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Advanced Writing concepts.

英語を勉強している方のためのフォーラムです。練習のために英語の文章を投稿してもかまわなく、英語の文法・語彙に関する質問をしてもけっこうです。

RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby AJBryant » Sat 06.30.2007 8:00 am

Infidel wrote:

I've always found that one one of the best examples of all the vices of prosey talk with none of the virtues. It forces the listener to ignore the speaker, turn and ask someone close by what the heck a score is, then mentally calculate an answer all while the speaker keeps on going. That's why people only quote the first sentence, because no one remembers the next 20. They were too busy talking to their neighbors and doing basic math.


That just goes to show how far our education has fallen. In colonial times, preachers would give hour long sermons and people were almost able to write it down from memory, complete with florid turns of phrase.

If you're well-educated, you KNOW what a score is. Or, to put it another way -- if you're educated, you know the score. ;)


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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby katafei » Sat 06.30.2007 8:52 am

:o

:)
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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 06.30.2007 9:14 am

In colonial times, preachers would give hour long sermons and people were almost able to write it down from memory, complete with florid turns of phrase.


How would you have any way of verifying if what we have written down is actually what a colonial preacher praught*? Before the advent of recording technology, the idea of recording someone's exact words was not considered as important as it is now. That sounds like just another "good old days" story. :)


*(A teacher "taught" so of course a preacher "praught" ;))
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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby AJBryant » Sat 06.30.2007 1:54 pm

How would you have any way of verifying if what we have written down is actually what a colonial preacher praught*? Before the advent of recording technology, the idea of recording someone's exact words was not considered as important as it is now. That sounds like just another "good old days" story.


Good point. But we would sometimes see whopping great chunks of text quoted in diaries, letters, etc. (And even in church records, IIRC.) For preachers who extemporized, the only texts would have to have been made after the fact.

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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby paulrowe » Sun 07.01.2007 12:27 am

A lot of people use words which, in the given context, are meaningless. Some of this is rhetoric. Some of this is filler (i.e. sounds a lot better than, "uh...", "eh...", "um..."). Some of this is the speaker trying to write something that says nothing.

It seems increasingly popular for someone to write something simply to say, "I have feelings on this topic, but they'd offend most everyone reading them." Thus, not wanting to be alienated, these people write their feelings out and try to soften them sufficiently enough to prevent outrage at the feelings which would otherwise be voiced. They end up saying nothing because they took a lot of meaningful words and made them meaningless by softening the intent.
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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby Infidel » Sun 07.01.2007 1:18 am

Some interesting words have been said concerning the use of style. However, the original sentence became even more interesting in the process.

One of my biggest complaints about grammar books is the tradition of using simplistic examples. Then when I have to figure out a complex sentence the examples don't appear to apply at all.

Which brings me to the/an for ESL speakers. There are millions of explanations of how articles apply to a word, but very rarely is it shown how it can affect an entire sentence. However, from post 2 onward, it became obvious that the example sentence of Coco's is an excellent example of this potential misunderstanding.

Essentially, maybe it's a better idea for ESL speakers to go ahead and leave the "that" and such in place when in doubt. It doesn't really hurt anything, and it can help prevent any confusion if they accidentally misuse an article.
The teacher brings in an old pen that Franklin Delano Roosevelt used during his (the teacher's) Presidency.


Usually, context will clarify a misused article, but when it doesn't, a misused article really grates on a native speaker's ears. So I'll make another sentence with the same construction to demonstrate this.

The teacher brings in an old dog that Ralf found outside the school.


Nothing wrong with this sentence. However, Ralf can be both a Dog's name and a Person's so there is potential for confusion. "That" clarifies that Ralf is a Person's name regardless of the article used. Now let's drop "that."

The teacher brings in an old dog Ralf found outside the school.


This sentence means the same thing, because the article used is "an" we know that "Ralf" does not describe the dog.

Third example.

The teacher brings in the old dog Ralf, found outside the school.


Changing "an" to "the" completely transforms the sentence without "that". Now Ralf describes the dog and, apparently, the tearcher found the dog, where before it was Ralf. Also, this sentence pattern no longer stands alone very well, but it can be found within a paragraph, where sentence patterns are modified to fit a desired rhythm. In fact, the last example would probably continue on to say something more.

The teacher brings in the old dog Ralf, found outside the school, it took 3 weeks of care before the dog was ready meet new people again.
Last edited by Infidel on Sun 07.01.2007 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby AJBryant » Sun 07.01.2007 8:14 am

Infidel wrote:


The teacher brings in an old dog that Ralf found outside the school.


Nothing wrong with this sentence. However, Ralf can be both a Dog's name and a Person's so there is potential for confusion. "That" clarifies that Ralf is a Person's name regardless of the article used. Now let's drop "that."


Not so. For anyone who reads English, there can be no confusion at all.

"The teacher brings in an old dog Ralf found outside the school" can ONLY mean Ralf (not Ralph?) is the guy who found the dog.

"The teacher brings in an old dog, Ralf, found outside the school" on the other hand, means the dog is named Ralf.

Punctuation is important. There's a reason we use commas. And you need BOTH of them.


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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby Infidel » Sun 07.01.2007 11:48 pm

AJBryant wrote:
Infidel wrote:


The teacher brings in an old dog that Ralf found outside the school.


Nothing wrong with this sentence. However, Ralf can be both a Dog's name and a Person's so there is potential for confusion. "That" clarifies that Ralf is a Person's name regardless of the article used. Now let's drop "that."


Not so. For anyone who reads English, there can be no confusion at all.

"The teacher brings in an old dog Ralf found outside the school" can ONLY mean Ralf (not Ralph?) is the guy who found the dog.

"The teacher brings in an old dog, Ralf, found outside the school" on the other hand, means the dog is named Ralf.

Punctuation is important. There's a reason we use commas. And you need BOTH of them.


Tony


Ralf is rare as a human name and I've met people that swear it's only a dog name. These people will assume a punctuation error when they see the sentence.

Not to contradict you on comma usage, but there are some sentences that can have 5 or more meanings based on comma placement. I was trying to illustrate how "a(an)" and "the" could affect a sentence. Besides, Even though this thread is ostensibly about writing, articles are used in speech as well, but commas are not always represented in speech. Ideally, I would prefer an example sentence that didn't require at least 1 new comma after changing the article, but I couldn't think of one.
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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby AJBryant » Mon 07.02.2007 6:32 am

Infidel wrote:

Ralf is rare as a human name and I've met people that swear it's only a dog name. These people will assume a punctuation error when they see the sentence.


Y'see, *I* assumed a spelling error. :)

Not to contradict you on comma usage, but there are some sentences that can have 5 or more meanings based on comma placement.


That's exactly what I was saying.

I was trying to illustrate how "a(an)" and "the" could affect a sentence. Besides, Even though this thread is ostensibly about writing, articles are used in speech as well, but commas are not always represented in speech. Ideally, I would prefer an example sentence that didn't require at least 1 new comma after changing the article, but I couldn't think of one.


Too early in the morning for me to try...

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RE: Advanced Writing concepts.

Postby SenescenceReign » Mon 07.02.2007 4:35 pm

paulrowe wrote:
They end up saying nothing because they took a lot of meaningful words and made them meaningless by softening the intent.


So very true. I find that websites like http://www.livejournal.com, or http://www.deadjournal.com, or http://www.myspace.com are all helping to add new and exciting layers of meaninglessness to our lives. When you think about the feelings that we, as a people, are now forced to squash down in order to be politically correct! I can bear witness to the many times I have tried to start one of those anonymous journals only to soon be discovered by my friends (due primarily to writing style or the fact that I like to post snippets of stories, bad poetry, even once or twice a novel introduction) and almost persecuted for my feelings. How dare we feel this way or that about whatever situation?

My father, rest his soul, had a habit of saying that no one is politically correct, we are all a little racist, a little bigot, a little strange in our own way and the key is knowing exactly how you feel these negative feelings so that you can recognize and stop them. Now, admitting that I feel any of the more negative feelings, writing that I have any at all, as a matter of fact, can become a topic of persecution! The language itself suffers, because, as people, we can't express our feelings anymore. And our most beautiful language seems to always stem from the need to express a profound feeling.

(Forgive me if this didn't seem to flow properly. I'm at work, and in a hurry, and my writing capabilities are thus impaired!)
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