Correct use of the English Language

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  1. profile image0
    jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years ago

    After so many posts in reply to the question of "your" and "you're," I don't have time to look through them all, but it does not seem to me that anyone has put forward the obvious need for having spelling and grammar correct.

    The English language is very reliant upon context, correct syllables and correct spelling for there to be a good flow of communication and understanding.   Let's face it, this is the reason we write anything down...... so that someone else can read what is written and gain more knowledge and understanding.  In English there are many irregular words and verbs;  also many words have different meanings and you must take note of the context in which they are written, before you can know the intended meaning.  For example, the word "Heat" can be about the energy within a substance;  it can also refer to participation in a sports race.  The other parts of the sentence you are reading will quickly tell you which meaning applies.

    The words "their" (possessive) and "there" (referring to place) sound the same yet have totally different meanings.  Again, the sentence will indicate which word applies.  (By the way, just in passing, look at that word "sentence."   Am I talking about a way of writing something down?  Or am talking about someone in prison?)

    If you are, or have been, involved in medical and health matters, you will know that certain words have a very specific meaning.  For example, Hypo..... means the exact opposite of Hyper......   the former meaning "low" or "under" and the latter meaning "high" or "above."   So if you say a person is said to be suffering from Hypothermia, it means he or she is too COLD;  if Hyperthermia, he or she is too HOT.  (Even the spell checker automatically questioned me on the Hyperthermia, because it thinks there is only one word, Hypothermia.)   There is great importance in the detail!  Especially if you are carrying out a doctor's orders in relation to treatment!

    In Australia, people speak the word "Ekcetera."   They mean "Etcetera" abbreviated to Etc.  Everyone thinks Ekcetera is correct because that is what their school teachers taught them!

    One other misunderstanding which I think is important.   People have the impression that Pasteurization of milk prevents you getting Tuberculosis (TB).  This is totally wrong.  Pasteurization only takes the temperature of the milk up to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for a very short time, then brings the temperature down very quickly to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.   The milk would have to be taken up to boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit) for around 15-20 minutes to kill the spores of TB.   

    The only way you can prevent people getting TB from cow's milk is by making sure the COWS are not infected with TB.   

    Pasteurization is only good at protecting you from bacteria which do not form spores, like Typhoid.  The process in fact leaves the Lactic acid bacteria to survive.  The slight acid reaction of the milk helps prevent other undesirable organisms from growing too rapidly, and the milk therefore has a (slightly) longer shelf life.  This was important in the days before refrigerators became popular and affordable.

    So you see, attention to detail when writing in the English language IS important.   Your efforts to do it right are never pointless.

    1. moonfroth profile image68
      moonfrothposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Good points Jonny.  I could write a large book on English, but I'll make only one point.  English is one of the most--if not THE most idiomatic language on the planet.  We   think nothing of writing this in a Driver's Manual:  "As you approach an uncontrolled intersection, cover the brake pedal."   WE know this means you should hover your foot over the brake pedal--but the new learners from Bangladesh and Tokyo are looking for a towel or something to throw over the pedal.  We use hundreds of these little "sayings" every day.  Learning them is the new speaker's toughest task--right up there (as Jonny pointed out) with homonyms.  One of my fvourites--HE REFUSED TO REFUSE THE DYNAMITE IN THE REFUSE DUMP..

    2. SimeyC profile image88
      SimeyCposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Real English (or should it be reel big_smile):
      It took me two minutes to read this and feel it is too complicated to understand.

      Pour English (big_smile  poor, pore):
      It took me too minutes two read this and feel it is to complicate two understand!

      Interweb English:
      It took me too minutes too read this and feel it is too complicated too understand.

      Sadly not many people can differentiate between different synonyms and eventually the synonyms are replaced by one common word - with the use of the internet being more prevalent, and English being the second language of many people using the web you'll probably have a new form of English emerge : Internet English!

      1. profile image0
        jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Boom! Boom!   

        Or in Internet Language, Bum! Bum!


        And in txt speak:   Bm Bm

  2. Bahja profile image60
    Bahjaposted 11 years ago

    i liked to answer you but welly i dont understand the aim of the post

    1. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Bahja, first let me say "Welcome to HubPages."   If this is your first question, you certainly deserve a good answer, and I will try to answer you in a way that you can understand.

      In a previous Hub, a few months ago, someone was discussing a couple of words which are often used incorrectly in the English language.  They asked this question:   When did "you're" officially become "your"?

      Those two words sound the same when we speak them.   However each word means something different, as you are most likely aware.   We see people writing in these Hub Pages and these two words are often carelessly used.   Why is this?  Maybe it's ignorance, maybe laziness, maybe forgetfulness, I don't know for sure.

      So, when I came across that forum, no one had posted a reply to it for about 5 months.  So, I got thinking about a response.   I have always tried to be correct in using English, because when I went to school, (more than 55 years ago now), we were taught to be careful and correct.   For me, this remains important.  Using the correct spelling of a word, the correct grammar and punctuation is important because otherwise we can get the wrong ideas from what we are reading.

      Therefore, my post which you read attempts to show people why it's important to be careful with the details when using English language.

      I then extended this objective, "paying attention to detail," by showing how people are being taught incorrect understanding, and that it's important to find out facts and separate the facts from fiction, as in the case of Pasteurization.   For me, this is all part of taking care and pride in what we do.

      I hope you can understand now.   Please, if you still find it difficult feel free to say so.   Maybe someone else here will be able to explain to you better.

  3. ocbill profile image51
    ocbillposted 11 years ago

    We've seen words morph into other meanings. Why can't the spelling of some words be different in other countries? Doest thou not accepteth change? The "you're" is blatant though versus etcetera.

    On a related point, text messaging at times can definitely give the wrong idea, especially when using an emoticon. I recently got an email message from a relative (sent from an iphone) stating we had arrived but the title was "arrived jerker". They used some type of emotional icon or something to that effect.

    1. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, fair enough.... I don't see the language as sacrosanct.  Sure it can change over time, and it does not matter what changes, provided that the meaning is commonly understood.  Because the purpose of the word, or phrase, is to convey a meaning. 

      It's nice and comfortable to see language as fixed and unchanging.  Yet that is not the case.  It does change. 

      Moonfroth has described English as one of the most idiomatic language on the planet. … onsa-m.htm gives a good explanation of that term.

      If someone uses a word or term in such a way that I don't understand it, then there is no good purpose in using that word.  Therefore, it is important to use the appropriate word, spell it right, use the correct punctuation (apostrophes, hyphens, etc.) and place the word in correct context so that I can understand it's meaning.

      1. Drive By Quipper profile image57
        Drive By Quipperposted 11 years agoin reply to this


        1. profile image0
          jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Is that Hobbit's talk?  I sure ain't 'uman!

          1. profile image0
            jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Sorry, this was a response to one whom I later found out was a banned spammer.   There was another one also and they have been deleted.

      2. moonfroth profile image68
        moonfrothposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        English is like shifting sand on the desert--the English of Beowulf--roughly 800 AD)--is much closer to modern German (our Mother Language, believe it or not!) than it is too modern English.  Usage is constantly changing.  One striking example:  "God's Blood!" in medieval times, was a curse against Christ on the cross being stabbed in the side by a Roman soldier.  Using this oath in the wrong way in the wron company could get you burned at the stake.  The oath then evolved to "S'blood!"--still a strong expletive and uttered frequently in Elizabethan plays.  Now, the very mild "bloody this, bloody that" doesn't even raise an eyebrow in English and Canadian usage--but is very rare in American usage.).  In fact,the very concept of "correct" English has been strongly challenged for decades now.  For example, Jonny pointed out earlier that the purpose of words, phrases etc. is COMMUNICATION.  cONSIDER THIS SCENARIO--A DOCTOR SPEAKING TO A PATIENT, WHO IS A NEW IMMIGRANT AND AN eNGLISH LEARNER.  tHE DOCTOR SAYS, "TO EFFECTUALLY DIAGNOSE YOUR AILMENT, i NEED YOU TO RETIRE TO THE LAVATORY AND DEPOSIT A SAMPLE OF YOUR URINE IN THIS RECEPTACLE." (sorry about all caps).  He gets a blank panicky stare from the bewildered patient.  The Doctor then says, "Piss in this."--and instantly gets what he wants.  So which communication was "correct"?  So we need to add CONTEXT into any search for "correct"English.

        If anyone wants to read a well-written, witty, highly informative book about the evolution of English, get into Bill Bryant's  THE MOTHER TONGUE - ENGLISH AND HOW IT GOT THAT WAY.  A truly great read.

  4. RBJ33 profile image67
    RBJ33posted 11 years ago

    Hey johhny - good forum - I also am amazed at some of the grammar and spelling in hubs.  A great deal of it is just carelessness I feel.  Also we all tend to get too wordy - "If I had more time I'd write a shorter letter."

  5. Bahja profile image60
    Bahjaposted 11 years ago

    jonnycomelately thanks welly thanks i understand it now more better.. you are good ex-plainer, and sorry if i make a mistake am new in hubpage also my English is not good, may be one day i became good speaker i really interest English language.. thanks we will keep in touch.

    god bless you

    1. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Bahja, you are doing well.....keep working hard at it and you will be very successful.

      What is your home language?

      1. Bahja profile image60
        Bahjaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        my home language is somali i live in somalia but welly am good to teach my self n my own way......and you can conect to me in my hotmail so i can tell you more about my life.

        hope you best

        1. profile image0
          jonnycomelatelyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          One part of my heart is still in Africa.    Africa is awesome, so are its people.

          1. Bahja profile image60
            Bahjaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            One part of my heart is still in wow wow hopefully you find it

  6. mandyaz profile image59
    mandyazposted 11 years ago

    Worth to read that. My native language is also English but now i am thinking like that this is not enough or my way of speaking is not very good. Also another thing i would mention in this regard is that what you think about the using too much internet or the social networking. The short words are very in, In these days and students are using it very frequently.


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