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Question on various usages


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Posted (edited)

I'm seeing a lot of "woah" in texts these days.  Is this intended to be the same as the interjection "whoa!" used literally to stop horses and cattle, and figuratively to mean "Wait a minute!"?  Does the difference in spelling reflect a difference in punctuation?

I'm also seeing "hun" used a lot as an endearment.  Am I correct in assuming that this is intended to be a variant of "hon," as in "honey"?  Please tell me that calling someone a member of an Asiatic conquering tribe has not become a sign of love, lol!

There is also a common phrasing that really puzzles me.  It runs something like, "I didn't know what to give you for your birthday so."  When people say this aloud, do they really drop their voice as one normally does for a period?  Myself, I've never heard a sentence spoken so.  What I hear, and what I would expect to see in print, is something said like "I didn't know what to get you for your birthday, so—" which would leave the voice elevated and give the sentence a sense of interruption.  (Or possibly one might see an ellipsis instead of an em dash, to indicate that the voice trails off.)

I'm pretty sure that the battle has been lost concerning the distinction between "lie" and "lay," and that "alright" has effectively replaced "all right" as the standard spelling.  Do you all agree?  How do you feel about "give he and I a call" and similar locutions?  Would that still be considered a solecism, or is it now standard, too?

Typographically, I am seeing what I would consider strange uses of quotation marks.  Sometimes it appears that single quotation marks around a word are used for emphasis.  Since this practice often appears in the same paragraph as words italicized to indicate emphasis, what would you say is the distinction?  Also, has the custom of italicizing titles of books, plays, movies, and other works now been dropped?  How about putting them in quotation marks?  Is that also verboten?  I also see what appears to be interior monologue put in single quotation marks, when the traditional practice is to put it in italics.  Is this now a standard practice, or merely an author's idiosyncrasy?  When a sentence in one kind of quotation marks abuts another sentence in the other kind, I find it is frequently unclear what is supposed to be unspoken thought and what is supposed to be spoken dialogue.

Does the fact that these usages are commonly seen on GA and other sites, not to mention that they passed editing, beta-reading, and proofing, mean that they are considered standard?  (I know that language evolves, but I don't have to like it, do I? 😱 )

Edited by BigBen
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The decline of proper language use has been in full swing for a while now.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a pervasive attitude of indifference and even people being outright insulted when it's pointed out.  I've heard "Well, you know what I mean, so what difference does it make?" far too often.  :unsure:  

A lot of what you've outlined above is incorrect usage.  "Whoa" is correct, not "woah".  In your example with the 'so' at the end of the sentence, the use of an ellipsis would be correct.  Ellipses indicate trailing off, while the em-dash indicates interruption.  "Give he and I a call" is incorrect also.  It should be "Give him and I a call".  Titles should be italicized or in quotation marks.  

The use of double vs single quotation marks varies depending on where you're from.  In American English, we use double quotation marks for sentences and single quotation marks for quoting within sentences.  In British English it's the opposite.  

To expand on the "Give he and I a call" comment... it's incorrect grammar.  People don't always talk in perfect grammar, so if it's present in dialogue it's not something that will be corrected by an editor or proofreader.  

 

 

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Languages evolve and English is not an exception. Older individuals will often resist common usage and complain, but it's impossible to stop change.

One helpful reader once chastised me for ending sentences with a preposition. I pointed out it was dialogue and as @Valkyrie explains, not something a decent editor would correct. People rarely speak the way an English college professor might. Some rules, like the preposition one, seem silly and outdated. I'm confident enough these days I often break them.

Hun for hon's normal. Last time I stopped at Burger King the cashier called me that half a dozen times. How about bro, bruh, brah, and a few others instead of brother? My characters have used all of them. The difference between dialogue and narration's important to me. I don't even use contractions in the latter. Messaging has accelerated change, since most people shorten words when texting.

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I read the thread with amusement. Dialogue and prose are definitely two different animals. It’s a rare person that speaks in the Queen’s English and, certainly not any of my characters.

Usage is a tricky question but the vast majority of the time context will nail it down.

Hon will always be an endearment as none of my characters would ever date a Hun.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Mikiesboy said:

No, you don't. An editor once told me, alright, is all right in speech. So, that's how I use it myself.

Except that when you speak it's still all right, the same as when you spell it out. It both sounds the same and spells the same, there is no real difference between the two. Alright is figuratively, literally and grammatically incorrect. You were given the wrong information.

Edited by Ron
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5 hours ago, BigBen said:

I'm seeing a lot of "woah" in texts these days.  Is this intended to be the same as the interjection "whoa!" used literally to stop horses and cattle, and figuratively to mean "Wait a minute!"?  Does the difference in spelling reflect a difference in punctuation?

I'm also seeing "hun" used a lot as an endearment.  Am I correct in assuming that this is intended to be a variant of "hon," as in "honey"?  Please tell me that calling someone a member of an Asiatic conquering tribe has not become a sign of love, lol!

You could, I do, blame this on phonetic sounds: If you don't know how to spell a word you spell the word how it sounds.

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6 minutes ago, Ron said:

You could, I do, blame this on phonetic sounds: If you don't know how to spell a word you spell the word how it sounds.

Thats how EVERY word's spelled in Spanish. Of course vowels having one single pronunciation makes it easier.

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22 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Thats how EVERY word's spelled in Spanish. Of course vowels having one single pronunciation makes it easier.

Okay, but we are not speaking--speaking in--or speaking of Spanish spelling or pronunciation... at least I don't think we are. Are we?! :(

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

One helpful reader once chastised me for ending sentences with a preposition.

Churchill demolished that rule with the famous line, "Sir, that is a slur, up with which I will not put!"  In Latin, prepositions are just that:  placed before.  Not so, in English.  The rule about not splitting infinitives is another one borrowed from Latin.  Pedants have tried to force English into the Latin mold, but it often does not work.

 

2 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

That's how EVERY word's spelled in Spanish. Of course vowels having one single pronunciation makes it easier.

But they worked really hard to get Spanish that way.  There is a hilarious sf short story by Dolton Edwards, Kaos in ce Clasrum, that imagines what might happen if we tried the same thing with English.

Italian comes close to the Spanish standard, I have to say.  French spellings make sense if, but only if, you understand the conventions involved.  The same is true of Irish and Welsh, apparently.  English is such a hodge-podge of foreign borrowings that even the irregularities have irregularities.

Edited by BigBen
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First, learn the rules. Then, figure out how you're willing to break them and why it's important to you as an author or the storyline itself. Above all... be consistent. 

Oh, and grammatically "He/I" are the proper pronouns when used in the subject of the sentence (those performing the action).When used as the object (being acted upon) you use "him/me". Since the pair in that sentence fragment are receiving the call, they are the objects, therefore you would use "give him and me a call". Or you know, simplify with "give both of us a call" to use an indefinite pronoun instead and remove the issue. ;) Yes, I teach this stuff. LOL 

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5 hours ago, Cia said:

First, learn the rules. Then, figure out how you're willing to break them and why it's important to you as an author or the storyline itself. Above all... be consistent. 

One of the best pieces of advise I've gotten. I've tried to follow it since I first heard it from you years ago.

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13 hours ago, Ron said:

Except that when you speak it's still all right, the same as when you spell it out. It both sounds the same and spells the same, there is no real difference between the two. Alright is figuratively, literally and grammatically incorrect. You were given the wrong information.

No, I wasn't given incorrect information. I agree with you fundamentally but when it comes to the speech of some characters, using alright, wanna, dontcha etc.,  does make a difference. At least it does for me. They are options in my toolbox and I will use them as and when they are right for a character.

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20 minutes ago, Mikiesboy said:

No, I wasn't given incorrect information. I agree with you fundamentally but when it comes to the speech of some characters, using alright, wanna, dontcha etc.,  does make a difference. At least it does for me. They are options in my toolbox and I will use them as and when they are right for a character.

Wholeheartedly agree. I use alright when writing dialogue and all right in narration. I've even ventured into using a'ight.

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6 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Wholeheartedly agree. I use alright when writing dialogue and all right in narration. I've even ventured into using a'ight.

Ohhh! A contraction!  Very brave of you. I like it, C!

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9 minutes ago, Mikiesboy said:

Ohhh! A contraction!  Very brave of you. I like it, C!

LMAO

I have enough African American characters, I try to inject a little Black Vernacular English into conversations now and then. I'm probably screwing it up, but what the hell.

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Somehow I never learned alright vs. all right. Are my teachers to blame or my memory? Both? How embarrassing.

I think grammatical nuances can be a challenge for writers both new and experienced. Clearly I still learn new things (or remember lost things) frequently.

I think most people agree that knowing the rules is important. It’s remembering them all that sometimes gets in the way. If something has slipped by an author in multiple drafts, and an editor in multiple reads, then maybe the rule needs to be examined for its importance. 

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14 minutes ago, headtransplant said:

Somehow I never learned alright vs. all right. Are my teachers to blame or my memory? Both? How embarrassing.

I think grammatical nuances can be a challenge for writers both new and experienced. Clearly I still learn new things (or remember lost things) frequently.

I think most people agree that knowing the rules is important. It’s remembering them all that sometimes gets in the way. If something has slipped by an author in multiple drafts, and an editor in multiple reads, then maybe the rule needs to be examined for its importance. 

You're right, it is a challenge. I like to read about these things and look things up in the books I've collected about grammar and punctuation. It's also nice to discuss them. I think writing 'rules' are meant to be bent and broken sometimes and as Cia said above, just be consistent within the story.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2021 at 8:00 PM, Valkyrie said:

"Give he and I a call" is incorrect also.  It should be "Give him and I a call". 

Actually, it should be "Give him and me a call".

Someone once suggested, in cases like this, to drop the other personal pronoun out of the sentence to see whether it still sounds right. So in this case, drop the third personal masculine pronoun (he or him) to just leave the first personal one (I or me). That leaves us with either "Give I a call" or "Give me a call". It should be fairly obvious which is the grammatically correct form.

Now, as @Carlos Hazday has pointed out, there is a difference between between narration and dialogue. I often find dialogue in a story to sound artificial when it is too grammatically correct. Most people tend to speak ungrammatically, and also to use contractions when they speak.

And, as Carlos also points out, English is a living language. It has changed down through the centuries. Just look at how strange Shakespearean English sounds to our modern ears; or the original King James translation of the Bible into English; or simply the different dialects, both between different English speaking nations of the world, and within different regions of any of those nations.

Edited by Marty
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2 minutes ago, Marty said:

Actually, it should be "Give him and me a call".

 

:yes:  You are correct.  I totally spaced on that one :facepalm:  

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3 minutes ago, Valkyrie said:

:yes:  You are correct.  I totally spaced on that one :facepalm:  

I sort of guessed that. :hug: 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/9/2021 at 5:49 AM, Marty said:

Actually, it should be "Give him and me a call".

I would probably stress over this and end up writing "Give us a call."

 

On 5/8/2021 at 8:22 AM, headtransplant said:

Somehow I never learned alright vs. all right. Are my teachers to blame or my memory? Both? How embarrassing.

I think grammatical nuances can be a challenge for writers both new and experienced. Clearly I still learn new things (or remember lost things) frequently.

I think most people agree that knowing the rules is important. It’s remembering them all that sometimes gets in the way. If something has slipped by an author in multiple drafts, and an editor in multiple reads, then maybe the rule needs to be examined for its importance. 

The grammatical nuances are a challenge for me. I've been wanting to take some writing classes to help learn some more technical points. I recently reread my first story and cringed. I guess it's a good thing. It showed me how much I've grown. 

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Posted (edited)

With all that said, some people do it intentionally and make stylistic decisions first and grammar/spelling/usage comes later. I think Cia said as long as you have consistency throughout the work, it can fit. I know I find myself doing it intentionally, so that it adds to the overall feel of where/when the story takes place. It isn't the most correct way to write grammatically or otherwise. I don't pretend to be an expert in either - I grew up in the land of having books read to me from a tape player for most of my English and Language classes and that was the pre-college/accelerated/honors courses my high school provided. We honestly stopped learning how to write properly/edit poor grammar aside from two or three sentences written once a week for us to edit the errors. Literally, our papers were edited by the teacher and given back to us, all we had to do was correct them as they saw fit to get full credit.  Kentucky school systems, am I right? ;) 

I could learn easily enough if I wished to, but I don't really wish to - I am set in my ways and my habits would be difficult to break almost 1 million words later. I also have more important things to do within my day and this writing thing for me is all fun and giggles, so -_- If I got into stressing over the technical side of things I'd hang it all up now. I do take editing seriously when presented to me and I do work with my wonderful (albeit cheeky editor) when he presents issues for me to look over. I also do read through edits, but I don't sit down to edit. 

My first three stories are very poorly written and if I were an honorable sort of writer, I'd take them down. Since I'm not and want my nearly 1 million words to not be halved I'll keep them up. They've been posted on this platform since '04, a little too late to worry about that now. If anything it does show some growth and better editing (mostly because I have better editors) and a better skill set with my storytelling. At least I think I do anyway, y'all may disagree completely. 

Edited by Krista
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20 minutes ago, Krista said:

Literally, our papers were edited by the teacher and given back to us, all we had to do was correct them as they saw fit to get full credit.  Kentucky school systems, am I right? ;)

At least you got the opportunity to correct them. For Indiana, we were handed back red-inked papers and told to do better next time. Honestly, I've learned more about the English language on this site than my entire education, both high school and college. 

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13 hours ago, Mrsgnomie said:

I would probably stress over this and end up writing "Give us a call."

Lol, I take that type of shorcut often. It also helps with bloating. Simplyfing instead of word count padding's something I strive for.

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