1. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Forum Etiquette re. Wrong Words

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by BayView, Jun 30, 2017.

    I've noticed several posts lately with people using words that are just... wrong. Like, I can see how they made the mistake, but they're clearly wrong. I'm trying to think of an example that isn't one of the words I've seen recently... like if someone was talking about being stranded on a desert aisle. Something that isn't likely a typo, but a genuine misapprehension of what the word should be.

    If I make a mistake like this, I want to be corrected. I'd rather learn and get it over with rather than making the same mistake over and over. but no one is correcting these posts, so I'm wondering if it's generally considered bad form to point out this sort of error.

    Is there a consensus on this? What's the appropriate way to approach someone (on a writers' site) using the wrong word?
     
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  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    I see what you're saying. Normally we don't beat each other over the head for using wrong words. Like lose vs. loose, or affect vs. effect. Nobody wants to come off as a grammar Nazi... professional courtesy I suppose. As writers we all except (see what I did there :)) a few mistakes because we make them ourselves, but for the serious malapropisms we should probably be a bit more vigilant.

    (desert aisle... for real? At least say dessert aisle so we can think you're shopping for pudding or something)

    I suppose if embarrassment is an issue a discrete PM could settle things. Or if we want to go the other way we could start a malapropism thread and quote all the mistakes people make and have a communal laugh over it. I'd find that hilarious if I screwed a word up. Others might not.
     
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  3. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    Correct punctuation is for editors. As long as the message is clear I could care less how the word looks.

    unl355 U 7yP3 L1k3 7H15
    (unless you type like this.)
     
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  4. Laurus

    Laurus Disappointed Idealist Contributor

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    I've seen the posts you're talking about. I was content to let them go if they weren't showing up in the workshop. To my mind, that's the only place such errors matter.

    Edit: Well, I've seen posts like the one you're talking about. Not the exact one. With my luck, that was the one in the workshop.
     
  5. Earp

    Earp Exit, Stage Right Contributor

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    I blame spell-checkers for the isle vs. aisle kind of thing. I even see a lot more homophone errors in published works since the publishers started using spell-checkers. That said, the writer, I think, has a responsibility to get it right before posting.
     
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My answer is an admin's answer, but I tend to care about this only in thread titles or the workshop. In a thread title, I simply correct it. In the workshop, that's where I may or may not point it out. Depends on whether it seems like an autocorrect artifact or not. My own posts often have an alarming tendency to miss whole words. Usually the small words, articles, conjunctions, propositions, etc. I'm not sure if my brain is getting ahead of my fingers or vice versa or what. The edit history in many of my posts is a mile long as I find these typos. o_O
     
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  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I don't think it's appropriate to correct people outside the workshop unless they're specifically asking for it. Under 'asking for it' I would include 'being an arse about somebody else's SPAG.' It's amazing how often you see somebody berating another for their 'spelling and grammer.'

    Maybe a compromise would be to reply to the thread topic using the correct spelling of the word? If the misspelling poster picks it up and learns, then yay. If not, never mind.
     
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  8. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    Fun fact: In language instruction that's called "shadow correction".

    Yuki: I went for the store yesterday!

    Sensei: You went to the store? Cool, did you buy anything?

    But yeah, I attribute most of it to touchscreens and autocorrect and let it slide. I'll make a joke occasionally, but only with someone I know will recognize it as such.
     
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  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I didn't no that!
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I also absolutely want to know. I increasingly seem to have my own speech-to-text in my own head--I'll be typing fast and realize, when I edit, that I typed a soundalike word. This is in my mental list of "questions I'd like to ask a neurologist if I ever sit next to one on a long plane flight." (I have a lot of "questions I'd like to ask a (blank) if I ever sit next to one on a long plane flight" lists. In my head. If I wrote them down, I would feel weird, which might be another question to ask someone.)

    If I'm corrected on one of those I'll probably be driven to explain that no, no, I know better! But I still want to know, because it's always possible that I don't.

    But the last time I did correct someone else, using the most diplomatic language I could come up with, I got a hiss and a cat-scratch back, so I don't do it any more.

    One classic method of politely correcting someone's spoken pronunciation is to find an opportunity to pronounce the word correctly. You could find an opportunity to use the right word. While the person would likely just assume that you're the one who made a mistake, it could plant doubt and might, eventually, result in them correcting their usage.

    This reminds me of one that I originally thought was flat-out wrong, and am no longer positive: The use of cliche as an adjective rather than a noun, as in:

    That plot is so cliche.

    Isn't it more correctly

    That plot is so cliched.

    ?

    I realize that you didn't ask the question to invite a sort of pet peeve fest, but so many people use this that I may not dare ask in any other thread.

    Edited to add: Speaking of forum etiquette, I replied without reading the thread first and most of what I said was already said. In another forum where I hang out, this is known as a HIPPO: Happily Ignoring Previous Posters' Opinions. It results in punishment in the form of a stream of hippo memes. Bad Chicken!
     
  11. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    FWIW, admins and other modly sorts pretty much always have to HIPPO. It's the only way for us to give an opinion without embroiling ourselves in a stream of conversation that we may later have to moderate with our Mod Hats on.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Le sigh....

    Bayview's question was clear. It concerns itself with the most appropriate way to engage a person when a syntax mistake is seen, given that we are engaged in a writing venue.

    I will say this and I will say it only once:

    Taking digs at one another in open forum as regards the application of our individual schools of thought regarding prescriptive vs. descriptive grammar is not on. At all. That's not an opinion. That is cold, hard fact, which will be dealt with quickly and swiftly.

    Play nice or play elsewhere, those really are the only options.

    (@ChickenFreak: and this why admins and mods HIPPO) ;)
     
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  14. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Contributor

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    I also don't mind being corrected. Growing up, I never understood spelling and grammar and even now I understand it only through use and what I've picked up naturally, rather than by the rules. When I need to know a rule to help someone else, I have to look it up or ask my mom (Every. Single. Time. Why can I never just remember the darn rules?).

    A while back I posted the first three sentences of my short story and someone (I don't remember who it was and I'm not going to hunt for it) corrected my use of the word "passed," but they did it so subtlety I didn't catch on that it was a correction and I just thought they were emphasizing that the character passed the school bus, rather than going in it.

    For my own etiquette, I prefer not to correct people outside of the workshop unless they're asking a SPAG question. If they're asking about one SPAG item, I tend to assume they don't mind learning another as well. We're not always fully awake when we write our posts, after all ;).
     
  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    OMG I hope they weren't all posts from me. I've been in a bit of a rare form these days. That being said, I have pointed out mistakes to people in posts. I don't think I was nitpicking. It was more like if someone uses the word "anyways" a bunch of times, I would state that it is always "anyway." There is never an S. I thought something like that could be helpful for more than just the OP since I have seen several inexperienced writers make these kinds of mistakes repetitively. But people just seem to get mad when they are pointed out. Personally, I rather have any common mistakes I make pointed out than for it to be a reason my work gets rejected.
     
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  16. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I think that we usually don't want to put people through the ringer; we'd rather give them free reign (to use two of my favorite bugaboos). But if we, as writers, aren't concerned with such matters, it behooves us to correct others gently, in hopes that they may guided to correct usage.

    But it's not going to be easy, because we've lost some of the cultural guideposts that define the use of these words. To use the examples above, hardly any of use have seen a wringer washing machine in action, putting clothes through a pair of rollers to wring the rinse water from them, nor have we actually dropped the reins of a horse and let it go where it pleased. When we use "put through the wringer" or "give her free rein," we might as well be talking about bustles and buggy whips. But the language is poorer, I think, if we let these metaphors slide into oblivion through careless use. So I will do what I can to help keep them around.
     
  17. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Huh. I've used a wringer-washer AND ridden a horse on a free rein. I feel like an old-timey pioneer!
     
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  18. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    Stop that, you're going to give @Cave Troll the vapors! ;)
     
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  19. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Six Words.jpg
     
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  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    I got all six right, the answer key was wrong.
     
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  21. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I got the first one right, and I took the second to mean FANDOM. In my naiveté I thought we were still talking about writing.
    But yeah, my mind went to the gutter after those first two.

    Since I'm here, thanks to @Cave Troll, my opinion is what it says in my signature. Do correct me, please! Thank you!
     
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