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    MsJacquiiC Poetica Magnifique

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    Like all languages, the English language is constantly developing and changing. Today's language is a far cry from the Victorian-style speech of our forefathers as we incorporate teen speak and pop culture slang into our everyday vocabulary, and new terminology emerges with the advent of new technology. Surfin' the 'net is pretty cool!


    We can all rest assured that it will never be acceptable to use they're/their interchangeably. Run-on sentences will never be pretty, and hens should never lie an egg...
    While this may be a natural development, many language purists recoil in horror at the degradation of our native tongue. Not only have new words been formed (when did "truthiness" become a word, and how is "fax" a verb?), but many of the standard grammatical rules seem to be open to interpretation. Commas are becoming arbitrary in some cases, and punctuation itself is often an artistic decision rather than an accepted part of writing. This is good news for modern-day writers-freedom of choice is always good news for the artistic community-but it's somewhat of a concern for those who make their living editing others' work. Copy editors and proofreaders are caught somewhere in the middle of this dilemma, as they strive for perfection without influencing or changing the author's style or meaning. It's a fine line and the subject of much debate.

    Writers are faced with countless decisions about character, plot, setting, and style. They choose their language and style based on their audience and the purpose behind their pieces. For example, it would be inappropriate to use text-messaging lingo in a formal business letter, and a good writer would not script a Bronx street scene using stilted, formal English. If the writer were forced to conform to absolute correctness, the Bronx street scene would be a ridiculous piece of writing since the characters would speak like 19th-century poets.

    On the other hand, standards seem to have slipped in recent years. One proofreader laments the frequent incorrect usage of pronouns, as in "If anyone wants me to pick up their mail, they should let me know." Politically correct writers would not substitute "he" for "they" for fear of offending women, and the pronoun defaults to "they"-incorrect in number, yet commonly used throughout all manner of writing. Even the Oxford University Press condones the use of "their" with a singular antecedent, presumably to avoid being old-fashioned and sexist.

    Purists also find themselves up in arms over split infinitives-once a no-no but not a deal-breaker today. The Oxford University Press also now sanctions the use of split infinitives, much to the dismay of experts. Traditionalists see these issues as proof of the degradation of our language and argue that we're cheapening it through bad grammar. Others argue that writers should follow their purpose and write for their audience, rather than focusing on perfect grammar. For instance, copywriters for advertising agencies tend to take extreme liberties with the English language (got milk?), and this is an acceptable practice in the industry. Poets and other creative writers also take great liberties with language and style.

    Copy editors and proofreaders face a quandary. Alienate the writer and fix the incorrect grammar, or go with the flow...and cringe inwardly at "I only want to do what's right." These editorial professionals have an obligation to point out mistakes that once upon a time would probably not have appeared at all-but only if they have no compunction about being ignored.

    When it comes to the basics, however, most experts agree: it's never going to be acceptable to be ignorant of the rules. We can all rest assured that it will never be acceptable to use they're/their interchangeably. Run-on sentences will never be pretty, and hens should never lie an egg. At least not yet.





    [ Source: WritersRelief.com ]

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    Posted By MsJacquiiC | Jan 30, 2008
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    butchiesmom JPiC Premium VIP Member

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    Yeah, right! Loved it all and made a lot of sense. Ronnie's right, the language is changing, but that's the nature of language. It reflects changes in the culture it's used by.

    'Nukes' were bombs until the invention of the microwave. When I started working at a fastfood place, I learned to 'nuke' sandwiches for a few seconds before placing them on the order tray.

    The first time I chatted with someone online, the letters LOL appeared frequently but I had no idea what they meant. Now I have to be careful not to use them while writing my stories and such.

    Like I said, language reflects changes in culture. Isn't it wonderful?
    hugs,
    Gail
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    MsJacquiiC Poetica Magnifique

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    Yep - love language LOL tehehehe
    And it is very wonderful! I have a fondness for words :)
    Don't like nukes though...

    Jacquii.


    Posted By MsJacquiiC | Jan 30, 2008
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