - I still don't think I've got the hang of it!! Must go back to Spanish classes at some point though - they were fun......

Quote:
I always found math more interesting, after elementry school I averaged a D in language arts and that's when I wasn't sleeping.

I think part of it has to do with me seeing small errors in language still being understood by the person on the other end of the conversation, while a small error in math could lead to a world of problems. I guess I figured my skills in language were "good enough".

I guess another reason I think language skills are pretty vital to a person is because language is what we use to link with others.... think of this forum - all people see of you here comes directly through your verbal skills, your language is a filter for your personality to show to other people. You seldom get to communicate with people through maths.... having said that, i still envy people who understand maths at a high level. To me math equals pure intelligence........
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This is complicated.
  • jameson5555
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George L. wrote:
This is complicated.

It is.

We English speakers are kind of bastards, inflicting all these crazy rules,or sometimes lack of rules, on foreigners and then wondering why they can't speak perfect English. Sometimes speaking perfect English (to us) is actually done by not following the rules. :?
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The reason English is so ridiculous is because there are exceptions to the rules. And then there are exceptions to the exceptions. And then there are exceptions to those exceptions. And then...

I'll never forget a day back in grade school when we were practicing the conjugation of various verbs. We went around the room, and each student was given a verb in which he/she had to stand up and give it's present, past, and past participle forms to the class.

For example, one student would be given the word "go", and so that student would stand up and say, "go, went, gone".

This one kid in our class was given the word "teach". He proudly stood up, and with a particular air of confidence exclaimed: "teach, totch, toach". :D
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

spork wrote:
This one kid in our class was given the word "teach". He proudly stood up, and with a particular air of confidence exclaimed: "teach, totch, toach". :D


lol

:D
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The answer should be " Teach, Taught, Taught "?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

English (either American or the British vernacular) is daunting at best to understand.

In this case, the contraction (which is what your use the "you're" specifies) must employ the apostrophe to represent the informal "you are" -- that is not the case here as you are inferring ownership. Therefore "your" is the proper term.

The "was" vs. "were" can be misleading and otherwise misunderstood. An easy rule of thumb is to consider the subject as a stand-alone.

"I wish I was a bird." would be proper, as the "was a bird" is the subject of the clause.

"Was" is used for singular and "were" for plural, generally speaking.

However to make matters more difficult than they should be, you employed an 'if' statement.
That follows an exception to the rule called IIRC, a 'subjunctive clause'; "If I were a bird ... ".

The "if" denotes a subjunctive and therefore the correct vernacular of "were" is utilized.

Whew.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Languages really fascinate me ... or not even languages, just the way people from different locations would peak the same language so differently ... like for instance England vs USA ... I've been to both, and the differences are so big ... just simple words like "gas" that is known as "petrol" and things like that ...

Then you still get the telling of time for instance take 11:30 ... in the USA it would be "half past eleven" ... in England it would be "half eleven" ...

It all really is fascinating.
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Wow... I didn't know any of these rules or had idea they exist and english is my second language :shock:

Synonyms are quite fun too... especially when you are arguing which is better for your car... gas or petrol? (Can't think of a better example). :lol:

I'm so fascinated, I think I will go back to the language of PHP with defined set of rules that are well documented with only one level of exceptions :D
  • celandine
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Quote:
"teach, totch, toach"

love it :D
teach, teached, teachen :D
  • spork
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righteous_trespasser wrote:
Then you still get the telling of time for instance take 11:30 ... in the USA it would be "half past eleven" ... in England it would be "half eleven" ...

Half eleven is 5:30. They don't know what they're talking about over there ;)
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What's a levin ?
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spork wrote:
righteous_trespasser wrote:
Then you still get the telling of time for instance take 11:30 ... in the USA it would be "half past eleven" ... in England it would be "half eleven" ...

Half eleven is 5:30. They don't know what they're talking about over there ;)

Hehe, I had to look again to actually get what you were saying ... it's a slow day today ...
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righteous_trespasser wrote:
it's a slow day today ...

I hear ya... Just got into work a half hour ago and I'm already on cup #2.
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spork wrote:
righteous_trespasser wrote:
it's a slow day today ...

I hear ya... Just got into work a half hour ago and I'm already on cup #2.

:lol:
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This has drivin me nuts for a long time.

"a HTML document" VS "an HTML document"

I want to say "an HTML" as it sounds right to me, but when the acronym is expanded I want to use "a hyper text..."

What's right when and why ?
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It's all about pronunciation. The letter H sounds starts with a long 'a' sound when pronounced, so 'an' is usually used in front of acronyms starting with H. The same goes for acronyms beginning with F, M, N, L, S, and X, which start with a short 'e' sound, and R, which starts with a short 'a' sound.

"I have an XML document."
"My brother is an RIT student."
"She is battling an MPAA lawsuit."

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