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  1. #891
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    Yay!! This thread's back!

    Quote Originally Posted by lambjam View Post
    The thing to remember about vowels is that they're sounds rather than letters. My understanding is that a vowel is any sound which doesn't cause any part of the mouth to touch another part, whereas with consonants two parts of the mouth will connect (teeth on tongue, tongue on roof of mouth, etc... those who have been through speech therapy will be more than familiar with this!). It is common to teach children that the vowels are "aeiou", but there are actually many, many more vowels than this. Sounds like "oo" and "aah" are also vowels, even though there is no one letter that represents them. So in "yak", y is a consonant, but in "happy" it is a vowel.

    Onto the next point... it is correct to drop the "h" sound when words like "historian" and "hotel" are preceded by the word "an". Because the "h" sound has been dropped, the words can now be said to begin with a vowel. (So while I'll agree that most newsreaders are morons, this is not actually a case in point!)

    PS So happy to see this thread up again! Ahhh
    I'll just add to that, by saying that I think this also came from a time when the 'h' was typically dropped by the upper classes. I believe (although I may be wrong) that it was due to the French influence - French being the court language. You therefore had things like "'orrible" (horrible) and "'appening" (happening). That being the case, it was correct to use 'an' instead of 'a' as the preceding article.

    As with many linguistic fashions, it became adopted by the lower classes in an attempt to make them sound more upper class - at which point, it became less commonly used by the upper classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by lambjam View Post
    That's nuts, that comma is absolutely justified! It's using a comma before the "and" that really gets people divisive...

    Personally I'm a fan. Let me tell you a story that illustrates why.

    A man writes a will leaving his inheritance to his three children. He states that "the estate is to be divided between Tom, Judy and Charles". Tom takes the matter to court and argues that the estate should be split two ways, between himself as one beneficiary, and Judy and Charles as the other. In order to make it clear that the estate should be split three ways, the wording would have to be "the estate is to be divided between Tom, Judy, and Charles".

    Ok fine people, argue away...
    It's called the Oxford comma, and I am a big fan. There was recently a bit of an uproar in England, as Oxford University stopped using the Oxford comma in their official internal communications/ memos. This led to a concern that it was going to be outlawed in all of their publications, or not accepted as part of written assignments. But - phew! Panic over! They still love it, and are happy to accept it.

  2. #892
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    Just did a bit of reading, and apparently some of the previously mentioned 'h' words were originally spelled without the 'h'. So it may be that use of 'an' instead of 'a' is a bit of a carryover from those times, and people are perhaps now unsure which is the correct form.

  3. #893
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialPatrolGroup View Post
    I would love some feedback on this comma issue that I am having with my boss. He regards me as a serial comma-abuser but I think that there are times when they are justified. He is of the opinion that you should never use a comma after *and* but I think that there are.

    As an example - We had a lovely day at the beach and, despite the cold, even went for a swim.

    Comments please.
    that particular use is correct. because, as someone mentioned, you can remove the 'despite the cold' from the sentence and it still makes sense. that is but one of many uses for the good old comma.

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    I have a gripe with people thinking a comma is a replacement for a full stop. In my field we are encouraged to write short, sharp sentences as opposed to long winded, flowery passages.

    That said, the comma is entirely appropriate in the example given. I tend to only use them after the word 'and' in those situations or if I have a list of sorts to separate categories. For example: "On the weekend I ate eggs, salad, fish and chips, and sausages.


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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmyCatMummy View Post
    I have a gripe with people thinking a comma is a replacement for a full stop. In my field we are encouraged to write short, sharp sentences as opposed to long winded, flowery passages.
    Me too! I'm a big fan of the semicolon.

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    Someone told me that in Australian high schools you don't get taught grammar in English class? At least not past age 13? That's madness! No wonder it's generally so shocking! It's a really complex area and easy to get wrong.

    My boss says things are a "mute point". I am dying to tell her the word is moot!! Not grammar I know but still....

  7. #897
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    lambjam is offline Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
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    Re "an historian", I found this explained it all pretty well: http://grammartips.homestead.com/historical.html

    I love semicolons too! A well-placed semicolon can just make my day.

    kw123, the only grammar I was taught in high school was from the odd teacher here and there who admitted it wasn't part of the curriculum but felt duty-bound to teach us a little! Anything else I've learnt has been through my own curiosity.
    Last edited by lambjam; 29-10-2011 at 19:54.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kw123 View Post
    Someone told me that in Australian high schools you don't get taught grammar in English class? At least not past age 13? That's madness! No wonder it's generally so shocking! It's a really complex area and easy to get wrong.

    My boss says things are a "mute point". I am dying to tell her the word is moot!! Not grammar I know but still....
    I think they are slowly changing this. My old high school has a mandatory spelling and grammar class since the students were coming in so poorly educated (public school too).

    I never really got taught it though - until I had a year 11 teacher who made us do basic grammar for a week (non-curriculum) and a boss who loves grammar so I've since had it drummed into me .


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    Nothing to add really, so glad i found this thread........
    I can sleep tonight.
    Thanks people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWandSH View Post
    Nothing to add really, so glad i found this thread........
    I can sleep tonight.
    Thanks people.
    Subscribe!

    What a great thread!


 

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