1. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Contractions in speech

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Poziga, Oct 25, 2014.

    Hello. :)

    Mr. or Mister?

    A few months ago I received a lesson that said in speech I should write the way people speak. In that specific case we takled about numbers. In speech people don't say numerals, but they say number, so you should write seventy five, not 75. "I am seventy five years old", not "I am 75 years old".

    I now stumbled upon contraction(s). My character always addresses one person as Mr. Addison. In narrative, I always write Mr. Addison did bla bla bla... But what about speech? Looking at numbers example, I think I should write "Hello, Mister Addison." since no one ever says "Hello, Mr. Addison."
    But I just wanna make sure. Do I understand correctly?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I see where you're going with the application of the numerals rules, but I would only ever write out the word mister when it wasn't serving as title in their name, such as Mr. John Robinson and Mrs. Hellen Robinson.

    I would write the whole word out in the following, admittedly hokey examples:

    "Listen here, mister! If you think I'm making a three course dinner after an eight hour day of work, you've got another thing coming."

    "Just you, Tom? Where's the missus?


    ETA: Just as a sidenote. Mr. and Mrs., though pronounced mister and missus, originate from master and mistress, this from a time when mistress meant lady of the house, not "the other woman". That's why though the modern pronunciation for Mrs. contains no R sound, it remains orthographically fossilized in the spelling of the contraction; it's from mistress.
     
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  3. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, now that I wrote a couple sentences with "mister", it seemed weird to me, like I'd never seen it before. I'll shift back to "Mr."

    Thank you :)
     
  4. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Was something else meant to follow the quoted text, @Swiveltaffy?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It was in dialogue, and people DO get it "wrong", especially after Judas Priest popularized it that way.

    Using folk phrases differently is part of characterization. For example, a cab driver character used the great fractured phrase, "I swear, it's the gossiple truth.".

    In Back to the Future Part 2, Old Biff berated his younger self for screwing up metaphors, like, "That's crazier than a screen door on a battleship." (instead of submarine) "You sound like an idiot when you get it wrong."

    So though it's a good idea to know the correct or original form, don't be afraid to give it a sharp twist in dialogue, or even in character-driven narration.
     
  7. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    As in Cogito's post: Judas Priest tune. I was being lame.
     
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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, understood. :-D Judas Priest is not part of my paradigm (other than the knowledge that lead singer Rob Halford is a fellow part of the LGBT community), so I had no contextual footing. This also now also places Cogito's post in context, which had me also scratching my head. :whistle:

    ETA:

    "You've got another think coming."

    Hmmm.... The play on reduplicating think from the preceding clause is clear to see, but I never would have come to that construction on my own. Nor can I recall ever seeing it written that way. It would have drawn my attention, had I. I'm not saying it's not correct or ever used, a quick internet search tells me that it is, just that my journey has never taken me past that particular phrasing. The drive to voice the velar plosive is too strong when connecting think and coming and the other phrasing makes equal sense in context. I would not call it wrong, just morphed.
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I think it's supposed to be "you've got another think coming"

    Yes, it gets me every time too, "if you think, blah blah blah, you have another think coming ..."

    Damn English Language! :)
     

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