Author Topic: Cato's Grammar Grumble  (Read 555390 times)

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Frumaster

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #580 on: May 08, 2009, 04:33:37 PM »
Thanks a lot guys.  How's this?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 10:34:25 AM by Frumaster »

Frumaster

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #581 on: May 08, 2009, 05:42:38 PM »
This  is stronger and better integrated. The transition sentence " In his search for the ..." is especially effective. I have a couple of comments:

I find myself wanting some detail that explains the role that Enlightenment ideals play in the modern attitudes toward war. We know that you find aspects of the Enlightenment as grandiose and that they ceased to be prime motivators for making war after the French Revolution, but I can't tell what is of particular interest to Bell.

I don't know who your audience is, so it is hard to know how strictly it should follow grammar and usage conventions. Ever since Woodstock, it has been acceptable to let modifiers dangle, but for strict academic writing, you may lose a point. Likewise, the use of "while" in academic writing is reserved for its temporal meaning; "although" would be safer. If your reader is really hip to the Chicago Manual of Style jive, dazzle them with an endash rather than a hyphen in "military–civilian."' 

Thanks again!  The rest of the paper is written, I was just looking for a more effective intro.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 10:34:04 AM by Frumaster »

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #582 on: May 09, 2009, 12:52:25 AM »
Thanks again!  The rest of the paper is written, I was just looking for a more effective intro.  The 'grandiose ideals' are really explored further in the paper....maybe this will act as a suspense builder!    Or maybe not, but I've made my final revisions for now.    You folks don't joke around here, do you  ;D

Cato especially never jokes around!   0:)

And I wondered if you are using in the opening sentence  "contingent" in the sense of "depends" ?  "Contingent" means "likely to happen" or "likely to apply, but perhaps not."

If however you mean "depends" then use "depends."   $:)
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Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble: Punctuation as Musical Direction
« Reply #583 on: May 09, 2009, 01:06:01 AM »
While working on a secret project, I penned the following piece of practically perfect prose:   :o

"But then he wondered if in fact somehow John had listened to everything!"

"Practically perfect," but not yet perfect!   $:)

I am always worried about the musical flow of the words in my writing, just like I worry about my meager bank account's monetary flow to Washington, all $37.15 of it, but that is another story!   8)

"But then he wondered if in fact somehow John had listened to everything!"

The monosyllables in the middle were put there to show the "Wait a minute!" moment in the wondering, but something was missing.

"But then he wondered if, in fact, somehow, John had listened to everything!"

The 3 commas make things clearer, and place emphasis on the mystery around the word "somehow" by slowing the pace down and making "somehow" the center of the sentence.

A small point, or comma actually   0:), but I thought it illustrated my - sometimes - idiosyncratic use of punctuation.
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Offline Jay F

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble: Punctuation as Musical Direction
« Reply #584 on: May 09, 2009, 03:40:49 AM »
While working on a secret project, I penned the following piece of practically perfect prose:   :o

"But then he wondered if in fact somehow John had listened to everything!"

"Practically perfect," but not yet perfect!   $:)

I am always worried about the musical flow of the words in my writing, just like I worry about my meager bank account's monetary flow to Washington, all $37.15 of it, but that is another story!   8)

"But then he wondered if in fact somehow John had listened to everything!"

The monosyllables in the middle were put there to show the "Wait a minute!" moment in the wondering, but something was missing.

"But then he wondered if, in fact, somehow, John had listened to everything!"

The 3 commas make things clearer, and place emphasis on the mystery around the word "somehow" by slowing the pace down and making "somehow" the center of the sentence.

A small point, or comma actually   0:), but I thought it illustrated my - sometimes - idiosyncratic use of punctuation.
Do you really need both "in fact" and "somehow"? If I were writing this sentence, I think I might leave one out, probably "somehow," perhaps saving it for further clarification in the next sentence.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble: Punctuation as Musical Direction
« Reply #585 on: May 09, 2009, 05:01:26 AM »
Or you could perhaps move "somehow" closer to the verb:

"But then he wondered if, in fact, John had somehow listened to everything!"

But, if you think about it for a second, not having those words in succession, esp. with the commas, would destroy the pacing that I think Cato is specifically after. It's analogous to how the dominant is prolonged at various levels of musical architecture to prolong the resolution. I think of an example by Ives (nothing special about that, because examples abound, but Ives is always closest at hand and ear for me) taken from Vachel Lindsay: "Gen'l William Booth Enters into Heaven."

Lindsay's original:

"Yet in an instant all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new."

Which Ives punctuates much like Cato did, but giving a lot of space to the comma pauses.

"Yet,      in an instant,      all that blear..."

This sets up and prolongs the tension before to add a sense of release to the steady march Ives settles into for the next line. Ives does this sort of setup all over the place, often as a foil for the delivery a march or a hymn esp. at a recapitulation (end of Ives Second Symphony is a good example). More importantly, this is all rooted in the how Western tonality works, and not surprisingly, such a handling of musical expectation is all deeply and intimately intertwined with how expectations work in language. A writer who is sensitive to that relationship can give pulse to his or her writing.'


Thank you, Mr. Apostrophe!   You have described my reasoning exactly!!!  As you have written, the "pacing" leading to the "somehow" is most important. 

Excellent example with the Ives also!
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Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble/Complete Words!!!
« Reply #586 on: May 13, 2009, 05:42:11 PM »
My wife was watching "Law and Order" (aka Murderous Millionaires) and I heard the following pile of monosyllables:

"She had to go for a psych e-val 'cause she went off her meds."

Also heard: "She had gave..."  "She done..."  spoken by characters who were supposed to be at least somewhat educated ( e.g. a taxation bureaucrat).

I REALLY hate the monstrosity "meds."   :o

This is the first time I had ever heard "e-val" for "evaluation."

Apparently for the TV writers: "Monosyllables Rule!"   8)

Ironically, "monosyllable" is not monosyllabic!   0:)


"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Dr. Dread

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #587 on: May 13, 2009, 05:45:11 PM »
Dude, it's TV.  ;D

bwv 1080

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #588 on: May 13, 2009, 06:22:25 PM »
So this Texan goes to Harvard and walking on campus approaches a group of students and asks, "hey, y'all know where's the library at?"

one student sticks his nose up in the air and replies, "At Harvard we do not end sentences with prepositions"

"OK, so where's the library at, asshole?" replies the Texan

Offline Florestan

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #589 on: May 13, 2009, 10:33:53 PM »
In some circles, it is tragically unhip to be heard speaking in correctly conjugated verbs.

You're quite right. In a not so distant future, any correct speech will be called Historically Informed Pronunciation.
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Offline Ten thumbs

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble/Complete Words!!!
« Reply #590 on: May 14, 2009, 12:27:38 AM »


Ironically, "monosyllable" is not monosyllabic!   0:)

Why not simply call one a 'mon'? ;)
A day may be a destiny; for life
Lives in but little—but that little teems
With some one chance, the balance of all time:
A look—a word—and we are wholly changed.

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #591 on: May 14, 2009, 02:56:45 AM »
In Jamaica, they do . . . .

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #592 on: May 14, 2009, 01:04:07 PM »
This isn't a grammar problem - it's just silly :P I heard this on the news yesterday:

"I'll take responsibility, but it's not all my fault"
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #593 on: May 14, 2009, 01:17:19 PM »
This isn't a grammar problem - it's just silly :P I heard this on the news yesterday:

"I'll take responsibility, but it's not all my fault"

That's nearly up there with, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that."

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #594 on: May 14, 2009, 01:18:12 PM »
And I am not at all surprised that that is one of those "Songs by Jim Steinman" marvels of wordcraft.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #595 on: May 15, 2009, 04:23:02 AM »
This isn't a grammar problem - it's just silly :P I heard this on the news yesterday:

"I'll take responsibility, but it's not all my fault"

Must have been said by a Yale man!   8)

Today's outrage from a local newspaper telling of 5th Graders jogging for a Chinese charity after learning about Asia:
 "The charity run culminates Asian studies for them on Saturday."   :o    ???

Even if you assume that "in" was inadvertently left out after "culminate," the sentence still is ridiculous.

I think such bad grammar should "culminate" and terminate the reporter responsible!   0:)
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Papageno

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #596 on: May 15, 2009, 04:20:19 PM »
"There's a lot of people there" instead of There are -.  I hear it all the time, it makes my skin crawl.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #597 on: May 15, 2009, 04:59:09 PM »
"There's a lot of people there" instead of There are -.  I hear it all the time, it makes my skin crawl.

I also find the perpetual singular simply lazy and sloppy.

Now it is a matter of hoping for an influx of pride and energy in how one speaks among a majority of people to effect a change!   8)

Mr. Apostrophe wrote:
Quote
This is the way some of our presidents "apologize." They say they are sorry and fob that off as an apology, but they accept no responsibility and admit to making no mistakes or to any wrongdoing. It's an "I didn't do it" covered in a thin candy shell.'

Amen!   0:)  Orwell would have a love-hate relationship with the political speech of our era! 

Some of course do not apologize, but keep twisting words and false, ignorant claims around until there is no way out but to hope the public is not paying attention, or that their attention span is ruled by AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder).

http://reformedpastor.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/catholic-cardinals-smack-pelosi-on-abortion/
 
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Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #598 on: May 17, 2009, 02:50:06 PM »
My son was watching a hockey game and a reporter says to the goalie: "The other team is very young: how will you expose their youth?"   :o

The comment seemed almost obscene, until one realizes the reporter meant "exploit" their youth!

My son remarked: "What do you expect?  He's a hockey reporter!"   0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

karlhenning

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #599 on: May 18, 2009, 02:44:24 AM »
My son remarked: "What do you expect?  He's a hockey reporter!"   0:)

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